Which plug or power converter for China is needed? As a foreign visitor (traveler or expat), 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 in 2022.
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?
Note: Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may be compensated if you choose to use one of the services listed. I only recommend what I’ve personally used, and I appreciate your support!
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.
Make note! A travel converter is different from a power converter, which is detailed below. These converters 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, because 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.
No, 220 volts is what is used in most countries. There are only a few contrarian countries where the abnormal 110 volts is used.
Cindy Monk says
Hi if i ordered a mini pocket laptop online and iTs From china and im from canada would i need a converter or a power adapter
Devices (from the US mostly) which would be a problem are things with motors such as hair driers., shavers etc. Unless the device specifically says it will work on 220V DON’T USE IT ! It will go bang with a puff of smoke.. Even the flat US style two pin socket is 220V.
Many of the extension cables with additional sockets available in China also take the large UK 3 pin plug (as used in Hong Kong) . UK devices are ok to use in China.
Thanks for the clarification, Martyn!
Hi there I’m travelling to China Beijing soon and I’m finding the info on power adaptors vary online and confusing, I live in Australia so we use 240v 3 prong plugs will these work in China
Mainland China voltage is 220V 50hz. The standard power socket is the same as Australia, although most will accept US style flat and European round pins. Your appliances will work fine, don’t worry about the 10V difference.. HOWEVER, although they accept US style plugs US voltage is 110V 60hz and appliances should NOT be used without a suitable voltage adapter.
NB Hong Kong uses British style 3 pin flat plugs. Taiwan is 110V 60hz (same as USA)
Thanks a million Martyn, this was so helpfull
I should have mentioned that most of the laptop power supplies I have seen are multi-voltage. If you check the label it might say 1oo – 240V ~ 50-60hz.. This means it will work virtually anywhere with the appropriate plug adapter.
PETER BRIGGS says
Hello, I am really confused, traveling to China from the UK, what type of plug do I need to take with me? Will a normal 3 pin plug be ok? Or do I need a special adapter?
Josh Summers says
Hi Peter, thanks for your comment. It depends on what you mean by “3 pin plug”. If you’re referring to the traditional UK 3-pin plug, you’ll need a plug converter (but not a current converter in most cases).
Actually, while there are high-voltage devices in the U.S. that run on 220V, normal household voltage is 120V, not 110 (it’s technically 122V). 110 hasn’t been around for over 30 years. I don’t know why people keep publishing it.
110 Or 120 makes little difference although most of the world uses 220/240. An important factor is that us is 60hz whereas most countries use 50hz
I’m going to just need a converter to charge my iphone while in china. It’s too late to order on-line, but I do live in a major city (boston). Where might i purchase this device (chains, or type of store)?
Thank you for the clarification
Josh Summers says
Hey Ginny, big-box stores like Wal-Mart and Best Buy should have converters, but if it’s for your iPhone I don’t think you’ll need one. The charger that comes with your phone is rated for 220v and should fit into most China plugs!
Wanda Perkins says
is there an adapter to plug Chinese plug into American outlet?
Josh Summers says
Some of the universal adapters that have been listed in this article will do that.
i am travelling to china xi an for a school overseas learning trip from singapore. Do i need a adapter to charge my phone in the hotel?
Josh Summers says
If your plug is a type G plug (common in Singapore), then you’ll need an adapter. Most phones, however, come with the standard two-pronged plug which doesn’t require an adapter. Check the plug and as long as it says “110-220V” on it, you’ll be fine.
I have an iphone 8plus. the usb adapter says 100-240V (50-60Hz). do i need a transformer or converter?
Josh Summers says
No, you don’t. You can plug your charger and phone directly into Chinese plugs 🙂