Electricity! Does 220V Or 110V Give The Bigger Shock?

Which Electricity Is More Dangerous 220V or 110V ?

Is water a conductor of insulator of electricity?


The United States and Canada use 110-volt electricity but it seems like most other countries use 220-volt electricity.

I didn’t know why and wondered if 220V was more likely to kill me, or injure me, than 110V

So I Surfed The Electricity Question And Discovered This

How Does Electricity Injure Us?

An electrical injury occurs when a current passes through the body, and interferes with the function of an internal organ, and/or burns tissue.

The intensity of the current is measured in volts and amperes.

All newer American buildings have 240 volts split in two, with 120 between the neutral and hot wire.

Major appliances, meaning, dryers and ovens, are now connected to 240 volts.

So Which Is Better 220 or 110?

220 volts is much more efficient.

If you double the voltage, you draw half the current to achieve the same power.

But Which Is Safer?

Voltage (V) is the potential for energy to move and is equivalent to water pressure.

Current (I) is a rate of flow and is measured in amps.

Ohms (r) is a measure of resistance and is equivalent to the water pipe size.

The primary advantage of a lower current is that you lose less power in the wires feeding current to the appliance, and you can use smaller, cheaper wires for the same power loss rating.

Higher voltage transmission is more efficient than low-voltage transmission over long distances, because the loss caused by conductor resistance decreases as the voltage increases.

It could be argued that higher voltage is more dangerous if accidentally touched, or if there is an accidental short circuit but it’s not that simple

Voltage is not the killer, but current flow is.

You could be exposed to thousands of volts (pressure) when walking across a nylon carpet in polyester trousers (static), and feel next to nothing because there’s next to zero current.

Some experienced electricians are relatively casual about touching 110 V circuits, but they all respect 230 V.

How Can I Protect Myself?

The strength of the electric shock we get depends on the amount of current that passes through our body.

If we use plastic shoes and not leather ones, or stand on a dry wooden chair, then the shoes or chair will offer more resistance and we will be able to safely touch live parts.

Birds On High Voltage Cables

You probably seen birds sitting on high voltage transmission line without getting electrocuted.

They are safe there as they are sitting on the live wire without touching the ground thus not completing the electric circuit.

The Bottom Line.

If you’re unfamiliar with electricity and need to get a repair done, please have somebody do it, that does it professionally.

Or make an effort to learn about electricity before you attempt to carry out electrical jobs.

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13 Responses to Electricity! Does 220V Or 110V Give The Bigger Shock?

  1. peterson says:

    Hopefully we’ll get some expert posts on this because it’s simply not as cut and dried as it sounds.

    As I understand it, it’s the current that can injure or kill you, and not the number of volts, meaning that you can work around kilo-volt circuits if the current has been limited to safe levels.

    Low voltages carrying high current can be very dangerous and you can
    even get a nasty injury from a 5 V power supply if you happen to
    put your hand near an arc from an accidental short circuit of several

  2. knopfman says:

    In most cases, the amount of current that flows through a person’s body is limited by only the resistance of the body and its connection to it; meaning the contact resistance at the skin, which is usually the case when people get a shock via 110 V and 240 V wiring.

    In those situations, what determines whether or not a meaningful shock might be received is the voltage difference between those two points of contact.

    What’s more, additional current will likely cause your hand muscles to grasp a live wire tighter which is why higher voltages are more dangerous in accidental contact situations.

  3. brightone69 says:

    I’ve had a whack from 240v and 440v, the 240v threw me across the room, the 440v just knocked me over.

    As Peterson says and knofman implies, it is the current that proves fatal, not the voltage.

    The higher the voltage the bigger the gap which can be jumped by the “spark” (ionization of the air).

    People have been killed by milliamps (1000th of an ampere).

    The bodies muscles are triggered/powered by electrical current/impulses and if an external electrical source were to interfere, in phase with this process, it would not do the old heart any good at all 😉


  4. MacTheKnife says:

    I lived in Brazil for around a year and they have 110v and 220v in the same house with the same size plugs!

    Real easy to blow things to pieces that you bought in the States.

    It rained every day at the same time and the vendors at the outside markets had wires from high up connected to their stands and the rain used to run down them in torrents … and huge mangoes used to crash down onto cars (and people I guess if it wasn’t their day) too I guess.

  5. ConnorFromMachineScienceClass says:

    I am a Year 10 High (secondary, as you americans say) School, and our Machine Science teacher makes a point that you could have a theoretically infinite voltage running through you, but to feel a shock at all, it must be at least 32 volts, and to be fatal, it must be 5 OR MORE milliamps (5mA (5mI)). Voltage only disperses energy, in the form of pain.

  6. Jonny j says:

    There is a significant difference.

    To do the same amount of work, a 110 volt electric motor will require twice the amperage as what a 220 volt electric motor will.

    which means: if you double the number of volts, the number of amps required will be half.

    This makes 220 volts good for the pocket book when paying the electric bill.

  7. mak-the-knife says:

    Another example of the difference between 110 & 220.

    For years I ran my 3 1/2 HP compressor on 110. When temps got down to 25 F., it was hard to start until comp warmed itself up.

    After I got my shop built, I converted the comp motor taps to 220 and now it will start right up at -20 F.

    I thought this would give you a real life example of the difference between the two voltages as to how much extra work 220 will do.

  8. humpty says:

    You are more likely to be killed if you remain in contact.
    110v is more dangerous because it makes muscle tissue ‘grab’ even if you want to let go. But a 220v shock has the opposite effect, it will throw you away across the room. Domestic statistics from the US and EU have confirmed this.

  9. Roman says:

    I’m sorry but what are some of you people going on about “being thrown across the room”? I received a shock from 220 V two times in my life and it is quite a jolt, but if it were to throw you accross the room, it would have to be an EXPLOSION. Don’t distort things.

  10. Philip says:

    It’s not the current itself that throws you across the room, but the muscular reaction. I’ve been shocked several times by 220V in Europe, mostly with just a startling jolt, but it did happen once that I was thrown away from the appliance I was tinkering with.

    I was 10, and got more cautious after that…

  11. Reg Spragg says:

    I’ve seen people “thrown across a room” at 240v (me included) it all depends on how the current affects which particular muscle group and what happens when it goes into spasm
    I have also seen someone holding a live cable, smoke coming out of his fingers and unable to let go of the cable. He had to be knocked away with a wooden broom.
    His hand required skin grafts.
    I’ve had a 440v shock whilst working live on a circuit, felt like I had been punched.
    I had a “tickle” last month whilst wiring up my garage, I thought I had switched off the power MCB, instead I had isolated the lighting. Been stripping wires for about ten minutes before I realised my mistake. (buzzing in my fingers)
    I don’t think that there is a great deal of difference re safety between the two voltage systems, which are still classed as low voltage, being below 600V.
    At the moment, the UK has the safest plug and socket system of anywhere in the world, 3 pin, shuttered, activated by the earth pin. Moves are afoot to “standardise” this system to the pile of shite 2 pin system beloved of the third world.

    Here’s one for you, if current flow is actually electron flow and electrons are negatively charged, why is it taught that electricity flows from positive to negative?
    Surely, the negative pole would repel the negative electron if this was the case, no?

    • Dimitri Jim Alexandratos says:

      “urely, the negative pole would repel the negative electron if this was the case, no?”.

      because this what they thought when they first discovered current. It flowed form positive to negative terminal. Yes your right low voltage is up to 600v but low voltage dc is greater than 50 volts to thousand volts. We use to use extra low voltage 32 volt DC to supply temporary camps in the army….. mainly for lighting. The fittings use to be puncher type. You could set it up in the rain. But 50 volt DC can kill you ……. as the current is greater……..

  12. Dimitri Jim Alexandratos says:

    It is not the voltage that kills it is the current. Either one would stop the heart instantaneously…..Static Electricity has voltages around 10s of thousands of volts…..but there is no current. Because AC voltage is a sinusoidal curve it goes through zero point. High voltage DC they use on electric trains has a continuous value for current. With AC current you have a higher chance to pull away from it because current goes through of zero value. But high Voltage DC there is no chance as current will fry you……. The reason why the article says that some electricians think they can touch DC because most of them wear insulated boots and keep any part of their body away from touching solid ground or a wall. A 110 volt across say 10 cm of insulated sole will not ionize the air between the body and ground as fast as 240 volts because of higher potential. So if there is moisture in the air 240V may breakdown the air faster and current will flow hence you get electrocuted. This however is a very very raw situation of insulated boots doing this. But if your soles are wet from coming in from the rain more probable of this happening.

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