Understanding electrical outlet power capacity in Belgian homes

Have you ever pondered the power capacity of an electrical outlet, especially when plugging in high-energy-consuming devices like space heaters, fryers, or fondue sets? While most outlets in a standard home are designed to handle common household appliances, some are more robust than others, equipped to manage higher power demands.

Sven Brandsma

Deciphering electrical outlet power

Often, we hear terms like "maximum power of an electrical outlet." However, to be precise, it’s more accurate to discuss the "electrical intensity" of an outlet. This intensity represents the amount of electricity flowing through the outlet. In Belgium, if your domestic installation adheres to the standard norms, you should typically have two types of outlets: 16 ampere (16 A) and 32 ampere (32 A), each safeguarded by suitable circuit breakers.

How intensity relates to power

The intensity of an electrical outlet directly correlates with the power it can handle. Specifically, both 16 A and 32 A outlets are designed to manage a certain wattage. But how much exactly? To determine this, one simply multiplies the intensity (in amperes) by the network voltage, which in Belgium stands at 230 V.

Doing the math, a 16 A outlet can handle a power of 3,680 W (since 16 A x 230 V = 3,680), and a 32 A outlet can manage up to 7,360 W (32 A x 230 V = 7,360). In practical terms, this means that on a 16 A outlet, you can connect electrical devices with a combined power of up to 3,680 W, and on a 32 A outlet, the permissible power can reach 7,360 W.

Practical tips for safe usage

It’s essential to remember a few key guidelines when using these outlets:

1. Avoid Overloading: While it might be tempting, refrain from using multi-outlets excessively. These can strain the power capacity of the primary outlet and lead to potential electrical issues.
2. Never Daisy Chain: Connecting multiple multi-outlets in a series, known as daisy-chaining, can be hazardous. It’s a common mistake that can overload the circuit and increase the risk of electrical fires.
3. Know Your Devices: Before plugging in a new device, especially high-energy-consuming ones, check its power requirements. Ensure it’s compatible with the outlet’s capacity to prevent any electrical mishaps.


Understanding the power dynamics of your home’s electrical outlets is crucial for safety and efficient energy usage. By being aware of the standards in Belgium and following the guidelines, you can ensure a secure and energy-efficient environment in your home. Remember, electricity is a powerful tool, and with a little knowledge, you can harness it safely and effectively.