Jan 27, 2013 - China, Preparation    No Comments

Electric plugs for China


Electricity is different as you travel the world, and China is no exception. However, it’s not as bad as it seems. China’s electricity setup is similar to Australia’s. They have the same 3 pin plug configuration, and 250V supply.

Also, China seems to have adopted the European 2-pin configuration, so buildings seems to be equipped with both.

With the UK having a 240V power supply it raises the question of whether you need a transformer. Well, the advice on the Web suggests that you don’t need a transformer, since there tends to be a distinct variance in actual voltage delivered to homes. And electric components are built to handle a variance of up to 6% up and 10% down. So that means an electrical device built for the UK market of 240V should be able to cope with 250V since it is only a 4% difference.

In my regular trips to South Africa (which has a different 3-pin plug configuration) I settled on the idea of taking a multi-adaptor (offering 4 UK plug sockets), and by attaching the adaptor to a UK-to-South African plug adaptor gave me enough plugs for my UK devices and only using one adaptor.

Pretty neat. But, I found a better way for my China trip, an actual 3-plug UK socket using a Chinese/Australian plug. This is idea for travellers with multiple electic devices that need regular charging (e.g. laptop, tablet, smart phone).

I found a merchant on Amazon called Traveldapter who specialise in these traveller-friendly multi-adaptors. Ideal for my gadget-laden colleagues who make regular trips to the US, and Japan, for example.

But note, these are not transformers. You still need to acquire a transformer if you want to bridge the gap between the US-style 110V system and the UK-style 240V. So you do need to check each of your electrical devices to see that they can support both voltages. Devices with external bricks sometimes can handle both voltage levels. Electronic gadgets that plug directly in without going through a brick definitely need a transformer.

This is one useful gadget to have.


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