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Plug adapters for European countries

I am doing the RS My Way Alpine Regions tour in June. We will be in five countries (Austria, Italy, Germany, France, and Switzerland) in a 12 day time period. Do all five countries use the same plug so I can use the same adapters, or is Switzerland different? I need to charge two iPhones, an iPad, and the batteries for my DSLR camera, most at the same time. I do have adapters I used in Scandinavia. Will they work in these countries?

Thanks.

Posted by
19151 posts

As long as you are using a non-grounding (2 blade) American plug, and your device draws less than 2½ amps (about 575W), you can us an ungrounded, 2 round pin Europlug adapter, like this one. These adapters should fit in the receptacles in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, and Switzerland.

If your US plug has a third, grounding pin, you should use a Shuko plug like this one if in Germany, France, or Austria. In Italy, I understand some receptacles might accept that same Shuko plug. If not you should use a grounding plug like this one. Finally, in Swizerland, you should use a grounding plug like this one.

Posted by
990 posts

I do have adapters I used in Scandinavia. Will they work in these countries?

The adapters we used in Scandinavia worked in Austria, Italy, Germany and France. In Switzerland we needed a different adapter but our hotel in Lucerne had ones for guests to borrow during their stay, so we just used that one.

A lot of hotels also now have USB ports that you can just plug your cable into for charging. We also bought a European phone charging plug and cable on our arrival and use that.

Posted by
4615 posts

With the frequency that this gets posted, one would think the replies would have it squared away.

For Switzerland you need this one with the hexagon head, not the one posted previously

https://www.amazon.com/Switzerland-Power-Plug-Adapter-Inputs/dp/B079RW2MXL/ref=asc_df_B079RW2MXL/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=241976930872&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=11124543621295902724&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9019690&hvtargid=pla-1392795060385&psc=1

Italy has a mélange of plug shapes but the typical European one usually works, assuming grounding not needed and that it isn't a heavy plug like for appliances, seen in Italian kitchens, in which case you will have to prop up your typical European plug with books or something to hold it in place.

Posted by
15568 posts

Tom, I don't know which "previous one" you are talking about but I used the one I listed during three trips to Switzerland without a problem.

Posted by
4554 posts

this one is easy, go to Amazon, buy an adapter set that has ALL the Euro plug types, relax. Buy a quality brand like Ceptics.

It sounds like you could also use an outlet strip or a 2fer or 3fer adapter.

Posted by
4554 posts

you need to be prepared for a non-standard "surprise" outlet style at all times, which is why I recommended just getting them all

Posted by
15568 posts

Tom..the plug I referenced worked in Zurich, Lucerne, Berner Oberland, Zermatt, Chur, Bern and Geneva.

I probably left out a couple of places.

Never had a problem.

Posted by
4554 posts

also remember to grab those little buggers when you move on, I accidentally gifted someone on a GWR train with a very nice UK adapter plug ...

Posted by
19151 posts

Frank, I don't see how the plug you referenced would fit a Swiss
outlet if you get the ones with the pointed, tapered ends

The recess in a Swiss receptacle is a flattened hexagon (with pointed ends), but it is not necessary for the mating plug to have pointed ends, it just has to fit inside the recess. I have 2 devices with Europlug male ends. One is a USB voltage converter that is suppose to work inSwitzerland; the male end does have the flattened hexagon shape to fit in a Swiss (or any European) receptacle. The other one, a Europlug adapter, has the rounded ends and the female end has "omega" sockets to take either US blades or European pins. If you mate the USB converter with the Europlug adapter, you can see that the shape of the rounded end adapter aligns with the profile for the Swiss plug, so it should fit.

An adapter plug with rounded ends won't necessarly not fit in a Swiss receptacle's recess.

Posted by
19151 posts

also remember to grab those little buggers when you move on

Yeah, the European receptacles tend to grip the round pins of an adapter tighter than the adapter does the blades of the US plug, so there is a tendency for the US plug to come out of the adapter, and the adapter stays in the wall and gets left behind.

That happened to me once. Rick even suggests to tape the adapter to the plug to prevent that from happening.

I no longer have to do that. Now, all of my electronic devices, my Transformer pad, my phone, and my camera use USB chargers, so I got a USB charger (It's basically a voltage converter) that has a Europlug end (two round pins) and fits into any receptacle on the European continent, including Switzerland (note, the extension "barrel" has the pointed ends Tom was so concerned about).

Posted by
19151 posts

If you are interested in learning more about the types of receptacles used in Europe, try this website.

There are a number of different types of three prong, grounded) receptacles used on the European continent (also in the UK and Ireland). Most countries use Schuko receptacles, the type E (French), which has a protruding ground pin, or the type F (German), which has ground clips on the sides of the recess). A lot of grounding plugs and adapters will work in both type E and type F receptacles. Actually, except for Switzerland and Italy, the entire European continent uses one of the Schuko receptacle. I understand, but have not seen, that a lot of new installations in Italy now include both the traditional Italian, type L grounding receptacle and a type F Schuko receptacle.

The Swiss type J receptacle is unique in Europe because it is "polarized", that is, the neutral or ground potential pin socket is always on the same side. American polarized plugs (one blade wider) can be safely used with a grounding Swiss adapter. No other European receptacles is safe for use with an American polarized plug.

The 2 pin, ungrounded Europlug can be used in any European receptacle. However, it's use is limited by code to appliance drawing no more than 2½ amp (no hairdryers). Further, because it is bidirectional (can be inserted either of two ways), it cannot be polarized. Even though most Europlug adapters accept American polarized plugs, they shouldn't. American appliances with ungrounding, polarized plugs cannot be safely used in any receptacle in Europe, including in Switzerland!

Posted by
4574 posts

Many of my adapters are old and don't accept grounded plugs, so for a recent trip to India (which uses 3 different adapters and some very hard to get on their own types) I picked up a Ceptics World Traveller 13 piece kit that covers the globe. They offer smaller packs, but the system ia the same. It is particularly useful for all the electronics we carry as it has usb ports, a micro charger and 2 plug ins. It is a bit bulky for packi png light, but I was happy to have it https://www.ceptics.com/products/ceptics-world-travel-adapter-kit-2-usb-2-us-outlets

Posted by
35 posts

Hello... please can someone recommend an adopter to use in England (i'm US).
I would like a few ports and maybe a few usb. I did buy one but it is one (like a puzzle) that suits many countries and all i need is US to Eng. Amazon would be best to buy from as i'm leaving soon. thank you

Posted by
15568 posts