Step 9: Glossary of Helpful Voltage Terms


Hertz: Hertz is the measurement for frequency (cycles per second), and America uses 110V 60Hz AC electricity. Most other countries typically use 50Hz AC electricity. If a device is made to use different frequencies, it will say something like 50/60Hz on the power supply label.

Watts: Watts (W) measure how much power a device uses. A low-watt range is typically 23W to 50W, which is usually the wattage range of the most common travel electronics. But many heating devices needing a higher setting can consume between 1000W and 2000W. You need to know the wattage of your device in order to determine the appropriate converter to purchase so look on the indications label of your device for the W to get this information. Then, be sure to buy a voltage converter with a wattage rating that is two to three times higher than the device you plan to operate in order to safely convert.

Grounded and ungroundvoed: Two pronged, or two-pinned, devices are ungrounded, or “unearthed.” But because a three-pronged plug includes what is referred to as an “earth pin,” these plugs are grounded, or “earthed” - depending on what country you’re in.

Voltage regulator: Some countries have unstable voltage. If you’re skeptical about the quality of the power supply of your destination, you’ll need a regulator (also called a voltage stabilizer or surge protector) that will safely stabilize the voltage during conversion.

Electric devices: These use a high-power heating element or mechanical motor (think hair dryers and irons), and require a converter.

Electronic devices: These use electronic chips / circuits (think printers, VCRs, and computers), and require a transformer.

Step up converter 110 to 220: When you travel from a 110V region with your 110V devices to a 220V region, you’ll need a Step Up Converter to convert.

Step down converter 220 to 110:  If you travel from a 220V country to say, America, a 110V country, you will need to convert down.

Next Step: Step 10: Voltage by region


10 Step Guide to Buying a Voltage Converter

Voltage Converter Knowledge Base FAQs