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Recommendation for a Switzerland adapter/converter with USB ports

Hi. I am Looking for a recommendation for a Switzerland adapter/converter with at least 3 USB ports to plug in iPhone, iPad, & iPhone battery case. I also have an Anker portable charger that I would need to power up overnight for heavy usage days.

With Black Friday deals coming up, I'm interested in buying soon.

Thanks so much.

Posted by
9389 posts

We have never needed the three-prong plug. The two-prong European plug fit into the outlets in out Swiss digs (four different places over two trips) just fine.

Posted by
203 posts

We have never needed the three-prong plug. The two-prong European plug fit into the outlets in out Swiss digs (four different places over two trips) just fine.

In my experience, this is not completely accurate. We have hit Switzerland 4 times in the last 6 years and we were able to use the standard euro plug in most AirBNB’s or hotels, however, there were two occasions where the standard did not fit. I got a Ceptics brand plug with one USB PORT on Amazon and it worked fine. That is not a recommendation on Ceptics, simply that it did its job and didn’t burn the outlet I plugged it into. I bring that with me along with a handful of regular euro plugs and that does the trick.

Posted by
17618 posts

I used this all over Switzerland without a problem:

You might have been fortunate. Your plug is obviously a cheap Chinese copy. Looking closely at the Swiss end of your plug, I can see that the lower pins are labeled "LINE" (left) and "N" (neutral). However, they have the pins reversed. Swiss power is polarized, and, with the grounding pin of the receptacle on the top, the lower right pin socket is the one that is at neutral. It looks like the receptacle you used "without a problem" actually has the polarity reversed, which could be a safety hazard.

(Actually, the letters on the plastic don't matter, as long as when you look in at the US end, with the ground pin hole on the top, the longer blade socket, the neutral, is on the right.)

Posted by
17618 posts

It looks great but I don't see the 3 prong Swiss plug.

The Zoppen Adapter doesn't have a three prong (grounding) plug for any application (EU, UK, US, or AUS/NZ), but the "EU" plug should work in Switzerland (it's funny, actually, 'cause Switzerland isn't in the EU, but the UK still is, and the EU plug will not work in the UK).

But Continental is correct in pointing out that that adapter does not have three prong plugs (even the UK one is not really grounding, in that the ground pin isn't metal and doesn't ground. It's just a plastic pin to open the shutters to the UK receptacle contacts.

But the receptacle has a non-connected "ground" pin socket, which could lead to people dangerously plugging in devices that require a ground. Also, the page shows the can be used for hair dryers, but hair dryers draw more than 2½ amps, which is the max allowed for a type C (Europlug). Since it is illegal by all European codes, by the Community Guidelines of this forum (#8, "Do not help people break laws"), it probably should not be recommended.

Posted by
30893 posts

Continental,

Perhaps one of these products will work for you - https://www.imore.com/best-multiport-usb-wall-charger . All of them are probably available on Amazon, Best Buy or other sites.

Whether it has built-in Euro Plug Adapters or not wouldn't be a concern for me, as Plug Adapters are cheap so it's not a big deal to use a separate adapter. I didn't check all models shown to ensure that they're designed for use from 100-240 VAC, but I assume they all are.

Posted by
3121 posts

Thanks everybody for chiming in.

I would really prefer just a Swiss adapter with at least 3 USB ports. I do have an EU adapter but I am not sure if the Swiss trains or my hotel room will have EU and Swiss outlets for example. This is why I want the Swiss three prong adapter.

Posted by
30893 posts

Continental,

One point to keep in mind is that the smaller all-in-one Adapter / Chargers may not have the higher current capability needed to charge an iPad. I'd have to do some further research but don't have the time to do that this afternoon. Just a thought.....

Posted by
17618 posts

This is why I want the Swiss three prong adapter.

A three prong adapter (with a USB converter), or a USB converter with its own European plug, is not required for any device that is double insulated. Double insulated devices are identified by a square-in-a-square symbol on the "name plate" (the place where the acceptable input voltages are shown).

Here is an example of a double insulated USB converter (with a continental plug that will fit into Swiss receptacles). (Look at an expanded view of the top picture to see the double insulated symbol.)

Posted by
3121 posts

Lee, I have that adapter. How can that work with a 3-pronged Swiss outlet?

Ken I assumed it may take longer to charge the iPad which is why I would charge it overnight. Wouldn’t that be sufficient?

Posted by
848 posts

Don't you quite regularly plug 2 prong US plugs into US outlets with 3 holes?
It's the same thing for european outlets, just all 3 holes/prongs are the same round shape.

Posted by
17618 posts

LIz, it is NOT the same thing. Look at your 2 prong US receptacle¹. For almost every appliance² approved by UL, you will find that one blade of the plug is wider than the other. That is called polarization, and if the appliance has a single pole switch just on the hot line, it must have a polarized plug. That keeps it from coming on in case of an internal short to ground, and polarization assures that the switch will be on the hot side. Except for Switzerland, European power is not polarized, so a device with CE certification must have other means for this protection. Plugging a polarized US appliance into a non-polarized European receptacle is a safety hazard and would not be approved by UL.

BTW, That adapter bears the CE mark, but I seriously doubt that the manufacturer could have done the detailed safety analysis required for CE self-certification.

Lamps today are sold with polarized plugs. The wider, neutral blade is supposed to be attached to the threaded can of the light socket so that you will not get a shock if you touch the light bulb threads.

You will notice that 2 wire extension cords with polarized plugs (which are adapters, of sort) have a protrusion on the female end to prevent a grounding, three prong plug from being inserted. Three prong (female) to two blade (male) adapters have a metal islet which is supposed to be attached to the grounded metal screw on the receptacle plate to ground the grounding pin hole.

1 According to the National Electrical Code, any place where wires come to the surface is an outlet. Outlets include switches, light fixtures, and "receptacles". Receptacles are the outlets where you put plugs. Yes, all receptacles are outlets; all outlets are not receptacles. Please use the correct term.

2 UL can determine that some devices (USB "chargers", for instance) do not need to be grounded or polarized, and these devices can have a US plug with two identical width blades, which can be inserted either of two ways.

Posted by
17618 posts

Lee, I have that adapter. How can that work with a 3-pronged Swiss outlet?

Continental, to what adapter ("that" adapter) are you referring? That Zollen adapter that I have already identified as being illegal/unsafe in so many ways? The plug shown as "EU" is actually the two pin "Europlug" that will work in a Swiss receptacle. It just wont be grounded, but the USB chip does not require a ground (or polarization). As a USB converter, its configuration is actually identical to the one piece European USB converter I referenced earlier.

BTW, on the Amazon page for the Zoppen adapter, look at the receptacle shown on the fifth image down, expanded. For a US grounding plug, the ground pin goes in the elongated middle slot, which is below the blade slots. The longer blade slot of the Zoppen adapter is on the RH side. Now look at a US grounded receptacle (with the grounded hole below the blades slots. The longer slot is on the LH side. The Zollen adapter is wrong in so many ways.

Posted by
3121 posts

I have the USB adapter whose link on Amazon you showed on the post dated 11/08/19 at 11:38 PM. Amazon actually confirmed that I bought that specific adapter last year. Definitely not the one upthread that you said was unsafe; the word “Zoppen” is not used.

Are you saying that this 2 prong adapter will work in a Swiss 3 pronged outlet whether in a hotel or on a train and that grounding of a third prong is not necessary?

I don’t understand much of what you wrote above. I’m sorry.

Posted by
17618 posts

Perhaps this article will help you understand.

On the western continent, countries use E, F, J, or L grounding plugs and receptacles. Despite differences in the recess geometry and the grounding means, all are similar with respect to the conducting pin geometries.

Type E, used in France, Belgium, Poland, and Czechia, and Type F, used in the rest of western continental Europe except Switzerland and Italy, have two 4.8 mm (~3/16 in.) diameter pins 19 mm (~¾ in.) apart, center-to-center.

The Types E & F plugs are variations of a style call "Schuko". In practice today, most Schuko plugs incorporate the grounding means for both the E and F types and are used interchangeably in most countries.

Type J, used in Switzerland, and Type L, used in Italy, have 4.0 mm (~5/32 in.) pins on the same centers. Except for the recess and grounding means, the only difference between all of these plugs is the diameter of the pins. 4.8 mm pins will not fit in the pin holes in Swiss and Italian receptacles; 4.0 mm pins will still fit in Schuko receptacles. These receptacles hold the smaller pins quite tightly.

The type C, "Europlug", is ungrounded, has 4.0 mm pins, and fits in the receptacles of every country in western continental Europe. The adapters linked upthread (I like that term) are supposed to be Type C (smaller pins), so they should "fit" all over western continental Europe, but fitting does not mean that they are necessarily safe for all applications.

US appliances with three prong, grounding plugs have the ground pin for a safety reason, and should not be used with ungrounded 2 pin adapters, even in the case of the Zoppen adapter where it accepts a three prong plug. That is equivalent to cutting off the grounding pin on a US appliance in order to use it with a two blade, non-grounding extension cord.

Also, the Type C plug is rated by European codes for a maximum of 2½ amps (575 Watts) and should not be used with hair dryers, which draw a lot more amps.

Posted by
4669 posts

At the very least, we can say that a small USB power supply (like the one that comes with small Apple devices ... ) that has only two male prongs on it does not have gain benefit from a three-pronged wall adapter. You could argue that if your adapter has a three-pronged SOCKET, it might mislead you, in a careless moment using something other than the phone, into thinking that there is an adequate ground present there. But with the possible exceptions of laptops and hair dryers, most tourists don't carry devices that need or can benefit from grounding.

Actually,. the more likely danger is that you will forget that the American receptacle you are "looking at" in Europe actually has 240 volts on it, and could be hazardous to devices not able to use it. (For example, I have a Phillips toothbrush charger that can only handle 120V AC, with an American parallel blade plug.)

It's very nice that we have such knowledgeable posters, but drowning non-technical people (who haven't even read the engraved or molded "Nameplate" for their devices) in information does not really help.

In that sense, I think the "best" adapter for Switzerland, or anywhere else, is a general plug adapter for the local country-to-American-parallel-blade, with the factory USB power supply plugged into it.

Posted by
17618 posts

The obvious answer is for Amazon to stop selling this third world manufactured, unsafe crap.

Amazon does sell a couple of USB converters (converts 230VAC to 5VDC). Here is one with three ports, but I think all of the port are limited to 1.0 amp, which is insufficient to charge an iPad. Here is one with a 2.1 amp port for an iPad, but it only has 2 ports, and I'm not sure the one port puts out 2.1 amps if both ports are being used. Finally, here is a more expensive, 4 port converter with a higher port output. None of these devices has a grounding plug, but the low voltage output (5 VDC) does not require one. Also, the converters are "double insulated", as shown by the square-in-a-square symbol. Double insulated devices do not need a ground.

It really bugs me when I see the statement (on an Amazon listing) that says, "CE certified". This tells me they don't know what they are talking about and that the product probably does not meet the requirements for the CE mark. They are making it up. Unlike UL in this country, CE does not test and certify anything. CE is a self-certification process. You do a safety analysis yourself according to a provided protocol and certify that you have done so and that your product meets the specified safety requirements. You are required to have your analysis available for inspection, but in reality, unless there is a problem, they will probably never look at it. If there is a problem, and they come and check, and they find that you did not do the analysis, or that it was faulty, then there will be legal repercussions.

Posted by
8889 posts

They are available in Switzerland, in "all good electronics shops".
Here are two from a Swiss electronics chain:
4 port: https://www.pearl.ch/ch-a-PX8472-1421.shtml?vid=917&wa_id=27&wa_num=115&gclid=EAIaIQobChMImL-C89zv5QIViYSyCh3wRg59EAQYASABEgI4v_D_BwE
5 port: https://www.pearl.ch/ch-a-PX4970-1421.shtml?vid=917&wa_id=27&wa_num=115&gclid=EAIaIQobChMImL-C89zv5QIViYSyCh3wRg59EAQYAyABEgIlhfD_BwE

Note, the socket shown in the photo for the 5-port one (click here for photo) is a German Schuko outlet. As the others pointed out, USB charges are two pin and compatible with Swiss, German and Italian outlets. This is probably just a stock photo.

Posted by
23259 posts

Chris F, to take the topic a touch off course for a short moment - can you tell me a bit more about Pearl? It looks like all their outlet stores are near Basel. Are they actually a walk-in, touch, and look around store, or is it a catalog only and the storefronts are just collection areas?

I love Media Markt and this looks right up my street. I think, like a kid in a candy store, I could spend hours there? Is the head office in Pratteln the best one, or is the Basel Marktgasse a good one?

Last question - is it membership only or can anybody wander in?

Thanks.

Sorry, Continental

Posted by
8889 posts

@Nigel, I am not sure in they are local or Swiss-wide. They are a subsidiary of a German company: https://www.pearl.de/
Their website has Swiss, German, Austrian and French versions.
They do mail order. The branch in Basel is a real shop. It is very small, does not have the full range, but a real Aladdin's cave of obscure things. It has some bargains. More "techy" than MediaMarkt or Interdiscount which are more consumer electronics. Definitely kid-in-candy-store.
Do you remember Maplin in the UK? That is the nearest comparison.
Google streetview of shop: https://goo.gl/maps/1yHHQtdRTjWsbGMFA

Posted by
17618 posts

Is "definate" the British spelling of definite?

Posted by
3121 posts

I certainly don’t want to l buy anything unsafe so I always appreciate the warning.

Chris F, I just sent you a PM.