Thursday, August 6, 2009

Outlets, Voltage and Transformers in South Korea

Here's the question:

I'm sure this has come up before on your blog but I wasn't able to find it: What are the electric plugs like in Korea? I cannot seems to find a solid answer on this one. I heard they were European plugs, which would be great because I have a ton of adapters for European plugs. If they're different I need to buy a few adapters before I go!

The standard voltage in Korea is 220 volts (60 Hz) . The outlet has two round holes and looks similar to those used in many European countries.

Europe, however, uses 230 volts (50 Hz). Because the voltage and frequency is so close, some people are inclined to use adapters, but don't. You'll end up ruining whatever you try to plug into it. The same goes for converters. While they might work well for low-function clock radios and other low-stress appliances, converters won't tolerate desktop computers or even hair-dyers. You'll need to pick up a transformer. They'll run you more, but you'll be protecting yourself from damaged items as well as the risk of fire. Some people might disagree with me and say you'll be fine, but it's always better to be safe.


Chris in South Korea said...

Not to turn your awesome blog into craigslist, but if anyone needs a transformer I have an extra one. E-mail me through my profile and we'll work something out.

John from Daejeon said...

Most laptop/notebook power adapters are made to work in several countries provided that you have a plug adapter that goes into the wall outlet. The details are listed on the computers power adapter.

So far, all the laptops that I've bought in the U.S. (3 made in China--HPs) have worked fine over here.

The Expat said...

John: You're right.

Chris: Where did you buy it?

The Expat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I remember when I went on a trip to Japan I stressed out about finding a transformer/converter, because I didn't realise that most modern small electronic devices have built in transformers (it should say somewhere on it "100-240V"). Laptops, phone chargers, ipod chargers, camera chargers etc. will all work fine no matter where you are in the world, as long as you can convert the plug.

Also I heard that Korea uses the Japanese/US style outlets too, but so far the only one of those I've seen was on a ferry in the West Sea, and it was right next to a European style outlet.

Chris in South Korea said...

I found it at a second-hand shop near Nonhyeon station on Gangnamdaero. It's near an Outback Steakhouse and usually has plenty of furniture out front. Good prices - and last time I went I also saw the reverse transformer to use your Korean goods in the USA. Perfect to charge the old-school American DS :)