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Will a US Sewing Machine Work in the UK?

If you’re working on a sewing project and must travel out of the country soon, you’ll need to know if your sewing machine will work at your destination. After all, it’d be highly frustrating to arrive there and realize your device won’t start! 

Can a United States sewing machine run in the United Kingdom? You can get a US sewing machine to work in the UK using a power converter and a plug converter. The UK uses different plugs, outlets, and voltages for electronics in the US, making it harder to get your machine running, but not impossible.

You’ll want to make sure you choose the right parts, so you don’t accidentally fry your sewing machine. Everything you want to know is in this post, so let’s begin!

Voltage Differences: Can a US Sewing Machine Work in the UK?

Buildings and homes in the UK all use 240v, while the US uses 120v. So, if you try to use a device from the US that takes 120v, it won’t work when you bring it to the UK. It’s usually more convenient to use the machine you’re already used to, so you’ll need to know how to run it using the UK’s power system.

That also means the UK uses a voltage that’s twice as high as the US. If you don’t use a proper power converter, your sewing machine could take damage from the higher amount of electrical power coursing through it. 

The UK also uses different outlets than you’re used to seeing in the US. That means you’ll need to bring a plug converter too. The US uses two plug types: Type A and Type B. Many people refer to these types as “two-prong” and “three-prong”, respectively. In contrast, the UK only uses Type G. 

You will typically need a converter like this one here.

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You’ll need the plug converter to fit your machine’s type, so make sure you first know whether it’s Type A or B. However, you don’t need to be discouraged from bringing your sewing machine while traveling. Even though there are many differences between UK and US voltages, you can still use your sewing machine. You’ll just need to ensure you have a proper power converter first.

How To Use a US Sewing Machine in the UK: A Step-by-Step Guide

First, check the back or bottom of the sewing machine you plan to bring. Manufacturers have to list the required amount of volts to run it safely. You can often find it on the back of the machine, sometimes on the bottom. Once you have that crucial information, you’ll know what converter you need to make up the voltage difference. 

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Here are the steps to use a US sewing machine in the UK:

  1. Get the required plug adapter to plug your machine into the wall outlet in the UK.
  2. Some sewing machines are dual-rated appliances, which can operate on 120v or 240v. You won’t need to do anything else if that’s the kind of sewing machine you have.
  3. You need a power (aka voltage) converter if it’s not dual-rated. Most power converters are safe for a few hours at a time, but you shouldn’t use them continuously.

However, you’ll need to know that using a power converter with the machine can still lead to some damage to its motor due to the differences in Hertz usage between the two countries. Most people don’t notice any issues with their sewing machine, but you could also make any warranties on it invalid. Your device should say that you can use it 50/60 Hz before you try.

The Difference Between US and UK Sewing Machines

Suppose you’re unsure about using a power adapter or converter for your sewing machine. In that case, it can be safer to purchase a new one to use during your time in the UK. You’ll want to consider if doing so is more convenient for you and whether you’ll be able to get enough use out of the machine to make it worthwhile. 

However, there are some differences between US and UK sewing machines that you’ll want to know about first. Generally, UK sewing machines will almost always be much more expensive than the ones you get in the US.

So, if you’re worried about getting the best value, it’s going to be better to bring the machine you already have with you. The adapter and converter will likely cost less than the new sewing machine.

The sizes of the needles you use in the machine will also be different. In the UK, companies list needle sizes between 60 and 120, while the sizes in the US range between 8 and 19. With both options, the smaller numbers mean the needle is thinner, although it can be jarring at first.

Is My Sewing Machine Dual Voltage?

Depending on the manufacturer and model of your sewing machine, it could be either single or dual-voltage. A dual-voltage machine would be ideal for international travel since you wouldn’t need to worry about getting a power converter. The machine should also switch automatically between the two voltages.

You can tell that your sewing machine is dual-voltage if it lists the voltage reading as a range. For example, it might say 110v – 220v on the back. It could handle US and UK voltages since they fall into those ranges.

The only way to know if your sewing machine is dual-rated is to check! You might also be able to find information online if you know the brand and model number of the device.

Are Sewing Machines Allowed on International Flights?

Of course, that only matters if you bring the sewing machine with you on an international flight. Rules can vary between some airlines, but most will allow you to take a sewing machine with you in your checked bag. You’d need to ensure that it would fit in your luggage first.

Additionally, most airlines allow you to bring sewing machines in your carry-on. It would need to fit either the overhead bin on the plane or under the seat during your flight. 

You must make sure your sewing machine fits in your bags before the day of your flight. Some can be pretty bulky, so you don’t want any surprises!

Final Thoughts

In short, a US sewing machine can work in the UK. Although, you will need some tools to get it to work safely. An excellent way to know what you need is to check the required voltage for your sewing machine. 

If the required voltage is 120v, or the sewing machine is dual-rated, then all you need is an adapter to plug your appliance into the wall. However, if it’s different and your machine isn’t dual-rated, you’ll need to use a power converter. Sometimes, buying a new sewing machine in the UK can be easier, but it’s only worth it if you know you’ll get a lot of use from it.

Make sure to follow my tips and recommend products to ensure your sewing project turns out amazing! Also, don’t forget to check out my other articles for all your sewing Q&A’s. Happy sewing!

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