Electricity in Italy

Helpful Pages


While packing for Italy I found myself questioning every electric powered item we owned. Should I take it to Italy or should I leave it in storage? Long story short, almost all of our “electrical” powered appliances are going in storage. Only the “electronics” that run on dual voltage will be making the trip to Italy. Although I am a bit upset about leaving my brand new KitchenAid mixer behind, there is no need to worry!

  • You will be given a Move In Housing Allowance (MIHA) once you arrive. It will cover re-buying most of your appliances, adapters, and power transformers. Wait until your arrive at your new duty station to purchase these.
  • Used appliances, extension cords, and transformers can be found at the Vicenza Thrift Shop or the Vicenza Bookoo page. New transformers can also be purchased at the PX.
  • Most bases offer loan closets for recent arrivals. You can borrow things like irons, coffee makers, toasters and other kitchen essentials until your belongings arrive.
  • You will be issued one transformer and an AFN Decoder (device for the TV) from CFMO (the furniture borrowing warehouse) for the duration of your stay.
  • The military may already provide some appliances  overseas such as a refrigerator, washer, or dryer
  • You can always ask for advice from your sponsor as to what you might need to bring and what you might want to leave behind.

Summary

Electronics should all be fine, since they are usually dual voltage. Any appliance with a motor or that heats up will need a transformer, unless you stay in Villagio which has 110 volt electricity as well as 220 volt. The bigger the appliance, the larger the transformer you will need. Even is you do use a transformer, they supposedly use a lot of electricity (which is expensive) and it causes more wear and tear on your appliances.


U.S. and European appliances and/or electronics usually run on different voltages

  • Europe: 220 volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second
  • US: 110 volts, alternating at 60 cycles per second

Identifying Voltage

  • Check the back/bottom of the device or the “power brick” for the electrical input specifications. There will usually be a sticker or a raised block of text.

Single-voltage device

  • Items with a small voltage range (such as 100—120V) are considered single-voltage items since they will not accommodate a 220V power supply. These small ranges are designed to accommodate voltage fluctuations only.
  • Ex. Input = AC120Vac 60Hz 200W

Dual-voltage device

  • Uses a slash to separate the two voltages
  • Ex. Input = AC120/240V 50-60Hz 1300W

Multi-voltage device

  • Uses a dash to indicate the range of voltages
  • Ex. Input = AC100 — 240V 50-60Hz 14W OUTPUT DC 1.2V 2.3A
  • If it can use any voltage between 100 and 240, as long as it’s AC voltage alternating at 50 or 60 hertz, you will need a small/inexpensive transformer for devices using 60 watts.

Using American Devices in Italy Adapters

  • Adapts between American flat-pronged plug and Italy’s two (or three) round-prong socket. Basically it allows our plug to fit into European outlets.
  • These DO NOT change the voltage, it will fry 110 volt devices without a converter!
  • Electrical appliances running on dual voltage (120/240V) will only need an adapter plug
  • Electronics that run on multi-voltage (100-240V) will only need an adapter plug
normal Italian power socket

normal Italian power socket

plug adapter

plug adapter

Converter/Transformer

  • Used for single-voltage devices (electrical or electronic) that do not automatically convert voltage, actually reduce the 220 voltage down to a usable 110 voltage.
  • Even though it decreases the voltage, some devices may not work correctly (ex. a hair dryer that only works on the low setting) or it may wear out the device much faster than normal.
  • The larger the device or amount of power used (wattage) by the device, the larger and more expensive the converter/transformer is needed
  • Converters/transformers use a lot of power. Electricity in Europe is not cheap! Unplug your devices when not in use.

Converter or Transformer?

  • If your device is rated for a single voltage (such as 110V), and this is different than the power supply at your destination (such as 220V), you will need an adapter plug plus:
  1. A converter or transformer for an electrical device (appliance)
  2. A transformer for an electronic device (computers, USB powered devices)
  • A converter is generally used on (electrical devices) anything with a motor or anything that heats up and cools down. If you do not use a converter you will most likely burn up your device.
  • Many converters now operate as both a converter for high-watt electrical devices and a transformer for low-watt electronic devices.
  • Watts: is the amount of power a device uses. Low watts would range up to 25W or 50W, depending on the converter. This would be typical of small personal electronics. Electrical heating units will require a “high” setting as they may consume 1000W to 2000W.

Dual Voltage Devices: (bring to Italy) Electronics

  • Laptops
  • Battery Chargers (rechargeable batteries)
  • Camera Chargers
  • Cell phone, notebook, tablet
  • Ipod Docking Station
  • USB powered devices (Ipods, Cameras)
  • GPS
  • Digital photo frames
  • If you have a PC tower, you will want to ensure that you flip the voltage selection switch to the correct setting

Decor

  • Lamps (can be used with 220 volt light bulbs)

Single Voltage Devices (avoid bringing) Kitchen Appliances

  • Mixer
  • Toaster Oven
  • Blender
  • Coffee Maker
  • Crockpot
  • Rice Maker
  • Bread Machine
  • Yogurt Maker
  • Food Dehydrator

Electronics

  • TV
  • Electric Clock
  • Paper Shredder

Large Appliances

  • Washer/Dryer
  • Refrigerator/Freezer
  • Vacuum/Steam Cleaner

Small Appliances

  • Hair dryer (these are notorious for burning up even with a converter)
  • Electric Toothbrush (fairly common to not work even with a converter)
  • Lighted Makeup Mirror (unless it can run on batteries)
  • Curling iron
  • Straightener
  • Razors
  • Iron

Decor

  • Christmas Lights/Decorations
  • Fountain water pumps

Outdoor Appliances

  • Weed trimmer
  • Snow Blower
  • Hedge Trimmer
  • Leaf Blower
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