Electricity in China
Do I need an adapter, a converter or both?
North American appliances however, run on 110V and so, you will need a converter so that your 110V item does not fry (literally) when you plug it into the 220V source.
You can get a converter easily and inexpensively at any electronics shop like Best Buy or at the airport shops which normally carry them. You can also check the Amazon.com selection at the bottom of this page. But before you rush to get a converter also consider the following:
- Most of the hotels in China have both 110V and 220V electrical outlets in the bathrooms for low wattage items, your 110V electric shaver for example can be plugged in without problems.The electrical outlets are clearly marked either 110V or 220V.
- Some of your appliances might be "Dual-Voltage", that is, they will work fine at either 110V or 220V. In fact, the chargers that come with most modern video cameras, battery chargers, hair dryers, shavers, laptop computers, etc. are designed to sense the voltage automatically and adjust to the respective source.
How to tell if you have a dual-voltage appliance? Look in the back of the charger or item where the power input/output is described.
Look for the "Input" specification which should read something like this:Input: 100-240 V AC; 50/60 Hz
That tells you the voltage the device will take. If it says 110V but there is no mention of 240V, your device is not dual voltage and you will need an electricity converter in China.
Electricity in China: Electric Adapters
An adapter does not change the voltage of the device, the converter does that.
Some of the newer Western hotel chains do provide adapters in the rooms for the different styles of plugs in America and Europe, but do not expect that to be the case at smaller hotels and guest houses.
In any case, I would definitely bring a Travel Adapter Set with me just in case, they are inexpensive and that will keep from having everyone in the family fighting for the one outlet in the room to charge their devices!
When buying an Electric Adapter for China pay attention that you are getting the one with the V-shape that will fit the Chinese socket as pictured above. Most of the Universal sets will include it but double check, sometimes the sets are only US to Europe or US to UK adapters.
Some sets also include the converter, some only the adapters, so make sure you buy what you need.
Australians should have no problem with electricity in China since the Australian plug works well with the Chinese socket, it is the same shape only upside-down and Australian voltage is also the same.
If you are traveling to Hong Kong, you will see the British style socket in use:
Adapters for this kind of outlet are also included in the Travel Adapter Sets.
Some of the adapters and sets also include a USB charger, which is what you will need for charging certain devices like iPods, iPhones, etc., you can also get the Apple Travel Kit, see below.
Electricity in China: Adapter Sets, USB Chargers, etc
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