Why Is Electricity In The USA 110v When The Rest Of The World Uses 230v? Here’s The Answer


Different countries across the globe use different standards for transmission of electricity. For example in US, the electricity is 110 V 60 Hz AC current, whereas in UK it is 230 V 50 Hz AC current. Although it doesn’t seem like a big deal but why the difference? The answer is the lengthy fued between Edison and Tesla.

Direct Current or DC was introduced by Edison but it was not good at long-distance transmission. Alternatively, Tesla created the Alternating Current or AC which was great at long-distance transmission. 110 volts was much more economical when transmission lines were being laid and this voltage became the standard. After the first ever electrical grid was set up to provide electricity to the residential sector, it was realized that the lights bulbs worked best in a range of 100 to 110 volts. 

Credits: Infographed
Credits: Infographed

In a battle of currents, Edison and Tesla fought over their differences via rigorous experiments. Eventually AC emerged victorious and 110 VAC 60 Hz standard was accepted by Westinghouse Electric in the USA. Europe on the other hand, decided to use electricity at 50 Hz and increase the voltage to 240 to make the grid distribution more efficient. Therefore, 240 V AC 50 Hz became the European standard later adopted by India and most of Asia.

Why countries have different electric grids and values? The reason isn’t technical but is based on business agreements and establishing monopolies in areas years ago.
Which value is being used in your country? 110 V or 240 V or some other? Let us know in comments!


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Comments 16

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  1. In India we use 230V ,50Hz supply for residential purpose because we can only transmit the power more efficiently when there will be less losses in the transmission line. For transmitting power we should keep in mind that SENDING POWER must be equal to RECEIVING POWER{P1(V1I1)=P2(V2I2)}.
    So for minimising the losses (I^2R) we must increase the voltage value and decrease the current value.

  2. In Canada province of Québec (we have aboundance of hydroelecyticity)for residential it come in the house at 220/240v 60hz, for heating, cooking stove,water heater, cloths dryer and Split to 110/120v for all small appliance and lightning, use of gas is limited

    1. It not the voltage, it never the voltage, It is the amperage that kills you. You can easly survive 50,000,0000,000,000,000,000,000, Volts DC or AC. And get get killed with .01 amps.

  3. Here in Brazil, the southern area is 11oV 60 Hz. In the north, it is 230V 60 Hz. I have no idea why they don’t make it the same everywhere. As a result, many appliances are bi-voltage. There is also a nice industry making conversions for appliances moved from one area to another.

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