If you’re traveling or moving outside of your home country, you should be aware that the voltage may be different from the country you’re going to. It may work initially if you plug a 110V device into a 220V socket (common in the UK, Europe, and parts of Asia), but it will surely burn up eventually. Hence, voltage converters are needed.
You’ll learn about the different types of voltage converters and which one you’ll need to travel internationally in this article.
Types of Voltage Converters
Depending on the type of voltage converter, it converts the socket voltage to a higher or lower voltage to be compatible with your device. However, how do you figure out which converter to choose? Before we get to the actual list, let me explain how the different kinds of voltage converters work.
There are 3 types of voltage converters:
- Converters for step-down
- Converters for step-ups
- Step up and down converters
Step Down Converters
Step-down converters are the most common type of voltage converter used by travelers from the US. They are also known as universal adapters or converters, DC-to-DC converters, or buck converters. Keep in mind that step down converters can only decrease voltage, but not increase it voltage! As a result, step down converters are a good option for travelers from the US/Canada visiting Europe (and other higher voltage countries).
Step Up Converters
When a 220V device is plugged into a socket that has a lower voltage, e.g. a 110V socket, a step-up converter is used. Voltage converters of this type are required for Europeans and (many) Asians traveling to the US or Canada. If you are temporarily in the US and aren’t intending on purchasing any US devices that you will use in Europe (you will need another converter), a step up converter is a good option.
Step Up and Down Converters
The best converter for international travelers is the step up/down converter, as it allows the most flexibility. In the UK and EU, the voltage is typically 220V-240V, whereas in the US, it’s 110V (common). Essentially, you can plug any device purchased anywhere around the world (provided it supports the maximum wattage) into any socket. For expats or travelers, for example, who want to be able to charge their devices worldwide (US, UK/Europe, Australia, Asia, etc.) these are the best choices.
Voltage Converters Comparison Guide
You need to keep in mind the maximum wattage of your voltage converter after choosing the right category of converter. A typical universal travel adapter/converter has a maximum power rating of 250 watts, while a typical hair dryer uses between 1000 and 1875 watts. This means that while they are perfect to charge your gadgets while traveling (e.g. smartphone, laptop, camera…), they are not suitable for charging high-power appliances.
Travelers who need to charge their smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets overseas will find the first four voltage converters in this list useful. Whether you’re relocating abroad or need to charge high-powered appliances while traveling (e.g. a fridge, food processor, flat iron…), a heavy-duty voltage converter is essential, such as the Hyted Converter (for travel) or the Rockstone Power (for relocation).
With that being said, here are the best voltage converters for different uses.
Step Down Converter with Fast Charging Technology
When looking for a travel voltage converter, size, adaptability, and portability are important factors. You want a universal converter that fits easily in your luggage when traveling from one country to another. Easton’s Universal Travel Adapter has three AC outlets, two USB ports, a QC 3.0 port type C that is compatible with newer smartphones, laptops, cameras, and many other devices. Plus, it has a built-in 490J surge protector that ensures the safety of your precious devices.
In addition to its wide range of compatibility and safety features, our top pick has a built-in smart IC charging technology and can auto-detect your devices, as well as optimize charging speed. The product includes a European power cable and five international adapters that support outlets in Australia, North America, United Kingdom, and 150 other countries.
Features at a Glance
- A step-down converter (220-240V to 110V)
- Compatible with US/Canadian devices used in Europe and the UK
- 3x AC outlets, 2x USB ports, 1x QC 3.0 port type C and 490J surge protector
- Includes EU power cable and 5 international adapters
Step Down Converter with Large Number of Ports
The Bestek travel adapter/converter is another high-quality, portable universal adapter and power converter. It can charge up to seven devices at the same time. It comes with 4 USB ports and 3 AC outlets that can handle up to 250W of power. A great aspect of this voltage converter is that the USB outputs are completely isolated from the AC power, which prevents your devices from being damaged.
There is one EU power cable along with international adapters that support outlets in North America, Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, China, Continental Europe, and over 150 other countries. Furthermore, it has over-current, overload, over-heat, and short-circuit protection to help keep you and your devices safe.
Features at a Glance
- 220-240V to 110V step-down converter
- Adapters that can be used in over 150 countries worldwide (US, UK, Europe, Australia, Japan, China)
- 4x USB charging ports and 3x AC power sockets
- Charges up to 7 devices simultaneously
International Voltage Converter (Step Up and Down)
The LiteFuze is a voltage converter that steps up and down. It allows you to connect devices from higher voltage standard countries like the UK and EU (usually 220V-240V) to lower voltage standard sockets like the US (110V) and vice versa. Traveling internationally is easier with this card since it works both ways. Charge gadgets like smartphones, cameras, and laptops with this portable voltage converter’s 500-watt maximum capacity.
Features at a Glance
- Voltage converter (220-240V to 100-110V and 110V to 220-240V)
- US devices can be used in Europe and European devices can be used in the US
- Different models available: EU-Cord, UK-Cord, US-Cord
- Choice between 300 to 500-watt capacity (not suitable for high-power appliances)
High-Wattage Travel Voltage Converter (2000W)
When you need a step-down converter (US to 150 countries worldwide) with a high efficiency, the Hyted travel converter is a great choice wattage (2000W). Unlike previous models, this one has a maximum power capacity of 2000 watts. The voltage converter can also be used with electric-controlled appliances such as hairdryers and some devices with a high wattage, in addition to smartphones, laptops, speakers, and cameras. Traveling is made easier by its portability.
On the downside, the Hyted voltage converter is only suitable for charging one device at a time
Features at a Glance
- 240V to 110V step down converter
- Devices suitable for use in Europe, Asia, and the UK (compatibility with 150 countries worldwide)
- Small and portable (ideal for traveling)
- 2,000 watts (suitable for electric appliances, such as hairdryers)
High-Power Voltage Converter for Relocations
You can use a heavy-duty step-up and down converter if you’re moving across an area with a different standard voltage and don’t have the budget to buy new appliances. The Rockstone Power voltage converter is proud to be the supplier of Tesla Inc. and has made a name for itself in the electronics industry. The Rockstone converter has a capacity of 3000 watts, unlike the more common portable step-down voltage converters, which are not compatible with appliances. Hence, it is one of the few models that can be used with high-power appliances. From TVs to washing machines to hairdryers, you can convert most appliances from the US to the UK and EU and vice versa.
Features at a Glance
- Adapter (220-240V to 110V and 110V to 220v-240V)
- High-power appliances compatible
- Relocations made easy
- For usage at home (not suitable for travelers)
Best Voltage Converters at a Glance
Easton Universal Travel Adapter
Step down converter, for US/Canadian devices used in Europe. Includes EU cable and 5 international adapters. AC outlets and handy USB charging ports. Portable and fast charging.
Bestek Travel Adapter
A step-down converter for use in Europe with US/Canadian devices. Multiple USB and AC outlets. Very convenient for travelers with many devices. Charging seven devices at once is possible.
Hyted 2000 Watts Converter
Step down converter, for US/Canadian devices used in Europe. Portable and ideal for traveling. Single device charging. Suitable for high-wattage devices (e.g. hair dryers).
Rockstone Power Voltage Converter
Converts US devices for use in Europe and vice versa. Compatible with high-powered appliances. Intended for use at home only.
A step-up and step-down converter for use in Europe and vice versa. The best choice if you travel internationally frequently. Does not work with high-power appliances.
Nisorpa 2000 Watts Converter
Step up converter, for European devices in the US/Canada. Suitable for high-wattage devices. Double port (simultaneous charging of two devices). Lightweight adapter.
FAQ on Voltage Converters
Choosing a voltage converter really depends on your specific situation: your home country (where your devices are from), the country you’re going to (are you traveling internationally or relocating? ), the number of devices you’d like to charge simultaneously, and the wattage of the devices. Our readers have asked many questions about voltage converters. We have answered the most commonly asked questions below.
Which voltage converter for a euro trip?
You’ll need a stepdown voltage converter if you’re from the US or Canada (220V to 110V voltage converter). We recommend the Bestek universal travel adapter choice, as it has USB and AC charging ports for up to 7 devices simultaneously.
What’s the difference between a step up and a step down converter?
In order to plug a 110V device into a 220-240V socket, step up converters are used. If you are traveling from Europe, the UK, etc. to the US, you’ll need a step up converter.
With a step-down converter, you can connect a 110V device to a 220-240V socket. Step down converters are required when traveling from the US to over 150 countries (many of which use 230V voltage).
What’s the power supply in the Netherlands?
The Netherlands uses the same power supply as the rest of the EU, which is 230V, or 50-60 hertz. If you are visiting the Netherlands from another European country (France, Spain, Germany…), you do not need to worry about plugging in your device. From the UK, travelers need a simple travel adapter since the sockets in continental Europe are different from those in the UK, but the voltage is the same. To use their devices in the Netherlands, travelers from the United States (and other low-voltage countries) need a step-down voltage converter.
What’s the difference between a travel adapter and a converter?
Travel adapters and converters differ by the voltage (current). Travel adapters are suitable when using the same voltage (e.g. Europe – UK) but different types of sockets. Using devices with different voltages (e.g. US – Europe/UK) requires a travel converter.
Are there travel adapters with USB ports?
Definitely! Check out the Easton voltage converter or the Bestek voltage converter. Both come with several USB ports and AC ports.
Which travel adapter for the hair dryer?
Hair dryers aren’t suitable for portable voltage converters because they are high-power appliances. For those looking for a portable hair dryer adapter, the Hyted is a good option.