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I have seen several mentions of taking adaptors including those that have USB ports but have not seen anyone mention taking a charger, those bulky/heavy items that an adaptor plugs into. Are those still needed in the UK and Europe? I know Rick's web site says they do not sell them.

Posted by
21 posts

OK, got it. Converters/Chargers are heavy and not necessary unless you want to use a hair dryer, flat iron, etc. I will look for a dual setting appliance.

Posted by
8569 posts

To charge electronics, you need a CHARGER. One probably came with your electronics. You plug that into the wall and attach your device to it via a cable. Since the plugs are different in the UK and Europe, you need a ADAPTOR that will allow your charger to plug into the wall there. The UK and Europe use 220 volts. The U.S uses 110. Most electronics today automatically convert the current from 220 to 110. (You can look at your charger and see if it says something like 110-240v.)

Some of us use multi-usb port chargers rather than taking one charger for each device. These as well can handle the conversion of electricity.

The old style brick CONVERTER is rarely needed today for electronics. As I stated earlier it is done automatically. Some appliances are still single voltage so a converter would be necessary.

I wrote this so you get the correct terminology. A charger is always needed but I think you meant a converter and not a charger.

Posted by
116 posts

I've never needed a CONVERTER anywhere in Western Europe, but I've not been to the UK yet. I've only needed a PLUG ADAPTER, which has always worked fine for all my CHARGERS for my cameras, phones, and rechargeable batteries (used for certain cameras). It even worked for my hair dryer, which I usually don't need since almost all the hotels (2-3 star hotels, not top of the line) I've stayed in have had hand-held hair dryers in the bathrooms.

Posted by
30932 posts

A few thoughts to clarify the terminology.....

  • If you're travelling with 115 VAC appliances, you would need to use a Voltage Converter with sufficient capacity to power whatever appliances you're using them with. There are two main types of Voltage Converters and some can cause problems with certain types of devices. It's better to leave Converters at home.
  • You will most certainly need Plug Adaptors specific to the countries you'll be travelling to. The UK style is different to that used on the continent. You may need to use Plug Adaptors to connect your Voltage Converter (a rather cumbersome arrangement). It's a good idea to pack more than one of each type of Adaptor, as they're small and easily misplaced.
  • Whatever battery powered devices you're travelling with will have been supplied with a Charger and in many cases these will work just fine on the 220 VAC supplied by European electrical systems. However it's important to verify that by looking at the "nameplate" on each Charger that you plan to travel with. If it says Input 100-240 VAC they will work in Europe with only a Plug Adaptor.

If you could indicate what devices or appliances you plan to travel with, it would be easier to offer more detailed suggestions.

Posted by
17642 posts

What some of you are referring to as a charger is in reality a voltage converter that converts a wide range of AC voltages (100V to 240V and probably wider) and frequencies to 5VDC for phones, computers, etc.

Here is a listing of voltages by country. It says the standard voltage in the US is 120VAC. Other sources say it is 110VAC. The power at my house is almost 125VAC. The voltage in the US (anywhere) varies with the distance from the power plant. In the US, 110 volts might be the lowest voltage, in remote locations. I'm sure the European voltages vary similarly, but probably not as much as in this country. Europe used to be 220V on the continent and 240V in the UK. The EU is trying to standardize it to 230V. Not sure how Brexit, if they actually go through with it, will affect that standardization.

They now make smaller, lighter ~230V to 115V converters that are electronic, not transformers, but the output waveform is not suitable for electronic devices (nor would a converter usually be needed). For low wattage, 115V electronic devices, you should use a small transformer converter.

Posted by
30932 posts


"What some of you are referring to as a charger is in reality a voltage converter that converts a wide range of AC voltages (100V to 240V and probably wider) and frequencies to 5VDC for phones, computers, etc."

Yes, that's true. I referred to the device as a charger as that's the primary function of devices that are supplied with various electronic products to charge them. I felt that my reply would be more easily understood if I used the term "charger" rather than "voltage converter", as I didn't want to confuse that with travel voltage converters which had been discussed earlier.