NEMA products range from 15 to 60 amperes and 125 to 600 volts, and they are differentiated by their classifications. All NEMA 1 power cords have a two-prong design, while all NEMA 5 devices have a three-prong design. NEMA 5 devices are three-wire grounding devices that are rated for a maximum voltage of 125. The 5 15 rating, specifically, is a grounded version of a NEMA 1 15 device. Devices that are classified as NEMA 6 and up are typically used to direct power to large machines or household appliances.
While all NEMA 5 15 power cords have three prongs, some are designed with a different end than others. For cords that may be used behind a piece of furniture, the head of the cord turns sideways so that it can be flush with the wall when plugged in. Others have a more traditional head that goes straight into the wall. Some NEMA power cords have multiple outlets so that one power source can be extended and used to power several devices at the same time.
Many NEMA devices come with additional safety features to protect against electrical fires or power surges that could damage electronic products. A ground fault circuit interrupter, for instance, will automatically disconnect the circuit if the difference between the outgoing power is 6 milliamperes greater than the current returning to the device on the neutral conductor.
Another important safety feature on many new residential NEMA makes electrical outlets safer for children. A child may try to jam a foreign object into an electrical outlet, which could, in turn, lead to significant injury. With tamper-resistant receptacle, a spring loaded cover keeps foreign objects from entering through the front of the receptacle. Although this small feature adds very little cost to a device, it can make a big difference in many homes. Many NEMA 5 15 power cords are weather resistant because they are used outdoors or in damp areas.
NEMA power cords are used in many different applications and can power simple household devices, power tools and more. 5 15 power cords are quite possibly the most popular and most common type on the market because they can be used for so many different products and fit into all standard electrical outlets in North America.
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association is headquartered in Virginia, and it has over 430 members both nationally and internationally. Among these are instantly recognizable major corporations like 3M, Hubbell, Medtronic and more; as well as a number of smaller manufacturers. By being members of NEMA, these companies benefits from an industry-approved set of standards that consumers can trust. This gives credibility to the members’ products, but it also ensures that they are held to a set of standards that help maintain quality among electrical manufacturers..