How Many Watts Can a 20 Amp Breaker Handle? Find Out Here

Written by Edwin Jones / Fact checked by Andrew Wright

Do you sometimes wonder what’s the max wattage on 20 amp circuit? Moreover, do you think that a 20 amp breaker hold can safely support 20 amp appliances? Do you want to know how you can safely gauge the maximum capacitance of a 20 amp double pole breaker handle?

Now, a 20 amp breaker generally can support 2,400 watts per single circuit. However, for further discussion regarding the intricacies of how many watts can a 20 amp breaker handle, you may want to check this guide out.

How Many Watts Can 20-Amp Breaker Handle

Now that we’ve understood the different types of breakers, it’s now time to find out the maximum wattage capacity of regular 20-ampere breakers.

Taking Ohm’s Law — a fundamental electric formula that determines the amount of electric current that runs through a conductor — into consideration, we know that the maximum capacity wattage of 20 amp breakers to be at 2,400 W.

However, advocates and experts of electric safety outline that the maximum watt capacity of breakers shouldn’t be reached. Their reason being that you run the risk of accelerating electrical accidents by pushing the envelope of electric lines.

Hence, they recommend that the safe maximum watt capacity of a 20 amp breaker be 1,920 W. As an additional tip, electrical engineers also recommend that you don’t load your electric lines over 80% of the maximum capacity of breakers.

What are Breakers

Breakers, simplistically, are electrical switches that are specifically designed to prevent short circuitry or overloading of circuit electric lines automatically. Short circuits and overloading are electrical hazards that can cause unmitigated fire accidents and accidental electrocution.

Mainly, breakers are designed in a way that makes them automatically “trip” to prevent the sudden surge of unintended electric flow. You can reuse and regain electricity once again by flipping the “tripped” breaker to its initial position.

Now, there are several types of breakers, each with particular specifications, depending on your use.

Types of Breakers

Before we understand the max wattage capacity of 20 amp breakers, we must first know that there are several types of breakers catering to each and every different electrical usage.

I’ve outlined three types of breakers that can be easily seen in every household:

1. Single-pole Breakers

This is the most common type of breaker that can be seen in virtually every house. True to their name, single-pole breakers can only monitor one electrical connection. Single-pole breakers are rated at 15 to 30 amperes.

This type of breaker can support most of the common household appliances without much trouble. Most single-pole breakers can handle 1,800 to 3,600 watts before tripping.

2. Double-pole Breakers

Considered to be an upgraded version of single-pole breakers, this type of breaker can monitor two electrical connections at the same time. You can easily identify if your breaker is a double-pole by checking if the switches are intertwined into two circuit breaker devices.

As this is an upgraded version, double-pole breakers can capably support up to 200 amps of electrical charge without much trouble. Hence, they can support even the most electricity-intensive home appliances such as washing machines and dryers.

In accordance with Ohm’s Law, double-pole breakers can support a wattage range of between 3,600 – 4,8000 W before they trip and prevent further electric flow.

3. GFCI Breakers

GFCI — which stands for ground fault circuit interrupter — is a special type of breaker that effectively deals with line-to-ground electric faults. They are common in wet areas such as the bathroom.

4. AFCI Breakers

Unlike regular breakers, which only trips when they detect excessive heat and electric flow, AFCI breakers can efficiently recognize electric arcing, which is yet another type of electric hazard.

AFCI, which stands for Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter, monitors the accidental arcing of electricity caused by faulty wires.

Conclusion

Knowing the maximum watt capacity of your breakers is important in realizing your home’s safety in terms of electrical usage. Developing an understanding of breakers, their types, and their total capacity for wattage help prevent undue electric accidents such as short circuit and electrocution.

In line with this, I recommend that you check out Square D Circuit Breakers, as they are among the chief trustworthy brands of electric breakers in the market.