Using your clothes iron in China

Chinese power outlet

Summary

First check your clothes iron can handle the voltage in China:

  • If your clothes iron can run on 220 volts or can support dual voltage (how you can tell) then you'll only need to use a suitable power adapter listed on this page if the plug on your clothes iron won't fit in the outlet.

If not then either:

  • Use a dual voltage travel iron [2] - you may still need to use a power adapter for China but these cheap lightweight accessories are designed specifically for travel.
  • Use a power converter [9] (or voltage transformer) - this enables you to use your existing clothes iron and other applicances with a 220 volt Chinese power outlet, however this is substantially heavier and more expensive than a dedicated travel clothes iron. A voltage transformer will change the voltage but won't change the actual shape of the plug on your clothes iron to fit in the types of power outlet used in China, so check that your voltage transformer has a power adapter for China otherwise you will also need to bring a seperate power adapter. Please be aware your domestic clothes iron might not be suited for travelling and you risk potential damage in a suitcase.

Warning: If your clothes iron won't handle 220 volts used in China you run the risk of blowing a fuse, damage to your clothes iron or even an electrical fire hazard. Prior to using your clothes iron in China please read the instruction manual first to ensure safe operation.

Using a clothes iron in China

Will my clothes iron work in China?

That will depend on if your clothes iron is designed to operate using the 220 volts as used in China:

How can I use my US clothes iron in China?

The guides on this page assume that you're an America reader visiting China and provide guidance for using your American clothes iron with a Chinese power outlet.

China power outlets and plug sockets

What is the electrical frequency used in China?

The frequency of the current from a Chinese power outlet is 50 Hz.

What is the mains voltage in China?

The common residential voltage in China is 220 volts.

Which power adapter will you need for using a clothes iron in China?

Type A, I and C power outlets

Which power adapter will you need for using a clothes iron in China?

There are three different types of power outlets used in China, types I, A and C with the primary power outlets being type I:

  • Plug Type A - This unearthed power outlet (also known as the type A power outlet) is identified by the 2 thin adjacent slots next to each other for live and neutral.
  • Plug Type C - You can recognise this plug outlet by the two holes adjacent to each other.
  • Plug Type I - You can recognise this plug outlet by the three slots for the live, neutral and earth.

A Type I power adapter [6] will allow you to use a 220 volt clothes iron in China; read the simple guide below for full details of how to use a clothes iron in China. Please note that unless you that have a dual voltage clothes iron you might also have to bring a power converter.

Dual voltage travel irons

Is my clothes iron dual voltage?

An easy way how to tell if your clothes iron supports dual voltage is to look for either a sticker or numbers printed on the handle, base or the plug. This location will depend on the make or model of your clothes iron, it could also be written in the instruction manual or on the box. Some dual voltage clothes irons might change automatically but other models will feature a button which allows you to operate between different regions.

  • A specific number such as 110V indicates a single voltage clothes iron. If this number matches the 220 volts used in China then you should be able to use your clothes iron with a Chinese power outlet.
  • A small voltage range with a dash such as 100-120V also indicates a single voltage clothes iron which can accomodate small voltage fluctuations. If the 220 volts used in a Chinese power outlet falls within the range shown on your clothes iron then you can use it in China.
  • A larger voltage range separated with a slash such as 100/240V indicates a dual voltage clothes iron capable of being used in China or any other country.

Travelling to China with a clothes iron

Can I carry on a clothes iron to China?

According to the TSA guidelines for clothes irons [12] there is no restriction on carrying a mains powered clothes iron in your hand luggage through airport security in the United States. The TSA recommends that you should check that the airline which is flying you to China will allow clothes irons onboard and that it will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the aircraft. The TSA also advices wrapping wires tightly around electric items such as clothes irons.

If you intend to bring a fragile or expensive clothes iron in your hand held luggage then it is recommended to use hard carry on luggage [13] as this offers the greatest protection against drops and knocks during transit.

Power converters for China

What is the difference between a voltage converter and a power adapter?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a voltage converter and a power adapter?

An expensive and bulky power converter [9] will convert a 220 volt Chinese power outlet to work with a non-220 volt clothes iron, however a more lightweight and smaller power adapter (or plug adapter) will change the shape of the plug on your clothes iron to slot into a power outlet found in China.

Will a voltage converter work with my clothes iron in China?

The correct power converter [9] (or voltage transformer) will allow your clothes iron using a different voltage to work with the 220 volt power outlet used in China. Travellers wishing to bring their own clothes iron can use a power converter, but it can be more expensive to buy a power converter than it is to purchase a dedicated dual voltage travel iron [2]. In addition, a travel clothes iron can be significantly smaller and lighter than a power converter making a travel clothes iron more suited for travelling.

How to use a clothes iron in China using a type C power adapter

The WikiConnections page showing how to use a clothes iron in China using a Type C travel charger.

  1. Please check that your iron is either a dual voltage travel iron [2] or is compatible with a 220 volt power outlet - if not then do not proceed as you may create an electrical fire hazard, damage your iron or blow a fuse. Some dual voltage irons might usually have a switch to toggle between voltages, before using the iron ensure you have set it to the 220 volt setting to use in China, consult the user guide to find out where this switch is found.
  2. If the plug on your clothes iron isn't the same type of outlet used in China you'll need to buy a Type C plug adapter [4]. This plug adapter is designed to convert different plugs on appliances from other countries for use in a power outlet in China simply by changing the shape of the plug, but the adapter doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your clothes iron to work with a 220 volt supply.
  3. Start by taking the Type C plug adapter and plugging it in the Chinese power outlet. The wall outlet is identified by the 2 round holes next to each other where the twin plug outlet pins slide into.
  4. Then plug in your clothes iron into the Type C plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the Chinese power outlet.
  6. Your clothes iron should now be ready for use.
How to use a clothes iron in China using a type C power adapter

How to use a clothes iron in China using a type I power adapter

The WikiConnections page showing how to use a clothes iron in China using a Type I travel charger.

  1. Check that the iron is either a dual voltage travel iron [2] or can work with a 220 volt power supply but if it doesn't then don't continue because you could damage your iron, blow a fuse or create an electrical fire hazard. Before using a dual voltage travel iron make sure the switch is set to accept 220 volts; please refer to the manufacturers instructions for more information on how to do this.
  2. If the shape of the power outlet which is used in China won't accomodate the plug shape on your clothes iron you will need to use a Type I plug adapter [6]. This plug adapter will help fit different plugs on appliances from other countries into an electrical outlet found in China by changing the shape of the plug, however it doesn't change the voltage of the clothes iron to work with a 220 volt outlet.
  3. Begin the process by plugging the Type I plug adapter into the power outlet. The wall outlet (technically called the Type I power outlet [5]) can be recognised by 3 thin slots in a triangle pattern with a single vertical pin at the base and the top two slots sloping upwards for the live, neutral and ground blades. Note that the neutral and live pins are reversed compared to Argentinian power outlets, please check that your Type I travel adaptor is compatible in China.
  4. Plug in the clothes iron into the Type I plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the Chinese power outlet.
  6. You can now switch on the iron for use in China.
How to use a clothes iron in China using a type I power adapter

How to use a clothes iron in China using a type A power adapter

How to power your clothes iron in China with a 2 pronged Type A power adapter.

  1. Please ensure that your iron is either a dual voltage travel iron [2] or is compatible with a 220 volt power outlet - if not then do not proceed as you may create an electrical fire hazard, damage your iron or blow a fuse. Some dual voltage irons might usually have a switch to toggle between voltages, before using the iron ensure you have set it to the 220 volt setting to use in China - consult the owners manual to find out where this switch is.
  2. This guide assumes that you are not already using a clothes iron with a Type A plug - if it does then you won't need a power adapter (but you will still need to check that your clothes iron can work with a 220 volt power supply). You will need to use a Type A plug adapter [8] if the type of power outlet used in China isn't the same shape as the plug on your clothes iron. The Type A plug adapter helps fit different plugs on appliances from other countries into a power outlet found in China simply by changing the shape of the plug, but the adapter doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your clothes iron to work with a 220 volt supply.
  3. Start by taking the Type A plug adapter and plugging it in the Chinese power outlet. You can recognise this plug supply by the two slots adjacent to each other.
  4. After that plug in your clothes iron into the Type A plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the Chinese power outlet.
  6. You can now turn on your iron for use in China.
How to use a clothes iron in China using a type A power adapter

See also

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China - China Wikipedia page
  2. https://www.amazon.com/Small-Mini-Iron-Non-Stick-Extra-Long/dp/B01AK9ZUGO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1483620272&sr=8-4&keywords=dual+voltage+travel+iron&refinements=p_72:2661618011&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnections-20&linkId=2f036aaac07e425cbd203ec0166146cb - dual voltage travel iron
  3. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/typeC.htm - Type C power outlet
  4. Type C plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type C power outlets without converting voltage
  5. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/typeI.htm - Type I power outlet
  6. Type I plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type I power outlets without converting voltage
  7. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/typeA.htm - Type A power outlet
  8. Type A plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type A power outlets without converting voltage
  9. Power converter - A step up step down power converter converts 110-120 volts up to 220-240 volts and 220-240 volts down to 110-120 Volts
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country
  11. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/list_bylocation.htm - IEC World Plugs by location
  12. https://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa/cib_results.aspx?search=clothes%20iron - TSA guidelines for clothes irons
  13. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on.