A travel adapter is a must item when you travel abroad no matter how many electric devices you carry. Unfortunately, there are many different types of plug and outlet around the world. On top of that, the voltage also varies from destination to destination. So, you may also need a voltage converter or transformer. This post helps you determine which one you need for your international travel.
What is a travel adapter?
A travel adapter is a gadget that allows you to plug your electric device into a different type of outlet in different countries. Please note that most travel adapters don’t convert voltage. If the voltage is different from your country, and your device is single-voltage, you will need a voltage converter or transformer.
What is a voltage converter or transformer?
The voltage used by countries varies as well as electrical plugs and outlets. In the U.S., it’s 110-120V, while many other countries are 220-240V. If your device is single-voltage, you will need either a voltage converter or transformer.
On the other hand, if your device is dual-voltage or multi-voltage, you don’t need them. But, you may still need a adapter to make your device fit into a foreign outlet.
To know your device is single, dual, or multi-voltage, check your device. You may find the information on the device itself, a label attached to the cord, or owner’s manual. If it’s single-voltage, it says like, “120V 60Hz“.
If it’s dual-voltage, it says like, “110/220V 60/50Hz”. Make sure that you need to toggle a switch manually. The device can’t tell which voltage of outlet you plug into automatically. A picture below is the switch on the dual-voltage hair dryer.
If it’s multi-voltage, it says like, “100-240V 50/60Hz”. Most wall chargers of recent electronic devices such a laptop, cell phone, digital camera, etc., are multi-voltage. These days, you can find either dual or multi-voltage devices for typical travel items. Buying these items for travel will eliminate the need for voltage converter or transformer, so you can pack light and compact.
Universal or Individual Travel Adapter
There are many types of plugs and outlets used around the world. Universal adapters are compatible with multiple types of outlets, but they often exclude some types of outlets. Most universal adapters are equipped 4 major types of plugs, Type A, C, G, and I. If it has these 4 types of plugs, it can be used in many counties. That’s because Type A plug fits Type A and B outlets. Type C plug fits Type C, D, E, F, H, J, K, L, N and O outlets. Type G and I plug fit only Type G and I outlets respectively.
Whlzd All in One International Power Adapter is equipped 4 retractable plugs which are the most common types (Type A, C, G, I). These plugs are compatible with outlets in 220 countries. It has 3 USB ports and one USB-C port to charge your mobile devices directly. It also contains a 6.3A fuse to protect your device in case of an electrical surge or prevent a fire in case of short-circuiting. However, if the fuse is blown, you will have to replace it to a new one which is probably hard to find in a foreign country. And, because of this protection, you can’t use high wattage devices like an iron, hair dryer, electric kettle, etc. If you use them, a fuse will be blown.
Most universal travel adapters are missing Type M compatibility, which is used in South Africa and some other countries. The item is 3-pack of Type M plug with Type A and B input. It doesn’t contain a fuse to protect a device. You rely on a circuit breaker in a building for protection in case of an electrical surge. A circuit breaker in a building is most likely higher than 6.3A. So, you may use high wattage devices. The drawback is that in case of an electrical surge, your device (especially electronic devices) may burn out before a circuit breaker cuts the power.
If you travel to one country at a time and are sure of which plug you need, this 12-pack comprehensive adapter set can be a good option for you. It includes Type A, B, C, D, E/F, G, H, I, J, L, M, and N. As Ceptics Type M adapter, all adapters in the set don’t contain a fuse. So, you may use high wattage devices like hair dryer, iron, electric kettle, etc.
Although many electric devices for travel are either dual or multi-voltage, you should make sure of that by looking at devices itself or instruction manuals. If it’s dual-voltage, don’t forget to toggle the switch in a country using a different voltage and toggle again when you are back home.
Most universal adapters have a fuse as surge protection. While the fuse provides extra protection for your devices, it limits the wattage so you can’t use high wattage devices. If a fuse is blown, the adapter is useless until you replace a fuse to a new one.
In contrast, simple individual adapters don’t contain a fuse so you may use high wattage devices. Double-check your device is either dual or multi-voltage. And, every time you use these devices, pay attention to the devices for abnormal heat, unusual sounds, etc.