What is a “Shavers Only” Electrical Outlet?

An Electrician Explains the Shaver Socket

It’s very tempting to plug American devices into these sockets when traveling, especially when (as is so often the case for me) a suitable converter is unavailable. But should they be used for anything but shavers? After all, they are very clearly labeled. And what’s so special about shavers anyway?

Chatting with a seatmate on my long flight to Australia, I discovered he was an electrician who works in commercial sites. I jumped at the opportunity to inquire about this hotel electrical puzzle, and he quickly laid bare the mystery.

via What is a “Shavers Only” Electrical Outlet?.

3 Replies to “What is a “Shavers Only” Electrical Outlet?”

  1. I think that because they have a transformer in to concert the voltage, they have a very low power rating. Can’t see any reason why you couldn’t use to power a low power mobile device though for example. They should have a power rating written on them somewhere.

  2. From another place:

    Greg A. Woods

    Oddly that article fails to explain the real mechanism of protection, i.e. the use of galvanic isolation to prevent current from flowing to ground, e.g. through a faulty two-prong device such as a razor, a human body, and a sink faucet or similar grounded conductor.

    As mentioned in the comments you’re not supposed to plug anything more than a razor in them because if you try to pull too much current through them then they will over-heat. Current supplied to the output is limited due to the resistance of the coils and the impedance of the transformer, but of course making use of that resistance does generate heat, and I’ve seen razor transformers that have burned out (though they’ve done so safely and have not caused a fire — and without shorting the isolated coils together). I don’t remember ever seeing one that had any other form of built-in fuse. In North America they must supply at least 20VA, but not more than 50VA, and usually supply around 40VA.


  3. Nice little article; as a lifelong wet-shaver I’ve never used one of these for its intended purpose, but they recharge my toothbrush just fine. I also consider the “shaver guy” to be a nice piece of icon design which deserves more appreciation.

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