Factors in the Cost of Running Electricity to the Shed

The first cost element is to think about what capacity you need. There is quite a difference between having one light fitting or a security light and having a fully functional home office with plug sockets and the capacity to run multiple pieces of equipment at once.

It is usually easiest to draw up a simple plan of the space and decide how many plugs and outlets you need before requesting quotations from local electricians.

If you are wiring your shed, it’s also wise to include any potential functionality you might need in the future. It is far cheaper to have an electrician carry out all required works in one day than needing to call them back again in the future.

For example:

  • Fitting security lighting.
  • Installing an alarm system.
  • Adding one or two extra plug sockets.

Overall costs of wiring a shed will depend on many factors, but the volume of power needed and the number of outlets required will be the main costs.

Electricians will quote based on:

  • The length of the wiring. The further your shed is from the main property; the more materials will be required. That might drive up the cost for armoured cabling to run underground or the labour charges to dig a trench if you plan to bury the electricity cables.
  • How much power you need. An electrician will ask what you need the electricity for to get an idea about which cabling is required and other components. Using substandard installations without sufficient capacity could mean power surges that blow fuses, so it’s essential to get this right.

More straightforward installations, such as installing lights so you can collect items from storage in the dark, will be cheaper. In most cases, electricians can supply this low-level requirement from an existing socket. They will look at RCD protection for the circuit, usually at the fuse board or possibly with a spur switch feeding the shed.

It’s also essential that the wiring be earthed, so a site visit is often required to get a clear idea about all variables.

Armoured cabling (SWA) means that the electricity lines running from your consumer unit to the outdoor shed are protected, and cannot be snipped, worn or emit electric shocks. The size of these cables relies on what you need to power and whether your shed is a wooden or metal structure.

The final cost actor will be in certifying the work, which should be approved to NICEIC rules, usually signed off by the electrician if they are enrolled in a competent person’s scheme.

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Other Considerations in Wiring a Garden Shed

As we’ve seen, the primary costs in wiring a garden shed will be around how much cabling you need and your power requirements.

Other considerations that could change the cost include:

  • The location of your consumer unit in the property – the further away from the shed, the more cabling is needed. Potentially, your electrician might need to drill access holes, which can add to the labour charges. If your central power unit is in the cellar, or on the opposite side of the property, for example, the job will take a little longer and cost slightly more.
  • Changes to the security of the shed. If you are installing power, you will likely use the space to operate tools, machinery or perhaps a laptop. Having lighting in a shed indicates the potential presence of valuables, so it’s wise to opt for a Locksmith Callout to ensure your shed isn’t a target for criminals.
  • If you plan to work in the shed for any length of time, it will also need to be suitably warm and may need insulation or glazing upgraded to double or triple panes to retain heat in the winter. If you want to install any central heating appliances or running water, it’s best to request a Plumber Callout as well as a Boiler Inspection to ensure your central heating system is up to the task.

Should the electricity lines be installed in an underground trench, you might also need to budget for the labour costs or to replace damaged turf or paving when the work is finished.

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How to Break Down a Quote for the Cost of Running Electricity to the Shed

Most electricians will charge a fixed rate for this relatively small piece of work. If not, and your quote is per hour, it’s worth requesting clarification about what sort of timescale to expect so you know the exact cost.

Electricians should include two primary aspects in their pricing:

  • Running the electricity from the house to the shed – usually with an RCD protected supply cable.
  • Installing sockets and switches in the shed, connecting and testing them.

If you choose any bespoke fixtures, such as chrome light fittings, your electrician might be happy for you to purchase these and charge for labour only.

However, this isn’t always possible. Many tradespeople will only fit fixtures they have supplied since they can verify the quality and cover the installation under any service warranties or product guarantees.

Should you wish to reduce the cost of powering your shed, you can opt to carry out preparatory work yourself – such as digging out a trench at least 600 mm deep for the cable to be run through.

It’s vital to check with your tradesperson if they are happy with this or will only take on the job if they can do the work themselves to check the depth is sufficient to meet regulatory standards.

Why Might I Need Electricity in a Garden Shed?

The cost of running electricity to the shed is relatively low and can have lots of benefits. The obvious reason you would want to power appliances in a shed is to make a separate workspace.

For example, keen DIYers might need to work on projects away from the home to contain noise disturbances and mess.

The other main reason is to fit lighting, making it easier to find stored items or work on projects in a workspace, particularly in winter when the days are so much shorter.

Running electricity is usually quite a simple job:

  • Your electrician will run a feed cable between your main control board to the shed, usually buried underground. The size of this cable depends on your power requirements and the distance it needs to cover. Long distances can result in a loss of voltage, in which case a more oversized cable will be more reliable.
  • The cable is connected to the main switch in a water-resistant control panel. The size of the switchboard again depends on your power requirements.
  • The tradesperson can then fit lighting and power sockets.

Having this functionality can make a garden shed a greater asset to your property and be a selling point if you ever come to move and put the house on the market.

For example, working from home is becoming the norm. Having a fully powered outbuilding that requires some insulation to be usable year-round can be a compelling bonus for a buyer.

If your needs change, you can use power outlets for regular tasks such as playing the radio during outdoor barbecues, running a lawnmower, or charging battery-powered appliances when not in use.

If you choose any bespoke fixtures, such as chrome light fittings, your electrician might be happy for you to purchase these and charge for labour only

FAQs - Installing Electrical Points in a Shed

Here we’ll answer some of the most common questions about running electricity to a garden shed.

What Size Cables are Required to Install Power in My Shed?

Most jobs will involve running an SWA armoured cable from the main house to the shed. This is designed to be safe to bury underground in a trench and cannot rot or become damaged by water.

The exact size of cable depends on how far your shed is from the house and what sort of demands you expect to put on the outdoor power supply.

A greater distance and more extensive electricity requirement will require a larger cable.

Can I Use Extension Leads to Get Electricity to the Shed?

It is highly advisable not to rely on extension leads for anything but a short-term requirement. Extension cords can only be used for single circuits, can never be buried underground, and must be unplugged when not in use.

Extension leads tend to be restricted to five metres in length. They shouldn’t ever be joined together or coiled as this can cause electrical shortages, power surges and pose a significant health risk due to an unstable supply.

Is There a Minimum Depth That Electrical Wires Need to Be Buried?

Your electrician will advise on the minimum depth of a trench, which depends on the position of your property.

Most opt for a 600 mm depth as a good practice benchmark, with guidelines stating:

  • 450 mm should be the minimum depth under a footpath or any softer surface.
  • Cables under a roadway or drive should be at least 600 mm deep.
  • TV cables should be at least 250 mm underneath hard surfaces.

Do I Need an Electrician To Run Power to My Shed?

In short, yes, you do. Electricity can be fatal if mishandled, so even a small job such as running a cable to the shed should always be undertaken by a professional with the appropriate accreditations.

Installing your own electrical wiring is also illegal and governed by Section P of the UK Building Regulations. Wiring a shed is a ‘notifiable’ piece of work – that means you need to notify the Building Control department at your local authority.

Most electricians will be registered with a competent person’s scheme. That means when they have finished working, they can sign off the work. Anyone who is not a registered electrician would still need to hire a professional to certify the work standards – although an electrician would be very unlikely to warrant a DIY electrical job.

It is also vital that all electrical work is certified since if you sell the property and do not have the paperwork to validate all the work carried out, it can cause a more significant issue.

Can I Have a Wi-Fi Connection in a Garden Shed?

If you’re planning to work in your shed, need access to a laptop, or want full functionality from your mobile, you might decide it’s worth having Wi-Fi access as well as mains electricity.

Fortunately, there are a few options, and you can cable this in or opt for a wireless connection.

  • Some routers will have a strong signal that can reach a nearby shed without needing to do anything further.
  • A Wi-Fi extender, or booster, will extend the range of your signal and can cost as little as £15. If the initial signal is weak, this isn’t likely to make enough of a difference, though.
  • Point-to-point systems mean that there is one unit outside of the main house and another on the shed, sharing a signal boost between them.
  • Ethernet cabling is also a solution. An electrician can bury an Ethernet cable in the same trench alongside any other cabling. You can run electrical and Ethernet cables through the same conduit but it’s not advisable since the Wi-Fi signal can become scrambled.

Whichever option you choose, if it requires assistance from a professional electrician, it will be more cost-effective to ask them to take a look at the same time as having your shed wired to reduce callout costs.


Rich Crossley
Having spent 30 years working all over the world for top-tier investment banks, I’ve owned and developed houses all over the world – Europe, the US and Asia. I’m now based back in the UK and involved in the property industry – oh, and I’m a keen DIY enthusiast!
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