Is this right? converter vs. adapter

look at other post on this site. so is this right? im using a battery charger and phone charger. they both say input: 100-240v 50/60hz so for these. i will purchase an adapter? right? i want to bring my flat iron for my hair (take care of emergency frizz) it says 120v~, 60hz, 35w adapter? or converter?
thanks :)

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21731 posts

mel, Yes, the Battery Chargers will work fine with just a Plug Adapter. I'd suggest taking at least two Plug Adapters, as they're easy to misplace or forget. Which countries are you visiting? Regarding the Flat Iron, you will need a Voltage Converter, and possibly a Plug Adapter for that also. Some Voltage Converters are supplied with a Euro two-pin Plug, so if you were using it in the U.K., you'd need an appropriate Plug Adapter as well. In addition, some outlets are recessed, so that's another reason you might have to use an additional Plug Adapter. If the outlet isn't recessed and you have to use a Plug Adapter in addition to the Voltage Converter, it's going to be an "awkward" arrangement as the whole kit will have a tendency to "fall out" of the outlet. I'd suggest checking the Owner's Manual for you Flat Iron, as some manufacturers specifically prohibit using their products with Voltage Converters. Rather than using a Voltage Converter for the Flat Iron, another option would be to simply buy a dual-voltage Flat Iron. Check the Magellans website for details.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21731 posts

mel, As you'll be in England and France, you'll need two different styles of Plug Adapters. The UK version has three large rectangular pins, while the "continental" model has two round pins. I'd suggest taking two of each type. Cheers!

Posted by Denise
Lake Forest, CA, USA
1489 posts

You can buy the adapters for $1 each on this website in the Travel Store. Check out "handy extras" under the "accessories" category. Because the electrical sockets in Continental Europe are deep, you will probably need two adapters for each item you need to charge. Have a great trip!

Posted by Darren
Galt, Calif., UK
178 posts

We have learned to take a small power strip with us so that we can plug in and charge multiple things or use hair dryer/ flat iron combo etc. Target sells the adapters in their luggage section also.

Posted by Linda
Bromley, Kent,, UK
1759 posts

Mel - living over here not had the problem but I have read lots of reports of US flat irons going into meltdown/blowing circuits when used this side of the Pond, even with a converter. Maybe buy one when you arrive? Here is a link to a store to show you some brands and prices of flat irons available in the UK. ttp://

Posted by Edgar
Medford, OR, USA
1413 posts

As other respondents noted, you will only need a plug adapter for your DUAL-VOLTAGE chargers, those rated for the US 110-120 volts AND 240 volts. These dual voltage chargers need to step the line voltage down to what your electronic device is designed for and should do the conversion automatically. Power devices such as irons that are single US 120 volts) need voltage converter to to step the 240 volts from the line to the 120 volts that the device is designed for. Your iron at 35 watts does not seem very demanding so a relatively low amperage converter should work. During the March World Masters cross country ski event (Oberwiesenthal, Germany), one of our US contingent used a voltage converter work his waxing iron. To iron is rated at 800 watts and the converter was supposedly rated to handle the iron. For whatever reason, the converter did not do its job and the iron was destroyed. If you really like your iron, be conservative on the voltage converters power (amperage/wattage) capacity. PS. A number of European hotels/B&Bs have loaner hair dryers. The hair dryers a also great for warming in klister wax for cross country skis.

Posted by mel
86 posts

i cant use a hotel drying. they are not that strong to blow out my hair. i have really thick hair. anywhoo, im not bringing the flat iron bcuz i dont want it to melt so i just got the adapter to charge up my rechargable batteries for my camera. i got the pack from target for 9.99. it comes with a pouch and i think 6 adapter for each country. i thought that was a good deal. but its conair brand and i dont like conair but i hope it works :)

Posted by Dan
Richmond, VA, United States
14 posts

The idea of taking a power strip is fine as long as it doesn't have overload protection. I took a US strip with me when I lived in the UK. It not only melted down but took down the power in all the units in my flat when it blew. It didn't like the 240 volt source.

Posted by Jonelle
Columbia, SC, USA
23 posts

I've read the posts, but I'm still not clear on the answer for my related question: I have an adapter/converter (from Target).. and there is a small switch on it that allows me to choose "adapter" or "converter." I will be in the UK, and If I am charging my iphone, flat iron, etc... which one do I need to choose? It is set on adapter right now. I used it in Italy last year and I think I left it on adapter, but now I'm second-guessing myself....

Posted by Larry
Elkins Park, PA
899 posts

If the actual device you want to get power to requires standard 120 volt current (thus, it does not run off its own adapter)then you need to convert the 240 volt current. Not to be snippy, but read the instructions that came with your adapter/converter. If you don't have the instructions, you should be able to get them online. Adapters are plugs that simply change the prongs of the plus from what we use here to what is used there. They do nothing to the electricity (and remember that the UK uses a different outlet than the rest of Europe, requiring a different adapter plug). They are the equivalent of an extension cord. Your power converter for your phone or laptop converts the incoming 120 volt electricity to the required DC current for the device. Most of these are rated to handle from 110 volts to 240 volts, so they can be used universally, the voltage is always marked. Devices that you plug straight into the wall - toasters, hair driers - require specific AC voltage. Sold in the US, that's 110-120 volts. And these require a converter that turns European 240 into 110-120 volts. Think in terms of a clothes drier, which requires a 240 volt line. It can't run on regular 120 volt wiring.
It's the power requirement of the device and the electricity supply. Your laptop requires DC, which is not supplied. Luckily, almost all devices requiring DC come with converters that handle the fullrange of current.

Posted by Jonelle
Columbia, SC, USA
23 posts

Thanks. I checked the main device, and it says "120," so I've moved the adapter/converter to the "convert" side. Sorry for seeming so obtuse about this...I've not had problems in the past, but then I've not traveled with so many gadgets seems as we get more "convenient," we require more plugs!

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21731 posts

@Jonelle, My suggestion would be to "bin" the Adaptor/Converter that you're using, and replace it with simple Plug Adaptors such as THESE models. With combination devices such as the one you're using, it's too easy to forget to check the switch when charging devices, which could result in damage to expensive electronic items. Regarding your Target Adaptor/Converter, based on the description you've provided it sounds like the Adaptor position provides a straight connection to line voltage, whether 220 or 115 VAC. In the Convertor position, voltage is stepped-down. One VERY important point to note is that the Convertor most likely uses a solid-state conversion principle, which should NOT be used with electronic products such as phones, camera chargers, etc. (damage can occur). It should work with high wattage devices such as hair dryers but that's difficult to say without knowing the specifications of the Convertor. One other point to note is that some Flat Iron manufacturers specifically prohibit use of their products with Voltage Convertors. I'd suggest: > Check EACH device you'll be taking to determine the Input Voltage specifications. If these state "Input 100-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz" then you'll only need inexpensive Plug Adaptors. > If you decide to buy a few Plug Adaptors, is a good idea to pack at least two of each type, as they're easy to misplace. As you're travelling with an iPhone, I assume you're aware of the high costs of data roaming? That's most definitely something you'll need to consider. Cheers!