If you are planning travel to Europe, it is good to know if you will need an adapter, which is an inexpensive addition for your electric plug, or a transformer (also known as a converter) for electrical outlets.
Most of Scandinavia uses 220 volts. Electrical plugs in Finland look like two round prongs. You can use the ungrounded Europlug Type C or the grounded Schukoplug Type E/F. Your device determines whether you will need a simple shape adapter or an electric transformer.
If you plug in, and the electric current is too much for your device, it could fry your device's components and render it unusable.
How Do You Know Which Plug You Need?
It is not too hard to find out what kind of adapter plug or converter you need for electrical outlets in Finland. For instance, if you plan to charge your laptop, most laptops can accept up to 220 volts. In the U.S., the current that comes out of our electrical sockets is 110 volts, although, your laptop and mobile phones can usually handle twice that input of electricity.
To know for sure if your electrical device is able to accept 220 volts, check the back of your laptop (or any electrical device for the power input markings). If the label near the appliance's power cord says 100-240V or 50-60 Hz, then it is safe to use. If it is good to go, then all you will need is to change the shape of your existing power plug to fit into a Finnish outlet. A simple plug adapter is relatively inexpensive.
If the label near the power cord does not say that your device can go up to 220 volts, then you will need a "step-down transformer," also called a converter.
Converter Versus an Adapter
A converter will reduce the 220 volts from the outlet to provide just 110 volts for the appliance. Due to the complexity of converters and the simplicity of adapters, expect to see a significant price difference between the two. Converters are considerably more expensive.
Converters have a lot more components in them that are used to change the electricity that is going through them. Adapters do not have anything special in them, just a bunch of conductors that connect one end to the other in order to conduct electricity.
If you bring small appliances, be careful. These are the devices that may not be able to handle high power input. The shape adapter may not be enough. While basically, all personal electronics in recent years will accept both voltages, some older, smaller appliances will not work with the stronger 220 volts in Europe.
Where to Get Converters and Adapters
Converters and adapters can be purchased in the U.S., online or in electronic stores, and can be packed in your luggage. Or, you can most likely find them at the airport in Finland as well as at electronic stores, souvenir shops, and bookstores there.
Tip About Hair Dryers
Do not plan to bring any type of hair dryer to Finland. Their power consumption is extremely high and can only be matched with correct power converters that let you use them with Finnish sockets. Instead, check ahead with your Finnish hotel if they will provide them, or it might even be cheapest to buy one after you arrive in Finland.