Plugged In: Navigating the Regulations of Converter Plugs

Plugged In: Navigating the Regulations and Necessity of Converter Plugs for Safe Electrical Appliance Use in the UK


Did you know? 

All domestic electrical appliances sold in the UK are regulated to have a British 13A style plug (BS 1363) or a conversion plug fitted (except for appliances designed for use with a BS 4573 shaver socket).

By law, if an electrical appliance has a non-UK plug, it must be fitted with a converter plug to be sold. The converter plug must be fitted, enclose the foreign plug, be secured, and can only be it is removed by using a tool.


"… is fitted with a conversion plug which complies with the requirements of paragraph (3) below and which encloses the fitted non–UK plug and can only be removed by the use of a tool.." Prohibitions on supply etc. of appliance 12.— Paragraph (2), (b) | 1994 No. 1768, CONSUMER PROTECTION, The Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994


However, it is commonplace to find appliances in the marketplace that are either sold with a foreign plug, or illegally supplied with a travel adaptor, with the supplier disregarding the regulations. 



The reason it needs to be fused - The wiring system in the UK….

In the UK, socket outlets are typically connected through a ring circuit, designed to cater to numerous sockets and safeguarded by a 32A-rated circuit breaker. In contrast, many other countries primarily use radial circuits, featuring a limited number of sockets protected by a circuit breaker with a significantly lower current rating.

The British Plug features a fuse, which protects the flexible cord attached to the appliance. Without this fuse, the appliance would need to have a larger cord with a current rating compatible with the 32A circuit breaker.

In contrast, most other domestic plugs do not have a fused fitted (remember those circuits have less sockets fitted to the main circuit breaker), so, therefore the plugs need to have a suitable fused adaptor for safe operation in the UK.


So, why Converter Plugs? 

As previously discussed, the adaptor that is used must enclose the plug, be fitted securely, and it must also be fused. Converter plugs (or Conversion Plugs as they are also known) tick the boxes of those requirements.


Selling into the UK?

Stay legal. Our range of converter plugs are the safe, legal, and cost-effective way to sell into the UK with an appliance fitted with a non-UK plug. For example, if you have a European product to sell and it is fitted with a European flat two pin plug (CEE7/7) or a Schuko plug (the bigger rounder chunkier plug), the converter plug will fit over the plug and secured to the plug.

There are also converter plugs for the rest of the world style plugs too, just remember to check the voltage. Converter Plugs change the plug style not the voltage. 


Or, do you need to replace a broken converter?

If you have an existing appliance that has a broken converter plug, for example, it was dropped or stood on and the top pin has broken off, not a problem. We have an adaptor in the range that you can select from. 


What about the everyday use of travel-adaptor style Adaptor Plugs? 

It is crucial to remember that plug adaptors are specifically designed for short-term use by individuals visiting the UK.  If they do need to be used on a short-term basis, the adaptors designed to enable a non-UK plug to be used with a UK socket must meet the requirements of BS 1363:

  • Contain a fuse
  • Shutter protection (for the Line and Neutral contacts)
  • Approval body markings

Remember. Travel adaptors are not suitable replacements for converter plugs. If used for anything other than a temporary basis, adaptors should be replaced with a British plug or a conversion plug.

My Basket, 0 Items

No items Added

Terms and conditions agreement

Please read our Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy.*