Using Teasmades Abroad

I receive many enquiries about running UK made Teasmades in the USA and other countries. Back in the day, between 1976 and 1978, Goblin 860 Teasmades were available in the USA and spare parts were available from BSR Macdonald.

Currently there is a US version of the Swan STM201, the Swan STM201US or STM201N-US.

An alternative in the US is the Breville One-Touch Tea Maker which can be programmed to make the tea in the morning. Alternatively our coffee-loving US friends may like to look out for the Cuisinart DGB-625BC Grind-and-Brew which is fully programmable and can therefore be used as an alarm.

Vintage teasmades are harder to find abroad, and depending on where you are in the world, there may be problems caused by variations in voltage and hertz. UK appliances work without modification in countries with identical voltage and hertz. This probably accounts for the fact that Goblin and Hawkins exported many automatic tea makers to Australia. The USA is more of a problem.


UK voltage is different from the USA. In American houses with a 120 volt supply you will need to use a transformer to step up the voltage. These can be obtained from specialist shops and internet suppliers.


The USA electricity supply has 60 rather than 50 cycles. This difference makes any UK electric clock run 20% fast when used in the USA. Unfortunately there is no easy solution to this problem. You cannot, for example, buy a frequency converter at a practical price or size to use with a bedside appliance. The only reasonable alternative is to use a separate electronic (digital) timer. This can be deployed in two ways:

  1. Use the timer to stop the unit receiving power for 3 hours 12 minutes during the daytime (the time will be approximately correct when going to bed), then using the same digital timer stop the power by 1 hour 36 minutes during the night. This (with occasional minor adjustment) will give a accurate alarm at the correct time in the morning. With a seven day digital timer you could even set the tea maker up for a different brewing time at the weekend!
  2. Set the unit to manual/tea now and use the timer to switch the power on 15 mins before you want tea and off 15 after. Again, with a seven day timer you can alter the brewing time for weekends. For example, to make the tea maker work an hour later at weekends, interupt the supply for 1 hour after tea is made on Friday and again for 11 hours on Sunday. The clock will be right again on Monday.
Swan STM201N
Swan STM201N