Wonderful Engineering

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

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!