Step 5: How Do I Choose a Voltage Converter?

So you have determined that your device is single voltage, right? Now you need a voltage converter or transformer to power you up overseas, because dual voltage devices only require a plug adapter. So in order to power up your single voltage device, there are a few things to consider. These devices are typically more powerful than your average dual voltage travel gadget so they’ll require a powerful converter.

Caution: Be aware that many converters are bulky and heavy in comparison to plug adapters. They're usually purchased by people who are going for more than a week or two-long vacation, or relocating to another country, taking with them their most valued, reliable appliances that they simply cannot live without.

Tip 1: Before you can choose, you need to know watt's watt

You need to know the wattage of your device in order to determine the appropriate voltage 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 converter with a wattage rating that is two to three times higher than the device you plan to operate in order to safely convert.  

For example, if your device or appliance is 600W, get a converter or transformer that is 1200W.

When in doubt, buy a converter with a much higher wattage. No harm is done with too many watts, but your device will not work if there’s not enough.

For items that need a big surge of power when it’s initially switched on (TVs, power tools, laser printers), get a converter with a wattage rate that is THREE times greater than that of your device. So, a 500W tool requires a 1500W converter in order to safely and successfully convert.

Different devices have different needs. For example: A small, non-heating electric shaver should be fine with a 100W voltage converter. However, for bigger items requiring heat, like an iron, curling iron, or hair dryer, you will need a more powerful converter.

Can’t find find the wattage on your device? Don’t worry; it isn’t always listed. Instead, some power labels provide amps, which can be used to find out your wattage using simple multiplication. So first, find the voltage (V). Then, find the amps (A). Now, multiply those to get the watts. V x A = W. Example 110V x 5A =550W

Tip 2: To step up or step down?

Next, you need to find out if you need a step up or a step down converter.

Step Up Step Down: So, when you travel from a 110V region with your 110V devices to a 220V region, you’ll need a Step Up Converter. And likewise, if you travel from a 220V country to say, America, a 110V country, you will need to convert down using, you guessed it, a Step Down Converter. Easy. And even better, there are many converters that act as a Step Up Step Down Converter, so you can go anywhere and use your favorite device with this universal travel converter. See also Step 6, which explains Step Up and Step Down Voltage Converters. All of our PowerSpark converters are Step Up Step Down

Note: Many US clothing driers and ACs use 220 V. Our voltage converters are designed to convert for  non-U.S. 220V devices. Do not purchase a PowerSpark converter if you need to convert an American 220V drier. 

Tip 3: Some appliances need more than a voltage converter

Voltage Transformer or Converter? See Step 7 to find out which one you’ll need, or if you should get both. A

Another note on converting:

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 voltage regulator (also called a voltage stabilizer or surge protector) that will safely stabilize the voltage during conversion. These PowerSpark DSR converters are all designed with a built-in voltage regulator so make sure you check your watts and peruse these safe bets before your next adventure should it require some extra stabilization.


Next Step: Step 6: Do I need a Step Up or Step Down Converter? How to get from 110 to 220 and from 220 to 110.


10 Step Guide to Buying a Voltage Converter

Voltage Converter Knowledge Base FAQs