UK electrical appliances in USA help guide, United States travel plug socket advice, American electrics tips

A Guide to Use UK Electrical Appliances in The USA

12 December 2023

UK electrical appliances in USA
image source :

Are you planning a trip to the United States from the UK? Or maybe you are already here and wondering if all your UK appliances work here. Well, fear not. This guide will tell you all you need to know about using your UK appliances here in the US.

The main differences between the UK and the US are voltages, frequency, and plugs. If your appliances are dual voltage, you do not need to worry. Let’s dive into it in more detail.

Understanding UK and USA Electrical Systems

If you are coming to the US, you probably have a long list of things you want to do. That’s great. Nashville specifically has tons of cool places to visit – not to mention it is a haven for music lovers.

However, you might also be in for a rude awakening – your appliances. Yes, appliance compatibility might not be something you ever thought about when traveling. But the US and UK have very different electrical systems. The two systems differ in:

  • Voltage
  • Frequency
  • Plugs

Electrical Voltage Differences: UK vs USA

The UK and the US use different voltages for their electrical appliances. You have the UK, which uses 240v. In contrast, the US uses 120v for its electrical systems. This is why whether your UK appliances will work in the US is not just a question about the plug.

There is a bit of caveat you need to keep in mind. First up, plugging a 120v appliance into a 240v outlet will certainly destroy it. However, things might be fine if you do the other way around.

But that is not to say that it is okay to plug your 240v appliances into a US 120v outlet. It is still very risky. So, it is best to avoid plugging appliances for specific voltages into different outlets. The appliance might not be designed to run at that voltage and get damaged.

Electrical Frequency Differences: UK vs USA

Another difference between the electrical systems and sockets between the UK and the US is frequency. The UK uses 50hz while the US uses 60hz. Unfortunately, you cannot use a converter to help you with this difference in frequency.

Frequency will not be much of a problem unless your appliances have a motor inside them, though. For example, hair dryers and clocks need to be used with caution.

There are different types of motors as well. DC motors are not affected by frequency mismatch. However, synchronous motors can be damaged.

If you plug an appliance made for lower frequency into a high-frequency outlet, it might damage it. If the outlet is damaged, You need to find a decent electrician. They are available in all states, so whether you are looking for an electrician in Nashville or Little Rock, you are bound to find one who can fix the damage.

Plug Differences: UK vs USA

The US primarily uses two plug types: A and B. The type A plug has two flat parallel pins. On the other hand, type B also has two flat parallel pins and an additional ground pin.

You can simply buy a travel adapter to adapt your UK appliances in the UK. However, simple travel adapters do not convert voltages. You will need a converter for that.

Using Voltage Converters for UK Appliances in the US

So, the main difference between the UK and US electrical systems is the voltage. The UK uses 240v, and the US uses 120v. Some appliances are dual voltage.

If your appliance is dual voltage, you are lucky. You do not need any kind of voltage converter. The easiest way to tell whether your appliances are dual voltage is to look at the specifications or manual.

Dual voltage appliances will tell you you have something like ‘120/240v’. It will have both the voltages mentioned. This means the appliances can operate with voltages anywhere from 120v to 240v.

Otherwise, you will need a converter. Do not cheap out on the converter, though. Buying a cheap converter is unreliable and can also damage your appliances. Since the US uses lower voltage than the UK, you must buy a step-down converter.

What Appliances to Bring From the UK to the US

Bringing large electronics and appliances from the UK to the US is not always worth it. You will have to pay quite a lot for shipping. Moreover, you must buy a converter if your appliances are not dual voltage.

Additionally, you can buy small appliances from the US as well. You can guarantee that they will be compatible. However, laptop gaming consoles are mostly dual-voltage. So, they will work just the same in the US. Also, modern TVs from name brands are dual voltage.

UK electrical appliances in USA – Wrapping Up

Electronic gadgets can increase the value of our day-to-day living. The US uses 120v electrical systems, which is unsuitable for all appliances in the UK with their 240v systems. If your UK appliances are dual voltage, you can use them in the US without hassle.

However, fear not. You can still use your UK appliances in the US with a voltage converter. You will need to be extra careful with appliances with a motor, though.

Comments on this guide to UK electrical appliances in USA article are welcome.


Rowanbank Gardens Property
Rowanbank Gardens Edinburgh Housing

St James Quarter Edinburgh
St James Quarter

Comments on this guide for UK electrical appliances in USA advice article are welcome.