Have you recently moved to North America, or are you here for an extended stay? Have you brought with you any devices that require electricity? In some cases you’ll only need a plug adapter, but there are many cases where you’ll need a voltage converter as well.

World Voltages

There are two types of electricity in the world. In Europe and much of the rest of the world, the voltage from the public grid is 240 volts. However, North American outlets are configured to output 120 volts to your devices. The good news is that the power delivered into every building is still a full 240 volts. Once inside, it’s then split into two phases. However, there are many higher voltage appliances that are supplied with 240 volts from the combined phases.

Plug Adapters

It’s not just the voltages that are different, though. You’ll also need to work with different plug shapes. In the United States, Canada, and the majority of North and South America, the NEMA 1 and NEMA 5 (A and B in the picture below) are the predominant plug shapes for 120 volt outlets. However, for 240 volt outlets, the NEMA 6 plug (not pictured below) is the standard.

International Plug Shape Quick Reference

International outlet shapes




Location Outlet Shape
Japan, Taiwan, Central America, Caribbean, South America A,B
Europe, Middle East, some Asian countries, some African countries C,E,F
United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, some African countries G
China, Australia, New Zealand I


Adapters and Voltage Converter

The good news is that Quick 220® has you covered on everything you need to operate your international devices from North American outlets. We offer universal plug adapters that even support Shuko-style grounding plugs. We even have incredibly portable and easy-to-use voltage adapters to supply your devices.

Single and Multi Voltage Devices

If you have a newer device, there is a possibility you’ll only need a plug adapter. To find out if this is the case, check the label on your device. The label is usually on the back of the device, on the transformer of the power cord, or molded into the plastic in either of these places. Look for the word “INPUT” for the information you need.

If your device is single-voltage, it will have a narrow voltage range (usually 220-240V for European devices). These are usually older devices or items with very sensitive electronics and no built-in transformer. For these items you’ll need a plug adapter and a Quick 220® voltage converter.

A dual-voltage device will use a slash to separate the two voltages (120V/240V in most cases). These are usually newer consumer electrical devices and are designed to be sold in many different countries with minimal modification. Dual voltage devices usually have a switch somewhere on them to specify which voltage they are operating from.

Multi-voltage items use a dash in the INPUT line to indicate that they can operate from a wide range of voltages (typically 100-240V). Devices like this only require a plug adapter.


How does the Quick 220® voltage converter work??

Remember when we talked about two phases, each at 120 volts, in North American buildings? Those phases can be recombined with a Quick 220® voltage converter. All you need is two standard outlets, one on each of the phases. Plug one supply cord from the Quick 220® voltage converter into each one. The indicator on the front of the unit will light up if it is connected properly. Then flip the breaker on the side of the unit to supply the outlet. However, this still gives you a North American spec NEMA 6 outlet. To connect your device, take the plug and insert it into the universal plug adapter and the Shuko grounding adapter if it’s needed.

Get Yours Today

That’s all you need to get your international devices working on the North American power grid. We’ve made it incredibly easy to adapt whatever you have to a lower voltage; whether through a plug adapter or a Quick 220® voltage converter. We even have packages available that combine the two! If you’re planning on moving to the United States or having an extended stay in North America, shop with us and make it easier.