Seeking the best travel adapter for your adventures in 2017? We can help! Read our picks for the top rated power adapters and the factors to consider.
Technology, how did we ever live without it? You are on your way out of town and you notice your phone is almost out of battery. Nothing will ruin your trip more than not having a phone or camera to snap some photos, get your maps, or text your loved ones. Having a travel adapter for your device charger or power bank on hand can make your trip even better ensuring you capture and enjoy every precious moment. Buying the best travel adapter has lots of considerations. To save you time, we have done the research, scoured the web and come up with our top picks for travel power adapters to be used for your next adventure.
What is a travel adapter?
A travel adapter is an important tool that will make sure you can keep your device charged throughout your travels practically anywhere in the world. Every region has their own standard electricity plug type and it can be a pain to buy a new one everytime you travel to a different region. That’s what makes these devices so handy. With one purchase you and your friends are well equipped for any world tour, road trip or business trip. These are adapters that plug into the wall, or a cigarette lighter, and have USB outlets and/or pin converters to charge your devices. Many are small and compact that will fit easily into your backpack or luggage ensuring you will always have a way to stay charged.
Weight: 12 ozs
Outlets: Two wall plugs, two USB
Dimensions: 8.2” x 4.5” x 2.3”
Note: This is NOT a voltage converter. It can handle input voltages of 110v – 240V. Please keep this in mind when making your decision.
The Poweradd is first up and it is one that is ideal if you are looking to travel outside of the US. It comes with 2 AC outputs and 2 USB outputs which are great. It also comes with easy to use adapters for any country. The high powered 2.4 amp USB outlet will charge your device pretty quickly. It is also impressive at charging laptops and other devices such as cameras. With four outlets to use, you can conveniently charge all your items at one time instead of searching around the hotel room for other sockets.
What we didn’t quite like was that the outlet pins are quite close, so if you want to plug in a big adapter used for external hard drives the side slot would become unusable. The diameter of the 2 pronged outlet is a bit big for a few rare outlets in European countries like Switzerland & Italy. Since they both sometimes use specific wall sockets that differ from the rest of western Europe. This should serve you nicely in most countries, though. This is best useful for smaller devices like phones, tablets etc. If you have a larger device then you need something that has a voltage converter like the Maxboost Power strip featured further down on out list.
Weight: 9.8 ounces
Outlets: 2 USB, 1 AC outlet
Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches
Note: This device comes in multiple versions we have reviewed the grounded world adapter with 2 USB.
The M8 by Orei is a popular choice amongst travelers with its compact design and ability to switch plug types without having to carry additional pins. It certainly is an expensive option for a 2USB 1AC design. This is also NOT a voltage converter and unlike the M8, the M8 plus is grounded. So the compromise is there in terms of price and to gain space. This is a lightweight design and the 3 prong pins do take on some weight well unlike 2 pronged options like the earlier discussed travel Inspira. This adapter can be used in most places around the world and the input design is great with it accepting all types of pins except those from South Africa.
A con is that even though there are two 2.1 amp USB ports, one can only use them when the AC input is not in use. It can only charge dual voltage devices. So if you have a hair dryer, curler or iron that requires 110V supply, it will NOT work. The sliders that bring out the different prongs are surprisingly well made which we thought was great and they don’t tend to break like some other brands when pushed. Orei have other popular variants with 2 in 1 plugs and other specific types of converters too. However, we think this type of all in one solution is the way to go. Overall, an extremely reliable solution.
Weight: 6.72 ozs
Outlets: Four USB
Dimensions: 2.24” x 1.65” x 2.44”
The Syncwire is definitely our pick for the best travel adapter for smaller devices like phones and tablets. This lightweight USB charger plug offers some amazing benefits over a simple converter pin. It has alternate 1A (great for phones) and 2.4A slots perfect for tablets and other devices. What we really liked was the speed with which this was able to charge 4 devices simultaneously in testing. Technology like the Samsung Rapid charge and things don’t work with this but the benefits are plenty. It also comes with a lifetime warranty.
The main advantage was that it significantly reduces the amount of charger heads you need. This travel power adapter also makes sure your not waiting in like to charge your devices linearly. The convergence also ensures that there aren’t a zillion wires all over the room or hostel. This model also has smart IC tech which ensures the current is adjusted to match the device’s requirements for the fastest charge possible. Don’t worry about this device overheating too because it has a thermal limit and regulator built in. This ensures the charger does not overheat and keeps your devices safe. We also noticed that the customer service is great. Voltage adjustment automatically takes place between 100V & 240V and you do not have to worry about your devices being fried. There are multiple pin styles for every region making this a great universal adapter.
Weight: 19 ozs
Outlets: 4 wall plug slots, 5 USB
Dimensions: 7.5” x 3.9” x 1.2”
If the Syncwire is great for smaller devices then the Maxboost is ideal for all devices. We feel that this is the complete package when it comes to power adapters. Boasting a max voltage of 1700W you can power an iron, hair dryer or charge your laptop, phone, tablet and pretty much anything. It comes with 3 international travel adapters so you can use it in over 150 countries around the world without any issue. What we really liked is that there are plenty of AC and USB slots. Unlike other solutions this one allows you and your friends or family to charge multiple devices simultaneously. The smart USB ports aren’t too shabby either. With the capability to adjust to the optical charging speed of a device this kit takes care of all your charging needs well. They have a max of 2.4A which is excellent for a 5 slot setup.
The only slight issue with this is the portability element as this power strip is a bit heavier compared to the other solutions we are speaking about. The spacing on the AC slot could have been a bit more we felt. If you happen to use a device with a large plug then it can hinder you from using a slot next to it. We think that this power strip/ kit is the closest to perfection in this niche. Our top rated all-purpose power adapter for travelers.
Weight: 16 ozs
Outlets: Four USB
Dimensions: 6.9” x 5.5” x2.7”
The BESTEK wall charger is a compact and incredibly well-designed option. It comes with worldwide adapters allowing you to bring it with you to any country. The feature that makes this charger stand out is its long 5-foot power cable. The voltage variance it can handle is also between 100 and 240V. This will allow you to plug it in anywhere and still be able to have quick access to your ports. A nice alternative to the Syncwire. Often times in hotel rooms the power points are tucked away behind the bed or in a very inconvenient position. The Bestek excels in these scenarios thanks to the 5-foot power cord the extends the 4 USB slots. This device also employs a similar smart IC tech which regulates the charging speed for your devices. As stated the max is 2.4A per slot. The modular nature is what we liked the most about this device. You can chop and change the pins and even use the extension cord but the device remains relatively compact.
Coming to some things we didn’t like. For starters, the charging speed didn’t quite match that of the Syncwire. It also weighs a pound which is much heavier than the aforementioned alternative. A neat thing about this design was that the US pin can be morphed into the AUS pin quickly. This is very handy as these 2 are very similar and you do not need to take a 4th pin with you on your travels.
Weight: 3.36 ozs
Outlets: 1AC, 4USB
Dimensions: 3” x 2” x 1.6”
Coming to one of the typical designs that are available in the market. The travel Inspira is an all in one universal adapter that can charge upto 3 devices at the same time. It’s lightweight design allows you to throw it into a bag and forget about it until you need it. The built in fuse will shut the device down when it exceed the allotted current (6.3A). The surge inhibitor is pretty handy in countries with unreliable power. If you are looking for something simple then this is a good solution. When we tested it out the main input plug worked well for US, UK and others except that the AU pin was always a bit loose.
The overall build quality can be a bit of an issue with the device having a flimsy feel. The wear after a few weeks was definitely noticeable thanks to its lightweight design. The main issue we found was with the 2 prong pins are not locked in. If you are connecting a charger with a heavy plug then it has the potential to come loose or even break quite easily. Other than the UK pin the others are ungrounded as well which can be an issue for devices like laptops.
Weight: 7 ozs
Outlets: 2 AC, 2 USB
Dimensions: 5.5” x 2.1” x 1.3”
Note#1: There are 2 versions one which has 2USBs + 2AC outlets and another that has 6 AC outlets. We have reviewed the former
Note#2: This works only on 110V locations and is not suited to countries that use 220-240V.
The 2nd Poweradd on our list thanks to their quality. It turns one wall plug into two USB plugs that have fast charge technology. The first USB is for apple devices along and the 2nd is optimized for other cellular devices. The wall plugs are capable of charging large devices like a laptop or hair dryer while charging two other devices. It is always recommended to disconnect the phones from the USB ports if you intend to use the hair dryer or any other high wattage devices.
A one-foot cord allows it to sit away from the wall ensuring it stays on a table. The cord is something that divides opinion. Whilst it is handy and can allow you to plug in devices away from annoying wall sockets. We thought it was a bit short and could have been at least a foot longer for maximum comfort and utility. Other than that it has all the start stuff like surge protection Folding into a compact package, this Poweradd charger is a well-rounded compact device charger that works well if you are within North America.
Weight: 3.2 ozs
Outlets: One charging pad
Dimensions: 4.85” x 3” x 2.5”
On the go in a different city? All you have to do is place your compatible device on this charger and walk away. Any Qi compatible device will work with this device. Don’t be worried about lining up the device perfectly as the light will tell you when your device is charging. The first thing that caught our eye was the sleek design which we thought was an elegant fit in any place. This is an alternative solution to most on our list as this is specific to a device or a person. We found it to be quite handy and easy to charge Qi devices. Alignment is not an issue as you can place the phone freely.
When we speak of Qi enables devices its applicable for the following:
Galaxy 7, 7 edge, 6, 6edge, 6 edge plus, Nexus 4,5,6, Moto Droid Turbo, Lumia 920, 1020 and much more. Some older galaxy versions also have Qi receivers so it will work on those too which is handy. Like most devices on this list there are upsides and downsides and the Turbot’s is charging speed. It can take an hour or two longer to charge when compared to a wired charger we found. We tested some witht the case on and it worked okay but depending upon the make of the case, there can be a need to remove it to charge properly.
9. Ceptics All-In-One International Travel Plug Adapter
Weight: 0.8 ounces
Outlets: 1AC, 2 USB
Dimensions: 3 x 2 x 1 inches
The Ceptics is another popular travel power adapter. This is probably one of the lightest devices you will find in the market today. First up, the design is quite sleek and has an operating range of 110V to 240V. This is also NOT a voltage converter so do not use fixed voltage hairdryers and other devices. The 2 USB slots are good for charging mobile phones but not so good for charging tablets as they are both a 1A output which is lower than the 2.4A we see in other options. This one has fewer levers when compared to the Orei with regional adjustments made very easy. The 2 pronged devices do come lose at times depending upon where the input is facing. On the design side of things we felt it was a letdown that the pins did not lock in well enough. An alternative that we would recommend is the world set which has many different pins for different regions. It can come in handy if you want something simpler and without any USB.
Weight: 0.9 ozs
Outlets: Four USB
Dimensions: 6” x 2” x 4”
Roadtrippers, we may be onto something here. The design of this 10amp charger is quite good making it easy to remove and insert USB charger pins. There’s nothing quite like a road trip with friends or family during the weekend and this charger suits that purpose well. If you plan on using a tablet while its charging, it might not work so well as its more suited to smaller devices like mobile phones, iPods, iPhones and even smartwatches.
We noticed that the build quality is a bit iffy as it does tend to come apart easily after a few months of regular use. Another issue we spotted was that the charger interferes with the radio signal which is quite strange for a cigarette lighter charger. This could have easily been our pick for the best car charger for road trips if it didn’t have some of the aforementioned issues. Nonetheless, a fast charging option for phones on the go. Performed much better than many typical 1A output chargers.
What to look for when selecting the best travel adapter for your devices and chargers – Buying Guide
Multi Country Compatibility: This is probably the most important factor when making your decision. This also depends on how frequently and where you intend to travel. If you are searching for an adapter that minimizes all the wires and plugs you carry then you also need to make sure the adapter has all the pins necessary to function, irrespective of where you are going. We highly recommend you use a travel power adapter with atleast 3 different pin types.
Charging Speed: There is always more to this than meets the eye, as a result of how complex Lithium batteries are. Normally the more amps the quicker the charger but smart devices also regulate the speed with which charging takes place at any point of time. Hence, opting for an adapter with a smart IC might be better than just choosing a 2.1A over a 1A option. The chip inside your charger also has to match the 2.1A rating if it is to have any effect. There are multiple phases and the fast charging process accounts only for about 80% of the total.
Voltage Conversion: There are a few items on our list that do not convert voltage. Different countries have different voltage settings. It can be a pain to try to remember the voltage used in every country or region. Especially if you are on a relaxing vacation. We recommend you look for an adapter that coverts voltage or simply check to see if your laptop, hairdryer or whichever device you intend to bring with you works in dual voltages. Voltages typically range between 100 – 240V across all regions
Other Factors: Grounded options are also preferred as they protect your devices and most of the time they are also better designed. The 3 pin options grasp the wall better than some 2 pronged options. Weight and the amount of wires might be something else that matters to you. If you are travelling with family or a group of friends then a power strip type like the Maxboost or even the Syncwire wall charger mentioned above will be great and nobody has to wait around to charge their device.