Basic Adapter and Converter Info

When traveling abroad there are 2 items that you may need in order to make use of your electrical appliances.

  1. Plug Adapter---changes the shape of the plug to be able to fit in foreign outlets.
  2. Voltage converter---changes power input from the 220 volts that much of the world uses to our 110 volts. If your appliances are ‘Dual Voltage’ or ‘Worldwide Voltage’, then they will convert the voltage automatically. If not, then a converter is necessary.
 Adapter only, no Converter Use Adapter AND Voltage Converter
100/240 V 110 V
100/240 VAC 110 VAC
110/220 V 125 V
110/220 VAC 125 VAC
Any one-hundred number If there is only a one-hundred number

 

Any one-hundred number slash two-hundred number is dual-voltage. If there is only a one-hundred number and no two-hundred number, then the device is NOT dual-voltage.

Appliances must have a stamp, sticker or molding that lists the specifications for the item. Below is a listing of what you are likely to see when looking for a voltage input rating as well as the places to look on common appliances.
Most basic converters are only made to run for 30 minutes before they will overheat. If your converter is not a grounded/continuous use one, make sure you take it out of the outlet to cool down after 30 minutes of being plugged in, even if it wasn’t being used.

Do not use a converter “just to be safe.” If a device is already dual-voltage, using a converter will increase the risk of fire. ONLY use converters with devices that need it and can handle it.

Do not use converters with hair straighteners. The converter and the flat iron do not communicate well and can lead to a fire.

Most electronics, computers, cell phones, digital camera batteries, E-readers and electric razors have the listing on the charging units that plug into the wall, not the item itself. Curling irons and flat irons are marked on the device itself. If it’s dual-voltage, it will switch automatically.

Hair dryers can be auto-switching or might have a switch. If it is dual voltage, look for a small switch on the handle that says “125” and “250”. Before traveling, it will need to be flipped to the 250 setting.

CPAP Breathing Machines can be marked on the plug or on the unit itself. Be aware that if it is not dual-voltage a larger ‘grounded converter’ will be necessary due to the machine’s need to run continuously for a long period of time. Do not use a regular non-grounded converter for a device like this.

Most power strips and extension cords purchased in the U.S. are not rated for 220 volts. Find a travel one.