So you brought your entire suite of electronics to London and are about to plug each of them into the wall and suck down electricity like an American. Oops. Not that easy. I’m not sure how or where this all started (probably the French), but electricity is different in the UK than other parts of Europe and the USA.

Electricity in the UK:

Voltage: 230V – outlets are quite often controlled by wall switches. They are not always “on”. 240V may also be found although 230V is the official voltage.
Frequency: 50Hz
Type of Electrical Plug Used: Type G. It has three prongs (two flat and one rectangular) forming a triangle.

Wall sockets basically look like the picture below:
uk wall socket
The plug on the left goes to a tea pot for afternoon tea and crumpets.

The cool thing with the wall sockets here is that they all come with on/off switches right on the wall. This is great for not consuming electricity when you don’t want to. It means you can save your electricity for plugging in your vacuum so you can Flowbee. That’s right…a perfect haircut EVERY TIME.

Anyways, what all this means is that you need to take your US power plug and get it to fit into those crazy looking ones in the UK.

There are basically two routes you can take to use your American devices:

1. Voltage converter - converts 220-240v voltage to 100-120v. This means it will make it so less voltage goes into your device so it doesn’t blow it up.
2. Plug adapter – If you have a device that runs at 220-240v already or if you have a device that has a built in voltage converter this is all you need.

voltage converter adapter
Voltage converter (L) and plug adapter(R)

How do I figure out whether my device will need a converter or adapter?
Look for the Input section of the Power part of your device. If it has a range like 100-240v, you are set. If it’s static like 120VAC, don’t plug it in. Again, just look for a range like 100-240v. It’s pretty simple what it will do if you don’t listen to the London Ninja: YOU WILL BLOW SHIT UP!!!…or more likely it will short and you won’t be able to power up your portable clock anymore.

Pobrecita.



2 Comment(s)

Indy Sunner says 27th January @ 20:20

Hi,

I’m from the UK and I recently bought some lights from America that I was hoping to put up in April for my sister’s wedding.

The lights are Xmas lights and, if you have a few sets, you can plug one into another and have the same current run through all sets and therefore not have to use many sockets.

I have about 20 sets – now I know not to use them altogether – I’m not planning to – maybe about 5 at a time (I may not use all anyway). But I’m now unsure whether I can use them altogether.

They are from Walmart and the electrical info on the back says: FOR INDOOR/OUTDOOR USE 120V 60Hz AC.

You mention a range of 100-240V is ok to use – but not 120VAC – is that what mine is? Can I use these lights if I get an adapter? Or should I get a voltage converter?

I hope you can help me by emailing me on the above email address.

Thanks

Indy

LondonNinja says 2nd February @ 19:29

Indy,

If you are celebrating Guy Fawkes night, you may want to plug in those xmas lights and watch the sparks and fire when they blow up. You cannot plug anything in the UK that can handle 220-240V.

I’m not sure about chaining them together or how long you can use a converter for but I imagine it’s ok at least for a certain period of time. Just make sure the converter can handle longer periods of time.

I’m not an expert but if you have lots of American items, I would suggest you look into a transformer. These things make it so you do not have to worry bout converters, just get American extension cords and use whatever you want from America!

Good luck!

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