Voltage converters and voltage transformers are the same concept: they will turn the power of 110 volts into 220 volts, or 220 volts into 110 volts. Even if this will allow you to use your electrical equipment in almost every country in the world, plug adapters may be needed too, considering that plug outlets vary from country to country.
Most items, such as hair dryers, electric shavers, irons, coffee makers, TVs, or DVD players, require power to operate. Unfortunately, the power voltage available is not always what’s needed. In this case, you will need either a 110 / 120 Volts to 220 / 230 / 240 Volts voltage converter, or voltage transformer; or otherwise a 220 / 230 / 240 Volts to 110 / 120 Volts voltage converter, or voltage transformer.
Here are the various types of converters and adapters available today:
Types of Voltage Converters or Voltage Transformers
There are two main types of voltage converters, or voltage transformers: 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 will indeed do the opposite: convert the power to a lower voltage than what is shown on the appliance.
Wattage and Voltage Converters or Voltage Transformers
Wattage typically determines what type of voltage converter, or voltage transformer 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 is a good idea to buy a universal surge suppressor along with your voltage converter, or voltage transformer.
For your computer, CD player, camcorder, TV, VCR, or DVD, voltage converters, or voltage transformers, 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 or voltage transformer than what is indicated on the back of the set, because a TV causes a power surge when it is first turned on. We always recommend our customers to buy a voltage converter, or voltage transformer, that is double the power listed. 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 many different countries.
A Variety of Adapters
For traveling overseas, sometimes a voltage converter, or voltage transformer, is not enough: a plug end adapter might be needed as well.
Since many countries have numerous types of outlets, it is 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 over-sized pin. Though adapters make the plug fit properly into the outlet, please remember that they will not convert the voltage.
Popular brand names for adapters and voltage converters, or voltage transformers, include: Regvolt, Seven Star, Simran, Franzus, Tripplite, Travelarts and many more.
Links to order these products