We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Double Socket?

By Dale Marshall
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A double socket is a pair of sockets constructed in tandem, sometimes one atop the other and sometimes side-by-side. It’s usually installed on a wall but can also be found installed in floors and ceilings. A technological advance over single sockets, double sockets were introduced in the US around the middle of the 20th century, offering users the ability to connect two devices where before only one could be plugged in. This was a tremendous advantage at a time when rooms commonly had limited outlets and dangerous constructions of taps and extension cords were commonplace.

Generally, double sockets offered for use in the US must meet standards established by the National Electrical Manufacturers’ Association® (NEMA®). In modern household use, single sockets are generally restricted to specialty items like the 240-volt outlets used for electric dryers or ranges. Industrial facilities may also have more of these special outlets which are rarely configured in tandem. Double sockets in the US are configured one atop the other; side-by-side configurations are more prevalent in Europe and Asia.

In new construction, double sockets are generally installed in plastic junction boxes that are nailed to wall studs. They’re generally installed from 12 to 18 inches (30.48 – 45.74 cm) above the floor, but there are many cases where they’ll be found at other heights, especially above kitchen and bathroom counters. Electric cable is fed through the back of the box and clamped securely in place, and individual wires are connected to the double socket, which is then secured inside the junction box. Holes are cut in the walls prior to their installation to accommodate the junction boxes. Coverplates with openings for the two sockets are installed to mask the openings in the wall and to protect against accidental contact with exposed energized metal.

Installing double sockets in existing construction is more complicated. A hole must be cut in the wall adjacent to a stud and new cable run behind the wall using a special tool called a snake. Additional holes may be required to facilitate the snaking of cable between the location of the new outlet and the power source. A new junction box is installed in the first hole, after which installation of the double socket proceeds along the same lines as with new construction. Once the socket has been installed and tested, the coverplate can be installed and all damage done to the wall repaired.

In addition to providing additional outlets for connection of more electric devices, double sockets offer some wiring options that give the user some interesting capabilities. The two individual sockets are constructed with strips of metal connecting the two so that they’re part of the same circuit; when one socket is properly wired, both sockets are energized. This is the way most double sockets are configured and used. The strip can be deliberately broken, though, reconfiguring the duplex socket as two independent sockets.

The most common reason for configuring independent sockets in a double socket is to give control of one socket to a wall switch. One socket is connected in the conventional manner to the normal power supply, so that devices plugged into it are activated by their own power switches. The second socket is connected to a wall switch. When the wall switch is turned on, the socket or sockets to which it’s connected are energized.

Switched sockets are often found in larger rooms without overhead lighting. Lamps plugged into switched sockets are turned on and off by activating a single wall switch. When there is more than one switched socket in a room, the convention is to wire them identically for the sake of convenience; that is, the switched sockets all correspond to either the top socket or the bottom socket. As is the case whenever electrical work is done, power should be disconnected — and preferably locked out — at the source until the job is complete. In addition, some jurisdictions may regulate such work and may require permits.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.