Electrical – use a transformer to run a 120V/60Hz appliance on a 220V/50Hz electrical system


I live in a country where the electrical supply is 220V/50Hz.

I would like to buy a electric grill in Canada, where the supply is 120V/60Hz.

Can I run this appliance using a transformer? The appliance consists mainly of heating elements and dial to set the temperature, although one model has a digital temperature indicator screen.

Best Answer

Yes, you could buy and install a step-down transformer. However, heating appliances use a lot of power (an electric grill might use 900–1500 watts) and the corresponding transformer will likely be as much as the price of the appliance. Here are some which might do. Notice that a 1500 watt transformer weighs 18 pounds (8 kg)! The transformer should be rated at least twice the nominal load of the heating device to handle the cold start power curve.

If you are in an area with unstable voltage, a regulated transformer would provide some protection against under and over voltage. See these.

It is certainly better to buy an appliance which adapts to different voltages—which is easy with most electronic gizmos like computers and cell phone chargers—or is made specifically for 240 V.