There is no requirement for spacing or number of receptacles. A minimum of one 120-volt 20-amp receptacle circuit is required for a garage, per National Electrical Code [NEC 211.10(C)(4)].
We often see only one receptacle in a garage, which would meet the minimum standard. But one is not sufficient for most do-it-yourselfers, who line the walls of a two-car garage with power tools and hobby equipment, so we typically see builders providing one outlet on each side wall. The receptacles are required to be GFCI for shock protection. One of the garage receptacles will typically have a GFCI-device in the center—with the two buttons in the center for “TEST” and “RESET.” It will trip when a ground fault (current that has gone astray and my possibly be shocking you) happens at any of the other garage receptacles because they are also on the same circuit.
The GFCI-receptacle in the garage also sometimes protects any receptacles on the exterior walls of your home. Code requires that the garage circuit serve no other room, but makes an exception for exterior receptacle outlets. So, if one of the exterior receptacles goes dead, check to see if the garage GFCI needs to be reset.
Also, see our blog posts Where are GFCI receptacle outlets required? and How far apart should electric receptacles be spaced in a bathroom? and What is the code requirement for receptacle outlets in a closet? and How many electrical receptacle outlets are required in a hallway? and How far apart should kitchen counter receptacles be spaced? and What is the code requirement for receptacle outlets in a foyer? and Is a house required to have outdoor electric receptacle outlets?
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To learn more about electrical wiring, devices, and receptacles, see these other blog posts:
• What is the difference between what trips a GFCI (ground fault) receptacle and a circuit breaker?
• What is the code requirement for GFCI protection for receptacles near a wet bar sink?
• What is the requirement for a service receptacle outlet for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HACR) equipment?
• Why is an opening in the wall around the side of an electrical receptacle outlet a safety defect?
• When was GFCI-protection for kitchen dishwasher receptacle outlet first required?
• What is allowable voltage range at a wall receptacle outlet in a house?
• When should I replace electric receptacle outlets?
• What are "self-contained" electrical receptacle outlets and switches?
• What is the difference between an electrical receptacle, an outlet, and a plug?
• Does a washing machine receptacle outlet require GFCI protection?
• What is the building code requirement for receptacle outlets at stairs and stair landings?
• Can I remove a 240-volt range receptacle and hard-wire the range?
• What is a "backstab" receptacle outlet?
• Why are some electric receptacle outlets upside down (ground slot up) in a house?
• What is the height requirement for an electric receptacle outlet?
• When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required?
• Does a home inspector remove receptacle outlet cover plates?
• What is the minimum height for an exterior receptacle outlet?
• When was the current receptacle/outlet spacing of 12-feet first required?
• When was the three-slot (grounding) outlet/receptacle first required?
• Why does painting an electric receptacle (outlet) make it unsafe?
• Why are electrical outlets and plugs polarized?
• What problems does having too many electric receptacle outlets on a single circuit cause?
• How I can tell if a receptacle outlet is tamper resistant?
• Why is there a GFCI breaker in the electric panel for the bathroom shower light and exhaust fan?
• What is a false ground, bootleg ground, or cheated ground receptacle?
• How can adding wood paneling or a wainscot create an electrical safety hazard?
• How far above a kitchen countertop do electrical outlets have to be?
• What is reversed polarity at an outlet/receptacle? Why is it dangerous?
• How high above the floor do electric outlets/receptacles in a garage have to be?
• Is an ungrounded electric receptacle outlet dangerous?
• My bathroom electric receptacle/outlet is dead and there are no tripped breakers in the electric panel. What's wrong?
• Is there an adapter that can be placed on a two-slot receptacle to make it safe?
• How do the new tamper-resistant electric outlets work?
• Why is there no bathroom electric receptacle in this old house?
• How can I tell if the electric receptacle outlets are grounded?
• How far apart should the electrical receptacles be placed?
• What are the most common problems/defects found with electric receptacle outlets during a home inspection?
Visit our ELECTRICAL page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.