North American Voltage Ranges

In the United States and Canada, the electrical power supplied to most homes is from a split-phase system. That power enters your home at about 240 volts, that voltage is split at the main circuit breaker panel into two 120 volt halves. Those 120 volt halves are routed through the home to outlets.This 120 volt level is commonly referred to as 110, 115, 120, or 125 volts. Similarly, 220, 230, 240, and 250 volts are used to describe the higher voltage range. This higher voltage range is used to supply power to large appliances, such as washing machines, dryers, and large air conditioners. Buy why all the different numbers? And how should they be used when discussing voltage ranges?

    110 and 220 Volts

  1. The designations "110 volt" and "220 volt" represent an older, out of date standard that's no longer found in new equipment. However, this terminology is still familiar to many people, so it remains in use.
  2. 115 and 230 Volts

  3. The terms "115 volt" and "230 volt" come from product design standards. Electrical devices are usually designed to operate in this range, plus or minus 10 percent. This makes it easier for homeowners to find an outlet that will power their device.
  4. 120 and 240 Volts

  5. The power delivered to your home is 120 or 240 volts. This is called "nominal voltage." That means it's the standard voltage as measured at the transformer outside your home. Nominal voltage can vary up to plus or minus 5 percent from its stated definition.
  6. 125 and 250 Volts

  7. The outlets in your home are rated at the maximum voltage expected on the electrical circuit. They are designed to take up to 125 or 250 volts, depending on the nominal voltage of the circuit. Thus, outlets are marked at 125 volts or 250 volts.

Why You Need a Voltage Converter

If you only have an outlet that gives 110-120 volts, but need to power equipment that requires higher voltage, visit our voltage converter page. There you will find portable voltage converters that make it easy to charge your electric vehicle, power large air conditioners, power computer servers, and more. Don't go another day trying to figure out a way to plug in your portable cleaning equipment without unplugging your client's washing machine. Invest in a voltage converter today.