Visiting other countries is one of the most important things we can do in our short lives.
And documenting your trip, staying in touch with friends and family and having access to up-to-date travel info is essential.
That’s why not being able to charge your devices while on the road can be more than a little upsetting.
Realizing they do things differently abroad is part of the learning curve.
Starting with the basics, it’s important to remember a travel adapter/converter so all your electrical devices will work in foreign sockets.
So, check out this review of the best travel adapters of 2020. A buyer’s guide and FAQ section will follow.
Read on and don’t get caught out – like I have in the past.
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- TOP 12 Best Travel Adapters and Converters 2020
- Newvanga Worldwide All-in-One Travel Adapter
- Ceptics International Travel Universal Adapter Set
- Syncwire 34W 4-Port USB Wall Charger
- Conair Travel Smart All-In-One Adapter
- Epicka Universal Travel Adapter Wall Charger
- Pac2Go Universal Travel Adapter
- Bonazza All-in-One Travel Plug Power Adapter
- Foval Power Step Down 220V to 110V Converter
- Orei World Travel Adapter Grounded
- Flight 001 5-In-1 Adapter
- Bestek Universal Travel Adapter 220V to 110V
- Skross Pro-World & USB Travel Adaptor
- What to Look for in a Travel Adapter/Converter
TOP 12 Best Travel Adapters and Converters 2020
Newvanga Worldwide All-in-One Travel Adapter
Review: This adapter accepts plugs from over 150 countries, with five different input plugs in one unit for Europe, USA, UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
It’s applicable to all American plugs, including those tricky polarized prongs when one is larger than the other. The built-in safety shutters protect the user from touching live parts directly on the socket outlet.
It features two USB charging ports for compatible electronic devices and has a built-in fuse protection that cuts the power when it exceeds 6.3 Amps. Suitable for low power devices only, with the maximum power rating of 6A, 100-240Vac (660W max. at 110Vac. 1380W max. at 230Vac). It does not convert voltage.
- Compact device.
- Great price.
- It doesn’t convert voltage.
Ceptics International Travel Universal Adapter Set
Review: This is a 12-piece set of travel adapters so you only have to bring along the one that’s right for the country you’re visiting. This is ideal to save space if it’s just a vacation to one destination, a business trip, or visiting family and friends.
However, it’s not quite right for backpacking or if you intend to travel to multiple countries with different sockets. Still, the set pretty much covers the whole world at an affordable price, supporting electrical devices between 100-240 volts.
It isn’t a converter, but it will charge any mobile device, such as your iPhone, iPad, Android smartphones, cell phones, tablets, cameras, and laptops. Individually, this is probably the best international travel adapter set you can buy.
- Each unit is very small.
- Covers the world.
- Very easy to use.
- Affordable price.
- Sturdy and reliable.
- They will take up a lot of space if carrying more than one.
- Not ideal for backpackers.
Syncwire 34W 4-Port USB Wall Charger
Review: A four-port USB charger (2×2. 4A + 2×1A), this Syncwire product offers a maximum 34W/6. 8A charging output.
The 1A docks offer standard charging while the 2A boosts the charging speed for your devices so you don’t have to wait around as long for them to be fully juiced. It does this by using Smart-IC technology which automatically detects and delivers the optimal charging current for the connected device.
The compact design is certified safe against overheating, while it comes with a 100V-240V input, with foldable US plug, UK and EU interchangeable adapters. Super lightweight and portable, this device is ideal for home, business, and travel.
- Compact and travel-friendly.
- Super-fast charging option.
- Well built and durable construction.
- Smart technology to adapt to each device.
- Only suitable for USB chargers – it won’t accept any other plugs.
- Limited to US, UK, and EU.
Conair Travel Smart All-In-One Adapter
Review: This is another easy-to-use unit that covers the four most common adapter configurations in one compact device.
With the added USB port, you can charge up to four different electrical items at one time, making it ideal if you’re going on holiday with the family and everyone is clamoring for socket space.
A built-in surge protection keeps your devices safe, while the adapter is very lightweight and portable at 5.4 ounces. It will cover over 150 countries and is the only travel adapter of its kind that features the three outlets and a USB port.
- Multi-charge ability.
- Built-in surge protection.
- Not suitable for high voltage devices.
- A little on the bulky side for some.
Epicka Universal Travel Adapter Wall Charger
Review: This all-in-one, multi-function travel adapter covers 150 countries, with a sliding mechanism that offers US, EU, AU, and UK plugs and the flick of a switch. It features 4 USB Ports, with smart charging, 1 USB type C and 1 AC socket to charge a total of six devices simultaneously with high speed.
The maximum power offered is 880W at 110Vac 1840W at 230Vac. While it doesn’t convert electrical output and voltage, it is packed with safety features, including an 8A overload dual fuse, safety shutters, and plug lock system.
The adapter is ROHS, CE and FC Certified which guarantees protection.
Not recommended for high powered devices, but still a compact and portable unit for your charging needs and is ideal for someone packing a lot chargeable tech.
- Multiple ports for multiple devices.
- Compact, all-in-one unit.
- Good value.
- Easy to use
- Solid build quality.
- Only one plug port.
Pac2Go Universal Travel Adapter
Review: The Pac2Go comes with its own smart travel case, to help keep you organized and your adapter in tip-top condition. This is a small, all-in-one that’s marketed as an alternative to bulkier adapters.
It features slide-out world travel plugs for US, EU, UK, and AU with an 8 hole input socket compatible with every international standard two and three-prong plug. You can simultaneously charge up to five devices quickly with the quad 3.5 Amp USB ports and the global electrical socket.
Smart IC matches the high tech accessories current, so it can adapt to give you the right amount of power catered for your device. There’s a built-in, overcharge protection for USB devices, so you can have peace of mind charging your phones and other important tech here.
- Super-compact design.
- Five device ports.
- Carry case included.
- Rubberized cover.
- Good safety features.
- Size issues with switch outlets.
Bonazza All-in-One Travel Plug Power Adapter
Review: If you’re traveling with high-powered devices, you’re going to need more than an adapter that only takes care of the different socket types worldwide.
This travel converter and adapter combo offer a maximum of 2000 watts, with an adaptor mode for dual voltage (110-220V, 100-240V), meaning you can convert your electrical appliances from 220-240V to 110-220V.
It comes with great safety features, an LED power indicator, plug lock system, over-current (overload), high-temperature, short-circuit and surge protection, built-in. The slide adapter will cover over 150 countries as standard and is one of the smallest and lightest units of its type on the market.
- Converter and adaptor.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Good price for what you get.
- Quality safety features.
- Let me know if you find one.
Foval Power Step Down 220V to 110V Converter
Review: This converter comes with an 18-inch long EU power cable and three international adapters for the US, UK, and AU.
The step-down voltage converts 220/240V to 110/120V, so you could use American electronics in 220V / 240V countries such as the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, Australia, Thailand, Japan, and China, among others.
It supplies 200 watts of power with two standard US plugs and four 5V / 2.4A (2.4A per port max) capable of simultaneously charging multiple devices. The converter will shut down if it detects surges, over-heating, short-circuiting, and over-current.
The internal, ball-bearing fan keeps it working silently, and it comes with its own carrying case for ease of transportation. Probably the best travel converter for Europe available.
- Power cable.
- Versatile unit.
- Good safety features.
- Plenty of ports and socket outputs.
- Carry case included.
- Altogether the product will still take up a bit of space.
Orei World Travel Adapter Grounded
Review: Marketed as the world’s safest travel plug adapter, this M8+ device accepts two or three-prong grounded and ungrounded plugs from all over the world or up to two USB devices.
It’s a pocket-sized unit that is all-in-one with slide-out power points so you don’t lose any important parts. It features a safety release button and built-in fuse to ensure safe operation and is suitable for most consumer electronics ranging from 110-volts to 275-watts, to 220-volts to 550-watts.
It’s sturdy and well built and is suitable for use with dual voltage devices such as digital cameras, GPS, shavers, laptops, MP3s, smartphones, and tablets. It comes with its own carry case and has a 100% grounded connection.
- Excellent safety features.
- Compact and portable.
- Carry case included.
- Limited USB ports and only one socket.
Flight 001 5-In-1 Adapter
Review: This colorful looking option from Flight 001 makes it super easy to find the right adapter depending on which country you’re going to be visiting. It’s conveniently stacked together but breaks apart into four different adapters with two USB ports.
The interlocking design makes it super portable, while the colors really do ensure it’s totally foolproof. Over 150 countries are covered, but remember to ensure that your electronics are rated 100-125 or 220-250 volts.
It comes in a nice, neat box so you can just clip it all together and throw it in with your stuff next time you’re on the move abroad. And have a look at this solo packing list for more advice on what else you might need on your travels.
- Sturdy build.
- Attractive look and feel.
- Maybe a little too attractive to babies or toddlers? They look like building blocks.
Bestek Universal Travel Adapter 220V to 110V
Review: Most likely the best travel power converter AND the best travel power adapter all rolled into one, the Bestek universal device has a lot going for it.
This little beauty can charge no less than seven devices simultaneously: with four USB charging ports with a combined 6A output, and three AC sockets supporting a maximum of 200 watts of power. Fully NRTL safety tested with upgraded hardware that provides complete protection for you and your devices.
It comes with over-current, over-load, over-heat and short circuit protection, with an EU power cable, and whisper-quiet fan for silent operation when you sleep. Over 150 countries are covered, as is pretty much most of the electrical devices you’re going to need. Make sure you check the power output, though.
- Multiple charging options.
- Adaptor and converter.
- Quality build.
- EU Power cable.
- Silent operation.
- Super-fast charging.
- Great safety features.
- Pricier than most options.
- Not the best for portability.
Skross Pro-World & USB Travel Adaptor
Review: Swiss company Skross is certainly well recognized and respected in Europe, and they pretty much make the best travel adaptors in the world. Well made, tough and durable, this little device is also one of the smallest – of not the smallest – travel adaptors available.
Up to 205 destinations are covered, with quality sliding pins and a solid feel to the device that you can tell is a great product. It’s suitable for equipment with earthed & unearthed plugs (2- & 3-pole), with an input voltage of 100-250V.
The built-in 6.3A fuse keeps things safe, while the overall Swiss engineering gives this adaptor some added prestige. The best travel adapter for Europe hands down.
- Top-quality build.
- Compact and portable.
- Swiss design.
- Made to last.
- Expensive for an adapter alone.
What to Look for in a Travel Adapter/Converter
While they might seem straightforward at first, there are a few key things to consider before buying a travel adapter or a converter.
Especially if you don’t want to destroy your valuable electronic devices.
This should be your primary concern – where are you going?
While most of Europe is covered by the same two-prong plugs, the UK (and Hong-Kong, among others) have to go and make it difficult with a three-prong system.
Just like they’re making it difficult with Brexit.
Having said that, the UK system is the safest, securest and most reliable in the world. If we were going to adopt a universal power plug and socket, it should be that one.
But at present there are around 15-20 different socket styles in use around the world today, some are more prominent than others, while many have become obsolete in older buildings.
For those still in use, it’s all done on a color-coded, alphabetical scheme that is meant to make it easy to figure out what goes where ranging from type A through to type N.
For more information about what type of plugs are used around the world – check out the informative video below.
Basically, you just need to make sure that you’re getting an adaptor that actually covers the country you’re going to visit. Most “universal” adaptors will have options that can be used in a wide range of countries around the world – usually covering 150-160 destinations.
But don’t just assume that they all do – it can get a little tricky here and there, especially in parts of Africa, the Middle East and some parts of South America.
Do your homework well and you won’t be left powerless when you touch down in a new country.
Number of Sockets
How many plugs do you need to be hooked up to the power supply at any given time?
For most travelers, having one plug option is perfectly fine, as they only need to charge or power one device.
This is particularly useful for families, groups or couples – basically anyone who isn’t traveling solo. It’ll save you having to fight over the one charging outlet that you have.
Also, consider how many USB charging ports a device has and how many you think you’ll need for your trip.
Again, this is useful if you have more than one USB device (which most people do these days), so you can charge a laptop, tablet, smartphone, and camera given an adapter with enough ports.
Check to see what the ampere output of the USB port is – a 1A port will charge a standard smartphone (3000 mAh battery) in approximately one hour.
An adaptor with higher ampere ports will obviously take less time to charge your device, but you need to make sure your device can handle that amount of power before connecting it up.
Were we all paying attention in science class?
No, we weren’t, so here’s a refresher.
Voltage is what makes an electric charge move. It is often called electromotive force. It is the push that causes a charge to move down an electrical circuit.
In the US, the standard voltage is 100-127V, as it is in Canada, Mexico, Japan, and some other parts of Central and South America.
And Liberia and Taiwan, for some reason.
Everywhere else in the world uses 220-240V.
A power converter is therefore needed whenever attempting to use an appliance or device that is meant for a different voltage.
Otherwise, you’re most certainly going to blow a fuse in the building, and destroy your electrical belongings in the process.
This means that it can be safely used in any region of the world – as it operates on both levels of voltage.
The wattage of a device is the amount of electrical power it requires in order to make it work.
It’s very important that the adapter or converter you use has a sufficient wattage capacity to power your electrical device or appliance.
If you can’t find this wattage number, you can work it out for yourself simply by multiplying the voltage by the amperes.
It’s just worth bearing this in mind, but don’t let it worry you too much, as most adapters and converters have a high enough wattage to cover our electrical needs.
Any appliances that are intended to heat will usually have the highest wattage – and therefore extra care should be taken.
A good adapter will have a number of safety features incorporated into the unit to protect you and your devices from a rather powerful thing called electricity.
A surge protector is always a good idea, as a sudden power surge through any outlet is not unheard of – especially in countries where the health and safety laws aren’t quite up to standard.
Other features might include protection from over-heating, over-charging, short circuits and safety shutters.
A Word of Caution
I would also like to take this opportunity also draw your attention to the negative reviews that some of these adapters and convertors regularly get – most of the time through no fault of their own.
The simple fact of the matter is people don’t check to make sure the converter is suitable for their device or electrical appliance.
Then all hell breaks loose and they kick up a shit-storm because it blew up their hair-dryer.
I can’t stress this enough – make sure you understand the power output of the socket, the converter and the voltage of whatever appliance or device you’re trying to use or charge.
Pro travelers will understand just how important space is when it comes to packing for a journey.
While the size and weight of a small travel adapter might seem negligible to most, they can still take up much-needed room – especially the larger devices with extra connectors and cables.
Having an adapter that includes its own travel bag is a good idea – it’ll help you keep organized, too.
If you’re traveling light, consider an all-in-one adapter that is going to cover you everywhere you go but takes up minimal space.
If you’re only going to one country, a good option might be an adaptor set where you simply pack the adapter suited to that destination.
And have a look at these awesome carry-on backpacks that have plenty of space-saving compartments to help you get the most out of your trip.
What is the Difference Between a Travel Adaptor and a Converter?
While it might at first seem confusing, it’s pretty straightforward once you get your head around it.
A travel adaptor is a device that enables you to connect different types of plugs into different types of sockets around the world.
A travel converter changes the voltage from the wall socket to your device, from 220V to 120V or vice versa.
While you don’t always need a converter – especially if you’re just charging devices – you will almost always need an adapter, unless the country your visiting shares the same pin system as your own.
What Kind of Power Converter do I Need for Europe?
Europe uses the 220-240 voltage system, so you’ll need a converter that can convert to that voltage range.
Remember though, you’ll only need a power converter if you’re going to be traveling with a device that isn’t dual voltage.
Most smartphones, laptops and other chargeable devices are already dual-voltage these days, so you don’t need to bother with a converter there.
Again, I must stress that you need to take responsibility and check your own appliances before figuring out what you may or may not need.
Can I Use My Phone Charger in Europe?
If it’s a European phone charger – then yes!
But if you have a US charger, you will need an adapter in Europe. A US charger will either be a type A or a type B plug.
In Europe, they use type C and type F – with the exception of Italy, where for some reason they use type L.
And in the UK and Ireland, they use type G.
Every commercially available adapter will be able to manage most European sockets.
Do You Need a Voltage Converter?
As previously mentioned, you don’t need a voltage converter if your devices are of dual voltage.
Examples of dual voltage technology include laptops, smartphones, tablets, and cameras.
Single voltage devices are usually kitchen appliances, hair straighteners, and hair dryers.
Watch this short but informative video to teach you how to tell what type of voltage your device or appliance has.
What Plug Sockets are Used in Asia?
Asia is on a similar system to Europe, with one or two awkward exceptions.
You’ll find type C sockets in most countries on the continent.
India uses type D.
In China, you can use types A, C, and I.
Malaysia and Singapore both share the UK system with type G.
While Thailand alone has type O, but A, B, and C can also be used.
Basically, if you’re traveling to Asia you’ll want a multi-pin adapter to be on the safe side – and not to confuse the hell out of you.
Why Isn’t There a Universal Plug, Voltage and Socket System Across the World?
A very good question, and a less than straightforward way to answer it.
While some countries do offer universal sockets, it will be some time (if at all) before the world adopts a single socket and voltage system.
There are various different reasons why we don’t have a world standard, but rather I waffle on with confusing and long-winded prose, check out the informative video below.
Everyone loves informative videos.
If only the world could use one standard voltage and one standard plug and socket system, it would be a much happier place – for travelers, at least.
But this isn’t likely to happen any time soon (stubbornness, pride, financial reasons) so it’s readily solved by buying one of the best travel adapters of 2020.
Let me know which travel adapter takes your fancy, or if you have any other comments or questions – my door is always open.
Stay grounded out there!
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