When we import electrical items from some other countries, in our excitement we forget that the device has to be compatible with the plug types and voltages in Australia. Usually we import from the US, where the North American sockets supply electricity at between 110 to 120 volts which is much lower than Australian sockets. Since the appliance is built for a lower voltage, the only way to know whether it is compatible is to check, which can either result in something good or you could even fry your precious gadget.
Electrical sockets, in Australia, usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you are plugging in an appliance which was designed for 220-240 volt of electrical input or an appliance which is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need. But even then the adapter will not change the voltage; it would still be at around 220 to 240 volts AC which the socket is supplying.
That being said mostly the gadgets are built to be compatible with all the voltages worldwide- from 100 in Japan to 240 in the UK. This usually includes laptops, cell phones, digital cameras, camcorders, digital music players and may be a few more. But appliances like irons, shavers, trimmers, curling irons, which are of personal nature may or may not be compatible, it depends on your luck or if you would care to read a little on the back side of the packing of your product. Look out for specifications on chargers or the product itself. The word “input” is what you should be looking for at first.
Here are some examples,
Input: 120V 60Hz 2.8A: This means that the appliance is compatible with single voltage, in this case 120 volts. An adapter will not work here you would have to use a transformer. The size of the transformer required will depend on the power draw of the item itself so you need to make sure that you deal with the device correctly with the help of a professional.
Input: 115/230V 50/60Hz 200W: This indicates that the appliance can be switched between 110-120 volts in North America and 220-240 volts in other parts of the world. You need to have a proper plug adapter for this.
Input: ~100-240 V 50/60Hz 65W: This means that the appliance is compatible with multiple voltages. The item which has this kind of description is the best and can be bought and used anywhere in the world and the voltage for it to be known is irrelevant. The appliance and its charger adjust itself to whatever voltage it receives. But you should have a travel plug adapter.
Please be careful of the fact that a 110 volt item will burn out if plugged into 240 volt but a 240 volt gadget will not burn out on 110 volt one, rather wont run correctly.
If your gadget cannot handle the Australian 240 volts main power then you need to buy a transformer- either from a local store or at Amazon. You need to research about the gadget of your given choice and then go for the transformer that best suits your device. Good luck with your gadgets!