Do I need a power converter 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. [3]

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.  [4] [5]

Will I need a power converter if I'm visiting Italy from Canada?

The voltage from a electric outlet in Italy is different to a US outlet so please bring a if your charger or appliance doesn't support dual voltage.

Italy

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[4]

What voltage is used in Italy?

Italy uses 230 volts in their normal power outlets. [2]

Italy
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. [4]
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.

  1. Wikipedia - wikipedia.org entry about Italy.
  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, around C$60.
  4. 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, estimated cost C$110-C$120.
  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, priced under C$250.