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# Video:Electricity in Europe Basics

with Gina Miller

Electricity in Europe is a bit different than in the United States. Watch this video to learn more about what to expect when traveling in Europe.See Transcript

## Transcript:Electricity in Europe Basics

Hi, I'm Gina Miller, and today for about.com we are going to talk about the basics of electricity when traveling in Europe.

### Information About Electricity in Europe

First, electrical sockets in Europe have different shapes than those in the US. As you can see the sockets and prongs in Continental Europe are round and the prongs in the UK are rectangular. So your US pronged device isn't going to fit. You need an adapter that modifies the prongs to fit into the European sockets. Adapters are used for most small electronic devices such as computers, cell phones, battery chargers, digital cameras and computer tablets.

### Electricity in Europe vs. the United States

Simply plug the device into the outlet as you would in the US.In addition to a different shape, European outlets have a different current, 220 volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. In the U.S, electricity comes out of the wall socket at 110 volts, alternating at 60 cycles per second. It's very important to understand the difference because plugging in a device built for 110 volts into a 220 volt outlet will most likely burn up your appliance. It could also cause a fire and you could even be electrocuted.

### Voltage Converter for Electricity in Europe

Fortunately there's a device called a Voltage Converter that solves this problem. A converter does exactly what it sounds like, it converts the European voltage from 220 volts to 110 volts. You'll use a converter for appliances like hair dryers, razors and curling irons. If your electrical device has a motor or if it heats up or cools down, you probably need a converter.

Finally how do you know for sure if you need a converter or just an adapter. First, you can look at the power supply of your appliance. Most will show you the "Input Voltage." If it shows 100-240, you don't need a Converter. If it shows a single voltage then you probably do. Second, read your owners manual. Personally I think that's the best method.And those are the basics of electricity when traveling in Europe.