Voltage guide

The power supply (voltage and frequency) and the types of outlets differ from country to country. If you plan to travel you need to know your destination power supply to ensure your device will power up safely.

Voltage and frequency differ across countries

Why is it important?

Countries in the North America, parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean and parts or Pacific operate on 110 Volt / 60 Hz, while the rest of the world operates on 220 Volt / 50 Hz. In general, 110V includes voltage range of 100-125V and 220V includes 220-250V.

Many countries operate on both 110V and 220V. As mentioned above,not only the voltage differ within countries but so does frequency(cycles per second).

Frequency - cycles per second

What if device's frequency is different than its supply frequency?

Countries use either 60 Hz (USA) or 50 Hz (UK). Most electrical products are not affected by the cycle change because they internally convert AC voltage to DC voltage. And many devices support both cycles.

The difference in frequency may cause a motorized 60 Hz device to operate slower on 50 Hz. You’ll need to double check the frequency for analog products such as clocks as this can cause it to keep incorrect time. Other products such as espresso makers and turntables may not operate properly with a voltage converter if they only operate on single frequency.

When in doubt, consult with the manufacturer of the product.

Other differences

Plug adapters

The third difference is the plug adapters. Not all countries have the standard US flat prong electrical outlet. In fact, most countries have a different plug adapter from the US plug. Many countries have multiple type of outlets. In this case, carry all types of plug adapters for the traveling country.

Refer to the World plug adapter guide to find the correct plug adapters.

Can I use transformer?

Transformers are not recommended for use with heat producing appliances such as heaters, steamers and coffee heaters.

Also, voltage converters and transformers do not convert cycles. They can only be used to convert the voltage. Step down voltage converter/transformer will convert voltage from 220V to 110V thus, allowing you to use your US (110V) products abroad in 220V countries. On the other hand, Step up voltage converter/transformer will convert voltage from 110V to 220V thus, allowing you to use 220V products in the US (110V).

Most voltage transformers are both step up and down, you can switch them to operate as step down or step up.

Selecting the correct converter or transformer

  • Determine if your appliance actually requires a transformer/converter for use in abroad.

    Look for the voltage rating on your appliance, if the rating states something similar to 100V~240V that means your product is dual voltage, in this case you can use your product in a 220V without a transformer/converter.

    Most laptops and camcorder battery chargers are dual voltage. However, you may need a plug adapter to plug it in to the outlets abroad. Now, if the voltage rating states 110V or 120V it means that your product is only single volt and it will require a step down converter/transformer for use in 220V countries abroad.

  • Now that you know that you require a voltage converter/transformer, you need to determine which one or what kind.

    Look for the watt rating on the appliance or calculate the wattage by multiplying voltage x amps. For example, 110V x 1.5A = 165W. Select the converter/transformer according to the wattage rating of your appliance.

    We recommend using a converter/transformer that is rated at least a 25% higher than your products wattage rating. Using converter/transformer to their maximum capacity will eventually burn out the converter/transformer after prolonged use.

    Some items, such as, laser printers and power tools spike when you turn them on. For these types of situations you need to buy a transformer that is at least double the products rating.

  • After selecting the correct converter/transformer, make sure that you have the proper plug adater on the converter/transformer to plug it in to the outlet abroad.

    All of our dual step up/down voltage transformers include both US plug adapter and European plug adapter. Consult the world plug adapter chart to determine which plug adapter you need.

    Still need assistance selecting the correct converter/transformer, feel free to call us at 847-983-4761 or e-mail us.Or visit this helpful tips and hints guide for travel power voltage converter, voltage transformer, plug adapter and regulator.