Different Types of IEC Power Cords

In the world of electronics, IEC power cords play a crucial role. These cords, standardized by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), are the lifelines of electrical connectivity. They ensure seamless power transfer between devices and offer reliable energy transmission. 

In this blog, we will delve into the significance of IEC power cords in various applications. These cords work in computers to home appliances and provide the necessary link between devices and power sources. 

Understanding their importance is important for consumers and electrical industry professionals. Whether you're a tech enthusiast, an engineer, or simply curious about the world of electronics, this blog will provide valuable insights into the role and significance of IEC power cords.

What is an IEC Power Cord?

An IEC power cord, also known as an IEC connector, is a standardized type of power cable used to connect electrical appliances to the main power supply. 

It consists of a plug, which inserts into a power outlet, and a socket, which receives the plug on the appliance. These cords are designed to comply with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards to ensure safety and compatibility across different countries and regions. 

The standardization of IEC power cords allows for easy interchangeability and universal use. This makes them essential components in various industries like electronics, telecommunications, and healthcare. 

Their common applications include connecting computers, monitors, printers, audio equipment, and medical devices to power sources. 

Overall, IEC power cords are crucial in facilitating the safe and reliable operation of electrical appliances by providing a standardized and convenient power connection.

Types of IEC Power Cords

1. IEC C13

The IEC c13 power cords are commonly used in computer equipment and appliances. The c13 connector, generally located on power cords, connects with the c14 inlet and is commonly found on computers, monitors, and other electronic devices.

They provide a secure and standardized connection for powering devices, ensuring compatibility across various equipment. The c13 power connectors are advantageous for their widespread availability, ease of use, and ability to handle high power loads. 

However, c13 power cord limitations include susceptibility to accidental disconnection due to their snap-fit design and the potential for strain on the cable if improperly secured. 

Despite these drawbacks, c13 power cord versatility and reliability make them popular in many applications.

2. IEC C19

IEC c19 power cables are high-power connectors commonly used in data centers, servers, and large network devices. The c19 power cord features a female socket and connects with the c20 plug, which has male pins. 

These connectors are designed for high current applications, typically rated at 16 amps or higher, and can handle up to 250 voltages. The c19 power cord's primary advantage lies in its ability to safely deliver high power levels, making it perfect for heavy-duty equipment. However, their larger size and higher current ratings may limit IEC c19 power cables’ use in smaller devices or applications where space is a constraint. 

Additionally, due to their high current handling capabilities, proper attention to electrical safety and heat dissipation is crucial when using c19 connectors.

3. IEC C5

The IEC C5, also called the "Mickey Mouse Connector," has a three-pronged female connector (c5) and a matching male connector (c6) with a central pin. It looks like the outline of the famous Disney character.

The c5 connectors are commonly used in low-power applications such as laptops, printers, and audio equipment. The advantage of the c5 power cord connector lies in its compact design, particularly useful in confined spaces where a larger connector wouldn't fit. 

However, its limitations include its lower current rating than other connectors in the IEC series, making it unsuitable for high-power devices. 

Despite this, the c5 power cord's widespread adoption in consumer electronics makes it a convenient choice for various household and office applications.

4. IEC C7

The IEC c7, also known as the "Figure 8 Connector," features a figure-eight shape with two parallel, rounded prongs on one end (c7) and a corresponding socket on the other end (c8). It is commonly used in household electronics like TVs, radios, game consoles, and small appliances. 

One advantage of this connector is its compact size, making it suitable for devices with limited space. However, its limitations include a lower maximum current rating than other connectors, restricting its use to devices with lower power requirements. 

Additionally, the design lacks a grounding pin, which may not provide optimal safety in specific environments. 

Overall, the Figure 8 Connector offers convenience and versatility for powering various consumer electronics but may not be suitable for high-power applications or environments requiring robust safety features.

5. IEC C15

The IEC c15 power cord, also known as the high-temperature connector, is designed for appliances that need high temperatures. It has a notch in its design that sets it apart from the c13 power cord.

Commonly used in commercial kitchens, medical equipment, and data centers, the c15 power cord's high-temperature tolerance ensures safety and reliability in demanding environments. 

One notable advantage is its ability to withstand temperatures up to 120°C, which makes it suitable for appliances like electric kettles and industrial ovens. 

However, its compatibility is limited to devices specifically designed for this connector, restricting its widespread use compared to standard connectors like the c13 power connector. 

Despite this limitation, the IEC c15 remains crucial in high-pressure applications and provides a secure and efficient power connection solution.

6. IEC C21

The IEC c21 is an electrical connector commonly used for high-power data centers, servers, and other industrial equipment applications. 

The c21 power cord features a 3-pin configuration, while the c22 socket complements it with a corresponding 3-pin design. These connectors are known for their robust construction and ability to handle high currents, making them suitable for devices requiring significant electrical power. 

Their standardized design ensures compatibility across various equipment, simplifying installation and maintenance processes. 

However, their bulkier size and higher current capacity may not be suitable for all applications, especially those with space constraints or lower power requirements. 

Additionally, users should ensure proper handling and connection to prevent electrical hazards due to the high voltage these connectors can carry.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, understanding the various types of IEC power cords is essential for selecting the appropriate one for specific applications. 

From the c13 power connector to the IEC c19 power cable, each cord serves a unique purpose, ensuring compatibility and safety. Choosing the right cord can prevent damage to equipment and ensure optimal performance. 

Selecting the correct cord is crucial, whether it's for a computer, printer, or server. In summary, prioritize matching the cord type with the device requirements to avoid potential hazards.


1. What is the difference between the c13 power connector and the c15 power cord?

The IEC c13 power cable and c15 power cords are similar in appearance but differ in temperature ratings. c15 cords are designed to handle higher temperatures than c13 cords, making them suitable for devices that generate more heat, such as servers and networking equipment.

2. Can I use any IEC power cord for my device?

The appropriate IEC power cord for your device is essential to ensure compatibility and safety. Depending on power requirements and connector configurations, different devices may require specific cord types.

3. Are IEC power cords interchangeable between countries?

While the connectors on IEC power cords are standardized globally, the plug types may vary depending on the country's electrical standards. It's crucial to use power cords with compatible plug types for the specific region where they will be used.

4. What is the maximum current rating for IEC power cords?

The maximum current rating for IEC power cords depends on the type and configuration of the cord. Generally, standard IEC power cords can handle currents ranging from 2.5 to 20 amps, but it's essential to check the specifications of the specific cord for accurate ratings.