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Exploring The Types of AC Power Cords

There are a variety of different plugs and sockets used around the world, and your first internet experience abroad can be difficult if you don't know what power cords are used there. There is more than one standard used in the world. Different countries may use different types of AC power cords, different plugs, and connectors.

Understanding the types of AC power cords used in different countries is critical for international travelers, businesses operating in multiple regions, and manufacturers seeking to comply with different regulatory standards. Always using the correct type of wire ensures cross-border safety, compatibility and reliable power.

IEC Power Cords

These wires follow the standards set by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and are widely used in IT and data center environments. The most common type of power cord internationally, IEC power cords feature standardized connectors on both ends, making them interchangeable and compatible with a variety of devices. C13, C14, C15, C19, and C20 are the most common connector types, and each type is designed for specific voltage, current, and temperature ratings.

IEC power codes


IEC power cords are widely used in IT and data center environments, office equipment, audio-visual systems, medical equipment, industrial machinery and consumer electronics. Their versatility and standardized design make them suitable for a variety of applications requiring reliable power connections.

C13/C14 Power Cords

The C13/C14 power cords are commonly used power connectors. These cords are often used to connect computers, monitors, printers, servers, and networking equipment to power sources such as uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and power distribution units (PDU).

The C13 connector is a three-prong plug commonly found on the side of a device, with one round plug hole and two parallel flat plug holes. This configuration ensures that the C13 connector only plugs into C14, providing a relatively secure connection and preventing incorrect insertion.

The C14 connector is the counterpart to the C13 connector and serves as a three-prong receptacle typically located on the side of an electrical outlet and is designed to mate with a C13 connector. C14 connectors are usually upright with rounded protrusions to correspond with the round holes of the C13 connector.

C13C14 power cords

C19/C20 Power Cords

C19/C20 power cords designed for high-power applications. They are commonly used with servers, switches, routers, large network equipment, and other devices requiring higher voltage and current capacities.

The C19 connector is a high-current three-prong plug that is usually found on the side of the device. It has a round plug hole and two parallel flat plug holes, similar to a C13 connector, but designed to handle higher currents. This makes it suitable for devices that require more power.

The C20 connector is the corresponding entry socket, usually on the power side. It is a high current three prong receptacle designed to mate with C19 connectors. C20 connectors feature the ability to handle higher currents and voltages compared to C14 connectors.

C19C20 power cords

NEMA Power Cords

NEMA power cords are primarily used in North America, including the United States and Canada. NEMA power cords comply with standards set by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). They come in a variety of configurations, such as NEMA 5-15, NEMA 5-20, and NEMA 6-20, which feature combinations of prongs, blades, and ground prongs to meet varying voltage and amperage requirements.

NEMA 5 Series

The NEMA 5 power cord configuration is defined by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and is widely recognized in the United States and Canada. It consists of a three-pronged plug with two flat parallel blades (hot and neutral) and a grounding pin. The grounding pin distinguishes it from other NEMA configurations and provides an additional layer of safety by grounding the electrical circuit.

NEMA 5 power cords are widely used in residential settings to power a variety of electrical equipment and appliances. They provide a standard and reliable method of connecting these devices to electrical outlets in homes, apartments and apartments. Common household items such as lamps, televisions, refrigerators, and vacuum cleaners often use NEMA 5 power cords.

NEMA 5 power cords

NEMA 6 Series

The NEMA 6 series is designed for high-power applications requiring a higher voltage and current capacity. For instance, the NEMA 6-20 configuration features two angled flat blades (hot and neutral) and a grounding pin. These cords are commonly used in industrial machinery, power tools, and commercial equipment.

North American Market

Due to their standardization and prevalence in North America, NEMA power cords are commonly used in residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional settings. They serve as essential components in electrical systems, powering a wide range of devices and equipment across various sectors.

In addition to standard NEMA configurations, there are variants and extensions available to meet specific requirements. This includes twist-lock connectors for secure connections, right-angle connectors for space-saving installations, and extension cords for extending reach when needed.

AS/NZS 3112 Power Cords

AS/NZS 3112 power cords feature a specific plug and socket configuration designed for use in Australia and New Zealand. The plug typically consists of two angled flat pins for line and neutral connections and a vertical grounding pin. This distinctive design ensures proper orientation and alignment when connecting to electrical outlets.

ASNZS 3112 power cords


AS/NZS 3112 power cords are used in a wide range of applications, including residential appliances, office equipment, commercial machinery, and industrial tools. They provide a reliable and standardized means of connecting electrical devices to power sources, ensuring compatibility and safety in diverse environments.

International Compatibility

While AS/NZS 3112 power cords are primarily used in Australia and New Zealand, they may also be compatible with electrical systems in some Pacific island nations that adopt similar standards. However, travelers or businesses operating across borders should verify compatibility with local electrical regulations and standards to ensure safe and compliant installations.

In conclusion

the world of AC power cords is diverse, catering to a wide range of industries, environments, and technical specifications. By understanding the different types available, consumers can make informed decisions to ensure optimal performance, safety, and compatibility for their electrical devices and applications. Whether it's for residential, commercial, or industrial use, choosing the right AC power cord is essential for a seamless and reliable power connection.

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