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Choose Correct Voltage for Your Commercial Restaurant Equipment

Voltage concerns are frequently voiced from our customers.  It can be confusing, because there are several numbers mentioned, some more frequently than others, and while we may not know why, we’ve got the basic instinct that says we need to get this right.

Electric products are built to use either low or high voltage, depending on their intended function.  For newer products in North America, and generally speaking Mexico and Latin America, the standard is that 120 is low voltage and meant for private use.  208 and 240v are high voltage, and designed for commercial use.  You may see either of these, or the two combined, listed as the voltage on a commercial product.  Some older electrical products, using outdated voltage, are still in use.  The outdated lower voltages are 110 and 115.    220 and 230 are outdated higher voltage in the US, but 230 is commonly used in many parts of the world, so if you’re going abroad and plan to take electronics with you, make sure they’re newer products with a small red switch on the back, near where the power cord connects, which allows you to change the acceptable voltage.  Electronic products aren’t so specific that the number for the voltage has to be exact.  They’re compatible with a range of voltage, but it’s typically still either high or low voltage.  A simple rule of thumb is that numbers in the 100 range are low voltage and numbers in the 200 range are high voltage.

Here’s a quick list for review:

  • 110 Volt -Low voltage, out-dated
  • 115 Volt -Low voltage, out-dated
  • 120 Volt -Low voltage, used in US, Canada, most of Mexico & Central America
  • 208 Volt -High voltage, used in US, Canada, most of Mexico & Central America
  • 220 Volt -High voltage, out-dated
  • 230 Volt -High voltage, out-dated in US, Canada, most of Mexico & Central America.  Used widely internationally.
  • 240 Volt -High voltage, used in US, Canada, most of Mexico & Central America

One of the common myths about high voltage is that it causes fuses to blow.  Voltage doesn’t affect fuses at all.  They blow when a sustained electrical current that’s too high passes through them for an extended period of time, and it’s a safeguard against fires.

So why are we paying attention to all of this?  The consequences of using too high a voltage vary from frying your circuitry to burning down your house.   Honestly, the latter is less common, but it happens nonetheless.  (Some of our high voltage products commercial ovens and ranges .)

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