Will a US Vacuum Cleaner Work in the UK? (How?) – Explained!

Will a US Vacuum Cleaner Work in the UK

Whether you are moving permanently or for a short period of time to a new location, you would want to save on any expenses that you can.

One of the ways in which you do this is by carrying your appliances (like a vacuum cleaner) with you. But, you must be sure they can work in your final destination, especially if you are traveling beyond the borders of a country.

So, if you are planning to move from the US to the UK with your vacuum cleaner, you must be having this question: “Will my US vacuum cleaner work in the UK?”

In this article, we’ll look at this in detail and also tell you which all of your appliances will work in the UK and how to use US appliances in the UK.

Will a US Vacuum Cleaner Work in the UK?

As far as electrical appliances are concerned, there is a huge gulf between the US and the UK.

Most appliances in the US use 110V/120V and 60 Hz unlike UK appliances with 220V/240V and 50 Hz. So, unless your US vacuum cleaner runs on the UK voltage and frequency (which is not so common) or a wide range of voltage, you may not be able to use your US vacuum cleaner in the UK.

However, few US appliances that run on higher power may work in the U.K. These appliances can be dryers and the like- Things that run on 240V. These usually tend to be older models of appliances.

Why Your US Vacuum Won’t Plug in a UK Power Outlet?

The disparities between the UK and the US plugs are not just for fashion sake.

Here are the reasons why UK plugs are different from US plugs:

1- Fuse

Fuse is not so common in most US appliances. But in case you find a US appliance with a fuse, it is primarily meant to protect the wire, not the device.

On the other hand, you can barely find a UK device without a fuse. The fuse in the UK device usually protects both the wire and device.

When the UK plug is overheated, the fuse will get burnt and you can easily replace the fuse yourself even when the appliance is at work.

2- Receptacle

The partial blockage in UK plugs is made for safety in the home. This is to reduce the risk of accidental shocks when children play around it.

Receptacles exist as a safety procedure in electrical devices.

3- Insulation

The black-colored plastic around a UK three prongs plug is the insulation that provides safety to prevent electrical shock even when the plug is partially plugged. This also helps to prevent contact with the plug wire.

4- Voltage

Unlike the US, the standard voltage and frequency in the UK are 220V and 50Hz respectively. So, most of the UK plugs are geared towards accommodating this voltage and frequency.

What Happens If You Use 110v Vacuum in 220v?

Most American devices are based on 110V while the UK operates on 220V. The plugs are different, just like the power supply.

It is not advisable to use a 110V Vacuum in 220V as this might lead to damage to your vacuum cleaner.

For example, a bulb or a space heater (and other heating appliances) will, in an instant, burn out as the normal heat of that device would be quadrupled.

Similarly, if an AC drive (rated 110V) is used in a 220V, it will most likely burn out very quickly.

Finally, a DC drive (such as that used in Vacuum cleaners), designed for a 110V may not work as expected when used in a 220V as it will spin faster than normal and get damaged soon.

However, some electrical items may be rated with a dual voltage such as 110V-220V, it is to this end advisable to do a proper check of your device and the voltage that works well with it before getting it to work at all.

Can You Change a 220v Outlet to 110v to Use Your 110v Vacuum?

Large appliances make use of the 220V and to give a straight answer to this, Yes a 220V outlet can be changed to 110V in two ways:

1- Using a 220V to 110 adapter is the first option you got to change a 220V outlet to 110V.

2- Another option is to rewire the receptacle of a 220V outlet or provide an alternative to the old receptacle in the outlet and connect it to the 220V wiring.

You’ll have to install a new circuit breaker because 220V breakers are highly rated for more current than a 110V circuit. So, this is the part you can simply call a competent electrician to help work on your outlet changeover.

How Can I Use American Appliances (Like Vacuums) in the UK? (3 Ways!)

If you don’t want to buy a new Vacuum or your other U.S. devices while moving to the UK, then below are technical ways by which you can use American appliances (such as Vacuums) in the UK:

1- Use a Transformer

Getting a transformer is one of the best ways to use your US item in the UK.

A transformer will help you convert one voltage to another. This means a transformer will step down the 220V UK voltage to the appropriate US voltage (110 V).

However, getting a transformer does not necessarily mean that your US appliances will work effectively in the UK. For instance, if your US appliance uses a Synchronous Motor, the device may not be as effective as possible.

2- Use an Adapter

This is yet another way to get your US appliances running in the UK.

As we all know the US plug is not the same as the UK plug, so plugging your US plugs directly into a UK socket without an adapter is like putting a square peg in a round hole.

So, whenever you are planning a trip to the UK, ensure you get an adapter that your US plug can fit into. You can get a universal adapter as almost all the plugs around the world can fit into it.

3- Is Your Device a Dual-Voltage Device?

In case you are on a low budget and you can’t afford to buy a transformer. You can check if your US device uses dual voltage.

Dual voltage devices can easily adapt to almost all power supplies around the world. This is because they have a button that enables you to switch from one power supply to another.

Which American Electrical Items Work in the UK?

Due to voltage and frequency variation, most American electrical items will not work in the UK. But, there are exceptions to this.

1- Some large American appliances are specially designed to run on UK voltage and frequency. For instance, few ACs, refrigerators, washers, or dryers have voltage ranging from 110-220, and frequency ranging from 50-60 Hz.

2- Appliances like phones and computers (just to mention a few), can easily adapt to UK voltage and frequency.

For example, you can easily change from low voltage to higher voltage with a desktop computer. This is because the computer usually features a switch you can use to switch power supply types.

3- Many hotels and homes in the United Kingdom have the capability to handle a US electric shaver. They have outlets for this.

Final Thoughts!

It is important that you check the power supply rating on your vacuum cleaner before you plan to move with it from the US to the UK.

Besides, go with a transformer as well as an adapter because your US plug won’t fit into a UK socket. With these, you can happily move your US vacuum cleaner to the UK.

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