Which Hurts More: AC Or DC Power?

Which Hurts More: AC Or DC Power?

You shouldn’t deliberately hurt yourself with electricity. I’ll repeat that. You shouldn’t deliberately hurt yourself with electricity. But if you do so accidentally, which type of current hurts more?

The Internet being the Internet, it was inevitable that somebody would find out. Watch and learn, but as they say in the classics, don’t try this at home.

The Pain of Electricity (AC versus DC) [YouTube via MAKE]


  • According to my father who has earthed out 240v house current several times on sheer accident (faulty light switches being a main cause here) & 110v DC from when he was a shunter/guard on the trains in Sydney, DC hurts a hell of a lot more.

    • Amperage counts, but so does frequency.
      A DC zap is like a BANG that can send you flying. A (low frequency) AC charge can cause your muscles to clench, and re-clench, the offending device shocking you – causing a longer more painful (and dangerous) exposure.
      As frequency goes up, “skin effect” comes into play and most of the electricity travels over your surface. Go high, and your muscles aren’t affected. Higher still, and your nerves don’t even detect it.
      Other effects then come into play, like localised warming etc. but the immediate ZAP is gone.

  • I can vouch that AC current hurts way more. I am a welder and by far and away AC current with high frequency not only gives you a jolt but also burns your skin on the way, DC current is more likely to kill you though, as it closes up your heart and squeezes it tight

  • We use effecively AC in Emergency as a bi-phasic difibrillator. Used 1/2 the joules of the monphasics and 3x more effective. Also more effective at causing someone an arrhythmia

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