Before taking your next big trip overseas, you want to make sure you’ve got a top-of-the-line travel adapter, ideally, a universal adapter.
That’s because each major region of the world uses a different kind of jack to plug devices into outlets. If you don’t have a travel adapter, you simply won’t be able to charge whatever devices you brought with you.
That’s why we rounded up a few of the best travel adapters out there. While one should never be too focused on devices when traveling, being able to charge a camera battery or a phone could be the small difference that makes a good trip great or at least ensures a bad trip won’t get any worse.
But before we get into a few universal adapters below, there’s one more thing to know about traveling and charging in another country: While travel adapters will put a new face on the jack of your device, most adapters will not adjust the voltage coming from the outlet. That matters because charging devices with the wrong voltage could damage them. That means it’s critical to double-check the expected voltage in a given place before jet setting off into the sunset.
In North America and Central America, outlets typically provide about 110-120 volts, while in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa, outlets typically put out around 220-240 volts. Thankfully, modern hotels, used to accommodating American travelers, will frequently have places you can charge up (if the outlets in your room aren’t American themselves). Also, most computer chargers can adapt voltage, thanks to that chunky brick part on every computer charger cable.
So though you’ll likely be OK with only a travel adapter, the more far-flung you get and the less formal your accommodations become or the heftier the appliances are you’re bringing, the more likely you’ll need a converter in addition to an adapter. But don’t sweat it, we’ve included some excellent adapter-converter options too.
Now that you’re armed with the basics of charging and traveling, check out a few great travel adapters below.
1. EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter
The EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter has everything you want and more in a universal adapter. It’s got different plugs for every kind of outlet as well as a female jack for any kind of plug. That means you can put any kind of plug into the adapter and adapt it for any kind of outlet, whether you’re an American in Australia or a European in the UK. It also features four USB ports and 1 USB Type C port, so you can charge six devices at once.
It also comes with a bevy of safety features, including overload protection. Alas, it doesn’t convert voltage, but as we said, most travel adapters don’t do that.
So factoring all that in, plus the reasonable price point, it’s clear the EPICKA travel adapter is one of the best universal adapters.
2. BORNKU Universal Travel Adapter
If you like what the EPICKA universal adapter is putting down but are willing to risk a cheaper version, go for the BORNKU Universal Travel Adapter. It has all the same features for adapting and charging that the EPICKA adapter has. The only difference is the BORNKU costs half as much.
While that would normally make something rank higher, in a case like this where the tool is so important, we wouldn’t risk going too cheap. But it claims to be made of high-quality heat-resistant materials, so if you’re willing to take the small risk of a meltdown later, the BORNKU travel adapter could be the best for you.
3. JOOMFEEN Travel Adapter
We like the JOOMFEEN Travel Adapter because it’s simple and cheap. If you don’t plan on charging six things at once, there’s no reason to spend money like you are. With three charging ports, including an AC outlet and two USB charging ports, you should easily be able to charge up any necessary devices. It also has some fuse protection and additional safety features, making it a pretty solid adapter with a more trustworthy cheap price because it’s less complicated.
4. Ceptics International Worldwide Travel Plug Adapter 5 Piece Set
BEST ADAPTER SET
If you’re seeking the simplest and smallest adapter solution, you might consider picking up a set of travel adapters like the Ceptics International Worldwide Travel Plug Adapter 5 Piece Set. Instead of getting a brick with switches that adapt the plug, you get five plugs that slide directly over your plug to adapt it. The end result is you only need to bring one tiny adapter for your trip if you’re planning on staying in one region of the world, which most people do.
5. Ceptics Adapter Plug Set
MORE DURABLE ADAPTER SET
Alas, though the Ceptics adapter set is compact and convenient, the plugs do break down over time, especially as they get beaten up in your bag. You might consider a set of larger, more durable adapters like the Ceptics Adapter Plug Set. You get basically the same set as above, only the pieces are much thicker and a lot more likely to survive the trials and tribulations of travel.
Ultimately, bigger means more durable but less packable, so this boils down to personal preference more than anything.
6. POWRUI Surge Protector Travel Adapter
BEST FOR LONGER STAYS
If you know you’ve got a longer stay ahead of you, you might want your adapter to have an extra AC plug so you don’t have to choose between charging your laptop and using your hairdryer. That’s where the POWRUI Surge Protector Travel Adapter can help. It’s got two USB ports and two AC ports and includes five adapters, so you can use it wherever you land in the world.
7. Easton Inc Voltage Converter and Universal Travel Adapter
If you want to be extra safe when traveling to not blow out your devices, make sure to pick up a travel adapter/converter like the Easton Inc Voltage Converter and Universal Travel Adapter.
You just plug the converter into the wall using the included adapters and voila, you can now safely use heavier duty items through the three AC ports or the USB and USB-C jacks.
It’s fairly compact for being able to handle converting and the many plugs mean you can plug in once and never have to worry about getting the right charge during your trip.
8. HYTED Travel Adapter and Converter Combo
MOST COMPACT ADAPTER-CONVERTER
It’s important to consider item size when traveling and we could understand if you don’t want a brick-sized converter. For a converter closer to the size of plain travel adapters, the HYTED Travel Adapter and Converter Combo is as pared down as it gets for adapter-converters.
That does include some tradeoffs, such as the capability to only accept American-style plugs. But it can be flicked between plain adapting or adapting + converting, so it can safely handle smaller devices as well as larger devices.
So if you need a converter but only anticipate needing a single plug, go for the HYTED adapter. It won’t let you down or weigh you down.