Travel top tip: the ‘shavers only’ outlet

After the success of my travel top tip for charging your devices, it’s time for a follow up. Not only will I reveal a hidden option to charge your devices, I will resolve one of the great hotel room mysteries: the shavers only outlets in the bathroom.

Most of you will have probably noticed power outlets in hotel bathrooms that indicate shavers only. For years, I’ve wondered about them, but forgotten once I left the bathroom.

Turns out that they are relic from the past, well sort of. Long before the general use of fuse boxes, there was serious concern to install power outlets in bathrooms. As the combination of water and electricity isn’t the best idea in most cases, a restricted power outlet was installed as a safety precaution. Even though our electrical installation has been improved with many safety features over the last century, the concern has remained and so have the outlets.

The reason that I spent some time researching them today, is due to my current location. I am in the U.K. for a few weeks and having devices with standard European plugs, I need an adapter for British outlets. Actually several, as one active outlet doesn’t cut it anymore with the amount of devices we carry around these days (laptop, tablet, smartphone, power bank, …).

In the bathroom I noticed that the shaver only outlets will fit European and American plugs. Would I dare to plug anything else in? Turns out that it is quite OK to do so, for low-power electric devices such as phone and tablet chargers. High-power devices such as laptop chargers draw too much electricity, so it is best to refrain from connecting them. Do be careful however, as they often offer the choice between European 230V and American 115V. Oh, and the ones built into the lights over the sink often require the light to be switched on to work.

See you’ve learned something and gained another power source. Result!

Use the shaver only outlet with caution and only when you are present. If you are unsure about your device or its power usage, please do not plug it in.


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