Over the years, electronics have become a huge part of our lives. From GPS in our smartphones to cosmetic appliances such as hair dryers- electronics are now our essential travel companions. But if travel is on your mind, it’s important to know the difference between electricity in America, and electricity in other countries. In this guide we’ll outline electricity in Europe, as well as the best european travel adapters and converters.
Electricity in Europe
While American appliances run on 110 volts, European appliances run on 220 volts (and those 220 volts could kill you). Most modern day appliances (laptops, cameras, etc.) have ‘dual-voltage’ built in, meaning it’s okay to plug them in to European outlets. However, older or more simplistic appliances (hair dryers etc.), could easily be destroyed or pose a safety hazard if not converted properly.
Adapters vs. Converters
The difference between adapters and converters is an important one. Converters do just that – convert the 220 volts it’s receiving from the European outlet into 110 volts – just what your American appliance needs. Adapters, on the other hand, ONLY make it possible to plug your appliance into the European outlet. Adapters do not deal with voltage whatsoever.
Because many of your important accessories will not need a converter (laptop, camera, ipod etc.), they are often not considered something that is a must-have.
You can avoid purchasing an often expensive converter if you leave things like your hair dryer at home. Buy a cheap one when you get to Europe. You know it will work with European voltage and plus it saves you some extra luggage space.
If you can’t part with certain electronics, or just want to be on the safe side – I’ve listed our favorite converter.
The BESTEK Portable is our favorite voltage converter.
BESTEK is by far one of the best voltage converters on the market. Converting 220v to 110v – this portable converter contains: 3 U.S.A. outlets, 3 internatinal adapters (U.K, AUS, EURO), and 4 USB charging ports for phones, tablets etc.
Unlike converters, adapters are a must no matter what. The positives of an adapter is they are cheap and lightweight. However, it’s important to note that depending on where you go decides which adapter you will need.
There are two main adapters Europe uses: The U.K. uses three prongs; and mainland Europe uses two round prongs.
I’ve listed recommended adapters for the U.K. as well as continental Europe. The U.K. adapter listed is a grounded 3-pack, and the continental Europe adapters come in a 6-pack – which can come in handy for friends or family.
If you’re still unsure about where you’re going, or going to multiple countries I’ve also listed a universal adapter that will work in every country.
The Ceptics Type G is our favorite U.K adapter.
The Ceptics U.K. adapter (3-pack) is a grounded 3-prong plug which can be used in countries such as: England, Scotland, Wales, Gibralter, Malta, Belize, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Ireland and many more.
It’s also important to note that this adapter not only accepts American plugs, but European as well.
The Ceptics Euro is our favorite European adapter.
The Ceptics Euro adapter (6-pack, great for family & friends!) is a high quality set of adapters for Continental Europe.
Countries include: Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Portugal, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Greece, and more.
The Yubi Power Universal is our favorite international adapter.
Yubi Power’s international adapter is a must for the world traveler. Designed with double ports, this adapter covers more than 150 countries including: Europe, U.K., Australia, New Zealand, South America, Middle East, Fiji, China, Japan, Canada, Africa, and The Carribean.
The adapter provides a child safety and surge protecter as well.
It’s pretty much the only adapter you would ever need!
- Tape your adapter to your appliance plug, this way it will be difficult to lose.
- If you forget, or lose your adapter, ask the front desk of your hotel/hostel if they have any. Most hotels keep a box of all the forgotten adapters left by tourists.