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Charging Electronics in Switzerland

The last time I went to Switzerland (mid 1990s) I brought an adapter kit for my hair dryer and curling iron. None of the plugs worked. In some places, they fit the sockets but my equipment would not work.

This time...I am not bringing any of those types of things but I am bringing a netbook, Ipad, digital camera and cell phone. The cell phone I am buying comes with an adapter kit that they insist will work. What I absolutely need to be 100% sure about is that I can charge my other devices. I cannot be without the internet in my hotel rooms.

My friend told me to buy this device. I wanted to get other opinions to find out if this will work in Switzerland:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002CICVR8/ref=pe_385040_30332190_TE_3p_M3T1_ST1_dp_1

PS...I am also going to Italy but I realize that is a different forum.

Posted by
809 posts

Lisa, when my daughter and I traveled to Sicily and France last year we brought a short extension cord with several outlets; that way we could use one adapter to plug the cord into the wall, and then charge our devices with our American plugs. At Target I've seen a cord with 2 USB ports as well as 3 outlets which might be useful. Were the items you brought in the 90s [that didn't work] dual voltage? Maybe that was the problem? My iPhone and FitBit were fine with the European voltage.

Now I'm hoping that one of the more tech-savvy folks will weigh in with more advice for you; there are lots of smart folks on this forum!

Posted by
3336 posts

I was in Switzerland for a good part of last summer. We brought along a laptop, my husband's digital camera, an iPad, and 3 iPhones. The Apple products were easy to charge. The plugs are already dual-voltage and don't need to be plugged into a converter. Apple makes an international adapter kit specifically for their products and that's what we take and use for those. The laptop and the camera just plugged into a converter that we plugged into an adapter for the Swiss outlet.
Swiss outlets have 3 prongs. I believe the one you have posted in the link might work with the twin prong, which I know would definitely work in France but I'm not sure about Switzerland. I always prefer to play it safe and get one specifically for the country I'm going to.

Posted by
31473 posts

lisa,

The first thing you MUST do is to check EACH of the devices you plan on travelling with to ensure they're designed to operate from 100-240 VAC. That's likely the case, but it still should be checked. Are you packing along the hair dryer and curling iron this time?

Regarding the cell phone, is it a quad-band GSM model? Are you planning to use it with a SIM card purchased in Europe. If it's a Smartphone you'll need to be concerned with data charges.

The Plug Adaptor you showed in the link should work in both Italy and Switzerland, but note that it's only designed for ungrounded appliances. I'm not a big fan of the "all-in-one" devices and prefer to use a simpler approach with Plug Adaptors, such as these.....

Depending on which hotels you've booked, you may or may not have Wi-Fi access in your hotel rooms. I find that in some hotels, the Wi-Fi works fine in the lobby area but not necessarily in the rooms. In one hotel that I stayed at last year, Wi-Fi worked close to the door of the room, but wouldn't work close to the window.

Posted by
12040 posts

You shouldn't need any type of electrical conversion for the products you listed, but as Ken noted, check the label first.

Swiss outlets won't fit the round Schuko type plug used in most of the rest of continental Europe. You'll need a diamond-shaped adaptor. I'm not certain how well the device you linked will fit in their outlets, if at all. However, the front desk at your hotels should be able to provide you with the correct adaptor.

Also, some older buildings in Italy use a completely different three-prong outlet arrangement. I didn't have any trouble finding the correct adaptor at a local supermarket.

Posted by
1 posts

My sister was in Switzerland last year, and I am going in June. She has given me the adapter plugs which she successfully used in Zurich. Although Switzerland uses a three-pronged plug, like the J in the link below, it will work with the two prongs of Type C (ungrounded version of J), just as USA's two-pronged plugs work in the grounded three-hole outlets. You can buy sets of these adapters, with general labels for countries in which they're used, in the luggage/travel section of stores like Target. The other two-pronged adapters, like E and F, have larger diameter prongs, which apparently don't fit in Swiss outlets. (The outlet plug chart will also inform you of Italy adapters. See Type L, which also appears to be compatible with the more common Type C.)

My sister liked the smaller individual plugs better than the large universal one she had bought because they weighed so much less. She took two of them, as well as an extension cord/small surge protector so she could charge more than one item at a time. As others have suggested, check the labels on your chargers, plugs, etc., to be sure they take 100-240 voltage. Almost everything bought recently does.

I hope this link to a page with pictures of the different plug types works.

http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

Posted by
238 posts

Thank you, everyone. I think I am going to order those Magellen plugs just to be certain. This is all very helpful info. I had a feeling that Switzerland and Italy used different adaptors.

Not bringing the hair dryer or curling iron this time. Just Ipad, netbook, Ipod (maybe) and cheap cell phone for use overseas only. Supposedly the phone comes with an adaptor that works.

Posted by
31473 posts

lisa,

I'd suggest packing at least two of the ungrounded Euro Adaptors as they're small and easy to misplace. I've been using the Magellans Plug Adapters for many years, and never had any trouble connecting them in any European country.

Just to clarify, you will only need the grounded Plug Adaptors if any of your appliances are equipped with a grounding pin (which is possible on the Netbook, but not likely on the Apple products). While it is possible to use grounded appliances with the two-pin Plug (non-grounded) Plug Adaptors, the ground won't be connected. If a product is designed with a ground pin, I prefer to use it as there's a good reason why it's there. My Netbook has a grounding pin, so I always pack the necessary Adaptors.

Of course you can also connect the ungrounded appliances to a grounded Plug Adapter, but the ground wouldn't be used in that case.

Posted by
3336 posts

The Apple adapters/converters I own do have a grounding pin. I only use the grounded converter though out in the countryside or high alps where I am unsure of voltage surges or when lightning is possible. In the city I don't bother since the Swiss electric grid is probably more reliable than most!