If you are planning on traveling overseas, chances are you won’t want to lose touch with the rest of the world during your stay. Because we’re all so fond of using our smartphones, laptops, and electrical appliances everywhere we go, clever travelers will be able to charge up on the go.
Taking the right travel adapter or converter with you will ensure you’re never without — but with so many variations, it can be tricky to know what you need.
Do I Need a Travel Adapter or Converter?
The global village is huge, and while we’re all one world, we don’t all use the same electrical outlets. Different countries use different types of electrical outlets and power points, meaning that what works for you at home won’t necessarily work while you are away.
Different countries also have a wide range of electrical voltage running through their wires. In the U.S., for example, electricity runs on 110-120 volts, whereas many other countries have ramped that up to between 220-240 volts.
This matters, because you could fry your appliances if you expose them to a higher voltage than they were designed to use.
But do you need a travel adapter or a converter? Perhaps you need to buy both?
First, you should find the voltage of your device by checking the detailed information, written on either the device itself or the power cord AC box.
As a basic guide, electrical devices have 3 different types of voltage: single, dual, or multi.
- Single voltage reads 1 number. A device like this handles one type of voltage, like 120V.
- Dual voltage reads 2 numbers, such as 110V/220V. This means the device contains a switch to toggle between the 2 voltages.
- Multi-voltage reads 100-240V. This is most common on battery chargers and AC transformers for laptops, tablets, other portable devices.
Once you know your voltage, here are the key points to decide what adapter and/or converter to buy:
- If you are traveling to a country where the voltage output is compatible with your device, you won’t need to worry about buying a converter.
- You will probably still need an adapter to plug into the wall socket — so read on to find out more about travel adapters.
Travel Adapters for Different Countries
There are at least 15 different recognized types of outlet plugs in the world, all offering different prong shapes and voltage. While this does not mean that you need to throw 15 different adapters in your bag before you leave home, it does mean you need to do your research before you leave home.
Most of the countries you’ll be traveling to fall into 1 of 4 outlet types for the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Europe. You can easily pick up adapters and converters that are made to suit the requirements of your destination, and you can even purchase packs that feature a combination of options to suit a variety of different destinations.
Hot Tip: Here is a full list of the different types of adapters and voltages for each country.
Travel Adapters and Watts
Wattage is the amount of power required to operate an electrical appliance or device. Because you need your adapter to handle the wattage required by your appliance or device, you need to know what you’re dealing with before you plug it in.
Most devices have a label showing the wattage. If for any reason it doesn’t, you can calculate the wattage using this simple formula: multiply the voltage by the amperage (amps or A) to calculate the wattage. Example: An appliance labeled with a voltage of 110 and amperage of 1.5 is 165 watts (110 x 1.5 = 165 watts).
When you’re looking for a travel adapter, you’ll need to know how many watts it can handle. If it isn’t strong enough to handle the flow of energy passing through it, you could blow a fuse or fry your appliance in a matter of minutes.
Hot Tip: Appliances that heat usually use the most watts, so things like travel hair dryers and travel straighteners will be the items to watch out for.
The 10 Best Travel Adapters You Can Buy
Now that you know a bit more about the technicalities of travel adapters, the next step is choosing the right one for your destination that can handle all the power requirements of your devices.
Here are some of the best performing, most convenient, and top travel-ready adapters your money can buy.
1. Best for the Tech-reliant Traveler
EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter
This multi-function travel adapter will cover your power needs in more than 150 countries. Safety certified and packed with tons of features like an 8A overload dual fuse, safety shutters, and a plug lock system, this little beauty comes with 4 USB ports, 1 USB-C, and a single AC socket that can charge up to 6 high-speed devices super quickly.
It can also handle 880W at 110V and 1840W at 240V, but it does not convert voltage. Compatible with all USB devices including iPhones, tablets, and digital cameras, the Epicka could be your 1-stop solution for digital connectivity anywhere in the world.
What We Like
- Good for multi-country trips
What We Don’t Like
2. For Those Who Need Plenty of Ports
BESTEK Universal Travel Adapter and 220V to 110V Voltage Converter
This BESTEK Universal Travel Adapter is so versatile, you can fill it full of your favorite appliances and charge yourself silly. Cleverly designed to simultaneously charge 7 devices with its 4 USB charging ports, a combined 6A output, and 3 AC sockets that support a max 250W power, you’ll be blown away by the power output.
The patented design makes this a supersafe option for tech-laden travelers, with overcurrent, overload, overheat, and short-circuit protection. This is an all-around super-charger that will work virtually anywhere in the world and even has a 24-month warranty.
What We Like
- Charges up to 7 devices at a time
What We Don’t Like
- Makes a noise from the fan
3. For Hair Dryers, Straighteners, Steam Irons, and Cell Phones
Bonazza All in ONE World Travel Plug Power
A sleek black box that offers minimalist chic and the ability to convert voltage, this uber-cool device is the perfect adapter/converter combo for over 150 of the world’s most visited countries.
With the ability to charge phones, laptops, and almost anything else, the One World Travel Adapter converts foreign electricity from 220-240V to 110-120V for all your American appliances.
The LED power indicator shows that the adapter is doing its job, while the over-current (overload), high-temperature, short-circuit, and surge protection systems will keep your appliances safe while they charge.
Hot Tip: This travel adapter can handle 2000W, making it a good choice for higher-wattage electrical appliances.
4. Travel Adapters With Color-coded Simplicity
FLIGHT 001 5-In-1 Adapter
This color-coded world adapter system makes finding the right plug for your trip as simple as matching the colors. Idiot-proof and effortlessly practical, there is literally no excuse for not being able to stay connected wherever you go!
The 4 adapters fit in 1 easy 2.5-inch block when snapped together, so you can throw the whole thing in your carry-on and be on your way. It also has a cube with 2 USB charging ports, so you’ll really be covered.
5. Best Throw-and-Go Option Complete With Carry Case
Pac2Go Universal Travel Adapter with Quad USB Charger
This one does exactly what it says on the box: it’s a universal travel adapter that comes with its own travel case. Pop-out those prongs to charge up on any international 2- or 3-prong plug.
Offering almost complete global coverage, this high-tech block will simultaneously charge up to 5 devices quickly with quad 3.5 amp USB ports, and it offers AC voltage from 100-250V, 1500 watts max with a built-in 6-amp safety fuse.
Bottom Line: Whether you need to charge your laptop or curl your hair, this surge and spike-protected electrical plug will keep you and your appliances safe and powered up while you roam.
6. Budget Compact Adapter and Wall Charger
LENCENT 22W/4.4A 4-Port USB Wall Charger
Want to travel more and think less? Then this is the travel adapter for you. Featuring auto-identify technology, this wall charger automatically detects and delivers the optimal charging current for any connected device.
Brains and beauty come standard in this sleek and compact travel plug that can max up to a 22W/4.4A output. Thermal material protects against overheating, and the tech inside the plug protects against overload on the unit and over-charge on your devices.
This compact universal adapter comes in cheaper than many adapters on this list, but may be slightly more hassle with having to switch the adapter heads.
7. One of the Best Fuss-Free Adapters
OREI MATE M8+ Travel Companion Plug Adapter
This pocket-sized power adapter provides plug adapters for use in more than 150 countries. It is an easy-to-use self-contained unit that can be tucked away into its very own travel bag for safekeeping when not in use.
This plug adapter may not convert or reduce electrical wattage, and therefore isn’t recommended for your 110-watt devices (like hairdryers or straightening irons). But you can slide out the 2- or 3-prong attachments to plug in your laptop, iPhone, or other device and get charging.
8. Adapter for Heavy Duty Appliances
HYTED 2000W World Travel Adapter and Converter
Light and compact, this converter is well-suited to travelers who rely on heavy-duty appliances, since it can handle up to 2000W.
Clearly marked and easy to use, this simple but effective travel plug steps down the voltage to ensure you can use your electrical appliances — such as hair dryers, steam irons, electric kettles, and even small fans — in up to 150 of the world’s most visited countries.
9. Power Step Down Voltage Converter for Tech Travelers
Foval Power Step Down 220V to 110V Voltage Converter
Simple to use, the Foval Power Step Down has the international compatibility to make light work of all your basic travel adapter needs. Offering numerous plug options and a selection of integrated USB sockets, you can easily charge your phone, laptop, Bluetooth speaker, and e-reader using the 4 5V/2.4A ports simultaneously.
The built-in fuse system integrates perfectly with the thermal and shell protection layers to offer adequate device protection, keeping your precious devices safe as they charge. The product comes with a 24-month warranty.
10. Budget All-around Travel Adapter Set
Ceptics GP-12PK Worldwide Grounded Universal Plug Adapter Set, 12 Pieces
Let us introduce to you the ultimate selection of grounded universal travel plug adapters for the big explorer. With a choice of 12 different plug prong combinations, you’ll have access to power wherever you are headed.
Bulkier than many of the all-in-1 options, the only downside to this set is losing some space in your travel bag. Easy to use and well-labeled, these offer simple but effective solutions for anyone visiting virtually anywhere in the world.
Wherever you are going, there’s a travel adapter or converter to help. Remember to check your appliances before you leave home and find a travel adapter that suits your needs, or you run the risk of being powerless and out of touch for the duration of your stay!
You could also just hope you can buy the appropriate adapter when you get there, but we wouldn’t recommend it. You run the risk of damaging your appliances if you use adapters or converters that aren’t safe.
So if the thought of being without reliable, safe, and thoroughly tested electrical adapters or converters is too much for you to bear while you travel — be sure to buy a decent adapter!
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