Why do electric toothbrushes comes with 2 pin chargers?
So you have just bought that new electric toothbrush, but wait, how do you charge it? It has a 2 pin connector on it, rather than 3 pin connector you are used to here in the UK.
Well, there is a sensible reason behind this, which I will explain in a bit more detail below.
However, for those of you who want the quick answer or solution, you will be pleased to know that there is one. They are 2 to 3 pin adapters available from many large retailers.
Why is there a 2 pin socket in my bathroom? 2 sockets and chargers explained.
Ok, so there is good reason behind the 2 pin adapter, I will now explain this and I promise I won’t get too technical.
The reason is all to do with SAFETY.
Please note: This information relates to the UK and Europe primarily, America and many other countries differ.
In the UK the mains electricity that you connect your appliances and gadgets into works on 240 volts. This is a high voltage and can cause serious injury and death if you were to touch a live electrical line.
Under most circumstances if you include water and electricity the effects of injury are much greater as water reduces the resistance the human body has to the electrical current.
Therefore to protect people, a ‘safer’ less powerful form of electrical socket was introduced into bathrooms, where water is generally present more frequently.
This safer solution was and is the 2 pin socket, similar to the 2 pin SCHUKO connector found in many European countries.
This meant that more traditional power hungry products could now not easily be used within these rooms, only lower power items, therefore reducing the chances of injury.
An extreme example, but imagine if you had a toaster in your bathroom. Whilst this was switched on, it fell into the bath, which was full of water and you were in it too. The resulting consequence is not one I like to think about it. You will be ‘toasted’ yourself.
Toasters don’t come with a 2 pin connector, so you can’t use it in your bathroom and as a result you are now a bit safer from electrocution and possible death!
Nobody wants to be toasted whilst in the bath, so to avoid people doing silly things like this, the ‘safer’ less powerful sockets were introduced.
With it came a new connector. Hence the 2 pin plug you find on the charging stands for electric toothbrushes and to power other things like electric shavers, which are most commonly used in the bathroom.
These sockets are often known as ‘shaver sockets’ because this is what is commonly connected into them. Many faceplates for sockets in bathrooms will say ‘shavers only’.
UK building regulations mean you cannot fit a regular 3 pin mains power adapter in a bathroom, even the ‘shaver socket’ has to be a safe distance away from the bath or shower. This is often why many sockets are part of a light fitting above a mirror and hidden behind a little door, making it harder to access. All to protect you and I from injuring ourselves.
Other countries around the world may have normal sockets in their bathrooms. Why? For some it is because of the lower voltage used, so the effects of electric shock and serious injury are reduced. In other cases it is less established safety measures and in others there is a trust that you as an individual won’t do anything silly enough to put your life at risk.
You could today still if you wanted put a toaster in your bathroom but you would have to plug that toaster into a 3 pin socket in another room, probably via an extension cord. There is only so far legislation can go at this time to stop you from doing things like this, but going to such efforts puts you off doing it at all.
For those who want a little more technical reasoning, inside the socket is what is known as an isolation transformer. This works by using the mains supply to power a small transformer that is electrically isolated from the rest of the supply and any earth in the bathroom. Theoretically you can touch the live output and the earthed metal work in the bathroom and be OK.
Want to know a little more? The following short video from Skross I believe gives a little more detail and further explains earthed and unearthed sockets and connectors.
Does that now make sense? I hope so.
However, I understand there are probably still a few questions you want answered so here are a few common questions and answers.
I don’t have a 2 pin shaver socket in my bathroom, what do I do?
You need to purchase an adapter, that will allow you to connect a 2 pin connector such as that on your electric toothbrush to a 3 pin socket.
They generally look like:
They are often really inexpensive at just a few £.
A great example is the 2 to 3 pin adapter plug complete with fuse — View on Amazon.
Once you have this, you can then charge your toothbrush from a socket anywhere else in your home.
|Tec UK -Shaver adaptor UK 2 To 3 Pin 1A Fuse Adaptor Plug for Shaver/Toothbrush||31 Reviews||£3.99||View on Amazon|
Can I connect a 2 pin connector to my 3 pin mains socket?
Yes you can. You require a good quality, fuse adapter such as that from TC Travel (view on Amazon) and you are then set to power your 2 pin powered appliance from a 3 pin mains adapter.
What’s the best 2 to 3 pin mains adapter?
There isn’t one ‘best’ 2 pin to 3 pin mains adapter. There are many options but you generally get what you pay for.
It is worth paying a bit more to ensure you get a good quality adapter as you don’t want to risk any electrical shocks or damaging your electronic items.
A very cheap option is the Gadget Hut shaver adapter (view on Amazon).
|Gadgets Hut UK 2 Pin To 3 Pin 1A Fuse Adaptor Plug For Shaver/Toothbrush||124 Reviews||£4.19||View on Amazon|
A slightly more expensive option, but possibly better quality option is the previously mentioned TEC Travel option.
Is a 2 pin shaver plug the same as a 2 pin European mains adapter?
No, not quite. A 2 pin plug found on an electric toothbrush or shaver has pins that are closer together than a traditional 2 pin EU mains adapter.
This means that appliances that would normally connect to a shaver socket cannot and should not be connected to mains power in Europe.
For example, if you charge your electric toothbrush in a shaver socket at home in the UK, that same plug cannot and should not be connected to the 2 pin socket found on the wall of your hotel room in France or Spain. However, most bathrooms will have a shaver socket which you can connect to.
If they do not you will need an adapter such as the Kit UK 3 pin to Euro 2 pin Mains Adapter (view on Amazon)
|Kit UK 3-Pin to Euro 2-Pin Mains Adapter/Travel Plug - White||365 Reviews||£5.02||View on Amazon|
If travelling from France or Spain or similar countries, your appliances you would normally connect to the wall should not be connected to sockets found in bathrooms here in the UK. You need an adapter such as the Skross Country Travel Adapter (view on Amazon).
|Skross World to UK Mains Charger Adapter Kit - White||11 Reviews||£14.99||View on Amazon|
Can I take my electric toothbrush travelling with me? What adapter do I need?
Yes you can take your toothbrush with you when travelling.
Much depends on where you are travelling too.
We have a full guide to using an electric toothbrush abroad which you can read, but a summary is explained below.
If you are travelling to another country that has the same electrical voltage then you simply need a plug adapter.
A great solution I believe is the Skross Pro World Travel Charger (view on Amazon). It works in over 220 countries and works with devices up to 2500w. You still need to have a 2 pin to 3 pin adapter fitted to it, but it works in so many countries.
|SKROSS PRO World Travel Charger - White||4 Reviews||£27.54||View on Amazon|
Most larger hotels will have a ‘shaver socket’ in the bathroom that will be suitable for your electric toothbrush. However in some counties and regions this may not apply.
When travelling to a country that uses a different voltage to that in your home country, you need to check a few things.
For the sake of example, let’s say you live in the UK and are going to the USA.
Assuming you are going long enough that you need to charge your brush when there.
The UK uses 240V electrics whereas the USA uses 110V.
Most electric toothbrushes bought in the UK and Europe have charging stands that work on 220-240V. So to use them in the USA, you need a power converter to allow the the charging stand to accept the 110V.
You can buy these from various retailers online or in the high street.
Do your research on the voltage in a particular country to ensure you are getting the right converter.
In the instances where the voltage in the country you are travelling to is lower, you need a ‘step up’ converter and when the voltage is higher you need a ‘step down’ converter.
Some electric toothbrushes have charging stands that will support 110-240V meaning you will not need the voltage converter. The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean is one example.
What you may need as well though is a plug adapter. This is to convert the 2 pin adapter found on most charging stands in the UK and Europe to work with the power supply in the other country.
When using a voltage converter, you may need a different adapter to the one you think.
Using the travel form the UK to the USA again, the ‘Step Up’ voltage converter has the 2 pin US connector on it, but actually offers up a 3 pin UK power adapter. However your toothbrush has the 2 pin adapter, so although you are travelling to the USA, you will need the 2 pin to 3 pin adapter.
Why are 2 to 3 pin adapters not included with my electric toothbrush or shaver?
This is a good question and one we have often thought about ourselves, it would be a nice addition. There are 2 main reasons.
The first is the need for it. Many, but not all bathrooms have a 2 pin shaver socket, so the adapter is surplus to requirements for many.
The second is cost. If every electric toothbrush came with a 2 to 3 pin adapter it would put the cost up by a few £ and many companies want to keep costs down, so it is often best to exclude it.
Can I get an adapter to charge multiple devices from a shaver socket? I want to charge a toothbrush and shaver from one socket.
Yes and no.
Generally speaking they do not exist from reputable sellers. I have seen some, but we have questions about their safety and reliability.
The sockets are not designed to take ‘extra’ strain.
You are best powering or charging each device independently as and when you need it. For example, connect and charge your toothbrush, when that is done, connect and charge your shaver or other appliance.
I really hope all of the above is helpful to you and has answered any questions you may have had about 2 pin plugs and adapters required for electric toothbrushes and similar products like shavers.
If you have any questions, or have any of your own, tips, advice and feedback that can help improve this article or indeed help others, your input is most appreciated. Please comment below.
Last updated: 2018-08-19 at 10:41 // Source: Amazon Associates