How Many Watts Can a Power Strip Handle?

how many watts can a power strip handle

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Power strips are a common solution for households where you don’t get access to many wall sockets. In these instances, they have become so popular and are used thoroughly. But most people are using them wrong, without knowing their capacity. So, how many watts can a power strip handle?

To answer this question, you must know that there are several types of power strips with different capacities. Average power strips in the US are 15 amps, which on a 120V connection, can afford to supply 1800 watts approximately.

But, this is not all. The answer has a deep knowledge of some relevant information. Let’s get started then.

Here is an in-depth explanation of how many watts a power strip can safely handle.

It is difficult to exact answer this question since it depends on how many watts per outlet I will use. The manufacturers of power strips do not publish the wattage rating of every outlet because they want to give you as many options as possible.

Although power strips support many devices, not every device requires a high wattage. For example, a single space heater or a single floor lamp would not require a high wattage to run. Even your coffee maker, which might need 1200 watts or more. It is good to use a surge protector power strip with at least 800 joules of protection.

The average 120V power strip can handle 1800 watts. But keep in mind; you should not plug more than two high-voltage devices into one power strip at a time.

In this case, I recommend using ‘heavy-duty’ power strips for computers, entertainment centers, and home offices. Heavy-duty power strips support more devices than standard power strips and offer superior safety features.

How Many Watts Can A Single Outlet Handle?

The answer is quite the same. In general, we plug many devices of different wattages into one power strip. But you do not run all of them at the same time. Because the amount of electricity your power strip can provide will be divided among all those devices.

Suppose you’re using a 1200-watt microwave and a 1000-watt iron simultaneously, and the capacity of your power strip is 1800 watts. In this case, your power can trip the breaker for sure. You may also damage the circuit breaker. You can read the answer to the question can you connect a microwave to a power strip?

So, to determine how many watts a single outlet can handle, you should consider the total capacity of the power strip. Don’t use any device above the power strip’s limit or anything above this combined.

How Many Watts Can A Wall Outlet Handle?

While a wall outlet provides a steady 120 to 240 volts of electricity, the amount of electricity it can deliver varies based on how much electricity is being used by other appliances in the house.

When you have a lot of devices on at once, your outlets might not be able to support the amount of electricity needed. Overloading the outlets could cause them to overheat, resulting in a fire or damage to your appliances. In general, you should avoid using more than 1,500 watts per outlet or circuit.

Power Strip Calculator

To understand the capacity of your power strip, you should be familiar with three terms: watt, volts, and amp. A Watt is similar to the total amount of electricity flowing through a wire per unit of time. Whereas a volt is equal to the amount of energy the power is using to flow, and an amp means how fast the charges are flowing through the cables.

With Ohm’s law, you can easily calculate the capacity of your power strip. To determine the wattage, you have to multiply the volt by the amp.

For instance, if your 15-amp power strip runs on a 120V line, the capacity of your power strip would be:

  • 15-amp 120-volt circuit: 15 amps x 120-volts = 1,800 watts
  • 20-amp 120-volt circuit: 20 amps x 120-volts = 2,400 watts
  • 25-amp, 120-volt circuit: 25 amps x 120 volts = 3,000 watts
  • 20-amp 240-volt circuit: 20 amps x 240 volts = 4,800 watts.
  • 25-amp, 240-volt circuit: 25 amps x 240 volts = 6,000 watts
550 wattsAn average 110 V power strip can handle
1800 wattsAn average 120 V power strip can handle
4000 wattsAn average 220/240 power strip can handle

Is Overloading Your Power Strip Dangerous?

Overloading a power strip can be very dangerous. If you exceed the total capacity of your power strip, your fuse is likely to blow even the circuit breaker can trip continuously. Also, the overused amount of heat can cause damage to the power strip and the wiring.

The heat and broken wires can lead to an electrical fire. According to the US fire department, almost 2,000 fire accidents in the US are caused by electrical overloading.

In this case, what should you do? Yes, you can use a heavy-duty power strip. Since the maximum capacity of a regular power strip is not ideal for using heavy devices, you can consider buying a heavy-duty power strip. It can safely handle more than 2000 watts.

Besides, the build quality of these strips is strong enough with their better casing, wiring, and internal components. Many power strips come with surge protectors; you should prefer to buy those.

Related FAQs

Can a power strip handle 700 watts?

If you use a power strip that has a total capacity of 700 words, you must use it. You should not exceed the total capacity of plugging multiple devices.

Can a power strip overheat if you plug four computers into it?

It is possible if your power strip is a standard one. However, the strip would overheat if you connected four computers or other high-powered devices.

Is it safe to have a PC and two monitors connected to a single power strip?

Yes, but only if the power strip can handle the total watts of both devices. In this case, you should check the watts of your monitor and PC before plunging.

Can I plug a vacuum cleaner into a power strip?

Yes, you can if your power strip watts are less than your vacuum cleaner.

Can I power a gaming PC off of a power strip?

Yes, but if you’re using a standard power strip, the answer is no. Gaming PCs use high-wattage components, such as graphics cards, that can draw 300 watts or more. If you plug a gaming PC into a standard power strip, these components would cause the strip to shut down. In this case, a heavy-duty surge protector should be able to protect all your components.

Conclusion

Power strips are not capable of withholding a huge amount of electricity. They can only be used for temporary purposes. So before buying one, check the safety standards and user manual. Calculate the capacity of your power strip and get the answer: how many watts can a power strip handle?

However, exceeding the capacity of your power strip can lead to deadly accidents and cause trouble every single day. If you have no option other than to use a power strip, get yourself a powerful, heavy-duty power strip.

Palash is an entrepreneur in the tech industry and the author of the Smart Home Protector. As a tech entrepreneur & reviewer of a home safety gadget store, his job helps customers remain on top of what's coming next in our rapidly changing world.

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