Adapter for European plugsPosted by Martin Parker on
Travel adapter for European plugs
Europe has standard plug types (with some exceptions), using type C plugs and sockets for non-earthed electrical items and type E and F for earthed appliances. A travel adapter for European plugs will accept all three types of plug, as the pin size and spacing are identical for all types.
There is a slight difference when talking about earthed items as 2 plug/socket combinations are in use-type E and type F. Although it looks like a type E will fit a type F socket, this is not always the case due to the way the prongs are formed within the type F socket. In addition, putting a type E plug in a type F socket will mean the electrical item will not be earthed, which could be dangerous.
The exceptions to the above are the United Kingdom, which has a three prong type G design, while Italy uses type C, plus type L design instead of the more common type E and F used elsewhere in Europe for earthed appliances. Most travel adapters will accept the UK type G, but not Italy’s type L plug.
Electrical voltage and frequency in Europe
Across Europe, the voltage is between 220V and 240V and the frequency is 50Hz. This is the same for a majority of the countries in the world. The lower range of 110-127V is used in North America, Central America and a few other countries.
This means that in most countries, you will not need to worry about the voltage or frequency. In addition, if you mistakenly connect a 240V appliance to a 110V supply, no damage is likely to occur if you disconnect fairly quickly. The opposite is true when connecting a 110V appliance to a 240V supply. Damage in this case is likely to be instant and catastrophic!
The frequency of the supply really only matters if the electrical item contains any type of timing circuits. In those case, the appliance may not function as expected, but probably won’t be damaged.
What electrical adapter for European plugs
As previously mentioned, the pins and spacing of European plugs type C, E and F are all set the same and only the earthing method differs. All 3 of these plug types will fit into Sublime Ware’s multi-country travel adapter, as will the UK type G plug.
It is important to bear in mind, that types E and F will fit, but due to their design the electrical item will not be earthed.
Do I need a power converter for European appliances
Traveling across Europe, you will not need a power converter, as all countries use 220-240V. However, if you are visiting North America, Central America, Japan and some other countries, then it is advisable to use a power converter for your items.
This does not apply to items that connect via USB of course. The USB standard is 5V DC and all good travel adapters will offer multiple USB connections.
The plug pin size and spacing across Europe, at least for low power non-earthed items is standard, using type C plugs. Therefore, it is important to make sure your travel adapter can convert from type C to as many types as possible.
A power converter will only be required when visiting countries that use voltages in the 110-127V range, as items are unlikely to operate without. USB connections will operate correctly.
The Sublime Ware multi-country travel adapter can convert between type C plugs to many countries around the world and also offers 4 USB connections for charging all your devices.