Buying UK to Swiss Plug Adapters

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The standard plug in Switzerland is the three pin  Swiss SEV 1011 (Swiss 10 A/250 V) known as the 'Type J'.
This is different from the two pin  CEE 7/16 Europlug (Type C) in having:
  • Three pins (the third for earthing, like the UK plug)
  • A unique hexagonal shape that fits inside the socket to prevent electric shocks 
Swiss (Type J)  Europlug (Type C)
Swiss plug

 
Europlug
Switzerland France, Germany and many other EU countries

While today you can often get-away with using a two-pin Europlug adapter as used in France, Germany and Italy in Switzerland, increasingly these will not work due to an initiative to standardise on the recessed hexagonal  Swiss Type J design in Switzerland by 2015. The recess stops many Europlugs from physically entering the socket.

Therefore when buying an adapter for your UK plugs for use in Switzerland, it is better to choose a model specifically designed for Switzerland, rather than gambling that you will find an old-style power outlet.


What to look for in a UK to Swiss plug adaptor
Look for models with;

  • Three pins (not two)
  • The hexagonal shape
  • Electrical rating, e.g. 10A 250V (fine for low draw UK equipment like laptops or music players, see below)

  • A fuse, to protect you and your electrical equipment (often this is molded in and not changeable)
  • An adapter for Switzerland, not a 'Made in Switzerland' adapter, which may be something else entirely!


Multi-country vs. Swiss specific adapters

Multi-country or 'world' plug adapters, work with many different plug socket types. These are fine for Switzerland if explicitly indicated in the description, but there are pros and cons;
Pros
  • Will be useful if you are travelling outside Switzerland 
Cons
  • Are bulkier, taking-up unnecessary space in your home or luggage
  • Are significantly more expensive (e.g £15 compared to a Swiss specific model of £5)


When not to use a plug adapter 

You should not use a plug adapter in Switzerland, or elsewhere, for 'high draw' items such as;
  • Washers
  • Dryers
  • Electric heaters
As they can easily blow the fuse in the adapter, or in cheaper adapters without a fuse, simply melt the adapter itself causing a significant safety hazard. In these cases  it's better to replace your UK plug with a Swiss one.

In the UK: View eBay UK's range of UK to Swiss plug adapters here.


Already in Switzerland? Check out ebay.ch.
 
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