Like most countries in Europe, such as Switzerland, the standard voltage in London and the rest of the United Kingdom will be 230 volts. While some power outlets can put out a higher voltage (up to 400-volts!), you will not find these in any hotel room or home. If you visit London, you need to pay attention to the power requirements for your devices. If you don’t, you can quickly burn them out.
In this article, we explore the power outlets and power plugs available in London (and the UK as a whole). We also want to give you an overview of whether you need to use power converters to charge your electronic devices.
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What Is the Standard Voltage in London?
In general, power sockets in London are going to be 230 volts. You may find some appliances in the United Kingdom rated at 240 volts, but you can still charge them using the standard wall socket, and this means that you shouldn’t have too many issues there. In theory, power sockets in the UK can pump out over 230 volts.
What Is the Standard Voltage in London Bathrooms?
The UK is one of a few countries globally that makes it illegal to put individual plug sockets in a bathroom. This is one of the British safety standards – you definitely do not want to have water splashing onto a 230-volt power outlet.
Well, although it isn’t technically illegal for a plug socket to be in the bathroom, any main plug socket must be at least 3-meters away from a water source. Because British bathrooms tend to be relatively small, making it virtually impossible to fit a standard plug socket into the bathroom.
When you walk into any bathroom in the UK (in hotel rooms, apartment rentals and even residences), you may notice that the electrical outlet will look slightly different from the standard power outlets you’d find elsewhere in a rental unit or hotel room.
In the bathroom, you will see that the power outlet will require a plug with 2 prongs. They have designed these bathroom sockets for electric shavers and toothbrushes specifically. These plugs will still have a standard voltage of 230 volts. However, they connect with a transformer as a safety mechanism. When water touches them or they draw too much power, the entire system will shut down.
Can You Use a Travel Adaptor in London?
Yes, you can use a travel adaptor or power point adapter in London.
If you head into almost any hardware store in London or even one of the London airports, you will pick up power plug adaptors. You may even buy one of these travel adaptors at one of the major US international airports before you fly to the UK. You may find a limited range of travel adapters in drug stores in the US. A suitable plug adapter can convert a plug from another country into one suitable to the British system. While you may find something listed as a universal adapter, double-check to ensure that it supports the plugs from your country of origin.
Don’t worry if the shape of the plug your device has is different from the UK plug points. Perhaps your country uses 2-prong plugs, and the UK has a 3-prong plug system. Rest assured, the top prong is just the ground prong, another of the British safety standards.
Do You Need a Power Converter for Plugs in London?
In general, you should be able to plug your plug into the travel adaptor and then plug that into one of the plug sockets in your hotel room or rental unit. Everything should work fine. However, we suggest that you carry out a couple of checks first to be on the safe side.
If your own country uses 110-volt (such as the United States), then you will need to check your power supply on the device itself. Check every electrical device, including your cell phones, hairdryer, camera and laptop, to check that they allow for dual voltage. This means that it should say 110v/230v on it. If it has a sticker to this effect, you can use it in the UK using only the travel adaptor.
If your device’s voltage indicator says 110-volt only, don’t plug it in. This voltage difference means that your device cannot plug into a UK plug point without using a power convertor. The UK voltage will be far, far too high and can cause your device to overheat since it is made to be charged using a lower voltage. If you leave it plugged in, then it will eventually break. I am sure this is the last thing you want to happen while on an overseas trip!
You need to buy a power converter (also known as power transformers or voltage converters) when this happens. A power converter will reduce the 230-volts down to 110-volts. However, you need to remember that a power converter can be pretty expensive, but it is an essential item if you want to charge your devices while visiting London or the rest of the UK. You can buy a power converter at electrical stores, electronic stores or stores selling electrical goods, such as Best Buy.
Options for Power Converters and A Travel Adaptor
The voltage in London is (mostly) 230-volts. If you come from a country that also uses 230-volts, you should be able to plug your devices into British power sockets using nothing more than a travel adaptor. You can also find power converters on Amazon at very reasonable prices.
However, if your home country uses 110-volts, ensure that your product supports 230-volts before you plug it in anywhere. If you don’t, you risk destroying your electronics. Instead, invest in a power converter to charge your devices safely while enjoying your visit to London or the UK. Amazon also sells power converters you can buy before travelling to the UK.