Whether you're running an event planning business or you're starting to set up a new office space, there's no denying that having the right cables is crucial. Here, we'll give you a brief overview of NEMA plugs. Let's get started.
NEMA plugs, also referred to as NEMA connectors, are used to connect electronic devices to power outlets. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) is responsible for the consistency we see across the electrical industry. All manufacturers in the U.S. comply with NEMA standards, which makes purchasing cables much more consistent for businesses and consumers. While domestic plugs were invented in the 1800s, the NEMA connector was developed a little bit later in 1926. NEMA connectors can carry both alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC). AC is most commonly found in homes and businesses, while DC is typically associated with electricity from a battery.
One of the most important things that NEMA does is identify different pin positions for plugs and receptacles based on both amperage and voltage. For example, NEMA 5 15 plugs and NEMA 6 50 plugs have different pin positions and are designed for different amperages.
Just like there are different NEMA power cords, there are also different types of NEMA plugs. The two overarching types are locking and non-locking. Let's review a few characteristics of each type of plug.
Locking - Wire locking plugs make sure that connectors are securely fit together and that they stay that way. One of the most unique parts of a locking plug is its curved blades. These blades allow the connector to be turned and locked into place when it's inserted into the intended receptacle. If you're looking for a locking plug, then you'll want to look for the "L" designation before the series number of the connector.
Non-Locking - Non-locking plugs are probably the most commonly used in domestic settings. These connectors either have two blades and no ground, or two blades and a ground on them. Most extension cords and domestic appliances will use non-locking plugs to connect to an outlet or other power source.
NEMA plugs are an important fixture in your electrical arsenal. It pays to have a basic understanding of a device that you'll use on a regular basis.