Figuring Out Voltage & Electronics When You Move Abroad

Moving abroad? If you’re not sure what to bring and how to ensure your electronics will work when you get there, you aren’t alone. Voltage differences overseas can make your favorite electronics incompatible with your new life, especially in areas like Europe.

Not sure whether you need a 220 volts to 110 volts converter or something else to make your smartphone, laptop, or other devices work? Let’s take a look at the basics together.

Voltage Differences per Country

Voltage converters

Not every country uses the standard North American 120-volt outlet. Truthfully, voltage differs country by country and can range from as low as 115 volts to as high as 240 volts. To complicate matters even further, the frequency can vary, too, meaning that you often need the right converter for the specific destination country.

To determine which converter you need, first research the country you’re visiting to see what voltage and frequency their electricity provides. Some of the most common associations include:

  • Great Britain – 230 volts / 50Hz
  • South Korea – 220 volts / 60 Hz
  • China (Mainland) – 220 volts / 50 Hz
  • South Africa – 230 volts / 50 Hz
  • Puerto Rico – 120 volts / 60 Hz
  • Ireland (Southern) – 230 volts / 50 Hz
  • Virgin Islands (Both) – 110 volts / 60 Hz
  • Thailand – 230 volts / 50 Hz

For reference, most of North America relies upon a 120 volt and 60Hz electrical line. When purchasing new converters, shop for devices that transfer from the voltage between your current voltage on home soil and the new voltage (e.g., 110v/60Hz to 120v/60hz).

Which Devices Should I Buy Converters For?

Now that you better understand how voltage conversion works, it’s time to discuss exactly which products you can convert and which you can’t. Technically, you can purchase a converter for nearly any device or appliance—but that doesn’t mean it makes sense to do so.

Larger appliances like refrigerators, ovens, and dryers simply don’t make sense to transport to the new country, even if you’re moving permanently. It’s far easier to sell them on home soil and repurchase them when you arrive. This also includes products like coffee makers, tea makers, toasters, microwaves, and other medium-sized devices.

What you should bring with you and convert are all of the following:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Laptops
  • Desktops
  • Fitbits
  • Other small, easy-to-port devices

Essentially, if it won’t inflate your moving costs and it directly relates to your productivity/quality of life, it’s a great idea to tote it along.

220 volts to 110 volts converter

There is one caveat; you can’t use every device with a voltage converter. For some products, like desktop computers, you may need to purchase a whole new power supply instead. Cross-reference the device with your international power adapter needs, and then double-check with the manufacturer before you purchase a converter. Never buy a converter and simply test it without knowing it’s compatible—this can result in serious damage and even electrocution injuries.

Need an overseas power converter? Wondering how to use international plug adapters? 110120Volts has everything you need to prepare for your new adventure. Shop now and find items like 110v to 220v converters, 220 volts to 110volts converters, and much, much more.

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