Using a clothes iron in France

Going abroad? Straightforward advice for those travelling to France and using a clothes iron.

French power outlet

Summary

Check that your clothes iron can work in France:

If not then:

  • Use a dual voltage travel iron [2] - you might still need to use a power adapter for France however these cheap lightweight accessories are designed specifically for the rigors of travel.
  • Use a power converter [7] (or voltage transformer) - this will enable you to use your existing clothes iron and other applicances with a 230 volt French power outlet, however this is substantially bulkier and more expensive than a dedicated travel clothes iron. A power converter changes the voltage but won't change the actual physical shape of the plug on your clothes iron to fit in the power outlet used in France, so check that the power converter [7] has the correct power adapter for France otherwise you will need to purchase a seperate power adapter. Note that your domestic clothes iron might not be suitable for travel and you risk potential damage in your luggage.

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

Using a clothes iron in France

How can I use my US clothes iron in France?

The guides on this page assume that you are an America reader visiting France and will provide advice on using your American clothes iron with a French power outlet.

Will my clothes iron work in France?

This will depend on if your clothes iron is designed to handle the 230 volts used in France. If you're using either a dual voltage clothes iron or your clothes iron can operate using 230 volts and you have the appropriate power adapter then you can use the clothes iron in France. If not then then you will need to consider bringing either a power converter [7] or a dual voltage travel iron [2], read our section on do you need a voltage converter to use a domestic clothes iron for help deciding which solution is more suitable.

France power outlets

What frequency is used in France?

The frequency found in a French power outlet is 50Hz.

What is the voltage in France?

The typical voltage used in France is 230 volts.

Which power adapter do you need to bring when using a clothes iron in France?

There are two types of power outlets used in France, these are type E and C with the primary power outlets being type E:

  • Plug Type C - You can recognise this power socket by the two circular adjacent holes next to each other.
  • Plug Type E - You can recognise this wall socket by the two 4.8mm circular adjacent holes next to each other where the pins go plus one metal grounding pin protruding the top forming a triangle pattern.

A Type E plug adapter [6] is suitable for powering a 230 volt clothes iron in France, read the step by step guide below for full details of using a power adapter for France. Be aware that unless you that have a dual voltage clothes iron you will need to check if you also need to use a power converter.

Which power adapter do you need to bring when using a clothes iron in France?

Dual voltage travel irons

How can I tell if my clothes iron is dual voltage?

An easy way how to tell if your clothes iron supports a dual voltage outlet is to check for either a sticker or numbers printed on the plug, handle or base of the clothes iron. The location will depend on the make and model of your clothes iron and should also be written on the box. Some dual voltage clothes irons might change automatically, however other irons will have a button which allows you to change between different regions depending on which country you are visiting.

  • Single voltage could say a specific number - such as 110V. If this number matches the 230 volts used in France then you should be able to use your clothes iron with a French power outlet.
  • Single voltage might also have a small voltage range with a dash to accomodate small voltage fluctuations - such as 100-120V. If the 230 volts used in a French power outlet falls within the range shown on your clothes iron then you can use it in France.
  • Dual voltage will typically say a larger voltage range separated with a slash - such as 100/240V. Your clothes iron will be capable of being used in France or any other country if these numbers are shown.

Travelling to France with a clothes iron

Can you carry on a clothes iron?

According to the TSA guidelines for clothes irons [10] there is no restriction on carrying a mains powered clothes iron in your carry on hand luggage through airport security in the US. The TSA also recommends that you should check that your airline who is flying you to France will allow clothes irons onboard and that it will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the airplane. The TSA also recommends wrapping cables tightly around electric items such as clothes irons.

If you do 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 most protection against drops and knocks during your journey.

Power converters for France

What is the difference between a power converter and a power adapter?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a power converter and a power adapter?

A heavy and expensive power converter [7] transforms the voltage of 230 volts from a French power outlet to work with a non-230 volt clothes iron, however a more lightweight and cheaper power adapter [11] (or plug adapter) changes the shape of the plug on your clothes iron to fit into a power outlet in France.

Will a power converter work with my clothes iron in France?

A voltage transformer [7] (or power converter) will allow your clothes iron using a different voltage to operate using a 230 volt power outlet used in France. A power converter is more suitable for travellers wishing to bring their existing domestic clothes iron, however it can be considerably cheaper to buy a dedicated dual voltage travel iron [2] than it is to purchase a power converter. Also, a power converter is substantially heavier and bulkier than a travel clothes iron making a power converter less suitable when packing in luggage.

How to use a clothes iron in France using a type C power adapter

The WikiConnections guide on how to power your clothes iron in France using a Type C power adapter.

  1. Check that the iron is either a dual voltage travel iron [2] or is compatible with a 230 volt power outlet; but if not then don't continue because you may create an electrical fire hazard, blow a fuse or damage your iron. Before using a travel iron ensure you have set it to accept 230 volts for use in France - refer to the owners manual for more details on where the switch is found.
  2. If the plug shape on your clothes iron isn't the same type of outlet used in France you will need to use a Type C plug adapter [4]. The Type C plug adapter is designed to fit plugs from other countries for use in an electrical outlet used in France simply by changing the shape of the plug, but the adapter doesn't change the voltage of the clothes iron to work with a 230 volt supply.
  3. Start the process by taking the Type C plug adapter and inserting it in the power outlet. You can recognise this power outlet by two circular adjacent holes next to each other.
  4. Next plug in your clothes iron into the Type C plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the French power outlet.
  6. Your clothes iron can now be used in France.
How to use a clothes iron in France using a type C power adapter

How to use a clothes iron in France using a type E power adapter

How to use a clothes iron in France with a 2 prong Type E travel charger.

  1. Please ensure that your iron is either a dual voltage travel iron [2] or can work with a 230 volt power supply but if it doesn't then don't proceed as you could damage your iron, blow a fuse or create an electrical fire hazard. Travel irons usually have a switch to toggle between voltages, before using the iron make sure the switch is set to accept 230 volts to use in France; please consult the user guide for more information on how to do this.
  2. You will need to bring a Type E plug adapter [6] if the shape of plug on your clothes iron isn't the same shape as the power outlet which is used in France. The plug adapter will adapt different plugs on appliances from other countries for an electrical outlet in France simply by changing the shape of the plug, however it doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your clothes iron to work with a 230 volt outlet.
  3. Firstly plug the Type E plug adapter into the French power outlet. This circular plug supply can be recognised by the two large round holes 19mm apart from each other for live and neutral pins and a long metal earth pin protruding from the top forming a triangular shape.
  4. After that plug in the clothes iron into the Type E plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the French power outlet.
  6. The clothes iron can now be turned on.
How to use a clothes iron in France using a type E power adapter

See also

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/France - France page on wikipedia
  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/typeC.htm - Type C power outlet
  4. Type C plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type C power outlets without converting voltage
  5. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/typeE.htm - Type E power outlet
  6. Type E plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type E power outlets without converting voltage
  7. Power converter - A step up step down power converter transformer converts 110-120 volts up to 220-240 volts and 220-240 volts down to 110-120 Volts
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country
  9. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/list_bylocation.htm - IEC World Plugs by location
  10. https://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa/cib_results.aspx?search=clothes%20iron - TSA guidelines for clothes irons
  11. 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