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Voltage converters are extremely useful tools when you’re traveling though they can also come in handy at home if you wish to power certain appliances. Those who need a voltage converter to tackle various electrical situations during travels, need to keep certain things in mind first.
1. Voltages around the world
Most of the voltages around the world are within the 220 – 240V AC range, and this is available for Europe, Australia, most of Asia and Africa as well as for certain parts of South America. Due to the fact that North America uses a different range of 100 – 127V AC, it’s important to get the proper understanding of your destination before your visit. You might also be interested in our articles about the best outlet timers.
2. Electrical devices vs. electrical appliances
Electronic devices are those that have chips inside while appliances use an electric heating element. Devices like smartphones and laptops require a transformer to operate while appliances such as curling irons can also operate with a voltage converter.
3. Get the right plug adapter
Due to the fact that different countries have different types of outlets, you will have to get the right adapter to be able to power your equipment. In case you buy a voltage transformer, you are going to need a plug adapter for it too. There are 14 different kinds of plugs that are used around the world.
These are the main things to understand if you’re travelling but what about domestic use? If you wish to power home appliances, there are other things to take into consideration.
1. Verify the voltage of the appliance
Check the specifications to understand what kind of voltage it needs. Power tools and other high-powered appliances usually require a voltage converter if you want to run it from an outlet capable of just 110V because they often run only on 220-240V.
2. Check the wattage
As you won’t be able to run an appliance with big power demands through a voltage converter that’s simply not designed to handle this amount of power, you have to carefully check the wattage of your appliance. There’s a risk of damaging the converter or worse, creating a fire hazard.
3. Multiply the wattage
Power tools in particular, though this is also the case for many high-powered appliances, can experience a huge spike in power consumption the moment they’re turned on. This shouldn’t be a problem if your voltage converter can deal with it. For safety reasons, a good rule of thumb is to get a voltage converter which is rated for three times the usual wattage listed on the appliance.
These are the main things to consider in a voltage converter. No matter the reason behind your decision to purchase one, check out this list of the best voltage converters on the market. These are the most reliable products for the job and which offer a solid level of cost-effectiveness. Although most of them are focused on traveling, there are a few that are better suited for use at home.
Best Travel Voltage Converter
The Ceptics PU-151 is the ideal voltage converter to take in your travels. It can bring down overseas voltage of 220V to 110V so all your US devices should work without problems. With a maximum output of 150W, it means it can power a reasonable range of electronic equipment.
This unit comes with three outlets compatible with US sockets. The manufacturer includes a convenient LED light to indicate the status. There is a total of four USB ports that can be used for charging high output devices considering the 2 – 2.4A rating.
Tablets and smartphones, for example, work nicely with this converter but keep in mind that some devices like straighteners only work up to 100W. The converter can power most devices up to 150W and it’s only intended for non-US usage so you can use America devices overseas.
In terms of safety features, there are some notable built-in abilities of this converter. The device comes with protection for over-current, short circuit, and overvoltage. It also provides thermal and high-temperature protections. The cord is reasonably long too but keep in mind that you will have to purchase plug adapters separately.
Construction-wise, this converter is built very robustly with a healthy weight to it and even if this might seem a problem during travels, it can be worth carrying if you intend to power multiple devices.
Taking everything about the Ceptics PU-151 travel voltage converter into account, it can be said that this is a nicely designed product. It does what it’s supposed to without any problems and for a relatively low cost. If you need a capable voltage converter, this one represents a very cost-effective solution.
- 150W maximum output
- 220V to 110V converter
- Built-in safety features
- Works with straighteners up to 100W
- Long 4’ European cord
Best Voltage Converter For Europe
If you want a reliable voltage converter to help you run your US devices in Europe there’s hardly a better choice than the Bestek MRJ201GU. It boasts an all-in-one design, a MultiProtect Safety System, and four USB ports for quick and reliable charging. The price is a bit higher compared to other similar converters but this is particularly well built.
This model is able to power up most US electronic devices in a safe and reliable manner. It converts the overseas voltage to the correct one. The maximum capacity is 200W, which means that you need to be careful not to exceed this value during simultaneous charges. If the accumulative power goes over this limit, you can experience over-heating and even some damaging effects.
The all-in-one design of this converter offers 3 AC outlets and 4 USB ports rated at 6A and capable of charging multiple devices at the same time. With the three included plug adapters and one EU plug cable, pretty much all the sockets over the globe should be covered.
When it comes to safety features, this unit doesn’t disappoint. It provides its user’s devices protection for surges and short circuits and it’s NRTL safety tested.
One thing that’s important to note about this unit is that it’s not suitable for hair dryers, straighteners, or curling irons which usually demand more power to run. It’s perfect for electronic devices which have lower wattage requirements such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, cameras, and many more.
Considering all of its abilities, the Bestek MRJ201GU is a worthy travel companion for taking care of the difference in voltages for your US electronic devices and to get them charged with ease. When you factor in the design, construction, and the safety protections, it becomes clear that this is fully worth the money.
- Converts all countries voltage to the one in the US
- Three 110V AC USA outlets
- Four USB ports that can fully charge devices simultaneously
- Safety protections in place
- Isolated USB outputs from AC power
Those looking for a reliable voltage converter transformer are sure to appreciate the ELC T-5000. It blends a staggering 5000W capacity with reliable safety protection and a heavy-duty cord. This model is designed for single phase 220V European/Asian and it’s not compatible with American dual phase.
Suitable for various home and industrial applications, this transformer allows you to easily convert 110-120 voltages to 220-240V. The reverse is also possible so this has great versatility potential.
The cord included with this machine is designed with durability in mind and it features a 3-prong plug. On the front panel of the converter, you should find three outputs. Two of them are grounded 110V outputs which are compatible with standard US outlets with 120 volts. There’s also a 220-volt universal outlet that can accommodate outlets from almost every country in the world.
ELC recommends that you only use products that have equal or smaller power ratings with this model and it’s understandable. Otherwise, you are at risk of damaging both the appliance and the converter. Another thing that’s important to keep in mind is that you can only use the 5000W full capacity for 30 minutes and if you need continuous use, you need to keep it up to the 2500W limit.
There are some special safety features installed for the T-series models including this one. One of the best is the circuit breaker protection which takes away the need to replace fuses. There are dual circuit breakers provided for protection to both 120 and 220 voltages.
All things considered, the ELC T-5000 voltage converter transformer is a powerful solution for a great range of applications. As long as you carefully mind the rating and operate it according to manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations, it will serve you very well.
- 5000W maximum capacity
- Dual Circuit Breakers Protection
- Heavy duty cord
- Three outputs
- CE approved
Adequate for worldwide use, the Key Power LXC200W-PC is a solid voltage converter for the price. It’s a good tool to own for traveling as it’s capable of charging multiple devices with ease. The maximum capacity of 200W is perfect for most regions as this Step-Down voltage converter is suitable for Europe, Asia, and other areas.
This converter comes equipped with three kinds of power adapters allowing you to use your favorite US electronics in many parts of the world. You’ve got types A, I, and G adapters. It’s a step-down voltage converter meaning that it takes the 220V/240V of European, Asian, and various other countries down to the manageable 110V/120V for American devices.
The USB charging ports are rated at 5V, 2.1A each so you can charge more devices at the same time. Many power-hungry electronics such as Apple and Android smart devices can get their energy fix using this voltage converter. An important thing to note is that the USB outputs are fully isolated from AC power to minimize any safety concerns.
Speaking of safety, this converter is also able to protect against various problems that can arise during electrical conversions such as over-current, short-circuit, and overload. As a friendly reminder, the manufacturer recommends not to use this converter to run hair dryers or straighteners and other tools and appliances that go over the 200W limit of this converter.
The included power cord has a decent length of 4 feet and to make things easier during travels, a handy pouch is also supplied in the package.
A must to have for all American travelers, the Key Power LXC200W-PC brings a good deal of convenience as it flawlessly converts and adapts your devices to foreign voltages and outlets. The USB ports are solidly built and reliable and the LED indicators are nice little details to reassure you that safety protections are working correctly. Highly recommended for this price.
- 200W maximum output
- 4 powerful USB ports
- Great safety features
- Three different sockets for the UK, US, AU
- Works best for small electronics
Another voltage transformer converter that’s worth a shot if you’re looking for a more reliable solution is the Goldsource STU-200. It’s a CE certified voltage converter with 200W maximum load capacity (MLC) which should work best for laptops, sewing machines, DVD players and other electric devices with the maximum power consumption within the 1 and 130W range.
Goldsource is a leading force in this industry and this is evidenced by the level of quality in designing this voltage converter. This is a step up or down model that can bring down 200-240V to 110V or the other way around turning 110V to a maximum of 220V.
The rating of 200W is fairly generous allowing you to use many different electronic devices without issues. The cord comes with a 3-prong plug and there’s a bonus adapter for German outlets. Three outputs are available on the front panel. One is a grounded one designed for 120V with a standard American outlet while the other one is exclusively for 220V with a universal outlet.
Finally, there’s a 5V standard USB jack. This is a special feature of the STU lineup and another important aspect is that all the outputs can be used continuously and at the same time. To better understand if your appliance is compatible make sure that its multiplied rating by 1.5 is equal or under the rating of the maximum power of the converter.
Most appliances with heating elements won’t work with this converter due to their higher power consumption. If you intend to use coffee machines, hairdryers, heaters and such, it’s probably a good idea to choose a model with a higher maximum load capacity.
Considering how stable this step up/down voltage converter works, it can be said that this makes for an ideal solution taking into account the price bracket where it belongs. One slight drawback of it is the fact that it’s not particularly portable but if you want a reliable product that works as expected, you can’t go wrong with this one.
- CE certified
- 200W maximum load capacity
- Simultaneous triple output
- All range fuse protection
- Good range of supported products
Best Buy Voltage Converter
Foval’s Step Down voltage converter offers 200W power output which is fitting for charging various electronics like laptops, game consoles, tablets, electric toothbrushes, and many others. It provides quite a reliable selection of safety features including a silent fan to keep the heat down and it has a fairly reasonable price.
One of the most interesting features of this voltage converter is the addition of four 5V/2.4A ports that can charge many different kinds of electronic devices simultaneously in a more convenient manner. There are two standard US plugs included too.
In terms of portability, this device could be a solid choice as a travel partner due to its small size and reasonable weight. You can take it with you with ease. Foval includes three plug adapters and one plug cable for Europe and these can cover a fairly large amount of sockets from around the world.
The supplied adapters are of different types: A, G, and I. Type A is mainly utilized in North America and Japan, type G is for England, Ireland, Hong Kong while type I is primarily used in Australia, China, and Argentina.
Regardless of the wattage, this unit is not suitable to run appliances with heating elements such as curling irons or hair dryers. If you aren’t mindful of this, you can potentially experience overheating issues and damage to your appliances.
If you’re concerned about safety, it’s worth pointing out that this converter takes this issue very seriously. It offers surge, over-current, and short-circuit protection and to prevent overheating it comes with a fan which unfortunately seems a bit loud but it’s a small price to pay considering the benefit of having it.
Foval did a good job with this voltage converter and the compact little gadget can save your electronic devices from running out of charges. There’s a 5 feet power cable included together with the three adapters. All in all, this represents decent value for the cost.
- 200W power
- Compact size
- Silent fan
- Loaded with powerful safety abilities
- Worldwide use
The LiteFuze LC-300 is a decent voltage converter to be used during travels. Among its most important features, it’s worth noting the converting box technology, the step-up/down functionality, and the good 300W capacity. It offers a stable output and it doesn’t overheat too often which makes this a good choice on the market of voltage converters.
In the back of this transformer, you can discover the input voltage selection function. You can set the switch according to the correct voltage for the country you’re using it in. When you’re in the UK for example, you set it to 220V.
The size of the unit is ideal for travelers as you’ll barely even feel the weight in your bag. The low weight is mostly due to the ingenious technology used in the construction of the converter. It’s called ConvertingBox and it manages to reduce the footprint of the device and make it virtually noiseless and highly energy efficient.
Apart from the type M plug used in South Africa, the universal socket on this converter is compatible with any plug adapter in the world. Thanks to the thermal fuse protection feature, the converter shouldn’t be plagued with overload and overheating issues. If it detects any problems it will reset itself after a couple of minutes.
One key feature of this device is the high resistance copper coil, a sign of increased durability. It’s designed for step up or down operation and it can handle most electronics as long as they don’t go over the 300W limit. It doesn’t work with power tools, heaters, and similar power-hungry appliances and another thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t exceed 100W if you plan on using it on a continuous basis. This is to prevent overheating issues.
All things being equal, the LiteFuze LC-300 is a reliable option for a voltage converter. It’s well made and has an affordable price tag for what it can do. Despite the efforts to reduce the weight, some people will find the unit too heavy for their travels but apart from this problem, this is strongly recommended if you’re looking to buy a quality voltage converter.
- Thermal Fuse Protection
- 300W maximum capacity
- ConvertingBox technology
- Step Up or Step Down usage
- Fully grounded transformer