3 Main Types of Power Cords Everyone Must Know

People all over the world use electricity, but the power cord used is different in various countries. If you are unaware about this fact and try to use the electrical equipment in those countries that use different power cords then it can damage your equipment or result in an accident.

Once you know types of power cords, you will be able to save yourself from accidents and save money on re-buying the things in case you change country.

Before we start on the types of cords, first let us understand what power cords are.

What are Power Cords?

The power cords are the wires that transfer alternating and direct current. Mostly they are made of copper wires that are insulated with a non-conducting material like plastic. There are 15 types of plugs used worldwide starting from A to O.

Let us understand the type of power cords in detail.

IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission)

IEC 60320 is the standard for power cord appliances with up to 250 volts that is accepted internationally. Most countries recognize the IEC 60320 power cord but still there are a few countries that use different power cords. The C in the IEC stands for code. The most common types of connectors in the IEC are C13, C15, and C19. They are usually found in data centers.

These power cords have odd numbers for the receptacle and even numbers for the plug. The male appliance inlet is one unit higher than the matching female connector. For example, you will see power cord like C14 to C13 and C20 to C19.

NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association)

NEMA cords are the benchmark for Americans as all the electrical appliances are made keeping in mind its voltage capacity and plugs. The most used cords are Type A and Type B. The Type A comes with two conducting blades or prongs whereas the Type B has extra grounding rod in it.

The range of the power cord is 15 to 60 ampere and 125 to 600 volts. They are further categorized according to the classification. NEMA 6-15 power cord is usually used to carry current for large machines or household appliances. Every NEMA 6-15 power cord and NEMA 5-20p power cord comes with three prongs or blades. They also have different types of plugs. So, for example, if you need to use the plug behind a desk, you can go with a side facing head.

The plugs of NEMA 5-20p power cord (Type B) have three different wires: neutral, hot and ground. The ratings are 15A at 250V even though they usually carry 110V.

Europe: CEE 7/7

These are used by most countries in Europe. CEE 7/7 is the standard for the plugs. The other countries in Europe that use cords other than the CEE 7/7 are Ireland, Denmark, Switzerland, Malta and Italy. The most typical cords used for CEE 7/7 plug are CEE 7/7 to C13, CEE 7/7 to C15, and CEE 7/7 to C19.

Other Types of Cords

  • AC Power Cords
  • Generator Power Cords
  • Cord Sets
  • Extension Cords

Other Essentials for Power Cords

  • Electrical Receptacle
  • Plug Adapters
  • Power Cord Splitters
  • Electrical Plugs


Every electrical appliance that uses electricity will require a power cord. The specification depends on the voltage capacity and the type of cord. So, ensure that the quality of the power cord is good and is able to manage the voltage or else it can damage the equipment. This will ensure that the right amount of current is passing through the cord and the appliances will require less repair and the chances of accidents also reduces.

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