Additional requirements and clarification for outlet receptacles located above countertops and workstations

The Code: Section 210.52(C) Countertops and Work Surfaces

In kitchens, pantries, breakfast room, dining rooms, and similar areas of dwelling units, receptacle outlets for countertop and work surfaces that are 300 mm (12 in.) or wider shall be installed in accordance with 210.52(C)(1) through (C)(3) and shall not be considered as the receptacle outlets required by 21052(A).

For the purposes of this section, where using multioutlet assemblies, each 300 mm (12 in.) of multioutlet assembly containing two or more receptacles installed in individual or continuous lengths shall be considered to be one receptacle outlet

The Code Continued: Section 210.52(C)(1 and 2)

(1) Wall Spaces. Receptacle outlets shall be installed so that no point along the wall line is more than 600 mm (24 in.) measured horizontally from a receptacle outlet in that space.

(2) Island and Peninsular Countertops and Work Surfaces. Receptacles outlets shall be installed in accordance with 210.52(C)(2)(a) and (C)(2)(b).

(a) At least one receptacle outlet shall be provided for the first 0.84 m^2 (9 ft^2), or fraction thereof, of the countertop or work surface. A receptacle outlet shall be provided for every additional 1.7 m^2 (18 ft^2), or fraction thereof, of the countertop or work surface.

(b) At least one receptacle outlet shall be located within 600 mm (2 ft) of the outer end of a peninsular countertop or work surface. Additional required receptacle outlets shall be permitted to be located as determined by the installer, designer, or building owner. The location of the receptacle outlets shall be in accordance with 210.52(C)(3)

A peninsular countertop shall be measured from the connected perpendicular wall

Example of the application of the spacing requirements in 210.52(C)(1)

Island Example
Peninsular Countertop Example
Example calculations for number of receptacles on a countertop or island

Important Notes

  • Countertop outlets have separate rules compared to regular room outlets. They are more frequent to allow for the higher concentration of appliances that need power and to limit the need for surge strips
  • The spacing requirement in 210.52(C)(1) means that the maximum distance from a receptacle to the edge of a counter is 600 mm (24 in. or 2 ft.) BUT the maximum distance between outlets is 1200 mm (48 in. or 4 ft.).
  • Peninsular counters and island use square foot measurements instead of counter length for their requirements