Figuring out how to power cameras and other gadgets in Europe can seem tricky, but it’s easy enough once you know how.
The trick is to look for a sticker on the power adapter or plug that tells you the input voltage. The magic words to look for are something like this: “100-240V AC 50/60Hz”. 100-240 tells you the voltage range: you need 220 volts or more for your electronics to work in Italy, France and most of mainland Europe and 240 volts for the UK. If your gadget can cope with a higher range, that’s OK too (e.g. “90-240″). In all of these cases, you just need a simple (and cheap) adapter plug.
Here’s a video that shows you the various plug adapters and how they work:
Almost all of today’s small electronics like camera battery and cell phone chargers just need the plug adapter. Devices that use more power, like hairdryers or portable kettles, often do not work with a simple adapter. Check the label: if it says something like “120VAC” or a smaller range such as “100-130V” then you must use a power converter or transformer. This is extremely important: if you plug a standard 120V hair dryer into 220V using a plug adapter, it will immediately burn out the dryer and may cause a fire.
Transformers or power converters are rated by the amount of power they can supply, in Watts. So it might say on your hair dryer label “1000W” — that means you need a converter rated for 1000W or greater. Again, it can be dangerous to exceed the rated maximum of a power converter. The more power a converter can supply, the larger and heavier it tends to be, so beware of smaller adapters if you need a lot of power.