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Choose the Right Electrical Adapter

Posted by Mark Gallo on

Adapter or Converter?

Most of the time what you need for plugging in overseas is simply an adapter plug, not a converter. While it’s true that most countries outside of North America and Central America operate on 220/240 voltage, smartphones, tablets, cameras, and laptops are dual voltage and therefore capable of converting overseas voltage to the American standard of 110/120V (your power cord should indicate 120V to 240V). Converters are necessary when plugging in single voltage appliances like hair dryers. But avoid the extra expense and space required to pack a converter. Check with your hotel to see if they provide hair dryers, buy a dual-voltage hair dryer, or simply go without.

Grounded or Non-Grounded Adapter?

In addition to being dual-voltage capable, most smartphones, tablets, cameras, and laptops use a 2-prong, non-grounded plug to charge from a wall outlet. All you’ll need is a non-grounded 2-prong adapter plug. However, a grounded adapter plug will work for both 2-prong and 3-prong (grounded) plugs, so if you want to cover all your bases get a grounded adapter.

Finding the Right Adapter

Enter the country name followed by the word adapter in our site's search box (e.g., china adapter). Usually both grounded and non-grounded adapter results appear. Also note that some countries use up to 3 adapters due to differing wall outlets by region. If you're a US traveler going to countries that have North American style 100/120 volt outlets (e.g., Japan, Mexico, parts of South America), then you do not need an adapter.

Most Common Adapters for US Travelers

Continental Europe Adapter Plug (Non-Grounded) - In addition to the European continent, this adapter plug work in parts of the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and South America where Europeans historically had a controlling interest.

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UK Adapter Adapter Plug (Non-Grounded) - Used in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, plus Hong Kong, parts of China, the Middle East, and Africa.

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Australia/China Adapter Plug (Non-Grounded) - Used in parts of China, all of Australia and New Zealand, parts of South America and South Pacific as well.

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