How to Connect a 220-Volt Appliance to a 110-Volt Outlet

International travelers are familiar with the voltage differences between North America (110-120 volts) and most countries in Europe and Africa (220-240 volts).

Educate yourself on voltage converters before putting your appliances at risk.Educate yourself on voltage converters before putting your appliances at risk.
Many travelers learn that hard way that most appliances require more than a simple plug adapter to function in foreign countries. Voltage converters can restrict the voltage from 220 to 110 (step-up) or increase the voltage from 110 to 220 (step-down).

Check the wattage requirements of your appliance and compare the number to the maximum wattage listed on your converter. If your converter's wattage is lower than your appliance's, the converter will not work. Purchase a 500- or 1,000-watt converter to be on the safe side, especially for appliances with heating elements.

Plug the step-down voltage converter into the 110-volt outlet. If necessary, power on the converter.

Turn off your 220-volt appliance. Plug the appliance into the step-down voltage converter.

Wait approximately 45 to 60 seconds as the voltage converter builds the necessary 220 volts required for your 220-volt appliance to function.

Power on your 220-volt appliance. If you hear any strange noises or smell any smoke, immediately power off the appliance.


  • Some voltage converters can handle as much as 5,000 watts and power multiple appliance at once. Other converters can both step-up and step-down voltage. These converters are more expensive, but may save money down the line. Purchase the converter that best suits your needs.


  • Always be cautious when handling voltage conversion devices. Failure to use the proper converter with your appliances can burn out the circuits.

About the Author

Aaron Kopf graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with honors in 2009, holding a Bachelor of Arts in communication. While enjoying his time at college, Kopf was published in The Echo and Vortex magazine.