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

Range 

Common Appliances

Need for Converter

Single Voltage

100-120V

Older models of hair dryers and irons

Yes

Dual Voltage

120V/240V

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

No

Multi Voltage

100-240V

Tablets, cameras, laptops, cell phones

No

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. 

The Best Converters and Adapters for 2021

The range and choice on for converters and adapters on the market today can be a bit confusing. Instead of looking at every option at once, check out some of the top-performing and convenient options right now: 

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter One International Wall Charger
FLIGHT 001 5-In-1 Adapter
Orei 3 Prong Plug Safest World Travel Adapter
Ceptics GP-12PK Worldwide Grounded Universal Plug Adapter Set, 12 Pieces
ElecLead Step Down 2000W World Travel Adapter and Converter


1. EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter One International Wall Charger


EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter One International Wall Charger

This universal travel adapter is among the best choices for a traveler who frequently visits multiple countries. Its USB ports and AC socket are suitable for use in over 150 countries, so you’re covering all your bases here.  There’s also quick charging here, and the ability to charge up to six high-speed devices. One can also use it for powering up high-wattage appliances such as hair straighteners. 

While this adapter can handle 1840W at 240V and 88oW at 110V, it is not a converter. If you have a single-voltage appliance at hand, you might have to get a converter separately. For any USB devices, such as digital cameras, tablets, and smartphones, this Epicka adapter will be enough to get digital connectivity. 

Pros: 

  • Provides a lot of ports
  • Adaptable in a lot of countries
  • Versatile
  • Can power several  items at once
  • High power output
  • Sleek design
  • Protection systems against high temperatures, short circuits, overloading, and surges

Cons

  • Large size; takes up two or more outlets in a power strip


2. FLIGHT 001 5-In-1 Adapter


FLIGHT 001 5-In-1 Adapter

This adapter is a colorful option, which is both nice to look at and convenient to use. The system is color-coded, so all you have to do is match the colors to the right plug. 

There are four adapters in this system, all fitted together in a block measuring 2.5 inches on the longest sides. You can easily snap them all together, put the block in a bag, and set out on your journeys. There’s a cube with a couple of USB charging ports as well, so all your devices are covered. The cute appearance doesn't hurt, either. 

Pros: 

  • Color coding to make it easier to find the correct adapter style in any country
  • Breaks into 4 parts for easy handling
  • Suitable for outlets in more than 150 countries
  • Easy to find the right plug by matching the colors
  • Suitable for the elderly and novice travelers

Cons

  • Some complaints about the USB charger not lasting very long


3. Orei 3 Prong Plug Safest World Travel Adapter


Orei 3 Prong Plug Safest World Travel Adapter

This world travel adapter is grounded with its prong plug and hence suitable for using with laptops, various chargers, all USB devices, smartphones, and so on. In short, this is one of the safest all-round travel adapters that you can get for any trip. 

There are both two and three prong attachments contained inside this unit, which you can use for laptops, tablets, and other such devices. 

Pros: 

  • Pocket-sized
  • Suitable for use in over 150 countries
  • Easy to operate
  • Comes with a travel bag 
  • Compact
  • Slide-out attachments for use with two or three pronged plugs
  • USB ports for charging smart devices

Cons: 

  • An expensive option
  • Not recommended for use with 110 watt devices such as straightening irons or hair dryers


4. Ceptics GP-12PK Worldwide Grounded Universal Plug Adapter Set, 12 Pieces


Ceptics GP-12PK Worldwide Grounded Universal Plug Adapter Set, 12 Pieces

This offering includes a large selection of travel plug adapters. The collection includes 12 pieces, with various combinations and sizes for all kinds of prongs. With this on hand, a frequent traveller can simply choose the pieces that go with the outlets expected on at their destination. However, the whole set is obviously more bulky than the usual one-piece universal travel adapters. If you’re just taking one or two along each time, though, you’ll actually be saving space. 

Pros: 

  • Each piece is separately labelled
  • Inexpensive option
  • Several combinations available
  • Easy to use
  • Will be space-saving if only 1 or 2 needed at a time
  • Durable and reliable

Cons: 

  • Bulkier together than single-piece adapters


5. ElecLead Step Down 2000W World Travel Adapter and Converter


ElecLead Step Down 2000W World Travel Adapter and Converter

At times, a traveler simply has to make use of certain heavy duty appliances. Guests at a destination wedding might need to power up a steam iron for doing away with the wrinkles in their formal attire. Hair dryers are another example here, while some laptops or smartphones may add to the overall load. This is where you need a powerful voltage converter such as this offering from ElecLead. 

This universal travel plug is not just an adapter, but also a converter that can safely power up appliances up to 2000W. It won’t matter what country you’re in, this gadget will make it easy to operate fans, style your hair, and do much more. 

Pros: 

  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for over 150 countries
  • Can handle the load of heavy appliances
  • Easy to use
  • High quality construction
  • Can be used for a long time

Cons: 

  • Some complaints about the design being too bulky and heavy
  • Cannot handle small wattage appliances, electric toothbrushes being one of the most glaring examples.


  EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter One International Wall ChargerFLIGHT 001 5-In-1 AdapterOrei 3 Prong Plug Safest World Travel AdapterCeptics GP-12PK Worldwide Grounded Universal Plug Adapter Set, 12 PiecesElecLead Step Down 2000W World Travel Adapter and Converter
Includes Converter NoNoNoNoYes
Dimensions‎2.8 x 1.97 x 2.05 inches4.06 x 2.52 x 2.05 inches2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches12 x 6 x 2 inches each2.3 x 2.2 x 2 inches
Number of USB Ports52200
Number of AC ports102, one grounded, one not1 each1
Most Suitable forTravelers who use a lot of devices and appliancesThose who want a color-coded systemThose who want a fuss-experienceFrequent travelers on a budgetFor those who want to power heavy duty appliances
 

Conclusion

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.