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Outlets are so common in nearly every home… but not all outlets are the same. Have you ever tried to plug something in and it didn’t fit? (For example, a 3-pronged device but your outlet only has 2 holes.) Ever wonder why that is?

There are many types of power outlets, and more are being created. Do you know which ones are right for your home? If you are thinking about upgrading outlets or renovating this spring, or maybe even buying a new home, take a moment to educate yourself on these different types.

Two-prong outlets are in a lot of older homes. They can fit many devices that only have two prongs such as coffee grinders, phone chargers, some adapted computer chargers and more. The problem with two-prong outlets is that they are not grounded, and any devices connected to them will not protect from any power surges which can severely damage your devices. There are also a lot of higher powered devices that will not fit into a two prong outlet as they have a third prong.

Three-prong outlets are the most common type to find in your kitchen, bedroom, living room and more. The third circular prong is the grounding wire which sends any stray electricity into the ground rather than through the device and anyone touching it. With the three-prong outlet you can stick with the typical 15 amp system or upgrade to a 20 amp system if you tend to use a lot of high powered devices.

A GFCI, or ground fault circuit interrupter, is an outlet that will automatically shut the flow of power off when it senses a short circuit or a major power surge. (You often see these with one or more buttons on the outlet). These outlets will often be where the outlet or device could come into contact with water, such as the kitchen or bathroom. A GFCI can protect us from a major accident.

USB outlets are for charging electrical devices like phones, e-readers, wireless headphones and more. These outlets come either with several USB ports or with a combination of three prong and USB plugins. The benefit of these plugs is the ability to plug in multiple rechargeable devices at once while maintaining full charging speed.

Smart outlets allow you to turn each outlet on and off just by using your phone. Smart outlets can be beneficial for night time lighting, holiday pre-sets, Christmas lights and much more. You have to have a smart hub already installed in your house for this to work. For a lower-tech option, there are also outlets that have an on/off switch above the plugin.

Rotating outlets allow you to plug in a device that has a large charging case and turn it so that another case would fit nicely next to it, maximizing your space potential.

There are many options for the outlets in your home. Which one is right for you?

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