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Plug vs. Plug — Which Nation's Socket Is Best?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the one-vote-for-three-prong-american dept.

Power 1174

CNETNate writes "Is the American mains socket really so much worse than the Italian design? And does the Italian socket fail at rivaling the sockets in British homes? This feature explores, in a not-at-all-parodic-and-anecdotal fashion, the designs, strengths and weaknesses of Earth's mains adapters. There is only one conclusion, and you're likely not to agree if you live in France. Or Italy. Or in fact most places." (For more plug pics and details, check out Wikipedia's list of the ones in current use.)

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No. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983160)

I did not agree with the tiny 10-page article that barely had enough substance for 1 physical paper.

Re:No. (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983286)

I did not agree with the tiny 10-page article that barely had enough substance for 1 physical paper.

It's worse than that. I hate to spoil the ending for you but he comes to the conclusion that the British outlet is the greatest with a 10 out of 10 score. Why? Safety features. Features like shuttering and built in fuses. Both of which are optional on American outlets [amazon.com] as well -- I'm sure -- as they are on outlets around the world. Maybe they're standard in the UK but they're optional in the US. I'd rather have the option than even more regulation. Also, the picture for the US is ungrounded. I'm beginning to think this article was written by someone who's never really cared to understand the diversity of plugs in countries other than his own (which I would never use in the US and very rarely see). Nationalistic garbage is about all this amounts to. Yawn.

Re:No. (0, Troll)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983614)

I did not agree with the tiny 10-page article that barely had enough substance for 1 physical paper.

It's worse than that. I hate to spoil the ending for you but he comes to the conclusion that the British outlet is the greatest with a 10 out of 10 score. Why? Safety features. Features like shuttering and built in fuses. Both of which are optional on American outlets [amazon.com] as well -- I'm sure -- as they are on outlets around the world. Maybe they're standard in the UK but they're optional in the US. I'd rather have the option than even more regulation. Also, the picture for the US is ungrounded. I'm beginning to think this article was written by someone who's never really cared to understand the diversity of plugs in countries other than his own (which I would never use in the US and very rarely see). Nationalistic garbage is about all this amounts to. Yawn.

"I'd rather have the option than even more regulation": how stereotypically American.

"Nationalistic garbage is about all this amounts to": pot vs kettle methinks.

Re:No. (4, Funny)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983836)

"I'd rather have the option than even more regulation": how stereotypically American.

Then how is it that Americans created Mac OS X while a Finn created Linux?

Re:No. (4, Informative)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983878)

The 2008 NEC requires shuttering outlets in the US. It's just a matter of time.

Re:No. (-1, Redundant)

diskis (221264) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983886)

Fuse? Who needs that when the entire house is wired with circuit breakers [wikipedia.org] . Fast enough to save your life if you drop the hairdryer into the bathtub.
Most new houses have those, and then it doesn't matter if your outlets and plugs are old coat hangers.

Re:No. (2, Informative)

shadow349 (1034412) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983926)

Features like shuttering and built in fuses. Both of which are optional on American outlets as well

Thanks to the electrical manufacturers, "shuttering" is no longer optional for residential installations that follow NEC 2008 or later (406.11).

Re:No. (1)

Anonymous Codger (96717) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983288)

I'll have to take your word for it seeing as how it's already Slashdotted.

US vs UK... (0, Redundant)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983196)

So they rated the US as the worse and the UK as the best. However they only looked at non-grounded, 110v outlets without GFI for the US and it's a UK publication. Frankly, other then the voltage (220 vs 110) and the orientation, UK and US are identical.

Whole thing seems more then a little biased.

Re:US vs UK... (5, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983296)

UK plugs are about double the size, have significantly thicker pins and have a fuse built in.

Other than that, identical.

Re:US vs UK... (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983392)

UK size is smaller or comparable to US 220v and GFI is better then a fuse in my opinion.

Re:US vs UK... (2, Insightful)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983680)

In my experience a lot of brits don't even realize we have single phase 220v to most homes.

Thus they probably aren't aware that there are US 220v sockets and plugs to compare theirs with.

But without a built-in fuse and shutters in the outlet they'll still rate theirs as superior.

OTOH, considering how many times most people actually unplug their stove, water heater, or clothes dryer, I'd wager that statistically the US plug is the safer of the two.

Re:US vs UK... (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983732)

You have to really work at electrocuting yourself on a GFI outlet. I dont consider the covers and fuse to be a better option.

Re:US vs UK... (5, Informative)

adamgundy (836997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983474)

and the plastic guards across the power pin sockets that only open when the earth pin is inserted.. prevents little fingers etc.

oh, and they always (almost always, not on really old sockets) have a switch next to each socket so you can turn them on/off.

Re:US vs UK... (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983900)

do you know if those switches are "hot switches" that can handle repeated cutting in and out under power, like to turn a trouble light off by flipping the switch instead of pulling the power cord? My hair dryer power switch died so it's now set to always on, and I have to pull the cord to turn it off etc so the plug is getting a little arced up from the power surges. I know switches that aren't meant for that can have the same problem.

Re:US vs UK... (1, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983496)

Sounds like the UK ones are massively overengineered, inconvenient, and introduce extra points of failure unnecessarily.

Hm?

Re:US vs UK... (5, Funny)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983628)

Oh yes, that switch, the fuse in the plug and the protective plastic cover over the live socket must add something like 1p to each socket in whatever Chinese prison they're being made in this week. Sure, they last forever and save lives, but it's just too much of an expense for me.

Re:US vs UK... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983670)

And they leak oil.

Re:US vs UK... (2, Insightful)

Sandbags (964742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983844)

Actually, the little security flap adds about $0.08 to the cost of a socket (about $1 retail given markup). The inline fuse is differnt from a GFI, and instead of allowing the device to die a horrible death and trigger the GFI, it protects the devices from surges in the first place. They use GFI in the breaker box (as the breakers in my new house here in the US also do and it's not the builkding standard in this state as opposed to the expensive GFI sokets I needed all over the place in the old house). Their inline fuse is cheap and simple.

For the cost of a box, outlet, and cover plate, the UK socket might cost $2 more than a US one. Its safer and also protects devices with an additional surge protection barrier (so you don't need a surge stip for every fracking outlet you have more than a lamp plugged into).

Further, because they use round connectors, not flat, it's far less likely you'll bend up a plug, and it's also harder to find household objects you could stick in the hole in the first place. It;s not exactly often i bend up a connetor real bad, but when ui had a dog it more more frequent, and more than once I've had to solder on a new endpiece, which is really a bitch to do btw without the proper tools.

I'm not condoning everyone rip out all their outlets, I'm simply suggesting all new outlets come with a cover and fuse starting now, and all appliances start coming with a newer, better connector (and an adapter to use an older outlet).

People might compain, but they made the same complaint years ago when we added the 3rd prong and people started needing adapters for those. We got over it, and will again.

Re:US vs UK... (4, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983616)

UK plugs are about double the size, have significantly thicker pins and have a fuse built in.

Worst pick-up line ever.

Re:US vs UK... (1)

zsazsa (141679) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983322)

The British people are strangely proud of the ungainly BS 1363 plug [wikipedia.org] . No surprise at all that it won the comparison.

Re:US vs UK... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983324)

They also completely failed to mention sheer size. British mains plugs are fucking enormous. That might be fine for AC blowers and electric kettles, which are big anyway and draw a fair bit of current; but it is annoying and ridiculous for the ever growing crop of little tiny switchmode adapters that power the gizmos and gadgets of modern life.

Re:US vs UK... (2, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983336)

UK plugs are quite a bit more sturdy -- you can't bend a prong on a UK mains plug with hand strength. They do take up a bit more wall space though.

The voltage isn't a trivial issue either. More volts to the wall means the house wiring doesn't need to carry as many amps and less fire/electrocution risk.

Re:US vs UK... (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983630)

To be fair, most houses have 220v as well as 110v (check behind your dryer). 220v requires MUCH more expensive wiring and the US 220v outlets & plugs are if anything more sturdy then the UK and have things like twist-to-lock safety features.

Re:US vs UK... (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983906)

Is the use of right-angles from the wire to the socket standardised or just a result of the standard design? I find it prevents people pulling plugs out which is also good for safety (this is compared to the fairly beefy but straight plugs they use in Spain)

Re:US vs UK... (0, Flamebait)

sbrown123 (229895) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983416)

The article is from the U.K., so what do you expect? Brits have to find something to feel superior about despite having bad teeth and breath, even if they have to "look over" things like the U.S. grounding plug and GFI sockets.

Re:US vs UK... (5, Informative)

Brit_in_the_USA (936704) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983426)

As a British person living in the USA I notice that the majority of my sockets outside kitchen and bathroom are not GFI protected (either at the socket or the fuse panel) and that most appliances do not use an Earth Pin.

I also am in awe that socket adapters are legally sold that convert non earthed sockets into earthed sockets and light bulb sockets into earthed sockets, the safety implications are huge. I think it is a fair assessment to use 110V non earth sockets as many home have them.

I also notice that no appliance I own in the USA uses insulation on the live pins of the plug to prevent accidental shocks when the plug is slightly out of the socket, none of the sockets contain safety shutters and that 110V cords to high wattage appliances such as vacuum cleaners get warm and the lights change brightness when I switch such appliances on and off. IMO the British home electrical system is much better than the USA system and I have tried to view it impartially over the years.

Re:US vs UK... (2, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983542)

I agree that plenty of devices in the U.S. don't use a ground pin, but I've rarely seen appliances with no ground. Have you really seen a refrigerator or a microwave or something with no ground pin?

Re:US vs UK... (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983572)

GFI outlets cost less then 10$ each for a 20amp model. If people want to save the cost of a sandwich on outlets I for one wont stop em.

But for me, its worth the extra couple bucks.

Re:US vs UK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983586)

I'm in the US, the last time I had an electrician in my house, he installed the new outlets upside down, meaning the ground was on top. I don;t remeber if he said it was required or it was just because it was safer. Either way, I;ve never electrocuted myself or know of anyone that has from touching the metal prongs while plugging or unpluggin a device. The socket adapters have a ground wire pin that attachs to the center screw which is required to be grounded. I have not seen non grounded outlets (standard two prong) in years so I assume they do not meet current code either.

Re:US vs UK... (4, Interesting)

jridley (9305) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983772)

I started doing that when I saw them installed consistently like that in an industrial situation, but I didn't fully understand the reason. I do know that plugs are less likely to pull out due to weight on the plug like that.

Finally I asked an electrician. He said the reason is that if something falls on the plug, pulls it partly out, and makes contact with the prongs, it hits the earthing pin first rather than possibly hitting the hot lead first.

Re:US vs UK... (2, Interesting)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983606)

They sell 2-prong to 3-prong adapters because you typically attach the ground to the cover screw via a small prong or wire. Since ground and neutral are tied together in the breaker box, you have the same safety of the a 3-wire system in a 2-wire system, minus the redundancy of an extra ground.

The problem is people don't hook up ground adapter.

Re:US vs UK... (4, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983644)

And you know what? The number of times the average American has been shocked by his plugs: 0.

Re:US vs UK... (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983780)

Lets not forget that the UK had to release a document covering injuries from cookies (biscuits). Seems half the nation has been injured by them at some point...

Re:US vs UK... (5, Funny)

c_sd_m (995261) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983820)

Yay, I've above average!

Re:US vs UK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983916)

And you know what? The number of times the average American has been killed due to a plane flying into his place of work: 0.

So clearly terrorism is no big deal, right?

It always amazes me that people can be against a regulation that costs almost nothing and saves lives. If you could catch a serial killer for almost no investment, you'd do it.

Re:US vs UK... (5, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983754)

Man up.

If you can't handle a bit of unprotected metal carrying 110V and fake grounded adaptors you're not cut out for this continent.

110 vs 220 (2, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983890)

OTOH, 110 is far less likely to whack you on your ass if you DO get shocked!

Re:US vs UK... (1, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983894)

I also notice that no appliance I own in the USA uses insulation on the live pins of the plug to prevent accidental shocks when the plug is slightly out of the socket,

Which it turns out is not actually a problem in real life. In 36 years in this country neither I nor anyone I know of has ever been shocked in that manner. Yes it's conceivable and I'm sure someone has done it somewhere but it really just isn't a problem. We've got a pretty detailed electrical code and I'm quite sure if it was a serious problem it would have been addressed.

none of the sockets contain safety shutters

They are available if you want them. My car (a Honda Ridgeline) has a 110V outlet with safety shutters actually. You can get them from any Home Depot or Lowes hardware store for use in your home. You also can get plugs to prevent access to the sockets when not in use. Again though, not really a serious problem.

and that 110V cords to high wattage appliances such as vacuum cleaners get warm

I suggest you buy better quality equipment then. If you buy a wire that is too small for the application this might happen. Any wire that is too thin for the power demands on it will overheat. This is how fuses work. Doesn't happen on my vacuum cleaner though - at least not that I can tell without a very accurate thermometer.

and the lights change brightness when I switch such appliances on and off.

Unless you are overloading the circuit, that almost certainly has nothing to do with the appliance. That means the power you have going to the outlet is either insufficient or of poor quality. For instance I had a loose neutral wire on my house last year which made everything flicker because the voltages were bouncing between 98V and 135V. Once the power company secured the neutral connection it's been rock steady ever since.

IMO the British home electrical system is much better than the USA system and I have tried to view it impartially over the year

Clearly...

Re:US vs UK... (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983918)

In the 2008 NEC, nearly all outlets will be required to have combination AFCI and GFCI breakers, as well as shuttered outlets.

2008 NEC is already in effect in several states, and will be in effect nationwide in a few years. States and localities aren't forced to adopt it, but most do.

Biased (1)

heffrey (229704) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983610)

I think it was meant as a humorous wind-up!

Depends on your criteria (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983202)

The British electrical plug is the safest, but also the most expensive.

Re:Depends on your criteria (3, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983376)

No, this [wikimedia.org] one is the safest because the plugs screw in for a secure fit. Why it isn't already used in wall sockets is anybody's guess.

Re:Depends on your criteria (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983588)

There is no earth.

Re:Depends on your criteria (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983824)

There is no earth.

Great. Now what am I going to do with all these turtles?

Re:Depends on your criteria (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983666)

Because people don't want to twist up their power cords?

Re:Depends on your criteria (1)

I_am_Rambi (536614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983748)

The best plug is a Speakon [wikipedia.org] connector. You twist to make the connection, it locks in place. If modified (for a ground pin) you could easily have the ground connect first in any plug. With the design, its hard to have any key or item go into the either plug. Now only if they could be used for power instead of just for audio/video.

Re:Depends on your criteria (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983806)

My great-grandmother used to tell when she was small they had porcelain light-sockets installed on the walls as power outlets. This was a professional installation by the power company/electricians. You would use those screw-socket to 2 prong adapters to get a regular outlet.

This would be about 1915 in Kansas.

Re:Depends on your criteria (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983382)

True about the criterium thing. I think the American plugs have better "rectum feel."

Re:Depends on your criteria (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983522)

God forbid safety comes before savings.

Re:Depends on your criteria (2, Insightful)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983904)

God forbid safety comes before savings.

Why should safety vs savings be immune to a normal cost/benefit analysis?

How many people are significantly (or even mildly) injured due to the design of the standard US plug? How many fewer are injured with the UK plug? Now, how much does it cost a society (taking everything into account, from the cost a table lamp to the cost of a meal at a restaurant which uses appliances with these plugs) to mandate the use the UK plug over the US plug?

Safety over savings is a laudable goal, but taking it too far or removing personal responsibility (for example, by a totalitarian nanny state) can be just as detrimental as having no safety at all.

Re:Depends on your criteria (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983758)

The British electrical plug is the safest,

Safety of the plug is less important if you are only dealing with 110V. And as for the built-in fuse: how many plugs are actually fitted with a fuse that is appropriately rated for the device it connects?

The British plug has undergone a change some time back which does make it a lot more safe: encasing the upper ends of the live and neutral pins in plastic, so that one can't touch the metal of the live pin when inserting or removing the plug while it is actually live.

What I hate are those blanking plates that are sold as a child safety device. Since the plate is held in place using a plastic earth pin, it actually opens the shutters that normally prevent access to the live socket. I think that people who buy these plates don't understand the safety features built into a UK 13A socket.

PoW (1)

arhhook (995275) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983204)

I wonder what happens when Power over Wireless becomes widely used.

Re:PoW (3, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983270)

We all save on electrolysis?

Re:PoW (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983428)

The American obesity epidemic will be replaced with the global mysterious-third-degree-burns epidemic?

Irony (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983222)

From TFA:
"We do have some things going for us though. Our health system means if we get ill, we get treated -- and our power plugs are excellent. "

Right under the picture of a NEMA 5-15R.

Re:Irony (-1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983636)

Unless you're over age 80, then the organization called "NICE" will turn nasty and deny certain procedures.

Even if you're young they'll often say no..... like the British college girl who appeared on CNN. She wanted a PAP smear to detect cervical cancer early in life, and was over-ruled three years in a row by NICE. Then at age 24 she developed pain down below and sure-enough, she had cancer, but at this point it's already too late.

um no (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983232)

8 fucking pages with two small paragraphs on each page? fuck. off.

Gizmodo covered this about a week ago (5, Informative)

cabjf (710106) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983250)

There already is an international standard. The problem is that no one is going to invest a ton of money to scrap their current system (pun?) and switch over to it.

http://gizmodo.com/5391271/giz-explains-why-every-country-has-a-different-fing-plug [gizmodo.com]

Re:Gizmodo covered this about a week ago (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983692)

I'm surprised that there aren't a bunch of multi-plugs built into houses, then. Sort of like what they do for dual-gauge railways [wikipedia.org] .

Poll (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983264)

We already know what Slashdot readers think. [slashdot.org]

As I found out on my trip from the US to the UK (1)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983266)

Many laptop makers (and probably makers of other electronics too) design their power supplies to be universal. All you need to change is the (usually removable) cable that goes from the outlet to the transformer. I was able to charge my American Macbook by taking the cable out of the clock radio in my room and plugging it into the little square Macbook transformer box thingy. Since that's a feature they don't even bother advertising, I imagine it's cheap and easy enough to make no one's socket better than anyone else's.

Re:As I found out on my trip from the US to the UK (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983584)

Discovered this when I lived in Germany as well. I had a power adaptor with a US plug. The apple store there had me go around the corner to a audio shop. Showed them the adaptor, they could one that went from the adaptor to the wall and it cost me E1.50. Worked the entire time I was over there, but the transformer ran hot. I mean really, really hot. I'm pretty sure that's why I had to buy a new one when a few weeks of returning to the states after living in Germany for almost a year.

Re:As I found out on my trip from the US to the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983892)

AFAIK, the only difference between the US and European power supplies is the plug.

Apple (and other manufactures) have had several recalls on laptop power supplies for fire/heat issues. Most likely you just had a bad unit.

Re:As I found out on my trip from the US to the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983760)

It is easy to do now thanks to switching power supplies - also the reason why your phone charger is so little and light. Switching power supplies are much cheaper than old transformer ones.

Another big bonus for the manufacturer is that they only have to stock/make one version for all countries. That is why you will often find your new TV comes with a few different cables, for different kinds of socket, and has German text in the manual.

Plugs? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983280)

Sometimes I see a question that is so ridiculously picky that I have to stop and say to myself, "Am I really going to waste me time with this? Why do I even care about this? Aren't there better things to do with my life?" This is one of those questions.

(Obligatory XKCD: http://xkcd.com/198/)

UK is the worst (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983292)

Everybody who ever looked at a UK powerbar know why UK plugs suck

Server Not Plugged In (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983302)

What plug was their server using? It seems to have slipped out...

Re:Server Not Plugged In (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983374)

I hope their plug design allows one to yank it out fast because it's slashdotted and probably smoking right now.

Too many pages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983310)

Is it really neccessary to spead the article over 10 pages, each of which has approximately 1 paragraph?

So, UK has the best plugs... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983320)

... and apparently the worst servers...

Is this really front page news? (4, Funny)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983326)

Seriously, why don't you just post "Nothing happened today" in big letters on the front page?

Re:Is this really front page news? (3, Funny)

whatajoke (1625715) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983714)

Because "nothing happened today" will become dupe soonish?

Re:Is this really front page news? (0, Redundant)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983834)

Why isn't the parent modded "insightful"?

Re:Is this really front page news? (1)

Fishchip (1203964) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983930)

Because it's more fun to watch people flip out over a mains standard.

Swiss (2, Interesting)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983338)

Of the various plugs and sockets I've spent time living with (Australian, US, European, British), my personal favourite is the Swiss one. Small, secure, strong and aesthetically pleasing. The habit the Swiss have of also integrating a socket with most light switches is also quite useful.

Swiss best design (1)

achowe (829564) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983340)

IMO the Swiss plug design is the best I've seen, compared to North America, Australia, European (France & friends), and the British. The Brit plug has to be the worst bulky design; the European design is so but very difficult when you use transformers on power bars. The Aussie design is a little on the large side.

This article sucks. (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983344)

This article sucks. This made the front page of slashdot? Really? Come on! This isn't news and my cat knows more about electricity than the writers of this crud.

Better idea (3, Interesting)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983362)

If there was some move to rewire the entire world with a single residential standard I'd vote for NEMA L15.

Single-phase power is a hack.

Article summary (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983394)

Article summary (score out of 10):

10- UK
9 - Denmark
8 - Italy
2 - Australia
1 - USA (no surprise)
1 - Japan (surprise)
0 - EU

I suspect bias. I also suspect this article was meant to be humourous. BTW an American plug can handle 15 amps easily; it's how I run my spare heater.

Re:Article summary (2, Interesting)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983708)

I find the low score for Aussie plugs surprising. I wonder if they're examining the new (shielded conductor) plugs, or the old unshielded ones.

Really? (-1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983422)

Have the British really decided on a single socket/plug? Last I heard, there were over 100 different plug types in use in the UK. Most appliances came with bare wires that you had to put your own plug on.

Anyway, in the US there are several 220V standard plugs depending on the amperage. Things like dryer, stoves and >5 HP electrical motors use them.

Re:Really? (2, Informative)

carvell (764574) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983524)

Yes, the British have "really decided" - a long time ago too! Stuff hasn't come with just bare wires for ages. I hesitate to suggest an actual number of years, because someone will come along and prove to me that there's one appliance left that still comes with bare wires for some odd reason or another, but I'll stick my neck out and say it's been well over a decade!

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983768)

If I had to put a number on it I'd say its 20 years since I saw an electrical device without a plug sold in the UK

Re:Really? (4, Informative)

EEDAm (808004) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983782)

I dunno when you last heard that from someone. Bare wire appliances haven't been sold since the 70's or early 80's in my memory (no doubt there's an exception somewhere). And the 100 plug thing is just bizarre. It's a single UK standard plug and that's it and has been since I can remember (I'm 40).

OMG Ponies! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983464)

US plug design makes the cutest face. (Well, okay, the face actually looks kind of like the original Capt. Pike [wikimedia.org] , but still better than theirs.)

Re:OMG Ponies! (1)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983558)

omg me!

Perfect article for Arthur Weasley (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983526)

He collected plugs and batteries, didn't he?

That website SUCKS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983668)

Can't read page 2, half the other pages time out. I thought CNET was supposed to be something other than a rinky dink POS single server blog site. Maybe it's because of the SUCKY laws and internet service in the UK.

I see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983682)

what you did there [wikipedia.org]

Sorry, American socket takes top honors... (3, Funny)

pastafazou (648001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983686)

America [famouswhy.com] gave birth to the ultimate socket.

Biased... (1)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983718)

.. but I have to say (sorry never experienced the swiss socket someone posted about already) that the British plug just seems to give so much more secure a connection when plugged into the wall, very stable. When using a euro or US plug I always feel like it is just going to fall out of the wall of its own accord. And yes the on off switch we have next to each socket saves a lot of wear and tear on plugging/unplugging - you know - to save the planet. Yes, its a little bit more bulky, but is that a real reason not to like it unless you are a weakling (most /. readers maybe?). Doesn't make a difference to me. Up there with the best. Makes me proud to be British (small tear trickles down cheek).

Worst ad laden pages ever. (1)

laci (37234) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983744)

8 pages; only 11 (eleven) lines on the first page; not navigable without javascript enabled; no printable page option.

Remind me never to go to cnet's page...

--Laci

Smiley Face Plugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983750)

Several map out to smileys

"Oh Noes!" :O [wikimedia.org]
"Boooo >:o" [wikipedia.org]

And last, but not least,

"Oh Hai! :D" [wikipedia.org]

Cnet.uk's plugs are no good (1)

cadeon (977561) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983796)

Site is pretty much slashdotted at the moment.

Slashdotted (1)

Borommakot_15 (1259510) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983858)

Woo?

Safety? (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983862)

Go with a nice IEC 309 connector. Water/dust proof and if you trip on it, it's not coming apart. Though the NEMA twis lock ones (Nema LX-YY) are nice too.

"The Italian design" (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983874)

The question for Italy is "Which Italian design"? Italy has several 220V outlet styles which are in active use. The UK used to have a couple of round pin designs also in common use, but these have pretty much gone the way of the dodo (except for some specialst uses).

I loved the "europlugs" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983880)

When I was in both Spain and France they used them, Spain actually had several different standards, this was the late 80s. The old two hole plug literally came from the idea that you could always just strip down the wires and stick them in the holes if you didn't have a plug. Can you say unsafe fire hazzard! The plugs themselves are fine it's just the fact that people do just strip wires and stick them in the holes that make them dicey. People rarely do that with US plugs even though the US one are tricker to use.

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