Guide to Power Outlets and Plugs Used around the World

Have you ever been stuck in a different country with a charger that does not fit into the sockets while your battery is running out? Have you needed to dry your hair, but the hairdryer cannot be plugged anywhere? Not only do such incidents completely ruin the trip, but they associate certain distaste with experiences in the new place. A trip to unwind and relax turns into a trip filled with stress and annoyance. 

We have all been there, and our culprits are power outlets and power plugs. We also wonder quite a lot about why this happens and how this can be avoided on further trips. The following guide will help you understand that and take preemptive measures for the future. Let us start by learning about what these are, what the different types are, why these exist, and then we shall take a look at a solution. 

Power Outlets

Power outlets are also called sockets. They are installed in walls and connected to the wiring system. There are several different types of outlets for different types of plugs, which are supplied with power through the outlet. The holes in the socket are in accordance with the type of plug it accepts and its rating.


Plugs are prongs or pins that are connected to an appliance through a wire. The plug is responsible for powering the appliance. It gets this power from the outlet that it is compatible with. 

What Are the Different Types?

Over the years, the number of plugs and sockets around the world have been discovered and narrowed down. Fifteen types of plugs exist worldwide, in total. They are specific to the country or countries they are found in and are labeled by the alphabet, starting at A and ending at O. The alphabets are not acronyms and do not signify anything. They are only used to label with ease. Let’s take a look at what the 15 types are, how they are different, and where they are found in the following part of the article. 

What Is the Way around This?

You can very easily hack the problem of being stuck with a plug that would not go into the sockets and have a hassle-free trip.

The first step is definitely to do your research. This guide is going to help you out through that process. Skim through the following, track down the country you will be visiting, and know the sockets that are available to you over there. 

What if you are already in such a situation and forgot to do your research? We have got you; we know packing can be tedious and there are too many tasks to tick off. Here is the solution.

  1. Go through this guide and look for the type of socket you are being faced with.
  2. Also, keep your eye out for the type of plug that your appliance has. 
  3. Visit your nearest electronics store. 
  4. Find yourself an adapter with a socket compatible with your plug and a plug compatible with the socket. 
  5. If an adapter is unavailable, an extension cord could be used, provided it has the correct sockets and plug. 

You should be good to go.  

Different Types of Plugs and the Power Outlets They Fit In

Different Types of Plugs and the Power Outlets They Fit In

Type A 

The Type A plug has two identical flat prongs that protrude outwards. These were invented in 1904 by Harvey Hubbel II. Sometimes the flat prongs have a hole in them. The purpose of this is to ensure that the plug is securely inserted and is not pulled out of the socket due to the weight of the cord. These are used in North America, Central America, and Japan. However, type A sockets have been discontinued in the USA but can still be found in some very old buildings.  

The prongs are 1.5 mm thick, are 12.7 mm apart, and can be of length between 15.9mm and 18.3mm. It is rated at 15 Amperes.

These plugs go into Type A sockets.

Type B 

A type B plug is very similar to a Type A plug except for the addition of one prong. This has two identical flat prongs with holes in them for better grip inside the socket. In addition to this, one U-shaped earth pin is present. This pin is also referred to as a grounding pin as it helps ground the device and avoid electric shocks. These three prongs, when looked at from a distance, form a rough triangle. This plug is used extensively in North America, Central America, and Japan. These Type B plugs have replaced the usage of Type A sockets in the USA.

The two flat prongs are 1.5 mm thick, 12.7 mm apart, and are between 15.9mm to 18.3 mm long. The grounding pin has a diameter of 4.8 mm, and it is longer than the flat blades. This plug has a rating of 15 Amperes. 

These can be plugged into Type B sockets. 

Type C

The Type C plug has two round prongs and is ungrounded. The most important feature of this plug is that the prongs are flexible. This helps the plug fit into an array of sockets, making it the most widely used plug in the world. The plug is compatible to use all around Europe, except Malta, Ireland, Cyprus, and the UK. A type C plug has an upper limit rating of 2.5 Amperes.

The Type C plug is one of the most widely used plugs in the world and is sometimes also referred to as Euro plug. 

Type C plugs are ideal for a type C socket. However, type C sockets have become illegal around the world as they do not have a grounding pin. Thanks to its flexibility, this does not outdate a type C plug as it can be used in type E, F, H, J, K, L, N, and O sockets. 

Type D

There are three round prongs on this which form a large triangle. The two bottom pins are power pins, and the one on top is the grounding pin. A type D plug is limited mainly for use within India and Nepal only. It can also be found in Sri Lanka and Namibia. While these plugs are used in India, they used to be the standard in Britain before India gained independence. 

The earth pin is the longest and is 220.6 mm long and 7.1 mm in diameter, while the power pins are 14.9 mm long. This plug is rated at 5 Amperes. 

A type D socket is perfectly compatible with a Type D plug, but it can fit into a type M socket. 

Type E

Type E plug has two prongs, and both are power pins. As the plug evolved, it made an addition of a grounding hole in it. This hole is there to accept the grounding pin in the socket that accepts the plug. Older type E plugs did not have the hole but have now been discontinued. However, they can still be found occasionally in very old appliances. This type of plug is used in France, Belgium, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Tunisia, and Morocco.

The two prongs are 19mm long and are separated by a distance of 19mm. It is rated at 16 Amperes. 

These are compatible with a type E socket but can also fit into a type F socket. These sockets have a grounding pin inside them. This pin is 14 mm long and has a diameter of 4.8 mm. 

Type F

Type F plug is often referred to as the “Schuko Plug,” which is derived from a German word that translates to “safety contact.” These were designed in Germany after WWI and are still used, with minor changes. It is mainly used in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Finland, and much of Eastern Europe. 

The plug is strong and has two power pins. The power pins are 19 mm long and have a diameter of 4.8 mm. It is rated at 16 Amperes. 

These are compatible with a type F plug but can also fit into a type E plug. These sockets have a grounding pin inside them. 

Type G

Three rectangular blades protrude from the type G plug: one for grounding and two for power. These pins have insulation sleeves on them, making the plug safer to use. It is used in the UK, Malta, Cyprus, Ireland, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore.  

A fuse is also incorporated in this type of plug. The earth pin is 22.7 mm long and is 4×8 mm thick. The two other pins are 4×6.35 mm thick and are 17.7 mm long. This plug is rated at 13 Amperes.

A specific type G socket is used for a type G plug. 

Type H

Type H plug has three round prongs that form a triangle. One of the pins is the grounding pin, and the other two are the power pins. These plugs do not have an insulation layer on their pins and have hence been declared the most dangerous plugs in the world. It is used only in Israel and the West Bank and the Gaza strip in Palestine. 

All three prongs have the same dimensions; they are 4.5 mm in diameter and 19 mm in length. The two power pins are spaced apart by 19 mm too. They are rated at 16 Amperes. 

Type H sockets are made for this plug, which also accepts a type C plug. 

Type I

This plug has three flat prongs: two for power and one for grounding. The two power pins are set in a way that they create an upside-down V shape. The Earth pin is placed below these. This type of plug is mainly used in Australia, New Zealand, Papa New Guinea, and Argentina. 

The power prongs are 1.6 mm thick and 17.3 mm long, while the grounding pin is 1.6 mm wide and 20 mm long. It is rated at 10 Amperes. Variations with 15 and 20 Amperes are also available, but they have different dimensions and need separate sockets. 

A type I socket designated to the rating of the plug will be compatible. 

Type J

The Type J plug is very similar to a type C plug but has an addition of a grounding pin. It has three round, thin pins: two for power and one for grounding. This type of plug is used exclusively in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

The prongs have an insulation sleeve on them. All three pins are 4 mm in diameter and 19 mm long. The insulation covers 10 mm of these pins. It is rated at 10 Ampere. A higher-rated appliance can be used with this, but safety measures must be taken. 

A type J socket is used with this. This socket is also compatible with a type C plug.  

Type K

The Type K plug includes three pins. The two power pins are round, while the earth pin is U-shaped. This plug is used exclusively in Denmark, Greenland, and the Faeroe Islands. 

The Earth pin is 14 mm long, 4 mm thick, and has a diameter of 6.5 mm. The power pins are 4.8 mm in diameter and 19 mm in length. They are spaced apart by 19 mm. This plug is rated at 16 Amperes. 

The type K socket is also referred to as the Danish socket and is compatible with type K, type C, type E, and type F plugs. 

Type L

Type L plug consists of three round pins that are all set in a straight line. This style of plugs is very unique, and there are two different variations on the Type L plug. The spacing between the prongs and the ratings is different in both. The plugs can go into sockets in any direction and are polarized. This type of plug is used in Italy, and its use is also scattered around North Africa.

In the 10 Amp version, the three pins are spaced at 9.5 mm apart from the next. They are 19 mm long and measure 4 mm in diameter. In the 16 Amp version, the pins have a diameter of 5 mm and a length of 19 mm. All three pins are spaced out by 13 mm from the next pin. One of them is rated at 10 Amperes and the one at 16 Amperes. 

The 10Amp version is compatible with a type L socket, while the 16Amp version works well with a type L socket that caters to this specific version. 

Type M

The Type M plug has three prongs that form a large triangle: two power pins and an earth pin. Only the South African version of the Type M plug has an insulated covering. The type M plug is mainly used in South Africa, Swaziland, and Lesotho. 

The Earth pin is the longest and roundest pin at 28.6 mm with a diameter of 8.7 mm, while the power prongs are 10mm shorter, at 18.6 mm. The type M plug is a 15 Ampere plug. 

It fits into a type M socket, explicitly made for this plug. 

Type N

This plug has three pins that form a triangle; it has an earth pin and two power pins. This plug is the most compact and safe to use in the world at this point and time. There are three different variations of this, based on their rating. The shape remains the same. Two are found in Brazil, and one is in South Africa. 

All the prongs in all three versions are 19mm long, but the diameters are different. The diameter increases as their rating increases; they are 4mm, 4.5mm, and 4.8 mm in diameter, respectively. The two in Brazil are rated at 10 Amperes and 20 Amperes. The one in SA has a rating of 16 Amperes. 

These plugs fit into type N sockets. 

Type O

This plug has three pins, all circular shaped. Two of the pins carry power, while the third pin, which is on the top of the triangle these three pins form, is there to ground the plug. This is also called the Earth pin to ensure that electric shocks do not occur. A type O plug is exclusively used in Thailand. 

The two power pins are 19mm long and have 10mm insulation sleeves on them; a distance of 19mm separates them. The earth pin is 21.4 mm long. All three pins have a diameter of 4.8 millimeters. It is rated at 16 Amperes.

These plugs are compatible with type A, B, and C sockets. A type O plug does not exist as of yet but is in the works. Once that is out, a type O plug will no longer work with type A and B sockets. 


Consistent technological advancements since the Industrial Revolution have led to the design and production of an array of different types of plugs and outlets worldwide. So much so that some countries have their own unique style. 

Problems give rise to newer inventions. The tech world and the genius that humans possess came around with a solution for all of these problems, making it more convenient to use different plugs in different countries.