UK to Italy power adapters - what kind of travel adapter is needed for Italy?

Italian power outlet

What adapter do I need for Italy?

You will need to pack a Type L plug adapter for Italy if your plug doesn't fit into an Italian power outlet.

The type of power adapter, converter or charger that you'll need to bring when visiting Italy all depends on the voltage and type of device that you're trying to use in an Italian power outlet. If you're unclear about which voltage your device can use then please read the section about how can you tell if you have a dual voltage or single voltage device first.

  • If you're planning on visiting Italy from America you will need to bring a suitable power adapter to fit a US plug in an Italian power outlet. As the voltage is different in Italy you also need to pack a power converter for Italy if your device isn't dual voltage and check that it can work with a 50hz power outlet.
  • If your device can run on 230 volts or is dual voltage and your plug will fit in an Italian power outlet then you can use it in Italy without needing a plug adapter.
  • If your device can run on 230 volts or is dual voltage but your plug won't fit in an Italian power outlet then you'll need a suitable plug adapter for Italy such a Type L plug adapter. Please be aware that a plug adapter for Italy (or power adapter) only changes the shape of the plug on your device to fit into a plug outlet found in Italy, but can't convert the voltage from 230 volts to another voltage.
  • If your device doesn't run on 230 volts and isn't dual voltage you'll also need a power converter for Italy to convert the voltage from 230 volts to the correct voltage on your device. You'll still need to bring a suitable plug adapter for Italy if your power converter doesn't use the correct Type L plug adapter.
  • If you simply want to power one or more USB devices such as a cellphone or a tablet then a USB travel power adapter is suitable and it will work with any voltage, however make sure that you choose one which has a Type L plug adapter otherwise you'll also need to use a suitable plug adapter for Italy[9] [AD]
  • An increase in use of a cellphone during a vacation will leave you with a flat battery quickly, it is practical to pack a power bank if you need to keep your cellphone battery or other devices charged throughout the day whilst travelling to an unfamiliar country.

Warning: If your device won't handle 230 volts you run the potential risk of an electrical fire hazard, a blown fuse or damage to your device. Prior to using your device in Italy please check the instruction manual to ensure safe operation.

Italy power adapters

Power adapters for Italy

If planning a trip to Italy it can be useful to know if you'll be able to charge your common electrical devices like mobile phones and laptop computers that you'll be bringing with you. But, without knowing which wall socket to expect you may end up either having to bring unnecessary adaptors or pack the wrong power adaptor, leaving you having to buy or borrow a potentially overpriced charger on arrival. Varying different standards and plugs can all be confusing when planning to stay in a new country if you've never been there before. With only a handful of different types of standards being used throughout the world this guide shows exactly what you'll need in advance to charge your electronics in Italy. This page contains links to step by step instructions which shows how to power your devices when you're visiting Italy using the standard L, C or F type Italian 230 volt 50Hz wall outlets, you will find most Italians use the Type L plugs in their plug outlets. Power adapters differ regionally therefore please read the power adapters for a full list of regions and countries.

What is the best power adapter for Italy?

The best power adapter for Italy will be a Type L plug adapter which is suitable for powering any 230 volt appliance or device. [9] [AD]

What is the best power adapter for Italy?

What is a power adapter?

A power adapter is a compact and cheap plastic adapter that permits a different type of power plug on an appliance from a foreign region to correctly fit into an Italian power outlet.

Also known as: an electrical adapter, plug adapter, travel adapter, electrical adaptor, mains travel adapter or power adaptor[11]

What does a power adapter do?

A power adapter enables a visitor from a different location to use their own electronic and electrical appliances in Italy simply by adapting the shape of the plug.

Do I need a power adapter in Italy?

This will depend on where you are travelling from and the shape of plug you are using.

Do European plugs work in Italy?

There is a chance that a power adapter that works in another country in Europe won't fit in an Italian power outlet because there are eight different types of power outlets in Europe.

Can a power adapter change the voltage in Italy?

Power adapters can only adapt the shape of a plug to fit into a 230 volt Italian power outlet and is unable to convert the power to a higher voltage. If you wish to safely use any 100-120 volt appliance then you will also need to bring a step down power converter for Italy along with the correct power adapter.

Where to buy a power adapter for Italy in the UK

Power adapters for sale in an airport

Where to buy a power adapter for Italy in the UK

Italy to UK power adapters will most likely be available to buy in the UK from airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Stansted, Luton, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Birmingham prior to departure, however the range of adapters might be limited to popular destinations. It is recommended to research the exact type of adapter required prior to shopping at the airport. Look in the travel accessories section of airport newsagents, electronic stores and pharmacists such as WH Smith, Dixons or Boots but expect to pay 50% more than regular prices.

It will be more convenient and cheaper to buy the correct power adapter in advance of your trip. UK high street electrical shops, newsagents and chemists such as Currys PC World, WH Smith or Boots normally typically only sell popular types of travel adapters covering a limited number of countries however for widest choice it is recommended to buy a power adapter online. In January 2019 we checked 2 high street branches of WH Smiths without seeing any power adapters available to purchase and 1 branch of Boots only had a pack of European adapters available.

Where to buy a power adapter in Italy

Arriving at an airport

Where to buy a power adapter in Italy

On arrival power adapters could be found in local electrical high street shops and drug stores, but always check the build quality first as safety standards might be different in a foreign country as this is important when dealing with electrical goods. Keep in mind that a shopping trip searching for power adapters in an unknown location might be impractical, especially as this needs to happen quickly before batteries run out.

Hotel receptions could have a power adapter for sale, hire or as a complimentary extra for guests; however, availability is normally limited and a hotel might not have the exact type required for your country. If in doubt, call ahead to the hotel first and request a reservation as it is unlikely that an adapter will be found in your room on arrival.

Electrical adapters for Italy

Travel Power Strips

A travel power strip with included adapters

Travel Power Strips

Benefits of a travel power strip

  • Capable of powering several electrical appliances at once via a single plug socket, costing under £40.
  • Some types of travel power strips have voltage conversation for lower wattage devices (for example laptops). Even if the appliance isn't dual voltage it will still function in Italy by using just a travel power strip, making them a lightweight and cheap alternative to a dedicated voltage converter.
  • Normal models will also include multiple USB charge ports.
  • Offers surge protection. The voltage from power grids in certain areas can be tempremental, a sudden power surge can damage your delicate electrical items. Some power strips will include a surge protector which will prevent your device from being overpowered by an unstable power grid.
  • When you return to the UK it should still work.

Disadvantages of a travel power strip

  • Unlike normal voltage converters, the voltage converter on a travel power strip doesn't convert higher wattage appliances such as hair dryers or curling irons.
  • Because of their size travel power strips might be unsuitable for hand luggage.
  • Travel power strips could be considered excessive for travellers with only a small number of items that need powering. [12] [AD]
  • Power strip models for sale in the UK only include type B, F, G and I plug adapters so you may need to use it along with an additional plug adapter to work in some countries.
Power Plug Adapters

An easy to use Type L plug adapter

Power Plug Adapters

Benefits of a power plug adapter

  • Simple to operate.
  • Affordable, with prices under £3.
  • Light and compact.
  • Bringing a Type L plug adapter will be ideal for Italy.

Disadvantages of a power plug adapter

  • A single adapter for each device - for each device or appliance you'll also need to pack a separate adapter.
  • If you intend on visiting more than one country then you may need to pack multiple plug adapter types for other countries.
  • Only alters the actual shape of the plug to fit in a Type L Italian power outlet and doesn't modify the actual voltage. So if your appliance doesn't work with a 230 volt outlet and isn't dual voltage then you will still need to pack a separate voltage converter.
  • Your accomodation may only have a single wall outlet, therefore you will only be capable of powering a single device at once.
  • You'll also need to bring a separate USB charger if you wish to power a USB device. [9] [AD]
Travel USB Wall Chargers

A compact travel USB wall charger

Travel USB Wall Chargers

Benefits of a travel USB wall charger

  • Perfect when you only have to charge devices which use USB.
  • You only have to bring a single unit instead of packing multiple domestic USB power chargers which costs on average £10-£15.
  • USB wall chargers are typically supplied with swappable heads meaning they can be used in a large number of countries. The interchangeable adapter heads supplied with USB wall chargers are typically small and lightweight which makes them easy to store in hand luggage.
  • Most models will include a built in surge protector.
  • When you get back to the UK it will still be of use.

Disadvantages of a travel USB wall charger

  • The interchangeable heads don't include one which is compatible with an Italian power outlet - therefore you'll still need to bring a separate power adapter for Italy.
  • They only have USB ports so you won't be able to power appliances, just USB powered ones. [2] [AD]
Universal Travel Power Adapters

A universal travel adapter

Universal Travel Power Adapters

Benefits of a universal travel power adapter

  • Easy to use.
  • An all in one design which is both lightweight and small for under £20.
  • Some models will include a surge protector to prevent your electronics from being overpowered by unstable power grids in some countries.
  • The retracting pins don't catch against other items in baggage.
  • When you return to the UK the power strip will still be useful as a USB charger.
  • Some universal travel adapters will include USB charging ports.

Disadvantages of a universal travel power adapter

  • Because universal travel adapters only work with fit A/B, E/F, G and I power outlets they won't operate in Italy. Therefore you need to pack a separate power adapter for an Italian power outlet if you want to use universal travel adapter to benefit from surge protection and powering multiple devices from a single outlet.
  • A universal travel power adapter will overload when used with a high powered appliance such as clothes irons, hair straighteners, microwaves, kettles or curling irons.
  • Lacking a built in voltage converter means it won't be suitable for non-230 volt devices.
  • Not completely universal, some adapters might not cover some countries with less popular power outlet types.
  • The shutters, pins and moving parts might be fragile on some models which might make them prone to failure.
  • Only provide power to a single appliance. [13] [AD]
Plug Adapter Sets

A power plug adapter set

Plug Adapter Sets

Benefits of a plug adapter set

  • With prices roughly £5-£10 a power adapter set works out cheaper than purchasing multiple power plug adapter types costing almost £10 each.
  • Covers all eventualities and not just an Italian power outlet.
  • If you are travelling to different locations a plug adapter set is the most flexible option.
  • Includes Type A, B, C, D, E/F, G, H, I, J, L, M and N plugs so will work in Italy.

Disadvantages of a plug adapter set

  • Will involve planning - you will need to choose which plug adapters to pack in advance, or alternatively pack every power adapter in the set.
  • Means lots of individual plug adapters to bring.
  • Having only one working power adapter the remaining plug adapters will be redundant.
  • Not every power adapter types are typically included in the set (and especially less common ones) - so ensure that your plug adapter set has one which is compatible in Italy.
  • Each adapter only changes the shape of the plug to fit in an Italian power outlet but not the actual voltage. [14] [AD]
Voltage Converters

A voltage converter has surge protection

Voltage Converters

UK travellers will not need to bring a converter as the voltage in Italy is 230 volts.

Benefits of a voltage converter

Disadvantages of a voltage converter

  • A voltage converter only converts the 230 volts in Italy and won't change the actual shape of the plug to fit into a Italian power outlet, therefore you'll still need to use a suitable power adapter for Italy.
  • The normal weight of most models of voltage converters makes them way too bulky for packing in carry-on luggage.
  • Redundant after your visit to Italy.
  • Usually much cheaper to purchase a dual voltage travel appliance than to buy a much more expensive voltage converter simply to bring your existing single voltage domestic appliance in an incompatible location.
  • Expensive, £80-£90.

Comparison of electrical adapters for Italy

Type L Power Plug Adapter
Power Plug Adapter
Universal Travel Power Adapter
Universal Travel Power Adapter
Travel USB Wall Charger
Travel USB Wall Charger
Travel Power Strip
Travel Power Strip
Plug Adapter Set
Plug Adapter Set
Voltage Converter
Voltage Converter
Can be used in Italy Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Types of plug included L A/B, E/F, G and I A/B, E/F, G and I A, B, D, E/F, G, H, I, L and N A, B, C, D, E/F, G, H, I, J, L, M and N B
Compatible number of countries (A) 5+ 150+ 150+ 200+ 230+ 230+
Fits in a Type L Italian power outlet Yes Yes Yes
Additional Type L plug adapter required to fit in an Italian power outlet Yes Yes Yes
Useful when you return to the UK Yes Yes Yes
Typical combined number of USB ports and AC outlets 1 3 4 7 1 2
Powers USB devices Yes Yes Yes
Typical number of USB ports 0 2 4 4 0 0
Powers a 230 volt AC appliance in Italy Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Typical number of AC outlets 1 1 0 3 (B) 2
Converts voltage (?) Yes (C) Yes
Surge protection Yes Yes Yes Yes
Typical dimensions 2.6 x 1.9 x 1.4 inches 3 x 2.1 x 2.1 inches 4.3 x 3.4 x 1.3 inches 6.6 x 3.6 x 1.5 inches 7.1 x 3.9 x 2.8 inches 11.7 x 8.1 x 6.7 inches
Typical weight 4.5 ounces 4 ounces 4.5 ounces 1.6 pounds 13 ounces 20 pounds
Typical number of items to carry (D) 1 1 5 8 12 2
Suitable for hand luggage Yes Yes Yes • (E) • (F)
Estimated price under £3 £15-£20 £10-£15 £35-£40 £5-£10 almost £110
Buy Buy Buy Buy Buy Buy

Italy power outlets and plug sockets

What plug sockets are used in Italy?

Type C, F and L power outlets

What plug sockets are used in Italy?

There are three types of power supply used in Italy, these are type L, C and F with the primary power outlets being type L:

  • Plug Type C - You can recognise the wall outlet by the 2 round adjacent holes for live and neutral pins.
  • Plug Type F - This recessed circular wall outlet can be recognised by the two large round holes 19 mm apart from each other for live and neutral pins, plus thin metal grounding clips on the top and bottom.
  • Plug Type L - You can identify this flattened hexagon shaped wall socket by the 3 large round holes in a line. You'll find there are two different types of Type L wall socket, one rated at 10 amps and one for 16 amps. A 10 amp version has 4mm pins spaced 5.5mm apart whilst the 16 amp version has larger 5mm thick round pins spaced 8mm apart. [9] [AD]

What frequency is used in Italy?

The frequency found in an Italian power outlet is 50 Hz. [16]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country
Does a European plug fit in an Italian power outlet?

Tourists in Europe

Does a European plug fit in an Italian power outlet?

Various locations throughout Europe all use different standards of power outlet types and voltages, so a plug which works with an Italian power outlet might not function in an electrical outlet in another location. If you intend on travelling to more than one location in Europe you can either bring a multiple power adapter travel set which contains various types of power adapters, or a single international travel plug adapter as both these options should make sure you're covered for all different power outlet types which you might encounter in each country. Before travelling check the list of power outlets used throughout Europe to understand which power converters and adapters you might need to bring for your trip.   [13] [14] [14] [AD]

How do I use a 110 volt appliance in Italy?

Use a step down power converter if you wish to use either a 110 volt or 120 volt appliance in Italy.

Is there good access to electrical power in Italy?

Access to electricity in Italy is excellent which covers the entire country.

How reliable is the power grid in Italy?

Whilst stable electrical power can't be guaranteed, the power grid in Italy is classed as reliable with no pattern of recurrent power blackouts.

Should I pack a power bank for Italy?

USB power bank for charging mobile phones

Should I pack a power bank for Italy?

Even though power failures in Italy aren't regular with power being available to the entire population, visitors are still recommended to bring a power bank to recharge mobiles and other USB powered devices.

  • The dependence on phones for many people is high and being offline will leave them anxious, especially when being needed when travelling to an unknown location. During a trip increased use of cell phones for taking pictures, storing itineraries, social networks, sat nav and web browsing can drain power before the end of the day. A flat smart phone battery can possibly leave you without enough power to make an emergency call or being able to use GPS to get directions to your hotel.
  • Packing a portable charger for Italy alleviates those concerns as it allows you to recharge your cell phone on the move.
  • A typical 10,000mAh power bank will store enough energy to power over 3 full days of mobile phone use whilst a 20,000mAh power bank should keep a typical cell phone charged for almost a week.
  • Should you need to charge your laptop in Italy and it it supports USB-C charging then look for a portable charger for a laptop marked with PD (power delivery) which supplies at least 20 Wh.
  • Please note that some airlines don't let you take batteries on an aircraft that supply 100 Wh of power or more and must not be left in checked-in luggage.
  • Typical consumer portable chargers won't work with high wattage items, but a rechargeable hair dryer or gas hair straighteners are available for travelling.    [10] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [AD]
How well do solar chargers work in Italy?

A solar backpack recharging

How well do solar chargers work in Italy?

The climate in Italy may be suitable conditions for a solar power bank but is likely to take time to recharge. The compact surface area of the cells means a solar power bank will need to be kept in strong daylight for a long period of time in order to produce enough energy for a single charge, which might prove inconvenient to continually unpack a solar power bank then wait whilst it recharges in sunny spells.

  • Instead, the bigger cells used on a solar backpack give the bag the ability to create more electricity within a faster period of time, and could also generate power during overcast weather.
  • Phones that are plugged directly into the USB charging port of a backpack will gradually recharge the battery during sunny spells in Italy, but could prove inconvenient to have it constantly tethered to the bag should it be used frequently. So it is recommended to plug in a normal power bank into a solar backpack which can then be constantly recharged inside the bag during the day, afterwards you can power up your phone from the power bank.
  • A solar bag which is suitable for Italy should have a solar cell efficiency of at least 22%, can generate a minimum of 6 watts of energy and includes a 10,000mAH power bank or stronger.
  • They come in messenger, rucksack and backpack styles making them ideal for domestic, work and travel use. The flexible and durable panels used in solar powered bags have been made to survive scratches and bending, unlike regular firm solar panels.  [10] [22] [23] [AD]

Sources

  • International Electrotechnical Commission - World plugs by location (cited August 2014)
  • Wikipedia - Mains electricity by country (cited July 2014)
  • Index Mundi - Power outages in a typical month (cited May 2018, data collected between 2006 to 2017)
  • Index Mundi - Access to electricity (cited May 2018, latest data collected 2010)
  • WikiPedia - List of countries by average yearly temperature (cited May 2018, data averaged between 1961 to 1990)

Italy chargers

What is a USB travel power charger?

A USB travel charger is a dual voltage charger with interchangeable plugs and multiple USB ports, suitable for charging multiple USB powered devices when travelling abroad.

What USB charger do I need for Italy?

If you are travelling to multiple countries and bringing more than just one device the best international travel charger for Italy to buy is a multiple USB port charger which includes swappable plugs such as a 4 port USB travel charger. Italians use three different standards of plug sockets (types L, C and F) and bringing this will ensure that you are covered for type C. Because these types of chargers come with interchangeable pins and handle from 100 volts - 240 volts will mean that you can travel to multiple countries in Asia, North America, Europe and Africa just by switching the heads over. If your device can support Fast Charge then you will benefit from faster recharging times with one of these USB travel chargers along with support for more power hungry devices. Unlike other travel adapters this means you can charge more than one device at once without needing to pack multiple travel chargers. Only bringing a single international USB travel charger will help keep the size and weight down, making it ideal to fold up and store in hand luggage. Because of their space saving flexibility these types of travel chargers can be used when you return home not just abroad so when you're not travelling they can be used under your bedside table charging multiple tablets and phones without using up an additional plug socket.

We suggest searching for this type of flexible power adapter at an electronics retailer, the power adapter illustrated here is the 4 Port USB Wall Charger which has been successfully tested with multiple USB devices in numerous countries around the world. [2] [AD]

What USB charger do I need for Italy?

Why use a travel USB charger for Italy?

  • Normal travel USB chargers include 4 or more USB charger ports, meaning you now only need to bring a single charger to charge all your devices. Rather than bring 4 individual power chargers you only need to pack a single 4 port USB wall charger and power up to 4 separate devices, thereby reducing the weight and size of your baggage.
  • Travel USB chargers should include swappable plug heads for various countries thereby making them suitable if visiting other countries across Europe which are likely to use different outlets to Italy.
  • A good power charger is rugged, lightweight and compact - ideal for the rigors of travel instead of than risking bringing a domestic charger which could be hard to repair in Italy.
  • USB travel chargers can accept the 230 volt power outlets in Italy along with other voltage standards across the world.
  • It's possible that hotels in Italy might only have a single power outlet, by bringing a travel charger with multiple USB ports means you can share out the single wall outlet with all your devices rather than having to wait to recharge one device at a time.
  • Because of their flexible nature a travel USB charger takes the uncertainty out of travelling to an unknown country as they are guaranteed to work almost anywhere in the world.
  • Power outlets in airports can be in short supply and the demand for charging multiple cell phones before a flight can be high, therefore a USB travel charger with multiple ports and the ability to charge quickly is perfect.
  • The power grid in some countries can be unstable, a travel USB charger allows for unexpected spikes to prevent damage to any devices attached to it. Trying to repair an overloaded smartphone or tablet in Italy could prove problematic and costly.
  • Larger USB chargers should also include power outlet strips to use multiple low powered devices such as laptops, but please note these are unsuitable for high powered domestic such as hair dryers or clothes irons. Refer to our guide on using travel appliances with an Italian power outlet for advice and guidelines on the most suitable power adapter for an Italian power outlet for high wattage appliances.
  • Certain tablets and cellphones could require more than the standard 500 milliamps produced from a standard 5 volt USB adapter to charge or provide fast charge. Premium USB chargers will support fast charging should any of your devices require additional power.
  • When back at home travel USB chargers can still be used by charging multiple cell phones on an overnight basis using one power outlet. [2] [AD]

What is the best USB charger for Italy?

A 4 port USB travel charger is the most compact option for travellers from any country who only have USB devices, however for visitors also wanting to use their domestic plugs the following power converters provide larger but more versatile solutions. All three power converters offer surge protection which can be useful for travellers to counties with unreliable or unstable power grids to prevent damage to any connected devices from voltage spikes. These travel converters come supplied with interchangeable type C, I and G plugs covering both Italy and over 150 countries around the world:

  • BESTEK Portable International Travel Voltage Converter - The BESTEK international travel converter has 4 USB charging ports with 3 AC power outlets and is the best selling portable option for travellers originating from America visiting Italy.
  • ORICO Traveling Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip - Similarly having 4 USB ports but only 2 AC power outlets the travel adapter from Orico is also aimed at travellers originating from the US using type B plugs and offers almost the same functionality as the BESTEK with 1 less AC outlet at almost half price.
  • BESTEK International USB Travel Power Strip - This power strip has just 2 AC outlets but offers 5 USB charging ports. This versatile power strip is compatible with both American plugs and popular plug types A, D,E/F, G, H, I, L and N making it perfect for a wide range of travellers from around the world visiting Italy. [2] [AD]

Power converters for Italy

What does a power converter for an Italian power outlet do?

Power converters for Italy allow you to use a 100, 110 or 120 volt electric device with a 230 volt Italian 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 will transform a 230 volt Italian 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 Italy. [24] [AD]

Do I need a power converter for Italy?

If you are travelling to Italy from a different country please ensure your device can be used with a 230 volt power supply.

  • A step down power converter is needed if you are travelling from a country that uses 100-120 volts and your appliance is incompatible with 230 volts. Read our world power outlets page to see which voltage your country uses.
  • You shouldn't need a power converter if you already use either a single voltage appliance that works with 230 volts or one that is dual voltage.
  • Typically, electrical devices which are designed to work with a lower voltage (such as 110 volts) and used with 230 volts run a risk of damage to your device, an electrical fire hazard or blowing a fuse unless you use a step down power converter.
  • You won't need a converter if you are attempting to recharge a smaller electrical device such as a tablet or mobile phone as these are typically designed for international use and dual voltage, however you should always always check the device for dual voltage support prior to your journey.
  • If powering high wattage appliances or generate heat (for example curling irons and hair dryers) then you will need to use a more expensive higher wattage heavy duty power converter.
  • It will be more cost effective to purchase a smaller robust dual voltage travel appliance than paying for a heavier high wattage power converter simply to use your existing domestic appliance.
  • Read our comprehensive guides on travelling with curling irons, clothes irons, hairdryers and hair straighteners in Italy which includes guides on some affordable dual voltage alternatives.  [6] [15] [AD]

What converter do I need for Italy?

In order to use any 100, 110 or 120 volt appliance in Italy you will need a step down power converter[15] [AD]

What voltage is used in Italy?

Italy uses 230 volts in their normal power outlets. [8]

https://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/
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 to convert 230 volts to 110 volts

  1. Use a step down power converter to allow you to use a 110 or 120 volt appliance with an 230 volt Italian 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 Italy before plugging that into an Italian 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 an 230 volt Italian power outlet. [15] [AD]
How can I tell if I have a dual voltage or single voltage appliance?

Dual voltage hair straighteners

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.

Substantiations

See the power adapter substantions section for more information on how we compared travel adapters (October 2018).

What type of adapter do you need for Italy?

Which type of adapter do I need to bring to Italy?

The plug adapter which is best to use in Italy depends on your requirements, prior to deciding the right adapter to use we recommend using the following checklist:

How many electrical devices are you taking to Italy?

How many electrical items are you packing

How many electrical devices are you taking to Italy?

  • List all the items you want to bring to Italy (such as laptops, mobile phones, tablets, eReaders, hair dryers and curling irons).
    • Allow for more electrical items at a later date. Do you intend on purchasing a new tablet computer next year?
    • There is an increasing number of smaller rechargeable electronics such as electric shavers that utilise USB charging for a power source. Therefore if you have to replace a device it might need a USB power adapter so check that your travel adapter has enough spare ports to power these too.
  • Will you also be travelling with a partner who will need to recharge their phones as well?
What different types of electrical devices do you want to use?

A USB powered phone

What different types of electrical devices do you want to use?

  • There are 3 types of electrical devices:
    • Low wattage electrical items that can be plugged into an electrical outlet - for example a laptop.
    • High wattage appliances that can be plugged into a power outlet - for example hair dryers and curling irons.
    • USB devices which can be plugged into a USB port - for example phones and tablets.
  • When you only need to bring along just USB powered devices to Italy you'll find that a simple travel USB charger is ideal because you will only need to bring one lightweight charger along with appropriate existing charging cables and leave your domestic chargers at home.
  • Travel power strips are made for powering and voltage conversion for several low wattage devices (such as laptops), however won't work with high wattage appliances which need voltage conversion.
How many power outlets will be available when you get to Italy?

How many power outlets will be available

How many power outlets will be available when you get to Italy?

  • Your hotel may have only one power outlet on the wall, this will be an issue when recharging more than one device overnight because you can only recharge a single device at a time then need to swap every few hours.
  • To charge more than one device at the same time we suggest packing either a USB wall charger or a travel power strip which are capable of charging multiple USB ports or power outlets. [12] [AD]

Do your devices and appliances work with 230 volt power outlets?

Will you only be planning on charging USB devices?

Are you only charging USB items

Will you only be planning on charging USB devices?

  • Should you only plan on using USB powered electronics such as phones and tablets then we suggest just bringing a travel USB wall charger.
  • If you only use a simple power plug adapter in Italy then you'll still need to pack the USB power charger that was supplied with your device as well. [2] [AD]

Are you planning to visit anywhere else abroad in the future?

Is Italy the only place you'll be visiting?

How much can you afford to pay?

  • Cheap power adapters start from under £10 which charges only one device from an Italian power outlet (providing that it is dual voltage or works with 230 volts), but investing in roughly £15-£20 allows you to power multiple devices at once and bring them to various countries.

Are you visiting another country with reliable access to power?

  • The electricity in Italy is generally stable but if you plan to visit another country you may need a power adapter to protect your electrical appliances. Electricty might often fluctuate in some regions which could possibly cause damage to your devices, so it is advisable to use a power adapter which has surge protection such as a travel power strip.
  • Prepare for power cuts and limited electricity by bringing a portable charger and a solar backpack.  [10] [10] [22] [AD]

Would you like to use your charger when returning to the UK?

Do you intend on only bringing hand luggage?

Are you only using hand luggage

Do you intend on only bringing hand luggage?

Will it take you a long time to get to Italy?

Arriving at an airport

Will it take you a long time to get to Italy?

  • For much longer journeys it's worth considering packing an appropriate airport-suitable power charger that can be used with different outlet types, one which can be packed in carry-on luggage and can be used to quickly charge tablets and phones just prior to a lengthy trip.
  • Because not all airlines have power outlets available we recommend bringing a travel portable charger for recharging on the go. After landing in Italy you could need to rely on a phone for making telephone calls, receiving text messages, using sat nav to find accomodation or reading an itinerary; make sure that your phone will have ample charge remaining. [10] [AD]

What can I connect to an Italian power outlet

Travel appliances which can connect to an Italian power outlet

Beats Pill speakers which can connect to an Italian power outlet

Jabra Bluetooth speakers which are compatible with an Italian power outlet

Mobile phones that can connect to the Italian power outlet

Apple iPhones that can be connected to the Italian power outlet

Samsung Galaxy phones that work with an Italian power outlet

A list of Amazon Kindle tablets which can connect to an Italian power outlet

A list of Apple iPads which are compatible with an Italian power outlet

Corrections

We endeavor to ensure all details on this page are correct and relevant to travellers visiting Italy, if you wish to contribute any useful information or feedback please email travel@wikiconnections.org. For more comprehensive technical details visit the Wikipedia page on AC power plugs and sockets[25]

Disclaimer

WikiConnections is not responsible for any injury or damage caused due to using any type of suggested product with any other electrical device or appliance in any location, full details are available on the disclaimer page. All functions and capabilities should be checked prior to purchasing or using any power adapter. Assumptions on if any power adapter, charger, converter or power strip works in any location is based on data from publicly available sources and if it fits the primary power outlet used in that country. WikiConnections has not taken into consideration other less common power outlets which might be found as these might only be used in certain areas or in the process of being phased out.

Where possible, WikiConnections only recommends the type of product as being suitable along with alternatives and does not make any endorsement for any specific brand or product. Always check with the manufacturer to ensure full compatibility prior to attempting to use any device. Always check the reputation of the manufacturer and product to ensure the quality and safety of any electrical device being used.

See also

We endeavour to ensure that links on this page are periodically checked and correct for suitability. This website may receive commissions for purchases made through links on this page. As an Amazon Associate WikiConnections earn from qualifying purchases. For more details please read the disclaimers page.

  1. Wikipedia - wikipedia.org entry about Italy.
  2. 4 Port USB Wall Charger - A universal USB charger capable of charging up to 4 USB devices with swappable international adapters, priced at around £10
  3. Type C plug adapter - European Europlug Type C plug adapters are unearthed and comprise of two 4mm rounded pins placed 19mm apart, priced £10-£15.
  4. Type F plug adapter - Schuko Type F plug adapters are earthed using two clips at the top and bottom with two rounded 4.8mm pins set 19mm apart, estimated price around £10.
  5. Dual voltage travel hair dryer - Folding handle hair dryer with dual voltage suitable for international travel, £15-£20
  6. 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.
  7. Dual voltage travel hair straighteners - Hair straighteners with adjustable temperature and dual voltage for 110 volts and 220 volts suitable for international travel, costing £20-£25
  8. iec.ch - International Electrotechnical Commission World Plugs
  9. Type L plug adapter - Earthed Italian Type L plug adapters comprise of three pins placed in parallel, each rounded pin is either 4mm thick with 5.5mm gaps or 5mm thick with 8mm gaps depending on 10 or 16 amp version, £2-£3
  10. Portable charger - A power bank is a portable charger which can recharge USB powered devices such as mobile phones and tablets on the go, estimated cost £30-£35.
  11. Wikipedia - power adaptor
  12. Travel power strip - A travel power strip includes surge protectors, AC power outlets, USB ports and swappable plug adapters for use in multiple countries, priced £35-£40
  13. Universal travel power adapter - A typical universal travel power adapter can be used in over 150 different countries for use with appliances and USB devices, around £15
  14. Plug adapter set - Plug adapter set containing a number of different power plug adapters for use in different countries, estimated price £5-£10
  15. 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, under £90
  16. Wikipedia - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country -
  17. Rechargeable hair dryer - Rechargeable battery powered cordless blow dryer suitable for travelling, £70-£80.
  18. Gas hair straighteners - Cordless ceramic hair straighteners powered by gas cartridges, around £30.
  19. 10,000mAh portable charger - Lightweight 10000mAh high-speed portable USB charger suitable for mobile phone charging, £20-£25.
  20. 20,000mAh portable charger - High capacity 20000mAh high-speed portable USB charger suitable for charging mobile phones and some tablets for several days, costs £30-£35.
  21. USB-C PD power bank - Power Delivery charger suitable for charging laptops with USB-C support, costing around £100.
  22. Solar backpack - A solar backpack will charge USB devices or an internal power bank when left in sunlight, under £120
  23. Solar power bank - Portable power bank with solar cells which can recharge when placed in sunlight and power any USB powered device, costs around £25.
  24. 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
  25. Wikipedia - AC power plugs and sockets -