When travelling in developing countries I've found a lot of hotels have plug sockets that allow for plugs from a variety of different countries to be used without adapters. Basically something like this:

International plug socket

In developed countries however I've never came across a place that uses this sort of thing. Its always left up to guests to use their own adapters.

I've been wondering, is there a particular reason for this? Is it possible for me to install this sort of thing in my home or are there some dangers?

Of course using US or Japanese 120v appliances in a 240v country is generally inadvisable (and vice-versa) but between two different European countries is getting the plug to fit truly the only worry?

Its particularly appealing to me in my UK house as my partner comes from elsewhere in Europe so we regularly get guests from overseas. It seems it would be a nice convenience to put some of these in the guest room.

  • 2
    My guess is that "developed" countries are going to have strict building codes and that adapter in your picture would never pass any local certification/code approval.
    – JPhi1618
    Apr 3, 2020 at 16:02
  • The biggest problem with this scheme is getting the voltage and over-current protection correct. Apr 21 at 15:47

3 Answers 3


I do not recommend it. It would most likely be against the electrical code in your region. My experience with those types of receptacles is that they do not grip onto your plugs very well and they can pull out or even fall out from the weight of the cord.

Just get a couple sets of appropriate adapters and keep them in a drawer in the guest room.

  • 2
    Agree and even some of those adaptors are questionable...
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 3, 2020 at 10:14
  • 1
    Yes, actually having an electrical code and some code enforcement is a likely reason you don't see this in developed countries. i.e. While UK plugs are unquestionably well made and meet applicable local standards, I suspect it would be difficult or impossible to find UK plugs listed and qualified for installation in my USA home for the convenience of my UK guests.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 3, 2020 at 12:39
  • @Ecnerwal - I'm guessing that there won't be many U.K appliances (220v) that would work off 120v anyway. And the 50/60 cycles/sec. wouldn't make some of those compatible either.
    – Tim
    Apr 3, 2020 at 13:04
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    I wasn't talking about putting them on 120V? Why would you assume that? If installing 240V recptacles, you connect them to the 240V supply... 50/60 is less of a problem in the 50 to 60 direction than 60 to 50. (faster and cooler .vs. slower and may overheat.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 3, 2020 at 13:08

No, you'll never be able to use those ratty third-world "everything adapters". They are cheap Cheese junk, and they will never, ever, ever pass the lab testing at UL, ETL, CSA or BSI. It's never going to happen.

However, due to the EU harmonization and mutual certification rules, it may be possible to get a couple of appropriate IEC, Schuko etc sockets that are certified, listed and legal for use in the EU, and install those in a UK home. Don't know what you'd do about the switch and fuse requirements.

You may be better off obtaining some competent, listed adapters from a reputable bricks-and-mortar shop like Wickes, and just keeping them in the room.


The problem that one of these would hit in the UK is that it would allow you to plug unfused appliances directly into the outlet, as unlike G-Type plugs (i.e. UK, IE, Malta etc). other plugs do not require a fuse on board. You would need to ask an electrician, but there might be one of these available for the UK market with the fuse built into the socket to account for this.

The solution I came up for this very issue was to simply buy a EU power strip and change the plug on it for a UK plug. The current protection for everything plugged in will be provided by the fuse in the plug.

  • Would using a fused spur box for the foreign outlet be acceptable? Apr 21 at 11:37
  • Maybe, ask an electrician. But seriously, if you need lots of foreign plugs just modify an EU power strip for each room you need them in. It'll get you 90% of the convenience you are looking for with 0% of the problems.
    – DanielM
    Apr 22 at 14:04
  • 1
    EU power strips can be bought in the UK via RS: uk.rs-online.com/web/p/extension-leads-cable-reels/1221089
    – DanielM
    Apr 22 at 14:10

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