Power converters for Germany - Do you need a converter for Germany?

What is a power converter for Germany?

A power converter for Germany allows you to use a 100-120 volt electrical appliance with a 230 volt German power outlet.

Also known as: electrical converter, electrical transformer, voltage converter, power transformer or voltage transformer.

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

A heavy and bulky power converter [3] will convert a 230 volt German power outlet to work with a non-230 volt appliance, but a more lightweight and cheaper power adapter (or plug adapter) will change the shape of the plug on your appliance to fit into a power outlet found in Germany.

Do I need a power converter for Germany?

When travelling to Germany from a different region ensure your device will accept a 230 volt power supply.

  • You will need a step down power converter [4] if you are travelling to Germany from a country that uses 100-120 volts and your appliance doesn't support 230 volts. See the WikiConnections world power outlets page to find out which voltage is used in your country.
  • You won't need a power converter if you are already using either a single voltage appliance that works with 230 volts or one that supports dual voltage.
  • Devices which are designed to use a lower voltage such as 120 volts and used with 230 volts run a risk of blowing a fuse, damage to your device or even an electrical fire hazard unless a step down power converter [4] is used.
  • You won't need a power converter if you wish to charge a smaller electrical device such as a tablet as these are typically designed for international use and support dual voltage, however please always check the device for dual voltage support prior to your journey.
  • When supplying power to high wattage appliances or generate heat (for example clothes irons or hair dryers) then you will need to use a bulkier higher wattage heavy duty power converter [5] to allow it to be used with a 230 volt German power outlet.
  • Investing a smaller lightweight dual voltage travel appliance will be more practical and cost effective than trying to carry a heavier high wattage power converter just to use your existing domestic appliance in Germany.
  • For more information read these travel guides on travelling with curling wands, clothes irons, hair straighteners and hair dryers in German power outlets which includes guides on some affordable dual voltage alternatives.

What kind of converter do I need for Germany?

You will need to buy a step down power converter [4] to use any 100-120 volt appliance in Germany.

What voltage does Germany use?

Germany uses 230 volts in their standard power outlets.

What is the difference between a power transformer and a converter?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a power transformer and a converter?

Converters and transformers are both used to change one voltage to another, but this ambiguity can cause confusion as their purposes are different:

  • Power converters are designed for simple electrical appliances which typically generate heat or use motors such as clothes irons, shavers or hair dryers. Transformers are designed for more complex electronic items such as televisions or games consoles.
  • Buying a power converter is cheaper than buying a power transformer.
  • Power transformers are larger and heavier making them more suited for permanent residential use; for example an expat wishing to use an imported television would need to use a transformer for this purpose.
  • Power converters are more suitable for travellers wishing to bring domestic appliances abroad such as hair dryers or flat irons. However, it is more practical and cost effective to purchase a dual voltage appliance designed for travel rather than a heavier power converter.
  • Power converters are suitable for 2 pin ungrounded appliances, it could be harder to find a converter if you want to use a grounded 3 pin appliance.
  • Transformers can be used constantly however it is recommended that converters are used for no longer than a couple of hours at a time.
  • Shops may sell transformers under the name of converters, for the purposes this guide we will be referring to both converters and transformers as converters.

How to convert 230 volts to 110 volts

  1. Use a step down power converter [4] to allow you to use a 110 or 120 volt appliance with a 230 volt German power outlet.
  2. If the power converter doesn't include the correct shaped plug then it will also be necessary to plug in the power cord from the power converter into a power adapter for Germany before plugging that into a German power outlet.
  3. Some power converters include the ability to perform both step up and step down voltage conversions, therefore it may be necessary to manually switch the converter to output the voltage to the 110-120 volt range.
  4. Plug your appliance into the converter and turn the power on, your 110-120 volt appliance can now be used with a 230 volt German power outlet.
How can I tell if I have a dual voltage device?

Dual voltage hair straighteners

How can I tell if I have a dual voltage device?

The best method to tell if a device is dual voltage or single voltage is to look for either a sticker or numbers printed on the existing charger or on the appliance itself, typically near to where the power cord goes. The location might depend on the make or model of your device but should also state in the instruction manual or on the box.

  • Single voltage devices might have a specific number - such as 120V.
  • Single voltage devices might also have a small voltage range (around 20 volts) with a dash to accomodate small voltage fluctuations - such as 220-240V.
  • Dual voltage devices will say a larger range separated with a slash - such as 110/240V.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germany - Germany Wikipedia page.
  2. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/ - International Electrotechnical Commission World Plugs
  3. 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.
  4. Step down power converter - A step down power converter allows a 100-120 volt appliance to be used in a 220-240 volt power outlet, £80-£90.
  5. Heavy duty power converter - A 5000 watt heavy duty step up and step down power converter used to convert voltages for domestic appliances, power tools, televisions, heating appliances and motors, costs under £110.