How to use your clothes iron in England

Going abroad and bringing a clothes iron? Straightforward advice for those visiting England and bringing their clothes iron.

British power outlet

Summary

Check that your clothes iron can handle the voltage in England:

If not then you can either:

  • Use a dual voltage travel iron [2] - you might still need a power adapter for England however these cheap lightweight accessories are designed specifically for the rigors of travel.
  • Use a power converter [5] (or voltage transformer) - this enables you to use your existing clothes iron and other applicances with a 230 volt British power outlet, however this is considerably bulkier, heavier and more expensive than a dedicated travel clothes iron. A voltage transformer changes the voltage but not the actual physical shape of the plug on your clothes iron to fit in the power outlet used in England, therefore please check that your power converter [5] includes a power adapter for England otherwise you will still need to purchase a seperate power adapter. Please note - your own domestic clothes iron might not be suitable for travel and you risk damage in transit.

Warning: If your clothes iron won't handle 230 volts you run a risk of a blown fuse, damage to your clothes iron or even an electrical fire hazard. Prior to using your clothes iron in England check the instruction manual first to ensure safe operation.

Using a clothes iron in England

Will my clothes iron work in England?

This will depend on if your clothes iron is designed to handle the 230 volt power outlets in England:

Will my US clothes iron work in England?

The instructions on this page assume that you're a reader from America visiting England and provide advice on using your American clothes iron with a British power outlet.

England power outlets

What is the frequency used in a British power outlet?

The frequency from a British power outlet is 50Hz.

What is the mains voltage in England?

The voltage in England is 230 volts.

Which power adapter will you need to bring for using a clothes iron in England?

Type G power outlet

Which power adapter will you need to bring for using a clothes iron in England?

Type G power outlets are used in England. You can identify this plug socket by the 3 rectangular holes in a triangular pattern. A recommended power adapter to bring to use a 230 volt clothes iron in England is a Type G power adapter [4], read the step-by-step instructions below for full details of using a power adapter for England. Note that unless you that have a dual voltage clothes iron you might also need to use a power converter.

Dual voltage travel irons

How can you tell if your clothes iron is dual voltage?

A simple way to tell if your clothes iron will handle dual voltage is to check for either a sticker or numbers printed on the base, handle or plug. The location will depend on the make and model of your clothes iron, it could also state on the box. Some dual voltage clothes irons can change automatically, however other models will feature a button which allows you to toggle between different regions depending on which country you are visiting.

  • A specific number such as 110V indicates a single voltage clothes iron. If this number matches the 230 volts used in England then you should be able to use your clothes iron with a British power outlet.
  • A small voltage range with a dash such as 100-120V also indicates a single voltage clothes iron which can accomodate small voltage fluctuations. If the 230 volts used in a British power outlet falls within the range shown on your clothes iron then you can use it in England.
  • A larger range separated with a slash such as 100/240V indicates a dual voltage clothes iron capable of being used in England or any other country.

Travelling to England with a clothes iron

Can you pack a clothes iron in your carry on?

According to the TSA guidelines for clothes irons [8] there is no restriction on carrying a mains powered clothes iron in your carry on luggage through airport security in the United States. The TSA suggests that you should check that the airline who is flying you to England will allow clothes irons onboard and that it will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the airplane. The TSA also advices wrapping cables tightly around electronic items.

If you intend to pack a fragile or expensive clothes iron in your hand held luggage then it is recommended to use hard carry on luggage as this provides the greatest protection against bumps and knocks during transit.

Power converters for England

Do I need a voltage converter to use a normal clothes iron in England?

The correct type voltage transformer [5] (or power converter) will allow your clothes iron using a different voltage to operate with the 230 volt power outlet used in England. Travellers who want to bring along their existing domestic clothes iron can use a power converter, however it can be less expensive to purchase a dedicated dual voltage travel iron [2] than it will be to purchase a power converter. Also, a power converter is significantly heavier than a travel clothes iron making a power converter less suited for packing in luggage.

What is the difference between a voltage converter and a plug adapter?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a voltage converter and a plug adapter?

An expensive and bulky power converter [5] will convert a 230 volt British power outlet to work with a non-230 volt clothes iron, whereas a more lightweight and smaller power adapter [9] (or plug adapter) will change the shape of the plug on your clothes iron to fit into a power outlet found in England.

How to use a clothes iron in England using a type G power adapter

How to use your clothes iron in England by using a 3 prong Type G travel adapter.

  1. Please ensure that the iron is either a dual voltage travel iron [2] or works with a 230 volt power outlet; if it doesn't then do not proceed because you might create an electrical fire hazard, damage your iron or blow a fuse. Some irons might usually have a switch to toggle between voltages, before operating the iron ensure the switch is set to the 230 volt setting, refer to the owners manual to find out where this switch is located.
  2. You'll need to buy a Type G plug adapter [4] if the type of plug on your clothes iron isn't the same type of power outlet which is used in England. This Type G plug adapter is designed to fit plugs on appliances from other countries for a power outlet found in England by changing the shape of the plug, but it doesn't change the voltage of your clothes iron to work with a 230 volt outlet.
  3. First plug the Type G plug adapter into the wall outlet. The plug outlet (technically known as the Type G power outlet [3]) can be identified by three vertical slots with shutters forming a triangle configuration for live, neutral and ground pins.
  4. Plug in your clothes iron into the Type G plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the British power outlet. You can now switch on your iron for use in England.
How to use a clothes iron in England using a type G power adapter

See also

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom - England Wikipedia web page
  2. https://www.amazon.com/Small-Mini-Iron-Non-Stick-Extra-Long/dp/B01AK9ZUGO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1483620272&sr=8-4&keywords=dual+voltage+travel+iron&refinements=p_72:2661618011&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnections-20&linkId=2f036aaac07e425cbd203ec0166146cb - dual voltage travel iron
  3. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/typeG.htm - Type G power outlet
  4. Type G plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type G power outlets without converting voltage
  5. 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
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country
  7. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/list_bylocation.htm - IEC World Plugs by location
  8. https://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa/cib_results.aspx?search=clothes%20iron - TSA guidelines for clothes irons
  9. https://www.amazon.com/Ceptics-GP-12PK-International-Worldwide-Universal/dp/B01DJEBLQU/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=CFDDSXZJ59CH648AVQ0H&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnections-20&linkId=b865b6ca5e535d710bf1e1b3a790f622 - power adapter