This plug adapter changes the shape of an appliance's plug so that can plug into a "Type C" European CEE 7/16 Class II non-grounded Europlug socket or a Soviet-era Russian GOST 7396 Class II non-grounded socket. The receptacle end of the adapter can accept any standard household plug type from any country, except the "Type M" South African SABS1661 (Old British BS-546 "Large") plug. The plug end is a "Type C" CEE 7/16 Europlug, which is compatible with several other types of sockets as well. They include the grounded "Type F" German and "Type E" French Schuko sockets, the "Type L" Italian socket, the "Type H" Israeli socket, and the "Type J" Swiss and "Type K" Danish sockets, although connections to these sockets will be non-grounded. The adapter's pins are 4.0mm in diameter, 19mm long and spaced 19mm apart. The plug is non-polarized and non-grounded.
This travel plug adapter is compatible with the European CEE 7/16 Class II non-grounded Europlug socket, the Italian CEI 23-5 Class II non-grounded socket and the Soviet-era Russian GOST 7396 Class II non-grounded socket. All three standards are grouped under the general, unofficial "Type C" classification. "Type C" Europlugs can make non-grounded connections to several other types of sockets as well.
But is this all I need? Or do I need a voltage converter/transformer?
Well, that depends on what you need to plug in. Europlug sockets generally supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need.
But adapters do not change the voltage, so the electricity coming through the adapter will still be the same 220-240 volts the socket is supplying. North American sockets supply electricity at between 110 and 120 volts, far lower than in most of the rest of the world. Consequently, North American appliances are generally built for 110-120 volts. But that doesn't mean that your specific appliance isn't already compatible with the higher voltage -- it may very well be.
So how do I know whether or not my appliance is compatible with 220-240 volts?
Short answer: The only way to know is to check, and there's absolutely no getting around that crucial step. Electricity is nothing to mess around with, and assuming can be bad news. If you're wrong, you could "fry" your appliance, or worse yet, start a fire.
That being said, generally speaking, most modern "digital-age" appliances (especially ones that run on batteries) are being built to be compatible with all worldwide voltages, from 100 volts in Japan to 240 volts in the United Kingdom. This usually includes things like laptops, PDAs, cell phones, digital cameras, digital camcorders, many portable video game devices, digital music players, etc. More and more personal grooming items like hair dryers curling irons, shavers (especially cordless ones) and such are being built to be compatible with multiple voltages as well, but most of them aren't.
"Conventional appliances" like kitchen items, audio/video equipment, vacuum cleaners, lamps and lights, and most bath appliances are not compatible with multiple voltages. Again, the only way to know is to check. A common misconception is that there's any such thing as a "standard" electrical input for appliances. There's not. They're all different.
Okay, so how do I find this info for my specific appliance?
The electrical input specifications will appear on a label on the appliance itself, or on its charger or AC adapter if it uses one, near where the brand name and model number appear. Look for the word "input." As a last resort, you could check the back of the manual, but 99 times out of 100, it will be on the appliance's or charger's label. The input voltage is usually abbreviated to "V" and it should look something like this:
Input: ~100-240V 50/60Hz 65W -- This means the appliance is compatible with multiple voltages. This item can be brought just about anywhere in the world, and any difference in voltage is basically irrelevant. The appliance (or charger) adjusts itself to whatever voltage it receives. The only issue is whether or not the plug can physically interface with the socket. The appropriate travel plug adapter is all that's needed.
---or--- Input: 115/230V 50/60Hz 200W -- This means that the appliance can be switched between 110-120 volts in North America, and 220-240 volts in other parts of the world. This is common of desktop computers and some hair dryers/curling irons/etc. You probably have to physically flip a switch somewhere, but as long as that switch is in the proper position and you have the appropriate plug adapter, you're fine.
---or--- Input: 120V 60Hz 2.8A -- This means that the appliance is only compatible with a single voltage, in this case, 120 volts. If the socket is 220-240V, then an adapter by itself isn't enough, because travel plug adapters do not change the voltage supplied by the socket. Plugging it in with just an adapter can "fry" it (if you're lucky, that's all that will happen) because the voltage is too high for the appliance to handle. To use this appliance safely, the voltage needs to be changed from 220-240 volts to 110-120 volts by way of a voltage converter or transformer.
Firstly, it's important to understand that many countries do not adhere to a single standard for electrical plugs and sockets. This is especially true of developing countries, where they basically use whatever they can get. If a British or French or U.S. construction company comes into a developing country and constructs a new building, in many cases nobody's going to stop them from installing British or French or U.S. sockets, even if that's not "the standard." As a result, in many countries any number of different socket types might be used. They could vary from region to region, city to city, street to street or even building to building. Crazy, but true.
So with that in mind, please understand that just because a country is listed here as using the Europlug socket type, that doesn't necessarily mean it's the only type used there. It's entirely possible that you might never even encounter this type of socket, even if the country is listed here. They may only use it in a different area, way over on the other side of the country. They may have very recently phased it out. They might use it right down the street, but in a building you don't plan to visit. We do the best we can, but it's an inexact science, and things are constantly changing and evolving. We do not and cannot make any claims to 100% thoroughness and accuracy.
That being said, the Europlug is by far the most widely-used type of plug and socket found all over the world. The Europlug is used throughout Continental
Europe and the former Soviet Republics*, including:
Armenia / Austria / Azerbaijan / the Azores / the Balearic Islands / Belarus / Belgium / Bosnia-Herzegovina / Bulgaria / Croatia / the Czech Republic / Denmark / Estonia / Finland / France / Georgia / Germany / Greece / Hungary / Iceland / Italy / Kazakhstan / Kyrgyzstan / Latvia / Lithuania / Luxembourg / Macedonia / Moldova / Monaco / Montenegro / the Netherlands / Norway / Poland / Portugal / Romania / Russia / Serbia / Slovakia / Slovenia / Spain / Sweden / Switzerland / Tajikistan / Turkmenistan / Ukraine / Uzbekistan (*The Soviet standard is known as GOST-7396, but it is effectively interchangeable with the CEE 7/16 Europlug)
It is also
used in almost all of the Middle East* and much of Africa, including:
Algeria / Bahrain / the Cape Verde Islands / Chad / Egypt / the Republic of Guinea / Iran / Iraq / Jordan / Kuwait / Lebanon / Madeira / Mozambique / Niger / Oman / Palestine / Qatar / Saudi Arabia / Syria / Turkey / the United Arab Emirates / Yemen (*Israel has its own standard SI-32, but Europlugs will usually mate with Israeli sockets.)
Many areas of Central and South America, and the Caribbean, including:
Argentina / Aruba / Bolivia / Bonaire / Brazil / Chile / Curacao / Peru / Saba / Sint Eustatius (St. Eustace) / Sint Maarten (St. Marten) / Suriname / Uruguay
Many areas in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim, including:
Bangladesh / East Timor / Indonesia / Korea / Laos / Myanmar (Burma) / New Caledonia
And most developing countries. If you're going to an area where modern electrical infrastructure is lacking, where sockets exist, it's a good bet that they'll be Europlug sockets.
Technical Line Drawing
Specifications are subject to change at any time without notice.