In September I'm moving from the US to South Korea. South Korea uses 220V/60Hz power and the continental European C/E/F-style plugs. As part of my budgeting process, I'm working on determining what electrical equipment I need to buy. For my devices which are rated only for 120V, the decision is easy - I will buy a step-down transformer and connect my US-bought surge protector to it, then connect the 120V devices through the surge protector as needed.

But for the devices which are rated for 120-240V, I'm having a harder time figuring out what to do. I want to limit the use of the step-down transformer since it'll be expensive and I want to maximize its life, so I want to connect these devices directly to Korea's 220V outlets. I know I can do this by either changing the plugs or using simple adapters, but I still need surge protection for these devices, and I'm having a hard time finding any surge protectors on Korea's major online shopping sites. I don't speak Korean perfectly yet, so I could be wrong, but it seems like all of their "safety" power strips actually just have a circuit breaker and not a surge protector. (Specifically, they say they will interrupt the power if the current is too high, which sounds to me like the description of a circuit breaker and not a surge protector.)

Would it be better to buy one of these circuit breaker power strips in Korea and hope for the best surge-wise, or would it be better to find a way to order a surge protector intended for use in continental Europe?

Continental Europe's power matches Korea's in every way except that Korea uses 60Hz and Europe uses 50Hz.

Does that matter in a surge protector?

  • I think there's a travel site within the SE universe, and I think they might deal with this type of question. I'll investigate migration, as they might offer more help.
    – Tester101
    Jan 17, 2016 at 3:33
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    My experience with stepdown transformers is: I should have put the 120V item on eBay and bought a new 220V one. If it is cheap, the transformer is not worth it, and if it is expensive, either it is already dual-voltage (all computer stuff for the last 15 years) or it will draw enough current to blow the transformer. Jan 18, 2016 at 18:15
  • As the OP is talking about migrating, so long term use of the electronics, I wonder if Expatriates Stack Exchange is a better place for this Q.
    – Willeke
    Jan 18, 2016 at 18:50

1 Answer 1


I would suggest finding a few models that meet your specifications on EU sites and then searching for those exact models from Korean retailers. Those sold in Europe will mostly come from SE Asia anyway.

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    For price reasons, I'd still like to know if the 50Hz European models will work on Korea's 60Hz power, but your answer did help me to find another solution if they won't. For anyone else looking at this in the future with the exact same problem, if you search "서지보호기" along with "멀티탭" you can find some surge protectors, but they are expensive and don't have enough outlets for me.
    – Amy
    Jan 17, 2016 at 17:20

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