The Ultimate Electricity Guide for World Travelers

This is a guest post from John Higgins, Market Sales and Product Expert with REI, Utah.

Are you preparing to travel outside of the USA or Canada and want to take items that require electricity? First, do a little homework to make sure you power up—instead of blow up—your devices.

The Need for Adapters and Converters

The power supply (voltage and frequency) and the types of power outlets differ between countries.There is no international standard. Knowing this before you go saves time, stress and money. It is a lot easier to purchase any needed adapter plugs or converters at home as they can be surprisingly hard to find in your destination country.

The author’s cautionary tale: Out of curiosity, I once decided to find out what would happen when I toggled my computer’s power supply from 240V to 110V while I was in Australia (240V power). The result was a sharp bang, a waft of smoke, a dead computer and an expensive repair bill. So it pays to know what you’re up against.

Typical Devices Brought by Travelers

Electrical devices are those that use heating elements or mechanical motors. Examples:

  • Hair dryer
  • Electric shaver
  • Electric toothbrush
  • Irons (for clothes or hair)
  • Coffee maker
  • Water heating device (for a cup of hot water)

Electrical devices are likely to need an adapter plug to work, and possibly a voltage converter as well. Read on for more specifics.

Electronic devices are those that use chips, circuits or electronic motors. Examples:

  • MP3 player
  • Camera
  • Cell phone
  • Portable computer
  • Amazon Kindle or other e-readers
  • Battery chargers (needed for devices with rechargeable batteries)

Electronic devices are most likely to need an adapter plug to work, and possibly a transformer as well. Read on for more specifics.

World Electricity FAQs

As the Sales and Product Expert in the travel department of the REI Salt Lake City store, I get asked the following questions on a regular basis.

Q: Will my electrical and electronic appliances work in Country X?

A: Yes, provided you have the appropriate adapter plug for the power outlet in your destination country, and your device is rated for the same voltage as the power supply in that country. If the voltage is different, you will need a voltage converter or transformer. Note: Some foreign hotels have circuits providing approximately 120 volts, which allow guests to use electric shavers and other low-wattage U.S. appliances. These are labeled as such in the hotel.

Q: How do I find my voltage and adapter info?

A: First, read the electricity information label on your device to determine the voltage rating. Then find out what voltage the power supply is at your destination. See our Power and Outlets by Country chart below (or consult your travel guidebook) to find this information. If your device and the power supply use the same voltage, you need only a plug adapter. If it is different, you will also need a voltage converter or transformer.

Q: What type of adapter plug do I need?

A: adapter plugs come in many configurations. Consult the Power and Outlet Types by Country chart later in this article to find the plug type, and then learn more in the section on adapter Plug Types.

Q: When do I need a voltage converter or transformer?

A: One or the other is needed only if your destination country’s power supply has a voltage rating that is outside the range of your device. A converter is for use with “electrical” devices and a transformer is for use with “electronic” devices (see examples above). You won’t need either if your device is rated dual or multi voltage.

Four Questions to Ask Yourself

1. Do I really need to take this device?

The simplest way to deal with foreign electricity is to travel without anything that needs it. Of course, even the most weight-frugal backpacker often has a camera and an MP3 player (containing rechargeable Li-Ion batteries) and will need to plug in on a regular basis. However the fewer devices the better, so consider how often you are likely to use something. There may be an alternative, such as using an internet café instead of taking your own laptop.

2. What does your device’s power label say?

Locate the manufacturer’s power supply information for the device. This may be: A) A label affixed directly to the back of the device; B) On the AC transformer box along the power lead; or C) Molded into the plastic on the plug. It is often in very small print. You need to find this information to know if a voltage converter or transformer is necessary.

It will look something like this:

INPUT: AC100 — 240V 50-60Hz 14W OUTPUT DC 1.2V 2.3A

The INPUT line contains the key information, specifically if the voltage (V) is single, dual or multi. For example:

  • Single voltage would read 120V. Household kitchen appliances like coffee makers, toasters and blenders are typically single voltage. This is usually not the sort of thing you are going to take on a trip.
  • Dual voltage would read 110V/220V, and the device may have a switch to toggle between the 2 voltage inputs. This is common on hair dryers.
  • Multi-voltage would read 100 — 240V. This is common on battery chargers and AC transformers for many modern portable devices like laptop computers. The example above is of a multi-voltage device that will operate on a voltage supply between 100V and 240V.

3. What is your destination country’s power supply in voltage (V) and frequency (Hz)?

Refer to the Power and Outlet Types by Country chart to answer this. See the Glossary below for a short description of frequency.

4. What type of plug is required for power outlets in the destination country?

This is also provided in the Power and Outlet Types by Country chart and the Adapter Plug Types later in this article. You will need to gather answers to questions 3 and 4 for each of the countries you plan on visiting.

Power Summary Chart

 

Voltage INPUT for your device Power Supply in Destination Country Converter or Transformer Needed? Adapter Plug Needed? Device Examples
Single(e.g., 110, 115, 120 or 125) 110 ___ 125V No Yes Kitchen appliances (toasters, etc.)
Single(e.g.,110, 115, 120 or 125) 220, 230, 240V Yes Yes Kitchen appliances (toasters, etc.)
Dual (e.g., 120/240) 110, 220, 230, 240V No (as a general rule) Yes Hair dryer, water heating unit
Multi (e.g., 110 ___ 240) 110, 220, 230, 240V No Yes Battery chargers and power leads for phones, MP3 players, laptops

 

Electricity Glossary for Travelers

This section provides a quick background on key electrical terminology. If your only interest is finding out your adapter plug type and need for a voltage converter or transformer, you can go directly to the Power/Outlets by Country chart.

Adapter Plug: This changes the prongs on your device’s plug into a configuration that fits into the power outlet at your destination. An adapter plug does not convert electricity. Adapter plugs can be used with voltage converters, transformers and dual- or multi-voltage devices. They are labeled by plug type and/or country of use. They are sold as single plugsfor individual countries, in travel sets of the most common plug types or as a universal plug with multiple plug types built into it. Adapter plugs are available as ungrounded (most common) or grounded. See grounded for more plug information.

Tip: It’s easy to unintentionally leave your adapter plug behind when you pull your power lead out of the outlet. Consider using a dedicated adapter plug per device and tape it onto your plug so you don’t accidentally leave it behind.

AC Adapter: This is the black box that converts AC (alternating current) coming out of the wall outlet to the DC (direct current) power that is required to operate your device. This adapter comes with your device (such as a laptop computer or cell phone charger), either built in or as part of the power lead. Don’t leave home without it.

AC: Refers to alternating current, the most common type of power supply. This power is generated by a utility company and sent along cables to end up at a power outlet.

DC: Refers to direct current, the type of power supply required by an electronic device. The output information on the device’s power supply label will tell you what it runs on.

Example: OUTPUT DC 1.2V 2.3A

This is usually important only if you need to replace a lost AC adapter. In this case, a replacement AC adapter must match the manufacturer’s recommendation for your device.

Electric Devices: These use heating elements or mechanical motors. Examples include hair dryers, travel irons, water heaters, shavers and toothbrushes. If the device’s voltage rating is not compatible with the power supply in your destination country, it can be used with either aconverter or transformer with the correct wattage range for short periods of time (under 2 hours).

Electronic Devices: These operate with electronic motors, circuits or chips. Examples include computers, radios and battery chargers. If the device’s voltage rating is not compatible with the power supply in your destination country, it should be used ONLY with a transformer of the correct wattage range for short periods of time (under 3 hours).

Frequency: The speed at which electric current alternates (expressed in Hertz = cycles per second). In the USA and Canada, the AC power supply is 60Hz. In many other countries, it is 50Hz. This is not a problem for most devices, but some with electric timers in them (such as electric clocks) may have their accuracy affected. Converters and transformers do not adjust frequency. Many modern portable devices are designed to accommodate a range of frequencies; the power label on such devices will say 50-60Hz.

Grounded: This relates to the power outlet and plug type. A grounded plug will have 3 prongs (with some variations possible), whereas an ungrounded plug will have 2 prongs. Most portable devices are ungrounded. You can use a grounded plug with an ungrounded adapter plug. Is this a concern? Potentially, but it is unlikely for occasional short-term use of a device. You can also use an ungrounded plug in a grounded socket. Consult your device’s instruction manual for further information.

Outlet: The wall outlet or power strip that you plug into (and also called a power socket). The plug pin configuration (number, shape and orientation) differs from country to country. Typically you will need an adapter plug(single country or universal) to enable you to plug into an outlet in another country. Countries in the same region (e.g., Europe) often share a common plug type. Some foreign hotels have circuits providing approximately 120 volts, which allow guests to use electric shavers and other low-wattage U.S. appliances. These are labeled as such in the hotel.

Socket: Synonymous with outlet in some countries, but it more correctly refers to the connection point for a light bulb.

Transformer: A device for long-term use with single-volt electronicappliances. Transformers are designed to either step down power from, for example, 230V to 115V, or to step up power from 115V to 230V. If you have a single-voltage North American appliance, it will most likely be 115V or 110 to 125V. If you intend to use it in a country with a 230V power supply, you will need a step-down transformer, or something is going to burn out. The wattage rating of a transformer must always be larger than the wattage rating of the appliance to be plugged into it. Transformers are generally larger, heavier and more expensive than voltage converters.

Note: Travelers generally do not need a transformer, as the AC adapters for most electronic devices are dual or multi-voltage, negating the need for a separate transformer. Check the power information label on your device to confirm this.

People who may need a transformer are those who are relocating to another country, or are conducting overseas research projects and use specialist equipment that needs to be powered up for long periods of time (more than 3 hours).

Voltage: This can refer either to the voltage rating of the power supply in your destination country or to the power rating of your device. To find the voltage of the power supply in your destination country, refer to the Power and Outlet Types by Country chart. To find the power rating of your device, look for the manufacturer’s power supply information. This may be a label affixed directly to the back of the device, on the AC transformer box along the power lead or molded into the plastic on the plug. It is often in very small print.

  • Domestic power supply in North America is typically AC 115V. In most other countries the voltage will be in the range of AC 220V — 240V.
  • The rated input for electrical or electronic devices will be single, dual or multi. Devices made for domestic use (not international use) will often be rated as single voltage (e.g., kitchen appliances).
  • A device with a single voltage input will need a converter ortransformer to be used in a location with a non-corresponding power supply voltage, as well as an adapter plug. However many modern portable devices are manufactured for worldwide distribution and use, and their power input is designed work with the different voltages found in different countries. A device with dual or multi voltage input generally will not need a converter or transformer, only an Adapter plug .

Tip: If using a dual-voltage device in another country and it has a manual switch to change voltage input, remember to use it or you are likely to ruin your device. Remember to change it back when you return home!

Voltage Converter: The little black box that goes between the power outlet and your device. It is for use with electric appliances only and should not be used with electronic devices. You only need a voltage converter if your electric device is rated as single voltage (e.g., 120V) andthis is different from the voltage supplied in your destination country. If so, you also need to know the wattage requirements of your device and use a converter that is appropriate. Voltage converters may be low wattage only or dual wattage (low and high). A battery charger has a low-watt requirement, whereas a hair dyer has a high-watt requirement.

 

Watts (Wattage): The amount of energy a device consumes. All devices have wattage ratings. This is relevant if you need a voltage converter or transformer. Low-power items require a low-wattage converter, whereas energy gobblers require a dual- or high-power converter. Check that a converter or transformer has the appropriate wattage range for your device.

Power and Outlet Types by Country

Use this chart to locate power information by country. The Outlet Typecolumn is for reference to the detailed descriptions provided under Adapter Plug Types following this chart. The letter used to denote the adapter plug type may not correspond with a plug manufacturer’s description or labeling.

Updates and Corrections: Countries can and do change their name, power supply and outlet design. The information provided here is a guideline and cannot to be relied upon as 100% accurate. We welcome any updates or corrections from your personal traveling experience. Please post a comment at the end of this article

 

COUNTRY VOLTAGE FREQUENCY OUTLET TYPE
Afghanistan 220 V 50 Hz C / F
Albania 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Algeria 230 V 50 Hz C / F
American Samoa 120 V 60 Hz A / B / F / I
Andorra 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Angola 220 V 50 Hz C
Anguilla 110 V 60 Hz A
Antigua 230 V 60 Hz A / B
Argentina 220 V 50 Hz C / I *
Armenia 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Aruba 120 V 60 Hz A / B / F
Australia 240 V 50 Hz I
Austria 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Azerbaijan 220 V 50 Hz C / F
Azores 230 V 50 Hz B / C / F
Bahamas 120 V 60 Hz A / B
Bahrain 230 V 50 Hz G
Balearic Islands 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Bangladesh 220 V 50 Hz C / D / G / K
Barbados 115 V 50 Hz A / B
Belarus 220 V 50 Hz C / F
Belgium 230 V 50 Hz E
Belize 110 V / 220 V 60 Hz B / G
Benin 220 V 50 Hz E
Bermuda 120 V 60 Hz A / B
Bhutan 230 V 50 Hz D / F / G
Bolivia 230 V 50 Hz A / C
Bosnia & Herzegovina 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Botswana 230 V 50 Hz D / G
Brazil 127 V / 220 V * 60 Hz A / B / C / I
Brunei 240 V 50 Hz G
Bulgaria 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Burkina Faso 220 V 50 Hz C / E
Burundi 220 V 50 Hz C / E
Cambodia 230 V 50 Hz A / C / G
Cameroon 220 V 50 Hz C / E
Canada 120 V 60 Hz A / B
Canary Islands 230 V 50 Hz C / E / L
Cape Verde 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Cayman Islands 120 V 60 Hz A / B
Central African Republic 220 V 50 Hz C / E
Chad 220 V 50 Hz D / E / F
Channel Islands (Guernsey & Jersey) 230 V 50 Hz C / G
Chile 220 V 50 Hz C / L
China , People’s Republic of 220 V 50 Hz A / C / I
Colombia 110 V 60 Hz A / B
Comoros 220 V 50 Hz C / E
Congo, People’s Rep. of 230 V 50 Hz C / E
Congo, Dem. Rep. of (formerly Zaire) 220 V 50 Hz C / D
Cook Islands 240 V 50 Hz I
Costa Rica 120 V 60 Hz A / B
Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) 220 V 50 Hz C / E
Croatia 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Cuba 110 V / 220 V 60 Hz A / B / C / L
Cyprus 230 V 50 Hz G / F**
Czech Republic 230 V 50 Hz E
Denmark 230 V 50 Hz C / E / K
Djibouti 220 V 50 Hz C / E
Dominica 230 V 50 Hz D / G
Dominican Republic 120 V 60 Hz A / B
East Timor 220 V 50 Hz C / E / F / I
Ecuador 110 V 60 Hz A / B
Egypt 220 V 50 Hz C / F
El Salvador 115 V 60 Hz A / B / C / D / E / F / G / I / J / L
Equatorial Guinea 220 V 50 Hz C / E
Eritrea 230 V 50 Hz C / L
Estonia 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Ethiopia 220 V 50 Hz C / F
Faeroe Islands 230 V 50 Hz C / K
Falkland Islands 240 V 50 Hz G
Fiji 240 V 50 Hz I
Finland 230 V 50 Hz C / F
France 230 V 50 Hz E
French Guyana 220 V 50 Hz C / D / E
Gabon 220 V 50 Hz C
Gambia 230 V 50 Hz G
Gaza 230 V 50 Hz H
Georgia 220 V 50 Hz C / F
Germany 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Ghana 230 V 50 Hz D / G
Gibraltar 230 V 50 Hz C / G
Greece 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Greenland 230 V 50 Hz C / K
Grenada (Windward Islands) 230 V 50 Hz G
Guadeloupe 230 V 50 Hz C / D / E
Guam 110 V 60 Hz A / B
Guatemala 120 V 60 Hz A / B / G / I
Guinea 220 V 50 Hz C / F / K
Guinea-Bissau 220 V 50 Hz C
Guyana 240 V 60 Hz A / B / D / G
Haiti 110 V 60 Hz A / B
Honduras 110 V 60 Hz A / B
Hong Kong 220 V 50 Hz G
Hungary 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Iceland 230 V 50 Hz C / F
India 230 V 50 Hz C / D / M
Indonesia 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Iran 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Iraq 230 V 50 Hz C / D / G
Ireland (Eire) 230 V 50 Hz G
Isle of Man 230 V 50 Hz C / G
Israel 230 V 50 Hz H / C
Italy 230 V 50 Hz C / F / L
Jamaica 110 V 50 Hz A / B
Japan 100 V 50 Hz / 60 Hz** A / B
Jordan 230 V 50 Hz C / D / F / G / J
Kenya 240 V 50 Hz G
Kazakhstan 220 V 50 Hz C / F
Kiribati 240 V 50 Hz I
Korea , North 110 V / 220 V 60 Hz A / C
Korea , South 110V / 220 V 60 Hz A / B / C / F
Kuwait 240 V 50 Hz C / G
Kyrgyzstan 220 V 50 Hz C / F
Laos 230 V 50 Hz A / B / C / E / F
Latvia 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Lebanon 230 V 50 Hz C / D / G
Lesotho 220 V 50 Hz M
Liberia 120 V 60 Hz A / B
Libya 127 V / 230 V 50 Hz D / F
Liechtenstein 230 V 50 Hz J
Lithuania 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Luxembourg 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Macau 220 V 50 Hz D / G
Macedonia 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Madagascar 127 V / 220 V 50 Hz C / D / E / J / K
Madeira 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Malawi 230 V 50 Hz G
Malaysia 240 V 50 Hz G
Maldives 230 V 50 Hz D / G / J / K / L
Mali 220 V 50 Hz C / E
Malta 230 V 50 Hz G
Martinique 220 V 50 Hz C / D / E
Mauritania 220 V 50 Hz C
Mauritius 230 V 50 Hz C / G
Mexico 127 V 60 Hz A
Micronesia, Federal States of 120 V 60 Hz A / B
Moldova 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Monaco 230 V 50 Hz C / D / E / F
Mongolia 230 V 50 Hz C / E
Montenegro 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Montserrat (Leeward Islands) 230 V 60 Hz A / B
Morocco 220 V 50 Hz C / E
Mozambique 220 V 50 Hz C / F / M
Myanmar (formerly Burma) 230 V 50 Hz C / D / F / G
Namibia 220 V 50 Hz D / M
Nauru 240 V 50 Hz I
Nepal 230 V 50 Hz C / D / M
Netherlands 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Netherlands Antilles 127 V / 220 V 50 Hz A / B / F
New Caledonia 220 V 50 Hz F
New Zealand 240 V 50 Hz I
Nicaragua 120 V 60 Hz A
Niger 220 V 50 Hz A / B / C / D / E / F
Nigeria 230 V 50 Hz D / G
Norway 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Oman 240 V 50 Hz C / G
Pakistan 230 V 50 Hz C / D
Palau 120 V 60 Hz A / B
Panama 110 V 60 Hz A / B
Papua New Guinea 240 V 50 Hz I
Paraguay 220 V 50 Hz C
Peru 220 V 60 Hz A / B / C
Philippines 220 V 60 Hz A / B / C
Poland 230 V 50 Hz C / E
Portugal 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Puerto Rico 120 V 60 Hz A / B
Qatar 240 V 50 Hz D / G
Réunion Island 230 V 50 Hz E
Romania 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Russian Federation 220 V 50 Hz C / F
Rwanda 230 V 50 Hz C / J
St. Kitts and Nevis (Leeward Islands) 230 V 60 Hz D / G
St. Lucia (Windward Islands) 230 V 50 Hz G
St. Vincent (Windward Islands) 230 V 50 Hz A / C / E / G / I / K
Samoa 230 V 50 Hz I
San Marino 230 V 50 Hz F / L
Saudi Arabia 110 V / 220 V *** 60 Hz A / B / C / G
Senegal 230 V 50 Hz C / D / E / K
Serbia 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Seychelles 240 V 50 Hz G
Sierra Leone 230 V 50 Hz D / G
Singapore 230 V 50 Hz G
Slovakia 230 V 50 Hz E
Slovenia 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Somalia 220 V 50 Hz C
South Africa 230 V 50 Hz D / M ***
Spain 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Sri Lanka 230 V 50 Hz D / G / M
Sudan 230 V 50 Hz C / D
Suriname 127 V 60 Hz C / F
Swaziland 230 V 50 Hz M
Sweden 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Switzerland 230 V 50 Hz J
Syria 220 V 50 Hz C / E / L
Tahiti 220 V 50 Hz / 60 Hz**** C / E
Tajikistan 220 V 50 Hz C / F
Taiwan 110 V 60 Hz A / B
Tanzania 230 V 50 Hz D / G
Thailand 220 V 50 Hz A / B / C
Togo 220 V 50 Hz C
Tonga 240 V 50 Hz I
Trinidad & Tobago 115 V 60 Hz A / B
Tunisia 230 V 50 Hz C / E
Turkey 230 V 50 Hz C / F
Turkmenistan 220 V 50 Hz C / F
Uganda 240 V 50 Hz G
Ukraine 230 V 50 Hz C / F
United Arab Emirates 240 V 50 Hz G
United Kingdom 230 V 50 Hz G
United States of America 120 V 60 Hz A / B
Uruguay 220 V 50 Hz C / F / I / L
Uzbekistan 220 V 50 Hz C / F
Venezuela 120 V 60 Hz A / B
Vietnam 220 V 50 Hz A / C / G
Virgin Islands 110 V 60 Hz A / B
Yemen , Rep. of 230 V 50 Hz A / D / G
Zambia 230 V 50 Hz C / D / G
Zimbabwe 240 V 50 Hz D / G

 

* In Brazil there is no standard voltage. Most states use 127V electricity (Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Espírito Santo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Maranhão, Pará, Paraná, Rondônia, Roraima, Sergipe and Minas Gerais). Other (mainly northeastern) states are on 220V (Alagoas, Brasília, Ceará, Mato Grosso, Goiás, Paraíba, Rio Grande do Norte, Santa Catarina and Tocantins). Although in most parts of the states of Bahia, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul 127V is used, the cities of Santos, Jequié, Jundiaí, São Bernardo do Campo, Novo Friburgo, Bagé, Caxias do Sul and Pelotas run on 220V. The states of Pernambuco and Piauí use 220V, except for the cities of Paulista and Teresina (127V).

** Although the main voltage in Japan is the same everywhere, the frequency differs from region to region. Eastern Japan uses predominantly 50 Hz (Tokyo, Kawasaki, Sapporo, Yokohama, Sendai), whereas Western Japan prefers 60 Hz (Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Hiroshima).

*** Saudi Arabia uses 110V in many parts of the country, such as the Dammam and al-Khobar area (situated in the eastern province of Ash Sharqiyah). 220 V is commonly used as well, especially in hotels.

Adapter Plug Types

North and Central America and Japan adapter Plug

 

This ungrounded plug with 2 flat parallel prongs is pretty much standard in most of North and Central America. At first glance, the Japanese plug and outlet seem to be identical to this standard. However, the Japanese plug has 2 identical flat prongs, whereas the US plug has 1 prong which is slightly larger. Therefore it is no problem to use Japanese plugs in the US, but the opposite does not work often. Furthermore, Japanese standard wire sizes and the resulting current ratings are different than those used on the American continent.

 

North and Central America and Japan adapter Plug

 

This plug with 2 flat parallel prongs and a grounding pin is rated at 15 amps. Although this plug is also standard in Japan, it is less frequently used than in North America. Consequently, most appliances sold in Japan use an ungrounded plug. An ungrounded version of the North American plug is commonly used in Central America and parts of South America.

 

Europe except the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta adapter Plug

 

This 2-wire plug is ungrounded and has 2 round prongs. It is popularly known as the Europlug. This is probably the most widely used international plug. It will mate with any outlet that accepts 4.0 – 4.8mm round contacts on 19mm centers. The plug is generally limited for use in applications that require 2.5 amps or less. It is commonly used in all countries of Europe except the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is also used in various parts of the developing world. Whereas type C plugs are very commonly used, this is not the case for type C outlets. This kind of outlet is the older and ungrounded variant of outlet types E, F, J, K and L. Nowadays most countries demand grounded outlets to be installed in new buildings. Since type C outlets are ungrounded, they are currently being phased out in many countries and replaced by type E, F, J, K or L (depending on the country). A type C plug fits perfectly into a type E, F, J, K or L outlet.

 

India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Namibia adapter Plug

 

India has standardized a plug which was originally defined in British Standard 546 (the standard in Great Britain before 1962). This plug has 3 large round pins in a triangular pattern. It is rated at 5 amps. Type M, which has larger pins and is rated at 15 amps, is used alongside type D for larger appliances in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Namibia. Some outlets can take both type M and type D plugs. Although type D is now almost exclusively used in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Namibia, it can still occasionally be found in hotels and theatres in the UK and Ireland. It should be noted that tourists should not attempt to connect anything to a BS546 round-pin outlet found in the UK or Ireland as it is likely to be on a circuit that has a special purpose (e.g, providing direct current (DC) or for plugging in lamps that are controlled by a light switch or a dimmer).

 

France, Belgium, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Tunisia and Morocco adapter Plug

 

France, Belgium and some other countries have standardized an outlet which is different from the type F outlet that is standard in Germany and other continental European countries. The reason for incompatibility is that grounding in the E outlet is accomplished with a round male pin permanently mounted in the outlet. The plug itself is similar to C except that it is round and has the addition of a female contact to accept the grounding pin in the outlet. A type C plug fits perfectly into a type E outlet.

 

Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Portugal, Spain and Eastern Europe adapter Plug

 

Type F is commonly called the Schuko plug, which is the acronym of “Schutzkontakt”, a German word meaning “earthed/grounded contact”. It is similar to type C except that it is round and has the addition of 2 grounding clips on the side of the plug. It has two 4.8mm round contacts on 19mm centers. This plug, which is shown above, has grounding clips on both sides to mate with the type F outlet and a female contact to accept the grounding pin of the type E outlet. A type C plug fits perfectly into a type F outlet.

 

United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Malta, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong adapter Plug

 

This plug has 3 rectangular prongs that form a triangle.

 

Israeli adapter Plug

 

This plug is unique to Israel. It has 2 flat prongs like the type B plug, but they form a V-shape rather than being parallel. Type H plugs have a grounding pin as well and are rated at 16 amps. In 1989, Israel standardized a new version of the type H outlet: the holes were made round in order to accommodate type C plugs as well. The slots for the prongs are widened in the middle specifically to allow type C prongs to fit in. The flat-bladed type H plugs (lower middle picture) are currently being phased out in favor of round-pinned ones (upper middle picture).

 

Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Argentina adapter Plug

This plug has a grounding pin and 2 flat prongs forming a V-shape. There is an ungrounded version of this plug as well, with only 2 flat V-shaped prongs. Although the above plug looks very similar to the one used in Israel (type H), the plugs are not compatible with each other. Although there are slight differences, the Australian plug mates with the outlet used in the People’s Republic of China (mainland China).

 

Switzerland and Liechtenstein adapter Plug

Switzerland has its own standard. This plug is similar to type C, except that it has the addition of a grounding pin. A type C plug works in a type J outlet.

 

Denmark and Greenland adapter Plug

 

This plug is similar to type F except that it has a grounding pin instead of grounding clips. Because of the huge amount of E/F plugs in Denmark, the Danish government decided to make it legal to install type E instead of type K outlets from 2008 onwards. A type C plug fits perfectly into a type K outlet.

 

Italy and North Africa adapter Plug

The Italian grounded plug/outlet standard includes 2 styles rated at 10 and 16 amps. They differ in terms of contact diameter and spacing, and are therefore incompatible with each other. The plugs are similar to type C except that they are earthed by means of a center grounding pin. Nowadays there are also “universal” outlets available, which look exactly like type F outlets (with grounding clips), but also have a grounding hole in the middle. A type C plug fits perfectly into a type L outlet.

 

South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho adapter Plug

This plug resembles the Indian type D plug, but its pins are much larger. Type M is rated at 15 amps. Although type D is standard in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Namibia, type M is also used for larger appliances. Some outlets there can take both type M and type D plugs. Type M is also used in Israel for heavy appliances such as air-conditioning circuits (in cases where wall-mounted units are plugged in to a dedicated outlet) and certain types of washing machines.

 
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Comments
6 Responses to “The Ultimate Electricity Guide for World Travelers”
  1. SR says:

    Actually Type A (the Japanese type with two identical prongs) can work is certain places in India. Yes

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  1. [...] The Ultimate Electricity Guide for World Travelers | The Roaming … A: Yes, provided you have the appropriate adapter plug for the power outlet in your destination country, and your device is rated for the same voltage as the power supply in that country. If the voltage is . Adapter Plug Types. North and Central America and Japan adapter Plug. This ungrounded plug with 2 flat parallel prongs is pretty much standard in most of North and Central America. At first glance, the Japanese plug and outlet seem to be identical to this standard. [...]

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