As anyone that has travelled internationally can attest, electrical sockets can vary from county to country. There are 12 different types of electrical sockets used internationally. Whether they have two flat slots or two circular holes, different sockets do the same basic job conveying electrical current. The differences come in each country's standard for the quantity and pressure of the current.
Type A and B
Types A and B sockets are found in North America. These have two flat, vertical inputs into which plugs fit. Type B sockets accommodate grounding poles, which are centred beneath the plug slots. Type A sockets lack the grounding pole. The plugs are 15 amps and 125 volts.
Type C sockets are also known as Europlugs, as they are used regularly throughout the continent. Type C are able to handle a number of different voltages and amperages. The versatility of Type C makes it the standard in Europe, the Middle East, the former Soviet republics and much of Africa.
Type D is a rounded, grounded socket that conducts 250 volts of electricity and is available in either 5- or 15-amp varieties. The plug is used widely in the Pacific subcontinent, as well as the African nations of Namibia and South Africa.
Type E sockets resemble the D socket, but with one difference: both have three rounded openings that fit rounded plugs. The Type E has a male prong sticking out of the top of the socket. This is standard in France, Belgium, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Compatible with the Type C Europlug, the Type F has exposed grounds at the top and bottom of the socket that are conducted upon contact. Type F is seen widely throughout Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Scandanavia, Portugal, the Netherlands and Turkey.
Also known as the British Standard plug, this is a 13-amp, 230- to 240-volt grounded socket. It gets its secondary name from its use throughout the former British colonies in Asia and Africa, as well as some Caribbean nations. Type G plugs have fuses built into the plug head, making the wall socket a constant source of current. For safety purposes, Type G sockets have wall flaps to protect people from electrocution.
Used primarily in Israel and Palestinian-controlled areas, this 16-amp, 250-volt socket has four rounded holes. Type H plugs have three pins, which permit multiple insertion directions.
The Type I socket most closely resembles the Type B socket. The plug has three flat inputs, laid out in a triangle. The flattened top poles are tilted outward at a 45-degree angle, while the bottom flat ground is straight. It is a 10-amp plug, carrying 240 volts of power, that is found primarily in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.
Types J and K
Standardised for use in Switzerland, the Type J socket resembles the Europlug, but has wider-set poles on top. Type J is a 10-amp, 250-volt socket. The Danish standard Type K is a 13-amp plug with a pair of rounded contacts next to each other. Centred below the pins is a semi-circle ground pin.
The Italian Type L socket is rated for either 10- or 16-amp usage. The socket has three symmetrical round holes, with the spacing of the holes different depending on the plug's amperage.