ADVICE & TIPS, TECHNICAL

Kitchen Sockets: Heights, Distances And Rules (UK)

During any kitchen renovation, you’re going to be asked where you would like to place your sockets.

While you may think that there is no wrong answer, there are a few important things to consider when deciding the height and position of your kitchen sockets.

This post will address these considerations and give you the guidelines you need to help make informed decisions about your kitchen socket heights.

Though it may seem like a small decision, it’s a big part of being safe and comfortable in your new kitchen.

Disclaimer: This post is intended as guidance only. Check and confirm all electrics with a qualified electrician.

Sockets And Switches: Rules And Regulations (UK)

Firstly, let’s have a look at what the NICEIC say about sockets and safe distances.

The NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) is one of several organisations that regulate the training and work of electrical enterprises in the UK.

In the UK, the NICEIC states that:

Electrical sockets or switches should be fitted at a safe distance (it is recommended at least 30cm horizontally) from a sink to avoid the chance of water coming into contact with electricity. Sockets should also be easily accessible.

 If appliances such as fridges, dishwashers and washing machines are fitted under worktops, getting to sockets may be difficult. Ideally, these appliances should be controlled by a switched fuse connection unit mounted above the worktop where you can reach it easily.

All new sockets in a house require protection by an RCD (Residual Current Device). An RCD is a sensitive safety device that switches off electricity automatically if there is a fault. It is a life-saving device designed to protect against the risks of electrocution and fire caused by earth faults.

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What Height Should My Kitchen Sockets Be Above My Worktop?

The standard height of a worktop from the floor to the worktop surface is 910mm. The general rule is to then set your sockets 150mm above this (measured from the worktop surface to the bottom of the socket).

Added together, this means the standard socket height is 1060mm from the floor to the bottom of the socket.

What Height Should My Kitchen Sockets Be Above My Worktop?

This height may change slightly for a variety of reasons, ranging from varying kitchen cabinet heights to worktop thickness. These differences will mean that the height of the worktop will differ, and so the kitchen socket height may differ accordingly.

As well as varying finished worktop heights, you may also want to consider how you are finishing the wall behind the worktop you intend to put the socket on.

If you are tiling, then you can set the boxes for the sockets to suit the tile height, making it easier to tile. This means fewer cuts and a socket that is placed in line with the tiles.

If you have an upstand (a small border above your worktop), you may want to consider the height of this. You want at least 100mm clearance from the top of the upstand to the bottom of the socket.

This prevents the flex from the plug from bending against the upstand. Think of it like your sockets above your skirting on the floor; if it’s too close, it’s hard to plug things in.

If in doubt, check with your kitchen designer, electrician and possibly tiller to set the height of your sockets accordingly.

Kitchen socket height above the countertop and upstand
Worktop with upstand. Showing more than sufficient distance for plug flex without strain.

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What Distance Should A Kitchen Socket Be From A Hob?

Rules and regs are changing all the time but the latest information I’m aware of from the IET’s Electricians Guide to the Building Regulations dictates you should have a minimum distance of 100mm, measured horizontally from the edge of any electrical ­socket to the edge of a freestanding cooker or hob set in a countertop.

This gives a reasonable separation, preventing splashes caused by cooking from reaching and interfering with the socket.

100mm is the minimum distance but I always recommend checking the installation manual of the hob or cooktop as some may require a greater distance.

If you want to be extra safe, general good practice says that you should have a minimum distance of 300mm.

Having sockets near your hob can be helpful, however. Plugging in your immersion blender, keeping the food processor close to the hob, and other conveniences can make your kitchen a little bit more comfortable.

You will never regret having extra kitchen sockets – trust me! 😀

What Distance Should A Kitchen Socket Be From A Hob?

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What Distance Should A Kitchen Socket Be From A Sink?

As with your hob, there should be enough space between the kitchen socket and the sink to prevent water from getting into the electrics.

You should have at least 300mm between the two areas to prevent any water from reaching the socket.

There is another general rule for socket distances from sinks; the socket should be out of arm’s reach when standing at the sink.

The theory is that you shouldn’t be able to reach a socket while you are washing up when you probably have wet hands.

Having a worktop depth of around 600mm will mean that having the socket placed at least 300mm on either side of the sink/draining board will put it out of arm’s reach and away from any splash zone.

Just be careful if you have a sink close to a corner and are placing a socket on the adjacent wall. Make sure you can’t stand at the sink and reach any sockets.

What Distance Should A Kitchen Socket Be From A Sink?

Final Thoughts…

When it comes to positioning your sockets in the kitchen, there isn’t one exact measurement rule you need to follow. However, there are a few important factors to take into consideration and good practice guidelines to follow.

Stick to these guidelines and use good common sense and you’re on your way to a safe and comfortable electrical environment within the kitchen.

And remember; You can never have too many sockets in your kitchen.

If in doubt, put another one in; it’s better to have a spare socket on the wall than not enough. You don’t want multi-plugs or extension leads everywhere, or the frustration of having to unplug and plug in different appliances all the time.

Finally, don’t forget to put power on your kitchen island! Whether that’s a pop-up socket or power points on the end panels, it’s never a bad idea.

You’ll thank yourself later. 👍

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Author

Michael from Kitchinsider.com

Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.