We're busy considering which

07/13/2015 - 12:12

We're busy considering which possessions should be abandoned before moving to Italy. Can anyone advise on the use of UK electrical appliances in Italy (obviously with the appropriate adaptor). Is it safe to have several appliances (I'm thinking kitchen here) operating with adaptors or could this prove a hazard? We're just wondering if we should abandon our kettle, toaster, iron etc and buy new. Many thanks.



Well ..................................................... The normal limiting factor on electrical goods in Italy is the amount of electricity you use. For example, my holiday place is [like the majority of Italian properties] limited to 3kW [plus a short time allowable overload]. In essence this means that you run the whole house as though its connected to a UK 13 Amp plug!It just means you have to be aware of what you are using at any time.  UK electrical kettles will take you to the limit, so I'd ditch that. Our regime is that you never use the washing machine, dishwasher, electric oven , iron at the same time - [ONLY ONE AT A TIME]Yes you can use adapters to use UK equipment - BUT adapters are usually marked as only up to 3.5 or 5 Amps - so you will need to change the plugs on major items.  For small Items [phone chargers, stereos etc] - a UK multi point extension lead with the plug changed can prove useful. You can also buy a bigger supply from the electric company - others can advise on that

I would like to add a comment about the use of adaptors. The so-called universal Europe travel adaptors widely available in the UK are intended for the German Shuko sockets which are not yet in general use in Italy. They do not connect the earth pin of a UK plug to the centre earth of an Italian three in a row socket. This is not an issue for most small appliances which are double insulated and do not require an earth connection. However, for appliances which do require an earth, use of one of these adaptors on its own would be very hazardous. One of the following solutions would give a safe result, subject to the power rating of the adaptor not being exceeded:1. Use a UK to Italian 3 pin adaptor - available from Amazon and from Fai da Te shops in Italy;2. Use a "universal" adaptor plugged into a Shuko to Italian 3 pin adaptor. The latter are widely available in Italy.3. Cut off the UK plug and fit an Italian one.

Thanks yallman for taking the trouble to answer in such detail! The info was very helpful. (LargeLewis thanks too for your response but I'm surprised that the moderators let your comment through!)I think I"m going to need a qualified electrician as and when we get to Italy and will most probably be buying new appliances fro the kitchen etc. I've discovered that the house we are keen on has a PV system so will provide more than the usual domestic supply.Again, thanks all for your help.

What moderators.. It was a good detailed reply, but an "Italian one". Well it was late at night. Some "Italian ones" are Shuko, in fact they have all the types... Do a search on "Italian or europen plugs wiki" there is a detailed mass of pages on it.

When I write or speak English, I try to avoid using the same noun more than once in a sentence. It seems neater that way. Sorry if it offends you, LargeLewis. I could have written 'Cut off the UK plug and fit an Italian plug'  or even 'Cut off the UK plug and fit an Italian plug appropriate to your Italian socket'.Back to sockets: I never said that the Italians do not have Shuko sockets, just that they are not in general use. In fact I have a couple of the combination Shuko/Italian sockets in my holiday apartment, with the rest being of the 3 pins in a row type. The catalogue of Bticino, seemingly the biggest maker of electrical fittings in Italy, describes the 3 pins in a row sockets as 'Prese Standard Italia'. The Shuko-only sockets are described as 'Prese Standard Tedesco' and the combination sockets, which accept both types of plug, are 'Prese Standard Tedesco e Italia'. I think the use of the name Tedesco (German) rather proves my point. A 'universal' travel adaptor bought in the UK can safely be used in a combination socket, but, as I stated previously, there is a potential hazard with the 3 pins in a row sockets.Channelislander1, You shouldn't need a professional electrician to advise on adaptors. A huge selection is for sale at large supermarkets as well as at DIY stores and electrical appliance stores. Just be aware of the power rating marked on the adaptor.If you are confident about fitting a UK plug to a flex, you should be able to cut off the plug and fit an Italian plug. It is slightly fiddlier as everything is smaller. Provided you fit the earth wire (if any) to the correct pin, the other two wires can be fitted either way round as, unlike the UK system, the Italian system is not polarised with specific pins for live and neutral.If you are talking about changing the actual sockets, yes, that is normally a job for a professional. I have changed most of the ones in my apartment myself, but I have 40 years experience of DIY electrical work in the UK, so understand the safety issues involved.