Looking for the best travel adapter 2020? Your top choices

TransferWise
04.24.20
8 minute read

Let’s face it. Being on the move and watching your cell’s battery life ebb away is nobody’s idea of fun. And it’s even worse if you’re traveling outside of the US - you may struggle to charge your devices at all if you don't have the right travel adapter for your destination.

Don’t spend your vacation stressing about where you’ll next be able to charge your cell or use your electric razor. Get one of these travel adapters, and relax.

The article is divided into two sections:

TransferWise Mastercard with balances

Travelling? TransferWise's multi-currency Mastercard can be up to 4x cheaper when spending abroad, compared to banks and PayPal

Here's how to choose the best travel adapter

If you leave it to the last minute, and are picking up a travel adapter in the airport, you might not have a huge choice available. You’ll also likely pay well over the odds compared to getting the same product online from somewhere like Amazon.

Put in a bit of research, and you’ll be able to get the best travel adapter for your needs before you head off on vacation - at a fraction of the price. Here’s what to look for.


Plug type

You’ll be able to find a range of different standard travel adapters which will let you plug your US device into a different type of plug fitting. These will only work with one plug type - so if you’re taking a trip to Europe and plan on visiting both France and the UK, for example, you’d need to carry 2 different adapters to cope with the different plug types across the region. Check online to see which plug type you’ll need, no matter where you’re heading.¹

The alternative is to get a universal travel adapter which fits into a range of different plug types, meaning you carry only one adapter for several different destinations. Even these adapters have their limitations, though. Many so called universal adapters don’t work in countries in Africa for example, so it’s worth checking the details before you buy one.


Voltage

The voltage in the US is 120 volt/ 60 hertz. However, the voltage used isn’t necessarily the same around the world. The UK for example uses 220 volt/ 50 hertz.

Most devices such as chargers can work with a range of voltages, and will simply convert the power coming out of the wall into the voltage required. USB ports on universal travel adapters are also regulated to make sure the right power is delivered to the charging device automatically. This means you may not need a voltage adapter for your travels, depending on the devices you use regularly and where you’re headed.

If you think you need a voltage adapter to get by, it’s good to know that some travel adapters have a built in voltage adapter - a feature which could save you money and protect your appliances when you travel.

It’s worth knowing though, that some devices such as those with a motor or heating element like a hair dryer may not work well - or at all - when using a different voltage. A voltage adapter might not be enough to protect your appliance - instead, plan to borrow your curling irons and hair dryer when you arrive if you need them.


USB sockets

Most universal travel adapters will have 2 or more USB sockets, which let you charge several phones or other devices at the same time as using the adapter for another plug. If you’re traveling in a large group, or have multiple devices, choose one with as many USB sockets as possible. USB-A ports are the standard - but you can also find adapters with USB-C or Quick Charge ports which work faster to recharge your devices.


Sending or receiving money from abroad? TransferWise could help

Join over 7 million people and businesses already saving money with TransferWise.

  • Send and receive money for low fees and using the mid-market rate
  • Get local bank details to receive and send money like a local would and skip hefty international payment charges
  • No sign-up or monthly fees and it takes just a few minutes to get started
Get free access to 40+ currencies and bank details to use as a local for US, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and UK with TransferWise

Looking for the best travel adapters to choose from?

So, which travel adapters are worth considering, then? Let’s take a look at some top picks.

Best international travel adapter overall - Epika Universal Travel Adapter

The Epika Universal Travel Adapter is the top pick for many online experts, based on speed, size and functionality. You can charge USB devices quickly with a USB-C port, and there are a further 4 regular USB sockets for all your other devices.

Feature details Epika Universal Travel Adapter
Regions/plug types covered Universal - includes US, plus the 3 other most common types of plug
Number of USB ports 4 regular, 1 USB-C port
Notable benefits Fast charging speed, small size and light to carry
Drawbacks to consider Although tough, the plug’s plastic construction will eventually wear and break

Best for high power devices - Bonazza Universal World Travel Adapter and Converter

If you’re traveling somewhere with a different voltage, and can’t do without your own high powered devices, you may benefit from a travel adapter which comes with an inbuilt voltage converter. The Bonazza Universal World Travel Adapter and Converter claims to be the smallest and lightest you’ll find - and covers some 150 countries.

All that said, this device doesn’t come with some of the perks other universal adapters do - such as USB ports for simple cell phone charging.

Feature details Bonazza Universal World Travel Adapter and Converter³
Regions/plug types covered Universal, with UK, European and Australian plugs, as well as US. Converts voltage from 220V-240V to 110V-120V for American appliance compatibility
Number of USB ports No USB ports
Notable benefits Small and portable, can cope with high powered appliances like a hair dryer
Drawbacks to consider Only accepts US standard plugs - you couldn’t use this for devices or appliances bought overseas with different plug types

Best if you’re not sure which adapter you need - Ceptics

If you’re headed somewhere a little off the beaten track, or if you’re simply not sure which adapter type you need, US based electronics firm Ceptics is a good place to start.⁴

Not only does Ceptics produce every type of adapter you can imagine, there’s also a wealth of information about which adapter you might need, and a step by step tool to help you decide based on your destination before you browse the site.⁵

Feature details Ceptics
Regions/plug types covered Ceptics offer individual travel adapters, universal products, voltage converters and advice on which you need
Notable benefits Visit Ceptics website for advice on which adapter you need for the country or region you’re visiting. Noteworthy for specialist adapter types such as those for Africa or Israel which aren’t usually covered by universal adapters
Drawbacks to consider Ceptics offer a great range so is a perfect place to start your research - this doesn’t necessarily mean every one of their products is the best available. Compare the adapter options on offer from Ceptics against others in their class to make sure you’re getting the best deal

Best universal travel adapter for value and convenience - Bonaker Universal Travel Adapter

The Bonaker Universal Travel Adapter, available through Amazon⁶, is a good all rounder, with a relatively low price tag. Get it with free delivery if you have Prime, or have a few other travel essentials to pick up online at the same time.

Feature details Bonaker Universal Travel Adapter
Regions/plug types covered Universal adapter for use with all major plug types
Number of USB ports 4
Notable benefits Rated well by online reviewers, and a little cheaper than some other universal adapters available online
Drawbacks to consider Plastic construction, can feel a little sticky at times when changing the plug type

Best travel adapter converter - Pac2Go Universal Travel Adapter

The Pac2Go Universal Travel Adapter is both an adapter and a voltage converter, and can handle up to 250V, as well as offering multiple plug options and USB ports. It’s also small and compact, to fit neatly into your packing. What more could you want?

Feature details Pac2Go Universal Travel Adapter⁷
Regions/plug types covered Fits sockets in US, UK, Australia and Europe, with a multi plug socket so you can use this with appliances which have a range of plug types, too
Number of USB ports 4 USB ports + 1 USB-C port
Notable benefits Small, light and relatively cheap. Will work with a range of voltages and compatible with most plug types
Drawbacks to consider Although as universal as most adapters get, you still can’t use this with some plug sockets in destinations in Africa or Israel, for example

Best universal travel adapter for families - Hyleton Universal Travel Adapter

If you’re traveling in a group and need to charge multiple devices at once, while using a laptop or giving your camera batteries a power up, the Hyleton Universal Travel Adapter is worth a look. You can use up to 6 devices at once, with 4 USB ports, one fast USB socket, and the regular plug - which should be enough to keep the busiest family happy.

Feature details Hyleton Universal Travel Adapter[8]
Regions/plug types covered Universal, with US, UK, European and Australian plug options
Number of USB ports 4 USB ports + 1 USB-C port
Notable benefits Charge and use multiple devices at the same time
Drawbacks to consider No Quick Charge 3 option

Best travel adapter for USB charging - Syncwire Multi Port USB Charger

This 4 port USB charger comes with US, UK and European plug fittings so you can use it in over 150 countries. You’ll be able to charge every cell phone in your family at once, so there are no arguments over who gets power first - and no need to carry multiple USB plugs.

Feature details Syncwire Multi Port USB Charger [9]
Regions/plug types covered US, UK and European plug types - 150+ countries covered
Number of USB ports 4
Notable benefits Relatively low cost makes it perfect if all you will want to do when you’re traveling is to charge your cell or tablet
Drawbacks to consider This is only for USB devices - no good if you want to use your hair dryer or laptop while you’re abroad

Unless you’re looking for a digital detox on your vacation, you’ll want to take the right travel adaptor for your destination. And while it’s possible to pick one up at the airport, you’ll be better off buying one online before you travel, to get the best product at the best available price.

Take some time to research, using these top choices as a starting point - and you’ll be able to relax once you’re on vacation, knowing your devices will never run out of power, and you’ll be able to share those sweet travel memories with your friends as you go.


Sources:

  1. Worldstandards - Plug & socket types
  2. Epicka - Travel Adapter
  3. Bonazza - All in One World Travel Plug Power Adapter
  4. Ceptics - Travel Plug Adapters
  5. Ceptics - Travel Adapter Finder
  6. Amazon - Bonaker Universal Charging Worldwide Converter
  7. Pac2Go Universal Travel Adapter
  8. Universal Travel Adapter
  9. Syncwire - 4-port USB Wall Charger

All sources checked February 8, 2020

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

Find out more
Travel Tips

The world’s most useful passports

There are almost 200 countries in the world. Reaching them has never been easier. You wouldn’t think that when you switch on the news. There’s always talk...

TransferWise
10.10.16 4 minute read
Travel Tips

7 great bars in Copenhagen

Whether you're a native or simply visiting, we've found some of the best bars and restaurants in Copenhagen for you to enjoy.Whether you want to sip on your...

TransferWise
09.20.16 3 minute read
Travel Tips

7 crazy ways to get married

All summer your Facebook feed has been filled with wedding snaps.Weddings on beaches, weddings at manors, weddings at churches, weddings on yachts.You've...

TransferWise
09.20.16 2 minute read

Tips, news and updates for your location