We’re currently based in the UK, but our travels take us all over the world. One thing that always finds a space in our bag is a travel adapter of some kind for all our electrical devices!

These days, most of us travel with a range of electrical products, from smartphones and cameras to laptops and hair dryers. Unfortunately, there’s no one world standard when it comes to the shape and size of electrical outlets.

Travellers to the UK will need a three pin plug with rectangular prongs, travellers to most of the rest of Europe require a two pin plug with round prongs, and travellers to the USA will require a two or three pin plug with flat prongs!

Obviously it’s not practical to get separate plugs for all your electrical items. Instead, you want a travel adapter that will let you plug your devices, whatever they may be, into the outlet.

In this post, we’re going to go through what we think are some of the best travel adapters on the market today. We’re also going to detail exactly what you need to look for in a travel adapter, so you can make a decision on the right travel adapter for you.

What is a travel adapter and Why do you need one?

A travel adapter is a small device that lets you use electrical devices which have one type of plug in a country which uses a different type of plug.

There is a huge variety in plug shapes and their accompanying sockets around the world. These plugs are categorised by Plug Type, with Plug Types ranging from Type A through to Type N. This means there are 14 different plug socket standards!

You can see all the plug types and which country has which plug type at this very useful website. Before you travel, we recommend that you use that website to check if the plug type at your destination matches the plug type of your devices. If it does not, you will need a travel adapter.

I’ll use an example. If you are from the USA, you will be used to using either two pin plugs with flat pins, or three pin plugs with two flat pins and a round pin. The two pin plug is a Type A plug, which has a corresponding Type A wall socket. The three pin plug is a Type B plug, which has a corresponding Type B wall socket. Here’s what those plugs look like.

USA Type A and B plugs

If you were travelling to the UK from the USA, you would encounter wall sockets which expect a three pin plug with rectangular prongs. This is a Type G plug, and it looks as follows:

UK Type G electrical plug and plug socket

Obviously, you can’t plug your US plug into these sockets – they just won’t fit.

What you need so you plugs do fit is a travel adapter. These are simple to use. You just plug the plug from your device into the travel adapter, and then you plug the travel adapter with your plug attached into the wall socket.

Here’s a picture of both sides of a simple travel adapter that converts from Type A and Type B plugs (as found in the USA) into a Type G plug (as found in the UK). This particular adaptor also accepts Type C and Type E plugs, which are common across the rest of Europe.

Once you have plugged your device into the adapter, you can plug the adapter into the UK outlet.

USA to UK travel adapter

It is very important at this point to note that most travel adapters, including the one in the image above, only convert from one plug type to another plug type.

The majority of travel adapters do not convert voltage.

This is a key distinction and it is very important to remember, because not every country uses the same voltage standard. You can cause serious damage to your electronics by plugging them into a socket with a voltage they do not support, including overheating them and causing electrical fires.

Before you travel with your device, you need to check what voltage it supports. See the section on travel voltage below to see how to do this.

Note that there are adapters that also convert voltage, and this will be made very clear on the packaging and product description. We recommend some of these in this guide as well.

 

What to look for in a travel adapter

Travel adapters come with a range of features and options. Some of these are more important than others, depending on your requirements, so we’re going to quickly cover what to look for in a travel adapter to help you decide between the various models we recommend.

Number of plug types it supports

One of the major considerations to think about when buying a travel adapter is to consider what type of plugs it supports. This includes what kind of plug you can plug into the adapter, and what kind of outlet you can plug the adapter into.

Not all travel adapters are created equally. Some just support a simple conversion from one plug type to another, like this, whilst others like this one let you convert between a range of plug types.

Make sure to look at the number of plug types the adapter supports before you buy it. First, you will want to be sure that you can plug your electronics into the adapter itself. Then, you will want to check that the adapter itself will plug into the wall outlets at the destination you are visiting.

However, as well as that one to one conversion, it might make more sense to buy a universal adapter that will cover other trips in the future.

Note also that whilst many adapters bill themselves as “universal”, this isn’t always the case. Some countries have rather unusual plugs, such as South Africa and Botswana, and these aren’t always included on universal adapters. So definitely check exactly which countries are covered when buying an adapter for your trip, to be sure it covers where you are visiting!

Again, you can check which countries use which plug types on this website.

 

How many power outlets it has

Many travel adapters offer a simple one to one conversion, letting you plug one device into the wall. See an example here.

However, many travellers these days are likely to want to travel with more than just one device.

We personally travel with a number of different devices such as mobile phones, laptops, cameras etc. The ability to charge a number of devices at once is a huge bonus for travelers like us who need to charge up multiple devices at the same time, so having a travel adapter with multiple power outlets is a definite bonus.

Of course, if the travel adapter you choose only has one outlet, this isn’t the end of the world. You could invest in a small power strip like this, which you could plug into the travel adapter, to allow you to connect multiple devices at once. This is often what we do when we travel.

 

Number of USB ports

More and more of our devices these days charge over USB, from smartphones through to some cameras – and even small laptops. In fact, USB ports are becoming more of a universal standard around the world, and we’ve noticed when we travel that many accommodation providers have USB power outlets in their properties, as well as standard power outlets.

Many travel adapters these days come with at least one USB port, and some come with more than one. We’d advise buying a travel adaptor with at least one USB port, and ideally two, as this will save you from also having to carry your phone charger with you. We’ve even invested in a USB powered charger for our camera batteries, to make our electronics kit simpler.

USB ports are not all the same however. The two things to look for are the amp rating of the USB port, and also what type it is.

The amp rating will dictate how quickly the adapter will be able to charge your device. Most smartphones have around a 3000 mAh (milli amp hour) battery.

A USB port rated for 1A (1 amp) will take three hours to charge a 3000 mAh battery (1000 milli amps x 3 hours = 3000 mAh). A 2 amp USB port will take half the time. So a higher amperage output is generally better, although your device has to support the higher amperage.

The other consideration is the type of USB port. Most USB cables have a USB Type-A connector on one end, and then a smaller port that plugs into your device on the other. So most travel adaptors have a USB Type A port, that will work with nearly all devices.

However, in 2014 a new type of USB connector was released, the USB Type C connector. This is much smaller, and is on many newer high end smartphones. So some travel adaptors may also have a USB Type C port. We would only recommend considering these if you have devices with a USB Type C port already.

 

Surge protection

Wherever you plug your devices in, there is always the possibility that the power may experience a power surge. Power surges can cause serious damage to electronics, and so having a travel adapter that offers some level of surge protection is a very good idea.

The effectiveness of these will vary by manufacturer, and you do need to be wary of cheaper devices that may state they have surge protection without any certification. Higher end travel adapters should provide better levels of protection. Sometimes surge protectors will include a guarantee for your equipment, although in our experience this is rare on travel adapters.

We would always recommend investing in a travel adapter that includes both surge protection and a ground plug where possible.

 

Warranty

Travel adapters often go through a lot of wear and tear when you are on the road, which will really put them to the test.

Most companies will offer a 1 – 2 year warranty, while others will go above and beyond with a lifetime guarantee. This could really come in handy for you if, for any reason, you have any issues during your travels.

 

Load rating

The load rating of a travel adapter is important because this will dictate what you can plug into it. Most devices are rated for more than enough output power to handle laptops, smartphones and other lower powered devices, but if you want to plug high power devices like electric kettles and hair dryers into them you will want to be sure that the adapter will support this.

The output rating will either be in amps or watts, and you just need to match it to the required power input of your device.

Hair dryers and kettles will usually require a load rating from 1000W to 2200W.

 

Size

When it comes to travel, size is always going to be a deciding factor, no matter what you are packing! The bigger the travel adapter is, the more space it will take up inside your luggage, so it’s important to consider how much of this valuable real estate you are willing to give up for your travel adapter.

We have purposefully chosen the most reliable and compact travel adapters on the market for this post, to ensure that they take up the minimum amount of space possible.

 

Voltage Conversion

The shape of the electrical outlet is not the only thing that varies from country to country. Some countries have entirely different electrical standards. In North America for example, power is output at 110-120 volts. In Europe and most of the rest of the world, power is output at 220-240 volts.

You can check which countries support which voltages on this website.

For some electronics, this is not a big issue as they are capable of handling the voltage conversion themselves. For example, most laptops, camera chargers and phone chargers in our experience are designed to work from 110 – 240V.

You can usually see this written on the plug or power brick, it will say the input voltage it is specified to work with. Here’s an example of our phone charger, where you can see it supports input voltages from 100V to 240V. The input voltage is the number you need to worry about, rather than the output voltage.

Voltage labelling on plug

However, some devices do not support a range of voltages. These tend to be higher power devices like hair dryers, hair straighteners, electric kettles, kitchen appliances, etc. If you need to bring such a device, we would recommend purchasing a travel dual voltage version of it that will work both at home and while traveling.

For example, here is a list of dual voltage hair dyers and here is a list of dual voltage hair straighteners that should work in most countries.

However, if you need to bring a device from home while traveling, you can look for a travel adapter that also handles voltage conversion.

In most cases, travel adapters do NOT convert voltage. Voltage conversion requires additional circuitry, and usually it makes the adapter larger, heavier, and more expensive.

However, if you have devices that require conversion, and if you have a little bit more budget and plan on traveling quite often, we definitely recommend looking at the options listed below that include voltage conversion.

You might also consider just getting a dedicated voltage convertor such as one of these, but these tend to be fairly bulky and relatively expensive, and in most cases a travel version of your device will be a better option.

 

The Best Travel Adapters

Here is our guide to what we think are the best travel adapters on the market today. These have slightly different features and price points, so you might find one of them is particularly suited to your needs; however, they are all solid options.

 

EPICKA All in One Worldwide International Wall Charger

This all-in-one multi function travel adapter covers more than 150 countries. It includes input and output support for Plug Types A, B, C, E, F, G, J, L and I, so you don’t need to worry about carrying around different adapter options when you are traveling to many parts of the world.

Exceptions in socket and plug support are plug types D, M and H, which includes South Africa, parts of India and Israel, amongst others.

 

The Best Travel Adapter 2019

This is the perfect adapter for anyone who needs to charge their devices fast, especially if you need a lot of USB ports. It features 4 USB Ports (up to 2.4A output), 1 USB type C (up to 3A output) and 1 AC Socket to charge 6 devices simultaneously with high speed.

The maximum power output is 880W at 110V AC and 1840W at 230V AC, which we think should be more than enough to keep you charged up on the go with multiple devices.

This travel adapter is fully compatible with all USB devices such as iPhones, Samsung smartphones, tablets, digital cameras and so on. With a 30 day money-back guarantee and a 1-year limited warranty, we think the Epicka travel adapter is a reliable option for your next trip.

Safety features include an 8A overload dual fuse, surge protection, safety shutters and plug lock system. It is also ROHS, CE and FC Certified.

Note that this is not a voltage converter, so whilst it will work with either 110v or 240v electrical outlets, it will not convert between voltages.

Key features: 4xUSB, 1x USB Type C, 1 AC socket, 150 countries, overload fuse, surge protection
Price: Check price here

 

Ceptics International Worldwide Travel Plug Adapter 5 Piece Set

This handy set of 5 adapter plugs is an affordable option for travellers from countries that use the Type A, B and C plugs. This covers a lot of countries, including the US, Canada, Mexico and majority of Europe.

The five plugs are designed to adapt to most outlets found worldwide, and includes Plug Types A, C, F, G and I. This covers most of Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean, North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand and parts of Africa.

The Best Travel Adapter 2019

Each adapter is marked with the country or region for your convenience and it also comes with a nylon zipper pouch for carrying. The advantage of a set like this is you can pick and choose which adapters to take on a trip, depending on your destination.

The Ceptics travel adapter is ROHS and CE Certified, but be aware that these adapters do not change the voltage, so you will need to check the voltage standard of your travel destination and use a separate voltage converter with the adapter if needed for your devices. They also do not offer surge protection or any kind of fuse for overload protection.

Although this 5 piece set doesn’t include USB ports for mobile charging, it is a great solution for those who want to travel without the bulk of carrying a larger and heavier all-in-one adapter.  It also has a limited lifetime warranty.

Key features: Individual adapters include plugs for most countries.
Price: Check price here

 

Ceptics GP4-10L 2 USB S. Africa Travel Adapter 4 in 1 Power Plug (Type M)

If you are traveling to countries with Plug Type M, such as South Africa or Botswana, this is the perfect travel adapter to use, as most international options don’t include the correct plug for these countries.

The Best Travel Adapter 2019
The device has two universal inputs which accept plugs from most countries, one of which is grounded. It also includes dual USB ports which output up to 2.1A, which is ideal for charging the majority of smartphones and tablets at high speed. Between the USB ports and the universal outlets you could have up to four devices plugged in simultaneously.

The relatively compact size (3 x 2 x 2″) is fantastic for squeezing into your luggage or throwing in your handbag while you’re abroad. This adapter has a maximum load rating of 13A at 250V, or around 3000W.  

As with many of the other device on our list, this is not a voltage converter. Whilst it will work with either 110v or 240v outlets, it will not convert between the two.

It has CE and FCC certification, and a limited lifetime warranty. However it does not offer surge protection. Note that there are other versions of this adapter – if you are travelling from the USA for example, you might prefer this one which is smaller as it only accepts US style plugs.

Key features: 2x USB 2.1A, 1 grounded outlet, 1 ungrounded outlet, compatibility with South Africa / Botswana
Price: Check price here

 

BESTEK 200W TRAVEL ADAPTOR / Converter

Unlike the majority of the other options on this list, this Bestek travel adapter is also a voltage converter, with the ability to convert from 220-240V to 110-120V. This means that if your device doesn’t support another voltage such as 220-240V (as found in Europe and most of the rest of the world), you can plug it in to this converter and it will work. 

The Best Travel Adapter 2019

You can plug this adaptor into Type B, C, G, and I outlets, which covers most of Europe, Australia, and the USA/Canada, so you can even use it at home as a charger between travels.

The Bestek device has 2 Plug Type B/C (compatible with plugs from the US, Canada etc…) three-pin grounded AC outlets and 4 USB outlets, meaning it can charge up to 6 devices simultaneously (with a total maximum output of 200W). Three of the USB outlets are rated for 2.4A, whilst the fourth supports the QC3.0 quick charge standard, which will charge supported devices at up to 18W.

The converter provides a sine wave output which is suitable for items such as travel CPAP devices, curling irons, hair straighteners and electric toothbrushes.

It is important to be aware that the maximum rating of this device is only 200 watts, so higher power devices like hair dryers and electric kettles will not work. If you have a requirement for a higher power device, we have another option further down the list for you, or you might want to consider this higher rated option which is a similar design.

The converter / adapter is NRTL safety tested, and offers over-heat protection, over-load protection, over-current protection, under voltage and over voltage protection, as well as short-circuit protection. There’s also a 24-month warranty. 

The device is a little larger than the other devices in our list at 6.7 x 3.15 x 1.5 inches. However it does feature voltage conversion, which accounts for the larger size. If this is something you need, then this is still a relatively compact travel adapter which should include everything you need for your next trip.

The detachable power cable makes this power converter easy to pack and take anywhere you go, whether you’re traveling to Europe, USA, United Kingdom, Australia, China, or any of the 150 covered countries around the world.

Key features: Voltage conversion (up to 200W), variety of safety features, 4x USB, 2x AC
Price: Check price here

 

UNIDAPT All in One Universal Wall Charger Plug Adapter

This Unidapt device is very similar to the Epicka device that is also on our list, so if one of these looks good to you we’d suggest picking the lower priced one, or the one that you prefer the look of, as the functionality and capability is pretty much identical.

The Best Travel Adapter 2019

It features 5 USB ports – four standard USB ports which output at up to 2.4A (maximum of 5.6A across all four), and a USB-C port with 3A output. It has one standard AC adaptor with support for Plug Types A, B, C, E, F, G, J, L and I, and has socket support for the same outlets. This means it can be used in most plug sockets across the USA, UK, Europe and Australia

The AC outlet supports up to 880W at 110V and 1840W at 230V, meaning you can plug most devices into it including hair dryers and kettles. It also includes an intelligent safety system with effective protection of overcharging and short circuits, as well as surge protection.

There’s an 8A fuse, as well as a replacement fuse built-in to the device so you can switch fuses if you happen to overload the device. It’s has FCC, RoHS and CE certification. It does not however offer a grounded plug.

Once again, please note this is only a travel adapter, it does not convert power voltage.

Lastly, they do offer a full 30 day money-back guarantee and a full 1 year warranty if you have any issues with the product.  

Key features: 4x standard USB, 1x USB-C, 1x AC adaptor. Surge protection.
Price: Check price here

 

SKROSS PRO World & USB Travel Adapter 

If your travels include Switzerland, then you might want to consider the Skross Pro World and USB adaptor. Switzerland uses both Type C plugs (common across Europe) and Type J plugs (only found in five countries, including Switzerland, the Maldives and Madagascar).

The Best Travel Adapter 2019
Of course, it’s not just for travel in Switzerland. It can be used with sockets B, E, F, G, I, J, L and N (cover around 205 countries), and supports plugs types A, B, C, E, F, G, I, J, L and N (includes the USA, Canada, UK, Europe, and Australia. This particular adapter is suitable for both grounded and ungrounded appliances.

The Skross adapters, which are designed in Switzerland, are well reviewed for their long lasting durability and high quality, and they have a range of adapters depending on your needs.

The device is fused with a 6.3A fuse, which means that if there is a surge or you overload it, the fuse will blow. However, this is not quite the same as a surge protector, as you have to replace the fuse if it overloads. The device supports up to 6.3A output at 250V, equivalent to 1575 watts.

There is also a single USB output which offers a 2.4A output.

With 21 years experience and expertise in the travel industry, SKROSS have built this trustworthy adapter to pack a lot into as little space as possible, so it won’t take up your valuable luggage space. It also has TUV certification.

Please note this product does not convert voltage, so you will need to pack a separate converter if your devices require this.

Key features: Support for 205 countries including Switzerland. Fused. 1x AC output, 1x USB output.
Price: Check price here

 

JOOMFEEN worldwide

This simple and affordable travel adapter from JOOMFEEN is a great option if you just want something compact that offers all the features you need. It’s the travel adapter that we primarily use for our travels.

The Best Travel Adapter 2019

It covers more than 150 Countries with input and output support for Plug Types A, B, C, E, I and G, which includes US/EU/UK/AU plugs.

It doesn’t support very high power appliances and has a maximum 6A output. That translates to 660W at 110V and 1380W at 230V. This should support most devices with the exception of things like kettles, which to be honest we don’t travel with.

As well as the AC output, it has two USB ports which can output up to 2.1A for charging smartphones and so on. Like the other devices on the list, you can use the AC power socket and USB ports simultaneously, so it can charge up to 3 devices at once. 

It also includes surge protection and safety shutters for added protection, as well as an LED Power Indicator and an 12-Month Warranty. It has CE certification.

Key features: 1x AC output, 2x USB output, surge protection.
Price: Check price here

 

Flight 001 4-in-1 adapter

This colourful 4-in-1 adapter covers input and output for 150 different countries around the world. Specifically, it includes support for input and output of Plug Types A, B, C, F, G and I.

The adaptor has a simple to follow color coded system, which makes it easy to pick and choose the adapters for the countries you are visiting, simply follow the infographic map on the product’s packaging that shows which countries use which colour.

The Best Travel Adapter 2019

This product is sturdy, reliable and easy to take apart. This is a big advantage for anyone who wants to travel light, as with many other adapters, you don’t have the option to break them up. If there is no need to travel with all of the worlds adapters at your fingertips, just take the parts that you need and leave the rest behind.

Similarly to many of the other adapted on this list, the Flight 4-in-1 adapter does not convert power, so you will need to ensure that your electronics are rated 100-125 or 220-250 volts, for your safety.

It also doesn’t include any kind of surge protection or fuse, and there’s no USB output. However, we’ve found that sometimes the simplest devices are the most reliable, and for that reason we’ve included this one in our round up.

Key features: Simple colour coded design
Price: Check price here

 

TryAce 2000W Voltage Converter

Traveling with hair stylers from the USA can be a pain as most travel adapters don’t convert voltage, and even if they do, the output is too low wattage for the high power that these devices use.

This is where the TryAce adapter comes to the rescue, with a voltage converter (220V to 110V) that supports watts between 25W and 2000W, and support for 190 countries.

Specifically, it includes support for plug types A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M and N.

The Best Travel Adapter 2019
The converter is suitable for almost all brands of hair dryer, hair straighteners, and hair curlers, as long as they are up to 2000W in power. It can also be used for equipment such as electric kettles, but it has a minimum output wattage of 25W when converting voltage, so it is not suitable for low powered items.

It also has a standard output that does not convert the voltage which you can use to plug in lower powered devices that don’t require voltage conversion, with up to 10A of output. This will let you plug in in devices  such as mobile phones, camera batteries and Apple devices. It also has dual USB ports with a total of 2.4A output.

Note that this device is designed for travellers with plugs of Type A and Type B devices only, as the plug output is the US style pin, and the voltage conversion is only from 220V to 110V, not the other way around.

From a safety perspective, it includes a 10A fuse for surge protection, as well as over-current, over-load, high temperature and short circuit protection. It has ROHS, FCC, CE, and ETL certification. The manufacturer offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee with a 24 month warranty as well as a 60 days refund if you aren’t happy.

Key features: Voltage conversion (220V – 110V) up to 2000W, normal AC output up to 10A, 2x USB output, 190 country support
Price: Check price here

 

Super basic grounded option

Sometimes the simple option is the best (or at least, the most affordable!), and we tend to have a few of these simple travel adapters to hand for when we just want to plug a single device into the wall.

The Best Travel Adapter 2019

The linked pack is for travellers who are heading to a country with a Type G socket, such as the UK, and supports inputs from from the majority of countries around the world (except Type M – South Africa).

The three pin Type G plug is also found in many other international destinations, including the Middle East, Africa, Hong Kong, Ireland, UAE, Dubai and Malaysia. 

Similar options are available for travel to other destinations, such as this EU to USA option, and this USA to EU adapter.

These basic adapters are ideal for use with laptops, mobile phones, etc, but unlike some of the options we have mentioned above, they don’t include USB ports, which means that you will only be able to charge one device at a time.

However, they are incredibly lightweight and ultra compact at just 3 x 1 x 1 inches and less than 2 ounces, making them the perfect travel companions for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of tech to charge.

This travel power adapter set does not convert voltage, so you will need to bring a separate converter if your devices require this. If for any reason you have any issues with this adapter during your travels, they come with a lifetime guarantee and a no questions asked refund policy.

Key features: Simple, compact single function adapter
Price: Check price here

 

And that’s it for our guide to the best travel adapters, which we think should give you plenty of options for your trip. Do you have a favourite travel adapter that always goes with you somewhere? Have any questions about buying a travel adapter? Let us know in the comments below!

A detailed guide to the best travel adapter, with advice on what to look for when buying a travel adapter as some of the best options on the market in 2019!

Enjoyed this post? Why not share it!





Source link

Nicole Lee

Journalist in Mark Funhouser blog!