Switzerland has its standard for plugs and sockets. This makes the sale of electrical appliances with a mains connection more complicated but not impossible. We want to explain the effects of this peculiarity briefly and precisely here.
FIg 1: Europlug CEE 7/16
Appliances with a Europlug (CEE 7/16) can be sold in Switzerland without any adaptations. The Euro plug is designed for a maximum load of 250 V operating voltage and a current of 2.5 amperes. It is used with protective-insulated devices, i.e., that have been constructed so that they can be operated safely without a protective-earth connection. Due to the maximum load, however, the plug is only used for appliances with low power (<575W). The corresponding symbol can recognise protextive insulated devices:
Fig 2: Symbol for protective-insulated devices
As soon as a device needs a protective-earth connection - or needs more power than can be transmitted by means of an Europlug, the differences begin.
Fig 3: SN 441011 type 12
The Swiss standard plugs (SN 441011 type 12) are designed for a maximum load of 250V operating voltage and a current of 10 amps. The SchuKo (CEE-7/7) plugs that are relatively widespread in the rest of Europe, on the other hand, are dimensioned for 250V and up to 16 amps. This means that appliances with an output of between 2300W and 3000W, equipped with a SchuKo (CEE-7/7) plug, are only suitable for distribution in Switzerland to a minimal extent. This is because they must be operated with a special T-23 fixed adapter - and the corresponding sockets are hard to find in ordinary households. Using such powerful appliances with a T-12 fixed adapter is illegal, as this could lead to a fire in the worst case.
In general, appliances with the primary connection that are sent to Swiss customers must be accompanied by a fixed adapter - or if the power cable can be disconnected from the device, the matching Swiss power cable (cord set) must be enclosed. A fixed adapter can be connected once to a SchuKo plug (CEE-7/7) or a contoured plug (CEE 7/17). Afterwards, the adapter cannot be removed, thus guaranteeing a safe power connection for the customer. The permanent use of a travel or a detachable adapter is prohibited. Using a fixed adapter on a cord set that can be disconnected from the device is also prohibited.
The 2-pole fixed adapter matching the CEE 7/17 can be found here. Matching cord sets are available from a number of manufacturers. Larger quantities can be ordered inexpensively from the manufacturer Max Hauri or similar suppliers. We only use the IP44 version to avoid any discussion about plug protection.
Since 2022, devices with a mains connection that are permanently operated outdoors without monitoring (e.g. base stations for robotic lawnmowers, Christmas lights or pond pumps) or devices that are used in particularly wet or dusty environments (e.g. water pumps or high-pressure cleaners) must be installed with a plug with protection class IP55 in Switzerland. An adapter solution is excluded from the outset.
Extension cables with two conductors and CEE 7/16 connections are also not permitted in Switzerland, as these cables could also be operated with a T11 plug by SN 441011, which is designed for 10 amps - the CEE 7/16 cables are only intended for 2.5 amps and would therefore result in an overload.
The 3-pole fixed adapter that fits the CEE 7/7 can be found here. Matching cord sets are available from several manufacturers. Larger quantities can be ordered inexpensively from the manufacturer Max Hauri or similar suppliers. We recommend always using the IP44 variant.