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All that You need to Know about Wall Plates to Make the Right Choice

Wall plates are safety features in your home or office that you simply cannot ignore. For many people, wall plates have no more use than just keeping the ungainly tangle of wires out of sight. But by keeping the wires out of reach of children, wall plates also make a home safe. What is more, these contraptions protect delicate cords and cables from dust and moisture. Given the many benefits of wall plates, it is imperative that you spare some thought before purchasing one or few for your home or business.

Buying Guide for Wall Plates

There are many models of wall plates available in the market but you will be able to make the right choice if you consider the following parameters strictly before buying one.


This is the primary consideration when you browse various types of wall plates for sale. Different types of wall plates fit specific kinds of outlets and accommodate different kinds of switches and data jacks. For instance, Decorative wall plates can accommodate rocker switches, phone or data jacks and rocker, slide, scene and tap selector dimmers. These plates are also ideal for GFCI outlets. On the other hand, the coax plate is designed to fit the coaxial cable of a cable or satellite television set.

Wall Plate Applications

Apart from considering the application, you will also need to consider the type of electrical box on which the plate will be mounted on before ordering a specific type. For instance, if the electrical box has more than one type of outlet, switch, or wall jack, you will have to buy a combination plate. Combination wall plates may contain more than one data line type and multiple switches and outlets.


Needless to say, you should buy a wall plate that has been built sturdily, to ensure its longevity in life is lasting, so that even under rough usage it resists cracking. Thermoplastic wall plates are popular with both home and business owners. They are not only reasonably priced but are also hardy. Nylon is a commonly-used thermoplastic material for wall plates. Thermoplastic wall plates are also easy to clean and lightweight.

Wall Plates With Different Numbers of Gangs

Wall plates can also act as attractive décor items and enhance the look of your living and/or working area. Decorative wall plates may be made from materials such as copper, brass, chrome, stainless steel, brushed nickel, or some other metal. These fittings can be made to match the fixtures, tiles, or cabinet hardware in your bathroom and kitchen and the wallpaper, the color of the wall, or upholstery in a living or work area.

Number of Gangs

For the uninitiated, “gang” refers to every element that can be placed side-by-side on a wall plate. It is worth clarifying that the word does not indicate the number of openings on the plate. So, a three-gang wall plate contains openings for three switches that can be placed side by side. The number of gangs you need your wall plate to contain wholly depends on your specific needs—the number of cables and cords that you want to run from a particular plate.



This is a critical consideration given that a wall plate should ideally cover the whole of the electrical box and hide all the wires, cables, and cords from view. So before placing your order for a wall plate, you must measure the physical dimensions of the electrical box and buy a standard-sized, medium, or oversized or jumbo plate. If there are too many cables to conceal, then you may also consider buying a wall plate that has more depth than a standard unit.

Wall Plates With Different Numbers of Gangs

Additional Features

The particular positioning of the electrical box determines where you will need to place a wall plate. For instance, you may have to position your wall plate behind a piece of furniture or cramped between the doorway and an adjacent wall. It is possible that a cable or two from an electronic device may not be long enough to be extended up to a wall plate located in a hard-to-reach corner.

In such cases, you can buy wall plates that come fitted with extension cables. For instance, you can consider an HDMI wall plate that is fitted with one or more four-inch long extension cables. This fitting is apt to hook up the various components of a home entertainment system, all of which may not be placed in close proximity to the electrical box.


While not an integral criterion, considering conveniences like the manufacturer offering replacement guarantee or a return policy might help you choose between comparable makes of wall plates. There might be instances when you order and bring home a wall plate only to realize even before opening the package that it does not meet your needs or does not match your décor. In such cases, the return policy ensures that you do not have to shell out money for yet another piece of wall plate while the other lies unused.

The above-mentioned parameters will help you zero in on a wall plate that exactly matches your needs. However, a word of caution. If an electrical project is underway, it is a wise idea to wait for the project to complete and the electrical boxes to be installed in their final places before determining the type of wall plate you want to order. This will spare you the hassles of scouting for wall plates in unconventional sizes or with an odd number of gangs to fit an electrical box. After all, you can tweak the location of the electrical box or the number of outlets in each box with far less hassle.

The wall plate is that one rare piece of electrical fitting that serves multiple purposes without being expensive. So make sure that the one you choose goes the distance!

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