Did you know that banana plugs are almost a century old? Wow! And, you thought you were old!
Banana connectors or plugs are the standards when it comes to single wire connections. They have evolved over the years to help you join wires with the utmost ease. They are also helpful in testing circuits and equipment.
Types of Banana Plugs
However, not many of us understand that there are multiple types of banana plugs that suit different purposes. This piece of information is quite important because it will help you choose the right connector based on your requirements. Each type serves a specific purpose. We shall explore this further today.
What are Banana Plugs?
Banana connectors have a plug (male) and jack (female). They are single-wire electrical connectors and are usually available in 2 sizes: 4mm and 2mm. 1mm plugs are also available. They are usually called pin plugs.
While black and red are the most common colors, they are found in brown, orange, yellow, white, grey, violet, blue, green, etc.
There are two main types of banana plugs when it comes to probe assembly:
- Type A: They are for voltages above 30 Vrms.
- Type D: These are for voltages below 30 Vrms.
All the banana plug types that we will speak about will either be type A or type B.
Types of Banana Plugs
Let’s get into the details and discover the various banana plugs in the market today:
- Unshrouded banana plugs: This is a simple banana plug without any sheath or insulation. This is why many call them unsheathed plugs too. If you need plugs for testing, this is the one you should go with.
- Shielded banana plugs: Also called sheathed or shrouded banana plugs, these have insulation, and that’s why you can use them in high-voltage situations.
- Retractable sleeve banana plugs: These types of plugs, slide out of the sleeve and can be used with unsheathed jacks. These plugs are also suitable for high-voltage applications.
- Stackable banana plugs: These banana plug types have holes either on the back or the sides. A few have holes on the back as well as the sides. They are basically used to accept another banana plug pin. The only stipulation here is that they should be of the same size. These plugs are for patch leads and offer tremendous reliability.
- Straight banana plugs: These are the most common plugs used for speaker wires and probe leads. You can use them for testing as well. They have a cylindrical pin that is connected to a plastic cover. This may or may not be removable. You will find various types within straight plugs, too, with varying insulation.
- Dual banana plugs: As the name suggests, these plugs let you connect two together. They are best suited for amplifiers that have old binding posts.
- Mini banana plugs: These have smaller banana plug sizes. They are commonly available in 2mm sizes, but a few manufacturers also sell 3mm pins. You can use them with low power circuits and speaker cables.
There are also stackable sheath banana plugs and stackable retracting sheath banana plugs. They are nothing but plugs that come with the benefits of the basic types. They are not as common as the others but are right up there.
Banana plugs may be small but are very important in the electrical world. Choosing the wrong size, style, or type can damage your electrical devices. This is why you must be aware of the options available. It will help you assess which one to choose and safeguard your equipment. Also, please don’t rely on guesswork. If you don’t really know which banana plug to choose, you can ask professionals or the sellers of your audio equipment. They will be more than happy to guide you.
Choose the right banana plug and make the most out of it safely!