Choosing the Right Plug Adapter – A Buyer’s Guide
An adapter converts mains power AC 110-240V into a lower DC voltage that a small device can use. They are often required for charging and powering battery-operated devices. When buying a Plug Adapter, check its specifications and the voltage of your device. Also, check that the plug’s polarity aligns with your destination country’s outlets.
A voltage converter is a vital equipment when traveling or relocating abroad. It changes the electrical voltage that comes out of a foreign outlet to match that of your device, making it safe for you and your devices. This is important because you could damage your electronics or even start a fire if you plug a 120V device into a 220V socket.
You can tell if your device is dual-voltage by looking at the label or owner’s manual. If it has something like “INPUT AC 120 V 60 Hz 200 W,” then you can use it in North America and other countries that have standard 110-volt networks.
Most newer appliances and electronics are dual-voltage and only require a plug adapter. However, older irons and hair dryers may need a voltage converter or transformer. These units have overcurrent, overload, overheat, and short-circuit protections for your safety. They also have a honeycomb design that lets heat escape to prevent overheating.
Despite attempts by international organizations to standardize plugs, countries still have different types. Buying a multi-plug adapter lets you use your electrical devices in a foreign country without changing the plugs. It’s best to buy a model that fits the shape of the plug on your devices and the socket type used in your destination.
Before choosing a multi-plug adapter, check that its connector fits the sockets at your destination and has the right polarity markings (negative sleeve/positive tip). It’s also best to get a model that matches voltage input specifications with the outlet type.
Today’s commercial occupancies and offices have many electronic and electrical devices that need power. But most buildings only have so many outlets. Adding more outlets to an existing wall is expensive, so people often use multi-plug outlet splitters or extension cords to increase their sockets. But these solutions can be hazardous. Daisy chaining multiple extension cords and adapters can lead to short circuits and fires.
While more versatile than multi-plug adapters, single-plug adapters can still come in handy when you travel to a country with different outlet standards. You can also use them to power appliances in your home or office with two prongs rather than three (grounded devices require a grounded adapter).
To select the right type of single-plug adapter, count the prongs on your devices. Then, look for a plug adapter with the same number of prongs. Some single-plug adapters also come with a USB port, making them even more useful when you travel.
If you want a single-plug adapter that works worldwide, check the product’s dimensions (OD and ID). Make sure that the connector fits into your device and that the polarity matches (the inside of the adapter should have a positive (+) symbol while the device has a negative (-) symbol).
International travelers have all kinds of gear and gadgets that must be charged — phones, power banks, hairdryers, and more. The right travel plug adapter ensures that you can keep them all charged.
If you’re in the market for an international travel plug adapter, check its UL listing to see what electrical standards it meets and to find its voltage and current rating. These numbers can usually be found in the spec sheet or the back of a device.
The next step is to examine the adapter’s plug shape with your device plugged into it but not being used. Do the plug’s polarity markings match (negative sleeve/positive tip)? If so, you’re good to proceed. If not, the adapter won’t work with your device. Consider a set of plug adapters or a universal travel adapter that includes a few different plug types instead. These are more affordable than single-plug adapters that cover just one or two countries.