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Parents going to Italy - What adapter should I get them?
nonoitall
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My parents are going to be taking a trip to Italy this month and I’ve been researching to see what kind of gear they’ll need to take. From what I understand, the dominant socket standard in Italy is type L (CEI 23-16/VII). My research has also brought me to the conclusion that there are two distinct types of type L sockets – one of which (10A) is compatible with ‘Euro-plugs’ and one of which (16A) is not. (Is that correct?)

So I’m wondering what type of adapter I need to get for non-grounded US appliances? Can I get a US->Europlug adapter and count on the Type L 10A sockets being ubiquitous, or do I need an adapter that will fit the Type L 16A sockets? Do I need to get both to be on the safe side?

Also, standard voltage in Italy is 220-240V, isn’t it? My dad said he thought it was like 140V, but he hasn’t been to Italy since like the 60’s, so I was thinking they may have revamped their voltage standards since then.

(And yes, I know adapters do not convert voltage or AC frequency and they should only be used with appliances that can handle the socket’s voltage/frequency.)

oldlady
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First off, check the travel tip section at the top of the page. I posted a lengthy explanation some years ago under “packing.” I think it’s also a feature topic at the bottom of the start page.

Whether they need a converter or just adapter plugs to fit the wall socket depends on what they’re taking. Most electronic stuff and rechargeable stuff will handle 110 to 240 volts. Look at the “inputs” listed on the plug or the inverter box. Standard appliances like a hair dryer will probably require a converter, but buying a dual voltage one is probably a better option. Current in Europe is 220 volts, everywhere, including Italy. 220 to 240 is listed to cover any variations, just like it’s listed as 110 to 120 for the US.

Generally there’s one adapter plug for continental Europe and a different one for UK and Ireland. If you’re going to both, then just buy the 4 or 5 plug (also includes Asia, SA, Australia) set at a discount store. There are some outlets in Europe that are recessed into the wall and have a special hole for the ground. You might run into an outlet that has the ground as a plug coming out of the outlet that’s supposed to fit a hole in your appliance plug. The thin, 2 prong adapter plug will usually work in these, but sometimes you need to make a chain of 2 of the adapters to make it work. Always take a spare or 2.

nonoitall
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Yeah, I’ve already checked my mom’s laptop adapter and our camera charger and both will be okay on 220V/50Hz. I’m also planning on getting her a dual-voltage hair dryer if the place they’re going doesn’t have one.

I just want to be sure the adapter(s) I get will fit the outlets. According to this, there are two main types of sockets used in Italy, one of which is compatible with the generic non-grounded ‘Europlug’ and one of which isn’t. Can I count on the former being available and get a simple two-prong Europlug adapter, or should I count on the latter being available and get one specifically for type L 16A sockets? (Or do I need to get both?)

You also mentioned a socket with a male grounding pin, which doesn’t sound like either of those two sockets. Is the one you’re talking about Type E? If that’s the case, is the potential need for two adapters just so that the appliance’s plug will be offset far enough from the socket to avoid running into the grounding pin?

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The two prong general “Europe” adapter should work in any of the sockets you show.

Quote:
Is the one you’re talking about Type E? If that’s the case, is the potential need for two adapters just so that the appliance’s plug will be offset far enough from the socket to avoid running into the grounding pin?
Yes, the two pronged adapters will work in these except you sometimes need a chain of two of them for the offset or to get around the ground pin.

I don’t think I’d bother with the 3 prong Italian adapter unless I was taking something that really needed a ground. My lap top and both camera chargers are only 2 prong plugs, so aren’t grounded anyway. My net book has a grounded plug — so I’d want to check that to make sure it could plug in to the standard 2 prong adapter.

There are also “universal” adapters available where you can change the configuration of the plugs to what you need, but they’re pretty bulky and I’m not absolutely positive they’d fit in the Type E sockets (anybody out there used one???).

BTW, hairdryers are pretty common in the “standard tourist class” and fancier hotels, so I wouldn’t worry about a hairdryer unless your parents travel “backpacker class.”

nonoitall
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Okay, that answers my question. They’re renting a little out-of-the-way villa because they wanted to avoid the “standard tourist class”, but my mom is going to call and check to see if there’s already a hairdryer she can use, so we’ll go from there. Thanks a lot for the info!

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Do make sure they have whatever adapters/converters they need with them. They’re just about the only thing that’s next to impossible to buy in Europe. It would be relatively easy (although a 24/7 Walmart isn’t going to be right up the street) to buy a hair dryer if they really needed one.