What is the difference between a tamper proof outlet and a regular outlet?

Answered by Robert Dupre

A tamper-resistant outlet, also known as a tamper-proof outlet or childproof outlet, is designed to provide an added level of safety compared to a regular outlet. The main difference lies in the internal mechanisms of the outlet, specifically the sockets.

Regular outlets typically have open sockets where the prongs of a plug can be inserted. These sockets do not have any additional barriers or protection, which means that any object, whether intentional or accidental, can be inserted into the holes. This poses a significant risk, especially for children, who may be curious and unaware of the dangers of electrical outlets.

On the other hand, tamper-resistant outlets feature internal, spring-loaded shutters that cover the sockets. These shutters are designed to prevent the insertion of foreign objects, such as keys, pins, or fingers, into the outlet. The shutters only open when equal pressure is applied simultaneously to both shutters, as would be done when inserting a plug with prongs. This mechanism helps to prevent accidental electric shocks or burns caused by contact with live electrical components.

The use of tamper-resistant outlets has become increasingly common, especially in homes with young children. The added layer of protection provided by these outlets significantly reduces the risk of electrical accidents. However, it is important to note that tamper-resistant outlets are not foolproof and should not replace proper supervision and education about electrical safety.

In terms of appearance, tamper-resistant outlets generally look very similar to regular outlets. They have the same three-prong design and fit into standard electrical boxes. The main difference is the presence of the internal shutters, which are not visible from the outside. This similarity in appearance helps to maintain the aesthetic appeal of the outlets while ensuring the added safety features.

The key difference between tamper-resistant outlets and regular outlets lies in the internal mechanisms. Tamper-resistant outlets utilize spring-loaded shutters to prevent the insertion of foreign objects, providing an extra layer of safety compared to regular outlets. By incorporating these safety features, tamper-resistant outlets help to protect against potential electrical accidents, particularly those involving children.