Last updated: 7 August 2020







TYPE M

Type M is used almost exclusively in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. (Click here for the full list of all countries that use type M)

This plug resembles the Indian type D plug, but its pins are much larger. Type M is a 15 amp plug, and it has three round prongs that form a triangle. The central earth pin is 28.6 mm long and has a diameter of 8.7 mm. The 7.1 mm line and neutral pins are 18.6 mm long, on centres spaced 25.4 mm apart. The centre-to-centre distance between the grounding pin and the middle of the imaginary line connecting the two power pins is 28.6 mm. The South African version of the M plug often has insulated sleeves on the pins to prevent accidental contact with a bare connector while the plug is partially inserted.

Although type D is used in India and Nepal, type M is also used for larger appliances in those countries. Some sockets over there can take both type M and type D plugs. Type M is also used in Israel and the United Arab Emirates for heavy appliances such as air-conditioning circuits (in cases where wall-mounted units are plugged in to a dedicated socket) and certain types of washing machines. In the UK, type M is still pretty much the standard plug for theatre installations, despite efforts to move to the international blue- and red-coloured industrial CEE plugs.

Incidentally, in 2013, South Africa made the new type N plugs and sockets the preferred standard, which will gradually replace the type M plug and socket system. Since 2018, all new buildings in South Africa must incorporate at least one type N socket outlet. Erm, come again? Only one single receptacle of the preferred standard? This is mind-boggling! Why would a government deliberately opt for an excruciatingly slow adoption of a new, safer standard? No wonder the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) thinks the transition process will only be completed in 20 to 50 (!) years! This is utterly absurd…



Check out all other plug types used around the world