For all those who are unaware, “NEMA” is an abbreviation of National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association. It is an an association of electrical equipment and medical imaging manufacturers and its mission is to build and and promote safe electrical standards as well as products.

If a plug is labelled “NEMA”, you can consider it to be an industry standard for safety. NEMA offers a wide array of plugs. But when it comes to lighting fixtures for industrial and commercial purposes, there are several confusions as to which type of NEMA power Cordshould be used for what purpose.The basic functionality of these power plugs is to ensure proper connection for different electrical equipment and curb the risk of accidents.

This article will acquaint you with the most commonly used NEMA power plugs which connect lighting fixtures to the receptacles. These power plugs are covered by ANSI/NEMA WD-6 standard which is set by National Electrical Manufacturers Association, abbreviated as NEMA.

Specifications about NEMA Power Power Cords

The wiring devices standardized by NEMA have a current rating of 15 to 60 amps, and voltage rating of 125 to 600 volts. This standardization is done based on orientation, shapes and blade widths. NEMA Plugs ensure that the equipment needing a particular voltage and current is not plugged into a wrong electrical system.

Usually 15 and 20 amp NEMA plugs with both straight-blade and twist-lock varieties are used for with lighting fixtures. Here’s a breakdown to each of these power plugs and their features.

NEMA 5-15

Receptacle used: 125 V

Plug: 15A

NEMA 5-15 is used with 120V lighting system. It is a standard grounded straight blade plug used in North America, Canada and different parts of Mexico.

NEMA L5-15

Receptacle used: 125V

Plug: 15A

NEMA L5-15 is a twist-lock version of 120V plug. Such plugs are commonly used to stop unintentional disconnects and with industrial applications that likely to vibrate.

NEMA L7-15

Receptacle used: 277V

Plug: 15A

NEMA L7-15 plugs are the most popularly used twist-lock plugs with 277V lighting systems.

NEMA L7-20

Receptacle used: 277V

Plug: 20A

The 277V lighting systems often use NEMA L7-20 plug. You can identify the difference between 20A and 15 A by looking towards the direction of locking ground tab. 20A points outwards whereas 15A points towards the center.   You can look into various charts and images in order to identify different plugs and sockets. The plug usually has curved or straight blades that stick out from the plug body. This part is considered to be the male end of the connection. And sockets or receptacle having corresponding slots are considered to be the female end of connection.