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Which international plug adapter is best?

If you’re a globetrotter, you’ve probably found out the hard way that there are 14 different types of sockets around the world. That’s why international plug adapters are an essential travel accessory.

International plug adapters allow you to charge your devices no matter where you are. Some are region-specific, whereas others are universal assets or singular adaptive units. Many international plug adapters also include USB ports. If you’re concerned about whether they’re safe to use, rest assured that most international plug adapters meet international safety standards.

If you’re getting ready for your next trip, take a look at our buying guide on international plug adapters. We’re including our top choice, the Haozi Universal Travel Adapter, which offers simultaneous charging for up to three devices.

What to know before you buy an international plug adapter


First, determine which kind of plug is used in the region you’re visiting. They fall into a few categories, so here’s a quick rundown:

  • Types A and B are used in North America and in parts of South America, Africa, and Asia.
  • Type C is used in most of Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia.
  • Type F is used in some parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Each plug type receives pins in a different way, so some adapters have switched to extended plugs for compatibility. Expert travelers often check with the hotel they’re staying in for a firm answer on the type of plug required.

Voltage conversion

International plug adapters draw power from a socket, but they won’t convert voltage. There are some international plug adapters that also handle voltage conversion, but most don’t, so the voltage converter is a separate purchase.

To determine whether voltage conversion is necessary in addition to your adapter, confirm the voltage of your devices. If your device has a lower voltage than what is put out by the socket, chances are that it won’t work, or worse, it will break. Certain electronics are dual voltage, in which case the voltage disparity won’t inhibit charging or device function.

What to look for in a quality international plug adapter


It’s important to consider how many devices you intend to power at once. Some international plug adapters only accommodate a single device at a time, where others have multiple ports, including USB ones.

Safety shutters and surge protectors

Using an international plug adapter means you’re dealing with electricity. To prevent direct contact with plugs that may cause injury from electric shocks, many units are equipped with safety shutters. Some international adapters also have built-in surge protectors that protect devices plugged into the unit.


Most international plug adapters are space-savvy, though some styles are more suitcase-friendly than others. Certain adapters come as sets with several pieces, and given their odd shapes can end up being bulky and awkward to pack. Others come as universal cubes or bricks, which are obviously much easier to pack around other objects.

How much you can expect to spend on an international plug adapter

Entry-level international plug adapters cost around $10, though these come as multi-piece sets. Block-style adapters with switches and surge protectors run closer to $20. If you’d like the greatest compatibility and need to charge multiple devices, aim to spend $40 on a premium unit.

International plug adapter FAQ

Can I plug my hair dryer and heat-styling tools into my international plug adapter?

A. It’s unlikely. The hotel where you’re staying may include a hair dryer as an amenity. You could also invest in a travel hair dryer, which is sometimes less expensive than buying an adapter.

I’ve had an international plug adapter for years. Is it worth upgrading to a newer one?

A. Newer adapters often include improved safety features. Modern units also have USB ports, and if you’re a smartphone, laptop, or tablet user, it’s an essential feature.

What’s the best international plug adapter to buy?

Top international plug adapter

Haozi’s Universal Travel Adapter

Haozi’s Universal Travel Adapter

Our take: Convenient compact design that covers almost every place on the map with 150+ countries. 

What we like: Has two USB ports and charges three devices at once. Equipped with safety features and comes with a lifetime guarantee.

What we dislike: Charging multiple devices at once slows the overall charge speed.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top international plug adapter for the money

Ceptics’ Worldwide Travel Plug Adapter Five-Piece Set

Ceptics’ Worldwide Travel Plug Adapter Five-Piece Set

Our take: Affordable set for the budget-conscious traveler.

What we like: Set of five plugs can be used in many regions and dozens of countries. Includes carrying case.

What we dislike: Adapters don’t convert voltage, which could be problematic for some devices.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

LKY Digital’s Universal Power Adapter

LKY Digital’s Universal Power Adapter

Our take: Compatible with 150+ countries and popular among business travelers.

What we like: Dual charging ports. Has built-in fuse protector and safety shutters. Comes with a 12-month warranty.

What we dislike: Won’t convert voltage and can’t charge certain items, such as heat-styling tools. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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