If you like to travel often, you’ll notice a few key differences between countries across the globe. Other than the food and culture, each region also has its own power plug socket.
They come in many shapes and sizes, each one designed to meet specific needs. So, which country has the best power plug socket?
To help you answer this question, let’s take a look at some of the most popular plugs in the world. We’ll also discuss what makes each one special.
What are the basic components of power plug sockets?
To help you understand what makes one socket better than another, we can look at the components.
Typically, a power plug will have four main parts:
- Input openings
- Grounding screw
The casing is the main structure that surrounds the electronic section of the socket. Usually, this part consists of some form of plastic or rubber.
Moving on, the input openings are holes in the socket that allow plug pins to connect to the power. Traditionally, it will have two of these: one is positive, and the other is negative.
These are responsible for carrying the current from the power source to a device.
Next, the grounding screw is a bare copper wire that helps with safety. This component dispels excess current to avoid shocks while handling the socket.
That also guarantees that the live wires don’t shuffle around and cause a short circuit.
Finally, the insulation covers the entire structure. This is to ensure that the current can’t travel through your hands as you handle the socket.
What features should you look for in a socket?
Now that you understand the basic construction of a socket, we can take a look at some of the main features.
1. Pin input construction
The first part of the socket you should focus on is the pin input. There are a couple of factors that can affect how these components function.
For starters, let’s take a look at the materials. There are many conductive compounds that can carry current from one point to another.
However, not all of them will be suitable for the inputs. Other than conductivity, the metal also needs to be able to hold its shape.
It should be strong enough to handle plenty of wear and tear.
Besides that, we have to look at thermal transfer. Any current will produce heat because of the electrons colliding with each other.
That means the material you use must be able to withstand a certain degree of temperature change.
Finally, we can move on to the size of the pinholes. Most of the time, the positive and negative terminals will be identical.
This makes the components easier to produce and use.
Having pins of different dimensions increases the chances of the components touching. This may lead to your device failing altogether.
2. Power rating
When you install a socket, it’ll come with a specific power rating. This will be in the form of a current reading. With standard sockets, the voltage can be anywhere between 100 and 240 V.
That number tells you how much power you can supply to a device before it shorts out.
Besides that, you also get a frequency threshold, which is usually either 50 or 60 Hz. This tells you how often the current circulates in the wires.
The higher the voltage and frequency ratings, the more power a socket can supply.
While more energy sounds like a good idea, that’s not always the case. Some devices won’t have the ability to withstand high voltages.
Thus, connecting them with a 240 V plug may cause an overload in the gadgets. For that reason, you should make sure that the power rating on a socket matches the device.
With electronic devices being a major part of our daily lives, we’ve had to come up with many safety measures.
One of these is using a simple fuse. This is a wire with a low resistance that we connect between the positive and negative terminals.
Because of the low resistance, there’s usually a current running through the fuse. When the voltage in the device exceeds the recommended limit, the socket will begin to heat up.
Since the fuse also has a low melting point, it’ll break down and lead to a short circuit. This ensures that the excess power doesn’t cause any socket to the device itself.
Then, you can replace the fuse with a fresh one to use the outlet again.
4. Socket design
Other than the components, we also have to take a look at the socket design.
Most of the time, sockets are flush with the wall and have specific openings. These inputs will only fit one plug type.
That will make linking and disconnecting power cords much easier.
Unfortunately, this isn’t all that stable. Since the socket is on the same level as the wall, the plug will protrude out.
Because of that, any object can bump into the power connection and shift it out of place.
For this reason, we came up with recessed sockets. These tunnel a few inches into flat surfaces so that when you connect a plug, it’s flush with the wall.
That way, you’ll need to pull on the cord to disconnect the plug.
What are the types of sockets?
Countries across the globe will decide on their socket shapes based on what plugs they use. So, to help you decide which country has the best sockets, let’s take a look at the common types.
Type A socket
As you can guess by the name, this outlet will fit a Type A plug. The socket has two rectangular openings with about half an inch of space in between.
This provides two linking points without a grounding wire. That means the plug will be able to move inside the socket and is at risk of shorting out.
While production on Type A is dying down, it’s still present in many old buildings in the USA and Canada.
Type B socket
This socket is similar to the Type A one, with one major difference. The outlet has an extra input opening for a grounding pin.
Not only does this increase the safety of the plug, but it’ll also improve stability.
With three pins, the plug is less likely to shift and fall out of the socket. That’s why Type B is quickly replacing Type A in the USA and Canada.
Type C socket
The main difference between Type A and C sockets is the shape of the inputs. With Type C, the openings are round instead of rectangular.
It’s arguably the most popular socket in the world. Almost all European countries use Type C as their choice of power outlets, which is why we call it the Europlug.
This is probably because of how easy the plugs are to use. Because of the socket design, there are no positive or negative inputs.
That means you can connect the plug in any direction you choose.
Plug G socket
Just like Type B, this socket comes with three input openings. Two for the positive and negative terminals, and one for the ground wire.
However, that doesn’t mean B and G are identical. Instead of curved grounding pins, Type G plugs rely on rectangular ones.
This significantly improves the stability of the device.
The straight lines increase the friction between the outlet and plugs. That means you’ll need to pull on the plug with more force to pull it out of the socket.
Because of this, many countries opt for Type G sockets. That includes the UK, Ireland, and even some locations in the Middle East.
Unlike all the previous sockets on our list, this one will fit two or more plug types.
There are a few different iterations of universal outlets, but the most common one is Type AC. The inputs in the wall will have a specific shape.
They’re round, with two rectangular slits in the middle. That’ll allow both Type A and Type C plugs to connect to the power.
Other than that, there’s the ABCDEFGHIO outlet. As you can guess, this will fit almost all types of plugs.
While universal sockets are useful, they have a couple of drawbacks.
First off, the outlets will be a little loose. To work with as many plugs as possible, the shape of the input ports will have to be general.
That means it won’t match the specific curves of the pins, the way most standard sockets do.
Aside from that, the voltage may not be suitable for all appliances. Since not all plugs need the same power, it’s almost impossible to find a voltage setting that’s universal.
Which country has the best power plug socket?
There are a few answers to this question. In terms of safety, the Type G sockets are usually the ideal way to go. In that case, the UK and the Middle East have the best outlets.
Although, if we look at it in terms of compatibility, then Type C sockets have the upper hand. This is because any device manufactured in Europe will work with these outlets.
I’m a writer and videographer living abroad with my family. I enjoy learning language, understanding new cultures, experiencing places less-traveled and helping others to do the same.