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Plug adapter

Which plug adapter do I need for Italy and for Paris?

Posted by
6925 posts

I really like the ones from Rick Steves that Janis recommended. Sometimes the larger adapters on Amazon, etc. don’t fit inside the occasional outlets that have a recessed center circle. These smaller ones fit within that recessed area.

Posted by
2312 posts

See RS Continental Europe Adapter in the online store. It is two prong. You can also buy these at Amazon and other stores. They’re inexpensive. We take several with us.

Posted by
17349 posts

I am not a big fan of the RS Euro adapters. Its just too easy to buy the correct solution and in the long run you will happier. Search on this topic, there are a number of recent threads that explain all.

Posted by
2410 posts

I’ve gotten some good ones at REI - a fellow traveler had the kind that didn’t work in the recessed sockets, so we passed mine back and forth throughout the trip. I learned from that to bring more than one on subsequent trips.

Posted by
10854 posts

REI, , luggage stores, airport shops all sell them. I take several.
For future travel be aware that Great Britain has a different one that continental Europe.

Posted by
17349 posts

Do keep in mind that in Italy you are likely to run into two different types of plugs. Most of the new and renovated buildings have the Schuko plug but the older will have a plug unique to Italy.

For France, this is the correct adapter; https://www.amazon.com/6PKSCHUKO-Grounded-American-European-Adapter/dp/B0038L54ZO/ref=sr_1_10?keywords=schuko+socket&qid=1649230840&sr=8-10

For Italy I think RS Europlug will work because the pins are sort of loosey goosey and fit the spacing and size of both the Schuko and the Italian. But in doing that, you know you arent doing it correctly. Anything heavy or even the weight of the cord can pull the plug out. Forget any of those heavy laptop charging transformers that plug directly into the outlet.

Posted by
346 posts

The only item I need to plug in is an iPhone, so I bought a USB-port plug in when I arrived in Italy. They come with more than one port and in various power-levels. I prefer this to an adapter: less fuss and weight (all the ounces count).

Same one will work for France and Italy.

Posted by
85 posts

I also use the plugs recommended by mooncusser2k and highly recommend them. There are times that there is only one socket available (older hotels are like that) and I've been able to plug the nightstand lamp and my phone charger or share with my husband.

Posted by
19025 posts

The very first question when asking about plug adapters is, "what are you plugging in?" I'm surprised (disappointed) no one asked that very basic question.

If the device you are going to use with the adapter only accepts ~120V (US supply power), you will need a voltage converter, not just an adapter. You don't need a voltage converter if your device is "dual voltage" (accepts one of two voltages, like 115V/230V, usually with an electrical switch to select the input voltage) or "mult-voltage" (the device will have something like "Input: 100-240VAC, 50-60Hz" printed on it.

If all you are going to use is a usb "charger" (it's actually a voltage converter, 100-250VAC, 50-60 Hz to 5VDC), then the RS "Continental Europe electrical adapter" should work well. USB charges are always (or almost always) double insulated devices (not requiring a ground) with non-polarizing plugs and can accept multiple voltages from 100VAC to 240VAC. They will probably accept more than 240V, but I know of no system with supply voltage higher than 240 (now that western Australia no longer uses 250V).

However, if you are using higher amperage devices, you should know that the two round pin configuration is limited by codes to 2½ amps, max. That's less than 600W at 230V. A two pin, Europlug adapter would not be suitable for, example, hair dryers, which are generally over 1500W.

Also, if the device has a polarizing plug, a US plug with one blade wider than the other, UL requires that plug configuration for an important safety consideration, so that it only accepts power that is polarized. However, French or Italian power is not "distinctly" polarized, so devices with polarizing plugs should not be used there.

(OK, I know you are going to ignore my advice and use your devices with polarized plugs in Europe anyway, but, the polarized plug, when used on American supply systems, prevents an internal short from turning on the device. Since European systems, except for the UK and Switzerland, are not distinctly polarized, please, unplug the device when it is not in use.)

Posted by
1259 posts

The very first question when asking about plug adapters is, "what are you plugging in?" I'm surprised (disappointed) no one asked that very basic question.

Beat me to it! Fundamental issue that must be covered before any advice is useful.

Posted by
19025 posts

If your device does not have a grounding pin on the US plug (and the plug's not polarizing) then that two pin Europlug adapter, what RS calls "Continental Europe" will work for <2½A use virtually anywhere in Europe. It's designed to mate with the two "powered" sockets in receptacles everywhere. However, it the plug needs a ground, then it's a different game. Although the hybrid grounding German(type F)/French(type E) Schuko adapter fits most continental receptacles, it will not fit in the recesses of a Swiss receptacle. It will probably engage the two power sockets of an Italian receptacle, but it will not provide a ground.

Posted by
19025 posts

I bought a USB-port plug in when I arrived in Italy

The other advantage of getting one over there is that it will be integral with the two pin Europlug, so there is no way you can leave an adapter in the wall.

I bought a USB converter with a Europlug on Amazon a few year ago. I also bought an adapter with a European socket and American plug so I could test it over here before I took it to Europe. It barely worked on 120V over here. I loaned it to a friend who was going to Europe and told him to try it over there. He said it worked fine on 230V in Europe. ???