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How many electricity converters do i need??

How many electricity converters do i need??

Old Jul 20th, 2011, 09:14 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 43
How many electricity converters do i need??

I just spent an hour between a local Best Buy and Radio Shack trying to figure out which electric converter/adaptor I should purchase to take with me to my upcoming Paris and London trip. They had a whole wall devoted to electricity converters. Even the salespeople were confused by my questions

1. Will the same voltage converter work both in Paris and London?

2. Do I need different converters for different devices? (Laptop, blow dryer, camera charger, game charger, phone charger, etc.)

Does anyone here have the specifics of a converter that will work for all of the above? Primarily in Paris. thank you J.
Be_Cre8ive is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2011, 10:26 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,838
You probably do not need any electrical converters. Almost all electronic devices now days are dual voltage. Look at the label of your charger, and it will probably say something like "Input 110/240 volts". If it does all you will probably need is a plug adapter, to allow your two or three prong U.S. plug to plug into a U.K. or an European outlet.
nukesafe is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2011, 10:41 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
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As Nukesafe mentioned, the first step is to see if you need a converter at all by checking the AC/DC adapter for your device. I am guessing that the laptop, camera, and phone are good. Game charger maybe/maybe not (our DS is only 110).

A low wattage device like a DS charger can plug into the shaver charger in many hotel bathrooms.

Same voltage for UK and Europe but different plugs. Those adapters are cheap to come by.

Hairdryers are another story. If you brought a US one, then you will need a high-wattage convertor. You might be better off buying a cheap hair dryer once you are over here (assuming the hotel doesn't have one).
indy_dad is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2011, 05:59 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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I'd generally agree above. From what your describing, you'd likely only need a converter for the hair dryer. I'd likely be cheaper to just by a basic model over there on the hair dryer. The plug adapters are cheap, so buy a couple - one for computer and another for chargers.

DW ended up buying a flat iron in Paris in March, as our old converter finally shot craps and her hair iron was the only 110 only device she had. Now she wants to go back so she can use her iron again.
apersuader65 is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2011, 03:13 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
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apersuader65...I did the same and now my French flat iron is making its 3rd trip to Paris this fall... dryers, flat irons from the us even with converters don't work well

don't get those crazy adapters/converters from radio shack, they don't work!! agree you probably only need an adapter, sometimes two are needed if the plus is deeply recessed

you should be able to get an adapter for only a few dollars
denisea is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2011, 03:24 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Remember the difference between an adapter and a converter. Different countries have different types of plugs. Sometimes the same country will use several different designs. An adapter just a thing that allows one country's style plug to work in another country's socket. It does NOT change the voltage.

A converter is nothing more than a transformer that will convert the 220 volt used in Europe to 120 volts used in North America. What you have to be careful of is how many watts the converter can handle. Most electric items will list their needed wattage. Things like curling irons or electric kettles require high wattage on a continuous basis, so only an expensive converter will work with these. It is best just to buy one in Europe, as it'll be cheaper than the converter.

Most electronics are called "dual voltage" meaning that they will work with both 120 and 220 volt, needing only the adapter. But always check, as it is no fun to plug in a 120v only item into a 220v socket-instant fireworks.

daveesl is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2011, 04:32 PM
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I had a real nice converter and I lost it on my last trip. Yes, there are adapters and converters and I have an expensive salon-caliber blow dryer that I love dearly and wanted to take with me. But the converter that can handle low to high wattage costs about 50 bucks and weighs a ton! So I have decided to go with couple of adapters for comp/chargers and purchase a blow dryer there. thanks everyone.
Be_Cre8ive is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2011, 04:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 252
I bought a converter with different plug pull outs years ago and it worked fine, however I now only take adapters and they have worked on France for my MacBook, phone charger, camera charger, and even my curling iron (CVS Brand). Don't bother with a converter (I think mine cost $29.95 which was a lot of money at the time but I did need it at the time. Not now.
ediemay is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2011, 05:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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A year or so ago I purchased at Target a travel gadget that lets you plug in three devices on a single outlet. It has the flat blade US plug on a short cord (wraps neatly around the flat oval shaped device for packing) so need a plug adapter for the country you will visit, but it is great to be able to plug in multiple things (camera, phone, laptop) using a single outlet and adapter.
Seamus is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2011, 06:48 PM
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The terminology on this thread is sloppy.

A *converter* is a small lightweight item that is only good (sometimes) for high wattage heating devices. It is dangerous to use it for anything else.

A 220-120 volt step down *transformer* should be used in Europe for any appliance which is marked 120 v 60 Hz. Transformers are heavy because they consist of two coils of copper wire around a steel core. Transformers can get hot and hum. Get one that is rated for twice the wattage of whatever you are plugging into it. If it gets too hot to hold your hand on it it is getting overloaded and may burn out. A dual voltage appliance is usually cheaper and is much lighter than a transformer plus your American appliance.

If your device is marked 120-240 v 50/60 Hz then all you need is a plug *adapter* for the countries you are visiting. All European countries have 220 volts and 50 Hz but there are at least four types of plugs being used over there. Some dual voltage appliances require you to flip a switch to use them on 220 volts. Read the instruction manual.

A power surge strip with universal outlets is very handy if you are bringing multiple devices. Make sure it is rated for 240 volts. Do not plug your hair blower into the power surge strip. It may pop the circuit breaker.

Every B&B, hotel, hostel, and dormitory that I have stayed in over the past ten years has had a 220 volt hair blower in the room or bathroom. I suspect that the reason for this is self defense. Too many American tourists brought their over-powered 120 volt hair blowers with them, and promptly blew the fuses or burned down the hotel when they tried to dry their hair.
spaarne is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2011, 06:53 PM
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BTW Be_Cre8ive, how many times do you need to post the same question? Answer, ONCE!
spaarne is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2011, 01:01 PM
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ty all for your replies.

Hahaha Spaarne.... I know I only need to post it once, I just could not figure out how to tag multiple countries on my mobile device... so it ended up being duplicate... SORRY!
Be_Cre8ive is offline  
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