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Electrical items from other European countries

This is an overview of the electrical items used in most of Europe (which are often, though not always, based on German standards). While generally fairly similar to Italian devices, there are still quite a few differences, primarily in the sockets (European wall boxes are different from modern Italian ones; thus, electrical accessories are designed totally differently) and in certain elements of the way power is distributed.

German-style ("Schuko") plugs and sockets

This style of plug is by far the most commonly used one in Europe, as well as some other places such as Russia and South Korea. Its main two features are the earth clips on the sides (designed to make contact first) and the recessed socket, which makes accidental contact with live pins impossible.

Standard Schuko socket

Rating: 16A 250V

This is a normal type of Schuko socket, as found in most places in Europe. It mounts to a standard European wall box (different from the modern Italian ones, although it will work in round boxes found in older houses), either using screws or metal "arms" that push outwards.

The socket is installed by removing a single screw on the front, which removes the front plastic piece. It is then possible to wire it up and install it, then the cover plate can be installed and finally the front plastic can be reinstalled.

Notably, this socket has safety shutters - not all countries in Europe mandate this universally, though shuttered sockets are generally always easily available in hardware stores, and often present on power strips or extension cords.

Double Schuko socket

Rating: 16A 250V

This socket solves a particular problem in a very clever way: how to fit two Schuko sockets in a normal wall box, which normally only has space for one? Of course, it can't create space where there isn't, but it does use the existing space inside the wall box very efficiently, in order to avoid having the socket protrude more than necessary.
This is achieved by keeping the contacts that the pins of the plugs connect to inside the space of the wall box, and thus the only thing that has to protrude outwards is the front plastic piece.

French plugs and sockets

French-style power sockets (CEE 7/6) are quite interesting, due to being one of the only sockets in use in residential installations to use a metal pin protruding from the socket as the earth connection, instead of side tabs, like on the German ones, or a hole like most other standards around the world.
This style of socket is used in some other countries as well, like Belgium, Poland, Czechia and Slovakia.

Standard French socket

Rating: 16A 250V

This particular socket is constructed almost identically as the Schuko one shown earlier, as they're both from the same manufacturer and built using very similar components, just with the earth pin and a different front plastic cover.

Rewireable French plugs and connector socket

Rating: 16A 250V

These are two rewireable French plugs and one connector socket (as used, for example, in extension cords). The first plug has the cord entry on the side, which generally looks better when plugged to a wall socket; the other type of plug and the socket seem to be made to be easily disconnected as they both feature large handles on the side.

One interesting feature of "standard" French-style plugs (compared to the CEE 7/7 ones, meant to work in both French and Schuko sockets) is that they are completely round - this prevents people from plugging them into Schuko sockets, since those have plastic pieces on the side which stop perfectly round plugs from fitting (plus the earth tabs would also be in the way).

French-style multi-way adaptor

Rating: 16A 250V

This is a three-way adaptor, meant to plug up to three devices into a single socket. The styling is somewhat similar to Schuko ones, since the shape of the plug is roughly the same, however since French sockets are polarised this one can only be plugged in in one way.

Notably, the plug used on this adaptor is French-only, instead of the CEE 7/17 one which would also work in Schuko sockets - this isn't common on all French multi-way adaptors, however, as other models were available which did in fact use a CEE 7/17 plug.

French-style power strip

Rating: 16A 250V (in theory)

This small power strip, which can connect up to three devices, isn't particularly dissimilar to equivalent Schuko ones. It features an illuminated light switch and a CEE 7/17 power cord.

There are, however, two noteworthy things about it: the first is that, despite the French sockets being polarised, only two are wired correctly - the third one, near the power switch is wired backwards compared to the one below it, since not having to have the contacts swap sides makes production much easier.

It's also noteworthy that, despite this power strip being rated at 3680W, the cord on it is of only 1mm2. This is quite concerning, as that's well below the maxium rating of that size of wire, especially under a plastic insulation.

Twistable French-style plug made by Legrand

Rating: 10/16A 250V

This design of plug is quite interesting, as it allows the cord grip to be placed in one of three orientations: left, down, or right. This is especially useful on French-style plugs, as they are polarised, so the plug can only fit one way and could potentially interfere with others on nearby sockets.

Non-earthed plugs and sockets

European unearthed plugs and sockets (CEE 7/2 and 7/1) have been moved to a separate page.

These 2-pin plugs and sockets, with a pin spacing of 19mm, were used extensively in most of Europe before earthed ones became common. Various variations exist, depending on the age of the devices and the countries they were produced in.

Both sockets and plugs can have a pin diameter of either 4.0mm (for plugs up to 10A) or 4.8mm (for 16A plugs). Sockets capable of accepting 4.8mm (and thus also 4.0mm) plugs were very common in most of Europe and can still be found in older homes, and (in some countries) replacements are still available. This style of socket is nowadays known as CEE 7/1.
One problem with those types of sockets is that they also accept Schuko and French-style plugs, despite lacking an earth connection of any sort.

Modern versions of non-earthed plugs

While the "classic" CEE 7/2 plugs with a round base have become quite rare nowadays, various non-earthed plugs are still in use, primarily the very popular Europlug (CEE 7/16 Alternative II) and the CEE 7/17 plug, generally used for more power-consuming appliances; some country-specific items may also exist.

Unearthed plugs in Italy

(vintage Italian non-earthed items are displayed in a separate page)

In Italy, 10A unearthed plugs, while generally uncommon, are available for purchase; the examples shown below will also fit in Schuko and French-style sockets.
Compared to older items, all of these have protective sleeving on their pins to protect against accidental contacts.

TEM "Modul" Europlug socket

Rating: 10A 250V

This non-earthed socket, from Slovenian manufacturer TEM, is very clearly based off of a design for an Italian 16A socket (which is also available as an option). Note that in Slovenia Italian plugs aren't common, so this socket makes sense to use purely with Europlugs (useful, as those are very extensively used on electronic devices).

On the back there are the usual screw terminals, with a very obvious hole where the one for the (missing) earth terminal would have been. Note that the device also has the logo of the SIQ, the Slovenian certification agency.

CEE 7/17 to dual Europlug adaptor

Rating: 6A 250V

This adaptor is quite useful to connect two devices using Europlugs to a single Schuko or French-style socket. It's also, cleverly, shaped so that multiple of these adaptors can be used next to each other on power strips, even ones with sockets at a 45° angle (which is quite common).

Other items

Modern lightswitch with screwless terminals

Rating: 10A 250V

This double lightswitch, made by Legrand, is very elegant and modern-looking.
Its main feature however is the style of terminals used to connect the wires: it uses screwless terminals, something that's slowly becoming more common in Europe and which allows for a much easier and quicker installation.

The way screwless terminals work depends on the specific manufacturer, however on this device wires are installed or removed from a specific terminal by pushing on a small lever next to the terminal. Once let go, this holds the wire extremely well and doesn't allow it to be removed (even if force is applied) unless the button is pushed again.

Diazed fuses

Diazed fuses were the standard type of fuse used in most of Europe (although, as mentioned previously, they weren't as popular in Italy), and can still be found in many older homes. They're a very clever design: the fuse is bottle-shaped, with the neck having different thicknesses depending on its rating. This interfaces cleverly with the fuse holder, a standard Edison socket, which contains a special ring-shaped piece which only allows the correct size of fuse to fit. Different sizes of Diazed fuse exist, with the larger ones generally being used for higher currents (such as main fuses to a house), however the generally most commonly-used size is DII.

Contrary to the fuse types used in North America, which also used an E27 screw socket, the Diazed fuses don't directly screw into the fuse holder - a separate lid is used instead, which the fuse slots into.
Additionally, once the fuse is blown a small metal piece, present on the base of the fuse and coloured differently depending on the fuse rating, pops out. This can be seen thanks to a window on the fuse lid and is very helpful to find out which of the fuses needs to be replaced - for example, gray is used for 16A fuses and yellow for 25A ones.

IEC 60309 - Industrial plugs and sockets

This family of industrial plugs and sockets is widely used in 230V countries for single- and three-phase industrial, commerical or heavy duty applications. They're available in a variety of types, with different pin configurations and current and voltage ratings.

The most commonly used versions are the 16A single phase, three phase with neutral, and three phase without neutral versions, though other ones exist for different voltages (125V and lov voltage, for example).

Industrial three-phase 16A plug

Rating: 16A 415V

This particular example is a 5-pin three-phase plug, rated at 16A 380-415V. The five pins are for the three phases (L1, L2, L3), earth (PE) and the neutral connection (N); versions of this connector also exist that don't have a neutral connection, for use with balanced loads such as motors.

The plug is held together without any screws: to open it up a plastic clip has to be pushed in with a screwdriver and then the body of the plug is rotated, revealing the connections. The terminals are shrouded by plastic, to protect against any water leakage (the plug has an IP44 rating); additionally, the earth terminal is longer and has two screws to ensure a strong connection.

Danish plugs and sockets

Danish plugs and sockets are fairly similar to the standard ones used in Europe, however they have a significant difference, as the plugs use a third pin (shaped like a semicircle) for the earth connection, similarly to other standards around the world, instead of side contacts like on Schuko plugs.

Because of this, the sockets (which are generally well-known for looking very happy) are effectively very similar to the classic CEE 7/1 non-earthed sockets, but with a hole for the earth pin, and will thus (unlike Schuko or French sockets) also accept old CEE 7/2 plugs.

Standard Danish power socket

Rating: 16A 250V

This is a standard type of Danish socket as found in most houses in Denmark. Compared to the Schuko sockets found in most parts of Europe, this type is polarised (that is, live and neutral are irreversible). This power socket also features a safety shutter mechanism, which is a compulsory feature in Denmark.

The face of the power outlet also presents a slight recess, however it's considerably less deep than on other types of sockets; because of this, it doesn't entirely prevent the pins of the plugs - which, at least on earthed ones, are unsleeved - from being touchable.
However the recess is deep enough that it should at least help prevent most types of accidental contacts, especially given the fairly large shape of the plugs.

Note that not all Danish outlets do have a recess; ones without it are allowed, but they have to have a power switch to turn the power to the socket off (like on UK sockets, though that's not compulsory there) as a sort of safety feature to prevent touching the live pins (though obviously not the best one, since someone could just forget to use the switch).

The front of the socket unclips, revealing the mounting screws, which, very unusually, are Torx, as well as the colour-coded pushable levers for the screwless wire connections on the back (a fairly unusual feature).
The device seems to mount similarly to older types of European electrical accessories, with two side arms (normally kept together with an elastic band) that push to the side of the wall-box. However, this socket is far too small to utilise a normal European-style box; evidently there must be a different type in use in Denmark, though I can't find any info about this.

The main problem with Danish sockets, despite them not being overall a terrible design (though, as described here, they do still have some issues), is that they can accept earthed Schuko and French-style power plugs (which are quite common in Denmark), but without providing an earth connection.

Adaptors that solve this problem do of course exist, however from my understanding they're not always used, since to the end user an earthed device plugged into this type of socket will "just work", but obviously without this very important safety feature.

Danish power plugs

Rating: 16A 250V

Earthed Danish power plugs are generally fairly similar to other round European plugs seen before, however of course their notable feature is the fact that they use an earth pin instead of side contacts (Schuko) or a hole (French).

While this is similar to other plug standards around the world, such as the Italian, British or American ones, the earth pin is, unusually, shorter, a feature not found on any other standard. Thankfully the sockets do still ensure that the earth is connected first and disconnected last, but because of the shorter earth pin it means that the contacts have to stick out quite far.

This other type of plug is quite similar to the one shown before, but with the cord at a 90° angle. This is quite useful in case there's something in front of the socket, like furniture or the appliance itself.

Connector socket

Rating: 16A 250V

This is a connector socket, as used on things like extension cords. It's quite similar to the socket shown earlier, but there are some differences with this one as well. This socket has a quite deep recess, definitely much deeper than the one shown before, which allows for full protection against touching live parts. Additionally, the hole for the earth contact on this socket is round rather than a semicircle.

Swiss plugs and sockets

Swiss plugs and sockets have quite a lot of differences to the ones used in the rest of Europe. Most plugs and sockets are rated at 10A; they have a sort of hexagonal shape and are polarised. Their small size means that it's possible to fit three Swiss sockets in the same space as a single Schuko one; additionally, 16A single-phase and 10 and 16A three-phase versions are also available.

T12 plugs

Rating: 10A 250V

These are two examples of a Swiss T12 plug, the main type of plug used in Switzerland.
It is somewhat similar to the 10A Italian plug, however the earth pin isn't in the middle, which means that the plug is polarised: it can only be inserted in one way.

Both are older models - because of this, neither of them features any sort of sleeving on the pins. It should be noted however that newer Swiss sockets are recessed, so this wouldn't be as big of a problem there.

The second plug doesn't feature a cord grip, however it does have some ridges on the moulding to make it easier to plug in and unplug.

"Resista" hybrid socket, and T12 plug

Rating: 10A 250V

This is an interesting Swiss socket, and the plug that went along with it.
It is branded as "Resista", and it's a T14 socket that's also compatible with T12 plugs.
T14 was the standard of plugs used before the T12 one used nowadays; when it was replaced by the T12 standard for a brief period you could buy these types of sockets that were compatible with both types of plugs. The socket has an earth pin since T14 plugs required the socket itself to have an earth pin - just like with the French sockets. However, T14 sockets are not compatible with French plugs.

T14 plug

Rating: 10A 250V

As mentioned above, this was the style of plug used in Switzerland before the current one. Its main feature is that the earth connection is done using a pin in the socket (which means that the plug has a hole corresponding to that) instead of the pin being on the plug itself like on most other standards.

The main reason for the switch to the current T12 standard was that, like with the French ones, this plug can be inserted into non-earthed sockets, thus defeating the protective earth connection.