Can I use my garment steamer in South Africa?
Using a garment steamer in South Africa
Even when living out of a suitcase, we still want to look tip-top. A garment steamer comes in handy when wanting to get the wrinkles and creases out of your clothes. But can you just pack your garment steamer from home and will it work at your destination?
Whether your garment steamer will work in South Africa or not depends on two things, the voltage supported by your garment steamer and the type of power plug of your garment steamer.
Will my garment steamer work in South Africa?
- First check if your garment steamer can run on 230V, the voltage used in South Africa (read how). If your garment steamer can run on 230V, you'll just need the right power plug to connect to the power sockets used in South Africa.
- Your garment steamer can't run on 230V or you're not sure? You risk damaging your equipment or blowing a fuse making your device unusable when connecting to the power socket. Travel garment steamers are specifically designed to work with multiple voltages so you can safely connect wherever you go.
Does your garment steamer have the right power plug?
Your garment steamer runs on 230V? Great news! Now you'll need to make sure you can connect it to the local power outlets in South Africa. We've listed the power outlets used in South Africa below. If they don't look familiar you'll need to use a power plug adapter.
South Africa power plugs
Type C plug
Type M plug
Type N plug
If you are not sure, you can use the tool on this page to check if you need a power adapter for South Africa.
How to check the voltage of your garment steamer
To check the voltage that is supported by your garment steamer you should look for a label or numbers printed on the handle, base or power plug, the exact location will vary depending on the make and model of your garment steamer:
If you can't find the voltage on your device, be sure to check the instruction manual that came with your garment steamer.
Single voltage garment steamers will have a single number such as 230V or 110V. If this number matches the 230V used in South Africa, you can use your garment steamer in South Africa.
It is also possible that a single voltage steamer supports a small voltage range such as 220-240V or 100-120V, which means that the garment steamer can handle small fluctuations in voltage. As long as the 230V used in South Africa falls within this range, your steamer will work in South Africa.
Dual voltage garment steamers will list a larger voltage range separated by either a dash or a slash, for example 100-240V or 100/240V. If this is the case for your steamer, you can use it in South Africa. Dual voltage garment steamers can be used in all countries.
Important: some dual voltage garment steamers will handle different voltages automatically, others have a switch where you need to set the correct voltage first. If you have a dual voltage steamer, please make sure how your steamer handles different voltages.
What if my garment steamer doesn't support the voltage used in South Africa?
If your garment steamer does not support the 230V used in South Africa, you have two options. You can use a voltage converter that will enable you to use your own garment steamer, or you can use a dual voltage travel garment steamer.
Dual voltage travel garment steamer
Dual voltage travel garment steamers are lightweight devices that are designed specifically for travel, with features like a folding handle and a long power cord. Because these travel garment steamers are dual voltage, they will work in every country in the world.
When plugging in your garment steamer, make sure it is set to operate in 230V. The voltage switch is normally found on the base or the handle of the garment steamer, you might need a coin to turn it.
However, you still have to check if the power plug of the travel garment steamer is compatible with the outlets used at your destination. If this is not the case, you will still need a power adapter.
A voltage converter enables you to use your own garment steamer and other appliances with the 230V outlets used in South Africa. However, voltage converters have several drawbacks:
- A voltage converter will convert the voltage, but you still have to check if the voltage converter comes with plugs that will fit in the outlets in South Africa. If they don’t, you still have to get a power adapter.
- Voltage converters suitable for travel usually have a maximum supported power, for example 200 or 250 watt. This is not enough to be able to use a garment steamer, which typically uses 1000 watt or more.
- Converters that support higher power requirements are quite bulky and heavy, so these voltage converters are not really suitable for travel.
Because of these reasons you are usually better of using a dedicated dual voltage travel garment steamer instead of a voltage converter.
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