Electrical Outlet and Voltage Information for Taiwan
Anyone who will spend some time in Taiwan must be prepared to deal with the country’s standard voltage, electrical outlet, plug, and adapters. Knowing these bits of information will allow visitors in Taiwan to use their electronic gadgets and appliances safely.
The standard voltage in Taiwan is 110-120 V and the electrical outlet types present are the North American Type A NEMA 1-15 non-grounded, non-polarized (JIS C 8303) and the North American Type B NEMA 5-15 grounded, non-polarized. Aside from these, there are also adapters and voltage converters. Adapters are used when the plug of the appliance or electronic gadget in Taiwan does not match that of the electrical outlet. The adapter will change the shape of the plug so that it would be compatible with the electrical outlet in Taiwan. For the voltage, there are voltage converters like the network-resistor converter, step-up and step-down transformer, and travel combination converter that could be used in Taiwan.
Type A JIS C 8303 or NEMA 1-15 (North American Non-Grounded)
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 to the electrical outlet; however, contemporary NEMA 1-15 plugs 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 new design of the NEMA 1-15 changed so much that it will not fit in the old type of NEMA 1-15 electrical outlet in Taiwan. The NEMA 1-15 is mostly found in North America and in the east coast of South America, as well as in parts of Asia like Taiwan, and is used for smaller devices that do not really need a ground connection. 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. With the NEMA 1-15 adapter, the receptacle end will accept any standard household plug in Taiwan, 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 that is usually needed by tourists when they are spending some time in Taiwan 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 of Taiwan 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 Taiwan. In the NEMA 1-15, 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 outlet does not have one, it would be physically impossible to insert the plug into the electrical outlet. If this happens to a tourist in Taiwan 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 Taiwan that was from Japan, the JIS X 8303 Class II (Japanese 15 A/100 V ungrounded) which is similar to the NEMA 1-15, the only difference being the stricter dimensional requirements for the plug housing, marking, and mandatory testing and approval.
Type B NEMA 5-15 (North American Grounded)
The Type B NEMA 5-15 is compatible with any standard household plug in Taiwan, except the Type M South African SABS1661 (Old British BS-546 Large) plug. For the specifications, 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. Although the Type B NEMA 5-15 is grounded, it is not polarized and must be used with care in Taiwan.
In addition, 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 Taiwan. It is a class I plug that has two flat parallel prongs and a grounding pin, rated at 15 amps. In Japan, this kind of plug and electrical outlet is the standard. Similar to Type A NEMA 1-15 plugs, the NEMA 5-15 in Taiwan is also one of the most dangerous plugs 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 like electrocution.