Last updated: August 18, 2021

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Welcome. If you like to travel, a plug adapter is what you need to save you a big headache.

If you like to travel abroad, you must have experienced the inconvenience of finding sockets in different standards where your appliances did not fit. So it's important to have an adapter handy at all times.

Each country has different socket standards and sometimes it can be difficult to find one that matches your own. So before you travel or buy an electrical product from abroad, understand a little more about adapters.




Summary

  • Before buying a plug adaptor, it is important to consult what the maximum power supported is to avoid accidents.
  • It is also important to check which voltages are supported. The most common are 127 and 220 volts, but this varies from adapter to adapter.
  • It is possible to find universal adapters that offer compatibility with two or more types of sockets.

The Best Plug Adapter: Our Picks

Buying Guide

Nowadays, with so many different electronic devices and with different socket standards, plug adaptors are ideal for those who like to travel without suffering with these inconveniences. To choose the ideal model for you, check our Buying Guide.

Imagem de um homem segurando adaptador de tomada preparando a mala.

The plug adapter is an indispensable item for those who travel to other countries. (Source: JaromÃr Chalabala / 123RF)

What is a plug adapter?

A plug adaptor is a device which allows the integration of electronic devices into different types of sockets, offering different types of sockets and connectors.

We are still far from having a universal standard for socket types and each country or continent has its own socket standards. So if you like to travel or intend to buy imported products, an adapter can be essential.

You can even find models that already offer USB outputs, allowing you to also charge your phone, tablet, or other device that works with this standard.

Imagem de adaptador de tomada universal azul.

Plug adaptors are ideal if you have an adventurous spirit, but still want to stay connected wherever you go. (Source: aixklusiv / Pixabay)

What are the types of plug adapter?

With so many different types of standards for connectors and sockets, it's important to choose which model will be ideal for you and which will best meet your needs.

Check our table below to see the main difference between the main models and what their highlights are.

Universal plug adapter Socket adapter with USB connection Multi-input plug adapter
Voltage Most adapters today are bivolt, but it is important to check the specifications USB connectors use a much lower voltage, so it is important to check the compatible models The multi-input adapters usually have different inputs with different voltages
Connection type These models offer compatibility with various international socket standards USB adapters offer USB and Micro USB connectors ideal for mobile devices Models with multiple inputs can offer different inputs for different standards
Price They are models in an intermediate price range Adapters that offer only the USB standard are usually cheaper By offering multiple connections, these models can cost more

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a plug adapter?

If you are planning to travel or just have more options for plugging in your electronics, plug adapters can make your life much easier.

However, with several models and different functionalities, it is important to note some advantages and disadvantages so that you do not have serious problems.

The big advantage is being able to plug your electronics into any outlet. In addition, some models offer multiple connectors or extension cables, this is an excellent advantage. They are very practical and lightweight, and super easy to carry when travelling.

But the plug adapter also has some negative points. Some models are designed for specific voltages. And depending on the voltage supported, it is not ideal for more powerful devices.

If you can't find a multiple adapter, you may need more than one adapter. Check our table below:

Advantages
  • Very practical and light, they are easy to carry when travelling
  • They can help you connect your electronics to any outlet
  • They can have multiple connectors or extension cables
Disadvantages
  • They can be developed for specific voltages
  • Depending on the voltage, they are not ideal for more powerful appliances
  • You may need more than one adapter

Can I carry my plug adapter with me?

Yes, in fact the voltage adaptors have been developed to be practical, light and safe, ideal to carry during your travels, especially when you want to visit a country that uses a different standard of sockets.

But the plug adaptors are not limited to these cases and are also excellent options for home use, especially in Brazil where the standard of sockets has changed in recent years or if you have imported appliances.

In the cases of domestic use, you can transport them according to your needs. Some models even offer extension cables, making them even more practical.

How much does it cost?

You can find some simple socket adapters which are quite affordable. The universal models are a little more expensive. In the case of USB power socket adapters, you can find models ranging from £5 to £150.

Purchase criteria: What to consider before buying a plug adapter

It's impossible to deny, with the ever faster advancement of technology, we are increasingly surrounded by electronics, be they our household appliances or mobile devices such as tablets and mobile phones.

With more and more options bringing practicality to our daily lives, sometimes we find ourselves with a lack of sufficient sockets or with devices that use different standards. Adaptors are a great help, but before buying, it's important to check a few criteria.

  • Voltage
  • Capacity
  • Standards
  • Quantity of connectors

Analyse carefully each one of these points so that you can choose the plug adaptor that best suits your needs.

Voltage

One of the main specifications you should look at before buying an adapter is the voltage for which it is made. The most common voltage standards are 110 or 220 volts.

Give preference to bivolt models, as they are able to support both voltages.

If you are buying an adapter model that offers more than one socket, they often offer different connectors that support a specific voltage.

In the case of USB connectors, they work with a much lower voltage, somewhere around 12 volts. Check the specifications of your device to avoid damage.

Imagem de adaptador universal de tomada sobre mala.

Always check that the adapter is bivolt so you don't have any problems. (Source: Shawn Hempel / 123RF)

Capacity

The capacity of the adapter is also very important, as this specification indicates what wattage capacity it can withstand without suffering malfunction.

Should your electrical appliance consume more watts than the adapter is able to handle, you could suffer from overheating, melting of the plastic, or other more serious accidents.

So, carefully check the specifications of the plug adapter you intend to buy and the specifications of the product you intend to plug into it to avoid damage.

Standards

There is no universal standard for sockets, so if you travel, it is natural to have to deal with different types of socket depending on the region you are visiting.

Universal models offer compatibility with most common international standards such as North American, European and Asian, but it's still important to check the specific standard of the country you intend to visit.

The standard for sockets is established by letters: A, B, C, D, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N and O. Before you travel, research the socket standards used in the country you are going to in order to buy an adapter that fits.

Imagem de extensão com tomadas.

There is no universal standard for sockets, so it is important to have the adapter. (Source: bacho12345 / 123RF)

Quantity of connectors

Another important factor when you go to buy an adapter is the amount of connectors it has. At this point, let's agree that it is almost impossible to travel without taking more than one piece of equipment that needs a power grid to work or be recharged.

In this case, adapters that offer more than one connector are ideal, whether they have the same sockets or for different functions. In this case, it is important the distance between the sockets so that you can use all the sockets without one socket forcing the other to avoid accidents.

(Source of the highlighted image: ReadyElements / Pixabay)

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