The standard voltage supplied by plug sockets in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) is 230V at 50 Hz.
Appliances and devices designed for use in the US, Canada, and South American countries will need a plug adapter and transformer to work in the UK (unless dual voltage device – see below).
Electrical products designed for use in most other countries will only need a plug adapter for UK use.
Plugs used in the UK are Type G. These have three flat prongs.
They are not like plugs used in most of Europe.
Other countries using Type G plugs include Cyprus, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Malaysia, Malta, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
Dual Voltage Devices
Many electrical devices commonly taken on vacation are dual voltage. This means that they can be used safely around the world.
Dual voltage devices can used with both 110 – 120V (US, Canada, South American countries) and 220 – 240V power supplies (most of the rest of the world).
Dual voltage devices only need a plug adapter (and not a voltage converter/transformer).
Dual voltage devices include laptop computers, mobile phones, tablets, and most rechargeable devices (cameras etc.).
To check if a device is dual voltage, examine the label on the device or its AC adapter/charger. If it is dual voltage it will say something like ‘Input 100 – 240V AC’.
Plug adapters (also known as travel adapters) are cheap. They simply allow devices designed for one type of socket to be plugged into another type. They do not convert the voltage or frequency.
Plug adapters for use in the UK can be purchased at many UK stores or on Amazon. Airport shops also stock them.
Devices designed for use in the US/Canada/South America that are not dual voltage will need a transformer.
Transformers are very heavy and also expensive. For most small devices (e.g. hairdryers) it will be cheaper to purchase a new device for use in the UK.