Do I Need a Voltage Converter or Power Adapter for Europe?

If you are traveling to Europe from a country that doesn’t use the same voltage for wall sockets, you’ll need a power adapter to plug in your devices. European sockets use 220 volts, while many other countries, like the US, use 110 volts. 

This post will explore if you need a voltage converter or power adapter for Europe. I’ll tell you what you need to plug in all your commonly used devices while in Europe and provide some other related information. 

Let’s dive in. 

Key Takeaways

  • You will need a power adapter in Europe if you have chargers and devices designed for use in another country with different outlets. 
  • You probably don’t need a voltage converter, which actually changes the voltage coming out of a socket. An adapter will get you charged up. 
  • European outlets are 220 volts, which is different than the 110 volts outlets in the US and some other countries. 
  • Power adapters and voltage converters are easy to find and use, making it simple to get everything you need to travel quickly. 

Do I Need a Voltage Converter or Power Adapter for Europe?

You most likely only need a power adapter, not a voltage converter, if you are traveling in Europe. I’ll break down the difference between these two in the section below, but a power adapter will work for phones, computers, and anything similar. 

If you are visiting from another location that uses a different voltage than what’s used in Europe, you need a power adapter. This is obvious when you try to plug your devices in and realize the wall sockets are not the same. 

Most modern devices we use today are dual-voltage, meaning they are designed to work with multiple voltages. Europe uses 220 volts, and the US and some other countries use 110 volts.

A dual-voltage device will work with either of these as long as you can plug them into the wall. And that’s where a power adapter comes in. These handy little devices will allow your plug to adapt to meet the type that works in Europe. 

A voltage converter actually changes the voltage coming out of the wall. If you are trying to use a blow dryer or something similar, you might need to use one of these rather than just an adapter to avoid blowing a fuse. 

Power adapters are easy to find before or during your travels. These should be on your list of must-have devices because they will keep all your electronics charged up when you are in a location with different sockets than where you live. 

What’s the Difference Between a European Adapter and Converter? 

The simplest way to understand the difference between an adapter and a converter in Europe is that an adapter simply changes the type of plug that fits into a socket, while a converter changes the voltage from that socket. 

An adapter will allow you to plug in your phone or other devices you want to charge if it has a different type of plug. Most people will want to have this with them when traveling in Europe. 

A voltage converter is a more complicated device that you don’t necessarily want to travel with. These are bulkier items, and you don’t need them for charging up a phone, computer, or other commonly used modern electronic device. 

But if you want to use a blow dryer or something else that isn’t a dual-voltage device that can be used with only an adapter, you’ll want to get a converter. These are pretty easy to find, but keep in mind they are bulkier and not as easy to travel with.  


Here are a few quick answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to if you need a voltage converter or power adapter for Europe. 

How to know if I need a converter in Europe? 

You can look at the device or plug you want to charge to help you know if you need a converter in Europe. If the charger or device only says 110v and not 110v-220v, you might need to get a converter for compatibility rather than just an adapter. 

What type of adapter do I need for Europe? 

The type of outlets used in Europe is type-C, which features two round cylindrical pins. You need to get the type of adapter that plugs into a type-C socket and adapts to whatever female end you need for your chargers and devices. 

Can I charge my iPhone in Europe without a converter? 

You can charge your iPhone in Europe without a converter because iPhones are dual-voltage devices. This means they can be charged on different voltages without issues. But you’ll still need an adapter to plug into the walls in Europe. 

What happens if you don’t use a voltage converter? 

If you don’t use a voltage converter and your device isn’t built for dual-voltage, you’ll blow a fuse or breaker. This can shut down the power for the circuit you are plugged into and potentially cause a spark. 

How to Choose a Power Adapter for International Travel

Take the following things and factors into consideration:

Potential Power Output

While they may look similar at times, not all power adapters are created equally. Many offer different levels of power output.

The higher the power output, the quicker they are able to charge up devices. Be sure to check your device as well.

While your adapter might have an incredibly high power output, there are no guarantees that all of your devices will be able to access it.

Where You are Going

Of course, you also need to consider where your travels will take you. Not all power adapters will come with connections for every country.

Some only work in a few areas. Be sure to choose one that works where you’re headed. The last thing you’d want to have happen is show up in the UK with a North American to Japanese power adapter.

USB Ports and Other Features

Some adapters only come with the outlets of various countries, but many others have USB ports. Seeing as many devices can charge by USB, these slots can be incredibly helpful.

Also, look for options that can protect your devices with features like overload protection. If not, you could end up with a fried device if you’re not careful.

Final Thoughts

Most people will only need a power adapter for Europe. These adapters will allow you to plug in all of your standard devices, like phones and computers. You need one if you don’t have the type-C plugs that are used in Europe. 

Voltage converters are larger devices that convert the power from a wall. These are bulkier and less commonly used in most situations. But you still might want one if you travel to Europe often and use non-dual-voltage devices. 

Have you ever used a power adapter in Europe or another country? Let me know in the comments below.

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