Using a clothes iron in Switzerland

Swiss power outlet

Summary

Check that your clothes iron can handle the voltage in Switzerland:

If not then you can either:

  • Use a dual voltage travel iron [2] - you may still need a suitable power adapter for Switzerland but these cheap lightweight accessories are designed specifically for travel.
  • Use a power converter (or voltage transformer) - this will enable you to use your existing clothes iron and other applicances with a 230 volt Swiss power outlet, however this is significantly bulkier and more expensive than a dedicated travel clothes iron. A voltage transformer changes the voltage but not the actual shape of the plug on your clothes iron to fit in the wall outlet used in Switzerland, so check that the power converter comes with a power adapter for Switzerland otherwise you will still need to purchase a seperate power adapter. Please be aware your existing clothes iron might not be suitable for travelling and you risk damage in your suitcase. [7] [AD]
Warning: If your clothes iron won't handle 230 volts you run the potential risk of an electrical fire hazard, a blown fuse or damage to your clothes iron. Prior to using your clothes iron in Switzerland check the instruction manual first to ensure safe operation.

Using a clothes iron in Switzerland

Will my clothes iron work in Switzerland?

This will depend on if your clothes iron is designed to handle the 230 volts which are used in Switzerland:

Switzerland power outlets and plug sockets

What is the voltage in Switzerland?

The common voltage used in Switzerland is 230 volts.

What frequency is used in Switzerland?

The frequency of the alternating current from a Swiss power outlet is 50 Hz. [8]

Which travel adapter will you need for using a clothes iron in Switzerland?

Type C and J power outlets

Which travel adapter will you need for using a clothes iron in Switzerland?

There are two types of power outlets used in Switzerland, these are type J and C with the primary power outlets being type J:

  • Plug Type C - This unearthed power socket (technically known as a Europlug) is recognised by two adjacent holes next to each other.
  • Plug Type J - The flattened hexagon shaped wall socket, technically called a type J power outlet, can be identified by three holes forming a flattened triangle configuration.

A Type J power adapter allows you to use a 230 volt clothes iron in Switzerland - read the step by step instructions below for full details of using a plug adapter for Switzerland. Be aware that unless you that have a dual voltage clothes iron you might also have to bring a voltage converter.  [6] [9] [AD]

Dual voltage travel irons

How can I tell if my clothes iron is dual voltage?

A simple way to tell if your clothes iron supports a dual voltage power outlet is to look for either a sticker or numbers printed on the handle, base or the plug. This location might vary depending on the make or model of your clothes iron, it should also state on the box. Some dual voltage models might change automatically but other irons will have a button which allows you to change between different regions depending on which country you are visiting.

  • A specific number such as 110V indicates a single voltage clothes iron. If this number matches the 230 volts used in Switzerland then you should be able to use your clothes iron with a Swiss 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 230 volts used in a Swiss power outlet falls within the range shown on your clothes iron then you can use it in Switzerland.
  • A large range separated with a slash such as 100/240V indicates a dual voltage clothes iron capable of being used in Switzerland or any other country.

Travelling to Switzerland with a clothes iron

Can a clothes iron go in carry on luggage?

According to the TSA guidelines for clothes irons there are no restrictions when bringing a mains powered clothes iron in your hand luggage through airport security in the United States. The TSA also suggests that you should check that the airline who is taking you to Switzerland will allow clothes irons onboard and that it will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the aircraft. The TSA also recommends wrapping cords tightly around electric items such as clothes irons.

If you do intend to pack a fragile or expensive clothes iron in your hand held luggage then it is recommended to use hard carry on luggage as this provides the most protection against knocks and bumps during your journey.   [10] [11] [AD]

Power converters for Switzerland

Do you need a converter for Switzerland to use your clothes iron?

A power converter (or voltage transformer) will allow a clothes iron using a different voltage to operate with the 230 volt power outlet used in Switzerland. Travellers who wish to bring their existing domestic clothes iron can use a power converter, but it might be considerably less expensive to buy a dedicated dual voltage travel iron [2] than it will be to purchase a power converter. Also worth noting, a travel clothes iron can be substantially smaller and lighter than a power converter making a travel clothes iron more suitable when packing in luggage. [7] [AD]

What is the difference between a power converter and a power adapter for Switzerland?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a power converter and a power adapter for Switzerland?

A small, cheap and lightweight power adapter (or plug adapter) will change the shape of the plug on your clothes iron to slot into a power outlet in Switzerland, but a more expensive and heavier power converter will transform the voltage of 230 volts from a Swiss power outlet to work with a non-230 volt clothes iron. [7] [AD]

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

Instructions on how to use your clothes iron in Switzerland by using a Type C power adapter.

  1. Ensure that your iron is either a dual voltage travel iron [2] or works with a 230 volt power supply; if it doesn't then don't proceed as you could blow a fuse, damage your iron or create an electrical fire hazard. Before using a dual voltage travel iron which can toggle between different voltages make sure you have set it to the 230 volt setting - refer to the owners manual for more details on where the switch is.
  2. If the type of power outlet used in Switzerland isn't the same shape as the plug on your clothes iron you will need to buy a Type C plug adapter [4]. The power adapter will help adapt plugs on appliances from other countries for an electrical outlet in Switzerland simply by changing the shape of the plug, however it doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your clothes iron to work with a 230 volt outlet.
  3. Begin by plugging the Type C plug adapter in the power outlet. The plug supply is recognised by two round adjacent holes next to each other where the plug outlet pins go.
  4. Then plug in your clothes iron into the Type C plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the Swiss power outlet. Your iron can now be used in Switzerland.
How to use a clothes iron in Switzerland using a type C power adapter

How to use a clothes iron in Switzerland using a type J power adapter

How to power a clothes iron in Switzerland with a 3 prong Type J travel charger.

  1. Please check that the iron is either a dual voltage travel iron [2] or can work with a 230 volt power outlet but if not then do not continue because you may create an electrical fire hazard, damage your iron or blow a fuse. Dual voltage irons sometimes have a switch to toggle between voltages, before using the iron ensure the switch is set to accept 230 volts to use in Switzerland; please consult the instructions to find out how to do this.
  2. You will need to bring a Type J plug adapter [6] if the shape of plug on your clothes iron isn't the same shape as the power outlet which is used in Switzerland. This Type J plug adapter will convert different plugs from other countries for use with a power outlet used in Switzerland by changing the shape of the plug, but the adapter doesn't change the voltage of the clothes iron to work with a 230 volt supply.
  3. First plug in the Type J plug adapter into the Swiss power outlet. You can recognise the hexagon shaped plug outlet by three large holes in a flattened triangular configuration for live, neutral and ground pins.
  4. Plug in the clothes iron into the Type J plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the Swiss power outlet.
  6. Your iron can now be switched on.
How to use a clothes iron in Switzerland using a type J power adapter

See also

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  1. Wikipedia - Switzerland Wikipedia web page
  2. Amazon - dual voltage travel iron
  3. iec.ch - Type C power outlet
  4. Type C plug adapter - European Europlug Type C plug adapters are unearthed and comprise of two 4mm rounded pins placed 19mm apart, estimated cost £5-£10.
  5. iec.ch - Type J power outlet
  6. Type J plug adapter - Swiss Type J plug adapters have three rounded pins placed in a flattened triangular pattern with the top pin acting as an earth, priced at £5-£10.
  7. 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, £100-£110.
  8. Wikipedia - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country -
  9. iec.ch - IEC World Plugs by location -
  10. tsa.gov - TSA guidelines for clothes irons -
  11. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on, around £40.