How we pick our products
An outdoor socket is a practical thing. It allows you to easily use electricity outdoors. Thanks to today’s state of the art, you can choose from a wide range of basic models, from flush-mounted or surface-mounted to smart home dreams. However, safety must not be neglected either.
In our outdoor socket guide, we compare models and give recommendations to help you find the right outdoor socket. In addition, we explain what the IP class is, which cables you need for your outdoor socket and what costs you should expect. Equipped with the most important purchase criteria, the search also becomes clearer.
- 1 Summary
- 2 The Best Outdoor Socket: Our Choices
- 3 Outdoor socket outlets: purchase and evaluation criteria
- 4 Outdoor sockets: frequently asked questions and answers
- 4.1 What is an outdoor socket?
- 4.2 Who is an outdoor socket suitable for?
- 4.3 What types of outdoor sockets are there?
- 4.4 How much does an outdoor socket cost?
- 4.5 What alternatives are there to an outdoor socket?
- 4.6 What are the regulations for an outdoor socket?
- 4.7 Which cable do I use for an outdoor socket?
- 4.8 How do I connect an outdoor socket correctly?
- 5 Conclusion
- An outdoor socket allows you to use electricity outdoors. You use the existing electricity grid.
- Areas of use are, for example, your garden, the roof, a terrace or balcony. You can also equip your caravan with an outdoor socket.
- Since an outdoor socket is constantly exposed to the weather, it must meet special safety standards.
The Best Outdoor Socket: Our Choices
Outdoor socket outlets: purchase and evaluation criteria
An outdoor socket is not only practical by nature, but must also fulfil other criteria. We have summarised for you what you should look for when buying.
In the following, you will find out what is behind these keywords.
Electrical installations such as outdoor sockets are divided into different IP protection classes. IP stands for “International Protection”.
Outdoor socket outlets are permitted from IP 44.
The type of safety class provides information about the sensitivity to external influences and can be read off using two digits. The following tables provide an overview of the meaning of the individual numbers.
The first digit describes the protection against contact and foreign bodies. If you have children who like to poke around, you will probably be interested in this number.
|1st digit||Protection against foreign bodies / contact|
|1||Against solid foreign bodies with a diameter of at least 50 mm / back of the hand|
|2||Against solid foreign bodies with a diameter of at least 12.5 mm / fingers|
|3||Against solid foreign bodies with a diameter of at least 2.5 mm / tools|
|4||Against solid foreign bodies with a diameter of at least 1 mm / wire|
|5||Against all contact / dust deposits|
|6||Against all contact / dust|
The second digit indicates the degree of protection against water. This includes both rain and splashing water from the pool.
|2. Number||Protection against water|
|1||Against vertically falling dripping water|
|2||Against dripping water from an angle of maximum 15 degrees (against the vertical)|
|3||Against spray water from an angle of maximum 60 degrees (against the vertical)|
|4||Against splashing water from all sides|
|5||Against water jets|
|6||Against strong water jets|
|7||Against temporary immersion|
|8||Against permanent immersion|
Consider the hazards in the environment where you want to install the outdoor socket. Choose an IP safety class accordingly.
Number of plugs
Before buying your outdoor socket, it is important to consider what you will actually need it for. If you only want to start an electric barbecue on your terrace from time to time, a single plug is sufficient.
You can also find double, triple, quadruple or quintuple outdoor sockets. If you often have several power consumers outside, this comes in handy.
There is a wide range of design options for outdoor sockets. Most manufacturers also offer their products in different versions. You can usually choose between different colours.
For example, you can find outdoor sockets in a wood or stone look. With a ground spike, you can flexibly move your socket wherever you need it.
It may happen that an unwary visitor mistakes it for a real stone at first glance.
If you want to bring light into the darkness, you can also use an outdoor socket with an integrated light. Solar technology is particularly environmentally friendly and energy-saving.
As always when working with electricity, the safety aspect must not be forgotten. It is not only the IP classes that need to be considered.
For example, an outdoor socket should always have its own residual current circuit breaker. The right cables should not be missing either. In general, an outdoor socket must also be waterproof to a certain degree.
Some outdoor sockets are switchable – with or without remote control. This is especially useful if you have children. Lockable outdoor sockets have the advantage that not everyone can tap into your electricity.
Outdoor sockets: frequently asked questions and answers
Not completely sure about buying an outdoor socket? No problem. You’ll find answers to your most burning questions here.
What is an outdoor socket?
To ensure that nothing can happen despite the weather, dust and the like, an outdoor socket outlet has a different design than the one you have in your living room. Its own safety regulations apply.
Who is an outdoor socket suitable for?
An outdoor socket can be used, for example, for Christmas lights or an electrically operated fountain. When doing outdoor work, you will also notice that it is a practical thing to have.
Caravan owners and camping enthusiasts will also appreciate outdoor sockets. When you are in the great outdoors, you don’t have to struggle with the power supply any more than necessary.
What types of outdoor sockets are there?
|Surface-mounted||With a surface-mounted socket outlet, installation is usually not very complicated if you already have prepared cables. You can recognise this type of outdoor socket by the fact that a small “cube” or similar protrudes from the wall.|
|Flush-mounted||flush-mounted sockets are less noticeable because, like most sockets you have in the house, they lie flat against the wall. This is often perceived as more visually appealing. However, you also have to be careful not to make holes just anywhere, otherwise there can be problems.|
In the end, the decision between these two options is a mixture of personal preference and local conditions.
How much does an outdoor socket cost?
|Surface-mounted||Approximately 5 to 90 euros|
|Flush-mounted||Approximately 10 to 30 euros|
Before buying, always make sure that the socket outlet complies with all regulations. Bargains can otherwise turn out to be a safety risk.
What alternatives are there to an outdoor socket?
For nature lovers, it is often not quite so simple. But with creative approaches, solutions can be found here too.
Here are 3 alternatives to an outdoor socket if you don’t have another power source when camping:
|Electricity generator||Powered by internal combustion engine, sometimes wind or water power, can be quite noisy|
|Solar power bank||Powered by sunlight, only enough for smaller devices like smartphones|
|Three-phase alternator||Powered by the V-belt of your camper/car, Disadvantage: Cost in fuel, car battery can run down|
In the end, you decide what you like best. Aspects such as environmental friendliness, cost, weight or ease of use can vary depending on the model.
What are the regulations for an outdoor socket?
- IP: As explained above, outdoor sockets must meet at least the IP 44 standard. To achieve this, use a socket outlet with a hinged cover, as is common in damp rooms.
- RCD: A separate RCD cuts off the power supply in case of problems (e.g. if moisture penetrates). Another control switch inside provides double safety.
- Junctionbox: You also need a junction box in accordance with the DIN VDE 0606-1 standard that applies in Germany. This is where the cables are brought together. Since in most cases a hole has to be made in the wall for this, you should have an electrician do it.
Which cable do I use for an outdoor socket?
To avoid overloading by greedy energy consumers, a cross-section of at least 1.5 mm is recommended. Keep a minimum distance of 30 cm from other cables.
How do I connect an outdoor socket correctly?
Outdoor sockets can be used for a wide variety of applications – for example in the garden, on the balcony or on the caravan. As long as the prescribed safety standards are met, you don’t have to worry too much about potential problems. When buying, it is important to ensure that the socket has an IP rating of at least 44 so that your plans do not fall through.
However, with a variety of models available today, you’re sure to find something suitable. From ground spikes and small columns to smart sockets with internet connection, everything is available. In the end, your outdoor socket should not cause you any headaches. If everything works, it will fade into the background – and you will have time for the important things in life.
Photo source: Morgano/ 123rf