"Converters," "Transformers," "Plug Adapters" - What's the difference?
Converters should be used only with "electric" appliances. Electric appliances are simple heating devices or have mechanical motors. Examples are hair dryers, steam irons, toasters, mixers, blenders, incandescent lamps, heating pads, electric blankets, and small fans. Converters should not be used for more than three hours at a time.
Transformers are used with "electronic" appliances. Electronic appliances have a chip or circuit. Examples are radios, CD players, shavers, battery rechargers, computers, computer printers, fax machines, televisions, answering machines, DVD Players, radios/sterios, and fluorescent lamps. Transformers can also be used with electric appliances and may be operated continually for many days. (The advantage of converters is that they are lighter and less expensive.)
Converters and transformers are available for appliances of different wattages. To find the wattage of your appliance, look at the label located on the appliance or in the owner's manual. The label or manual will show the input voltage, (100, 120, 220, 240, written as volts, V, volts AC or VAC), the wattage (written as watts or W) and sometimes the amperage (e.g. 0.5 Amps or 0.5 A or 500 mA). If only the amperage is shown, multiply the input voltage by the amps to find the watts. Volts x Amps = Watts. (Example - 120V x 0.5A = 60W; meaning a 120-volt appliance rated at 0.5 amps is a 60 watt appliance and requires a transformer or converter of at least 60 watts).
Plug Adapters do not convert electricity. They simply allow a dual-voltage appliance, a transformer or a converter from one country to be plugged into the wall outlet of another country. The plug of an American appliance will not fit into outlets in most foreign countries without an adapter. To see what type of adapter is needed for your destination, please click here to view our Worldwide Electricity Guide.
"So, what should I take? "
First, ask yourself if what you are taking is electric (such as a shaver, an iron, or a portable hair dryer) or electronic (such as an electric toothbrush, CD, radio or cassette player, camcorder battery recharger or laptop computer). Next, find out what its wattage is. One of our popular units is the Auto-Adjusting Converter/Transformer. It is both a 50-2000 watt converter and a 1-50 watt transformer and automatically acts as a either converter or transformer depending on whether the appliance is electric or electronic.
Second, choose the appropriate plug adapter for the country that you are visiting. Since our converter fits European outlets (except the U.K., Italy, Switzerland and Denmark), you will need an adapter to plug it into most European outlets. The Auto-Adjusting converter/transformer also fits these outlets. We have a transformer that fits U.K. outlets and another for European outlets (except in the U.K., Italy, Switzerland and Denmark).
If you are not using your converter or transformer in a country whose outlets match its plug, you should purchase the plug adapter for that country.
Of course, if your appliance is dual voltage, you don't have to worry about converters and transformers. You just need a plug adapter for the country you will be visiting. Did you know that 99% of laptops are dual voltage? It should say 110-240 V somewhere on the power cord.
"Should I take a surge protector? "
If you plan to use expensive electronic equipment abroad (especially a laptop computer), it is advisable to use a surge protector. The surge protector that you use in the United States or Canada is for 100-volt electricity and should NOT be used in countries with 220-volt electricity (but if you need one for the U.S., click here). We offer a travel-size 220-volt surge protector (see the EuroSurge™ below in this section) for use in Europe and other 220-volt areas. In addition, we sell a mini 110-volt surge protector for travel in the U.S. click here. You simply plug your dual-voltage appliance (or your transformer) into the surge protector. You then plug the surge protector into the outlet. The plug on our surge protector fits European outlets (except in the U.K., Italy, Switzerland and Denmark). To use it outside Europe (or in the U.K., Italy or Switzerland), you'll need a plug adapter (designed especially for the EuroSurge™) for the country you'll be visiting.
"What do I need for my computer for use in 220-volt regions?"
Computers are electronic devices and therefore must be used with a transformer (not a converter) unless they are dual voltage. Fortunately, most laptop battery chargers and AC adapters are dual voltage. Because they are dual voltage, they can be used with only a plug adapter for the country you'll be visiting. In addition, it is advisable to use a 220-volt surge protector in 220 volt countries. Simply plug your dual voltage charger or AC adapter into the 220-volt surge protector. Then plug the surge protector into the electrical outlet (using the appropriate plug adapter).
If you want to use your modem abroad, you should make sure that you also have the appropriate teleplug adapter. See the section entitled Modem Adapters.
FOR ALL YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT ELECTRICITY, PLEASE EMAIL CustomerService@TravelProducts.com