British Plugs Are Better Than All Other Plugs, And Here’s Why

British Plugs Are Better Than All Other Plugs, And Here’s Why


I get a little bit patriotic sometimes. And
sometimes that’s for comedy purposes, and sometimes it’s genuine. And this is genuine. ‘Cos I really do believe that the British
plug is one of the greatest designs that has ever hit the world. For loads of reasons. I mean, there’s the
safety features that most folks, at least in Britain, know. Which is that it’s really difficult for a
kid to take, say, a screwdriver, and just poke it into one of the holes. ‘Cos up here is earth, ground for the Americans,
that’s the safety one. These two here are live and neutral, where
the actual danger is. But they’ve got shutters over them. I cannot — don’t try this at home
— I cannot poke a screwdriver in there right now. What I have to do is plug the earth pin — which
is slightly longer — the ground pin, here — in first. And when that goes in, little
shutters come up, and let the other pins in. So I can show that. ‘Cos this extension here
is really badly designed, which means I can put the plug in upside down. So if you have
a look at those shutters, when I put the earth pin in… …there we go. And there’s now a contact
for the other two pins. So you need to have a really inventive baby
to be able to put one in there and another in there and then get a shock. So that’s safer,
that’s brilliant. What about if you leave the plug half way
out? ‘Cos American and European sockets, you leave
the plug half way out, you’ve got live electricity that you can kind of touch. If you can get
a finger in there. Well, not here. ‘Cos on the live and neutral pins on the bottom,
you can see insulation extends half way through them. If the plug is far enough in to make
a connection… Like that. …all you can touch is the insulation. Okay. So that’s the obvious safety features. What about on the inside? ‘Cos you’ve got to remember, until 1992, the
British government did not require that electrical appliances had plugs on them. If you bought
a toaster or a washing machine, you would get, almost always, a bare wire at the end. And you’d be expected to wire the plug yourself. So I got taught how to wire a plug in school.
‘Cos that was still a required skill back then. Here we go. If I open this up… First: there’s a fuse. And that’s an artifact
of when the standard was made. Post-WW2, there was a copper shortage, and it was a lot cheaper
to require a fuse in every plug and just build the circuit as one loop of cable going round
the whole house than it was to have loads of individual copper strands going out all
over the house and a fuse for each. So they just made the house one giant circuit,
put a fuse in each plug. That’s now safer. Then you’ve got the three wires. Blue is neutral. B-L, L for left, blue goes
to the left. Brown is live. B-R, R goes to the right. Live
goes to the right. You can also remember that live is brown because
that’s the colour your trousers will go if you accidentally hit yourself with it. And finally, there’s this one. Green and yellow.
That’s the earth, or the ground wire. Now in normal operation, that shouldn’t be used,
but it’s basically a return path if all else fails. If something goes electrically wrong in the
plug or in the appliance, that will ground it and all the electricity will safely go
away from people. ‘Cos if that disconnects, and there’s a problem,
well, you could touch the metal bit of this toaster and the electricity could ground itself
through you, and through your heart. Which is bad. So instead, you have this wire here. And this
is the really clever bit, this is the bit that not many people know about. You see that slack in the wire just here?
In the event there’s a tug on this cable, something goes wrong, and all these start
fraying and coming out, the live and the neutral, the ones where the danger is, they’ll get
pulled out first. And then, the earth wire will come out next. So in the event of damage, of fraying, it’s
most likely that the earth wire is going to be the safe one, and no-one’s going to get
killed. So there you go: the British plug. Genuinely
one of the best bits of design I’ve ever come across, with one exception, which is that
if you just let it fall on the ground because you’re just throwing something out of the
way… …it will almost certainly end up with the
points pointing upwards. Which means in the middle of the night, when you stand on it,
it is really going to hurt. You can also remember that because the live
one is brown, because that is the colour your trousers will go if you accidentally hit yourself
with it. Er, and the big yellow and… …you OK there? [LAUGHTER] “I didn’t see that coming!” No-one ever does. Erm… [Translating this video? Add your name here if you’d like credit!]

100 thoughts on “British Plugs Are Better Than All Other Plugs, And Here’s Why

  1. Your video is flawed because it doesn't compare the UK plug with any other.

    The British one is good.. but the German outlet is superior

  2. In the US, you can buy safety outlets with the shutters. I like the idea of insulated pins, but I've never seen that as a problem.

  3. Safer doesn't equal better. It's efficient as any other plug, all plugs have ground wire, and as long as these are using more effort and materials they are not better overall

  4. I realize that you were only discussing the plug, but I like that many British outlets have switches. You don't find that very often here in the US.

  5. i preffer the general european plug, why? one simple reason

    the ones that have ground are also reversible, saving space and time

  6. The US design could easily be updated with many of these safety standards, and still keep the US plug shape. 🙂

  7. 1:33, there are EU Plugs that have the same feature, it depends on what plug you buy, not the plug type…

    This is also the same for the wiring, go shop for the cheapest UK plug and it will be a shitty mess inside, again you can go shop for safety certified EU plugs and the wiring will be very similar to the plug you have shown…

    It depends on the quality of production that is the deciding component, not the basic type of plug (EU, UK, US,…)…

  8. Interesting. But all new power outlets in Norway (and I am sure in other European countries) work the same, with the a much more convenient Euro plug. You cannot poke it with one thing and get electrocuted, unless you try it in both holes at the same time (you might be able to do it).

  9. The US does have safety receptacle options they are just more expensive so they are really only used in recently built schools and public buildings.

  10. Guess it’s high voltage 120 is painful but 220-240 really hurts. I think the UK plug is bulky. US has recently started to add the safety flaps to outlets along with arc fault interrupters.

  11. you didnt mention the fact they have dedicated on off switches on the wall, saving electricity if you cant be bothered to remove from the wall

  12. Being from Sweden myself and having a 30 years experience in electronics i would agree that although a bit bulky the British plugs are probably one of the best. One important safety features you didnt mention though, that is that the live and neutral wire (if the plug is correctly connected) can never be switched. With the European plug (type F) that we use it can be turned 180 degres and the live and neutral wires is then switched which means that there is 50% chance that for example the socket of lamps that have a switch on the cord can still have the live wire connected if its switched off since these switches usually just switches one lead.

  13. LMFAO starts argument with our kids can't stick stuff in there… I think I'm more worried about the education system that failed to require this design lmfaoooo

  14. Don't waste money on an adapter from european to english plug. It's useless, just unlock the ground pin with any piece of wood, and the contact pins unlock too. Now you can stick european into english plug !

  15. In America we believe in Darwinism and no one here would pay for an appliance they had to wire their own plug into.

  16. In America we believe in Darwinism and no one here would pay for an appliance they had to wire their own plug into.

  17. In Germany (and also many other European countries) we have the "Schuko-Stecker" (or Type F). It has the same security features despite the fuse in the plug. And it is compatible with the Euro-plug (Type C) . This one does not require a ground pin because the housing of these devices like cell phone chargers are insulated. This plug can be used everywhere in th EU but not in the UK.

  18. European Schuko-type plugs look the most futuristic. You also cant touch the contacts when its plugged halfway in, because the socket itself is shrouded.

  19. I was in physics in England to day and found out just today why the British plug is more safer then every other plug in the word

  20. Bayonet cap bulbs are inherently safe, whereas Edison screw can have a live case when turned off. Of course, all houses have rcd protection now so the point is moot. It's a good standard though.

  21. Well the EU plug are ISO standardised with same isolation and grounded and sometime you can find a switch on top of it. The thing is that UK plug is way more hard to mass produce so are more expensivve.

  22. At 0:24 when you're labelling the pins on the socket, you got the live and neutral the wrong way round. When viewed from the front, the neutral is on the left, live on the right. Also, the insulation on the live and neutral pins was a later amendment to the specification, issued in August 1984 (BS 1363:1984). Some old plugs (no longer compliant) still have uninsulated live and neutral pins.

  23. While in the US you have the worst plug design – three pins that are parallel to each other. The plug comes out of the socket even with a little bit of tug/weight on the cables.

  24. Pro tip: Concerned about stepping on a British plug in the dark of night? Simply scatter Lego around it in order to warn you of imminent pain.

  25. A) most European plugs also have that shutter thing and there's no way to open them like the British plugs so ours is actually safer
    B) most if not all plugs already have part of their ends covered in plastic to protect from electricity anyway

  26. Schuko plugs are actually safer in my opinion: Their fit in the socket is so much tighter and stronger. And you can have angled and straight, besides being able to plug them in both ways, so you are always able to find the one with the least strain on the cable

  27. maybe making the "ground" pin not only longer but as a T shape to make it even harder for a child to plug in the wrong way …

  28. When we were in England, all of the wall sockets we saw had a switch on them so you could cut the power to the socket without unplugging things. But we were also staying in a hotel and didn't try to find any public places to recharge cuz that would require adapters for our stuff, so that might just be a feature in hotels in the UK (one which I've never seen in any US hotels).

  29. Rubbish Come to Denmark and see how it should be done. Our design is way more beautyful than the English and we use HFI (high freqency interrupter) to avoid Electricution. Just one fuse for many appliancies.

  30. I'm confused, at 1:08 you mention the insulation and also say that European plugs do not have such insulation… But all my plugs do have insulation (C-Type Plug) and with the F-Type Plug the contacts don't reach any wires until the plug has been inserted to an extend…

    So what do you mean by "Americans and Europeans" in this context?
    (Maybe I don't know what plugs are used in other parts of Europe)

  31. My favourite plug is the Australian plug (IEC Type I). I am American and most commonly use Type A or B, but I do not like how they do not imply orientation like Type I does. Safety features asside, I enjoy how small the plug, and have always felt like the British plug (Type G) is much too bulky.

  32. European Plug (Type C/E/F Plugs) are so designed that they aren't any exposed contacts, when they plug is not completly pluged in.

  33. all plugs suck until someone proposed an entirely new design that the whole world can adopt once and for all without having to concede to some other country's supposedly superior standard…

  34. you missed one actual advantage over Schuko: the fact that live in the blug will always connect to live in the socket – causes less induction losses in turned-off devices.

  35. I live in the US and as a young kid I hung a keychain on my desk lamp plug and plugged in the lamp. The keychain melted but the breaker opened before I touched the keychain.

    Also I caused an electrical fire in middle school in the bathroom with a broken mechanical pencil and a paper clip. The breaker didn’t pop and the flaming plastic dripped down the wall. I never got caught but I feel guilty to this day. (The fire alarm didn’t go off, the fire was quite small and I put it out eventually)

  36. I always thought it was VERY poor design to make 'brown' wire represent LIVE, instead of earth?!? Good design would be 'brown = earth, red = live, yellow/green=neutral'. So they have all these safety features yet you could easily screw up the wiring because in most peoples heads, brown is earth..!

  37. The Danish are better cups They send you a smile making you happy everyday decreasing the chance of suicide

  38. The solution to the last problem would be to have the pins parallel instead of perpendicular. And since adding the little extra bit of insulation costs the manufacturer money, making the plugs slightly recessed would save a small amount of money (that adds up over time). Then you really would have a perfect plug.

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