Country you go, electrical socket you find... How many of us have found themselves with the hairdryer in hand without knowing how to dry their hair or with the charger at hand but without being able to recharge their mobile phone? Not to mention the category of those who did burn transformers and electrical appliances… We will give you a hand, with one small and simple guide.
First of all, it should be noted that there are three variables to be taken into consideration for the use of electrical devices abroad:
- Types of electrical sockets in the world
- Map of electrical voltage in the world
- Useful tips and frequently asked questions
- Summary table
- User questions and comments
- the type of sockets of the home network and hotels.
- the tension in Volts of the domestic distribution network
- the frequency signal
Types of electrical sockets in the world
First of all, let's specify one thing, there are three factors that characterize the electricity grid of the different countries:
In the world, as many of us have experienced, there are different electrical outlets, coded with letters.
- A and B: They are similar. The difference is that A has only the two "flat" contacts while B has a third cylindrical one for the earth. Used in: Use, Canada, Japan, Central America, Antigua, Netherlands Antilles, Bahamas, Barbados, Philippines, Isole Cayman, Maldives.
- C: Bipolar socket therefore "without the central earth" sometimes also used in Italy. Used in Europe.
- D and M: They are the same, only the bearable power changes. Used in some Asian and African countries.
- E: It looks like the Schuko but the contact of the earth is "female". Used in Belgium and some African states.
- F: The note taken by Schuko much in use also in Italy. Used in Europe.
- G: The classic British outlet also in use in many of its former colonies. We also find it in Ireland, Saudi Arabia, China, United Arab Emirates, Gibilterra, Kenya, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Seychelles.
- H: Rare, looks like Type I but doesn't actually have completely flat poles.
- I: Used in Australia, New Zealand, China, Papua Nuova Guinea, Tonga, Fiji, Cook Islands. It can also be bipolar without ground.
- J: Rare, has the central earth pole not in line with the other two.
- L: Like C but tripolar. Used in Italy.
- K: Rare, in the process of disappearing.
Map of electrical voltage in the world
As far as voltage and frequency are concerned, we have mainly two macro areas:
- 110-120 Volt network and frequency of 60 Hz in North and Central America and in western area of Japan,
- 220-240 Volt network and frequency of 50 Hz in the rest of the world.
Useful tips and frequently asked questions
- How do I find out if my electrical appliance can be used abroad?
You can check the voltage range by looking on the charger. You should find something like this: "INPUT: 100-240V ~ 50-60 Hz" or "PRI (Primary) 100-240Vecc".
- Can I connect a device that works in the 110-220 Volt range to the 240 Volt network?
Yes, you can, but the device will work with less power.
- How high must the voltage be to be sure that an Italian device is working well?
If the voltage is 220V, 230V, 240V or 250V, you will have no problem, you just need to have the right adapter.
- Can I connect a device that works in the 220 Volt range to the 240/110 Volt network?
Absolutely not, you risk "frying" everything. It is for this reason that American devices often need transformers to function in Europe.
- Could a different signal frequency damage my device?
Most devices can be connected regardless of whether the frequency is 50 or 60 Hz. There may be problems only with particular quartz alarm clocks or gas lamps. But to be sure, consult the instruction booklet.
- Does buying a universal adapter solve every problem?
No, the adapters "adapt" only the "shape" of the plugs to the sockets, they do not change the voltage and they do not transform the voltages. Some adapters have a built-in transformer, but they only work with small devices.
- How can I switch the voltage of my device?
Some devices can change the voltage via a switch located near the power connection. Remember to re-switch it when you return to Italy to avoid damage!
- Are adapters with integrated voltage transformers reliable?
Only with very low current draws (no more than 50 W). They work with razors, hair removers, chargers. NEVER attach hair dryers, electric stoves and heaters!
- There are several sockets in my hotel, which one to use?
In the bathrooms of some hotels there are multi-voltage sockets. They usually have the words "shavers only" or the stylized "shave" symbol. Carefully read the voltages referred to the various "holes" to avoid damage.
- Which adapter to buy?
We recommend this adapter or this one if you also need USB sockets. Also buy a power strip or tris adapter to connect multiple devices and a high capacity power bank.