I'm going to move to Canada from EU. From my research, most people said that if someone from US moves to EU, they'll need a power converter otherwise it might fry the thing.

My question is, if I use a power strip from EU (max 250v) to the 120v power outlet, would I need a power converter? And if I plugged things on the strip with 100-240v and some other plugs (probably the same or 200v), would it work or do I need a new power strip?

Thank you!


closed as off-topic by Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams, Leon Heller, brhans, Andy aka, duskwuff Jul 16 '18 at 16:28

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What current rating does the strip have and what power are you running through the strip? \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Jul 16 '18 at 11:29
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You can use some devices with nothing more than a plug converter. You can recognize these because they will havevan input voltage range (100-240VAC) rather than just a single voltage. (120VAC) DO NOT use a 120VAC power strip with an adapter on a240VAC outlet. If you must use a 120VAC device in europe, you will need a transformer, not just an adapter. \$\endgroup\$ – JRE Jul 16 '18 at 11:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ it makes absolutely no sense to buy converters for the power strip (i'm guessing that the plugs do not match those being used in north america) .... simply buy another power strip in Canada \$\endgroup\$ – jsotola Jul 16 '18 at 19:54

You can use your EU power strip in the US with a plug converter.

In general, applying a higher voltage than an electronic component's rating is bad; applying a lower voltage shouldn't hurt. The limitation is on current handling. Say you have a 2400W load. At 240V, you'd draw 10A from the power strip. At 120V, you'd try to draw 20A, which may cause a circuit breaker to open-circuit, hopefully before it damages the power strip.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Should I use a converter for the power strip? And do I need a converter for anything plugged on the strip? Thanks :) \$\endgroup\$ – Naté Silver Jul 16 '18 at 11:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NatéSilver Maybe, maybe not. You need to check the voltage rating of each appliance. If it's universal (such as 100-250V), then it will be fine. If it's 230V only, then it won't work. \$\endgroup\$ – Simon B Jul 16 '18 at 14:54

A power strip is just dumb conductors, with insulation round them, with connectors. You use it simply to connect things conveniently, several to a socket, or further away than their power cord would permit.

If the connectors are suitable, then a 240V power strip is usable in 120v and 240v land, but due to the limitations of the insulation, a 120v power strip should only be used on 120v.

Follow the maximum current guidelines, not the power, if you use a power strip at a different voltage. It's the current that heats the conductors and heats the connectors.

If the appliance you want to use is rated at a different voltage to what's coming out of the wall, then you will need a voltage converter, regardless of whether you're using a power strip anywhere to help connect things.

Many modern electronic appliances have a 'universal' input voltage range, typically 90v to 265v, these can be used at 120v or 240v without modification and without a voltage converter.

Given the size and cost of voltage converters, it's almost always best to leave appliances in their 'right voltage' country, and buy a new one for your new location.


There are generally two limitations:

  • The quality of the conductors determines the maximum current, e.g. 10A.

  • The quality of the insulation determines the maximum voltage, e.g. 300V.

Your 250V powerstrip will work for 120V outlets, but since its current limit is unchanged the maximum power is reduced by 120/250 (about 50%).

120-240V power adapters will adjust to the voltage provided (they can sense that) but cannot account for the current limits. This might be a problem, because these adapters will draw double the current at 120V - they still need to deliver the same power.

Now a few laptops won't fry a generic 250V powerstrip, as they typically can handle 16A. And even 16A at 120V is still 2000W, more than enough for laptops. But don't use it for heavy equipment, such as a clothes dryer. Those can draw 3000W, which would be fine at 250V/12A but not at 120V/25A.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So things like phone charger would still be fine? \$\endgroup\$ – Naté Silver Jul 16 '18 at 13:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NatéSilver: Yes, those are <10 Watt. And I haven't seen a phone charger, ever, that didn't work at 120V. \$\endgroup\$ – MSalters Jul 16 '18 at 13:47

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