There are currently 15 different kinds of electrical plugs and outlets for domestic applications. Each kind has been assigned a letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with O.
Type A plugs & outlets
A type A plug has 2 parallel prongs and is used in North and Central America, and Japan.
Type B plugs & outlets
This plug has a U-shaped or round ground pin. The official name of this plug is NEMA 5-15 in the USA and CS22.2, n° 42 in Canada.
Type C plugs & outlets
Type C outlets and plugs are used in every European countries, except the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta. This plug is called Europlug and its official name is CEE 7/16.
Widely used in Europe and some regions of South America and Asia.
Type D plugs & outlets
Type D plugs and outlets are almost exclusively used in India and Nepal.
Type E plugs & outlets
Type E outlets are very similar to type C, but with an earth pin.
Mainly used in Belgium, France, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Tunisia and Morocco.
Type F plugs & outlets
Type F outlets and plugs are used in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and Eastern Europe. Type F plug is also called CEE 7/4 or Schuko plug. Schuko is the acronym of Schutzkontakt, which in German means protection contact or safety contact. This plug was originally designed in Germany. It is not perfectly round as it has two plastic notches on the left and right side. A CEE 7/7 plug can be plugged into type E and type F outlet.
Used in Russia and nearly everywhere in Europe, except United Kingdom and Ireland.
Type G plugs & outlets
British outlets have three rectangular holes and are known as BS 1363. Each outlet must be grounded and they almost always have a switch for additionnal safety. Type G outlets also have a child protection device to prevent accidents. The earth pin is slightly longer than the other two pins and when a plug is plugged into an outlet, the earth pin pushes back a shutter that opens the two other holes and allows for the insertion of the plug. As type C plugs do not have such an earth pin, it is almost impossible to insert a Europlug in a type G outlet, unless you stick a pointy object in the earth hole.
Mainly used in United Kingdom, Ireland, Malta, Malaysia, Singapore and the Arabian peninsula.
Type H plugs & outlets
Type H plugs have an earth pin and two other V-shaped pins.
Used in Israel and Palestine.
Type I plugs & outlets
This grounded plug has two V-shaped thick flack pins.
Mainly used in Australia, New Zealand, China and Argentina.
Type J plugs & outlets
Switzerland has its own standard (SEV 1011), similar to type C, except that Swiss plugs also have an earth pin in the middle.
Almost exclusively used in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Type K plugs & outlets
Denmark has its own standard (DS 60884-2-D1). Unlike type E system, the earth pin is not mounted in the outlet, but is on the plug.
Almost exclusively used in Denmark and Greenland.
Type L plugs & outlets
Type L system is almost exclusively used in Italy, Chile and Uruguay, sometimes also in North Africa.
Type M plugs & outlets
Type M is almost exclusively used in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. Type M plug is similar to type D, with its three prongs forming a triangle, but they are not compatible.
Mainly used in South Africa.
Type N plugs & outlets
Type N consists of two pins and one earth pin that form a triangle. Type N is the most compact, robust and safest system in the world.
Used in Brazil and South Africa.
Type O plugs & outlets
Type O is used only in Thailand.