Seeking the best travel adapter for your adventures in 2018? We can help! Read our picks for the top rated power adapters and the factors to consider.
You’d probably nod in agreement when I say
Carrying a growing number of chargers & wires is a pain.
As annoying as it is to forget a charger it’s probably equally annoying when you need a different type of adapter for each new country.
To top it off, different countries adopt different voltages & socket types (Usually ~100 – 240V~)
Since we don’t live in an ideal world, travel adapters are a necessity & our list will help you choose from the cream of the crop.
A good travel adapter can typically work in most if not all countries but a great one enables quick charging, cater to multiple devices, protects your devices and reduces the number of charger plugs you need to carry.
10 Best Travel Adapters for international travel in 2018
To save you time, we have done the research, scoured the web and come up with our choice for best travel power adapters.
1. OREI M8+ (Grounded)
- Slightly expensive
- Does not convert voltage
Outlets: 1 USB, 1 AC outlet
Note: This device comes in multiple versions we have reviewed the grounded world adapter with 1 USB slot.
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.
Weight: 9.8 ounces
Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches
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 is one 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.
2. Poweradd 2-Outlet International Travel Adapter/ Charger
- Socket spacing could be better
- Doesn't convert voltage
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.
wall plugs, two USB
Weight: 12 oz
Dimensions: 8.2” x 4.5” x 2.3”
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 used 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 up on our list.
3. Syncwire USB Wall Charger with Adapters
- Can be used only with USB charging devices
Outlets: Four USB
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.
Weight: 6.72 oz
Dimensions: 2.24” x 1.65” x 2.44”
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 number of charger heads you need. This travel power adapter also makes sure you are not waiting in line 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.
4. BESTEK Travel Adapter
- A bit expensive
- Can be slightly noisy
Outlets: 3AC, 4 USB
The 1st of the 2 BESTEKs on our list is a feature packed travel adapter. It has 3 AC power sockets which are reasonably well spaced along with 4 USB outlets for charging phones and other devices like smartwatches. In addition to all these routine features, this model has an LED light which is handy and a cooling fan inbuilt which makes sure the device stays cool even when charging a whole host of devices.
Weight: 1.2 pounds
Dimensions: 6 x 3 x 1.6 inches
The kicker is that you only have 3 converter pins for the UK, AU, and EU. So if you are traveling to countries like India which require a rounded pin then you have to buy that separately.
The input voltage is from 90 to 240V which means it can convert voltage. All the output sockets are at 110V. The Besktek also has surge and short circuit protection features which makes it a very safe choice. As a result of the heat, the unit can make a bit of noise as was reported by others on Amazon too. It's not a deal breaker (for us at least) since it's quite mild if you happen to sleep 2 or more feet away. Overall a feature packed and very well built travel adapter. You can easily just make use of the 3 pins separately too.
5. Maxboost Power Strip International Travel Adapter Kit
- The AC slots could have been spaced better
Outlets: 4 wall plug slots, 5 USB
The Maxboost is the one that's ideal for most devices. We will touch on brands like Syncwire and more which have their own appeal but we feel that this is the complete package when it comes to power adapters.
Weight: 19 ozs
Dimensions: 7.5” x 3.9” x 1.2”
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 optimal 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.
6. BESTEK 35W 4-Port USB Wall Charger
- Marginally slower than others
- You need a separate adapter for larger devices
Outlets: Four USB
The BESTEK wall charger is a compact and incredibly well-designed option. 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.
Weight: 16 oz
Dimensions: 6.9” x 5.5” x2.7”
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.
7. Travel Inspira All in One Worldwide Travel Power Plug
- Heavy plugs can cause the adapter to come loose
- The AU pin is quite loose
- Not as sturdy as the OREI
Outlets: 1AC, 4USB
Coming to one of the conventional designs that are available in the market. The travel Inspira is an all in one universal adapter that can charge up to 3 devices at the same time.
Weight: 3.36 ozs
Dimensions: 3” x 2” x 1.6”
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.
8. Ceptics Adapter Plug Set for World Wide International Travel
- Does not have surge protection or voltage conversion
- Not the most compact solution
- Plugs can come loose on some sockets
Outlets: Separate Type I, E/F, G, B, C. All 1 each
The Ceptics adapter plug set is for those who like to really travel light. If you are looking to go the way of the minimalist then this set of plugs will ensure you have what you need for specific countries.
Weight: 0.8 ounces
Dimensions: 3 x 3 x 4 inches
The set contains 5 plug types which will keep you powered up on pretty much every country on the planet. This is a big positive for those who really like to explore and travel frequently even to remote parts of the world. A major positive is that these even come with a lifetime warranty which is a good testament to their build quality.
Most of the pins come grounded except for 2 types which is not a major issue. A small hiccup is that some users did report that the prongs did come loose from the socket very often when utilizing the European pin. The set of plugs come in a pouch that makes it very easy to carry without losing any. Its also important to keep in mind that these adapters do NOT convert voltage or have surge protection. These are merely adapter plugs. Opt for a power strip if you are looking for surge protection features as well.
9. Poweradd 2-Outlet Mini Travel Surge Protector
- The cord is only 1 foot long
Outlets: 2 AC, 2 USB
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.
Weight: 7 ozs
Dimensions: 5.5” x 2.1” x 1.3”
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 and the ability to fold into a compact package. This Poweradd charger is a well-rounded compact device charger that works well if you are within North America.
10. EPICA All in 1 adapter/ USB Charger
- Doesn't convert voltage
Outlets: 1AC + 4USB
The new design by Epicka is another strong contender on our list thanks to versatility on offer with respect to its size.
Weight: 2.6 x 2.2 x 2.9 inches
Size: 0.8 ounces
It's not often you find a pocket-sized adapter that has the ability to cater to 5 different devices. The Epicka is quite well designed and it will latch onto your wall socket quite well unlike some other adapters that loosen up the instant a bit of weight is applied. This practically weightless option is great for those who like to travel light and travel far. It comes in a small pouch where you can even tuck away small USBs if need be.
The device doesn't offer much by way of voltage conversion but hey it really packs a punch for its size. It has a couple of 2A charging slots which will allow fasts charging. For the quickest charge, it's better to plug in no more than 2 or 3 devices at the same time. It has 4 pin types catering to 90% of the countries around the globe
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 at least 3 different pin types.
Size or Shape: This is something that might appear like a non-issue in the beginning as 1 adapter might truly be the best and might tick all the boxes for you but the positioning of the outlets can make things uncomfortable. It’s quite common that you find after checking into a hotel that the power outlet is tucked away under a bed or in a tight gap somewhere. Wall chargers might be hindered in this scenario. If the aforementioned scenario seems familiar opt for an adapter that has a sleeker design or something that extends like the Maxboost that way you don’t have to stretch or move the bed every time you need to connect or disconnect your charger.
Should I opt for an adapter with 2 or 3 prongs? Is the grounding element really important?
Its quite normal these days for wall sockets to have 3 slots including one for grounding. Your laptop charger, for instance, will have 3 prongs, not just two. I am sure we’ve all been in a situation where we wondered if its okay if the outlet of the adapter just has 2 prongs instead of one. The 3 slot in 2 prongs out adapters are generally used for outlets in older homes that don’t have proper grounding. This is not good practice, however. If your device malfunctions the charge does need proper grounding to escape. Otherwise, it can pass through your body which can prove to be painful or much worse.
Grounding is definitely important. Having an adapter with a metallic grounding pin, not a plastic one is definitely better. Having a continuous metallic pathway is key if the grounding prong is plastic or if the wall box is plastic then the current will have nowhere to escape. New buildings these days generally come with proper grounding and the devices themselves are better insulated than in the past but grounded adapters do add to your safety.
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.
Whats the difference between normal USB slots and dedicated charging ports?
The normal ports have a 500mA rating and the dedicated ports come with a rating of up to 3000mA. As a result, if you take any device that has let’s say a 1A charger you can easily plug it into a 2.1A USB slot. This won’t damage your device and can even ensure faster charging.
I am worried about the different ratings. Is there a chance my phone or tablet will get damaged?
Nope. There’s pretty much no chance of that happening as you can plug in any device into any USB port. You only need to be concerned about the adapter’s voltage conversion capabilities.
Some of the adapters even come with USB type-C, is that faster?
USB type-C chargers are extremely fast as they can deliver 100 watts of power at 20V. A standard USB can only handle 5V. If you happen to have a USB type-C compatible device then this would aid you greatly. Also, this slot is backward compatible so you can just as easily insert your regular phone charger cable into the USB-C slot.
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 converts 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
How do I know if my device is dual voltage?
Typically newer devices run smoothly on dual voltages. Although the dual voltage support is becoming less & less of an issue on newer devices like hair dryers, smartphones and the likes its always best to check. Check the label on your phone charger or whichever device you are looking to take with you.
Make sure you look at the “INPUT:” section. It should read “100-240V” which means you don’t need a voltage converting travel adapter. If it reads “120V” or “240V” or something like that then ensure you use a voltage converting adapter so you don’t damage your device.
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 traveling 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.
Pocket-Lint, USB Type-C is here
The Spruce, Two-slot vs three slot outlets