When you visit a foreign country, you may probably soon face the problem that your plug doesn't fit into the socket. A product like a World Travel USB Plug Adapter will (more likely than not) solve this problem. Unlike in the past, you can get an adapter that can be used in almost any country you are visiting and you do not have to buy a separate one for every country that has different sockets. That is called "universal" 🙂 (This word is also a bit misleading as it will not work in EVERY country.)
Universal Travel Adapter versus Simple Plug Adapter
Being "universal" is one advantage of a universal travel adapter versus a simple plug adapter (you can also buy them in sets for different countries): There is only ONE, handy piece. It also has USB ports, what is an other advantage. A simple plug adapters - on the other hand - is smaller (and cheaper) but you will need one for every outlet type you are using and you will need an extra multi-USB charger as it is not built in.
The universal one will also not work in EVERY country, as mentioned above. Therefore, if you visit a country that has outlets which do not accept the universal travel adapter (e.g. South Africa, Israel), you have to get the right plug adapter anyway. As they are smaller, the chances that you lose or forget them are bigger. Both options are good, it simply depends on what you want.
At this point we will jump right into the details of a universal one we reviewed and recommend. If you are interested in more information about plug types that are used around the world and other things you should consider when it comes to buying adapters, please scroll down to the next section!
What is (one of) the best universal adapters for your purpose
We have really done a lot of research on this topic. You can find an almost endless number of different adapters in the internet - many of them are very similar. What we were looking for at this point is (one of) the best universal adapters that provides - besides a universal AC socket - also USB AND USB C ports. There you are:
Our overall rating: 9.0 out of 10
Here are some main features:
Total Output: 5.6A Max.
1 AC socket (covers 150+ countries including US, EU, AU and UK)
4 Single USB Ports with 2.4A Max. output
1 USB Type-C Port with 3A Max. output
Input Voltage: 120-240Vac 50/60Hz
Max. Power: 880W at 110Vac / 1840W at 230Vac
Built-in, replaceable fuse (protective function)
The TOTAL MAX. OUTPUT cannot be exceeded. So if you are charging 3 USB devices, for example, the maximum output will be lower (3 x 2.4 > 5,6). This means the devices will charge slower!
Do not plug in devices exceeding the maximum power of the adapter!
This adapter does NOT convert voltage or output current! This is not a voltage converter!
Do not use with high power appliances.
This adapter does not work with D, M, H plugs (South Africa, Israel, India, for example).
The Type K outlet (which is used in Denmark, for example) will accept Type E and F plugs but will not provide a grounding connection and should therefore not be used.
- Can charge 6 devices simultaneously (1 AC, 4 USB, 1 Type C USB)
- Highest total output (5,6A Max.) we could find for a multi-USB adapter
- Seems to be pretty robust
- 1 Year limited warranty (and 30 days money back guarantee) - Other brands offer a lifetime warranty. We have no experience, though, if they really replace their products in case. An adapter is a basic commodity. It is very likely that its life comes to an end one day - earlier or later.
- As with every universal adapter: Can be a bit bulky, may not fit into a power strip when every socket is occupied or if two sockets in the wall are too close to each other.
- Does not convert voltage (but neither do most of the other adapters)
What else is included:
- Spare fuse for replacement
- Zipper Nylon Travel Bag
- 2 ft Charging cable for Apple and Android
We guess this is one of the best universal ones you can get:
Check out the latest price on Amazon.com!
The travel adapter is probably one of the most important things you should NOT forget to pack
The travel adapter is one of the things that you might (as we have done many times) forget to pack. Don't do so. The travel adapter - at least for me personally - is one of the most important things you need - and you will probably need it very often!
It can get really bothersome if you arrive at your destination, you want to use or charge an electronic device in your new accommodation and notice you cannot. I remember when I tried to buy one abroad and I didn't speak the local language - and the vendor didn't speak English - it was pretty difficult to communicate what I wanted to buy 😀
There is never a guarantee that it will work - But most likely it will
With all items of that kind we have to note: There is never a guarantee that they will work the way you think they will. When you are traveling to foreign countries, especially to underdeveloped countries, there can always be issues with electricity and electric devices. The sockets, for example, can be pretty old, worn-out or even damaged and the adapter may not stick as good as you might think. Please also note that products like adapters are basic commodities and will not last your whole life probably.
We have traveled from one end of the world to the other and we never experienced that we couldn't charge or use any devices we wanted. But sometimes it can be pretty bothersome - even if you bring the best adapter you can find in the whole world. But in general they usually work more often than they don't. Or with limitations.
Some basic (but sufficient) information about electricity and adapters - You do not need to get a degree in Physics before you start traveling
I am really not an electrical engineer. But that can also be good at this point as I have done A LOT of research on this topic and talked to an electrician who travels a lot (who has also proof-read my article). Therefore, I will hopefully be able to explain you how this stuff works in easy words without technical expressions. So: Let's start 🙂
Different plug types
Basically, there are different plug types used around the world. These types use single letters from "A" to "M". A list of the different types by country can be found on Wikipedia, for example. The most common ones used worldwide are A (USA/North America) and C ("Europlug").
So, first, you have to check if your adapter fits into the socket (in the wall) of the country you are visiting. Secondly, the plug of the device you want to connect has to fit the input of your adapter. If you are from the United States and visit France, for example, you will want that the adapter accepts plug type A or B and that your adapter fits into the socket in France, which is type C or E.
Moreover, you have to consider the voltage of the country you are visiting. In many countries the main supply is between 220 and 240 volts, but there are also countries (like the USA and Canada, for example) with 100 to 127 volts. If the device you want to use does not support the voltage supplied in the country you are visiting or is not dual voltage then you will need a voltage converter. Many devices today (especially smart phones, cameras, etc.) are already dual voltage. You should check that on your device or charger in advance. Adapters do not change voltage or current!
If it is not dual voltage - the chance is that a voltage converter will also not solve that issue - especially for hairdryers, hair straighteners or most other bathroom items (items including a motor or a heating unit). They might not work even with a voltage converter. Our best advice: Leave them at home.
In the links below you will find all information about the country you want to visit with regard to plug types, voltage and hertz: