All the countries in the world don’t necessarily use the same voltage as a standard. Most of them vary from each other. The difference between the US and Europe are noteworthy. While all over US people use appliances at 110 volts, Europeans have to use the double amount. Are you wondering why it’s so? Let’s know more about that.
How the US arrived at the use of 110 volts
In the USA, residential power lines have 110-volt supplies. There’s more than one reason behind this thing. The reasons are-
- Thomas Edison, when he first invented the light bulb, preferred DC power for electronic devices. He used DC power on 110 volts to light the bulb, and it worked well. For a little while, US stood on using 110 volt DC power. Later on, by efficiency, the USA decided on using AC power. They changed the power type, but not the measurement of the voltage. So, since then, US has been using 110 volts.
- When US started supplying AC power all over it, the people there didn’t want to take any risk. They wanted to have a low voltage supplied to their households to avoid any dangerous occurring. Lower voltage is safer than a higher one but is also less efficient than the higher one.
How Europe arrived at the use of 220 volts
Europe uses 220 volts. Although the whole world started using 110 volts at first, most of them have changed the value now. The European system initiated at 220 volts when they began to realize the relation of voltage between power loss and current.
- The European system observed that a higher voltage gives them higher power advantage with the low current flow. They upgraded the wiring system and found out that they could use a high power safely. Therefore, they shifted to 220 volts to ensure high power gains.
- 220 volts lessen the power loss and voltage drop. That’s why Europe arrived at using 220 volts.
Advantages of 110 and 220 volts
- A 110 volt supply is relatively safer than a high voltage supply. Low voltage means low current. As the amount of current passing through the wire is not much, it cannot electrocute a person that easily. If you accidentally touch 110-volt wiring, you won’t get a massive electric shock.
- The 110V connectors are inexpensive.
- The diameter of the current transferring wire depends on the amount of current. As P=V*I, we know that high voltages supply less current and high power. As the flow is low, the diameter of the wire doesn’t need to be much thick. Therefore, it saves up the cost of using thick cables.
- Power losses are less when the supply applies a high voltage whereas power gain is high.
- A 220 volt supply is efficient than a lower volt supply. It gives more power in less time, and our electronic appliances function better.
Disadvantages of 110 and 220 volts
- 110 volt supplies low power. So, the appliances work slowly. It’ll heat up a cup of water in one minute whereas a higher voltage could do that in some seconds.
- Less voltage/energy means much current. The current carrying wire has to be thick enough to carry the amount of electricity. Ensuring thick cords require more money than the cables used for high voltage supplies.
- Power gain is low.
- The 220-volt supplies being much efficient need high-end connectors. These connectors are expensive.
- The risk of getting electric shocks is higher with high voltage supply lines.
Both the USA and European Government checked many things before arriving on a specific voltage measurement. 110 and 220V supplies both have merits and demerits, but they are also efficient in their individualities. Today’s most appliances work on dual more, and so, they can function in a 110 and 220V supply. Thanks to the scientific inventions!
- Dhawal D, Why do UK/USA use 110/120V and others use 220/240V, June 10, 2012
- USA Electric, What is the difference between a 110v and a 220v, October 27, 2017
- Stephen Kane, What is 110v & do we need it?, October 10th, 2013