Museum of Plugs and Sockets logo, small Domestic socket standards
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Image left shows a display of sockets that can be found in homes and offices. Some countries allow only one domestic standard, others have adopted two or more standards*.
An overview of countries and standards used is given in the IEC list of World Plugs.

Image right shows the outlines of socket standards. Clicking on an outline opens the page that gives examples and details of the standard.
Names and basics of standards are summarized below.

Domestic sockets, images
World map with plug standards

a
CEE 7/1**. Unearthed socket standard, commonly used in continental Europe. The 19 mm spacing of contacts dates back to the early twentieth century. 19 mm became in 1924 the German standard for 6A and 10A plugs and sockets.
b CEE 7/3. Sockets that have earth clips. The original German name is Schuko (see Origin of Schuko page).
c CEI 23/50. Italian standard for 10A (c1) and 16A (c2) sockets. Often 10A and 16A contacts are combined; see Italian socket in the image left.
d AS/NZS 3112. Standard in Australia and New Zealand since 1937, based on a 1916 US design that never was approved by NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association, USA).
e CEE 7/5. The only domestic socket that has an earth pin. Often referred to as French type, but a comparison of manufacturer catalogs suggest that the type was on sale in Belgium prior to France. The origin is still a mystery.
f BS 1363. British standard for "fused plugs and shuttered socket-outlets", introduced in 1947. In the UK BS 1363 has effectively fully replaced BS 546 (see k) as domestic plug and socket.
g IEC 60906-1. Proposed in 1986 by the International Electrotechnical Commission as the universal household plug and socket. Brazil introduced in 2002 an adjusted version. South Africa adopted in 2013 the original IEC standard.
h SN 441011 (formerly SEV 1011). The 10A version (h1) was introduced in 1953, the 16A version (h2) in 1998. Swiss 10A plugs fit also in 16A sockets (but not the other way round).
k BS 546. British standard of earthed round pin plugs and sockets that dates back to 1928 (initially BS 317, renumbered 546 in 1934). Three versions exist: 15A (k1), 5A (k2) and a small 2A socket (not shown; nowadays uncommon).
l DS 107-2-D1. Danish standard section for earthed sockets and plugs. Outline shows the 13A diomestic socket.
m SI 32. Israeli standard. Initially Israel had 10A flat pin plugs. In the 1980s they were upgraded to 16A round pin plugs. Pin spacing remained comparable. The shown 16A socket accepts both 10A and 16A plugs, but these dual type sockets will gradually disappear.
n NEMA 5-15R. The prominent domestic 120V - 15A socket (Receptacle) in USA and Canada (see Origin of US plugs and sockets). Occasionally 120V-20A and 240V-15A sockets can be found in homes, but their straight blade configurations differ. In the 1940s NEMA, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, has defined a large number of US plug and socket standards.
o BS 4573. British, but de facto international, socket for shavers only, rated at 115-230 Volt - 0.2 Amp. Shaver sockets accept the following not earthed plugs: British BS 4573, Europlugs (CEE 7/16), straight blade NEMA 1-15P and Australian type not earthed flat blade plugs.
p USB type A. 5 Volt DC outlet for chargers of portable devices.The USB image is not clickable. USB outlets are not a part of the museum collection. It is shown only because it was part of a domestic socket.
Most types of domestic socket offer the option of an added USB outlet.

*
 
Countries that accept several standards of domestic plugs may have sockets that can be used for two or more "incompatible" plugs. A variety of dual or more complex multi-standard sockets exists. Some examples are shown on a separate page.

**

Publication CEE 7 by the former International Commission on the Rules for the Approval of Electrical Equipment (IECEE) defines standards for alternating current plugs and sockets for domestic and similar purposes.

 


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