The 10 Best Travel Plug Adapters

Updated October 26, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

10 Best Travel Plug Adapters
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We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. If you're planning on taking all your mobile devices with you on your next international travel adventure, you're going to need to get one of these universal plug adapters to take on the trip, too. Offering compatibility with almost every country's electrical system, they'll let you set up a virtual office or entertainment center wherever you go. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best travel plug adapter on Amazon.

10. Kensington K38120WW

The Kensington K38120WW has a convenient and responsive plug-release button, so you don't need to pry your devices out from their charging ports. Plus it boasts a single-piece construction, which makes it more durable and prevents you from losing important components.
  • almost never short circuits
  • won't overheat with prolonged use
  • bulky and may cover other outlets
Brand Kensington
Model K38120WW
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Loop LE-TA02

The Loop LE-TA02 contains a smart power chip that can charge almost any USB-compatible device at its optimal speed, with no risk of overcharging. Its slim design doesn't jut out too far from the wall, making it less likely to get knocked out accidentally.
  • built-in power bank
  • charges itself while plugged in
  • green led is too bright for some
Brand Loop LE-TA02
Model LE-TA02
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Imperial Design SP-120U

The Imperial Design SP-120U features components that conveniently fit into each other when not in use, protecting the transmitting ends and saving you space. It boasts a transmission of up to 10 amps and an easy-to-access USB port that is separate from the other parts.
  • supports 3-pronged appliances
  • nickel-plated copper connections
  • usb endcap is prone to coming loose
Brand Imperial Design
Model SP-120U
Weight 1.6 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Bonazza BE2T

The Bonazza BE2T is ideal for families on the go thanks to its child safety shutters, which cover active ports, and rounded edges that won't hurt if knocked into. It accepts two and three pronged devices, and can be used grounded or ungrounded, making it very versatile.
  • easy to switch between outlet types
  • comes with a tie for your cables
  • european extension is flimsy
Brand Bonazza
Model BE2T
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

6. Travel Inspira TA01

The Travel Inspira TA01 is built like a brick and won't crack if it gets dropped or knocked about in transit. It features smooth switches to control its pop-out prongs. Unfortunately, charging slows down when you have additional devices plugged into its two USB ports.
  • light indicates when it is too hot
  • compatible with over 150 countries
  • does not work as a transformer
Brand travel inspira
Model TITA01
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Bonazza FC-4U

The Bonazza FC-4U is a highly useful tool that comes in at an affordable price. Aside from the standard US, UK, European, and Australian prongs, it also has four USB ports for charging multiple devices, and it protects itself against overloads and short circuits.
  • 100 to 240 voltage input
  • feels very high quality
  • includes a lifetime warranty
Brand Bonazza
Model FC-4U
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. Bestek MRJ0009

While many universal adapters do their best with a limited number of functions, they can't ensure a snug fit in every country. That's where the Bestek MRJ0009 comes in. Its eight precisely machined individual components will keep you well connected almost anywhere.
  • won't block other outlets
  • all 8 can be attached for transport
  • sturdy plastic and metal build
Model MRJ0009
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. Pac2Go All-In-One

The Pac2Go All-In-One has options for compatibility in 150 countries, and has been tested to ensure safety with up to eight hours of continuous usage, so it's perfect for the busy international jet-setter. It boasts a durable housing, and its extensions feel sturdy.
  • comes with a zippered carrying case
  • includes a spare fuse
  • unobtrusive blue led indicator light
Brand Pac2Go
Model P2GUTA-01
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. Poweradd 2-Outlet International

The Poweradd 2-Outlet International allows for the connection of up to five devices at once, making it just as good for working at your local cafe as it is for trips around the globe. It includes five interchangeable plates for worldwide compatibility.
  • convenient snap-in design
  • built-in wraparound micro usb cord
  • works with 2- and 3-prong us outlets
Brand Poweradd
Model S9P2240020A0F
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Bestek Voltage Converter

A versatile power strip with four international adapters, the Bestek Voltage Converter also has two 2.4 amp USB ports for charging iPads and tablets, and two 1 amp ports for smartphones and other devices, meaning you can set up a virtual office anywhere you go.
  • converts to standard us voltage
  • comes with a 5-foot power cable
  • built-in cooling fan
Model MRJ201GUBK
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

How To Be A Powerful Traveler

Long before I ever traveled overseas, I received my fair share of warnings regarding the differences between electrical power supplies in the US and those abroad. If you so much as mention the desire to travel to another country to someone who’s been literally anywhere outside your country of origin, you’re probably going to get your fair share of advice as well.

The most obvious problem you’ll encounter when trying to use international outlets with a domestic plug is a stark difference in shape. In the US, for example, ungrounded outlets contain two vertically oriented, rectangular slots that correspond to an American plug’s two vertically oriented rectangular prongs. Tab A goes in to slot B with no problem.

In most of Europe, however, those two vertically oriented rectangles become two circles, and there’s an entire lexicon of insults around trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, so we know that’s not going to work.

What a travel plug adapter does, quite simply, is to take whatever plug you need to insert into an outlet and receive it on one end. On the other end are prongs outfitted for one or more different styles of international outlet, allowing you to take an American plug and insert it into a European outlet, or a British plug and insert it into an Australian outlet.

Some adapters are country specific, meaning that they’re built to receive one specific kind of plug and convert it to fit another specific kind of outlet. Others are more interchangeable or universal, depending largely on how much you want to spend. The whole affair can get a little confusing, however, so here's an equally confusing map.

Transform Your Devices

Before you go and buy a travel adapter for every single one of your electronic devices and electrical appliances, it’s important to understand some of the more volatile differences between your country’s power supply and those where you intend to travel.

Let’s use an American piece of equipment traveling overseas to paint the picture, and let’s make it an iPhone because they’re so ubiquitous. And iPhone is something that we should consider an electronic device as opposed to an electrical device. The difference is subtle but the distinction is important. Electronic devices contain computer chips; electrical devices do not.

In America, all of the standard outlets across the nation deliver 110-120 volts of alternating current. In most of the rest of the world, outlets deliver 220-240 volts of the same. It wouldn’t make a lot of financial sense for a company like Apple to create different iPhones for different markets, so they go with the international standard of 220.

In order for an iPhone bought in America to charge safely and properly overseas (and vice versa), one only needs a travel adapter and the charging block supplied by Apple. That block acts as a regulator, standardizing the voltage delivered to your phone no matter where you plug it in. Your computers have these as well, usually located about half way down the charging cable.

Any electronic device without a clear transformer in its power supply risks significant damage when plugged in overseas using only an adapter. For such devices, you’d do well to get yourself a voltage converter for optimal safety.

Electronic devices, on the other hand, the ones without computer chips, only need a converter if they pull a majority of the amps coming through an outlet. High wattage devices like hair dryers and curling irons (things that get hot, usually) operate at maximum efficiency and a much higher degree of safety when used with a converter, and not just an adapter.

Now that you have an idea as to what you’re going to need to make all of your devices work overseas, you can start to look at the options on our list with an eye for efficiency and style. The specific adaptations you need will guide your hand, for the most part, but you should also keep an eye out for outlet count, internal transformers, and other features that might make your traveling experience run that much more smoothly.

Setting Standards

By the turn of the 20th century, the debate over whether electrical standards should follow Thomas Edison’s 60Hz, 110-volt, direct current model or Nikola Tesla’s 50Hz, 220-volt, alternating current model had more or less settled out.

In the US, the frequency and voltage of Edison’s system became the standard, but the country made the switch to alternating current for its capability to send higher voltages across greater distances without much power loss. America is pretty big, so that came in handy. In Europe, the delivery method for alternating current followed Tesla’s instructions.

At the time, there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot of travel among the continents, and individuals didn’t travel with any electrical devices, so the thought to make plugs and sockets to a universal standard never entered the picture. While in the US, Harvey Hubbell’s design for a plug to safely connect electrical devices to a home’s power supply gained popularity, nearly a dozen other styles of plug and socket entered the global marketplace.

If a nation had itself an empire to speak of, the countries in its empire inevitably adapted the plugs and sockets of its motherland. That’s why a bunch of countries in Africa and Asia use plugs and sockets like those you might find in Britain or France.

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Last updated on October 26, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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