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Welcome to the weekend, Weekend Warriors! Last week, we discussed researching UK telephone services so you can hit the ground running once you move into your London apartment. With utilities comes the need for appliances, so today I’ll lay out for you what you need for your non-UK appliances to work in London, should you decide to pack them .

If you’re moving to London from outside the UK, hopefully at this point you already realize you will not be able to just plug in your home appliance. Outlets are different here, as is the voltage, so the following are the necessary components you’ll need to not blow out your stuff:

  • An adaptor converts your 2 or 3-pronged U.S. plugs to the 3-pronged UK standard.  This simply enables you to plug a U.S. appliance into a UK outlet; it does NOT adapt the voltage!
  • converter is what you can plug your appliance or power strip into before then plugging the converter itself into the wall.  This will suppress the 240V coming through that outlet to only allow 120V through to your appliance, thus, not blowing it out.
  • transformer is basically a converter, but much more hard core (and expensive).  Whereas a converter is usually a small plastic black box with a cord, a transformer is a heavier, bulkier metal box that is far better adapted to converting electricity for higher wattage items (or total wattage, if grouping appliances together on the same power strip).

Many folks confuse these terms, so it’s very important to know the difference; otherwise, you’re best off leaving your smaller appliances in storage at home (or selling them) and just buying new ones in the UK. Larger ones like TVs and computers, on the other hand, should be fine with just an adaptor.

Okay, then, Warriors—good luck packing those appliances and in all other ways preparing for your move!

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