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Why Some Countries Use Multiple Plug Patterns

Video Transcript

Ralph Bright—
Hello, I’m Ralph Bright, Vice President of Marketing and IT at Interpower.

We have real people answering the phones each day at Interpower which means we receive a number of product design questions.

Usually if a question has been asked by one person, it means that others also have the same question.

One commonly asked question is: “If a country uses multiple plug patterns, why can’t you tell me which one to use?”

To answer this question, we have Jon Zobel, Molding Supervisor. Welcome, Jon.

Jon Zobel—
Thank you, Ralph.

Why are there multiple plug patterns in some countries?

Many countries around the world historically have had a number of outside influences which have contributed to allowing more than one plug pattern.

Please give some examples.

One example is Vietnam in Southeast Asia. This country has had the influence of several countries in its history. As a result, it uses the Continental European, the Europlug, the North American NEMA, and the France/Belgium plug patterns. Another example is Guyana [gy-AH-nuh] in South America. Plug patterns that are used include the United Kingdom, India, and North American NEMA.

What do you recommend to do if there are multiple plug patterns within a country?

Plug patterns differ by countries in shape and size with different functions. Each type also adheres to different national and/or international standards which dictate physical and electrical characteristics. When there are several different plug patterns available within a country, we recommend that you contact your customer in that specific country to see which plug type is being used where the equipment is being sent.

To help you determine which plug is used per a specific country, Interpower offers a helpful tool called Guide to Worldwide Plug and Socket Patterns and Power Mains. This chart can help you determine the plug type used and it also gives the voltage and frequency for that specific country. To access it, please see our website at

Thank you Jon for the information and thank you for joining us today.

If you have a question that you would like answered, please let us know by e-mailing us at or calling us at 1–800–662–2290. For more information, check our website at