Which plug or power converter for China is needed? As a foreign traveler, it is sometimes confusing to know what plugs are used in which countries. In this article, I’d like to make things easy for you to understand, helping you figure out if you need a plug adapter or even a power converter in China.
So you’re traveling to China – whether on business or on vacation – and you’re bringing your laptop, cell phone, tablet, camera etc. Running out of power is not an option, nor is frying your battery.
You need to make sure you can charge each of these items, but do you know which plugs are used in China? Or better yet, do you know which plug converter you might need for China?
Understanding Electricity in China
In mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, the power supplied to sockets is 220 volts at 50Hz AC. This is pretty similar to what you’ll find in most of Europe and Australia but different than the 110V 60Hz found in the United States and Canada (some commenters on this article have noted that voltage in the US can be rated anywhere between 110-120V, but the reality is that this isn’t as important as the fact that hertz is different).
There are a variety of plugs found in China, but the 220V 50Hz electrical current stays the same. Below are the most common types of electrical outlets you’ll find in China:
If you find that you have a device rated for 220V or 240V that won’t fit any of these plugs (which is often the case for travelers from Europe), you’ll want to spring for a simple travel plug converter (not a power converter, which is detailed below). These are usually light and very portable.
Do I Need a Power Converter for China?
When it comes to charging your phone, laptop or camera in China, here’s some good news for you: most modern electronic chargers are rated for both 110V and 220V. This means that you won’t have to buy any special adapter or power converter for your travel to China.
To be sure that your charger is compatible, check the small print on the plug where it should say “110V~240V” among other things. This is extremely important as plugging one in that is only designed to handle 110V is extremely dangerous.
In those cases where a plug is only rated for 110V, you’ll need to look into buying what is known as a travel power converter ($20-$50). The best power converters are ones that aren’t too bulky, change plug types and often have a surge protector. If you’re traveling to China with sensitive electronics or an old computer, this is often your only option.
For those ladies who want to bring their favorite hair dryer, curling iron or hair straightener to China, you’ll need to pay careful attention to the transformer wattage. Look to buy a special travel transformer rated for at least 2000W.
Other Things to Consider for China
In addition to a proper plug or power converter for China, you might want to also consider a few other important travel items or services prior to your trip to Asia. Click the button below to download my free China packing checklist.
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In addition to this packing checklist, here are a few other items to consider as you plan for your trip to China.
- Have you looked into travel insurance? It may seem like a waste of money to some people, but I’ve had too many personal experiences over the years that tell of the importance of good travel insurance. Here are my thoughts on how to find the right travel insurance (and why).
- Do you have a good pair of travel headphones? I used to never travel with headphones. Now, I never pack my suitcase without putting in my favorite pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Here are my favorite noise-cancelling headphones for travelers.
- Do you have a good VPN? China censors its internet, which means that once you land in China, you won’t have easy access to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Gmail, YouTube and many other sites. You’ll need what’s known as a VPN in order to access these services. You can read more about the best VPNs for China and how they work.