I’m about to embark on an outlet-replacement spree.
We moved to a new place a few months ago, and I’ve been seeing some receptacle issues. Some are worn, and a few have faults I need to investigate. Thank you, Klein outlet tester!
I’m also strongly considering installing tamper resistant outlets in my son’s room. I don’t think it’s long until he learns how to defeat pop-in outlet covers, and I’m not sure sliding outlet covers are a good deterrent on their own.
Knowing that I have quite a few outlets to replace, I’ve started to do my homework about receptacles. Translation: I’ve spent too much time trying to get up to speed.
We’ve got some Hubbell outlets in the kitchen, and they’re fairly easy to use. I’m used to nightmarishly difficult tamper resistant outlets, but these seem decent.
Lowes online carries a 10-pack of BR15 outlets that look decent, for $35. $3.50 each is quite a bit more than the cheap residential outlets, and not much more than the slightly better residential ones.
I bought 2 Leviton Preferred outlets from Home Depot, and they seem decent. The tamper resistant mechanism is a little stiff, but feels like it’ll break in over time, at least a little bit.
I also bought a Legrand Pass & Seymour outlet from Lowes, spec-grade, 5262. The Leviton equivalent isn’t available locally, only online.
I’m interested in better outlets for 2 reasons. First, I want back and side wiring options. I don’t mean the quick-stab feature that seems to draw universal disdain, but where you can strip a wire and clamp it down beneath the screw.
Second, I just want better quality than the lowest price junk. Going with spec grade won’t break the bank, but should provide me with better quality and extended longevity. Better quality is important to me where tamper resistance is concerned. I don’t want to have to fight with outlets.
Of course I’m open to contrasting opinions.
$3 and change per outlet seems to be the floor at which you can get back wiring as a connection option.
Not that I can’t do a standard screw connection, but it seems a lot easier to 1) strip a wire to length, using the gauge on the back of an outlet, 2) insert under screw connection plate, 3) tighten screw.
Hooking a wire for side wiring only requires maybe an extra step, but I like back wiring better.
Right now I have the 3 mentioned outlets – 2 Leviton and a Pegrand P&S, and I’ll seek to pick up a Hubbell if I can find the time to go to an electrical supply house.
For non-tamper resistant outlets, I’ll likely go with the Leviton 5252 shown above. It’s $6 through Amazon, slightly more locally. Too bad I can’t find a good price on the tamper resistant version, 5262
But I also figured I could skip to the chase and ask for your opinions.
The only thing I know is that I don’t want “Decora” style outlets. But beyond that, flat front, or not?
Model numbers have been throwing me for a loop. Hubbell BR15 or 5262? Both look to have comparable specs, although the 5262 is $8 and change at Amazon, but the BR15 is $35 for 10. Looking at this Hubbell PDF, the BR15 tamper resistant version (Lowes model BR15WHITR10Z) is not spec-grade since it’s tamper resistant (“Commercial Tamper-Resistant Devices are not Fed Spec Listed”), and the 5262 is “heavy duty” specification grade. It also has a “Finder Face.”
It seems that the smooth face looks better, but not quite as decorative as, well, decorative and “Decora” outlets, but the finder face might be more practical. I guess it’s called a “Finder Face” since it helps guide outlet prongs.
Okay, so with all that in mind, I’ll be trying out a few outlets. Assuming they all install as easily, it’ll only be… maybe a couple of years, perhaps many, before I see any difference in performance. Unless of course one brand has superior tamper resistant shutters that are easier to work.
And yes, I know that an outlet has to be inserted from straight on, or at least with both prongs in contact with the shutters in order for the plug to be successfully inserted.
If you’ve ever formed an opinion about power receptacles, what are your recommendations? If you’re an electrician, I’m especially interested in your opinions and expertise.
If you’ve tried back wiring, what kind of wiring style do you prefer?
Smooth face, “Finder Face,” or full flat front “decorative” style?
Let’s hear what you have to say about power outlets! (Please/thank you.)