Canada power adapters - what plugs are used in Canada?

Canadian power outlet

What adapter do I need for Canada?

You'll need to bring a Type A plug adapter [3] to Canada if your plug doesn't fit in a Canadian power outlet.

The type of power adapter, power converter or charger that you'll need to bring when visiting Canada all depend on the voltage and type of device that you're trying to power with a Canadian power outlet. If you're unsure of what voltage your device can use then please read the section below on how can you tell if you have a dual voltage device first.

  • If you're travelling to Canada from the US then all US devices and appliances should charge without a power converter or an adapter. One suggestion however is to pack a USB travel power adapter as it will allow you to power multiple devices by only packing one power charger.
  • If your device can run on 120 volts or is dual voltage and your plug fits in a Canadian power outlet then it should work in Canada without needing anything else.
  • If your device can run on 120 volts or is dual voltage but your plug doesn't fit in a Canadian power outlet then you will need to bring a suitable plug adapter for Canada such a Type A plug adapter [3]. A plug adapter for Canada (or power adapter) will change the actual shape of the plug on your device to fit into a plug outlet found in Canada, but isn't designed to change the voltage from 120 volts to a different voltage.
  • If your device doesn't run on 120 volts and isn't dual voltage you will also need a power converter for Canada to convert the voltage from 120 volts to the correct voltage for your device. You will still need to pack a suitable plug adapter for Canada if the power converter doesn't use the correct Type A plug adapter.
  • If you simply want to power one or more USB devices such as mobile phones or tablets then a USB travel power adapter is suitable and it should be dual voltage, but ensure that you choose to bring a USB travel adapter which has a Type A plug adapter otherwise you'll also need to bring along a suitable plug adapter for Canada.
  • An increase in use of a phone during a vacation to Canada can leave you with a flat battery quickly, we recommend bringing a power bank [4] if you wish to keep your phone or other USB powered devices charged throughout the day whilst travelling to an unknown country.

Warning: If your device won't handle 120 volts you run a risk of a blown fuse, damage to your device or even an electrical fire hazard. Prior to using your device in Canada check the instruction manual first to ensure safe operation.

Canada power adapters

Power adapters for Canada

If you are organizing a vacation it can be useful to know in advance if you'll be able to use your vital electronics that you are bringing along with you. Without knowing which wall socket is being used you may bring the wrong power adaptor, thereby leaving you needing to purchase a suitable charger when you're there. Different voltages and sockets can often be confusing when planning on travelling to another country especially if you've never visited before. With only a handful of different types of common standards used throughout the world this article tells you exactly what you'll need in advance to charge your electronics in Canada. This page has links to step-by-step instructions telling you exactly which power adapters you'll need to supply power to your devices when you're visiting Canada by using the standard 120 volt 60Hz Type A power outlet, the Canadians will use a NEMA 1-15 P ungrounded plug for charging. Power will vary depending on which region you are in so please read the World power adapters page for a complete list of countries.

What is the best power adapter for Canada?

The best power adapter for Canada will be a Type A plug adapter [3] which is suitable for powering any 120 volt appliance or device.

What is the best power adapter for Canada?

What is a power adapter?

Power adapters are compact, cheap and lightweight plastic adapters that allow an electic socket in Canada to accept a different shaped power plug from an appliance from a different region.

Also known as: an electrical adapter, plug adapter, travel adapter, electrical adaptor, mains travel adapter or power adaptor [5].

Do I need a plug adapter in Canada?

If the power plug you are using is different to the shape of the Canadian power outlet then you will need a power adapter.

Do I need a power adapter for Canada if I'm visiting from the US?

An American plug won't need a plug adapter because it already fits in a Canadian power outlet.

What does a power adapter do?

A power adapter enables a visitor travelling from another country to use electrical appliances in Canada simply by changing the shape of the plug from one type to another.

Can a power adapter change the voltage in Canada?

A power adapter only adapts the shape of a plug to fit into a 120 volt Canadian power outlet and can't convert the power to a different voltage. If you wish to safely use any 220-240 volt device you also need to bring a more expensive step up power converter.

Where can I buy a power adapter for Canada?

Power adapters for sale in an airport

Where can I buy a power adapter for Canada?

Power adapters are typically available in most major airports prior to departure, however the range of adapters might be limited to popular destinations. It is recommended to research the exact type of adapter required prior to shopping at the airport. Look in the travel accessories section of airport newsagents, electronic stores and pharmacists but expect to pay 50% more than regular prices. Airports will be your last chance to buy a power adapter before departure, always check the returns policy to ensure you can easily exchange or refund a faulty or unsuitable product in an airside shop.

On arrival power adapters can be found in local electrical high street shops and drug stores, but always check the build quality first as safety standards might be different in a foreign country as this is important when dealing with electrical goods. Keep in mind that a shopping trip searching for power adapters in an unknown location might be impractical, especially as this needs to happen quickly before batteries run out.

Hotel receptions could have a power adapter for sale, hire or as a complimentary extra for guests; however, availability is normally limited and a hotel might not have the exact type required for your country. If in doubt, call ahead to the hotel first and request a reservation as it is unlikely that an adapter will be found in your room on arrival.

It will more convenient and cheaper to buy the correct power adapter in advance of your trip. High street stores normally sell popular types of travel adapters to popular locations and for widest choice it is recommended to buy a power adapter online.

Canada power outlets and plug sockets

What plug sockets are used in Canada?

Type A power outlets are used in Canada. You can identify the plug socket by 2 thin slots adjacent to each other for live and neutral pins.

What plug sockets are used in Canada?

Do US plugs work in Canada?

Yes, an American plug will work in Canada and does not need an adapter or power converter.

Are outlets in Canada the same as US?

A US plug will fit into a Canadian power outlet, both the voltage range and frequency are the identical to the US.

How do I use a 220 volt appliance in Canada?

To use a 220V appliance in a Canadian power outlet you need to use a step up power converter.

What is the frequency used in a Canadian power outlet?

The frequency from a Canadian power outlet is 60Hz.

Is the voltage in Canada the same as in the US?

The voltage which comes from a Canadian power outlet is 120 volts, the same as the US.

Is the power grid reliable in Canada?

Even though stable power can't be guaranteed, the power grid in Canada is classed as reliable as there is no history of persistent power failures.

What is access to electrical power in Canada like?

Access to electricity in Canada is excellent which covers the entire country.

Do I need a power bank for Canada?

Whilst power blackouts in Canada aren't regular and power is available to the entire population, visitors are still recommended to bring a portable charger to recharge mobiles.

  • For many the thought of being without their mobile leaves them anxious, particularly when being needed in an unknown location. During a trip to Canada increased use of mobile phones for storing calendars, taking pictures, getting directions, social network sharing and web browsing could drain power excessively. A flat smart phone battery could potentially leave you in an unknown location without sufficient power to make an emergency call or being able to use a sat nav app to get directions to your accommodation. Bringing along a portable charger [4] to Canada lowers the risk as it allows you to keep your smart phone powered on the go.
  • Use at least a 10,000mAh power bank [4] which can store enough energy to power over three full charging cycles and a 20,000mAh power bank [9] should keep an average cell phone charged for up to 7 days depending on the usage and model of the phone. The mAh value (milli ampere-hours) describes the capacity of the battery giving an indication of the number of charge cycles the portable charger can achieve, and a higher number is more suitable for travellers.
  • If you want to charge your laptop with a portable charger in Canada and it it supports USB-C charging then use a portable charger for a laptop [10] marked with PD (power delivery) and a model supplying at least 20 Wh.
  • Before travelling please note that some airlines won't let you bring batteries on an aircraft with more than 100 Wh of power and must be kept in carry-on luggage only.
  • Normal consumer power banks aren't designed for high wattage items that generate heat, but a rechargeable hair dryer [7] or gas hair straighteners [8] can be used for travelling.
Do I need a power bank for Canada?
How well do solar powered chargers work in Canada?

A solar backpack recharging

How well do solar powered chargers work in Canada?

Portable solar power banks [12] can slowly recharge in sunlight however because of the weather in Canada and the restricted size of the solar panel it won't be dependable enough for travellers. Due to their reduced surface area of the cells a solar power bank needs to be left in powerful sunlight for an extended period of time to provide enough power for a single charge cycle, which might prove difficult to continually unpack a solar power bank then wait whilst it recharges between cloud cover.

  • Instead, the much larger cells used on a solar backpack [11] will give the bag the ability to generate more power within a shorter period of time.
  • Phones that have been plugged directly into the USB charging port of a solar backpack will trickle charge the battery during sunny spells in Canada, however might be inconvenient to have a phone constantly tethered to the bag if it is to be needed constantly. A regular battery power bank [4] plugged into a solar backpack can be continuously powered up inside the bag during sunlight, afterwards you can recharge the phone using the power bank without sunshine.
  • Due to the weather in Canada a bag should have the very minimum solar cell efficiency of at least 22%, be able to generate a minimum of 6 watts of power and includes a 10,000mAH power bank or greater.
  • They are found in backpack, rucksack and laptop messenger styles which makes them perfect for domestic, travel and work. Unlike regular rigid solar cells, the flexible and durable solar cells used in solar powered bags are designed to survive scratching and bending.

Sources

  • International Electrotechnical Commission - World plugs by location (cited August 2014)
  • Wikipedia - Mains electricity by country (cited July 2014)
  • Index Mundi - Power outages in a typical month (cited May 2018, data collected between 2006 to 2017)
  • Index Mundi - Access to electricity (cited May 2018, latest data collected 2010)
  • WikiPedia - List of countries by average yearly temperature (cited May 2018, data averaged between 1961 to 1990)

Canada chargers

What is a USB travel power charger?

A USB travel charger is a dual voltage charger with interchangeable plugs and multiple USB ports, suitable for charging multiple USB powered devices when travelling abroad.

What USB charger do I need for Canada?

When you are travelling to multiple countries then the best international travel charger for Canada is a multiple USB charger which includes compatible plugs such as a 4 port USB travel charger [13].

Because these chargers are supplied with interchangeable plugs and can handle from 100 - 240 volts it makes them ideal for over 100 countries in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa simply by switching the heads over. If your device is compatible with Fast Charge (note not all USB devices do) then you will benefit from quicker charging times by using one of these types of USB travel chargers and additional compatibility with more power demanding devices. Unlike other travel adapters having a 4 port adapter means you can power multiple devices simultaneously without needing to bring multiple travel chargers for your trip. Only packing a single travel charger will keep the overall size and weight down, making it ideal to store in hand baggage whilst travelling and convenient for charging your devices at an airport or on a plane. Due to their flexibility these types of travel chargers can be used at home so when you're not on holiday they can sit under your bedside table charging multiple smartphones and tablets without using up an additional power outlet.

We recommend searching for this type of versatile travel charger at an electronics retailer; the multipurpose travel adapter illustrated is the 4 Port USB Wall Charger [13] which has been successfully tested for charging multiple USB devices in numerous foreign countries.

What USB charger do I need for Canada?

Why use a travel USB charger for Canada?

  • Normal travel USB chargers include 4 or more USB charger ports, meaning you only need to bring one charger to charge multiple devices. This helps reduce the weight of your baggage by only bringing one USB wall charger rather than bringing several different USB chargers.
  • Travel USB power chargers will include swappable plug heads for different power outlet types. This is ideal when visiting different countries across North America which are likely to use different standards to Canada.
  • Good USB travel chargers are lightweight, compact and rugged; perfect for the rigors of travel rather than risking bringing a domestic charger which could be impossible to repair or replace in Canada.
  • USB travel chargers will accept the 120 volt power outlets in Canada along with other voltage standards in other countries.
  • There is a chance that some hotels in Canada only have one wall outlet, by using a travel charger with multiple USB ports means you can share the single wall outlet with all your devices rather than having to wait to recharge each device one by one.
  • Because of their versatile nature a travel USB charger takes the uncertainty out of travelling to an unknown destination as they are guaranteed to work almost anywhere on the planet.
  • Power outlets found in airports can be in short supply and demand for charging multiple cell phones and tablets from other passengers during departure can be high, therefore a USB charger with multiple ports and the ability to charge quickly is perect.
  • Sometimes the power grid in a country can be unstable, a good quality travel charger allows for unexpected fluctuations and will prevent damage to any devices attached to it. Attempting to repair an overloaded mobile phone in Canada might prove to be difficult and costly.
  • Larger USB chargers also incorporate a power outlet strip to allow you to plug in low powered devices such as laptops, however these will be unsuitable for high wattage appliances such as hair dryers or clothes irons. Read our section on using travel appliances in Canada for useful guidelines and advice on the most suitable power adapter for a high powered devices with a Canadian power outlet.
  • Certain mobile phones could pull more than the standard 500 milliamps supplied by a normal 5 volt USB adapter to charge or provide fast charge. Quality USB chargers will support fast charging incase any of your devices need extra power.
  • When returning home travel USB power chargers can also be useful by recharging multiple cell phones every day using a single power outlet.

What is the best USB charger for Canada?

The is the most compact option for travellers from any country wanting to recharge devices using USB, but for visitors also wishing to use their domestic plugs the following power adapters provide larger but more versatile solutions. All three power strips offer surge protection which is useful when visiting counties with unreliable power grids to prevent damage to any connected devices. These power adapters come with interchangeable type C, I and G plugs covering Continental Europe, North America, Australia, United Kingdom, Japan, China and over 150 destinations:

  • BESTEK Portable International Travel Voltage Converter - The BESTEK travel adaptor has 4 USB charging ports with 3 AC power outlets and is the best selling compact option for travellers originating from America visiting Canada using 3 pin type B US plug sockets.
  • ORICO Traveling Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip - Likewise having 4 USB ports but only 2 AC power outlets the travel adapter from Orico is also aimed at travellers from North America using type B plugs. This gives the same functionality as the BESTEK with only one less AC outlet for almost half price.
  • BESTEK International USB Travel Power Strip - This power strip has 2 AC outlets but offers 5 USB charging ports. This versatile power strip is compatible with both American plugs and popular plug types A, D,E/F, G, H, I, L and N making it perfect for a majority of travellers from around the world visiting Canada.

Power converters for Canada

What is a power converter for a Canadian power outlet?

A power converter for Canada will enable travellers to use a 220-240 volt electric appliance with a 120 volt Canadian power outlet.

Also known as: electrical converter, electrical transformer, voltage converter, power transformer or voltage transformer.

What is the difference between a power converter and a plug adapter for Canada?

A lightweight, cheap and small power adapter (or plug adapter) changes the shape of the plug on your device to fit into a power outlet found in Canada, however an expensive and bulkier power converter [14] will transform the voltage of 120 volts from a Canadian power outlet to work with a non-120 volt appliance.

Do I need a power converter for Canada?

When travelling to Canada from another country please check that your device can be used with a 120 volt power supply.

  • You will need a step up power converter [15] if you are visiting Canada from a country that uses 220-240 volts and your device is incompatible with 120 volts. See our WikiConnections list of world power outlets guide to discover which voltage is used in your country.
  • You shouldn't need a power converter if you are already using either a single voltage device that works with 120 volts or one that supports dual voltage.
  • Typically, devices which originated from a different country which use a higher voltage such as 240 volts and then used in a 120 volt power outlet sometimes take longer to charge or won't power up. If your device charges slowly or does not power up when travelling to Canada from a different region check that it can be used with a 120 volt power supply otherwise you will need to bring a step up power converter [15].
  • You won't need a converter if you wish to charge a smaller electrical device such as a tablet or cell phone as these are normally support dual voltage and designed for international use, but you should always check the device for dual voltage support prior to your journey.
  • For powering high wattage appliances or generate heat (for example clothes irons and hair dryers) then you will need to use a more expensive higher wattage heavy duty power converter [16] which allows the appliance to be used with a 120 volt Canadian power outlet.
  • Investing a robust lightweight dual voltage travel appliance will be more practical and cost effective than bringing a much heavier power converter just to use your existing domestic appliance.
  • For more information read these comprehensive guides on travelling with clothes irons, curling wands, flat irons and blow dryers with a Canadian power outlet , along with advice for some affordable dual voltage alternatives.

Do I need a power converter for Canada if I'm from the US?

A US plug does not need a power converter because the voltage from a Canadian power outlet is in the same 100-120 volt range as America.

What kind of converter do I need for Canada?

You will need to buy a step up power converter [15] to use any 220, 230 or 240 volt appliance in Canada.

What is the difference between a transformer and a converter?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a transformer and a converter?

Converters and transformers are both used to change one voltage to another, but this ambiguity can cause confusion as their purposes are different:

  • Power converters are designed for simple electrical appliances which typically generate heat or use motors such as clothes irons, shavers or hair dryers. Transformers are designed for more complex electronic items such as televisions or games consoles.
  • Buying a power converter is cheaper than buying a power transformer.
  • Power transformers are larger and heavier making them more suited for permanent residential use; for example an expat wishing to use an imported television would need to use a transformer for this purpose.
  • Power converters are more suitable for travellers wishing to bring domestic appliances abroad such as hair dryers or flat irons. However, it is more practical and cost effective to purchase a dual voltage appliance designed for travel rather than a heavier power converter.
  • Power converters are suitable for 2 pin ungrounded appliances, it could be harder to find a converter if you want to use a grounded 3 pin appliance.
  • Transformers can be used constantly however it is recommended that converters are used for no longer than a couple of hours at a time.
  • Shops may sell transformers under the name of converters, for the purposes this guide we will be referring to both converters and transformers as converters.

How to convert 120 volts to 220 volts

  1. Use a step up power converter [15] to allow you to use 220, 230 and 240 volt appliances with a 120 volt Canadian power outlet.
  2. If the power converter doesn't include the correct shaped plug then it will also be necessary to plug in the power cord from the power converter into a power adapter for Canada before plugging that into a Canadian power outlet.
  3. Some power converters include the ability to perform both step up and step down voltage conversions, therefore it may be necessary to manually switch the converter to output the voltage from 220-240v.
  4. Plug your appliance into the converter and turn the power on, your 220-240 volt appliance can now be used with a 120 volt Canadian power outlet.

What voltage is used in Canada?

Canada uses 120 volts in their normal power outlets.

How can you tell if you have a single voltage or dual voltage device?

Dual voltage hair dryer

How can you tell if you have a single voltage or dual voltage device?

The method to see if a appliance is dual voltage is to look for a sticker on the supplied power adapter or on the unit itself, typically on the rear of the device or near to where the power cord sits. The location will depend on the make and model of your device and could also state on the box.

  • Single voltage devices might have a specific number - such as 240V.
  • Single voltage devices could also say a small voltage range (around 20 volts) with a dash to accomodate small voltage fluctuations - such as 100-120V.
  • Dual voltage devices will typically say a larger range separated with a slash - such as 100/240V.

What can I connect to a Canadian power outlet

Travel appliances that can connect to a Canadian power outlet

Beats Pill speakers which can connect to a Canadian power outlet

Jabra Bluetooth speakers which are compatible with a Canadian power outlet

Mobile phones which work with the Canadian power outlet

Apple iPhones that can be connected to a Canadian power outlet

Samsung Galaxy phones that work with a Canadian power outlet

A list of Amazon Kindle tablets which work with a Canadian power outlet

A list of Apple iPads which are compatible with a Canadian power outlet

Corrections

We endeavor to ensure all details on this page are correct and relevant to travelers visiting Canada, if you wish to contribute any useful information or feedback please email travel@wikiconnections.org. For more comprehensive technical details visit the Wikipedia page on AC power plugs and sockets [18].

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada - Canada entry on wikipedia.org.
  2. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/ - International Electrotechnical Commission World Plugs
  3. Type A plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type A power outlets without converting voltage.
  4. Portable charger - A power bank is a portable charger which can recharge USB powered devices such as mobile phones and tablets on the go.
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adapter - power adaptor
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country
  7. Rechargeable hair dryer - Rechargeable battery powered blow dryer suitable for travelling.
  8. Gas hair straighteners - Cordless ceramic hair straighteners powered by gas cartridges.
  9. 20,000mAh portable charger - High capacity 20000mAh high-speed portable USB charger suitable for charging mobile phones and some tablets for several days.
  10. USB-C PD power bank - Power Delivery charger suitable for charging laptops with USB-C support.
  11. Solar backpack - A solar backpack will charge USB devices or an internal power bank when left in sunlight.
  12. Solar power bank - Portable power bank with solar cells which can recharge when placed in sunlight and power any USB powered device.
  13. 4 Port USB Wall Charger - A universal USB charger capable of charging up to 4 USB devices with swappable international adapters.
  14. Power converter - A step up step down power converter converts 110-120 volts up to 220-240 volts and 220-240 volts down to 110-120 Volts.
  15. Step up power converter - A step up power converter allows a 220-240 volt appliance to be used in a 100-120 volt power outlet.
  16. Heavy duty power converter - A 5000 watt heavy duty step up and step down power converter used to convert voltages for domestic appliances, power tools, televisions, heating appliances and motors.
  17. Step down power converter - A step down power converter allows a 100-120 volt appliance to be used in a 220-240 volt power outlet.
  18. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC_power_plugs_and_sockets - AC power plugs and sockets