Why Europe/Asia use 220V/50 Hz but USA uses 110V/60 Hz?

North America and Japan use 110V/60Hz electricity where as rest of the world use 220V/50Hz.

The reason was historical. Engineers in USA originally laid lines for 110 V where as in Europe they did with 220 V.  After that, it would have been too expensive to change the system.  Neither system is inferior nor superior compared to other. Although there are some caveats for each system.

The first one is that an electric shock of 220 V is more dangerous than 110 V. Higher voltage can often paralyze the nerves compared to lower voltage (assuming resistance thru human body remains same).

The second consideration is that any electrical appliance requires power to operate. Now, power = voltage x current. The power is measured in Watt and current is measured in Ampere.  Thus, for same wattage, an apparatus running under 110 V will require twice the amount of current compared to that required in 220 V.  This means, the wires carrying 110 V needs to be thicker (to carry more current) than wires carrying 220 V.


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