Electrical Outlet and Voltage Information for Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is one of the most common destinations for migrants and tourists. If a person would want to spend some time in Saudi Arabia, he or she should know the standard voltage, electrical outlet, and plugs present in the said country. In Saudi Arabia, the standard voltage is 110-120 volts while the primary types of electrical outlet and plug commonly used are the Type A NEMA 1-15 / JIS C 8303 North American, Type B NEMA 5-15, Type F, and Type G.
This information will not only enable a person in Saudi Arabia to use his or her electronic gadget more conveniently and safely, but would also decrease the risk of damage in electronic gadgets and appliances. If a person would use electronic gadgets and appliances that are not compatible with the plug, electrical outlet, and voltage used in Saudi Arabia, this can lead to accidents.
When the electrical outlet present in Saudi Arabia is not compatible with the shape of the plugs in the electronic gadgets and appliances, one can an adapter. There are different kinds of adapters in the market and these adapters will alter the shape of the plug so that it would be physically compatible with the electrical outlet in Saudi Arabia. There is also the universal adapter which is ideal for travellers because this is compatible to almost all types of plug and electrical outlet.
There are also voltage converters that are used when the voltage used by the electronic gadget or appliance is different with the voltage in Saudi Arabia. Examples of voltage converters are network-resistor converter, step-up and step-down transformer, and combination voltage converter. A person who is going to Saudi Arabia should prepare these things beforehand to avoid delay and problems in using his or her electronic gadgets and appliances.
Type A NEMA 1-15 / JIS C 8303 North American (Non-grounded and Non-polarized) Plug, Electrical Outlet, and Adapter
The NEMA 1-15 is mostly found in North America and in the east coast of South America as well as in other countries like Saudi Arabia. This is used for smaller devices that do not really need a ground connection. Also, the NEMA 1-15 is a flat blade attachment plug that uses two flat parallel pins or blades. Older designs allow the blades to be inserted either way; however, contemporary NEMA 1-15 plugs in Saudi Arabia are designed with the neutral blade wider than the live blade allowing just one way of plugging and ensuring that the polarized plug is inserted appropriately into the electrical outlet. The NEMA 1-15 is also known as the Type A North American/Japanese 2-blade Electrical adapter plug and electrical outlet. It also has the technical name North American 15 A/125 V ungrounded.
The new design of NEMA 1-15 changed so much that it will not fit in the old type of NEMA 1-15 electrical outlet in Saudi Arabia. With the NEMA 1-15 adapter, the receptacle end will accept any standard household plug in Saudi Arabia, aside from the Type M South African SABS1661 plug, which is also known as the Old British BS-546 Large plug. The blades of this adapter are 6.4mm long, 1.5mm thick, and are spaced 12.7mm apart. The NEMA 1-15 plug is also non-polarized and non-grounded which is very important. Although the NEMA 1-15 looks similar to the plugs of the U.S. and Canada and the appliance and electronic gadgets might be manufactured in the said countries, an adapter might still be needed because of the grounding and polarization requirements in Saudi Arabia.
In the NEMA 1-15 plug and electrical outlet, grounding is done by the third, round pin located beneath the two vertical blades on the plug. On the other hand, polarization is done by the left vertical blade being taller than the right one. If the plug does have grounding or polarization and the electrical socket does not have one, it would be physically impossible to insert the plug into the electrical socket. If this happens to a tourist in Saudi Arabia and there is also no adapter present, that person might not be able to use his or her electronic gadgets and appliances. There is also another electrical outlet that is commonly used in Japan, the JIS X 8303 Class II (Japanese 15 A/100 V ungrounded) which is similar to the NEMA 1-15, the only difference from Saudi Arabia is the stricter dimensional requirements for the plug housing, marking, and mandatory testing and approval.
Type B NEMA 5-15 (North American Grounded) Plug, Electrical Outlet, and Adapter
The Type B NEMA 5-15 is often used in North and Central America as well as Japan, and it is also what is used in Saudi Arabia. Also, the Type B NEMA 5-15 is a class I plug that has two flat parallel prongs and a grounding pin, rated at 15 amps. The Type B NEMA 5-15 has blade contacts 6.4mm tall, 15mm thick, and are spaced 12.7mm apart.
The grounding pin, on the other hand, is 4.8mm in diameter.like electrocution or a minor electrical shock. The Type B NEMA 5-15 is also compatible with any standard household plug, except the Type M South African SABS1661 (Old British BS-546 Large) plug. Although the Type B NEMA 5-15 is grounded, it is not polarized. In Japan, this kind of plug and electrical outlet is the standard. Similar to Type A NEMA 1-15 plugs, the NEMA 5-15 is also one of the most dangerous plugs in Saudi Arabia and even in the world because the prongs are not insulated. The black covering that is supposed to cover the plug body is lacking hence if the plug is pulled halfway and the prongs are still inserted in the electrical outlet, there might be some accidents
Type F CEE 7/5 Schuko Electrical Adapter Plug and Electrical Outlet
The Type F CEE 7/5 Schuko is used for the “Type F” CEE 7/4 Schuko style electrical socket of Germany or to a “Type E” CEE 7/5 socket of France. Commonly known as the Schuko plug, the Type F CEE 7/5 plug and electrical outlet was derived from the German word “Schukostecker” which means “protective contact plug.” This electrical outlet in Saudi Arabia is also similar to the Type E with the difference being its two earth clips on the side instead of the female earth contact. The receptacle end of Type F CEE 7/7 Schuko is compatible with most sockets except the “Type M” South African SABS1661 (Old British BS-546) plug and the non-grounded CEE 7/16 Europlug Socket because of its 4.0mm pin receptacles that are too small for the 4.8mm pins of the Type F CEE 7/5 Schuko. This Schuko plug and receptacle in Saudi Arabia also has side grounding contacts which allow symmetrical connection system for live and neutral to be reversed.
Most European countries including Saudi Arabia use the Type F CEE 7/5 Schuko except Denmark, Italy, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Malta, and Cyprus that have their own standard electrical outlet. On the other hand, the plug end of Type F CEE 7/5 Schuko is compatible with the variations of the Schuko electrical outlet for France and Germany. The pins of this adapter in Saudi Arabia are 4.8mm in diameter, 19mm long, and spaced 19mm apart. They have both side-grounding clips and a receptacle for the male grounding pin which is found in French Schuko sockets. If the appliance or electronic gadget to be used in Saudi Arabia is already a Schuko, there is no need to use the Type F CEE 7/5 Schuko adapter for the electrical outlet.
Type G British BS-1363 3-pin Plug, Electrical Outlet, and Adapter
The Type G British BS-1363 electrical outlet and plug is a British 3-pin rectangular blade used widely in Saudi Arabia that has a protective fuse inside to protect cords from high-current circuits and, most of the time, the Type G British BS-1363 electrical outlet includes a safety switch. The Type G British BS-1363 also has a receptacle end that is compatible with most household plug types, except the Type M South African SABS1661 (Old British BS-546 Large) plug. The plug end is a British BS-1363 13-amp type. For the adapter, the live and neutral pins are 4 x 6 x 18 mm apart, with the grounding pin measuring 4 x 8 x 23mm. The plug of this Type G British 3-pin is polarized and grounded but not fused. Also, through the Type G British BS-1363 adapter, a tourist could use his or her appliance or electronic gadget in Lebanon.
Another name for the Type G British BS-1363 plug is the 13-amp plug and for safety reasons the Saudi Arabia requires electrical outlets in households that use the Type G British BS-1363 to have shutters over the live and neutral connections of the electrical outlet. In the insertion of the longer earth pin from the plug, the safety shutters of the Type G British BS-1363 are opened. The shutters are also present to prevent the use of incompatible plugs made to other standards in Saudi Arabia. However, there are cases wherein the safety shutters of this electrical outlet in Iraq could be opened through a screwdriver in order to insert Type C plugs. But then, the usage of Type G British BS-1363 outlet along with another kind of plug is not recommended because these plugs do not have a fuse.
In terms of compatibility, the Type G British BS-1363 electrical outlet will work together with the Type G British BS-1363 plug and adapter in Saudi Arabia. The regulation about the safety shutters and fuse is then followed in Saudi Arabia and all the other countries that use the Type G British BS-1363 electrical outlet and plug like the United Kingdom, England, Ghana, Grenada, Macau, Malta, Malaysia, Qatar, Saint Vincent, Saudi Arabia, Scotland and Zimbabwe. With all the safety measures and features of this plug and outlet, it is considered as one of the safest in Saudi Arabia, even the world. However, with all its features, this type of plug is bulky and cumbersome. Some people claim that the Type G British BS-1363 plug is mostly bigger than the appliances they are connected to but if tourists would want to use their electronic gadget or appliance in Saudi Arabia, then they must have a Type G British BS-1363 adapter. Although the adapter would not change the voltage used, it will enable the plug of the appliance or electronic gadget to be inserted to the electrical outlet used in Saudi Arabia. For the electrical outlet, the Type G British BS-1363 sockets are not compatible with other types of electrical outlet.
In a tourist’s trip to Saudi Arabia, if the the wrong plug is inserted in the wrong electrical outlet or the voltage does not match, there could be some real damage to the appliance or electronic gadget. In worse cases, this might even cause electrocution. If the voltage of the appliance or electronic gadget to be used in Saudi Arabia does not match its 220-240 volts requirement, like most American products that only use 110-120 volts, a tourist in Saudi Arabia would need a voltage converter. There are three kinds of voltage converters available: the transformer, the network-resistor converter, and the combination of these two.
For laptop computers, cameras, mp3 players, and charging of batteries in Saudi Arabia, the recommended voltage converter to be used is the transformer as it has a lower maximum watt rating of 50 to 100 watts and it could be used continuously although it could be heavy because of the large iron rods and copper wires inside. The resistor-network converter could support 50-1600 watts and are often used for a short period of time and in light-weight electrical appliances like hair dryers and irons. It is important to know the proper voltage, electrical outlet, plugs, and adapters to use when visiting Saudi Arabia and other countries because sometimes these electric requirements vary depending on the location.