Locally Owned, Locally Operated: 801-386-7331

Getting Plugged-In: The Differences Between Countries’ Wall Outlets

Anyone who has traveled to another country has been frustrated, confused, and just plain angry with the electricity systems and various different wall outlets around the world.
It was put best by Gizmodo author John Herrman, in his comical article entitled, “Why Every Country Has a Different F#$%ing Plug.”

“If you buy a phone charger at the airport in Florida, you won’t be able to use it when your flight lands in France. If you buy a three-pronged adapter for le portable in Paris, you might not be able to plug it in when your train drops you off in Germany. And when your flight finally bounces to a stop on the runway in London, get ready to buy a comically large adapter to tap into the grid there. But that’s cool! You can take the same adapter to Singapore with you! And parts of Nigeria! Oh yeah, and if said charger doesn’t support 240v power natively, make sure you buy a converter, or else it might explode.”

Even though it is slightly amusing that even travelling through Europe you will need to purchase several different adaptors, it becomes a hassle that can frustrate even the most cool, calm, and collected traveler.

Why the Differences?

The differences usually stem from the amount of power that is surging through the outlets/cords. For instance, if you look on your own power adaptor – the little black box between the wall and the electronic device – on many commonly used electronics, such as a laptop, you will notice that the voltage is listed.

As long as it has up to 240v it can be used in pretty much any country, as long as you have an additional wall adaptor. The voltage isn’t the only difference.

The “standard” plug in North America is quite different than standard plugs throughout the rest of the world.
Purchasing an adaptor one that coincides directly with the country you are planning to visit is essential. You’d be surprised by how often you use electricity, and will notice most when you don’t have it.

Take a look at this map (from Gizmodo.com) of the countries of the world, with their corresponding plug-ins and what they look like, so that you can find what you need for your next trip around the world.

By Heidi Rothert