Do I need a power converter for Scotland?

What does a power converter for a Scottish power outlet do?

Power converters for Scotland allow you to use a 100, 110 or 120 volt electric device with a 230 volt Scottish 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 plug adapter?

A heavy and bulky power converter [3] will transform a 230 volt Scottish power outlet to work with a non-230 volt device, but a more lightweight and smaller power adapter (or plug adapter) changes the shape of the plug on your device to fit into a power outlet in Scotland.

Do I need a power converter for Scotland?

If visiting Scotland from a different country ensure that the device can be used with a 230 volt power supply.

  • A step down power converter [4] is needed if you are travelling to Scotland from a country that uses 100-120 volts and your appliance is incompatible with 230 volts. See our WikiConnections world power outlets guide to see which voltage your country uses.
  • You don't need a power converter if you are already using either a 230 volt device or one that is dual voltage.
  • Electrical devices which are designed to use a lower voltage (for example 110 volts) and used with 230 volts run a risk of damage to your device, an electrical fire hazard or a blown fuse unless a step down power converter [4] is used.
  • You don't need a converter if you wish to recharge a smaller electrical device such as a mobile phone or laptop as these are normally designed for international use and support dual voltage, but you should always always check the device for dual voltage support first.
  • If powering high wattage appliances or generate heat (for example hair straighteners and clothes irons) then you will need to use a more expensive higher wattage heavy duty power converter [5] which allows the appliance to be used with a 230 volt Scottish power outlet.
  • It will be more cost effective to bring a smaller lightweight dual voltage travel appliance than trying to carry a heavier high wattage power converter to Scotland simply to use your existing domestic appliance.
  • Read our comprehensive travel guides on travelling with clothes irons, curling wands, flat irons and hair dryers in Scotland which includes recommendations on affordable dual voltage alternatives.

What converter do I need for Scotland?

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

What voltage is used in Scotland?

Scotland uses 230 volts in their normal power outlets.

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 Scottish 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 Scotland before plugging that into a Scottish 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 Scottish power outlet.
What is the difference between a power converter and a transformer?

Voltage converter

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

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 can I tell if I have a dual voltage or single voltage appliance?

Single voltage hair dryer

How can I tell if I have a dual voltage or single voltage appliance?

The best way to tell if a appliance is either dual or single voltage is to look for numbers printed on the supplied power adapter or on the appliance itself, normally on the rear or near to where the power cord sits. The location might depend on the make or model of your unit, it should also state on the box.

  • Single voltage devices could say a specific number - such as 110V.
  • Single voltage devices could also have a small voltage range (around 20 volts) with a dash to accomodate small voltage fluctuations - such as 100-120V.
  • Dual voltage devices will normally say a larger voltage range separated with a slash - such as 110/240V.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom - wikipedia.org entry about Scotland.
  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, under £110.