Ultimate Guide to Power Converters and Power Adapters

When we’re in an unfamiliar place and want to plug in any sort of device, it’s always best to think about the kind of electricity you’re working with. In an ideal world, all areas within a country and all over the world will use the same types of pus, electricity, and volt ranges. However, this clearly isn’t the case. 

Frequent travelers might have faced the common issue of having nowhere to plug in their chargers, hair dryers, and other devices. While their accommodation may have power outlets, the plugs on their devices may not be able to fit into them. Even if you’re not travelling too far, certain areas may have differing kinds of outlets. 

This is where power adapters and power converters come in. These little gadgets don’t take up much space in your luggage, but they’re very handy for providing the right kind of holes for your devices and appliances’ plugs. With converters, you can also deal with different types of electricity and ensure that no harm comes to your device. 

However, there are different kinds of power adapters and power converters. To make sure that we take along the right one for our needs, let’s have a closer look at these items and see how they cater to different situations. 

The Main Difference

The first step is knowing the major differences between adapters and converters. 

An adapter’s main purpose is to simply provide a place for the plug on an electric device. They will make foreign outlets suitable for our needs. A converter, though, has the job of changing the voltage in the outlet so that it’s safe and suitable for your devices. 

When Do We Have to Use a Converter? 

When you are travelling, renting a furnished place, or just not familiar with a certain appliance, the question of using a converter may come up. The following table could help to answer most questions about whether a converter is required before plugging in an appliance or device: 

Voltage Type/Features


Common Appliances

Need for Converter

Single Voltage


Older models of hair dryers and irons


Dual Voltage


Newer models of electric razors, electric toothbrushes, and hair dryers


Multi Voltage


Tablets, cameras, laptops, cell phones


How to Choose an Adapter

People may require different adapter styles, so the best answer will depend on your destination. Different countries have different types of outlets, so use this guide to power outlets and plugs used around the world to determine what adapter should be in your bag. 

If you’re planning to visit several countries that have differing outlets among themselves, or if you’re a very frequent flyer, a universal travel adapter is your best bet. 

Below are a few other considerations for selecting the best adapters and converters:

1. Understanding World Voltages

Before you travel anywhere, look up the voltages in that area. The voltage ranges will give you a better idea of what to expect in any country. 

2. Separate Electrical Appliances and Electronic Devices

An appliance that runs on electricity usually has some sort of heating element, such as a curling rod. On the other hand, an electronic device has chips inside that need power; such as a laptop or tablet. 

The electrical appliances you take on your travels include hair dryers, straighteners, etc. See if the ones you have are single-volt or dual-volt (or multiple). If it’s the fom4r, you’d probably have to either take a power converter along or get new appliances. The devices will be multi-voltage, so they won’t present an issue with the electricity type on your travels. 

3. Check the Power Cords

Within the United States, there could be several kinds of plugs on any standard 220V appliance. Make sure to look at the power cords of each of your appliances and find out what kind of outlet its plug requires. If the plug doesn’t match the outlet on the voltage converter, you’d need an adapter to go with it. Check out the different types of power cords while you’re at it.

4. Figuring Out the Wattage

The wattage is the power you need to operate any device or appliances. An adapter needs to handle this wattage, so make sure that the one you choose can handle the load. If you don’t, plugging in the device or appliance could result in a short fuse or something even more dangerous. 

Most of your electric items will have the wattage printed on a label somewhere. If you can’t find that label for some reason, try looking up the make of the device and check the wattage online. 

However, one can also calculate the wattage by multiplying the voltage by the amps. The result will be the wattage of your item. Travel adapters should be able to handle the wattage you need on your trip. Keep in mind that the appliances that provide heat usually consume the highest number of watts. 


Of course, there’s always the option to purchase a power converter or power adapter in the country you’re in when you get there. If you have the time and opportunity to do so, along with some knowledge of where to get such an item, such a step might be logical. It may even be easier to locate the right adapter or converter in the country where it’s relevant. You can also be more certain that the plug will work safely with the local electrical system. 

However, most travelers may not always have an idea of where to go to buy a power converter or adapter the minute they land in a new country. The need to charge their devices and use certain appliances may also be pressing, especially if you immediately have a business meeting to attend or work to do. Some photographers might also want to charge their cameras before they go sightseeing. At the end of the day, it’s just safer and more convenient to read the reviews and get a reliable adapter and/or converter for your travels. 

With so much information and choice among the best power converters and power adapters, it should be quite easy to choose the correct one for our travels. The adapter and/or converter in your bag should be able to fulfill your trip’s power requirements no matter where you go. If you want something to ensure power when you’re at home, a look at power generators might be in order.