NEMA Power Cords and Their Varieties

People who carry out installation procedures often come across plugs that are labeled ‘NEMA’-National Electrical Manufacturers Association. Over the years, this label has earned the reputation for being a safe and standardized product.

There is an array of plugs offered by NEMA and there often is a confusion regarding which one is the best. Here’s a brief overview of these power cords and their types.

Standard North American Power Cords

The standard North American Power Cords come with two, three, four or five prongs. Out of these NEMA power cords, plugs with two or three prongs are most popular. These plugs fit with every standard wall outlet of Canada and United States. Most of these configurations include 5-15, 5-20, 6-15 and 6-20.

Hospital Grade Power Cords

Power cords that are utilized in hospital must meet certain standards and requirements set by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). UL conducts rigorous testing on these cords to approve its durability and conductivity. These NEMA plugs are embossed with green dot which depict the trademark of hospital based UL cords.

Locking NEMA Plugs

The Locking NEMA plugs are used for high voltage requirements. These plugs are usually rated upto 30A and 60V. The locking NEMA plugs are mostly used for industrial and commercial applications. As they come with a lock that can be twisted, they remain connected even while undertaking the toughest jobs at commercial, industrial and construction sites.


The NEMA L6 Plugs are used when it comes to using heavy-duty equipment like welders, wherein the supply voltage is 240 V. NEMA L6 connectors are rated for 250 V. These L6 connectors do not offer a neutral connection. Based on the phase, these plugs are used for two-pole, three wire hot-hot-ground circuits having a supply of of 240 or 208 V.


NEMA 10 connectors are rarely used now but were quite popular at some point of time in the US for using with kitchen ranges and laundry dryers. They fall into the 125/250 V (hot-hot-neutral) category and were used in a way which indirectly grounds the frame of the appliance.

NEMA 5-15P

The NEMA 5-15P plug is used to power the household electronic items like microwaves, air conditioners, refrigerators etc. These plugs come in an array of shapes, widths, dimensions, voltages and current capacity. NEMA 5-15R is a standardized 15 electrical outlet which is mostly found in Canada, United States and Mexico. You can also find other plug types in this series that are suitable for heavy-duty applications.

Above mentioned are some of the most commonly used NEMA Power cords. You can get more information about each of these by reading through manuals about their application. Make sure you use the right one for the right purpose.


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