Got your big trip to New Zealand booked and getting down to the details like packing, trying to work out what to bring and what you can use when you’re here, like your phone, tablet, laptop, camera and hairdryer? We’ve been hosting overseas visitors for decades now and have fielded our fair share of questions about which appliances you can use in New Zealand, what the voltage here is, what the plugs look like, whether you need an adaptor and more, so here's our handy little guide to which appliances from home you can use in New Zealand.
Can I use my appliances from home in New Zealand?
This question relates to the voltage of appliances, not the compatibility of the plugs, which we’ll answer next.
If you bring electrical appliances from North America to New Zealand you should be able to use them, if they’re relatively modern, but you’ll need an adaptor for the power plug. The thing to check is that you can safely use them at New Zealand voltage, 240 volts. Modern appliances have been designed for use from 110-240 volts, so you should be OK as long as it’s not a 1980s electric razor you’re bringing! But this is electricity, so make sure you check - if it doesn't state clearly on your appliance that it’s safe for use up to 240 volts the chances are you won’t be able to use them and you might destroy them or even hurt yourself if you do so don’t do it! The good news is that most modern American appliances, the things that you’re most likely to bring with you, are built to be safely used in both your home country and here in New Zealand, but you’ll need an adaptor for the plug.
If you bring appliances to New Zealand from the UK or Australia then yes, you can use them at New Zealand voltage (as long as you have an adaptor for the plug).
What is the voltage in New Zealand?
The voltage in New Zealand is 230/240 volts, which is different than in the USA (110 volts), Canada (110/120 volts) but the same (or close enough to use) as in the UK and Australia. You may see some 110 volt sockets in older buildings in New Zealand, the only place we’ve ever seen them is in the bathrooms for plug in razors.
What do electric sockets in New Zealand look like and do I need an adaptor?
Electric sockets in New Zealand look like the one in the picture above, most plugs are the 3 pin type as shown in the picture. The bottom pin is the Earth plug, some smaller appliances don’t have this and they’re safe to use as long as they are from an approved manufacturer and pass the safety standards in your home country.
To help you work out whether you need an adaptor, see the main picture at the top to see what sockets and plugs look like in your home country, and in New Zealand.
Again, it depends where you come from to work out if you need to get an adaptor. Coming from the USA, Canada or the UK, you will need a New Zealand power adaptor. If you’re coming from Australia, then you don’t have to worry about a thing cobber, you’re good to go!
What kind of adaptor will I need?
Once you’ve checked your appliance and you’re sure that you can use it at our voltage, and then all you need is a really simple adaptor that you can plug your appliance into, which then lets you plug into the sockets here. Most of these are very small and light, so super easy to use and carry around. Something like this:
Handy travel tip - bring a multi appliance board from home
If you’re planning on bringing a few small appliances with you, here’s a great tip. Buy a multi socket power board (the compact cube types are great for travelling with) in your home country and one adaptor for this power board, then when you’re here you plug the power board into the NZ socket with the adaptor, and all your other appliances plug right into the board without needing an adaptor! Easy, but make sure the power board can be used at 240 volts!
A lot of these available nowadays have both traditional sockets and USB ports as well, a great way to cover all your bases. You can plug your smart phones and tablets straight into the USB ports, and traditional appliances like a hairdryer into the traditional socket. If everything you're bringing has a USB lead, then save space and get a small USB only charger.
Do New Zealand hotel rooms have hairdryers?
Most do, yes. If you’re staying in 4 to 5 star hotels, they will have hairdryers in the room, or at worst, you’ll be able to get one from reception. Same with motels, you should be able to get one but if you’ve got a small hairdryer you like travelling with, then bring it along, just to be safe. At the hotels we stay at on our tours, hairdryers are provided in your room every night.
It’s natural that you’ll have a few questions about your big trip, and if you’re coming over to see us and join one of our small group tours, a big part of what we do is helping you with any questions you may have, so feel free to get in touch any time. You might also find Visiting New Zealand or Frequently Asked Questions pages on our website useful. Any questions, give us a shout and we look forward to seeing you soon!