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Voltage Converter Buying Guide

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What is a Voltage Converter?

A voltage converter (also known as a power converter or voltage transformer) is an electric power conversion device which is used to change the electrical output of a power source. The most common use for these converters is to change the voltage from 220 volts down to 110 volts, or from 110 volts up to 220 volts. When an electronic device, appliance or power tool was built for a specific voltage which is not available, the only way the device can be used is by converting the power up or down to the correct level. The need for a voltage converter often arises for people who travel abroad or take overseas vacations and bring electronics along with them.

The video above contains helpful, detailed information about international voltage differences as well as the various types of converters. Please watch the video and then read the information below to have a complete understanding of how a voltage converter works, the different types of converters, and how to identify the proper converter for your specific needs.

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Step Down and Step Up Voltage Converters:

step up and step down voltage converters

Step Down voltage converters are used to step down the electricity in the countries that use 220 volts, 230 volts, or 240 volts. These step the electricity down to 110 volts so you can use 110 volt electronics and appliances.

Step up voltage converters allow the user to step-up from 100 to 220 volts. Additionally, all of the step up converters we carry also work for step down, meaning they can be used in both ways - to step up voltage from 110 volts to 220 volts, and also to step down voltage from 220 volts to 110 volts. This style of converter is commonly known as step-up/step-down, or a 2-way converter.

We carry a complete line of step up and step down converters available in sizes up to 25,000 watts.
Click here to see our selection of Voltage Converters.

Which Type and Size of Voltage Converter Do You Need?

what type of converter do you need

If you plan to take electronics or appliances that were purchased in a 110 volt country and use them in a 220 volt country, a “Step-Down” converter is needed. If you plan to take electronics or appliances that were purchased in a 220 volt country and use them in a 110 volt country, a “Step-Up” converter is needed. To determine whether you'll be best suited with a step up or a step down converter, use our global voltage guide map as a reference. This will help you to identify the correct voltage being used in the area(s) you'll be traveling to. Next, see our voltage converter comparison chart for more information on the different types of converters and the features they offer.

The size of a voltage converter is defined by the wattage. Therefore, the size you'll need depends on which devices you'll be powering and the number of watts they use. We would recommend using a voltage converter / transformer which has a Wattage that is 2 to 3 times higher than your appliance. Certain appliances such as power tools, motors, laser printers and TVs require a converter 2-3 times the Watts that the appliance is rated for because they require a surge of power when they are turned on. This extra wattage is a precautionary measure to ensure that your equipment will function properly and that the voltage converter will not be damaged. Keep in mind that a transformer with a higher watt rating will never hurt your appliance, however if you buy one that is not strong enough, it will not work.


How To Find the Watts On Your Appliance and Select the Proper Voltage Converter

appliance wattage info

To determine the correct model of voltage converter or heavy duty transformer you need, you'll first have to identify the wattage of the electronic devices or appliances that you plan to take with you. You can find this information listed on the manufacturer's label which is located on the back or bottom of the device or appliance, or in the specifications section of the appliance owner's manual.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Watts may be abbreviated as W on your appliance. However if you can't find Watts or W on the label of your appliance, then you may be able to find Amps, also known as amperage or A. This can be converted to Watts in order to select the correct converter.


If only the amperage rating is shown, multiply the input voltage by the amperage rating to find the wattage rating.  Use the following example as a guide:  Volts x Amps = Watts  or  110V x 1.5 A = 165W


What is a Voltage Stabilizer and Do I Need One?

what is a voltage stabilizer

In certain countries, the power supply's voltage can fluctuate up and down, much more than just a few volts. These are called “brownouts”, and they are very common in some areas. A brownout occurs when the regular voltage drops far below normal, causing lights to nearly dim out. For electronics and appliances, this is worse than if the voltage went completely out. Many times when a brownout happens, this low voltage condition rises back to normal with a sudden surge of power (watts) so strong that it can damage electronics and appliances.

To help you protect valuable electronics from sudden power surges, we offer high quality converters containing built-in voltage stabilizers. Our Type 4 and Type 5 voltage transformers keep the output voltage at a stable level regardless of how much the input voltage varies. If conditions cause extreme fluctuations in voltage, the converter will simply shut down, preventing any damage to your equipment.


What are Hertz - 50 Hz vs. 60 Hz?

1 hertz cycle

Hz is an abbreviation for Hertz, or cycles. One cycle per second equals one herts, or 1Hz. North American 110-120 volt electricity is generated at 60 Hz (60 cycles per second) alternating current. Most foreign 220-240 volt electricity is generated at 50 Hz (50 cycles per second) alternating current. This cycle difference will cause analog clocks and timing circuits that use alternating current as a timing base to keep incorrect time. However, most modern electronic equipment including cellular phone chargers, computers, printers, stereos, tape and CD players, VCR/DVD players, CRT, Plasma, or LCD TVs and Monitors, etc. will not be affected by the difference in cycles.

110 Volts vs. 120 Volts or 220 Volts vs. 230 Volts vs. 240 Volts?

Voltage converter ratings are generally within a voltage range. Appliances rated for 110 volts or 120 volts can usually operate from anywhere between 100 volts and 127 volts. Likewise, 220 volt or 230 volt appliances can usually operate from anywhere between 220 volts and 240 volts. Therefore, any quality Step-Down voltage converter will allow any 110 volt appliance to operate in 220 volt, 230 volt or even 240 volt countries. This is also true with a quality Step-Up voltage converter, which will allow any 220 volt appliance to be used in any 110 volt or 120 volt countries.


What is a Foreign Plug Adapter?

foreign plug adapter

A plug adapter is not a converter, but a simple adapter that allows the plug on your electronic devices or appliances to connect with the electrical socket/outlet. There are quite a few different outlet and plug styles that often vary from country to country, and they will only accept electronics and appliances with a native plug. Adapter plugs are also sometimes needed for voltage converters depending on the plug type it has, and depending whether or not it came with any adapters.

Products that are dual voltage, or worldwide voltage can operate on either 110-volts or 220 volts. These products do not require a voltage converter but still require a plug adapter to be used overseas. If you travel overseas frequently or travel to various countries, your best bet would be to purchase a foreign plug adapter set, offering various adapters for all outlet types.


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Voltage Converter Comparison Chart • Voltage Transformer Comparison Chart

Converter Features Type 1 Type 2 Type 3
Diamond Series
Type 4 Type 5
Diamond Series
Step Down Converter
Step Up Converter  
On/Off Switch
w/ Indicator Light
Heavy Duty Design
Extra Strong
Lifetime Copper Coil
Recommended for
High Value Items
Extra Durable Lifetime Coil      
Limited Warranty 1 year 1 year 5 YEAR 1 year 5 YEAR
Universal Output Plug      
Starting Price... $7.99 $9.00 $19.80 $30.00 $89.88
Star Rating 4 Stars
4½ Stars
5 Stars
4½ Stars
5 Stars
Shop Now! Type 1 Type 2 Type 3 Type 4 Type 5

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Global Voltage Guide Map

world voltage map

Voltage Details By Country

For a more detailed breakdown of the exact voltage standards by country, use the table below.


Afghanistan 220 V 50 Hz
Albania 230 V 50 Hz
Algeria 230 V 50 Hz
American Samoa 120 V 60 Hz
Andorra 230 V 50 Hz
Angola 220 V 50 Hz
Anguilla 110 V 60Hz
Antigua 230 V 60 Hz
Argentina 220 V 50 Hz
Armenia 230 V 50 Hz
Aruba 127 V 60 Hz
Australia 230 V 50 Hz
Austria 230 V 50 Hz
Azerbaijan 220 V 50 Hz
Azores 230 V 50 Hz
Bahamas 120 V 60 Hz
Bahrain 230 V 50 Hz
Balearic Islands 230 V 50 Hz
Bangladesh 220 V 50 Hz
Barbados 115 V 50 Hz
Belarus 230 V 50 Hz
Belgium 230 V 50 Hz
Belize 110/220 V 60 Hz
Benin 220 V 50 Hz
Bermuda 120 V 60 Hz
Bhutan 230 V 50 Hz
Bolivia 230 V 50 Hz
Bosnia 230 V 50 Hz
Botswana 230 V 50 Hz
Brazil 110/220 V* 60 Hz
Brunei 240 V 50 Hz
Bulgaria 230 V 50 Hz
Burkina Faso 220 V 50 Hz
Burundi 220 V 50 Hz
Cambodia 230 V 50 Hz
Cameroon 220 V 50 Hz
Canada 120 V 60 Hz
Canary Islands 230 V 50 Hz
Cape Verde 230 V 50 Hz
Cayman Islands 120 V 60 Hz
Central African Republic 220 V 50 Hz
Chad 220 V 50Hz
Channel Islands (Guernsey & Jersey) 230 V 50 Hz
Chile 220 V 50 Hz
China, People's Republic of 220 V 50 Hz
Colombia 110 V 60Hz
Comoros 220 V 50 Hz
Congo, People's Rep. of 230 V 50 Hz
Congo, Dem. Rep. of (formerly Zaire) 220 V 50 Hz
Cook Islands 240 V 50 Hz
Costa Rica 120 V 60 Hz
Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) 220 V 50 Hz
Croatia 230 V 50Hz
Cuba 110/220 V 60Hz
Cyprus 230 V 50 Hz
Czech Republic 230 V 50 Hz
Denmark 230 V 50 Hz
Djibouti 220 V 50 Hz
Dominica 230 V 50 Hz
Dominican Republic 110 V 60 Hz
East Timor 220 V 50 Hz
Ecuador 110 V 60 Hz
Egypt 220 V 50 Hz
El Salvador 115 V 60 Hz
Equatorial Guinea 220 V 50 Hz
Eritrea 230 V 50 Hz
Estonia 230 V 50 Hz
Ethiopia 220 V 50 Hz
Faeroe Islands 230 V 50 Hz
Falkland Islands 240 V 50 Hz
Fiji 240 V 50 Hz
Finland 230 V 50 Hz
France 230 V 50 Hz
French Guyana 220 V 50 Hz
Gaza 230 V 50 Hz
Gabon 220 V 50 Hz
Gambia 230 V 50 Hz
Germany 230 V 50 Hz
Ghana 230 V 50 Hz
Gibraltar 230 V 50 Hz
Greece 230 V 50 Hz
Greenland 230 V 50 Hz
Grenada (Windward Islands) 230 V 50 Hz
Guadeloupe 230 V 50 Hz
Guam 110 V 60Hz
Guatemala 120 V 60 Hz
Guinea 220 V 50 Hz
Guinea-Bissau 220 V 50 Hz
Guyana 240 V 60 Hz
Haiti 110 V 60 Hz
Honduras 110 V 60 Hz
Hong Kong 220 V 50 Hz
Hungary 230 V 50 Hz
Iceland 230 V 50 Hz
India 240 V 50 Hz
Indonesia 230 V 50 Hz
Iran 230 V 50 Hz
Iraq 230 V 50 Hz
Ireland (Eire) 230 V 50 Hz
Isle of Man 230 V 50 Hz
Israel 230 V 50 Hz
Italy 230 V 50 Hz
Jamaica 110 V 50 Hz
Japan 100 V 50/60 Hz**
Jordan 230 V 50 Hz
Kenya 240 V 50 Hz
Kazakhstan 220 V 50 Hz
Kiribati 240 V 50 Hz
Korea, South 220 V 60 Hz
Kuwait 240 V 50 Hz
Kyrgyzstan 220 V 50 Hz
Laos 230 V 50 Hz
Latvia 230 V 50 Hz
Lebanon 230 V 50 Hz
Lesotho 220 V 50 Hz
Liberia 120 V 60 Hz
Libya 127/230 V 50 Hz
Lithuania 230 V 50 Hz
Liechtenstein 230 V 50 Hz
Luxembourg 230 V 50 Hz
Macau 220 V 50 Hz
Macedonia 230 V 50 Hz
Madagascar 127/220 V 50 Hz
Madeira 230 V 50 Hz
Malawi 230 V 50 Hz
Malaysia 240 V 50 Hz
Maldives 230 V 50 Hz
Mali 220 V 50 Hz
Malta 230 V 50 Hz
Martinique 220 V 50 Hz
Mauritania 220 V 50 Hz
Mauritius 230 V 50 Hz
Mexico 127 V 60 Hz
Micronesia, Federal States of 120 V 60 Hz
Moldova 230 V 50 Hz
Monaco 230 V 50 Hz
Mongolia 230 V 50 Hz
Montserrat (Leeward Islands) 230 V 60 Hz
Morocco 220 V 50 Hz
Mozambique 220 V 50 Hz
Myanmar (formerly Burma) 230 V 50 Hz
Namibia 220 V 50 Hz
Nauru 240 V 50 Hz
Nepal 230 V 50 Hz
Netherlands 230 V 50 Hz
Netherlands Antilles 127/220 V 50 Hz
New Caledonia 220 V 50 Hz
New Zealand 230 V 50 Hz
Nicaragua 120 V 60 Hz
Niger 220 V 50 Hz
Nigeria 240 V 50 Hz
Norway 230 V 50 Hz
Okinawa 100 V 60 Hz
Oman 240 V 50 Hz
Pakistan 230 V 50 Hz
Palmyra Atoll 120 V 60Hz
Panama 110 V 60 Hz
Papua New Guinea 240 V 50 Hz
Paraguay 220 V 50 Hz
Peru 220 V 60 Hz
Philippines 220 V 60 Hz
Poland 230 V 50 Hz
Portugal 230 V 50 Hz
Puerto Rico 120 V 60 Hz
Qatar 240 V 50 Hz
Réunion Island 230 V 50 Hz
Romania 230 V 50 Hz
Russian Federation 230 V 50 Hz
Rwanda 230 V 50 Hz
St. Kitts and Nevis (Leeward Islands) 230 V 60 Hz
St. Lucia (Windward Islands) 240 V 50 Hz
St. Vincent (Windward Islands) 230 V 50 Hz
Saudi Arabia 127/220 V 60 Hz
Senegal 230 V 50 Hz
Serbia & Montenegro 230 V 50 Hz
Seychelles 240 V 50 Hz
Sierra Leone 230 V 50 Hz
Singapore 230 V 50 Hz
Slovakia 230 V 50 Hz
Slovenia 230 V 50 Hz
Somalia 220 V 50 Hz
South Africa 230 V 50 Hz
Spain 230 V 50 Hz
Sri Lanka 230 V 50 Hz
Sudan 230 V 50 Hz
Suriname 127 V 60 Hz
Swaziland 230 V 50 Hz
Sweden 230 V 50 Hz
Switzerland 230 V 50 Hz
Syria 220 V 50 Hz
Tahiti 110/220 V 60 Hz
Tajikistan 220 V 50 Hz
Taiwan 110 V 60 Hz
Tanzania 230 V 50 Hz
Thailand 220 V 50 Hz
Togo 220 V 50 Hz
Tonga 240 V 50 Hz
Trinidad & Tobago 115 V 60 Hz
Tunisia 230 V 50 Hz
Turkey 230 V 50 Hz
Turkmenistan 220 V 50 Hz
Uganda 240 V 50 Hz
Ukraine 230 V 50 Hz
United Arab Emirates 220 V 50 Hz
United Kingdom 230 V 50 Hz
United States of America 120 V 60 Hz
Uruguay 220 V 50 Hz
Uzbekistan 220 V 50 Hz
Venezuela 120 V 60 Hz
Vietnam 220 V 50 Hz
Virgin Islands 110 V 60 Hz
Western Samoa 230 V 50 Hz
Yemen, Rep. of 230 V 50 Hz
Zambia 230 V 50 Hz
Zimbabwe 220 V 50 Hz


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