What is the difference between surface mounted and flush-mounted sockets?

The main difference between surface mounted and flush-mounted sockets is that surface mounted sockets are installed on top of the wall, while flush-mounted sockets are installed inside the wall. Surface mounted sockets are easier to install and more visible, while flush-mounted sockets are more aesthetically pleasing and less prone to damage.

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of both types of sockets, as well as some tips on how to choose the best one for your needs. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about sockets and electrical wiring.

Surface Mounted Sockets

Surface mounted sockets are also known as surface mount devices (SMD) or surface mount outlets (SMO). They are attached to the surface of the wall using screws, nails, or adhesive. They do not require any cutting or drilling into the wall, which makes them easy and quick to install. They are also cheaper than flush-mounted sockets, as they do not require any additional materials or labor.

However, surface mounted sockets also have some disadvantages. They are more visible and can look bulky or cluttered, especially if there are many of them in a room. They can also interfere with the placement of furniture or decorations, as they take up some space on the wall. Moreover, they are more exposed to dust, moisture, and physical damage, which can affect their performance and safety.

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Flush Mounted Sockets

Flush mounted sockets are also known as recessed sockets or in-wall sockets. They are installed inside the wall, so that only the faceplate is visible on the surface. They require cutting or drilling a hole in the wall, as well as running wires through the wall cavity. They are more difficult and time-consuming to install than surface mounted sockets, and they may also require professional help. They are also more expensive, as they involve more materials and labor.

However, flush mounted sockets also have some advantages. They are more aesthetically pleasing and blend in with the wall, creating a sleek and modern look. They also save space on the wall, allowing more flexibility in the placement of furniture or decorations. Furthermore, they are less exposed to dust, moisture, and physical damage, which can improve their performance and safety.

How to Choose the Best Type of Socket for Your Needs

There is no definitive answer to which type of socket is better, as it depends on various factors, such as:

  • The design and layout of your room
  • The number and location of your electrical appliances
  • The style and theme of your decor
  • The budget and time available for installation
  • The local codes and regulations for electrical wiring

Some general tips to help you decide are:

  • If you want a simple and cheap solution, go for surface mounted sockets. They are ideal for temporary or low-traffic areas, such as garages, basements, or workshops.
  • If you want a more elegant and durable solution, go for flush mounted sockets. They are ideal for permanent or high-traffic areas, such as living rooms, bedrooms, or kitchens.
  • If you are unsure or want to have both options, you can use a combination of both types of sockets. For example, you can use flush mounted sockets for the main appliances, such as TVs, lamps, or computers, and surface mounted sockets for the auxiliary devices, such as chargers, speakers, or fans.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Sockets and Electrical Wiring

Here are some common questions and answers about sockets and electrical wiring that you may find useful:

  • Q: How many sockets can I have on one circuit?
  • A: The answer depends on the voltage, amperage, and wattage of your circuit and your appliances. A general rule of thumb is to have no more than 10 sockets on a 15-amp circuit, or no more than 13 sockets on a 20-amp circuit. However, you should always check the specifications of your appliances and consult an electrician before adding or changing any sockets.
  • Q: How can I tell if my sockets are grounded or not?
  • A: Grounded sockets have three prongs, while ungrounded sockets have two prongs. Grounded sockets provide an extra layer of protection against electric shocks and surges, as they divert any excess current to the ground. Ungrounded sockets are more risky and outdated, and should be replaced with grounded sockets as soon as possible.
  • Q: How can I upgrade or replace my sockets?
  • A: Upgrading or replacing your sockets can improve the appearance, functionality, and safety of your electrical system. However, it is not a DIY project, as it involves working with live wires and complying with codes and regulations. You should always hire a licensed and qualified electrician to do the job for you.


Surface mounted and flush-mounted sockets are two types of sockets that differ in how they are installed and how they look. Surface mounted sockets are easier and cheaper to install, but more visible and vulnerable. Flush-mounted sockets are harder and more expensive to install, but more discreet and durable. The best type of socket for your needs depends on various factors, such as your room design, appliance location, decor style, budget, and time. You can also use a combination of both types of sockets to suit your preferences. If you have any questions or concerns about sockets and electrical wiring, you should always consult a professional electrician.