Types and Brands of Voltage Converters and Adapters

When traveling to another country, you’ll need to know what type of voltage converters, or voltage transformers, and plug adapters to take for your electrical products. Items such as hair dryers, electric shavers, irons, coffee makers, TV, VCR, or DVD players all require power to operate. Unfortunately, the power voltage available is not always what’s needed. In this case, you’ll need either an 110v to 220v voltage converter or a 220v to 110v converter.

Let’s take a look at the various types of converters and adapters available today.

Type of Voltage Converters

There are two main types of voltage converters – step up or step down. Step up converters will convert the power to a higher voltage than what is shown on the appliance. For instance, an electric shaver made in the U.S. works with the standard 110 volt outlet. With a step up converter, it can be used with a 220 volt outlet in another country. Step down converters do just the opposite.

Wattage and Voltage Converters

Wattage typically determines what type of voltage converter you will need in terms of power. For smaller electronics such as electric shavers that are non-heating products, a 50-watt converter will do. For heated electronics such as curling irons, hair dryers, irons, and coffee makers, a 1600-watt converter will be needed. If you feel the quality of power will be an issue, it’s a good idea to buy a universal surge suppressor along with your voltage converter.

For your computer, CD player, camcorder, TV, VCR, or DVD, voltage converters can be used according to the wattage power needed. But keep in mind that there are various formats used for television programming and films (VHS or DVD) that may not work with your product.

A TV will need a more powerful voltage converter than what is indicated on the back of the set because a TV causes a power surge when it is first turned on. Many newer electronics in these categories are able to work with multiple voltage outlets. Some electronics contain a simple switch that controls the voltage output. Just be sure to turn the switch to the correct voltage for the country you’re visiting – BEFORE plugging it in. There are also code free and region free players and TVs that will work fine in other countries.

A Variety of Adapters

Not only will you need voltage converters for traveling overseas, but plug end adapters as well. Since many countries have numerous types of outlets, it’s wise to carry a variety of adapters with you. Some adapter types you might encounter include flat blade, flat blade with grounding pin, round pin, round pins with ground, round pin plug and receptacle with male grounding pin, “Schuko” plug, rectangular blade plug, oblique flat blades, round pins with spade ground, “South African” plug with oversized pin. Though adapters make the plug fit properly into the outlet, they will not convert the voltage.

Some popular brand names for voltage converters and adapters include Franzus, Tripplite, Kensington, Electro-Sensors, Horlick, Devar, Visicomm, Travelarts, Dataforth, Avtron, and many others.

With so many great online resources, you can easily surf the Web to find the voltage converters and adapters you need. Now you can travel without leaving your frequently used electronics behind!

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