Last updated: 16/10/2022

Welcome to our big travel adapter test 2022. Here we present all the travel adapters we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best travel adapter for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of if you want to buy a travel adapter.




Summary

  • Countries have different types of sockets and mains voltages. To be able to use your electrical devices (laptop, mobile phone, hairdryer, etc.) abroad, you need the right travel adapter.
  • A travel plug can bridge the differences between different plug systems. Adapters that are suitable for a variety of sockets are practical.
  • In general, a distinction can be made between country-specific and universal travel adapters. Both have advantages. Country-specific adapters are practical for one holiday country. Universal plugs can be used worldwide.

The Best Travel Adapter: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a travel adapter

There is no uniform standard for frequencies and voltages of electricity networks. Sockets and plugs also vary around the world. Adapters and plugs with “Schuko protection” (metal contacts are sheathed in a patented process to protect against electric shocks) guarantee greater safety against electric accidents.

What is a travel adapter?

Travel adapters are plugs that enable a connection between an electrical device and a non-compatible plug system. The adapter has a plug on one side and a socket on the other. This allows you to use your laptop, for example, wherever you travel.

Such a plug-in socket is standard in the USA, among other countries. Without a corresponding adapter, you cannot power devices with German (charging) cables. (Image source: unsplash.com / Brian Patrick Tagalog)

Travel adapters are available in many different versions and designs. Depending on the country you are travelling to, you should find out in advance which type is suitable for your end devices. For example, there are single plugs that only allow a certain combination of plug and socket.

You can also find combination models with which you can connect different types of plugs and socket systems with each other. For a better overview, plug systems and adapters are classified into types with letters (A-N). This system is used worldwide for better comparability. For example:

Type Country
Type A and B USA, Mexico, Canada, Japan
Type D India, South Africa
Type G United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Malta
Type I Australia, New Zealand, China

How does a travel adapter work?

An adapter bridges a mismatched connection between a connector and the plug of a terminal device. For example, an adapter creates a connection between the plug of your laptop and the socket in the country you are travelling to.

Inside the adapter is a power conductor. The current is then taken up by the plugged-in adapter and passed on inside to the plug.

Do I need a transformer for my devices abroad?

In the EU, the voltage (volts) is usually 230 volts. If the maximum voltage in the country of travel is lower, you will also need a transformer. This takes the lower voltage and converts it into a higher voltage. In addition to the plug-in system, the mains voltage in the respective country of travel must always be taken into account.

Note:

  • Travellers from Germany, for example, need a travel plug with transformer in the USA. Only then can the device you bring with you (e.g. razor) be plugged into an American socket.
  • Also check with the manufacturers of your end devices (mobile phone, hairdryer, etc.) what output voltage is required. As a rule, the voltage is given in volts. This is different for alternating voltage, where the frequency is given in hertz.
  • However, the voltage transformer can also be connected upstream as an external device. Currently, there are more and more devices for which a transformer is no longer necessary because they have universal power supplies with a wide-range input.

Find out in good time about the mains systems in your destination country. You can find important information about this in travel agencies, travel guides or corresponding online portals.

What are the differences between travel adapters?

There are different types of plugs and different mains voltages all over the world. Find out before you travel which type(s) of plug you need for your trip. In Germany, for example, the mains plugs types C and F are the most common. There is also the contour plug (less common).

Common mains plugs in Germany

Type Description
Type C
  • This is also known as a Euro plug and can be used for almost all European sockets.
  • Exceptions are e.g. the United Kingdom and Ireland.
  • The prerequisite is that the sockets in the respective country must permit 220-250 volts.
Type F
  • This is also known as the Schuko plug and can be used almost everywhere in Europe.
  • “Schuko” is an abbreviation and stands for protective contact.
  • It is considered particularly safe.
Contour plug
  • It is compatible with sockets in France, for example.
  • It does not have a protective contact.

Note: Depending on the plug system of your country, you have to choose your travel adapter.

Which travel adapter do you need for other countries?

It depends on what kind of trip you are planning. A business trip to only one country or a world trip? There are two different systems.

Simple travel adapter

The simple travel adapter is used to combine different types of connections. Then the plug and socket fit together. The simple adapter for this country does not include a transformer. This means that it cannot compensate for possible differences in mains voltage.

These models are always designed for a specific country. Note that no transformer is built in to convert the current. For example, if you are travelling to a country with a low voltage of 100-120 volts (e.g. USA, Japan, Canada). Then a simple travel plug is not enough. You still need a transformer.

Universal adapter

A universal adapter, on the other hand, has numerous plug variants and can therefore be used in many different ways. It also has an integrated transformer. This means it can be used all over the world.

Universal plugs work in over 150 countries. Many have an additional USB connection. You can use it to charge many small devices such as your mobile phone, camera, etc.

Which adapter is suitable for which country?

In most EU countries, you can simply plug your device into the socket provided. The narrow Euro plugs in particular fit into the most common sockets. Note: In parts of Switzerland and Italy, however, you will need an adapter. There are special models for this. There are a total of fourteen different types of plug (including M, N, H).

You can find a list of recommendations on many travel portals or in travel agencies. You can find a selection in the table below. It gives you examples of popular holiday countries. It shows their country-plug combinations and which adapters fit them.

Country Adapter required (for travellers from DE/AT) Plug type Voltage (Volt)/Frequency (Heart)
Australia yes I 230/50
Dominican Republic yes A,B 110/60
France yes A,B 110/60
Greece no (C,F) 230/50
Italy partly C,F,L 230/50
Canary Islands partly C,E,L 220/50
Mexico yes A 127/60
Sweden no (C,F) 230/50
Switzerland partly C,J 230/50

Which adapter is suitable for a round-the-world trip?

If you are planning a round trip or a trip around the world, you won’t get far with a simple adapter. You will need either several adapters (depending on the country) and possibly a transformer (depending on the voltage of the destination country). In this case, a universal adapter offers several advantages, e.g.:

  • you only need one plug instead of several
  • no extra voltage transformer is needed
  • less weight
  • different features and models

If you are staying in hotels, ask the hotel in advance if the hotel is equipped with adapter options. Many hotel providers today already have several socket systems integrated in their rooms.

How do I use a travel adapter correctly?

You should also pay attention to the safety of your electronics when abroad. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions for your adapter. This is particularly important:

  • When buying, look for safe products. For example, look for the CE or GS mark. CE means that the manufacturer has checked the safety. GS means that your component has been tested by an approved testing centre. CE is compulsory in Germany.
  • Consider the sockets. Multiple sockets have a limit load of approx. 3500 watts. So do not connect too many devices at the same time. And never plug in multiple sockets one after the other.
  • Be careful when travelling with small children: You should buy a travel adapter with a child safety lock.
  • Find out if your adapter has an earthed protective contact system. This ensures that dangerous voltages are discharged immediately

Decision: What types of travel adapters are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between two different types of travel adapters:

  • Country-specific (simple) adapter
  • Universal adapter

What are country-specific (simple) adapters and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

A simple adapter is usually only suitable for a specific travel region. This means that the travel adapter is only suitable for this one country-specific plug variant. However, country-specific travel adapters can be an option for trips to e.g. the USA, England, South Africa. Note that not all of these plugs have transformers. Therefore, you cannot use them in countries with a different mains voltage (e.g. Ireland, Canada, etc.).

Advantages
  • Light weight
  • Handy
  • Robust
  • Easy to carry
Disadvantages
  • Can only be used in one country
  • Without transformer

What is the universal adapter and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A universal adapter is suitable for frequent travellers to different countries. They fit into the sockets or power grids of about 150 countries. For example, Europe, Asia, North America, Australia, parts of Africa and Latin America. These adapters have several plug variants. At the same time, they have a built-in transformer that can compensate for deviating mains voltage. More and more universal plugs have one or more USB connections.

Advantages
  • Numerous plug variants
  • Built-in transformer
  • Can be used worldwide
  • Often with USB connections
Disadvantages
  • Heavier
  • Larger
  • More awkward to transport

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and rate travel adapters

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate travel adapters. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular travel adapter is suitable for you or not. In summary, these are:

  • Possible applications
  • Handling
  • Transformer
  • USB connection
  • Protective contact (Schuko)
  • Child safety lock
  • Storage (e.g. box)

Possibility of use

The main criterion is that your travel adapter is suitable for your destination country. Plugs that you can use in many countries are particularly practical. Some country-specific travel adapters can only be used to a limited extent.

This type of socket should look very familiar to you. In most countries, however, you will come across other variants. (Image source: unsplash.com / Neven Krcmarek)

Therefore, check in advance which type is suitable for your trip. For example, on round trips you are usually on the safe side with universal plugs.

Handling

Especially on individual trips, weight and size always play a big role. Every gram counts. Even if you travel a lot on business with hand luggage, a small adapter is practical. Especially if you travel a lot, your adapter should be easy to use and robust.

Transformer

Whether you need an extra transformer in addition to your travel adapter depends on your end devices. Check whether your devices are compatible with different mains voltages. If they are designed for a wider range (e.g. 100 – 230 volts), then you usually do not need a voltage transformer. To be on the safe side, check the operating instructions. With universal plugs you do not need an extra transformer.

USB connection

The cube shape of travel adapters with USB charging ports is particularly advantageous. This gives the adapter a very compact shape. The required plugs can usually be simply folded or pushed open. Depending on the model, you will find adapters with several USB charging ports already integrated.

Protective contact (Schuko)

Some travel adapters have special protective functions. For example, short-circuit protection, overcurrent protection, etc. The Schuko protection is very common in Europe. Internationally, it is known as the type F plug.

Child safety lock

If you are travelling with small children, this point is certainly an important criterion for you. Compare the offers, some adapters have an integrated child safety device.

Storage (e.g. box)

If you travel a lot with your laptop & co. you know how important it is to protect your technical equipment. Here, too, some adapters differ. Some manufacturers include a travel bag or storage box. These protect the adapter from dirt, sand and other environmental influences.

Facts worth knowing about travel adapters.

Are you wondering whether the adapter you used on your last trip is also suitable for this year’s holiday destination? You are informed and know for which countries you need a travel adapter. Within Europe, there are countries whose sockets match each other. Especially the Europlug type C. Here are some examples:

  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Netherlands
  • Poland

There are fourteen different types of sockets worldwide. Some plugs fit several systems. The following example shows a selection of plug types and how they fit together. You can see if you need a travel adapter and which one you need.

Plug type Countries Fits
A, B e.g. Russia, Asia, Morocco and some other parts of Africa B is compatible with A, but not the other way round
C, E, F e.g. South Africa, the Middle East (M) All types fit together
D, M E.g. South Africa, Middle East (partially) Do not match other plug types

Are you planning a trip to another continent? There are probably many different plug systems in use there. If you stop in different countries, you may not be optimally equipped with a single simple travel adapter. In this case, you will either need several country-specific individual adapters (plus a transformer if necessary). If this is too inconvenient, a universal travel adapter may be the right choice for you.

Photo source: 123rf.com / Norasit Kaewsai

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