The Australian and New Zealand AS/NZS 3112 standard
This page is an overview of the various types of plugs used in Australasia and is intended as a technical reference. For more information on the plugs and power cords we stock, please see our Australian page. This also includes the full list of countries beyond Australia and New Zealand which use the plug type (Australia, New Zealand, and neighbouring and Pacific islands), and differences from the similar Chinese and Argentinian types.
The respective standards for Australia and New Zealand are AS3112 and NZS3112, usually combined to AS/NZS3112. Mains cable and electrical flex is metric, with harmonised core colours, and must be to the AS/NZS3191 standards “Electric Flexible Cords.” Approval is by SAA (Standards Association of Australia) in Australia and SANZ (Standards Association of New Zealand) in New Zealand’ or alternatively at federal government level. The majority of Australian plugs must have insulated active and neutral pins since April 2005.
All plugs and sockets below are rated 250V unless specifically detailed, e.g. 110V. Mains voltage is 230V or 240V depending on the state, and may vary in the Pacific Islands.
The live, line or (single) phase connection is called the ‘active’ in Australia. Sockets accept equal and lower rated plugs, so a 32A outlet accepts 32A, 25A, 20A, 15A, 10A and 7.5A plugs, but a 10A outlet will only accept 10A and 7.5A plugs.
Whilst not specified in the Australian and New Zealand standards, common usage is to have sockets orientated with the earth bottom-most in order to have the earth disconnect last if the plug is pulled out downwards.
Though not a requirement in the standards, hospital grade Australian power cords may have a clear plug and possibly connector to visually check polarity, and may prefer orange cable to easily differentiate from standard power cables.