Video: How to Use American Electrical Appliances in Germany

Check it out! Our very first video post from Hannover, Germany!

Apparently, European outlets kick out a vicious 220 volts of electricity. Sissy American appliances, like my electric razor, are only designed to handle 110 volts. I was told by several people (I’m looking in your direction, greasy electronics nerdling from Fred Meyer) my appliances would be ruined if I tried them in Europe. Before I moved, I bought a dozen grounded European to American outlet adapters from Amazon.com for $1 each. These adapters very specifically say, “This will not convert the voltage from 220V to 110V,” so I was expecting a real fireworks show.

When I arrived in Germany, I tried one out and did my very best to destroy my electric razor. Here is the video.

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21 thoughts

    1. I have no idea. I think I’ve had that razor for over 10 years. It was my grandfather’s, which is both endearing AND disgusting.

      I’m sure there is a perfectly reasonable explanation, but everyone told me my razor would be destroyed. I am so disappointed.

      Anything else I can test that might erupt into flames?

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      1. Hard to tell … at this point anything I still have on a transformer (meets the eye) is like highly valued or not … I totally wanna kill my TV so I can get a new cool flat screen (we’re watching TV here with 2001 brands cause we’re cavemen I think. Lemme look around. My Cordless drill is 110 but you CANNOT have that sir!

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  1. I have used lots of American appliances in Germany and, with only one exception, have never had a problem. The problem I had was with a hairdryer that had some sort of a switch specifically for 110 volt/220 volt conversion. I still had to use an adapter just to get the plug to fit into the German outlet, however. I forgot to also set the switch on “220” and the dryer immediately got fried. So, all said, it seems that the less sophisticated appliances (the ones without the 110/220 switch) actually work BETTER because you don’t have to remember to change the setting. Just another example of how an attempt to ‘make something better’ actually makes it worse – likely thought up by someone who doesn’t have a clue about ‘Human Factors Engineering’ (also know by the less sexy term of ‘Common Sense’).

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  2. I have to nag.. actually, its 230 V today. You may find 110 V sissy, but it makes up with 60 Hz in contrast to sissy 50 german Hz, which can also be a problem

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  3. Oh, that is such bullshit! Where is the firework show? On another note, you have many things to consider when moving to another country. I didn’t know this about Germany…and I guess it’s all of Europe, huh?

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  4. Hi,
    I’m from Australia where we use 230~240V at 50 Hz (I think).
    I accidentally plugged a dual voltage computer PSU into our mains with it set to 110V. Basically sparks shot out the back and it bricked, luckily the store took it back for a straight swap!
    But yeah, in my experience shavers are 110/220V and have been for some time. My dad has one that’s pretty old (probably from the 80s/90s) that works on both.
    Many other devices should work on both (including some laptop chargers), but I’d research each device before trying.

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