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Differences Between C13 And C14 Iec Power Cords?

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By Author: Jennifer Truong
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There is no doubt that the majority of electronic equipment in homes requires various power connections. If you explore the market, you may find a wide range of power cords available. 
Finding the right one that may suit your needs can be confusing. Therefore, the best thing you can do is learn more about these wires to understand them better. So without any further adieu, let's gather the distinction between the popular type of IEC power cords.
What Are IEC Cords?
IEC cords or International Electrotechnical Commission is the leading independent, non-profit worldwide standard-setting body for electrical, electronic, and related technologies. 
It does not matter which cord you are purchasing, each one of them is being released on the market after they are standardized by the IEC. These cords have the letter "C" and the number is written after it. However, talking about the distinction between IEC-C13 and C14 connectors, keep reading until the end.
What is a C13 Power Cord?
The Power cables ...
... with a mains plug on the other end typically have a C13 plug. This connects to the equipment having a C14 socket. An extension cable from C13 to C14 is also typical. A computer cord used to power a PC or monitor is called a C13 power cord. 
You can find the standard PC power cord on the back of the computer. These can be found at the end of the desktop power supply. They are also known as kettle cords "figure 8" or c13 IEC power cords. Also, they have three prongs or pins rather than two on either end of the cords. 
What is a C14 Power Cord? 
Another type of cord you would come across is the c14 Power Cord. These are found in desktop computers, displays, and other electrical devices like power connectors as well. The item being powered has a made connector and is plugged by the female connection on the power wire. 
An international standard for the connector end of a power cord is the c14 power cord. It comprises three spherical prongs. To be precise, one of the prongs is the bigger of the two ground pins. They have the same pin configuration. The c14 plug can be inserted into the c13 socket and vice versa. However, keep in mind that not all devices accept both of them.
Difference Between C13 Cord and C14 Cord
Before you connect the c14 to a c13 power cord, you must know that there are a number of differences that they share. This includes the following as listed below

Diameter of the Plugs

Usually, the c13 power cords are used with a length that ranges from 6 to 25 feet. They are prone to damage when pulled unintentionally or tripped over. This is simply because the plug diameter is shorter than the C14 power cords. 
As electricity is carried more to the c13 counterparts, the c14 cords are thicker and wider than the versions of c13. These are used in industrial settings and for appliances like air conditioners, dishwashers, dryers, and more.


The c13 connector is used with appliances that operate on either 120 or 240 volts. These are rated up to 10 amps at 250 volts. On the other hand, the c14 connectors are used with 230-volt equipment. 
This shows that the C14 connector has a maximum of 15 amps at 250 volts rating. On the other hand, from the c14 to c13 power cord both connections are compatible and cannot be used on all devices interchangeably. Hence, it is highly recommended to purchase the right power cable if you need to replace the broken one.

The Plug Shape 

Another distinction that you might come across is the Plug shape. The plug on the c13 power cable is basically circular in shape. Whereas the c14 plug is octagonal. It totally depends on the shape of how the plug fits into the computer or the other device. The size of the plug is also crucial because it determines if the plug would fit in the device or not.

Number of Pins 

On one end of the c13 power cord is the conventional AC. Whereas the other end has three prongs which include two flat ones at the top and one round at the bottom. This rounded prong is known as the third pin or the grounding pin. 
Even though the c14 cord has an extra third pin at both ends of the cable, they function exactly the same as the c13 cords. As a result, you would be able to use either type if you are using a device with both ends of the wire plugged into outlets. However, a significant distinction is the length that they both come with as mentioned above. 

The Size of the Power Cords

You may have noticed how the appliances are connected to a wall outlet or generator using C13 and C14 power cords. There are large appliances which have power cords extending up to a length of three feet. These appliances include microwaves, air conditioners, freezers, refrigerators and more. Whereas, other appliances like laptops and desktops have cord lengths of six feet.

More About the Author

Jennifer Truong is the owner of SF Cable, a California based online retailer of all kind of cables, wires, cords, and other related accessories for computers and other consumer electronics. SF Cable is well known in the market for providing high-quality products at low prices by sourcing them directly from manufacturers. Jennifer has extensive experience in the cable industry and has been instrumental in the growth of SF Cable and in establishing it as one of the leading providers of cables online.

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