There is one key distinction between adapters and converters. An adapter adapts to new outlets while a converter or transformer converts the voltage of the outlet per-se.
When you’re traveling to a new country, the plugs on your devices probably won't match the outlets at your destination. An adapter is the best item to use in a situation like this. It not only adapts to the outlet but, in a way, it changes the structure of the outlet in order to connect your device.
Common electronics are typically rated for worldwide voltage (input AC voltage range: 100-240V), so they should only require the use of an adapter. These items include cell phone chargers, tablet chargers, and laptop chargers. Watch our adapter guide video to select the right adapter for your next trip.
Did you know that more than half of the world uses a different AC voltage than what we use in North America? Europe, Asia, Australia, and several others have 220 - 240 volts coming out of their outlets while North America and parts of South America only have 110 - 120 volts.
So, if your electronic device is rated for single AC voltage, such as 120V only or 220V only, you’ll need to pair it with a voltage converter or transformer when traveling to a country with a different voltage. The role of the voltage converter is to make sure that your device is receiving the correct amount of voltage. To find the right voltage converter, check out our voltage converter video.
The best thing to do before you travel is making a list of all the electronics you plan to bring on your trip. Next, check the voltage types on your devices. If you need assistance reading the voltage level on your device refer to our video "How to Tell If Your Appliance Is Dual Voltage." Then, select the proper adapter plug according to the destination you’re traveling to for your dual voltage electronics or appropriate voltage converter for your single voltage electronics. Bon voyage!