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Can You Plug a Dishwasher into a Regular Outlet? (Explained)

Who doesn’t love using a dishwasher to clean the dishes, right? It has become an integral part of our household appliances. With the help of a dishwasher, you can effortlessly clean even the dirtiest dishes in a matter of minutes.

As a result, you might be wondering if you can plug a dishwasher into a regular outlet. You might also want to know if a dishwasher needs a special outlet. Let’s find the answers to all your queries regarding the outlet of a dishwasher.

Can you plug a dishwasher into a regular outlet?

The recently launched dishwashers are engineered in such a way that they will work perfectly when plugged into a regular outlet. The voltage and amperage of a normal outlet are 120 volts and 15 amps, perfect for dishwashers. However, you must ensure that the outlet has proper earthing and has GFCI.

The voltage and amperage requirements of most dishwashers are usually 110 volts to 120 volts and 15 amperes. A regular outlet provides 120 volts and 15 amperes generally. As a result, a regular outlet will be good enough to plug in a dishwasher.

However, there are a couple of dishwasher units that require 20 amperes of electric current to run smoothly.

In that case, you won’t be able to connect the dishwasher to a regular unit if you want it to stay functional for a long period of time. That being said, the 20-amps units are not widely used and quite rare to find in the market.

While connecting a dishwasher to a regular outlet, make sure that it is equipped with a Ground Fault Interrupter or GFI.

This will act as a safety feature when the outlet becomes wet. A GFI is intended to trip or disconnect power when water is detected in order to avoid electrocution.

This extra precaution will come in very handy as the dishwasher is usually placed below the sink. So, you should plug your dishwasher into an outlet that contains the GFI feature to prevent it from getting damaged.

The dishwashers usually come with a three-pin plug, in which the third pin provides the earth connection. It creates a safe path for the leaked or additional electric current in case of short circuit to pass to the ground.

So, you should make sure that the outlet has proper earthing before you plug a dishwasher into it.

In addition, the outlet should be placed adjacent to the dishwasher. It shouldn’t be behind the dishwasher unit.

This is due to the fact that turning on and off the dishwasher from an adjacent outlet will be easier and there will be less risk of electrical accidents.

Does a dishwasher need a special outlet?

The recently launched normal dishwashers don’t require special outlets to power up. You can plug a regular dishwasher into a regular outlet without any issues.

That being said, the special outlets are particularly useful in areas where the risk of electrical shock is higher, like the bathroom, kitchen, and garage. These outlets are smart units as they come with test and reset buttons.

Although a dishwasher doesn’t need a special outlet, it will work perfectly and won’t face any electrical accidents.

As a result, if you want your dishwasher unit to last longer and not get damaged due to a short circuit, you can plug the dishwasher into a special outlet.

What type and size of outlet is needed for a dishwasher?

A dishwasher usually has a voltage requirement of 110 volts and an eclectic current requirement of 15 amperes.

As a result, an outlet with a dedicated circuit for 120 volts and 15 amperes is required for a dishwasher to function properly.

The 15 ampere circuit in a regular outlet uses a 14/2 NM wire to connect with the ground, perfect for plugging in dishwashers. You can also use a 20 amp circuit that uses 12/2 NM wire with the ground to connect your dishwasher.

You can use both the regular type and special outlet to connect your dishwasher. However, you should make sure that the outlet is equipped with a GFI so that it doesn’t get short circuited due to water.

You should also make sure that the outlet has proper earthing to pass on the leaked current from the dishwasher.

Using the right type and size of outlet is very important for plugging in a dishwasher. If you connect the dishwasher with the wrong type of outlet, the unit can get damaged permanently.

How high should a dishwasher outlet be?

According to the National Electrical Code (NEC), a dishwasher outlet should be 6 to 18 inches under a kitchen sink. The NEC regulations also state that the dishwasher outlet shouldn’t be more than 20 inches over the counter.

There are no regulations that can stop you from placing dishwasher outlets in another room other than the kitchen. However, you should always make sure that the outlet contains the GFI feature for safety.

It is necessary to place the dishwasher outlet according to the NEC regulation. Otherwise, plugging the dishwasher into the outlet directly will be quite difficult.

Where should the outlet be for a dishwasher?

The place where the dishwasher outlet should be depends on where you want to place the dishwasher on. If you want to install the dishwasher under the sink, the outlet should naturally be below the sink.

According to NEC regulations, the dishwasher outlet shouldn’t be more than 6 to 18 inches below the sink.

If you opt for a countertop dishwasher, the dishwasher outlet will have to be above the counter. The countertop dishwasher outlet should be installed around 20 inches above the counter.

What are the code requirements for a dishwasher outlet?

There are multiple code requirements for a dishwasher outlet. The dishwasher outlet codes are mainly regarding the height of the outlet above the ground, the location of the outlet, and the ground wire used.

It’s very important to obey the NEC code requirements for a dishwasher outlet to power up a dishwasher without any issues. Let’s find the code requirements for a dishwasher outlet.


A dishwasher outlet shouldn’t be installed more than 20 inches above a counter in the kitchen. In addition to that, in the case of under-the-sink dishwashers, according to NEC, the outlet should be in the range of 6 to 18 inches under a kitchen sink.


A dishwasher outlet shouldn’t be installed in such a way that the outlet will be behind the dishwasher when it is placed. The outlet for the dishwasher should always be beside or adjacent to the dishwasher.

This code is implemented by the NEC due to the fact that when the outlet will be behind a dishwasher, the water vapor from the unit will enter the outlet. If water gets into the outlet, it can cause serious electrical accidents and damage the product.


According to NEC, the outlet for the dishwasher must have a ground connection. The ground connection for a 15 amperage outlet should have a 14/2 NM wire. In addition to that, the wire for a 20 amp outlets’ ground should be 12/2 NM.

Is it better to hardwire or plug in a dishwasher?

It is better to hardwire a dishwasher rather than plugging in. Hardwiring a dishwasher is better due to multiple reasons.

Some of the significant reasons are that the dishwasher won’t be needed to turn off frequently when hardwired, and there won’t be any risk of electrocution due to water. Have a look at why it is better to hardwire a dishwasher:

Doesn’t need to be frequently turned off:

When you have a dishwasher connected to an outlet below the kitchen sink, you will have to turn off the circuit breaker after using it. While turning off the circuit breaker, water will get deposited on the floor in the time you will need to turn the breaker off.

When the dishwasher is hardwired, you won’t have to physically turn it off after using it. The dishwasher will turn off immediately after the wash cycle is over, so water will not get deposited below the dishwasher.

Prevents water damage:

If a dishwasher is connected to an outlet, water can get into the outlet. It can cause serious damage to the dishwasher and also electrocute you.

When the dishwasher is hardwired, there will be no chance of water getting inside the outlet. As a result, you can prevent the dishwasher from getting damaged due to water and also prevent any electricity-related accidents.

Final Thoughts

You can definitely plug a dishwasher into a regular outlet. However, before plugging in the dishwasher, you should make sure that the outlet provides the required voltage and amperage level. You should connect your dishwasher to an outlet that contains the GFI safety feature and proper earthing.