Pigtail Vs. Daisy Chain Outlets [Comparison]


Outlets can be connected with pigtail or daisy chain wiring. 

The best option depends on the situation but pigtail wiring is generally recommended. Pigtailing outlets is safer and more effective, especially for home applications.  

Pigtail wiring is recommended over daisy chaining. Pigtailing allows outlets to run in parallel while daisy chaining connects outlets in series. Daisy chains are at higher risk of overloading and one failed outlet will cause the downstream outlets to fail too. 

Connection TypeProsCons
Pigtail

  • Safe and effective

  • Power can continue to flow to the rest of the circuit if there is a fault with one outlet

  • Can lengthen wires that are too short

  • Makes troubleshooting future problems easier 

  • Creates space in the receptacle box


  • Complicated if dealing with multiple circuit wires

  • Can be time consuming 

  • Pigtail wires must match the wire gauge of the circuit wires 

  • There needs to be at least 6” of wire to pigtail safely 

Daisy Chain

  • Saves time

  • Easy to set up 

  • Works well with devices with a low power demand

  • Control multiple devices with one switch 


  • Increased chance of overloading the circuit breaker

  • Potentially hazardous (can cause electrical fires)

  • Overloads or faulty outlets would affect multiple outlets

  • Not good for devices with a high power demand

The Key Differences Between Pigtail And Daisy Chain Connections

Pigtail Connector

Pigtailing is when you connect the incoming and outgoing wires to a short jumper wire. This jumper wire then connects to the outlet. 

When you pigtail outlets it puts them into a parallel configuration meaning if one fails the others can continue working. 

Daisy Chain Wiring

Daisy chaining is when you put the incoming and outgoing wires onto the terminals on an outlet. This puts the outlets into a series configuration. 

This means if one fails the remaining outlets downstream from the failed outlet will not work.


What Is Pigtail Wiring?

Pigtail wiring is when you connect several wires together to attach to a single connection. It is a great way to reduce the number of wires and hook everything up efficiently. 

The pigtail method is also useful for extending the length of the wire to suit the device you are connecting. 

Why Are Pigtail Connections Recommended?

Pigtails are the wires that go from connectors to the outlet. 

Pigtailing offers many benefits from both a safety and a user standpoint including: 

  • Prevent problems downstream in the circuit 
  • Simplifies the wires in the box. There is a single hot, single neutral, and single ground wire going to the outlet.
  • Ensures the rest of the circuit continues to work if one outlet has a fault 
  • Makes it easier to get the wires back into the box and mount the outlet correctly 

How To Make A Pigtail Connection

You need to have at least 6 inches of wire when using pigtail wiring (as required by the National Electric Code). 

You will need: 

  • A circuit tester 
  • Wire strippers
  • Linesman pliers
  • Spare wire
  • Wire nuts
  • Wire cutters 

Here are the steps in making a pigtail connection:

  1. First, turn off the power. Always use a tester to make sure there is no power going to the wires.
  2. Next, take a 6-inch piece of scrap wire. Use the wire strippers to remove ¾ inch of insulation from each end.
  3. Now, wrap one end of the wire around the device’s screw terminal. Wind it in a clockwise direction until all of the bare wire is looped. 
  4. Connect the other end of the wire to the circuit wires using a wire connector. Once again, make sure there is no bare wire that has not been looped. 
  5. Tuck the wires back into the box inside the wall and cover it with the main plate. 
  6. Finally, turn the power back on and test the outlet. 

What Is Daisy Chain Wiring?

Daisy chaining outlets it when you wire the receptacles in series in one circuit. This means a single circuit can run several outlets. 

Some people use the daisy chain method when putting multiple outlets in a single room. However, daisy chaining outlets may violate electrical code in some states and situations.

Generally, daisy chaining is fine as long as the wire, breaker, and plug are the correct rating. 

It’s recommended to pigtail the wires so only one wire is on the receptacle. This gives the circuit less chance of failing. 

It is also worth considering using GFCI outlets on the circuit. These outlets can give indications concerning the outlet and will stop other outlets from a power surge. 

Is Daisy Chain Wiring Recommended?

No, daisy chain outlets are not the best choice, particularly for home use. If you are going to daisy chain your outlets then consider using the pigtail method. 

The more outlets that are daisy chained the more current resistance, voltage drop, and heat generation there is.

There is no limit on the number of outlets that can connect per circuit. However, when multiple outlets connect via daisy chain wiring there is a higher risk of an electrical fire.

While wires can be quickly and easily connected directly to the outlet, this can cause issues later down the line. 

It is better to pigtail them to save you time troubleshooting problems in the future.  

Can Lights Be Daisy Chained?

Yes, lights can be daisy chained in the same way as outlets. 

The process would be the same and all the lights would work from the same switch.


In Summary 

The way new outlets are connected can impact the efficiency and safety of your home’s electrics. Pigtailing and daisy chaining the wires are two of the most common methods.

Pigtailing the wires is the best way to connect outlets. It is safe and will help to prevent future problems with the electrics. 

Although daisy chaining is easy to do, there are a number of disadvantages. Most notably, it can be dangerous if too many outlets are connected in series. Most electricians will pigtail outlets, and it is something homeowners can do themselves, too.

Joe Taylor

Over 2 decades of remodeling experience, Joe is an expert in home improvement. He is now the Managing Editor of PlumbJoe where he writes guides for homeowners. His hobbies include climbing, running and playing the piano.

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