If you've ever traveled abroad, you know: the outlets we use here in the United States are different from those in other countries. That means if you plan to pack your hair dryer or charge your smartphone, you’ll also need to pack one the best travel adapters.
How do you know which adapter is right for the region you're traveling to? You'll need to consider prong configuration, voltage, and wattage.
In total, there are 15 different electrical outlets used worldwide. So, before you go, check to see what outlet is used in the country or region you will be traveling to. The most popular travel adapters today will be "universal" adapters, or will be able to accommodate many or most of the different electrical outlets in the world.
If you're traveling outside the United States, you may also need an adapter that has a voltage converter. This is because electronics in the United States use a 120 voltage system whereas Europe and other regions use 240 voltage. While electronics today clearly label whether they are equip for both voltage systems, if you're not sure if your device needs a converter, there is plenty of helpful information on dual voltage devices online. A quick Google search should do the trick.
Also keep in mind, if you're purchasing an adapter that converts voltage, that they're usually designed to handle either high-watt or low-watt (under 200 watt) devices, but can rarely handle both. You'll want to determine the wattage of the electronics you'll plug in before choosing a voltage-converting adapter.
Phew, that is a lot to think about. To make your search that much easier, I've put together a list of the best travel adapters for each type of device and purpose.
1The Best Universal Travel Adapter
Where this will work: 150 countries, including most of Europe, South America, Asia, Australia, and the United States.
Why it's great: Unlike many all-in-one adapters that offer two USB ports, this travel adapter has four, and can charge up to five devices at once. It also has an integrated fuse that you can replace if it ever burns out.
What fans say: "This product was absolutely wonderful! I recently traveled to the UK and parts of Europe, and this adapter worked flawlessly. It is much cheaper than buying adapters for each place of travel and storage, of course, was easy because it is all-in-one!"
2The Most Compact Travel Adapter
Where this will work: 150 countries, including most of Europe, Asia, Australia, and the United States.
Why it's great: This ultra-portable adapter is compact with a great design. The design uses rotating swivels, so that you can turn the adapter to enable new prong configurations. It also comes with its own carrying case, so you won't lose it if you stuff it in one of your suitcases.
The tradeoff: The tradeoff to the smaller size is that it only has one USB port and charges only three devices at once.
What fans say: "Just used the adapter for a trip to Italy and it was great! Absolutely no problem changing connectors. A compact, easy to use product –– best one I have had in all my years of traveling!"
3The Most Affordable Multi-Pack Of Adapters
Where this will work: Most of Europe, Africa, Canada, parts of Asia, and the United States.
Why it's great: The price. For just $9, this multi-pack features individual travel adapters which each work in a different region. These slim adapters also have easy-to-read labels and come in a sleek carrying pouch.
The tradeoff: Because each adapter only works for one region, you'll have to tote more than one adapter with you if you're traveling to multiple regions or countries.
What fans say: "Works perfectly, with a good feeling build-quality I would skip those big-chunky 'universal' adapters and just grab whatever plugs you need on your trip, from this kit. I've used both, and had much better results using the individual plugs."
4The Best Travel Adapter With Surge Protection
Where this will work: More than 200 countries, including most of Europe, Australia, the United States, parts of Asia, and Africa.
Why it's great: This surge-protecting adapter will keep your electronics and devices safe if you experience a power surge. It's also smaller than many other adapters that protect against surges, and has two U.S. outlets, two USB ports, and a built-in USB cable for charging.
The tradeoff: This is one of the larger adapters on this list and will definitely cover the entire outlet, so you won't be able to have any local electronics plugged in while you use it.
What fans say: "Excellent product, worked flawlessly in Great Britain and Amsterdam. All the adapters were included and it has a surge protector built in. Made charging the iphones and the mophies a breeze!"
5The Best Voltage-Converting Adapter For Low-Watt Devices
Where this will work: More than 150 countries, including all of North America, most of Europe, Australia, and parts of Asia.
Why it's great: This travel adapter converts the voltage of your electronics if your devices aren't compatible with foreign voltages. This one is specifically designed to work with low-watt devices, such as electric toothbrushes, clock radios, or electric razors. It also offers surge protection and features a 5-foot detachable cord.
The tradeoff: This will only work for devices less than 200 watts. (Note that this parameter is the total wattage permitted for devices plugged in at once, not just a single device.)
What fans say: "The product is solidly built and the cord that goes in the wall is heavy duty. The ease of use is first rate."
6The Best Voltage-Converting Adapter For High-Watt Devices
Where this will work: 150 countries, including most of Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, parts of the Middle East, and Africa.
Why it's great: This high-watt voltage converter works perfectly on larger appliances, including hair dryers, electric kettles, coffee makers, and other items. The converter offers three built-in safety mechanisms including auto-shut off protection in case it overheats, overloads, or there's a power surge.
The tradeoff: Keep in mind this is not compatible with small electronics under 50 watts such as electric toothbrushes, curling irons, and hair straighteners.
What fans say: "This is a great piece of technology. I plugged two iPads and two iPhones at the same time without any issues. You wont be disappointed. You can definitely use it at home as an additional extension with the US adapter."
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.