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In the USA, a National Electrical Code specifies things like circuit breaker sizes. The purpose of the circuit breaker is to protect the wiring (which is usually in a metal or plastic conduit, or in its own plastic insulation, and also is usually hidden in the wall, ceiling, or floor). The size of the circuit breaker (such as 15-amp, 20-amp, 30-amp) depends upon the size of the wiring.

Wire guage sizes (in USA) are typically 14 awg (for lighting and light-duty circuits up to 15 amps), 12 awg (bigger than 14 awg, for power outlets as well as lighting circuits up to 20 amps), and larger sizes for special purposes.

Most modern kitchens have two or more 12 awg circuits for the purpose of providing power to appliances such as toasters, mixers, etc. A 20-amp circuit breaker would protect a 12 awg wiring system designed to carry 120 Volts and 20 amps (amperes).

For safety, you must determine the size of the wiring in order to decide which size circuit breaker will protect it.

15-amp circuit breaker for 14 awg wiring (which is easy to bend with finger tips) 20-amp circuit breaker for 12 awg wiring (which is hard to bend with finger tips) 30-amp circuit breaker for 10 awg wiring (which is very hard to bend with finger tips)

The appliances and other items that you plug into an electrical outlet rely upon their own fuses or other design features for protection. The circuit breaker protects the wiring to prevent fire. This is IMPORTANT. Do not use a larger circuit breaker than the wiring can safely handle.

AWG = American Wire Guage Smaller numbers are for bigger wires. 6-awg is about as big as a wooden pencil. 30-awg is about as fine as a human hair.

I would add this: do yourself a favor, make 12 gauge wire your standard when putting in any new wiring (unless you are going higher than 20 amp circuit) . Don't mess with 14 gauge at all. The cost difference is peanuts.

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Q: What size amp circuit breaker should be used for a kitchen?
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