Types of Plugs and Sockets used worldwide, A to O

(Last Updated On: October 3, 2020)

Types of Plugs and Sockets, Description:

Types of Plugs and Sockets- worldwide 15 types of domestic electrical outlet plugs are in use. Here we will be discussing all of these types of Plugs and Sockets, which are also assigned special alphabets from the International Trade Administration (ITA) starting with A moving through the alphabet.


Types of Plugs and Sockets:

Type A and B

There are 2 types of domestic wall outlets in use in the United State, Canada, Japan, and Central America, the ungrounded type A, and the grounded type B.

TYPE A Plug and Socket

Types of Plugs and Sockets

The class II ungrounded plug with two flat parallel prongs is pretty much standard in most of North and Central America which are known as NEMA 1-15 and it was invented in 1904 by Harvey Hubbell II. This plug has two flat 1.5 mm thick blades measuring 15.9 to 18.3 mm in length and spaced 12.7 mm apart. Type A plugs are generally polarized and it can only be inserted one way because the two blades do not have the same width. This blade connected to the neutral is 7.9 mm wide and the hot blade is 6.3 mm wide. This plug is rated at 15 A. Since 1965 ungrounded type A outlets are not permitted anymore in new constructions in the United States and Canada, but they can still be found in older buildings.

The Type A and B plugs have two flat prongs with often but not always a hole near the tip. These holes are not there without a reason. If you were to take apart a type A or B socket and we look at the contact wipers that the prongs slide into you would find that in some cases they have bumps on them. Their bumps fit into the holes that the outlet can grip the plugs prongs more strongly which stops the plug from slipping out of the socket due to the weight of the plug and cord which also improves the contact between the plug and the outlet. Several sockets moreover do not have those bumps but just 2 spring-action blades that hold the sides of the plug pin in which case the holes are not necessary.

There are also some special outlets which allow you to lock the cord into the socket by putting rods through the holes. Similarly, vending machines and like cannot be unplugged. However, the electronic devices can be sealed by the factory using a plastic tie or a small padlock through one or both of the plug prong holes. E.g. the company might apply a plastic band through the hole and join it to a tag that says you must do X or Y before plugging in this device. This means that the user cannot plug in the device without removing the tag so the user is sure to see the tag.



TYPE B Plug and Socket

Types of Plugs and Sockets

The class I plug is designated as the American standard. It has two flat 1.5 mm thick blades, spaced 12.7 mm apart measuring 15.9 to 18.3 mm in length and 6.3 mm in width. This type of plug also has a 4.8 mm diameter round u shaped earth pin which is 3.2 mm longer than the two flat blades so the device is grounded before the power is connected. The center to center distance b/w the grounding pin and middle of the imaginary line connecting the two power blades is 11.9 mm. Their plug is rated at 15 amps.

In some areas of Central and South America grounded type B outlets are still rather uncommon. So people often simply cut off the earth pin of a type B plug in order to mate it with a two-pole ungrounded socket.

These Type A and B plugs are not insulated i.e the pin shanks are not sleeved they do not have a black covering towards the plug body other plugs.  These outlets are not settled into the wall which means that if a plug is pulled middle out its prongs are still connected to the socket. The Type A and B sockets are notoriously dangerous since the distance b/w the receptacle and a partially pulled out plug is big enough to touch the pins with your fingers or with a metal object such as a teaspoon.

TYPE C Plug and Socket

Types of Plugs and Sockets

It is the usual most common type C plug rated at 2.5 amperes is only used for low energy consuming appliances.

Type C is used in all countries of Europe except the United Kingdom Ireland Cyprus

Type C is the most widely used plug globally. This 2 wire plug is ungrounded unpolarized and has 2 round prongs which is commonly known as the Euro plug. This plug has two 4 mm round pins length 19 mm on centers spaced 18.6 mm beside at the base and 17.5 mm beside at the tip. The 2 pins have 10 mm long shielded sleeves. As they converge slightly but they are relatively flexible which allows the plug to fix with any socket that accepts 4.0 to 4.8 mm round contacts on 17.5 to 19 mm centers. These plugs are usually limited for use in class II applications that require 2.5 amps or less.

Types of Plugs and Sockets

They are 16 ampere version of the type C plug used for high energy consuming appliances.


TYPE D Plug and Socket

Types of Plugs and Sockets

The Type D is almost entirely used in India and Nepal. India has consistent on a plug that was originally defined in British Standard before 1947. This 5 amp plug has 3 round prongs that form a triangle. In the central earth, the pin is 20.6 mm long and has a diameter of 7.1 mm. The 5.1 mm line and neutral pins are 14.9 mm long on centers spaced 19.1 mm apart. As the center to center distance between the grounding pin and the middle of the imaginary line connecting the two power pins is 22.2 mm. The Type M which has larger pins and is rated at 15 amps which is used alongside type D for larger appliances in India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Several sockets can fit both Type M and Type D plugs.

TYPE E Plug and Socket

Types of Plugs and Sockets

Type E is mainly used in France, Belgium, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. France, Belgium, and several other countries have consistent on a socket which is different from the Type F that is standard in Germany. Luckily type F plugs are fully compatible with type E sockets and the other way round. From the past, however, this was not the case. From this, the reason for the initial mismatch was that grounding in the E socket is accomplished with a round male pin which is forever mounted in the socket. The old type F plugs did not have a grounding hole to accept the earth pin of the type E socket. The grounding pin is 14 mm long and it has a diameter of 4.8 mm. This plug itself is similar to C except that it is round and it has the addition of a female contact to accept the sockets grounding pin. These plugs have two 4.8 mm round pins length 19 mm on centers spaced 19 mm apart. The center to center distance b/w the female contact and middle of the imaginary line connecting the two power pins is 10 mm.

Outdated type E plug which is without top and bottom earthling clips nor plastic notches on the left and right.

TYPE F Plug and Socket

Types of Plugs and Sockets

Type F is used for instance in Germany, Austria, Netherlands,  Sweden,  Finland, Norway  Portugal, Spain, and Eastern Europe. Plug F and usually called Schuko plug, a German word meaning protection contact or safety contact. These plugs were designed in Germany shortly after the First World War.


TYPE G Plug and Socket

Types of Plugs and Sockets

The Type G is mostly used in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. The 13 amp plug has 3 rectangular prongs that form an isosceles triangle. The central earth pin is 4 by 8 mm and it is 22.7 mm long. The phase and neutral pins are 4 by 6.35 mm and 17.7 mm long on centers spaced 22.2 mm apart. The center to center distance b/w the earth pin and the middle of the imaginary line connecting the 2 power pins is 22.2 mm. It is 9 mm long protected sleeves prevent accidental contact with a naked connector while the plug is partially inserted.

TYPE H Plug and Socket

Types of Plugs and Sockets

The Type H is used frequently in Israel and Palestine. The earthed plug rated 16 amp is unique to Israel. The plug has three 4.5 mm round prongs length 19 mm and forming a triangle. The centers of the phase and neutral pins are spaced 19 mm apart. The center to center distance b/w the earth pin and the middle of the imaginary line connecting the two power pins is 9.5 mm.

The Type H outlets also accept type C plugs which was not the case before 1989 when the Israeli plug still had flat prongs. The Power outlets made earlier accept both flat and round pin plugs and the original flat-bladed type H plugs have now become obsolete but they can still occasionally be found. The plug is also utilized in the West Bank.

TYPE I Plug and Socket

Types of Plugs and Sockets

The Type I is mostly used in Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Papua, New Guinea, and China. The 10 amp plug has 2 flat 1.6 mm thick blades set at 30° to the vertical making an upside-down V. The centers are spaced 13.7 mm apart and both prongs have length 17.3 mm and 6.3 mm in width. This flat earth blade also has length measures 6.3 by 1.6 mm but it is 20 mm long. The distance b/w the Centre of the grounding pin and the middle of the plug is 10.3 mm. it is an ungrounded version of this plug as well with only 2 flat

V-shaped prongs. The both plug forms have insulated live and neutral pins even if the plug is not fully inserted into a socket touching the uncovered part of the prongs cannot give you a shock.


TYPE J Plug and Socket

Types of Plugs and Sockets

The Type J is used nearly entirely in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

This plug is similar to the type C except that it has the additional grounding pin. The Type J plugs have three 4 mm round pins having a length 19 mm. The centers of the phase and neutral prongs are spaced 19 mm apart and they have 10 mm long insulated sleeves. The older forms of this plug have unprotected pins. The Type J appear very much like the Brazilian type N standard  but it is mismatched with it since type J has the earth pin further away from the Centreline than type N  the Centre to Centre distance b/w the earth pin and the middle of the imaginary line connecting the 2 power pins is 5 mm. The connector system is rated for use in requirement up to 10 amps and 10 A apparatus must be either wired forever to the electrical supply system with fitting branch circuit guard or connected to the mains with a suitable large power industrial connector. The type C plug turns perfectly into a type J socket.

TYPE K Plug and Socket

Types of Plugs and Sockets

The Type K is used completely in Denmark and Greenland. Different from the similar type E plug the grounding pin is not attached in the holder but it is on the plug itself. This U-shaped earthling pin is 14 mm long 4 mm thick and it has a 6.5 mm diameter. The phase and the neutral pins of type K are round and have a 4.8 mm diameter. It has 19 mm length and centers are spaced 19 mm apart. The Centre to Centre distance b/w the earth pin and the middle of the imaginary line connecting the 2 power pins is 13 mm. This plug is rated at 16 A. The type C plug turns perfectly into a type K socket. The country socket will also accept plug types E and F though there is no grounding connection with these plugs because here a male ground pin is required on the plug. Due to the huge amount of introduced European appliances fitted with E and F plugs.  The government has decided to make it legal to install type E or F sockets too. Hence the hope is that in the long term the European type F socket. It is less likely the less frequently used type E will eventually replace the Danish type K socket.



TYPE L Plug and Socket

The Type L is used entirely in Italy, Chile, Uruguay, and is also arbitrarily found throughout North Africa.

Types of Plugs and Sockets

It is the Italian grounded plug socket that includes 2 styles rated at 10 and 16 amps. Here both plug top styles consist of 3 rounded pins placed in a straight line which differ in terms of contact diameter and spacing and are as a result incompatible with each other. The 10 amp version has three 4 mm round pins having a length 19 mm. The centers of the line and neutral pins are spaced 19 mm apart. The distance b/w the centers of either of the 2 outer prongs and Centre of the ground pin is 9.5 mm. The 10 amp style socket also takes type C plugs.

Here the 16 amp version has three 5 mm round pins having length 19 mm in length. The centers of the phase and neutral pins are spaced 26 mm apart and the distance b/w the centers of either of the 2 outer prongs and the center of the ground pin is 13 mm. As both plugs are symmetrical they can be inserted in either direction which means they are un-polarized.

TYPE M Plug and Socket

Types of Plugs and Sockets

Type M is used nearly all over South Africa, Swaziland, and Lesotho. This plug looks like the Indian type D plug but then again its pins are much larger. This Type M is a 15 amp plug and it has 3 round prongs that form a triangle. Here central earth pin is 28.6 mm long and has a diameter of 8.7 mm. The 7.1 mm phase and neutral pins are 18.6 mm long, on centers spaced 25.4 mm apart. The center to center distance b/w the grounding pin and the middle of the imaginary line connecting the 2 power pins is 28.6 mm. and the South African version of the M plug frequently has shielded sleeves on the pins to stop unintended contact with a naked connector while the plug is partially inserted.

Moreover, type D is used in India and Nepal. The type M is also used for larger appliances in those countries. Several sockets over there can take these both type M and type D plugs. The Type M is also used in Israel and the United Arab Emirates for large appliances such as air conditioning circuits in cases somewhere wall mounted units are plugged into a dedicated socket and the certain types of washing machines.


TYPE N Plug and Socket

Types of Plugs and Sockets

The Type N is used completely in Brazil and South Africa. In 2001 Brazil and in 2013 South Africa become consistent on the type N socket and the plug system in order to put an end to the propagation of different socket and plug types within their borders.

These plugs contain 2 pins and a grounding pin that form a triangle. These power pins have 10 mm long insulated covers to stop unintended contact with a naked connector while the plug is partially inserted. There are 3 variants 2 of which are in use in Brazil

20 and 10 amperes and 1 in South Africa 16 A. The prongs of all 3 versions have a length of 19 mm but having diameters different and the pins of the 10 amp form have a diameter of 4 mm and those of the 16 amp form has a diameter of 4.5 mm and the 20 amp form has a diameter of 4.8 mm. The centers of the phase and neutral pins are spread out 19 mm apart. The center to center distance b/w the earth pin and the middle of the imaginary line connecting the 2 power pins is 3 mm. Type N looks similar to the Swiss-type J standard but it is mismatched with it since type N has the earth pin closer to the imaginary line that connects the 2 power pins 3 mm instead of 5 mm. The Type N sockets were exactly designed to accommodate the ubiquitous type C plugs and so have the same hexagonal profile.


TYPE O Plug and Socket

Types of Plugs and Sockets

Type O is used entirely in Thailand. This type O plug rated at 16 amps, is one of the certified standards in Thailand. The Type O contains 2 power pins and an earth pin that are round and have a 4.8 mm diameter. The power pins have a length 19 mm. they have 10 mm long insulated sleeves and their centers are spaced 19 mm apart. And the ground pin has a length of 21.4 mm. The center to center distance b/w the grounding pin and the middle of the imaginary line connecting the two power pins is 11.9 mm which is exactly the same distance as in type B plugs. This is not by chance since the hybrid version of this socket was designed to provide plug A B O and C.  These days type O outlets only exist on paper. These sockets that are currently sold are hybrid ones that are compatible with types of plug types A B C and O.

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My name is Shahzada Fahad and I am an Electrical Engineer. I have been doing Job in UAE as a site engineer in an Electrical Construction Company. Currently, I am running my own YouTube channel "Electronic Clinic", and managing this Website. My Hobbies are * Watching Movies * Music * Martial Arts * Photography * Travelling * Make Sketches and so on...

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