China power adapters - what plugs are used in China?

Chinese power outlet

What adapter do I need for China?

Bring a Type I plug adapter [3] to China if the plug you need to use won't fit in a Chinese power outlet.

The type of plug adapter, power converter or charger that you'll need when visiting China all depends on the voltage and type of device that you're attempting to charge with a Chinese power outlet. If you're unsure of what voltage your device can use then read the section about how can you tell if you have a dual voltage device before going any further.

  • Expect regular power outages in China, it is advised to bring a portable charger [4] if you wish to keep your phone battery fully charged whilst abroad during a power cut.
  • If you are from the US and travelling to China we suggest using a power adapter for China because an American Type A or Type B power outlet might not readily be used. As the voltage is different in China use a power converter for China if your device or appliance isn't dual voltage and also check that it can work with a 50hz power outlet.
  • If your device can run on 220 volts or is dual voltage and the plug will fit in a Chinese power outlet then you can use it in China without needing anything else.
  • If your device can run on 220 volts or is dual voltage but your plug won't fit in a Chinese power outlet then you'll need a suitable plug adapter for China such a Type I plug adapter [3]. Please be aware that a plug adapter for China (or power adapter) will change the shape of the plug on your device to fit into a plug outlet found in China, but isn't designed to convert the voltage from 220 volts to use with another voltage.
  • If your device can't use 220 volts and isn't dual voltage you will also need a power converter for China to convert the voltage from 220 volts to the correct voltage on your device. You will still need to pack a suitable plug adapter for China if your power converter doesn't include the correct Type I plug adapter.
  • If you need to recharge your USB devices such as tablets or mobile phones then a USB travel power adapter is suitable and it should be dual voltage, but ensure that you bring a USB travel adapter which includes a Type I plug adapter otherwise you will still need to bring a suitable plug adapter for China.

Warning: If your device won't handle 220 volts you run a risk of damage to your device, an electrical fire hazard or blowing a fuse. Before attempting to use your device in China read the instruction manual first to ensure safe operation.

China power adapters

Power adapters for China

If you are planning a holiday to China it can be helpful to know if you can charge your common electrical devices like mobile phones and laptops when you arrive at your hotel. However, by not knowing which power socket is used you are more likely to bring the wrong charger, therefore leaving you needing to borrow a suitable power adaptor when you need it. Various combinations of standards and sockets can often be daunting when planning on staying in a foreign country especially if you've never visited before. With only a handful of different types of plug sockets being used in the world this guide tells you exactly what you'll need in advance to charge your electronics in China. This page contains links to step-by-step instructions showing how to charge your devices when you're visiting China using the standard I, A or C type 220 volt 50Hz wall outlets, Type I power outlets will be typically used by most Chinese. You'll discover that power sockets will vary depending on which area you are in therefore we suggest reading the power adapters list for a full list of regions and countries.

What is the best power adapter for China?

The best power adapter for China will be a Type I power adapter [3] which is suitable for powering any 220 volt device or appliance.

What is the best power adapter for China?

What is a power adapter for a Chinese power outlet?

A power adapter is a compact and lightweight plastic adapter that permits a different type of power plug on an appliance from a foreign region to correctly fit into a Chinese power outlet.

What does a power adapter do?

A power adapter for China allows visitors travelling from another country to use electrical appliances and devices in China by altering the shape of the power plug from one shape to another.

Do I need a plug adapter in China?

This depends on the type of plug you are attempting to use in China.

Will I need a plug adapter if I'm visiting China from the US?

A US Type A or Type B outlet might not commonly be found in China so it is recommended to use a suitable plug adapter for China, however as the voltage is 220 volts you will definitely need to bring a power converter for China if your appliance or charger isn't dual voltage to prevent damage or overheating.

Will a power adapter change the voltage from a Chinese power outlet?

A power adapter only adapts the shape of a plug to fit into a 220 volt Chinese power outlet and is unable to convert to a higher voltage. Should you wish to safely use a 100-120 volt device you also need a more expensive step down power converter.

Where can I buy a power adapter for China?

Power adapters for sale in an airport

Where can I buy a power adapter for China?

Power adapters are typically available in most major airports prior to departure, however the range of adapters might be limited to popular destinations. It is recommended to research the exact type of adapter required prior to shopping at the airport. Look in the travel accessories section of airport newsagents, electronic stores and pharmacists but expect to pay 50% more than regular prices. Airports will be your last chance to buy a power adapter before departure, always check the returns policy to ensure you can easily exchange or refund a faulty or unsuitable product in an airside shop.

On arrival power adapters can be found in local electrical high street shops and drug stores, but always check the build quality first as safety standards might be different in a foreign country as this is important when dealing with electrical goods. Keep in mind that a shopping trip searching for power adapters in an unknown location might be impractical, especially as this needs to happen quickly before batteries run out.

Hotel receptions could have a power adapter for sale, hire or as a complimentary extra for guests; however, availability is normally limited and a hotel might not have the exact type required for your country. If in doubt, call ahead to the hotel first and request a reservation as it is unlikely that an adapter will be found in your room on arrival.

It will more convenient and cheaper to buy the correct power adapter in advance of your trip. High street stores normally sell popular types of travel adapters to popular locations and for widest choice it is recommended to buy a power adapter online.

China power outlets and plug sockets

What plug sockets are used in China?

Type A, I and C power outlets

What plug sockets are used in China?

There are three different types of power outlets used in China, types I, A and C with the primary power supply being type I:

  • Plug Type A - You can identify this power socket by two thin slots next to each other for live and neutral.
  • Plug Type C - You can identify this power socket by two circular adjacent holes next to each other for live and neutral pins.
  • Plug Type I - You can identify this plug socket by three thin slots in an upside-down triangular shape with the top pair of slots sloping upwards for the live, neutral and earth.

Do US plugs work in China?

No - because the voltage is different you will need to use a power converter if your device isn't dual voltage. We also recommend bringing all types of plug adapters for China as US types A or B outlets might not commonly be found.

Is an outlet in China the same as the US?

Even though a US Type A or Type B outlet could possibly be available in China it is advisable to use a suitable power adapter for China. Both the voltage and frequency are different so if your charger or appliance isn't dual voltage please use a power converter for China and check that it works with a 50hz supply.

What is the frequency used with a Chinese power outlet?

The frequency from a Chinese power outlet is 50Hz.

How do I use a 110 volt appliance in China?

To use a 110 volt or 120 volt appliance in a Chinese power outlet you need to bring a step down power converter.

Is the voltage in China the same as the US?

The voltage which comes from a Chinese power outlet is 220 volts, whereas 120 volts is used in America. If your US appliance or charger can't handle dual voltage then you will need to use a suitable power converter for China which allows a 120 volt American appliance to work with a 220-240 volt outlet.

Are power outlets common in China?

100 percent of population in China has access to electricity.

Does China have many power outages?

China reports power cuts once a month.

Should I use a portable charger in China?

A USB power bank for charging mobile phones

Should I use a portable charger in China?

Due to problems with the reliability of electrical power in China travellers are advised to use alternative charging options if they wish to continue charging devices such as mobile phones or tablets dependably.

  • Whilst travelling to China increased reliance on smart phones for storing calendars, taking photos, sat nav, social networks and staying entertained could drain batteries towards the end of the day. A flat mobile phone battery can possibly leave you without adequate power to make an emergency call or being able to use GPS to get directions to your hotel.
  • Using a portable charger [4] in China alleviates those concerns as it allows you to keep your cell phone powered on the move, especially when travelling to a country with power outages in some areas.
  • A typical 10,000mAh power bank [4] will supply enough energy to cover over three full cycles whilst a 20,000mAh portable charger [9] should keep a typical smart phone charged for around 7 days depending on the usage and model of the phone. The mAh rating (or milli ampere-hours) shows the capacity of a battery giving an indication of how many charge cycles the portable charger can do, therefore a higher mAh will be better for travellers.
  • If you want to charge your laptop with a power bank and your laptop uses a USB-C charging port then pack a portable charger for a laptop [10] marked with PD (power delivery) and a model supplying at least 20 Wh. Be aware that some airlines don't let you take power banks on an aircraft that supply 100 Wh of power or more and must not be left in checked-in luggage.
  • Average consumer power banks won't work with high wattage items, but a rechargeable hair dryer [7] or gas hair straighteners [8] can be used for travelling to locations with power cuts like China.
Does a solar powered charger work in China?

A solar bag charging a power bank

Does a solar powered charger work in China?

The sunshine in China could be suitable conditions for a solar power bank [12] but may take time to recharge. The compact surface area of the cells means a solar power bank will need to be kept in strong daylight for a long period of time in order to produce enough energy for a single charge, which might prove inconvenient to repeatedly unpack a solar power bank then wait whilst it recharges in a sunny area.

  • The bigger durable panels used on a solar backpack [11] will give the bag the ability to generate more electricity within a shorter period of time.
  • A phone which has been directly plugged into a USB port of a solar backpack will trickle charge the power during sunny spells in China, but this could be inconvenient to have a phone continually connected in the bag during the day if it is to be used constantly. Unlike a handheld solar power bank that needs unpacking facing sunlight, a solar powered backpack is continually exposed to sunlight so will be powering up a power bank [4] during the day.
  • A bag that is suitable for China needs to have a solar cell efficiency of 22% or more, be able to generate at least 6 watts of power and be used with a compatible power bank of 10,000mAH or stronger.
  • Solar bags are available in messenger, backpack and rucksack styles making them perfect for domestic, work and travel use. Unlike normal firm solar cells, the flexible and durable solar panels used in solar powered bags are built to endure scratches and bending.

Sources

  • International Electrotechnical Commission - World plugs by location (cited August 2014)
  • Wikipedia - Mains electricity by country (cited July 2014)
  • Index Mundi - Power outages in a typical month (cited May 2018, data collected between 2006 to 2017)
  • Index Mundi - Access to electricity (cited May 2018, latest data collected 2010)
  • WikiPedia - List of countries by average yearly temperature (cited May 2018, data averaged between 1961 to 1990)

China chargers

What is a USB travel power charger?

A USB travel charger is a dual voltage charger with interchangeable plugs and multiple USB ports, suitable for charging multiple USB powered devices when travelling abroad.

What USB charger do I need for China?

When travelling with more than one device then the best travel adapter for China to buy is a multiple USB charger which includes compatible plugs such as a 4 port USB travel charger [13]. There are three types of power outlets in China (types I, A and C) and bringing this will ensure that you are covered for both types A and C. As these types of chargers are supplied with interchangeable pins and can handle from 100 - 240 volts will mean that you can travel to multiple countries in Asia, North America, Europe and Africa just by switching the heads over. If your device can support Fast Charge (not all USB devices do) then you will benefit from quicker recharging times by using one of these travel adapters and additional compatibility with certain power demanding devices like tablets.

This will also allow you to charge multiple devices simultaneously without needing to bring individual power adapters on your Chinese trip or occupying additional wall sockets. By only needing a single international travel charger will help keep the overall size and weight down, making it perfect to fold up and store in hand luggage. Because of their space saving flexibility these types of travel chargers can be used back at home so when you're not travelling they can be used under your bedside table charging multiple tablets, smartphones and speakers without using up an additional power outlet.

For those travelling on a regular basis we suggest buying an adaptable travel adapter similar to this online. The multipurpose travel charger illustrated here is the 4 Port USB Wall Charger [13] which has been tested successfully with multiple USB devices in numerous foreign countries around the world with perfect reliably.

What USB charger do I need for China?

Why use a travel USB charger for China?

  • Typically travel USB chargers include multiple USB charger ports, this means that you should only need to bring one charger to charge multiple devices. Instead of bringing 4 separate power chargers you only need to pack one 4 port USB wall charger to power up to 4 devices, thereby reducing the size and weight of your baggage.
  • Travel USB chargers should include swappable plug heads for various countries thereby making them suitable if visiting other countries across Asia which are likely to use a different standard to China.
  • Good USB travel chargers are rugged, lightweight and compact; ideal for rigors of travel instead of than risking bringing along a domestic charger which might be impossible to repair or replace in China.
  • USB chargers will accept both the 220 volts used in China power outlets plus different voltage standards in other countries.
  • There is a chance that some hotel bedrooms or accommodation in China might only have one power outlet, by using a travel charger with multiple USB ports means you can share the single wall outlet with family or other traveler instead of waiting to charge each device one by one.
  • Because of their versatile nature a travel USB charger takes the worry out of travelling to any unknown country as they are guaranteed to work practically anywhere on the planet.
  • Power outlets in airports are often in short supply and the demand for charging multiple cell phones before a flight can be high, therefore a USB travel charger with multiple ports and the ability to charge quickly is perect.
  • Sometimes the power grid in a country can be unstable, a travel USB charger allows for unexpected surges and prevents damage to any devices attached to it. Attempting to repair an overloaded smartphone in China could prove to be problematic and expensive.
  • Premium USB travel chargers also incorporate a power outlet strip to allow you to power low wattage devices such as laptops, however these are unsuitable for high wattage domestic such as hair dryers or clothes irons. See the section on using travel appliances in China for useful guidelines and advice on the best power adapter for a high wattage devices with a Chinese power outlet.
  • Certain cell phones could pull more than the normal 500 milliamps produced from a standard 5 volt USB adapter to charge or provide fast charge. More expensive USB chargers will support fast charging should any of your devices require additional power.
  • When back at home travel USB chargers can still be used by charging multiple cell phones every night using only one power outlet.

What is the best USB charger for China?

The is the most compact option for travellers from around the world who only have USB devices, but for those also wishing to use their domestic plugs these power strips provide larger but more versatile solutions. All 3 power adapters offer surge protection which is crucial for visitors of counties with unreliable power grids. These travel adapters come with interchangeable type C, I and G plugs covering both China and over 150 countries around the world:

  • BESTEK Portable International Travel Voltage Converter - The BESTEK international travel converter has 4 USB charging ports with 3 AC power outlets and is the best selling portable option for travellers originating from America visiting China.
  • ORICO Traveling Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip - Similarly having 4 USB ports but only 2 AC power outlets the travel adapter from Orico is also aimed at travellers from North America using type B plugs and gives almost the same set of features as the BESTEK with only one less AC outlet at almost half the price.
  • BESTEK International USB Travel Power Strip - This power strip has just 2 AC outlets but offers a generous 5 USB charging ports. This versatile power strip is compatible with both American plugs and popular plug types A, D,E/F, G, H, I, L and N making it ideal for a majority of travellers from around the world visiting China.

Power converters for China

What does a power converter for China do?

A power converter allows travellers to use a 100-120 volt electrical appliance with a 220 volt Chinese power outlet.

Also known as: electrical converter, electrical transformer, voltage converter, power transformer or voltage transformer.

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

A heavy and expensive power converter [14] will transform the voltage of 220 volts from a Chinese power outlet to work with a non-220 volt appliance, however a smaller and more lightweight power adapter (or plug adapter) will change the shape of the plug on your appliance to slot into a power outlet found in China.

Do I need a power converter for China?

If travelling to China from a different country ensure the device will accept a 220 volt power supply.

  • You will need a step down power converter [15] if you are travelling to China from a country that uses 100-120 volts and your appliance or device isn't compatible with 220 volts. See the WikiConnections list of world power outlets guide to find out the voltage is used in your country.
  • You won't need a power converter if you already use either a 220 volt single voltage device or one that supports dual voltage.
  • Normally electrical devices designed to use a lower voltage such as 110 volts and then used in a 220 volt outlet run the risk of an electrical fire hazard, a blown fuse or damage to your device.
  • You won't need a power converter if you are attempting to power a smaller electrical device such as a mobile phone or laptop as these are typically designed for international use and dual voltage, however always always check the device for dual voltage support prior to your journey.
  • For powering high wattage appliances or generate heat (for example hair straighteners and clothes irons) then you will need to use a more expensive higher wattage heavy duty power converter [16].
  • It will be more cost effective to bring a smaller lightweight dual voltage travel appliance than trying to bring a heavier high wattage power converter to China just to use your existing domestic appliance.
  • For more information read our travel guides on how to use clothes irons, curling wands, blow dryers and flat irons in Chinese power outlets , along with guides for some affordable dual voltage alternatives.

Will I need a power converter if I'm visiting China from the US?

The 220 volts used in a electric outlet in China is different to an 110 volt American outlet, therefore you will need to use a step down power converter if your appliance or charger doesn't support dual voltage.

What kind of converter do I need for China?

You need to buy a step down power converter [15] in order to use any 100, 110 or 120 volt appliance in China.

What voltage does China use?

China uses 220 volts in their power outlets.

How to convert 220 volts to 110 volts

  1. Use a step down power converter [15] to allow you to use a 110 or 120 volt appliance with a 220 volt Chinese power outlet.
  2. If the power converter doesn't include the correct shaped plug then it will also be necessary to plug in the power cord from the power converter into a power adapter for China before plugging that into a Chinese power outlet.
  3. Some power converters include the ability to perform both step up and step down voltage conversions, therefore it may be necessary to manually switch the converter to output the voltage to the 110-120 volt range.
  4. Plug your appliance into the converter and turn the power on, your 110-120 volt appliance can now be used with a 220 volt Chinese power outlet.
What is the difference between a power transformer and a power converter?

Voltage converter

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

Converters and transformers are both used to change one voltage to another, but this ambiguity can cause confusion as their purposes are different:

  • Power converters are designed for simple electrical appliances which typically generate heat or use motors such as clothes irons, shavers or hair dryers. Transformers are designed for more complex electronic items such as televisions or games consoles.
  • Buying a power converter is cheaper than buying a power transformer.
  • Power transformers are larger and heavier making them more suited for permanent residential use; for example an expat wishing to use an imported television would need to use a transformer for this purpose.
  • Power converters are more suitable for travellers wishing to bring domestic appliances abroad such as hair dryers or flat irons. However, it is more practical and cost effective to purchase a dual voltage appliance designed for travel rather than a heavier power converter.
  • Power converters are suitable for 2 pin ungrounded appliances, it could be harder to find a converter if you want to use a grounded 3 pin appliance.
  • Transformers can be used constantly however it is recommended that converters are used for no longer than a couple of hours at a time.
  • Shops may sell transformers under the name of converters, for the purposes this guide we will be referring to both converters and transformers as converters.
Is my device single voltage or dual voltage?

Single voltage hair straighteners

Is my device single voltage or dual voltage?

The way to see if a device is either single voltage or dual voltage is to look for a sticker on the supplied power plug, or on the appliance itself, typically on the rear of the unit or near to where the power cord sits. The location might depend on the make or model of your unit, it should also state on the box.

  • Single voltage devices could have a specific number - such as 110V.
  • Single voltage devices might also have a small voltage range (20 volts difference) with a dash to accomodate small voltage fluctuations - such as 100-120V.
  • Dual voltage devices will typically say a larger range separated with a slash - such as 110/240V.

What can I connect to a Chinese power outlet

Travel appliances which can connect to a Chinese power outlet

Beats Pill speakers which can connect to a Chinese power outlet

Jabra Bluetooth speakers which are compatible with a Chinese power outlet

Mobile phones that can connect to the Chinese power outlet

Apple iPhones which can be connected to a Chinese power outlet

Samsung Galaxy phones that work with a Chinese power outlet

A list of Amazon Kindle tablets which work with a Chinese power outlet

A list of Apple iPads which are compatible with a Chinese power outlet

Corrections

We endeavor to ensure all details on this page are correct and relevant to travelers visiting China, if you wish to contribute any useful information or feedback please email travel@wikiconnections.org. For more comprehensive technical details visit the Wikipedia page on AC power plugs and sockets [17].

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China - wikipedia.org entry about China.
  2. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/ - International Electrotechnical Commission World Plugs
  3. Type I plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type I power outlets without converting voltage.
  4. Portable charger - A power bank is a portable charger which can recharge USB powered devices such as mobile phones and tablets on the go.
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adapter - power adaptor
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country
  7. Rechargeable hair dryer - Rechargeable battery powered blow dryer suitable for travelling.
  8. Gas hair straighteners - Cordless ceramic hair straighteners powered by gas cartridges.
  9. 20,000mAh portable charger - High capacity 20000mAh high-speed portable USB charger suitable for charging mobile phones and some tablets for several days.
  10. USB-C PD power bank - Power Delivery charger suitable for charging laptops with USB-C support.
  11. Solar backpack - A solar backpack will charge USB devices or an internal power bank when left in sunlight.
  12. Solar power bank - Portable power bank with solar cells which can recharge when placed in sunlight and power any USB powered device.
  13. 4 Port USB Wall Charger - A universal USB charger capable of charging up to 4 USB devices with swappable international adapters.
  14. 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.
  15. Step down power converter - A step down power converter allows a 100-120 volt appliance to be used in a 220-240 volt power outlet.
  16. Heavy duty power converter - A 5000 watt heavy duty step up and step down power converter used to convert voltages for domestic appliances, power tools, televisions, heating appliances and motors.
  17. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC_power_plugs_and_sockets - AC power plugs and sockets