Our top picks for this review are the Powercube Rewireable and the Bestek Universal Travel adapter. Both have interchangeable plugs for US, UK, EU, Australia, and Asia. They have 120V AC outlets and USB charging ports so you don’t have to carry additional USB adapters. Either one of these is a must-have when traveling, and each has some unique features to get them on our best-of international travel converters list.
Related – If you want a portable power strip just for USA, the APC “SurgeArrest Essentials” P3U3 (under $20) is a top pick. It has 3 AC outlets, 3 USB and a built-in holder for iPads, Tablets or phones.
Let’s start with the innovative “PowerCube” – PowerCube Rewireable Electric Outlet Wall Adapter Power Strip- 4 Outlets, 2 USB Ports, 4 Adapter Plugs
It’s a light-weight, small-dimension cube that travels internationally to provide 4 AC power outlets and 2 USB outlets. Rated to 240V input, it will deliver 10A to the 4 US standard plugs, and 2.1A (10W @ 5V) to each of the dual USB ports so you can quickly charge your phones, tablets, headphones and other devices.
With a maximum output of about 2500W, this is really a power-strip that’s been folded up into a cube. So you can use this for just about all of your devices and even small appliances. Just be sure to check if the international outlet you are plugged into can supply enough juice so you don’t blow out the hotel or cruise ship breakers!
We like that cube design is the most compact we have found to deliver this many options. With one of it’s interchangeable adapter plugs, it plugs directly into the wall. You can also use any cable which has a standard male IEC plug which will connect to the built-in port .
This is a nice feature so you can conveniently use Powercube Rewireable with any existing IEC computer cable you happen to have laying around or purchase separately. I like this option when using the cube for US travel, since it can give me some more length in hotel rooms. The IEC extensions cables are inexpensive, this 4-foot Tripp Lite cord is about $4, and 8-feet is about $8.
The cube comes with 4 travel adapter plugs (Types B, E/F, G, and I) that work with US, UK, EU, AU, etc. standard sockets. We do like that that this means there is a “ground” for the PowerCube in countries which have a three-prong connection.
A quick digression: All US buildings built after 1960’s have three-prong outlets. The two vertical slots on the outlet are for the “hot” and the “neutral”. The third, round plug, is for the “ground”. Many appliances have a power-supply / power-converter inside which is in a metal case; And many appliances are themselves made of electrically conducting metals. These metal cases are connected to the round-ground-prong to help protect people from getting a shock in case something inside shorts out or becomes defective.
Note that for many EU countries, the outlets are 2-prong, which means that your 3-prong US electronics have lost that extra safety feature. But it shouldn’t be a concern since these travel plugs are not intended for appliances which typically support a third prong.
It handles input voltages of 100V to 240V, and up to 10A, so it should work just about any place you find yourself. The cube has built-in short-circuit, over temperature, and overload protection. However it doesn’t have true surge protection for the AC. While we haven’t seen this to be an issue, it’s worth noting.
The front face of the cube has two conveniently placed USB ports. These support 2.1A at 5V, so you can quickly power and charge your phones, tablets, cameras, wireless headphones and all the usual electronics we carry with us.
On the remaining 4 sides of the cube, you’ll find standard 3-prong AC outlets.
What we like best is that the cube is a compact 2.5 x 2.5 x 3 inches and only 7 ounces.
You can get more information, or order with our Amazon link: PowerCube Travel Adapter
Our other favorite is the BESTEK Universal Travel Adapter – about $35
If you want a more traditional power-strip type converter, the BESTEK may be best for you.
You get three standard 3-prong AC outlets on the top, and 4 USB ports on the front side. The USB support a total of 6A combined, with a maximum 2 A per port. When using all 4 USB simultaneously, you’ll get 2 @ 2 A and 2 @ 1A. The ports are labeled so you know which are the 2A and which are the 1A.
Unlike the PowerCube, this travel adapter / converter is rated for a maximum of 250W. Be sure to check what Watts your device / appliance uses before plugging in. For example, hair dryers can be 500W to 1500W, which greatly exceeds the max 250W. The converter isn’t designed to handle that much continuous power and will most likely go into a shut-down mode or simply burn-out.
One thing we like is that the USB outputs are fully isolated from the AC power. So if there is any power surge or supply issue, this will prevent all your devices from being damaged.
Additionally, it’s designed with over-current, over-load, over-heat and short-circuit protections.
We also like that there is a dedicate on-off switch.
One item that comes up in reviews is that the internal fan is always on. Some people are very sensitive to any hum or noise, especially at night. While we didn’t find it loud, we do want to mention it.
On the input side, you can connect to the majority of international voltages including Europe, Australia (100-240V, 50/60Hz) and Japan (110V, 60Hz).
The detachable cord (nice for easier packing) is 5-feet long. This is more than enough for hotels, cruise ships and cafes where you’ll want to power up. Note that the cord is a two-prong common in many European countries, since the manufacturer figures that’s where most travelers will be using it. For other countries (including the US), simply attach the appropriate adapter plug to the cord.
We like the small form factor of the power strip with the cable and adapter plugs – 6 x 3 x 1.57 inches. It’s also relatively lightweight at just over a pound (1.2 lb to be precise). It comes with a simple cloth carry bag, but you may want to purchase a hard carry / storage case (about $12).
It comes with a 2 year warranty, and the manufacturer says it’s “Safety Guaranteed” through testing at OSHA / NRTL facilities.