Best travel adapter 2019: power up abroad

Forget spending a small fortune on a single adapter at the airport; these universal travel adapters are the way to go

The best travel adapter: power up abroad
(Image credit: Getty)

Technology defines travel. It used to be all about postcards, travel journals and finding yourself, but can you ever now feel relaxed abroad without knowing you can charge-up your stash of tech? A universal travel adaptor is essential for any and all trips abroad, and whether you're sharing your trip with a smartphone, tablet, laptop, headphones, camera or Bluetooth speaker (not forgetting toothbrush, curling irons and travel kettle), you might as well as good one.

Don't be an idiot at the airport, where universal travel adaptors are expensive and basic. Get it sorted before you set-off on your travels with our collection of the very best around.

Basic adaptors are available that convert from one country to another, but it's better to invest in a universal travel adaptor that caters for everything. So what should you look for?

Check out our guide below on how to choose the best travel adapter below. 

How to choose the best travel adapter

The best travel adapters have USB sockets, so charging up phones, tablets and other portable devices should be fairly convenient. But they're not all equal. Most will have at least a couple of USB slots; check they're rated 2.4V, which will refuel your phone faster, and means it can cope with a tablet, too. 

Better still, look for Quick Charge 3.0 (QC 3.0), which does it ever faster. If you have a laptop that charges via USB-C, look for a travel adaptor with built-in USB-PD (USB Power Delivery), which can send 100W into a laptop.

Not all travel adaptors will transform voltage, so it’s always worth checking to see if you need to purchase a voltage transformer alongside the adapter. Many devices are dual voltage rated, so you may not even require a transformer; even so, it’s always best to check the book of words to double check. 

Good news is, all EU countries have the same voltage as the UK, so it’s only the USA, South America, Asia, Australasia and Africa that you need to think about. As a rule, high powered devices such as hairdryers and straighteners cannot be used with a travel adaptor, with the advice being to purchase cheap ones when you’ve arrived at your destination. 

Amazon is usually the best place to head for travel adaptors, as you can get hold of highly rated products for sometimes a fraction of the high street price (and with Prime Delivery). 

With that the case, take a look at the best travel adaptors of the bunch below.

These are the 9 best travel adapters

The best travel adapter: Hyleton Worldwide Travel Adapter

1. Hyleton Worldwide Travel Adapter

Perfect for fast-charging and travelling with a USB-C device

Specifications
Best for: USB-C
Weight: N/A
Use in: EU/AU/US/UK
USB slots: 4 +1 USB-C
Reasons to buy
+USB-C+Multiple USB
Reasons to avoid
-Not QC3

If you've entered the world of USB-C, this is the travel adaptor for you. Although it has four standard USB slots that can each refuel a tablet as well as a smartphone and other low-power gadgets, the Hyleton also has a USB-C slot fitted to the side for fast-charging a smartphone.

Elsewhere this compact adaptor's multi-function plug fits more than 150 countries with UK/AU/US plugs. The adapter also has built-in safety shutters to protect you from the direct touch of the live parts on the socket outlet.

The best travel adapter: Skross World To South Africa Travel Adapter

2. Skross World To South Africa Travel Adapter

If you're headed to Africa, beware the standard Type-M socket

Specifications
Best for: all travel to Southern Africa
Weight: 40g
Use in: Southern Africa, Nepal and Bhutan
USB slots: 0
Reasons to buy
+Converts to Type-M+Multiple worldwide receptacle
Reasons to avoid
-Does not convert voltage

If you're going to Africa, you're going to need to get to know the Type-M socket. Never heard of it? Unfortunately almost all so-called 'universal travel adapter' are nothing of the sort because they don't include large parts of Africa and Asia, where an archaic UK plug now called Type-M is still used. 

As well as being standard in South Africa, Namibia, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland, Type-M is common in Nepal and Bhutan, too. Cue this simple, but essential travel adapter that converts from every other plug in the world –such as the US, UK, Europe, Australia, China and Brazil – to the Type-M. This Switzerland-made example from Skross doesn't convert voltage, but it does work with power-hungry devices including laptops and travel hairdryers.

The best travel adapter: BEZ Worldwide Travel Adapter

3. BEZ Worldwide Travel Adapter

A smart, easy to use travel essential

Specifications
Best for: All-in-one adaptor
Weight: 118g
Use in: EU/AU/US/UK
USB slots: 2
Reasons to buy
+Four plugs and a world wide power adapter+Dual USB charging ports
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn’t convert voltage 

If you’re looking for a high quality all-rounder, this one should fit the bill. There’s four plug adapters, for use in over 150 countries worldwide, and there's a worldwide power socket, so you can plug in gadgets, no matter which AC plug they have. It's handy to note that this is the lightest travel adapter of the lot, so it shouldn't add too much weight to your suitcase, either.

Bear in mind that this travel adaptor is not a voltage converter, so make sure your device is dual voltage before you plug it in. You should also note that the adapter shouldn’t be used with high powered devices such as hair dryers or straighteners. 

The best travel adapter: Bestek 200W Travel Adaptor

4. Bestek 200W Travel Adaptor

This travel adapter come voltage transformer covers all bases

Specifications
Best for: Converting voltage
Weight: 399g
Use in: EU/AU/US/UK
USB slots: 4
Reasons to buy
+Converts voltage from 100-240v to 230v+Charge 6 devices simultaneously 
Reasons to avoid
-Not suitable for use with high-powered devices

A voltage converter is required for devices that do not offer dual voltage, which makes this device incredibly handy if you’re heading to the states, where voltage is a lot lower than the UK. 

With 2 AC plugs and 4 USB ports you’ll have no problem charging multiple devices at once – just bear in mind that you cannot plug in high-powered devices, such as hair dryers or straighteners. The device comes in a handy case, which contains three international AC adaptors for use in over 150 countries. The downside is you can only plug in UK devices.

The best travel adapter: Delicacy Worldwide Travel Adapter

5. Delicacy Worldwide Travel Adapter

A compact travel adapter and a great alternative to our first pick

Specifications
Best for: Value
Weight: 131g
Use in: EU/AU/US/UK
USB slots: 2
Reasons to buy
+Easily select the right plug+Comes with a handy carry case  
Reasons to avoid
-Not a voltage converter 

Although cheaper than our first pick, this device essentially does the same thing- it’s just slightly bulkier, which may pose a problem for some sockets, especially if they’re tucked away. It’s suitable to use in over 150 different countries, thanks to the variety of plug combinations and the universal AC socket. 

The USB sockets are perfect for charging phones, tablets and cameras. Bear in mind that this adaptor isn’t a voltage converter, so you may have to purchase an extra bit of kit for those devices that don’t offer dual voltage. As with the other adaptors in our list, you can’t plug in high powered devices either. 

The best travel adapter: MLPC Accessories Worldwide Universal International Travel Adapter

6. MLPC Accessories Worldwide Universal International Travel Adapter

Charge up to 5 devices at once with this universal travel adapter

Specifications
Best for: Compact
Weight: 200g
Use in: EU/AU/US/UK
USB slot: 4
Reasons to buy
+4 USB ports+Compact
Reasons to avoid
-Does not convert voltage 

If you like the idea of having four USB charging ports but would prefer a more compact universal charger, this one will tick the boxes. A great one for travelling families, phones, tablets and cameras can all be charged at the same time. Plus, there’s a universal plug for use with devices from over 150 countries. 

With short circuit and power surge protection, devices are protected no matter which country you’re in and there’s even child safety shutters so you don’t need to worry about them playing around with it when you’re not in the room. 

The best travel adapter: Bestek Worldwide Travel Adaptor

7. Bestek Worldwide Travel Adaptor

Another great all-rounder with speedy USB charging

Specifications
Best for: Speedy charging
Weight: 159g
Use in: EU/AU/US/UK
USB slot: 2
Reasons to buy
+Micro USB cable for fast charging+Comes with a high quality case
Reasons to avoid
-Does not convert voltage 

Again, this should be a decent quality charger, though it only comes with 2 USB ports instead of 4. There’s a universal socket and it’s fitted with USA, Australian, UK and European plugs for use in over 150 countries. 

Thanks to the embedded micro USB cable, phones and tablets can benefit from fast charging, great if your portable devices are gonna receive heavy use while you’re away. With safety features including fire proof materials, protection against power surges and a safety plug lock to keep the right prongs in position, this is another great all-rounder that should do the job nicely. 

(Image credit: Amazon)

8. SZROBOY Worldwide Travel Adapter

3 USBs and a USB-C port for laptops

Specifications
Best for: Business trips with a laptop
Weight: 181g
Use in: EU/AU/US/UK
USB slot: 4
Reasons to buy
+3 USB ports+USB-C for laptops
Reasons to avoid
-Won’t transform voltage 

There's nothing particularly standout about the SZROBOY, but it's a good value combination of some great features. As well as slide-out adaptors that are good for 200 countries, the SZROBOY has three USB slots, each capable of recharging at the super-fast 2.4-amps rate. There's also a USB-C port for quickly recharging a newer laptop. As a bonus the SZROBOY comes packed in a small black leather bag. 

(Image credit: Amazon)

9. CleverTrips Universal Travel Power Adapter

5 USBs and a clever Apple Lightning/micro USB cable

Specifications
Best for: Dual voltage appliances
Weight: 204g
Use in: EU/AU/US/UK
USB slot: 5
Reasons to buy
+4x USB and a USB-C for laptops+Slimline design
Reasons to avoid
-Large size

There are a couple of reasons why this slimline adaptor from CleverTrips stands out. The first is the provision of a charging cable whose 'hat' can swap between Apple Lightning and micro USB, which will please anyone with an iPhone and a camera/portable battery/older Android tablet. However, it's what's at the core of the CleverTrips that appeals most; four 2.4-amp USB slots, a Type-C slot for rapidly charging-up a newer laptop, a spare fuse, and an ability to adjust the correct current output.