Using your clothes iron in The United Kingdom

Heading abroad and bringing your clothes iron? A guide for those visiting The United Kingdom and bringing their clothes iron.

UK power outlet

Summary

First check that your clothes iron can work in The United Kingdom:

  • If your clothes iron can run using 230 volts or can support dual voltage (how to tell) then you'll only need to use a suitable power adapter listed below if the plug on your clothes iron will not fit.

If not then you can either:

  • Use a dual voltage travel iron [2] - you may still need to use the correct power adapter for The United Kingdom however these cheap lightweight accessories are designed specifically for the rigors of travel.
  • Use a power converter [5] (or voltage transformer) - you can then use your existing clothes iron and other applicances with a 230 volt UK power outlet, however this is significantly bulkier and more expensive than a dedicated travel clothes iron. A voltage transformer will change the voltage but won't change the actual physical shape of the plug on your clothes iron to fit in the wall outlet used in The United Kingdom, therefore check that your voltage transformer comes with the right power adapter for The United Kingdom otherwise you will need to purchase another power adapter. Be aware that your personal clothes iron might not be suitable for travel and you could risk potential damage in transit.

Warning: If your clothes iron won't handle 230 volts you run the potential risk of damage to your clothes iron, an electrical fire hazard or blowing a fuse. Prior to using your clothes iron in The United Kingdom please check the instruction manual to ensure safe operation.

Using a clothes iron in The United Kingdom

Can I use my US clothes iron in The United Kingdom?

The instructions on this page assume that you're an America reader visiting The United Kingdom and will provide advice on using your US clothes iron with a UK power outlet.

Will my clothes iron work in The United Kingdom?

This depends on if your clothes iron can operate using the 230 volts as used in The United Kingdom. If you're using either a dual voltage clothes iron or your clothes iron can operate using 230 volts and you have the appropriate plug adapter then you should be able to use the clothes iron in The United Kingdom. If not then then you will need to consider purchasing either a dual voltage travel iron [2] or a heavier and more expensive power converter [5], read the section on will a voltage converter work with your clothes iron in The United Kingdom for help deciding which solution is more suitable.

The United Kingdom power outlets

What mains voltage is used in The United Kingdom?

The normal residential voltage in The United Kingdom is 230 volts.

What frequency is used in a UK power outlet?

The frequency of the current in a UK power outlet is 50 Hz.

Which travel adapter do you need to bring for using a clothes iron in The United Kingdom?

Type G power outlet

Which travel adapter do you need to bring for using a clothes iron in The United Kingdom?

The type of power outlet used in The United Kingdom is type G. You can identify the power outlet by the three vertical holes with shutters in a triangular shape. A Type G plug adapter [4] will allow you to use a 230 volt clothes iron in The United Kingdom - read the step-by-step guide below for full details of how to use a clothes iron in The United Kingdom with a plug adapter. Please note that unless you that have a dual voltage clothes iron you might also need to use a voltage converter.

Dual voltage travel irons

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

The method to tell if your clothes iron supports a dual voltage outlet is to check for either a sticker or numbers printed on the handle, base or plug of the clothes iron. The location might vary depending on the make or model of your clothes iron, it could also be written on the box or in the instruction manual. Some dual voltage models can change automatically but other models will feature a switch which allows you to change between different voltage ranges.

  • A specific number such as 110V indicates a single voltage clothes iron. If this number matches the 230 volts used in The United Kingdom then you should be able to use your clothes iron with a UK 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 UK power outlet falls within the range shown on your clothes iron then you should be able to use it in The United Kingdom.
  • A larger voltage range separated with a slash such as 100/240V indicates a dual voltage clothes iron capable of being used in The United Kingdom or any other country.

Travelling to The United Kingdom with a clothes iron

Can you carry on a clothes iron in your luggage?

According to the TSA guidelines for clothes irons [8] there are no restrictions when bringing a mains powered clothes iron in your carry on hand luggage through airport security in the United States. The TSA recommends that you should verify that your airline who is taking you to The United Kingdom will allow clothes irons onboard and that it will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the aircraft. The TSA also advices wrapping wires tightly around clothes irons. If you do intend to pack a fragile or expensive clothes iron in your hand held luggage then it is advisable to use hard carry on luggage as this offers the greatest protection against knocks and bumps during your journey.

Power converters for The United Kingdom

What is the difference between a plug adapter and a power converter for The United Kingdom?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a plug adapter and a power converter for The United Kingdom?

A heavy and bulky power converter [5] will convert the voltage of 230 volts from a UK power outlet to work with a non-230 volt clothes iron, whereas a smaller and more lightweight power adapter [9] (or plug adapter) changes the shape of the plug on your clothes iron to slot into a power outlet found in The United Kingdom.

Do I need a power converter to use a normal clothes iron in The United Kingdom?

The correct voltage transformer [5] (or power converter) allows a clothes iron using a different voltage to operate with the 230 volt power outlet used in The United Kingdom. Travellers who wish to use their existing clothes iron can use a power converter, but it can be more costly to purchase a power converter than it is to buy a dedicated dual voltage travel iron [2]. Also, a travel clothes iron can be substantially lighter and smaller than a power converter making a travel clothes iron more suited for travelling.

How to use a clothes iron in The United Kingdom using a type G power adapter

How to power a clothes iron in The United Kingdom using a three pronged Type G power charger.

  1. Make sure that the iron is either a dual voltage travel iron [2] or can work with a 230 volt power supply; if not then do not attempt these instructions because you could damage your iron, blow a fuse or create an electrical fire hazard. Some irons might typically have a switch to toggle between voltages, before operating the iron ensure you have set it to accept 230 volts; please consult the owners manual for more details on how to do this.
  2. If the plug shape on your clothes iron isn't the same shape as the outlet which is used in The United Kingdom you will need to buy a Type G plug adapter [4]. The Type G plug adapter will fit different plugs on appliances from other countries into an electrical outlet used in The United Kingdom by changing the shape of the plug, however the adapter doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your clothes iron to work with a 230 volt supply.
  3. Firstly plug in the Type G plug adapter in the power outlet. You can recognise the wall outlet by three rectangular holes forming a triangular configuration.
  4. Plug in the clothes iron into the Type G plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the UK power outlet. You can now switch on the iron in The United Kingdom.
How to use a clothes iron in The United Kingdom using a type G power adapter

See also

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom - UK 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