Our Guide To International Power Frequencies

If you’re planning to use your equipment in an overseas destination, it’s important to check which power frequency is used in the country and whether your own equipment can be applied to this particular frequency.

Here we have provided an overview of the power frequencies used in each country, so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not you will require a frequency converter during your trip.

The standard power frequencies used

There are two main power frequencies that are used across the globe, 50Hz and 60Hz (Hertz). These power frequencies can differ, depending on the geographic area you are in, but 50Hz is the most common frequency used. In fact, there are an estimated 40 countries across the globe that use 60Hz, with the rest using 50Hz.

Use our map to determine which countries use 60Hz and which use 50Hz, to know which power frequency your equipment needs to work in different locations around the world.

400Hz is the exception

The only exception to the 50/60 frequency rule is with 400Hz, which is typically used in aircraft, submarines, server rooms and some military equipment, for example. 400Hz is typically used when the motors, power supply and transformers used need to be more compact and lightweight.

Converting from 50Hz to 60Hz and vice versa

If your equipment requires a 60Hz current but you’re hoping to utilise it in a country that uses a 50Hz power frequency, you will need a frequency converter to safely operate it. The same goes for it you are planning to utilise at 50Hz piece of equipment in a country that requires 60Hz.

The biggest benefit of frequency converters is that they allow you to run your equipment with the amount of power required, whilst keeping the running as efficient as possible and without decreasing the lifetime of your equipment. Find out more about our 50Hz to 60Hz and 60Hz to 50Hz frequency converters here.

A note on ships and “home power”

At a time where there’s a need to reduce the world’s carbon footprint, governments and industry professionals are looking for ways to reduce the carbon footprint of ships utilising their power whilst docked at a port. That’s because ships have been having to leave their engines switched on in order to utilise their own power whilst waiting at ports, creating an abundance of noise, smells and pollution during the process.

However, the development of ship to shore frequency means that ships are now able to turn off their engines and plug into a shore’s power, drastically reducing the amount of pollution and disturbance usually caused.

When planning to utilise the shore’s power to operate the ship’s equipment, it’s important to remember that ships are typically built to take its home’s power frequency, so there may be cases where a shore to ship power frequency is required. For example, most countries run off 50Hz power, so many ships are built with 50Hz power in mind. However, docking in the USA means that ships are required to utilise the country’s 60Hz power frequency – a classic case where ship to shore frequency converters can come in handy. It is also important to consider the neutral and ingress protection. We can offer containerised solutions to protect the machinery if it is dockside or onboard a vessel. Please feel free to contact us so we can better understand your requirements.

For further information on frequency converters, their uses and their benefits, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team.