The Best Travel Plug Adapter

The Best Travel Plug Adapter

Photo: Rozette Rago

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November 21, 2022

We’ve read through this guide and still stand by our picks for the best travel plug adapters.

If you want to use electronic devices in a different country, you’ll probably need a travel plug adapter. After spending more than 30 hours researching and testing 14 options, we found the Epicka Universal Travel Adapter to be the best one. It fits four types of outlets, and it has more USB ports than any of its competitors, so it can can charge more devices at higher speeds.

Our pick

Epicka Universal Travel Adapter

Best universal travel adapter

With four plugs that will work in most countries, plus faster-charging USB ports (and more of them) than its competitors, this adapter is the best all-around choice.

Buying Options

In a sea of almost-identical travel adapters, the Epicka Universal Travel Adapter stands out, combining the best of the features we were looking for. It contains the three most common international plugs and a US-style plug, which should cover you in the majority of countries around the world. It has the most USB ports—four of the standard USB-A and one USB-C—of any universal adapter we tested, and it could charge more of our devices faster. A replaceable fuse and an included spare should take the brunt of any accidental, unfortunate, or shockingly bad connections. The Epicka is fairly compact and well built, and it even comes with an extra USB cable and a nylon case.

However, no universal travel adapter is truly universal, and they’re all a lot bulkier and more expensive than simple plug adapters. If you want the smallest adapter possible, or if you’re going someplace where a universal adapter won’t work (more on that in a minute), then a plug adapter could be what you need.

Our pick

Ceptics International Worldwide Travel Plug Adapter 5 Piece Set

The best plug adapter

Individually, these tiny plug adapters are smaller, lighter, and cheaper than any universal travel adapter. To juice up multiple devices, though, you’d need a separate multiport charger too.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $10 .

The Ceptics tiny plug adapters are barely larger than the prongs they convert. Small, simple, and cheap, they’re perfect for someone who wants to carry only the adapter they’ll need and who already has a multiport USB wall charger they like. Like our universal adapter picks, this set contains the three most common international plugs and the US plug. However, it also includes a somewhat rarer plug used in some European countries that has two thick, cylindrical prongs. This means that the Ceptics will likely cover you in even more places—as long as you pack the appropriate plug adapter.

Runner-up

Ceptics Plug Adapter Set

Heavier, but sturdier

The plugs in this set of five are bigger and heavier than our top pick for plug adapters, but more solidly built.

Buying Options

May be out of stock

These plug adapters are bigger than our top pick for plug adapters, but this means they offer a larger surface for chargers to brace against, which makes them more stable and less likely to fall off the wall. (We’ll call these “Ceptics White” to minimize confusion and set them apart from our “Ceptics Black” top pick.) While you can purchase these as a five-pack, which contains basically the same assortment of plugs as the Ceptics Black set, the company also sells, in this same model line, three-packs for nearly a dozen specific regions. So if you’re headed to a country not covered by the so-called universal travel adapters (for example, Brazil, India, Israel, or South Africa), or if you want to purchase multiple adapters for your gear, there’s probably an option available here.

A note up here, which we’ll discuss in detail below: All of these are adapters only. They do not convert voltage. The majority of your electronic devices only need adapters—the voltage converter is built into the charger itself. (If the device charges via USB, just about any USB port will suffice, though different ports may provide different charging speeds.) Check out Do you need a voltage converter? if you’re curious about these aspects.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Epicka Universal Travel Adapter

Best universal travel adapter

With four plugs that will work in most countries, plus faster-charging USB ports (and more of them) than its competitors, this adapter is the best all-around choice.

Buying Options

Our pick

Ceptics International Worldwide Travel Plug Adapter 5 Piece Set

The best plug adapter

Individually, these tiny plug adapters are smaller, lighter, and cheaper than any universal travel adapter. To juice up multiple devices, though, you’d need a separate multiport charger too.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $10 .

Runner-up

Ceptics Plug Adapter Set

Heavier, but sturdier

The plugs in this set of five are bigger and heavier than our top pick for plug adapters, but more solidly built.

Buying Options

May be out of stock

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The research

Why you should trust us

In addition to my work here at Wirecutter, I also write about tech and travel for CNET, Forbes, and Wirecutter’s parent company, The New York Times. Perhaps more relevant to this guide, usually spend a good chunk of each year (global pandemics aside) as a digital nomad, living months at a time in different countries all over the world. My current country count is 50, spread across six continents, and since I travel with a lot of electronics gear for work, being able to plug in is obviously crucial.

I’ve owned and used many different types of universal-style travel adapters, and several different companies’ worth of plug adapters, plus I’ve talked with countless travelers about what they like … or, more important, what they hate. We also got some advice from Wirecutter senior editor Mark Smirniotis, who oversees our power devices section.

Who should get this

Do you travel? Are you going to travel sometime in the (near or far) future? Do you want to be able to charge or use electronic devices in a different country? If so, you’re probably going to need a travel plug adapter. There’s a variety of different outlet types around the world, not to mention different voltages and frequencies, so you can’t expect your phone charger to just plug in and work wherever you’re headed. Sure, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and many other countries use the same small pair of prongs as the US, but places like continental Europe, the UK, Australia, India, Russia, and pretty much everywhere else do not.

A front look at a wall outlet with two standard plugs in addition to a USB-A and USB-C port.

A vertical-prong US-style Type B grounded outlet: This one happens to have USB-A and USB-C ports built in. Photo: Rozette Rago

You have two main choices when it comes to travel plug adapters: the universal-style travel adapters (that’s one device with multiple sets of prongs that you extend and retract) and smaller, individual plug adapters that usually come in sets. Both have pros and cons.

Should you get a universal travel adapter or a simple plug adapter?

Universal travel adapters are for the person who wants one handy adapter that will work in just about every country. You can keep it next to your passport and toss it in your luggage when you’re packing. The ones we considered have USB ports, so you don’t need to worry about bringing a separate charger for anything that charges via USB (think phones and noise-cancelling earbuds). However, these are bulky, they have parts that can break, and even the best will take longer to charge your phone or tablet than will a good multiport USB wall charger.

The choice between universal travel adapters and individual plug adapters ultimately comes down to personal preference.

The alternative is small and simple plug adapters. These attach to the prongs of your current USB charger (whether it’s a multiport one or the charger that came with your device) to allow them to fit into a foreign outlet. These can work because nearly every modern charger can adjust to the available voltage in pretty much every country, as long as you can adapt the prongs to fit in the outlet. (More on this in Do you need a voltage converter?) These are great for people who already have a multiport USB charger they like and don’t want to deal with the additional bulk of a universal travel adapter. Also, these are necessary if you’re traveling to a country that has outlets incompatible with any of the four types included in a universal adapter (which, as that sentence reveals, aren’t actually universal).

The choice between universal travel adapters and individual plug adapters ultimately comes down to personal preference. Both types work, and different people will like or dislike each. If you’re not sure which will be best for you, read each section here closely.

Here’s the big caveat: If you’re planning on bringing something with you that has a motor, a heating element, or a single power cord that leads directly from the plug to the device (i.e. there’s no power brick or wall wart), it almost certainly won’t work with a travel plug adapter. Most people will only need one of the adapter choices we recommend, but very occasionally there’s a piece of gear that needs a voltage converter. For more on that topic, also check out the voltage converters section below.

Where in the world will your travel plug adapter work?

All universal travel adapters have four different sets of prongs, which cover most countries most Americans tend to travel to. First is the big, wide-blade UK-style plug (often designated “Type G”). This will work in places like the UK, obviously, and also Ireland, Hong Kong, and some other parts of Asia and the Middle East.

A view of the slim outlets found in Italy.

These Italian-by-way-of-Reykjavik outlets will stymie any adapters available in the US. Photo: Christine Ryan

A look at a British wall outlet.

The wide-prong Type G style you’ll find in the British Isles, Hong Kong, and elsewhere in Asia and the Middle East. Photo: Geoff Morrison

A look at the Australian outlet.

The angled-prong Type I outlet, which you’ll see in Australia, New Zealand, and much of Oceania. Photo: Geoff Morrison

These Italian-by-way-of-Reykjavik outlets will stymie any adapters available in the US. Photo: Christine Ryan

Next is the round Europe-style plug, aka the Europlug (Type C). However, this is where we run into complications. This plug should work in most of Europe—it was designed, in fact, to fit into a wide range of European outlet types. For instance, parts of Italy, Switzerland, and Denmark each use different plugs from one another. Should this double-round one work in those locations? Yes. Will it? Hard to say. I’ve stayed in places where my Europlug didn’t work, yet it did in the hostel before and the hotel after—all within the same small region of a country. With any luck, if this happens to you, the place you’re staying will have a power strip that will let you plug in, though there’s no guarantee of that.

Third is the angled small-blade style (Type I) found in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and other parts of Oceania, and a few other areas. Some universal adapters have one set of blades for this and the US style—you just manually rotate the blades into the correct position depending on where you are. In our testing, we had no trouble getting them to work.

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The last, the small US-style blades (Type A or B), mean you could use our picks to visit the US and other countries that have the same plugs—if, that is, you’re reading this from outside the US.

What are the places not covered by these four styles? Some parts of Brazil, South Africa, India, and more. I’ve stayed in parts of Italy, for example, that should have Europlugs but only had something called Type L. I’ve stayed in houses in Brazil that had Type N, but the Europlug fit enough to work. In others, it wouldn’t.

Getting your gear to work in different countries isn’t quite as simple as it should be, and there’s no single solution that’s guaranteed to work for everyone.

To find out which plugs you might need while traveling, refer to the excellent Wikipedia article called Mains electricity by country that shows pictures of (almost) all the possible plugs and outlets, along with a list of the world’s countries and (almost all of) the style or styles they use. This is invaluable information to check before you leave. If multiple plug types are listed for a specific country and you’re staying in an older building, you should probably assume its outlets will require whatever plug isn’t on a universal travel adapter, since these only have the most common, newer varieties of plugs.

Which brings us to perhaps the most important fact: Getting your gear to work in different countries isn’t quite as simple as it should be, and there’s no single solution that’s guaranteed to work for everyone. Our picks should work for you, but you may have some random piece of equipment, or be traveling to some country, for which our “good for most” picks just won’t work. (Case in point: One Wirecutter editor visited Iceland recently. The house she stayed in had outlets unlike anything on Wikipedia’s chart, and the plug adapters she’d used elsewhere in Reykjavik didn’t fit at all. It turns out the mystery sockets belonged to an obscure Italian system from the 1960s that was popular in Iceland for a time. Luckily, the hosts had power strips in the house that her adapters fit into.) We’ll try to mention such potential caveats when we can, but the world is a big place, and when it comes to electricity and wall outlets, there’s a lot of variation. That’s important to keep in mind.

How we picked

The collection of our outlet adapter picks arrayed on a table.

There are approximately 70 billion universal travel plug adapters on the Web. However, after spending 20 hours staring at them, I found there’s only about a dozen basic designs—and countless “companies” selling them. Among those dozen or so actually different products, I saw a few distinctions that helped narrow the field. Since most options had four USB ports, that seemed like a reasonable minimum to require. Their maximum power output, rated in amps, became a determining factor in our rankings. The higher the maximum output, the faster the port will charge your gear.

Some plugs came with a replaceable fuse, which seemed like a good idea, and a few included a replacement for said fuse, which seemed even better. This way, if either you plug the adapter into a sketchy outlet or a roommate at the hostel uses your adapter to plug in their completely necessary portable arc welder, the fuse will go, not your adapter. Then it’s just a matter of swapping in the included spare fuse and you’re good to go.

These fuses have a maximum power rating, and therefore the adapters have a maximum wattage rating. However, you shouldn’t be connecting anything with a high enough power draw to trip these fuses. Check out Do you need a voltage converter? for more information. The short version is that recharging portable electronic devices is fine, but powering anything that has a motor or heats up is not. Nearly every appliance or device has its power draw written on it somewhere, so worst case, you can compare that to what’s listed on the adapter. And so you don’t have to look it up, volts × amps = watts.

The other option we considered and tested is individual plug adapters. These small adapters attach to the prongs of your current charger so they’ll plug into a foreign outlet. In deciding which of these to test, we judged by size and available plug-type options. As you’ll see with our two picks, one is exceptionally small, and the other offers sturdier plugs that are available in a range of plug types that’s wide enough to cover you no matter where in the world you’re headed.

How we tested

The universal travel adapters are far more similar to one another than they are different. However, getting in a dozen and playing with them for a while revealed that some felt better put together than others. After spending several minutes with each one, forcefully extending the various plugs, slamming them back in, and just being fairly rough with them, I found it easy to tell which felt like they’d last a few trips, and which wouldn’t. None felt like you’d own them for a lifetime. Since none are expensive, though, this didn’t seem like a major issue. All had a US-style plug, so I tested each one in several outlets around my house—some new, some old. I didn’t find much difference in how they fit and worked. I connected several chargers and plugs to the output side of each adapter as well. Again, not much difference. Last, I checked how bright the LED on each was, since a too-bright LED keeping me awake has been a pet peeve of mine for years. Many USB chargers have LEDs bright enough to practically read from; I eliminated any universal adapter that had this problem.

For the plug adapters, I tried plugging in several devices, as well as inserting them into outlets around my house. I checked how tight the connections were and how they felt overall. Would they fall apart with simple use or perhaps hold up to being tossed around in bags for a few weeks or months?

In reality, the testing for all the adapter types didn’t reveal much variation in terms of performance. These are all remarkably similar products. How they felt to use and their different features played a far bigger role in establishing our final picks.

10 of the world’s best dinosaur museums

dino museums 2015- canada

(CNN) — “Jurassic World” hit over 4,200 theaters last week, reintroducing the man-meets-dinosaur disaster to a new generation of fans.

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The movie has already smashed records, becoming the highest grossing global opening in history by bringing in $511.8 million over the weekend.

While real-life scientists have yet to resurrect the terrible lizards from mosquito DNA, they have recently discovered remnants of what look like red blood cells and soft tissue in the fossils of a 75-million-year-old dinosaur.

But they say it’ll be a long time before a “Jurassic Park”-style theme park is feasible. (As if anyone who’s seen any of the films would want to visit one anyway.)

Fortunately there are already plenty of museums worldwide that (safely) bring humans face to face with dinosaurs — and not always just their skeletons.

1. Museum für Naturkunde (Berlin)

Berlin’s natural history museum houses a serious collection of bones excavated largely from Tanzania in the 20th century, featuring all sorts of species.

Most impressive is the 41-foot, 5-inch Brachiosaurus, the tallest dinosaur in the world on display. It’s a Guinness World Record holder and dominates the first gallery.

The museum also has the most important Archaeopteryx fossil in the world, demonstrating the birdlike link between dinosaurs and birds.

2. Field Museum (Chicago)

The world's biggest version of the world's most famous dinosaur.

The museum’s Evolving Planet exhibit, dedicated to the last 4 billion years of evolution, features dinosaurs from as far away as Madagascar and Antarctica.

The main attraction stands at the entrance. Meet Sue, the largest Tyrannosaurus in the world, who greets visitors at Chicago’s natural history museum.

She’s a terrific specimen — the original skull, weighing 600 pounds and flashing 58 teeth, is on display in the museum’s balcony level along with information on the most notorious of dinosaurs.

It’s easy to imagine the enormous tooth-filled snout crashing through the sunroof of a “Jurassic Park” jeep.

3. Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Science (Brussels)

With the largest dinosaur hall in the world, this museum has an impressive collection of fossilized skeletons and casts.

Interactive displays in the gallery also detail the fossilization process and dinosaur digs, among other topics.

4. National Dinosaur Museum (Canberra, Australia)

Alongside fossils, bones and impressive footprints from all sorts of animals and beasts, the museum features a garden with imposing dinosaur sculptures and animatronics inside that add a bit of Spielberg magic to displays.

Fossil digs, children’s learning events and weekend tours help attract 200,000 people a year, making it one of the area’s biggest tourist attractions.

5. Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology (Alberta, Canada)

More than 130,000 fossils call this paleontological research center home, including the original “Black Beauty” Tyrannosaurus skeleton with its unique dark sheen.

A recreation of a pack of Albertosaurus, inspired by a bone bed of 22 specimens found in Alberta, pays homage to Joseph Tyrrell, who discovered the carnivore in 1884.

The museum also displays sabertooth tigers attacking a mammoth as well as a living garden that recreates life during the Cretaceous period in Alberta.

Visitors can watch paleontologists at work in the preparation lab to see how they prepare fossilized bones, like those of an Ankylosaur found in a Canadian mine.

6. Wyoming Dinosaur Center (Wyoming)

The museum has acquired the most complete archaeopteryx in the world (after the one in Berlin) and boasts skeletons of Triceratops, Stegosaurus and Velociraptor, among others in all sorts of dynamic poses.

The real draw is getting to talk with real paleontologists, like those who inspired Alan Grant’s character in “Jurassic Park.”

All ages are invited to “dig for a day” by signing up to participate in excursions to one of the world’s richest bone fields, just down the street.

7. Zigong Dinosaur Museum (Zigong, China)

Another vast space given to prehistoric fossils, the Dinosaur Museum in Zigong sits atop the Dashanpu fossil site, allowing visitors to get a firsthand glimpse of an excavation site.

This top Chinese attraction has 18 complete skeletons among the 200 individuals pulled from the graveyard, and they’re displayed among foot prints, skin fossils and other prehistoric finds.

Specimens are renowned in the dinosaur community and attract nearly 7 million people a year in China.

8. Iziko Museum (Cape Town, South Africa)

Africa's oldest and biggest.

South Africa doesn’t conjure images of T. Rex and Brachiosaurus, but the Izikio Museum does feature some of the prehistoric beasts from its Karoo region.

In addition to dozens of other exhibits, the prehistoric section deals with lesser known dinosaurs and their cousins that inhabited the continent from Cape Town to Marrakech.

The “African Dinosaurs” exhibit features the Euparkeria, a distant relative of the dinosaurs, native to South Africa; as well as the Jobaria, a sauropod from Africa.

The Carcharodontosaurus skull from North Africa is part of a creature that trumped the mighty T. Rex in size and stature, making it one of Africa’s most imposing killers.

9. Jurassic Land (Istanbul)

Opened in 2011, Jurassic Land is as close as you’ll get to fleeing dinosaurs alongside Sam Neil and Laura Dern.

One part education, another part entertainment, the 10,000-square-meter experience mixes skeletons and fossils with writhing animatronic dinosaurs in an Ingen-esque setting, including a “veterinarian” taking care of an injured Stegosaurus and egg incubators.

While Spielberg may not have given his blessing, the center does offer a creative and engaging educational experience for children, though connoisseurs may question the seemingly anachronistic placing of a Spinosaurus next to a Triceratops.

10. Fernbank Museum of Natural History (Atlanta)

The true giants of the prehistoric world may have been unearthed in Patagonia, but you have to go to Atlanta to see them on display.

The Giants of the Mesozoic exhibit features the carnivorous Gigantosaurus, which rivaled the T. Rex in size, as well as the Argentinosaurus, the 100-ton sauropod that scientists say is the largest dinosaur ever classified.

A flock of more than 20 pterosaurs glides overhead. The museum also offers a glimpse into prehistoric Georgia, with murals and life-sized dinosaur models.

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Source https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-travel-plug-adapter/

Source https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/world-best-dino-museums/index.html

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