Power strips can extend the outlet reach and provide extra outlets to plug in multiple appliances in areas with no outlets. But a common question most users ask is whether using 2 power strips in one outlet is possible. That’s what we will discuss today.
Using two power strips in one outlet is not recommended as it can overload the circuit and increase the risk of electrical hazards such as overheating, fire, and damage to electrical devices. Also, avoid using high-wattage appliances such as space heaters and ACs using power strips, as it can be hazardous.
It can be dangerous to use 2 power strips together in an outlet, but we should keep the overloading into account. This article provides a detailed guide about whether to plug in more than one power strip into one outlet, the dangers of using it, and safety precautions.
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What are power strips, and when do you need them?
Power strips may look like surge protectors but do not protect your appliances from surges.
A surge protector provides extra safety from surges to your appliances, preventing them from damage.
You need to add the appliances to the surge protectors suspected to be damaged during sudden surges.
On the contrary, power strips only provide you with extra outlets.
They do not have any mechanism to protect your appliances from surges.
You can only turn off all the appliances at once with one switch when there are chances of surges during thunder and lightning.
Power strips are used when you need more outlets to run multiple appliances but don’t have enough outlets near you.
Besides that, you can carry them during vacations or while traveling if you need to run appliances.
Do not use power strips as surge protectors.
If you are confused about choosing the correct one as they look the same, look at the packaging very well.
The surge protector packages will have the term PROTECTORS mentioned somewhere, whereas power strips will only have mentioned STRIPS.
Power strip dilemma: Can you safely connect multiple power strips to a single outlet?
Power strips resemble surge protectors, but they have nothing to do with surges.
Power strips give you multiple outlets to run multiple outlets.
You can plug the power strip into one outlet and run multiple appliances.
I use surge protectors for home appliances that can be affected by surges.
I also have power strips but use them only when I need appliances near me. However, I do not use high-power appliances.
Besides that, I also carry it when I am on vacation to use my laptops and charge the laptop, tablet, and mobile phone.
Now a standard question, which every user, including me, was curious about, is whether I can plug in more than one power strip in one outlet.
It is daisy-chaining when you connect one power strip to the outlet and another to the connected power strip.
If your outlet has two receptacles, you can connect two power strips in the two different receptacles of the same outlet.
In both cases, you connect two power strips in the same outlet.
With this, you get to use quite a lot of outlets you get to use at once for multiple appliances.
While you can plug 2 power strips into one outlet, it is not considered a safe move.
When you do this, you get the advantage of running too many appliances.
But you must remember the outlet’s capacity where you plug the power strip.
If the load exceeds the outlet’s, it can lead to dangerous electrical accidents.
You can expect electrocutions and other hazards when the circuit or outlet overloads.
In most cases, the breaker will protect and sometimes outlets, too, if you have GFCIs.
But you must not entirely depend on them.
You can harm yourself and your property once the product wears out and fails to do its job.
So, let’s talk about the dangers you may face while using 2 power strips in one outlet.
Current concerns: Exploring the dangers of using two power strips in the same outlet
This question is common and asked by most house owners.
Since power strips provide extra outlets, people think of daisy-chaining them to one outlet.
If there had been an option, house owners would have daisy-chained the power strips over plugging multiple power strips into one outlet.
However, most experts disapprove of such a setting since it is associated with multiple electrical risks:
Outlet and breaker overload
As I mentioned, two ways exist to connect two power strips to one outlet.
You connect two power strips into two receptacles of one outlet, or you connect power strip A to one outlet and power strip B to power strip A.
In either case, you are connecting them to one outlet.
As a result, the outlet must carry out the load of the power strips and the appliances connected to it.
If the main wall outlet cannot carry the loads, it can overload the outlet.
The outlet will trip if it is a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter).
If not, the breaker will trip.
When the breaker trips, it saves you from electrical accidents.
But it cannot save you all the time.
At some point, it will lead to serious electrical hazards.
According to InterNACHI, daisy-chaining is considered illegal.
When you connect two power strips in one outlet by daisy-chaining them, you violate the National Electric Code, or NEC, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.
The power strip or the wall outlet will get overloaded, resulting in constant failure to run appliances or leading to a fire.
The companies and manufacturers do not recommend daisy-chaining the power strips or connecting them to one outlet.
The manufacturer’s terms and conditions already include these limitations in your warranty.
Please read the instructions correctly and then think of connecting them to one outlet or daisy-chaining them.
Amp up the safety: Tips for safely utilizing multiple power strips into a single outlet
As you know, it can be dangerous to plug in more than one power strip to a single outlet as it can overload and cause electrical accidents.
When current passes through the wall receptacle more than its rating permission, the wires and receptacles overheat and start a fire.
However, you can avoid this and safely plug two power strips into one outlet when you do the following things:
Circuit breaker and outlet
The capacity of the outlet and the breaker plays an important role when you decide to add two power strips to the same outlet.
So, you need to check the breaker and the outlet loads.
For that, go to your house’s electrical panel and turn off the breakers individually to find the breaker for the outlet where you want to plug in the power strips.
Once you have identified the breaker for the outlet where you will plug the power strips, check its rating.
Most circuits are rated at 15 to 20 amps.
I have a few high amp breakers, like 50 amps and 70 amps, because I need to run some high-power appliances in my house, like the air conditioner, electric stove, and dryers.
However, you are not going to use them with power strips.
You should run low-power appliances.
In that case, breakers between 15 and 30 amps should work.
Also, check the outlet’s amp, wattage, and voltage.
When the amps and voltage are high, the outlets can easily handle high-wattage appliances that need high power.
The 3-prong outlets are all 120V, and the outlets with appropriate diagonal prongs are 240V.
Calculate the load to manage the risk
Once you have known the limits of your breaker and outlet, determine the amperage of the appliances you want to attach to the power strips.
You need to find the wattage of each device you want to run with the power strips, calculate them and then check whether the outlet with the power strips can handle the wattage.
When the appliances plugged into the power strips do not exceed the outlet and breaker rating, you can safely plug two power strips into one outlet.
Plugging one power strip into another or two power strips into two receptacles, respectively, in a single outlet
When you plug one power strip into another, it is daisy-chaining, which experts do not suggest.
Not only that, it is also against the regulations in professional settings, as it increases the risk of electrical accidents and fire hazards.
However, the only exception is when you plug in lighter loads.
I would not suggest such a thing, though.
If you want to plug two power strips into one outlet, I suggest getting a wall outlet with two receptacles.
Connect one power to one receptacle and the second one to another.
It is also one way of attaching two power strips to a single outlet.
Using power strips safely: What is the correct way to use power strips?
As I mentioned earlier, power strips may resemble surge protectors, but they are not the same as them.
To avoid any dangers while using the power strips, follow the following instructions:
Watch the appliances you use with the power strips
Every appliance will contain a load, and the power strips and the outlet must be able to handle that load.
It can be dangerous if the appliance uses more power than the power strip and outlet handle.
Power strips with short wire cords are better for some heavy appliances than those with long wires.
However, the wire length won’t be enough; you need a thick gauge.
Figure out the wire gauge used in the power strip to safely run the heavy appliances.
The lower the AWG number is, the more competent the power strips will be for heavy electronics.
Avoid using power strips in wet areas
Everyone is aware that water and electricity do not get along.
So, avoid using power strips for heavy appliances in wet areas.
Even if you use it, plug the power strip into a GFCI outlet. GFCIs provide extra safety and are primarily made for wet-prone areas.
However, avoiding power strips in wet areas is always better.
Change the strip when it starts malfunctioning
Power strips do not give you any permanent safety.
So, when they start to malfunction, you should immediately change them, especially those which run heavy electronics.
If you do not change the power strips, they can overload, and the strips and appliances can damage over time.
Do not fill up the power strip
No doubt, power strips provide multiple extra outlets, but it is better not to fill all the outlets in the strips.
Try not to use up all the space in the power strip to avoid overloading.
Whenever you plan to use any appliance/s, keep at least 1-2 spaces empty.
Even if you need to use all the outlets, ensure the devices do not consume too much power.
In that case, use lighter loads.
Use UL-listed power strips
When any product is UL-certified, it is experimented with at different individual laboratories in certain conditions to meet the safety requirements.
UL-listed products are always safe to use.
All the manufacturers and customers believe in UL-listed products.
Whenever you are buying power strips, make sure they are UL-certified.
It will provide you with a guarantee that it will serve its purpose safely without any issues.
Avoid tangling the wires
When you use too many power strips and plug in too many appliances, there comes a flood of wires.
Try not to tangle the wires with each other. Untangling them can be a challenging job.
If you are not patient and start pulling the wires, you can have electrical accidents and electrocution.
Also, immediately replace the damaged, pinched, or torn wires when you spot them.
Avoid daisy-chaining the power strips
You can plug the power strips in one outlet but try to avoid daisy-chaining them.
There could be higher chances of overloading and electrical accidents.
Even if you connect two power strips in one outlet, use an outlet with two receptacles.
Connect two power strips into two receptacles.
Do not connect one power strip with another one.
You can connect two power strips with the same outlet, but there are risks. The outlet and the power strips can overload if the appliances consume more power than the outlet can provide. Additionally, there could be chances of overheated wires and fire hazards. That is why it is better to avoid them. Two things come to mind when we think of connecting two power strips in one outlet: connecting two power strips in two receptacles of one outlet or connecting one power with the outlet and the second power strip to the first one.
You can do the first one but avoid the second one. Daisy-chaining the power strips is against the electrical rules and regulations. To safely use the power strips, turn off the breaker of the outlet, and calculate the load of the breaker and the outlet. Then, calculate the load of the appliances and find out whether the appliances you plugged in consume more or less power than the breaker and outlet load.
Reduce the load if the appliances’ load exceeds the breaker and outlet. For extra safety, use appliances that consume significantly less power, for example, laptops, computers, lamps, and charging laptops, mobile phones, and tablets. Use power strips safely and correctly.
Can I plug two surge protectors into one outlet?
Just like the power strips, you can use two surge protectors in one outlet but do not daisy-chain them. However, a single protector in a single outlet is better for safety.
How many devices can I plug into one power strip?
It is better to plug the number of devices that do not exceed the current capacity of the outlet where you have connected the power strip. For extra safety, try to keep at least two spaces empty in the power strip while using.
Reference: Power Strips Wikipedia