United States to United Kingdom travel adapter

Posted by Martin Parker on

US to UK Power Adapter

The United Kingdom is the 6th most visited country in the world according to the World Tourism Organization report, with 35.8 million visitors in 2016. Most of these visitors will need a travel adapter as the UK has a very distinctive electrical power socket design.

Travel adapter for the United kingdom

While the largest number of visitors are from other European countries, the second largest group is visitors from the United States and Canada. Except for visitors from Ireland, Malta, Cyprus, Malaysia and Singapore, most other travelers will have to use an adapter to connect their electrical items. 

US plug and socket

The United States of America have adopted a standard plug and socket design it shares with the whole of the North American continent. Type A is a 2-pin non-earthed plug and socket combination while type B adds a third pin for grounding. 

UK plug and socket

The United Kingdom has a 3-pin plug and socket system that is standard across the country and many countries where the UK had previously had an influence, such as Malta and Cyprus. The UK is interesting in that it’s one of the few countries that has adopted a single plug design, regardless of whether the item needs to be earthed or not. 

What power adapter do you need

As the plug and socket types between the United States and the United Kingdom are incompatible, you will either need to replace the plug on your item or buy an adapter. Changing the plug every time you travel is impractical, and this is where the multi-country travel adapter comes in. 

Converting between the US and UK plug types is very easy with a travel adapter, and the Sublimeware Multi-Country Travel Adapter can accept either type A or type B plugs

Voltage and frequency in the UK and US

Unfortunately, the electrical supply systems in the US and the UK are completely different. 

In common with the rest of North America, the US has a 120V 60Hz system, while the UK has a 240V 50Hz supply. This means that items designed to work only in the US will not work in the UK without a power converter. 

This is a very important point as plugging your US electrical item into the UK electrical supply is very likely to cause catastrophic and irreparable damage to your item. It may also be dangerous for the person plugging the item in. Please, be careful and make sure before you connect. 

Do you need a power converter

As the power systems are so completely different, then your electrical item may need a power converter. To find out, you will need to check the item itself or the manual. 

Multi-country travel adapter from Sublimeware

If the item says its input voltage is 120V 60Hz, then it cannot be used in the UK without a power converter. However, you may be in luck, since many more modern electrical items are designed to operate on multiple voltages. 

If your item can accept the UK’s 240V system, there will be a label saying something on the lines of “Input: 100V – 240V”. If that’s the case, you can safely use your device in the UK and all you need is a travel adapter for the plug. 

The other thing to remember is that devices that charge via a USB socket are fine, because this is a standard voltage of 5V, regardless of where you are in the world. 

In summary

Traveling to the UK from the US, you will definitely need a travel adapter as the plug and socket systems are completely different. 

Travel adapters

You may also need a power converter, but this depends on the device, and you must check before traveling. Remember that USB devices are fine. 

The Sublime Multi-Country Travel Adapter is great for your trip to the UK and also provides 4 USB charging points, perfect for all those gadgets!


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