How To Put An Outlet In A Drop Ceiling (A Simple Guide)

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray

Many reasons make someone want to put an outlet in the ceiling. An outlet in the ceiling can help a room look a lot neater and more aesthetic and also allows someone to access the outlet for something like a mounted television or a hanging projector from the ceiling. But how do you put an outlet in a drop ceiling?

To install an electrical outlet in the ceiling, you will need to cut a hole to hold the outlet. This process is not easy and can be very quickly done incorrectly. In addition, accurate measurements will need to be done, and proper safety precautions must be taken while installing the outlet.

Installing an outlet in any ceiling is not easy, and it is not easy in a drop ceiling. You must follow many precautions and steps to prevent accidents that cannot be reversed. However, when done successfully, an outlet in a drop ceiling can be very efficient, and it looks better than running visible wires under the ceiling. Put on your safety goggles and learn how to put an outlet in a drop ceiling.

What Do You Need For Putting An Outlet In A Drop Ceiling?

outlet in drop ceiling what

Many tools can double as other tools and can be used for many things, such as putting an outlet in a drop ceiling. There are also multiple ways of getting this done, but I will use the process that I think is the easiest to follow and most efficient.

You will need a few different things, and some items may change depending on what outlet you want to put in the ceiling and how big you want said outlet to be. First, you will need a drill, some drill bits that work for you, and a stud finder. If you do not know what a stud finder is, it is a machine that uses either an electronic navigator or a magnet to find the supporting structure behind walls and ceilings.

You will also need some electrical wiring to connect your outlet to your electrical circuit, a hammer, and some electrical staples if you want to organize the electrical wiring in the roof neatly. Along with this, you will need a wire cutter (to cut your wire, duh), some masking tape for measurements and anything that needs to be temporarily stuck down, an electrical box of the size you wish, an electrical plug-in plate (a receptacle) and something to cut the drop ceiling with.

You can use a drywall saw or knife to cut the hole in the drop ceiling. Electricians recommend that anyone cutting holes and going into the ceiling or attic use a respirator or face mask to protect themselves from inhaling any dust or unwanted substances. So, this is how you put an outlet in a drop ceiling without further ado.

1. Turn The Power Off

The first and most important step for safety is to turn the power off in the building. This can be quickly done by turning off the main switch on the distribution board that controls the electric circuit in the room or building where you are putting the outlet. If you leave the electricity on, you stand the risk of getting electrocuted and shorting the electrical circuit in the room.

2. Drill A Hole In The Drop Ceiling

The second step is to drill a hole into the drop ceiling where you want the outlet to go. This step is so that you can feed the electrical wire into the attic, where another person (or yourself) can take it and connect it to the nearest outlet. This is so your outlet will be connected to the building’s electrical circuit via the electrical wire you put in the attic.

Make sure to make a wide enough hole in the ceiling for the electrical wire to fit through. The hole you make does not need to be neat, as you will remove it along with the ceiling piece that you will later cut away. You should use electrical staples to neatly organize the electrical wiring that you have just inserted above the ceiling to prevent any damage to the wire. It is then also easier to locate and track the wire when needed.

3. Measure The Hole You Are Going To Cut

After neatly organizing the electrical wire above the drop ceiling, you will now need to measure the hole you will cut into the ceiling. You can do this by putting the electrical box (that will control the power in the outlet) on the ceiling and roughly tracing around it. It is no problem if the tracing is not neat, as the outlet cover will cover the cut ceiling. Ensure that the drawing is precisely where you want the outlet to go.

4. Cut The Hole In The Ceiling

Drill A Hole In The Drop Ceiling

This step can be a very strenuous and annoying job to do. After tracing where you want the outlet to go, you can begin cutting the ceiling. Ensure that you do not cut a hole under any joists or support beams as the outlet may not fit in the ceiling, and you also do not want to damage any of the joists or support beams.

Once you are ready, use the drywall saw or drywall knife to cut open the ceiling. When completed, the ceiling piece will fall out, and you can proceed to the next step. Remember: It is always better to cut too little than too much.

5. Connect The Receptacle To The Electrical Wiring

Once you have cut the hole in the ceiling, you can insert the electrical box into the ceiling and screw it into place using your drill or a screwdriver. Make sure the electrical wiring is hanging through the box so you can use the wiring for the next step.

This part is simple if you follow the steps. First, strip the red/hot wire from the electrical wiring and screw it using the gold screws on the receptacle. Then, strip the black/cold wire and screw it in using the silver screws. Finally, strip the earth wire and connect it with the lone screw (usually green) on the side of the receptacle.

You can then screw the receptacle into the electrical box. Make sure your receptacle and electrical box correlate before doing any of this.

6. Put The Outlet Cover On

Outlet Cover

This step is probably the easiest step of the whole process. You can now take the outlet cover for your outlet and screw it onto the receptacle. This will give your ceiling a neat and proper look. In addition, you will now have no wires hanging around and an outlet in your drop ceiling.


Putting an outlet in a drop ceiling is not easy, and it can be quite a process, but if you follow the steps mentioned above correctly, you will have no problem. It is always clever to make sure that the electrical box, receptacle, and outlet cover work together so that you do not give things that do not work together.

Once you have completed these steps, you will have a neat-looking outlet for ease of access to your drop ceiling.

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.