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 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 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. 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[3]

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 organizing a trip to China it can often be useful to know if you'll be able to power any essential devices like mobiles and tablets when you're there. By not knowing which power socket is used in China you are more likely to bring the wrong power charger, therefore having to purchase a suitable adaptor when you're there. Differing frequencies and standards can all be confusing when planning on visiting a new country if you've never been there before. With only a handful of different types of common standards being used throughout the world this guide shows exactly what you'll need in advance to charge your device in China. This page has links to step by step instructions demonstrating which power adapters you'll need to power your devices when going to China using their standard Type I, A or C 220 volt 50Hz plug outlets, please be aware that Type I plug outlets are normally used by a majority of Chinese. Power adapters are different regionally so we suggest reading the power adapters 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 plug adapter which is suitable for powering any 220 volt appliance or device. [3]

What is the best power adapter for China?

What is a power adapter for a Chinese power outlet?

Power adapters are small and lightweight plastic adapters which permit a Chinese power outlet to accept a power plug from a different country. [5]

What does a power adapter do?

A power adapter enables a visitor from a different location to use their electrical devices in China simply by changing the shape of the plug.

Do I need a plug adapter in China?

If the shape of the Chinese power outlet isn't the same as the type of plug outlet in China then you will need a power adapter.

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 can't convert to a different voltage. Should you need to safely use a 100, 110 or 120 volt device then you also need a step down power converter for China.

Where to buy a power adapter for China

Power adapters for sale in an airport

Where to buy a power adapter for China

Power adapters are most likely be available in 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.

It will be 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 but for widest choice it is recommended to buy a power adapter online.

Where to buy a power adapter in China

Arriving at an airport

Where to buy a power adapter in China

On arrival power adapters could 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.

Electrical adapters for China

Power Plug Adapters

A small and lightweight type I plug adapter

Power Plug Adapters

Benefits of a power plug adapter

  • Bringing a Type I plug adapter will work in China.
  • Easy to operate.
  • Affordable, with prices under $15 USD (under £10 GBP / under C$20).
  • Light and compact.

Disadvantages of a power plug adapter

  • If you intend to travel to more than just China then you might need to bring multiple power adapter types.
  • A plug adapter only modifies the actual shape of the plug to fit in a Type I Chinese power outlet but not the actual voltage used in China - if your device doesn't work with a 220 volt power outlet and isn't dual voltage you will also need to bring a voltage converter.
  • 1 power adapter per appliance - for every separate appliance you wish to bring you will also need to use a separate power plug adapter.
  • Hotel rooms might only have a single power outlet, so you will only be able to power a single appliance at a time.
  • If you need to power any USB device then you also need to bring a domestic USB charger. [3]
Universal Travel Power Adapters

A universal travel adapter

Universal Travel Power Adapters

Benefits of a universal travel power adapter

  • Typical universal travel adapters will work in over 150 different countries.
  • An all-in-one design - lightweight and small for under $15 USD (under £20 GBP / under C$30).
  • Some models will have USB charging ports built in.
  • Straightforward operation.
  • Some models will have a surge protector built in to protect your electronics from being overpowered by unstable power grids in some countries.
  • The retractable pins don't catch against other items when packed in luggage.
  • The universal travel power adapter should still be of use domestically as a USB charger.
  • Changes shape to Types A/B, E/F, G and I plugs so should work with a Chinese power outlet.

Disadvantages of a universal travel power adapter

  • A universal travel power adapter will overload when used with a high powered electrical appliance such as clothes irons, microwaves, kettles, vacuum cleaners or hair dryers.
  • The pins and other internal moving parts could be fragile on some universal travel adapters making them likely to possibily break.
  • Only provide power to a single appliance.
  • A universal travel power adapter might not be totally universal, adapters might not work in some countries with less common power outlets.
  • Lacking a built in voltage converter will mean it isn't suitable for electrical appliances which aren't 220 volts. [6]
Travel Power Strips

A travel power strip kit

Travel Power Strips

Benefits of a travel power strip

  • A travel power strip is capable of powering several electronic appliances at once via a single plug socket, costing between $35 to $40 USD (£35-£40 GBP / C$25-C$30).
  • Some models have voltage conversation for low wattage devices such as laptops. So therefore if the appliance isn't dual voltage it can still work with a Chinese power outlet by using a travel power strip. This will make a travel power strip a cheap and lightweight substitute for a power converter.
  • Most power strips should include a number of USB charging ports.
  • The voltage from power outlets in certain countries could be unstable, a sudden surge in power will damage your delicate devices. There are some models that include a built in surge protector which will prevent your device from being overpowered by an unstable power grid.
  • When you get back home it will still be of use as a power strip and USB charger.
  • US and Canadian power strips include Type A, B, D, E/F, G, H, I, L and N plug adapters so should work in China.

Disadvantages of a travel power strip

  • The conversion on travel power strips won't work with high wattage appliances such as curling irons or hair dryers.
  • Due to the size of a travel power strip it might be too bulky for packing in hand luggage.
  • A travel power strip might be excessive if you only have a small number of appliances and devices to charge. [7]
Travel USB Wall Chargers

A USB charger with surge protection

Travel USB Wall Chargers

Benefits of a travel USB wall charger

  • Ideal when you only have to power USB devices, for example cell phones, iPads or eReaders.
  • Instead of bringing multiple domestic USB power chargers travellers only need to pack one charger which costs roughly under $20 USD (under £15 GBP / under C$20).
  • Chargers come with interchangeable heads which means they can be used in a large number of different countries. Interchangeable adapter heads supplied with travel USB wall chargers are typically small and lightweight which makes them easy to pack.
  • Offers surge protection.
  • The charger can still be functional domestically.
  • The swappable plugs will fit into Types A/B, E/F, G and I outlets so will work with a Chinese power outlet.

Disadvantages of a travel USB wall charger

  • They only have USB outputs so you will be unable to power any appliances, only USB powered devices. [8]
Plug Adapter Sets

A set of plug adapters

Plug Adapter Sets

Benefits of a plug adapter set

  • As prices are roughly between $15 to $20 USD (£5-£10 GBP / C$20-C$25) a power adapter set typically works out more economical than purchasing multiple individual power plug adapter types costing almost $10 USD (almost £10 GBP / over C$45) each.
  • Covers all eventualities and not just a Chinese power outlet.
  • If you are visiting different countries a plug adapter set is perfect.
  • Set includes Type A, B, C, D, E/F, G, H, I, J, L, M and N plugs so should work in China.

Disadvantages of a plug adapter set

  • Will involve some planning; before any trip you will need to decide which power adapters they'll need, if you don't know every country you'll be visiting you'll need to bring each adapter type along.
  • Lots individual items to bring with you.
  • All remaining plug adapters will be useless.
  • Not every power adapter types are typically included in each set (especially rarer ones), so ensure that your plug adapter set includes one which is compatible in China.
  • Each adapter only changes the shape of the plug to fit in a Chinese power outlet but not the actual voltage. [9]
Voltage Converters

A voltage converter

Voltage Converters

Benefits of a voltage converter

Disadvantages of a voltage converter

  • A voltage converter only converts the 220 volts in China and won't change the actual shape of the plug to fit in a Chinese power outlet, therefore you will still need to bring the correct type of power adapter.
  • The typical size of voltage converters makes them unsuitable for carry-on baggage.
  • Useless when you return from China.
  • It's usually better value and more practical to buy a dual voltage travel appliance than to purchase an expensive power converter just to power your existing single voltage appliance in China.
  • Expensive; between $120 to $130 USD (£80-£90 GBP / C$120-C$130).

Comparison of electrical adapters for China

Type I Power Plug Adapter
Power Plug Adapter
Universal Travel Power Adapter
Universal Travel Power Adapter
Travel USB Wall Charger
Travel USB Wall Charger
Travel Power Strip
Travel Power Strip
Plug Adapter Set
Plug Adapter Set
Voltage Converter
Voltage Converter
Can be used in China Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Types of plug included I A/B, E/F, G and I A/B, E/F, G and I A, B, D, E/F, G, H, I, L and N A, B, C, D, E/F, G, H, I, J, L, M and N B
Compatible number of countries (A) 20+ 150+ 150+ 200+ 230+ 230+
Fits in a Type I Chinese power outlet Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Additional Type I plug adapter required to fit in a Chinese power outlet Yes
Useful when you return home Yes Yes Yes
Typical combined number of USB ports and AC outlets 1 3 4 7 1 2
Powers USB devices Yes Yes Yes
Typical number of USB ports 0 2 4 4 0 0
Powers a 220 volt AC appliance in China Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Typical number of AC outlets 1 1 0 3 (B) 2
Converts voltage (?) Yes (C) Yes
Surge protection Yes Yes Yes Yes
Typical dimensions 2.6 x 1.9 x 1.4 inches 3 x 2.1 x 2.1 inches 4.3 x 3.4 x 1.3 inches 6.6 x 3.6 x 1.5 inches 7.1 x 3.9 x 2.8 inches 11.7 x 8.1 x 6.7 inches
Typical weight 4.5 ounces 4 ounces 4.5 ounces 1.6 pounds 13 ounces 20 pounds
Typical number of items to carry (D) 1 1 5 8 12 2
Suitable for hand luggage Yes Yes Yes • (E) • (F)
Estimated price under $15 USD (under £10 GBP / under C$20) between $10 to $15 USD (£15-£20 GBP / C$25-C$30) between $15 to $20 USD (£10-£15 GBP / C$15-C$20) between $35 to $40 USD (£35-£40 GBP / C$25-C$30) between $15 to $20 USD (£5-£10 GBP / C$20-C$25) almost $100 USD (almost £110 GBP / almost C$90)
Buy Buy Buy Buy Buy Buy

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

  • Plug Type A - The plug outlet (technically called the type A power outlet) is recognised by two slots next to each other for live and neutral pins.
  • Plug Type C - This plug socket is recognised by two round adjacent holes next to each other.
  • Plug Type I - The plug outlet (technically called a type I power outlet) can be recognised by the three slots in a triangular configuration with a single vertical pin at the bottom and the top two slots sloping upward for the live, neutral and ground. [3]

What is the frequency used with a Chinese power outlet?

The frequency of the current found in a Chinese power outlet is 50Hz. [11]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country

How do I use a 110 volt appliance in China?

Use a step down power converter if you wish to use either a 110 volt or 120 volt appliance in China.

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 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 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 will supply enough energy to cover over three full cycles whilst a 20,000mAh portable charger 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 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 or gas hair straighteners can be used for travelling to locations with power cuts like China.    [4] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]
Does a solar powered charger work in China?

Solar backpack recharging in the sun

Does a solar powered charger work in China?

The sunshine in China could be suitable conditions for a solar power bank 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 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 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.  [4] [17] [18]

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. 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 which has been tested successfully with multiple USB devices in numerous foreign countries around the world with perfect reliably. [8]

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 perfect.
  • 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. [8]

What is the best USB charger for China?

A 4 port USB travel charger 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. [8]

Power converters for China

What does a power converter for China do?

A power converter enables 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 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. [19]

Do I need a power converter for China?

If you are visiting China from a different region please make sure your device can accept a 220 volt power supply.

  • A step down power converter is needed if you are travelling from a country that uses 100-120 volts and your appliance is incompatible with 220 volts. See our world power outlets page to see which voltage your country uses.
  • You don't need a power converter if you are already using either a 220 volt device or one that is dual voltage.
  • Devices which are designed for a lower voltage such as 120 volts and used with 220 volts run the potential risk of an electrical fire hazard, blowing a fuse or damage to your device.
  • You shouldn't need a power converter if you need to charge a smaller electrical device such as a mobile phone as these are typically dual voltage and designed for international use, however you should always check the device for dual voltage support prior to your journey.
  • When powering appliances which draw more power or generate heat (for example clothes irons and hair straighteners) then you will need to use a bulkier higher wattage heavy duty power converter.
  • It should be more cost effective to purchase a smaller robust dual voltage travel appliance than paying for a much heavier high wattage power converter simply to use your existing domestic appliance.
  • Read our comprehensive travel guides on travelling with clothes irons, curling wands, flat irons and hair dryers with a Chinese power outlet , along with recommendations for affordable dual voltage alternatives.  [10] [20]

What kind of converter do I need for China?

You need to use a step down power converter in order to use any 100, 110 or 120 volt appliance in China. [10]

What voltage does China use?

China uses 220 volts in their standard power outlets. [2]

https://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/

How to convert 220 volts to 110 volts

  1. Use a step down power converter 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. [10]
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 dryer

Is my device single voltage or dual voltage?

A simple method to tell if your appliance is dual voltage is to check for either a sticker or numbers printed on the existing charger, or on the unit itself, typically near to where the power cord plugs into. This location might vary depending on the make or model of your device, it could also state in the instruction manual or on the box.

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

Substantiations

See the power adapter substantions section for more information on how we compared travel adapters (October 2018).

What type of adapter do you need for China?

Which type of power adapter do you need to bring to China?

The type of power converter that is suitable for China is dependant on various requirements, so before choosing which one to bring we suggest reading this checklist:

How many electrical devices are you taking to China?

How many devices will you be packing

How many electrical devices are you taking to China?

  • List all the items you'll need to bring to China (such as tablets, laptops, phones, eReaders, curling irons or hair dryers).
    • Remember to allow for more electrical devices at a later date. Are you thinking about buying a new laptop computer soon?
    • There are a growing number of rechargeable electronics such as electric shavers which use a USB port as their power charging source, the next time you buy a new device it could use a USB adapter so please ensure your travel adapter has enough spare ports to support these additional items also.
  • Are you bringing a partner to China who will need to charge their devices too?
What types of electrical devices do you need to use with a Chinese power outlet?

Will you need to power appliances

What types of electrical devices do you need to use with a Chinese power outlet?

  • There are 3 different types of electrical items:
    • Low wattage electronic devices which plug into an electrical outlet - for example laptops or cameras.
    • High wattage appliances which can be plugged into an electrical outlet - for example hair dryers or curling irons.
    • USB devices which plug into a USB port - for example phones and tablets.
  • When you only intend to bring along just USB powered devices to China then a simple travel USB wall charger is ideal as you will only have to bring that single lightweight charger rather than packing numerous domestic chargers.
  • A travel power strip is designed for providing power and voltage conversion for many low wattage devices (such as a laptop), however unsuitable for high wattage appliances (such as hairdryers) that require voltage conversion and could potentially overload the power strip.
How many power outlets will be available when you get to China?

How many power outlets will be available

How many power outlets will be available when you get to China?

  • A hotel may have only one power outlet on the wall. This will present an issue if recharging the batteries of multiple electronic devices such as cell phones, tablet computers and laptops overnight as you'll only be able to charge one device at a time.
  • If you wish to charge multiple devices at the same time then we recommend using a travel power strip or travel USB wall charger which can power multiple USB ports or outlets. [7]

Will your devices and appliances only work with 220 volt power outlets?

Are you only planning on charging USB devices?

Will you only need USB devices

Are you only planning on charging USB devices?

  • Should you only plan on packing USB electronics such as phones and tablets then it is recommended to just pack a travel USB wall charger.
  • If you only use a simple power plug adapter then you will still need to pack the USB power charger that came with your device too. [8]

Do you intend on visiting anywhere abroad in the future?

How much can you afford?

  • A cheap power adapter starts from around under $10 USD (under £10 GBP / under C$10) which powers only one device in China (providing that it is dual voltage or is compatible with 220 volts) but investing in roughly between $10 to $15 USD (£15-£20 GBP / C$25-C$30) allows you to power multiple devices at once and bring them to various countries.

Is China the only location you plan on visiting?

Do you still need use your charger when returning home?

Are you flying long haul to get to China?

Making a call after a long haul flight

Are you flying long haul to get to China?

  • If you are embarking on an extended flight to get to China think about a convenient airport-suitable charger that works in different power outlet types, one which can be carried in hand luggage and can be used to top up tablets and phones.
  • Because not all airlines have power outlets available we recommend using a travel portable charger which will recharge on the go. When you land in China you may need to use a cellphone for making a call, using mapping or reading itineraries; so please make sure that your phone has enough battery power remaining. [4]
Do you intend on only bringing hand luggage?

Are you only using hand luggage

Do you intend on only bringing hand luggage?

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 travellers 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[21]

Disclaimer

WikiConnections is not responsible for any injury or damage caused due to using any type of suggested product with any other electrical device or appliance in any location, full details are available on the disclaimer page. All functions and capabilities should be checked prior to purchasing or using any power adapter. Assumptions on if any power adapter, charger, converter or power strip works in any location is based on data from publicly available sources and if it fits the primary power outlet used in that country. WikiConnections has not taken into consideration other less common power outlets which might be found as these might only be used in certain areas or in the process of being phased out.

Where possible, WikiConnections only recommends the type of product as being suitable along with alternatives and does not make any endorsement for any specific brand or product. Always check with the manufacturer to ensure full compatibility prior to attempting to use any device. Always check the reputation of the manufacturer and product to ensure the quality and safety of any electrical device being used.

  1. Wikipedia - wikipedia.org entry about China.
  2. iec.ch - International Electrotechnical Commission World Plugs
  3. Type I plug adapter - Type I plug adapters use three short flat blades in a V format with the top blade acting as a grounding pin, between $10 to $15 USD (under £10 GBP / under C$20).
  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, costing between $45 to $50 USD (under £35 GBP / under C$45).
  5. Wikipedia - power adaptor
  6. Universal travel power adapter - A typical universal travel power adapter can be used in over 150 different countries for use with appliances and USB devices, between $10 to $15 USD (around £15 GBP / under C$30).
  7. Travel power strip - A travel power strip includes surge protectors, AC power outlets, USB ports and swappable plug adapters for use in multiple countries, estimated price under $40 USD (£35-£40 GBP / C$25-C$30).
  8. 4 Port USB Wall Charger - A universal USB charger capable of charging up to 4 USB devices with swappable international adapters, estimated cost around $15 USD (£10-£15 GBP / C$15-C$20).
  9. Plug adapter set - Plug adapter set containing a number of different power plug adapters for use in different countries, between $15 to $20 USD (£5-£10 GBP / under C$25).
  10. 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, between $120 to $130 USD (£80-£90 GBP / around C$120).
  11. Wikipedia - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country -
  12. Rechargeable hair dryer - Rechargeable battery powered cordless blow dryer suitable for travelling, between $100 to $110 USD (around £70 GBP / under C$210).
  13. Gas hair straighteners - Cordless ceramic hair straighteners powered by gas cartridges, costing between $25 to $30 USD (around £30 GBP / under C$60).
  14. 10,000mAh portable charger - Lightweight 10000mAh high-speed portable USB charger suitable for mobile phone charging, under $35 USD (£20-£25 GBP / C$25-C$30).
  15. 20,000mAh portable charger - High capacity 20000mAh high-speed portable USB charger suitable for charging mobile phones and some tablets for several days, between $45 to $50 USD (under £35 GBP / under C$45).
  16. USB-C PD power bank - Power Delivery charger suitable for charging laptops with USB-C support, priced at between $120 to $130 USD (£100-£110 GBP / under C$150).
  17. Solar backpack - A solar backpack will charge USB devices or an internal power bank when left in sunlight, estimated price under $100 USD (£110-£120 GBP / C$110-C$120).
  18. Solar power bank - Portable power bank with solar cells which can recharge when placed in sunlight and power any USB powered device, costs between $20 to $25 USD (£25-£30 GBP / under C$60).
  19. 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, under $100 USD (£100-£110 GBP / C$80-C$90).
  20. 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, priced under $140 USD (£100-£110 GBP / C$270-C$280).
  21. Wikipedia - AC power plugs and sockets -