An overview of European electrical plugs

Curiua Team  —  November 6, 2018

Buying electronics from a different European Amazon store can be much cheaper, but electrical plugs vary from country to country. Thankfully 220 – 240 Volts is the standard mains supply across the EU and a simple adapter plug is usually enough to make the device compatible.

To make it easier to find out what kind of Adapter you need for your electronic device, we have created an overview of the most common plug types used in Europe:

Type C

This plug is as simple as an electric plug can get. Type C is used all over Europe except Malta, Cyprus, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. It has 2 rounded prongs – one is neutral and the other is live – and is used mainly for applications that require 2.5 amps or less. This is an ungrounded plug and compatible with socket types E, F, J, K, or N.

Type E

Rated at 16 amps, the Type E plug offers additional safety with a grounding connection. However, the grounding pin itself is permanently installed on the socket, not on the plug. To make the grounding feature work, the plug comes with a female contact that connects to a grounding pin on the socket. It is compatible with socket type C, E, and F.

Type F

The type F plug works just like type E, but has a different grounding connection. It uses two metal clips (one on each side) to make contact with the grounding pin on the socket. Type F is commonly used in Germany, Austria, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Portugal, Netherlands, Spain and most of Eastern Europe. It is compatible with socket types C, E, and F.

Type L

Used almost exclusively in Italy, the Type L plug comes in two different versions: one is rated at 10 amps and another at 16 amps. While either version has 3 prongs, the diameter and spacing of the prong make those two non-interchangeable. Type L is most commonly used in universal sockets that accept multiple plug types.

Type G

Also commonly referred to as "13 A Plug" this type is primarily used in the United Kingdom, although there are other non-European countries that have adopted it as well. It has 3 rectangular prongs and a built-in fuse, making it one of the safest electrical plugs. The type G socket even has a switch for additional safety.

*Note: all the electrical plugs listed above are used for 220V – 240V power mains. There is also a type E/F plug which is a combination of the two, featuring one female contact and one metal clip to accept grounding pins installed on either E or F socket types.

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