How to Use Your Electrical Appliances While Traveling in Spain

Young woman drying hair with hairdryer
••• Seb Oliver / Getty Images

It is important to know that Spanish electrical sockets use 220-240 volts and the physical connection may be different from what you have at home. Read on for information on if your electrical appliances will work in Spain and what to do if they won't.

Modern electronic devices that are rated for dual voltage, like laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and e-readers, will work. In addition, any device that charges via USB will be fine.

Older devices and small appliances, particularly things like hair straighteners and hairdryers, might be more problematic.

Voltage and Plug Differences

Depending on where you are coming from, you may need to bring a plug converter to be able to use your essential electronic devices or appliances.

If you will be visiting from...

  • The UK & Ireland* you will have no problems plugging in your electrical appliance in Spain except for the physical fact that it won't fit! You will need to bring a plug adapter. Note that though the British shaver plugs and sockets look like the European ones, they are not the same.
  • Australia & New Zealand, your considerations will be the same as for UK-based travelers, though the adapter you need will be different.
  • South Africa, again, your considerations will be the same as for UK-based travelers, though the adapter you need will be different.
  • Other European Countries use the same power supply and the same plugs as Spain, so no adapter is required.
  • North, Central and South America and Japan use 110V, however, many devices are dual-rated—check the device or power brick to be sure—so you will only need a plug adapter to use your them on both sides of the Atlantic.

Necessary Adapters

If your appliance IS compatible with the Spanish power supply all you need to do is change the physical plug so that it will fit in the wall in Spain.

A cheap adapter can be bought in advance (from Currys or Boots) or (even cheaper) in Spain in stores like El Corte Inglés. 

If your appliance ISN'T compatible with the Spanish power supply you'll need an adapter which changes both the physical plug that goes into the wall and the voltage that your appliance gets. 

  • Voltage converters for heating appliances are good for hair straighteners, hairdryers, and irons. These are the most likely devices to need a converter.
  • Converters for motorized or electronic appliances are for other devices. However, today's laptops, cameras, and mobile phones generally don't need a voltage converter.

Double-Check if Necessary

To know if your appliance will work in Spain, do this simple check.

  1. Take a look at the picture and find the similar information on your appliance (it will either be on the plug or on the appliance itself)
  2. Look at the green arrow in the photo. You can see that this product will take 100-240V. This means that the appliance will work in both the US (which takes 110V) and Spain (and indeed the rest of the world, most of which uses 220-240V).
  3. If your product is similarly labeled, your product will also work in Spain. The only problem is that the plug won't physically fit - for this you will need an adapter. 
  1. If your appliance doesn't mention compatibility with 240V, then you'll need to adapt the power your appliance receives from the wall. You will need to buy a voltage converter.

*Also Cyprus, Malta, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong