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Electronic adapters, the shapeshifters of plugs, are an essential item to be included in your travel packing list. Otherwise, charging your mobile devices and everything else will be a major struggle. You also don't want to end up overpaying or purchasing a flimsy one at the last minute.
In this article, we highlight the need for electronic adapters, types demanded by different countries/regions, along with great recommendations for travel adapters. We have also included an electronics packing list so you won't forget the essentials ever again!
Download a travel packing app to make things even easier.
Why are electronic adapters necessary?
The shape of the power plug socket and the plug shape of your electric device must match. You won't be able to plug the device in otherwise. This is where an adapter comes in handy. It is a connector that changes the shape of the power socket to match the device's plug.
Adapters are sufficient as long as the electrical system of the country and your device's voltage capacity is compatible, and the only bastard standing in your way is the shape of the plug.
Did you know there are 15 types of plugs in the world? Each country or region has adopted a plug type that meets their standards and presumably believes it's the gold standard. So, the world is yet to see a standardized plug type, and until that happens, you will have to carry an adapter that allows you to power your devices in a foreign country. Here's a list of countries and plug types used by them.
Different electronic adapters and what they are used for:
Type A and B
Type A plug features two flat pins, and type B plug has two flat pins and a round earth pin. You need type A and B electronic travel adapters for Japan, Canada, the U.S., Mexico, or Central America. This Unidapt US Travel Plug Adapter is a versatile choice because it is compatible with plug types in Europe, Australia, the UK, Asia, Africa, and Arabian Peninsula.
Type C plug features two round pins and is one of the most popular ones found throughout the world. It is used by many countries in the E.U., including France, Germany, Denmark, and Italy. Type C is also adopted by some Asian countries like India and some African countries.
The Tessan Travel Adapter Pack is ideal for U.S. or Canadian travelers heading to Europe or any other country that uses type C plugs. It also has two USB ports to charge multiple devices at the same time.
The Unidapt Type C Plug Adapter is another great choice because it's very compact in size. Although, it only supports two-pin plugs.
The plug features 3 round pins and is used by India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and some other Asian countries͎. It is also adopted by some African countries like Botswana and Namibia.
Ceptics has a great type D power adapter designed for U.S. devices. It also got two USB ports to charge multiple mobile devices. The Hero type D travel adapter is a solid choice for non-US travelers, and it has many positive reviews about durability.
Type E and F
Similar to the C-type plug, E and F also feature two round pins. They are used throughout Europe, and in most cases, E and F plugs can fit into the other. Countries like Denmark, Belgium, France, and Poland use E as the standard. While the Netherlands, Germany, and many other European countries use F as the standard. They are also used by some Asian, African, and Central American countries.
The OREI 2-in-1 European Travel Adapter is compatible with a wide variety of plugs found worldwide. It weighs just 0.01 pounds and is very convenient to carry around.
I also like the Tessan European Plug Adapter Pack, which has one socket to plug your 2 or 3-pin devices designed for the U.S. There are also 2 USB ports for added convenience.
The UK, Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong, and some countries in Asia and Arabian Peninsula use the G-type plug. It features three flat pins.
Ceptics has a mini travel size option. Its G-type travel adapter set supports a variety of pins.
If you're from the U.S. and prefer another option, consider the Vintar US to U.K. plug adapter, which has 2 USB ports in addition to the main socket.
This plug type with three round pins is unique to Israel. OREI's U.S. to Israel Travel Adapter is a good choice because it is compatible with many other plug types.
Type I has two pins forming a V shape and another earthing pin above. It is used in Australia, New Zealand, China, and Argentina. Trond 5-in-1 Plug Adapter is ideal for U.S. travelers because it has multiple outlets. It is quite bulky, though.
The Ceptics 3 Pack Travel Adapter is a good choice for non-US travelers.
The type J plug has 3 round pins and was developed by Switzerland. It's also used in Jordan, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Maldives, and Rwanda today. The Ceptics 3 Outlet Type J Travel Adapter supports multiple plug types. You can also consider OREI if you need small electronic pin adapters with USB ports.
Featuring 3-round pins, type K is primarily used by Denmark and Greenland. It is also adopted by other countries like Senegal, Tunisia, and Bangladesh. You can also use type C and F type adapters for K-type plug sockets. But, if you need a type K one, here's one of the best electronic adapters for Denmark.
Type L plug has three pins in a straight row. It is used in Italy, Maldives, Chile, Uruguay, and some other countries.
OREI 2-in-1 USA to Italy Adapter is a popular pick on Amazon with many positive reviews. Even non-US plugs can be fitted into it.
With three round pins, type M is similar to type D plug but with larger pins. It is used in South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, and some other African countries. If you need a type M adapter, check out this Travel Adapter for South Africa by Ceptics.
Type N plugs have two round pins and are used in Brazil and South Africa. Here's a great type N electronic travel adapter set for you.
A three-pin plug that's exclusively used by Thailand. Check out the OREI small electronic pin adapters set if Thailand is your next vacation destination!
Universal travel adapter
If you travel frequently, I recommend investing in a universal adapter compatible with most countries. Some are quite bulky compared to adapters designed for specific countries or regions, but they are very convenient.
Note that universal adapters won't support all countries. So it's still important to check the plug type of your destination beforehand and purchase accordingly.
The EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter is a good choice because it is compact and light in weight. It supports 150 countries worldwide, including the U.S., U.K., Australia, and most countries in the E.U. In addition to one main socket, the adapter also has 4 USB ports and 1 USB C port to charge multiple devices at the same time.
If you prefer a set of mini adapters to a universal adapter, OREI World Travel Adapter Set is great. It has all the major types of plugs, covering Australia, the E.U., the UK, Asia, and Africa. You will only have to carry the plug type necessary for your travel. Each plug has a 2-pin and 3-pin port to charge two devices simultaneously.
When do you need a travel adapter converter?
With an adapter, you can charge your mobile phones, laptops, power banks, tablets, and other similar mobile devices. But, it's not the case when it comes to hair dryers, irons, trimmers, etc. The A.C. wall outlets at your destination must support the voltage range of your electronics.
If the voltage is different, you need a voltage converter. Otherwise, your electronics are at the risk of damage, or worse - explosion. You also need a converter if you are carrying single voltage devices. There are many travel adapter converters on Amazon!
Basic Electronics Packing List
I've included a handy electronics packing list, so you don't forget the essentials. For a more comprehensive list, check out this packing list for digital nomads.
- Mobile phone & charger
- Laptop & charger
- Tablet & charger
- Electronic plug adapter(s)
- Voltage converter
Don't forget to check the plug types used at your destination beforehand. Investing in durable and good-quality adapters can make your vacations or business trips hassle-free. You will be able to use them for a long time without an issue.
Travel with Pilot
Not that you have all your electronics sorted, you can focus on the trip itself. Keep your travel itinerary organized with Pilot.