European Plug Adapter

I was looking to purchase the simple European plug adapter and read that you need to check if your appliance has 110/220 voltage converter. Otherwise you need to buy one. How does one check that? Is there something different happening within the Europe electric plug system, or will the standard 2 prong adapter serve one's purposes for things like plugging in electronics?

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21025 posts

Sally, The information you read was correct - you need to check EACH device you'll be travelling with to determine if it's designed for multi-voltage operation. If you connect a 115 VAC appliance to the electrical systems in Europe, it will self destruct almost immediately, possibly with a spectacular display of sparks and smoke. Have a look at the Charger or somewhere on the device, looking for the words Input Voltage. If this states "Input 100-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz", then the device will work fine in Europe with only an inexpensive Plug Adapter. Note that the U.K. uses a different style Plug than continental Europe, so you'll need both Adapter types if you'll be visiting the U.K. Also, if any of your appliance require a grounded connection, there are several different plug configurations for those depending on country. Plug Adapters are small and easily misplaced, so I'd recommend packing along at least two of each type. Check the Magellans website for good information on Plug Adapters. Happy travels!

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
4514 posts

You need to get a magnifying glass, and look at the "brick" (the transformer) for the charger. If it says "100-240 volts" and "50-60 Hz" you are set - all you need is a plug adapter. If it says ANYTHING else, you will either need to get a converter (of the correct type for your device - yes there are different ones) or get a new device. Getting a new device is not only safer, but posters here indicate you get better results, too. Most electronics made in the past 10 or so years are multivoltage, so all you need is a plug adapter. This includes laptops, phones, music players, tablets, etc. But some camera battery chargers, for instance, aren't, so you do need to check. Things that get hot (like hair dryers) are rarely multivoltage, unless they're designated "travel" models. EDIT: Cross posting with Ken - yet again, great minds think alike!

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
12849 posts

I have a page on my website about continental power, including how to tell if your device is dual voltage. A standard two pin adapter, sold here, will serve for electronics. If your appliance (hair dryer, curler, straightener) requires a converter, you are better off buying a European appliance over there. Today, most accommodations have hair dryers in the room or to loan from the desk.

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
10387 posts

" it will self destruct almost immediately, possible with a spectacular display of sparks and smoke." Love the way you phrase this! In addition, Switzerland uses a slightly different different outlet configuration, but every hotel I've stayed in can provide the correct adaptor if you ask. Some older buildings in Italy also have completely different outlets.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

Neglecting the voltage businees: If you suspect that you're going to maybe travel again some day, maybe even to a differnt country, go for the gusto and drop ten bucks on a set of five adapters that will cover the whole world. If a converter comes with it, toss it in the trash of the way out the door since it's only going to lead to troubl eventually. In addition to never having to worry again, sometimes it takes a couple of the suckers to stack your way out of a recessed outlet, especially if you have something bulky on the end of your cord. You can even go whole-hog gusto and swing by the hardware store and pick up a three-way outlet multiplier (the kind that you'd use at home if you wanted to set it on fire from over-amping). Now you'd have the capability to charge all your junk at once . The added cost is a whopping twelve bits or so. Don't get anything with moving parts or imbeded electronics. Since you can't own enough electronics to draw more than a combined amp, you can't screw up. I've got two sets since one disappeared for a while - - the old one's been around for at least thirty years. Either one takes up the room of half a coffee cup.