Power converters for Cuba - Do I need a converter for Cuba?

What is a power converter?

Power converters for Cuba enable travellers to use a 220, 230 or 240 volt electrical device with a 110 volt Cuban power outlet.

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

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

A small, cheap and lightweight power adapter (or plug adapter) changes the shape of the plug on your device to fit into a power outlet in Cuba, however a heavier and more expensive power converter converts a 110 volt Cuban power outlet to work with a non-110 volt appliance. [3]

Do I need a power converter for Cuba?

When travelling to Cuba from a different region ensure that your device can accept a 110 volt power supply.

  • You need a step up power converter if you are visiting Cuba from a country that uses 220-240 volts and your device doesn't support 110 volts. See the WikiConnections world power outlets page to find out which voltage is used in your country.
  • You don't need a power converter if you already own either a 110 volt single voltage device or one that is dual voltage.
  • Typically, electrical devices which originate from another country which use a higher voltage such as 220 volts and used with 110 volts sometimes take longer to charge or simply won't turn on. If your device slowly recharges or doesn't turn on when travelling to Cuba from a different country please check that it will work with a 110 volt power supply otherwise you will need a step up power converter.
  • You shouldn't need a converter if you wish to recharge a smaller electrical device such as a cell phone as these are normally designed for international use and support dual voltage, however you should always always check the device for dual voltage support prior to your journey.
  • When supplying power to appliances which draw more power or generate heat (such as curling irons and hair dryers) then you will need to use a much larger higher wattage heavy duty power converter which allows it to be used with a 110 volt Cuban power outlet.
  • Investing a smaller robust dual voltage travel appliance could be more cost effective and practical than carrying a much heavier power converter in order to use your existing domestic appliance.
  • For more information read our comprehensive travel guides on travelling with curling wands, clothes irons, blow dryers and flat irons with Cuban power outlets , along with guides for affordable dual voltage alternatives.  [4] [5]

What converter do I need for Cuba?

In order to use any 220, 230 or 240 volt appliance in Cuba you need to use a step up power converter[4]

What voltage does Cuba use?

Cuba uses 110 volts in their power outlets. [2]

https://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/

How to convert 110 volts to 220 volts

  1. Use a step up power converter to allow you to use 220, 230 and 240 volt appliances with a 110 volt Cuban 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 Cuba before plugging that into a Cuban 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 from 220-240v.
  4. Plug your appliance into the converter and turn the power on, your 220-240 volt appliance can now be used with a 110 volt Cuban power outlet. [4]
What is the difference between a power converter and a power transformer?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a power converter and a power 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 tell the voltage of your device

Single voltage hair dryer

How to tell the voltage of your device

The easiest way to tell if a device is either single or dual voltage is to check for numbers printed on the supplied power adapter, or on the unit itself, typically on the rear or near to where the power cord sits. The location might vary depending on the make or model of your device but should also be written on the box.

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

  1. Wikipedia - Cuban Wikipedia page.
  2. iec.ch - 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, estimated price £100-£110.
  4. Step up power converter - A step up power converter allows a 220-240 volt appliance to be used in a 100-120 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.