Packing is an essential aspect before traveling, from clothes to our technological devices, it’s always important you make sure to pack everything you need. One of the tools that should be always on our list and suitcase is a travel adapter or universal charger. As every seasoned traveler knows, each country has different sockets that work with certain plugs, so it’d be a headache if you forget to carry any travel adapter with you when you’re in a foreign country. They are indeed different, so which are the plugs and sockets used around the world?
There are 14 different types of sockets and plugs used worldwide according to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Each type corresponds to each letter of the alphabet, so we have from type A to type N. Most of these types have variations within the same type. Let’s check out their differences!
Type A and B
These two socket types are pretty similar. The main difference between them is that type A has only two holes for flat pins meanwhile type B has one extra round hole below. For that reason, although type A has no alternative plugs, type B apart from working with plug type B also works with type A. Both of them are usually used in North-Central and some countries of South America. Check the map below to see more countries.
Type C, E, and F
Socket type C is one of the most commonly used around the world and it’s easily recognized by its two round holes. This socket shares some common characteristics with other types, such as E and F. That’s the reason why plugs that work with C sockets are also compatible and safe to use with the last two socket type options. Although they are similar and compatible, there’s a difference between C and E that can be easily noticed: the extra pin that socket E has.
The following socket type is like a combination of type B and type C. It has two round pins like type C and an extra round pin in the middle, just like type B. Although this socket may work with C, E, and F plug, they are not 100% compatible so it can be dangerous to use them with socket type D. For that reason, it’s highly advisable to only use plug type D. This socket is mainly used in India. Check the map below to see more countries.
This socket type has three rectangular pins. With this particular form of the pins, it’s only compatible with plugs of the same type (G). Type G is usually used in the United Kingdom, Singapore, Ireland, Malaysia and Malta. Check the map below to see more countries.
What makes this socket different from the other ones is that it’s only used in one country, Israel. It’s similar to type C but instead of having round holes, the shape of the holes is rectangular. These sockets have been adapted to also used plug type C, so circles can be found in the middle of the rectangular shaped holes.
Socket type I consists of three rectangular holes, one in the middle and two above in an inverted V-shape. There are two variations of plug type I which are compatible with this socket, the first one has three rectangular holes while the second one only has the two rectangular pins which form the inverted V. This socket is commonly used in China, New Zealand, and Australia. Check the map below to see more countries.
This type of socket has three holes for round pins plugs. Two at the bottom and one above in the middle of the socket. An advantage of this type is that it can be compatible either with plugs type J or C. This type of socket is only used in certain countries like Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Check the map below to see more countries.
Socket type K is one of the happiest sockets around the world, as it has three holes that form a small smiley face. The plug types that are safe to use with this socket are C and K. Although E and F plug types also have three holes, it’s not recommendable to use them with socket type K as they are not 100% compatible. This type of socket is usually used in only a few countries, for example Denmark, Greenland, and Madagascar. Check the map below to see more countries.
This type of socket is slightly different from the others as the three holes for the pins are situated next to each other, just like ellipsis in a text. The compatible plug (L) for this socket has two variations, one of 10 amps and another of 16 amps. It’s important to know that type C is also safe to use with socket type L. This socket can be found in countries like Italy, Chile, and Uruguay. Check the map below to see more countries.
Socket type M is very similar to type D, however, they are not really compatible. Plug type M has larger pins and can be dangerous to try to use it with a socket type D. This socket type is commonly used in South Africa and Lesotho. Check the map below to see more countries.
This socket type has three holes designed for rounded pins, although it’s similar to type J that also has two holes next to each other and a third one in the middle, type N has the third pin closer to the center. The plug types that are safe to use with this type of socket are C and N. However, there are also two variations of 10 amps and 20 amps. This socket type is only used in Brazil and South Africa.
Now that we are aware of the different socket and plug types that are used around the world, it’s important to keep in mind that there are also different voltages per region. For that reason, we must make sure to use the correct voltage to avoid any accidents and damaging our devices. Check the map below to see the voltages used in each country.
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