Outlet location in shop?

Justin Presson

Well-Known Member
Guys as most of you know I moved and need to get a shop built.
I wanted to ask a simple question on electrical outlet locations. I want to put them just above work bench height but wondered if all the dust and stuff will be a problem so didnt know if it was better to have them below, thoughts?


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I've got mine below, just so all the cords and stuff can hang down behind the bench and not clutter up the work space. Lord knows I don't need any extra help cluttering up the workspace! :D
I put them just above work bench height on my clean bench and my woodworking bench. On my grinding bench, I mounted them on the side of the bench below benchtop level. The outlet boxes get debris on top of them, but it's not bad. Since they are on the far end of the bench, as far away from my grinder as possible, it hasn't been an issue. My dust collector setup has done a great job. The only metal dust debris is on the back wall behind the grinder due to the debris that rides the belt around and gets slung to the back. Every few days I just take my little paint brush and sweep it forward and into the dust collector.
I like celling drops. You can coil up extra cable and wire tie it to keep it off the bench or floor, they are easier to move if you move a piece of equipment or an outlet didn't end up exactly where you want it and it just makes the wire mess much easier to deal with.
All mine are above bench height. I left space from the wall behind my bench for cords to fall into. Makes it easier to plug things in.
Outlets are cheap. Put some in both spots and you will not be sorry. Once you get it sealed up, changing them around becomes way more difficult.
They make an in-use cover. It's designed to allow the cord to be plugged in and still be covered. Just a thought. Honestly....mine are above the bench and they don't get too bad. I just blow them off from time to time with air. I did mount my vfd below the bench. It seems to get just as dusty. I didn't notice any difference

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I have several strip outlets at the back of my benches. I use those cheep plastic outlet covers made for child protection to keep dust out of all the unused outlets. A quick blow with the air hose keeps things clean too.
i have 2 outlets at 18" off the floor and 2 in the ceiling. i have an outlet strip on back of bench. i also have an outlet with switch on a 15' cord.
I have the outlets above the work bench but several cords run behind the bench to things that stay plugged in. For things that are not in full time use, I put a power strip on the underside at the front of my work bench for easy access.
If you think your shop will expand over time, placing a 4 grounded outlets per location will pay off in the future. They have several pluses, one is they are easier to wire and if MC aluminum clad 12/2 with ground is used the entire system will be grounded. The aluminum clad is much safer in a shop with sharp hot stuff flying around.

Good luck, Fred
I saw on Ask This Old House yesterday that there is a new "Child Proof" outlet cover that you have to push the spring loaded cover over to expose the actual outlet holes.