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dominator 07-04-2007 09:16 AM

European 220v Tools use with US 220v Outlet

I leave in the US.
I come from Europe and I have European home tools (Peugeot, Black & Decker and so on...) that I want to use in the US.

In my garage I have a US 220 volt outlet.
Can I use the European home tools in that US 220 volt outlet if I have an adapter?
If yes what adapter do I need? and where do I purchase it?

If there is no possible adapter, can I change the male plug of the European Tools by a US 220 volt male plug to fit the US 220 volt outlet?

TIA for your help :)

dmaceld 07-04-2007 03:02 PM


Originally Posted by dominator (Post 51468)
Can I use the European home tools in that US 220 volt outlet if I have an adapter?
If yes what adapter do I need? and where do I purchase it?

You probably could do it because 220 is 220, but it really is not a good idea. There's a few reasons why. One, US 220v outlets come in several configurations depending on the current capacity of the circuit, so there is no easy answer as to what adapter you need and there is no one adapter that will fit all. The main reason you should not do it is because almost all 220 circuits in the US have circuit breakers 30 amps or greater. If your tool develops a short you very likely will melt and burn the tool, and yourself, before the circuit breaker trips, if it trips at all. Your 220v circuit does not have ground fault circuit protection so if your tool leaks current into your body you have no protection. US electricity is 60 Hz whereas European is 50 Hz. Depending on what kind of motor your tool has, it could easily turn 20% faster than intended, which could easily be dangerous. European 220 circuits have one leg at ground, or earth as it's called there. Here, each leg of the 220 circuit is 110v to ground. Depending on how your tools are made, you might actually energize the grounded side, creating a shock hazard.

One option would be to have a transformer fixed up by an electrician that would convert US 110v or 220v to a European type of 220v circuit. This will work for tools that are rated for both 50 & 60 Hz.

Actually I'm surprised you have 220v tools. I thought Europe many years ago switched to 120v tools connected to transformers because 120 isn't as dangerous as 220v.

If by chance this discussion is more than you understand, then by all means be safe and buy or rent US tools and leave your European tools in the tool box.

JohnJ0906 07-04-2007 06:22 PM

I would like to point out that the US does not use 220 volts. Hasn't for years. Your utility provides 240 volts.

I do not know if Europe is 220 actual. I would check with the manufacturer to see if it is 240v compatible.

dmaceld 07-04-2007 08:21 PM


Originally Posted by JohnJ0906 (Post 51544)
Your utility provides 240 volts.

Most of the time that's the target anyway, but there is wide latitude in what the actual delivered voltage inside the house can be. Most everything is listed or rated 110-120v or 220 - 240v. I've always more or less equated 110 to 120 for all intents and purposes. American usage is inconsistent in that we generally use the terms, 110v, 120v, and 240v.

NateHanson 07-05-2007 07:07 AM

I don't think it will work because your tools are made to run on 50hz and our electricity is 60hz.

dmaceld 07-05-2007 09:44 AM


Originally Posted by NateHanson (Post 51592)
I don't think it will work because your tools are made to run on 50hz and our electricity is 60hz.

Many appliances and tools are rated 50/60Hz. Others will work but not run correctly or efficiently. I used a US microwave in England 20 yrs ago using a 240/120 transformer. Power was less, and the clock ran about 20% slow, but otherwise OK. Tools, such as drills, that have series wound motors with variable speed triggers don't care which frequency they're on. Other tools, like saws and fans, with induction motors will turn 20% faster on 60Hz than on 50Hz. Those could be dangerous to run on 60Hz.

dominator 07-07-2007 10:54 PM

European 220v Tools use with US 220v Outlet
I thank you all for your replies.

I guess I am going to forget about this idea. It is not worth so much efforts. The tools may end up on ebay :O(

Thanks again for your help.


crecore 07-09-2007 07:52 PM

Europe has many different standards. There are at least 5 converters for travelers to step down to 110-120v. I believe all of the countries are 50 hz yes, but some are 220v, some are 230v and some are true 240v. Some electronics (say low voltage transformers) rated for 220-230v will cook instantly at 240v. I dont know much about the European power tool market except that they are suppose to make some robust ones. It sounds like you already gave up but if you read the ratings of the specific tools you'll know for sure.

timmy 07-10-2007 10:00 AM

So would it be safe if I were to go over to Europe and use my American tools over there?

dmaceld 07-10-2007 12:09 PM


Originally Posted by timmy (Post 52370)
So would it be safe if I were to go over to Europe and use my American tools over there?

Most likely. You would have to use a transformer, but they are available to buy or rent, particularly for the construction business. The transformers have 120v US outlets on them. The only potential problem area I can think of would tools that have induction motors, i.e. no brushes, like some saws and fans. If they are not rated 50/60 Hz they will run about 20% slower on the 50 Hz current, which means they may pull more amps if loaded down. That could be, but wouldn't necessarily be, a problem.

timmy 07-10-2007 03:55 PM

thanks dmaceld that is uber helpful.

Jill:alltrades 05-10-2012 03:27 PM

European 220v Tools use with US 220v Outlet
Don't Dump your European tools! I know this is an old post, but there really is a very easy solution.

Easy Solution: buy a fused transformer that takes 110/120V 60Hz input and changes it to European 220/240V with 60Hz output. Mine has a standard European plug for its output. Works fine-the tools can tolerate the frequency difference just fine.

micromind 05-10-2012 08:12 PM

I have a bunch of 220 volt 50 HZ power tools. Several drills, a portaband, a couple of routers, a sawzall, and a few others. All work perfectly fine on 240 volts 60 HZ.

Some of these have seen quite a bit of use over the years, no trouble with any of them.

I have several 20 amp 240 volt receptacles in my garage, I cut the foreign plugs off and installed NEMA 20 amp 250 volt plugs on the tools.

Yes, I know it's an old thread, but I think it's still valid.


Wildie 05-10-2012 09:03 PM

Back in the 1950s Ontario, Canada used 25~ power and the switched over to 60~.
There were many 25~ motors that were missed during the conversion process.
I happened to acquire one of these missed motors and used it for my table saw, for many years. It did run faster than it was rated for, but it made little difference for sawing!

Amusinglisa 08-01-2012 03:48 PM

Jill & Micro

Could either of you elaborate on how to make a two-wire 220 into a three-wire 220?

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