Understand the Difference Between C13 and C15 Cords

Power cords are widely used in multiple areas, ranging from home set-ups to professional fields like data centers and traffic control rooms. It’s essential to pull all the stops while shopping for the right extension cord for your electrical needs.

As you shall find, power cords vary significantly both in their physical design and functionality. The cables differ in length, gauge, and the number of prongs on their plugs. In terms of functionality, these devices vary considerably. This variation mainly depends on their amperage and voltage ratings and their connector types.

Power cord connectors range from type A through type N. C13, and C15 are the most commonly used type C power plugs.

But what’s the difference between C13 and C15 power plugs? Read on to find out.

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Main Difference Between C13 and C15 Plugs

C13 and C15 power plugs differ fundamentally in their connector types. But what does the term “connector” denote in the electrical sense?

To understand the concept of electrical connectors, you’ll need to start from the beginning by familiarizing yourself with what power cords are.

A power cord refers to a flexible electrical cable designed with specific parts at the end, linking the line with circuits. These parts are what constitute connectors.

Power cord connectors let you attach a cord to a port or electronic system. The connectors are broadly categorized into three types, depending on how they operate. They include Board-to-board Connectors, Cable/Wire-to-board Connectors, and Cable/wire-to-cable/wire Connectors.

Another thing worth noting about power cord connectors is that most are classified as either male or female. Male connectors have one or more exposed pins, whereas the female ones contain holes inserted by male pins. The imagery is as clear as daylight!

In most cases, the male inlet operates when attached to a power supply, whereas the female receptacle is connected to an electrical appliance. According to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the organization that standardizes electrical cords, female vessels are assigned odd numbers and one bigger even number for matching male inlets.

So, what’s the difference between a C15 and C13 plug?

C13 power cords comprise a flexible cable with a female C13 receptacle and a male C14 inlet at the other end. Most C13 power plugs are shown as C13 to C14.

C15 power cords look more or less like a C13 plug, nema 6-50 as far as their connectors are concerned. The main difference is that C15 features a notch opposite the earth. C15 power cords typically get paired with C16 inlets, and the thread gets promoted as a C15 to C16.

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Other Differences Between C13 and C15 Power Plugs

Temperature Ratings

C13 is commonly referred to as the “kettle cord.” However, that reference is more cliché and doesn’t represent the actual operational situation with these cords.

C13 plugs have a temperature rating of 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit). And as you shall find, that temperature is not high enough to support an electric kettle.

C15 power plugs can support higher temperature electrical appliances, usually up to 120 degrees Celsius (248 degrees Fahrenheit).

Compatibility with C14 and C16 Outlets

C15 power plugs are compatible with C14 outlets, whereas C13 connectors cannot fit into C16 outlets.

The simple logic here is that it’s possible to use higher-rated temperature and voltage power cords with lower-rated temperature and voltage equipment, not the other way around.


C13 power plugs are commonly used in PCs, monitors, printers, and instrumental amplifiers. These connectors can also support fixed-configuration switches.

C15 power cords are designed for higher-wattage electrical appliances and machinery, ranging from electric kettles to refrigerators and ovens. Other devices you can use C15 power plugs include server rooms, computing networking closets, and Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches with high wattage power equipment.

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Similarities Between C13 and C15 Power Plugs

Despite their numerous differences, C13 and C15 plugs share some similarities. The two notable ones include;

Ground Post

Both the C13 and C15 power plugs have a ground post. As we mentioned earlier, the difference is that the latter comes with a groove opposite the earth.

Voltage/Current Rating

The words “temperature” and “voltage” are commonly used interchangeably when discussing electrical appliances. However, these concepts are pretty different from each other.

The temperature rating of a power cord denotes the optimal temperature that the cord can operate at without the wire getting heated up. On the other hand, voltage measures the force or pressure that pushes electrical charge through a power cord. It’s also known as the electromotive potential difference or the electromotive force.

Both the C13 and C15 power plugs have a voltage rating of 10A/250V.

C13 vs. C15: Which Is Better?

After going through some of the core differences between C13 and C15, it shouldn’t be difficult to choose between these cords.

The above comparison shows that C15 power plugs are more potent than their C13 counterparts. C15 plugs can be safely plugged into electrical appliances with higher wattage, voltage, and temperature ratings. C15 power plugs support a more comprehensive range of electrical devices.

So, C15 is the clear winner.

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Power cords come in all shapes and sizes. It’s important to know which cord suits your appliance’s needs before hitting the stores.

Hopefully, you can use the above comparison between C13 and C15 as your guide when you go shopping for either of these power plugs.

By Admin

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