The Best Universal Power Plug Adapter for Travel with Fast-Charging USB-C

by  Mose Hayward
LAST UPDATED ON  2023-11-28
PUBLISHED ON  2019-04-17

Your Guide

Mose Hayward

Travel Nerd

In our years of travel we’ve tried out loads of too-flimsy or too-bulky power adapters, and have always been hungry to find the one plug that could do it all without weighing us down. It’s the key travel gadget that makes all other travel gadgets possible.

Sure, you can stop at any electronics store or airport shop before an international flight, and grab a set of plug adapters that will be just fine. But they’ll also just cost you a lot more than you need to spend and often they’re sold as a set, one for each region, that takes up unnecessary space in your bag. If you order the right one online before you go, you’ll travel just a bit lighter and better.

The Best Universal Power Plug Adapter for Travel

The Epicka Travel Adapter pictured at right is my current favorite because it is a small, universal solution that works in pretty much anywhere — basically it takes any plug you might have (electronics from home or bought abroad) and converts it to work with any outlet you might find in your travels. Other features of note:

  • Three USB-C ports and two USB-A ports with fast-charging (works great)
  • Overload protection from the 8A fuse (with a spare fuse included)
  • Takes 100-240V 50/60 Hz (basically the full range of what you might encounter)

The Epicka narrowly beats out other such adapters because of its safety fuse, snug fit for all kinds of wall outlets, and the many ports. If it’s not available, check out our previous recommendations: this simpler Epicka adapter, the JMFONE Travel Adapter and the Ougrand Travel Adapter Plug.

All of these recommendations are compact, well-made, and basically accept any plug; they’re even useful for me for handling conversions in the United States, UK, Ireland, mainland Europe, Asia, and Africa, including some of the funkier outlets and plugs I’ve come across in Brazil, Russia, and Italy. The main advantage of the Epicka is more ports and USB-C fast charging.

The Advantages of our Top Choice Universal Power Adapter

With the Epicka plug adapter we can go anywhere with a single adapter — and change our minds on the fly about which countries to visit without having to pick up new adapters for our electronics. Here’s why this is currently our top choice over the other plug adapters and adapter sets we’ve tried (there have been quite a few).

  • Small and compact: We travel very light (with only a wheeled carry-on backpack) so a whole set of adapters would mean lots of unwanted bulk when compared to a simple, universal solution. A lot of (otherwise good) tech recommendation sites fall down on this issue by recommending expensive and unnecessarily bulky adapter sets like this one. This is the smallest way to get a handful of USB-C and -A charging ports from one outlet, though we recommend an even smaller universal adapter without USB below, if you just need one plug.
  • Ready for anywhere: Plans change; the best trips send you on unexpected, corkscrew paths. With an all-in-one adapter you’re ready to meet any outlet in any country. And, if you should happen to purchase devices with strange plugs in these foreign lands, this power adapter allows you to still use them when you get back home, as it accepts all foreign plugs and can convert them to your home power outlets.
  • Charge multiple devices at one outlet: As much as I endeavor for minimalism, there are still multiple USB devices in my long-term travel bag (headphones, a Kindle for language learning, a travel speaker, a travel hair trimmer, etc.). This charger outputs to six devices at once (two standard USB-A, three USB-C, and one wall plug). It’s a lifesaver to be able to plug in a single regular wall plug while simultaneously charging all my stuff, and perhaps even a neighbor’s stuff. I’ve had those nearby in trains or coffee shops be quite grateful that this adapter allowed us to share an outlet and charge several phones.
  • Relatively inexpensive: Universal adapters are generally less expensive than the options at electronics stores like Best Buy. (If you’re sure you’ll only ever need a single type of adapter, however, you can find even cheaper simple adapters for specific countries.)
  • Has fast-charging USB-C: You can leave your USB-C power plug at home, since that’s included here. In my tests the USB-C port fast-charges phones as quickly as the phones’ original chargers, and it provides a good amount of power overall to the USB and wall plug too. The total output max is 880W at 110Vac or 1920W at 240V; the total DC output is 30W.
  • There is a safety fuse, and unlike similar competitors, there’s a spare fuse inside the casing, so if this blows out on your journey you’re ready to go again.

The Downsides to This (or Any Similar) Universal Travel Adapter

  • The Epicka travel adapter is fine for computers (laptops, tablets) and electronics (Android phones, Apple phones, etc.) and basically works with devices and countries that have 100-240V 50/60 Hz. But note that it does not convert voltage. In the (rare) case you are travelling with a device that requires conversion (e.g., a high-power motorized device or older device), see below for voltage conversion.
  • While the Epicka travel adapter can simultaneously power six devices, it only has one standard wall plug. If you’re travelling with more than one device that doesn’t use USB and need to charge or use them simultaneously, you’ll have to step up to something bulkier.
  • While the Epicka is the smallest full-featured universal plug adapter that we’ve found, you can go even smaller and more minimalist in travel adapters with the choice below (but there are no USB ports).

Countries Where You Can Use the Epicka Travel Adapter (or Any Similar All-In-One Converter)

Australia, China (mainland), etc.

The Epicka, like most such adapters, allows you to turn the prongs of the USA/Canada adapter slightly inwards to become this slanted adapter type popular in Australia.

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • China
  • Fiji
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Tokelau
  • Uruguay

US Type – USA, Japan

These are two flat vertical plugs found in much of the Americas.

  • American Samoa
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bermuda
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Guam
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Liberia
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Montserrat
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Venezuela

Here are a couple of outlets I ran across in a single AirBnB I stayed at in Brazil. As you can see it is nice to have a universal adapter to be prepared for everything there.

Three-prong outlet in Brazil
Brazilian power strip with highly raised edges around each outlet
Vertical two-prong outlet in Brazil
Brazilian three-prong wall outlet

Europe

These are two round plugs. There are slight variations of these in many countries but generally the two round plugs of the Epicka will fit regardless.

Italy is not on the official list but often the Epicka will work even without the third middle grounding plug that one often sees in Italy. I’ve found on occasion however that the other smaller, more-adjustable plug adapter (below) that I also carry can be useful in Europe as I can slide its two prongs closer and further apart.

  • Albania
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Cambodia
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Egypt
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Indonesia
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macedonia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Myanmar
  • Norway
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Spain
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Sweden
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Vietnam

Here’s an example of an outlet I encountered on a train in France. It’s nice to be able to share with neighbors by having multiple outlets in your travel adapter.

An under-table outlet on a four-seat cluster on a fast train in France

UK, Ireland, Hong Kong

These annoying, large outlets and prongs MUST have the third grounding plug in order to work. I’ve frequently seen Europeans stick a pen cap in UK outlets’ grounding hole and then force their two round-pronged devices in. But with the Epicka (or any UK-compatible travel adapter) there’s of course no need for that. These are the countries concerned.

  • Bhutan
  • Botswana
  • Brunei
  • Cyprus
  • Dominica
  • England
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Hong Kong
  • Iraq
  • Ireland
  • Kenya
  • Macau
  • Malta
  • Malaysia
  • Nigeria
  • Northern Ireland
  • Pakistan
  • Qatar
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Scotland
  • Singapore
  • Sri Lanka
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Wales
  • Yemen
  • Zimbabwe

It’s true that you could just buy a specific adapter for the country you’re going to, but in some places you really can’t know what to expect and it’s easier to just have a universal travel adapter.

You can check the full range of possible world outlets and plugs on Wikipedia, and there are some obscure configurations that you’ll still find in use in places that aren’t covered by any universal adapter or typical travel adapter set. But in those rare cases, your hotel or host is very likely to also have plug adapters or a power strip for your use, and so that they can plug in world electrical appliances themselves.

Do You Need to Convert Voltage? — For most travellers, probably not!

Note that plug adapters do not convert voltage; in the unlikely event that you need to step up or step down for a specific piece of electronics (for example, from a 110 volt device to a country that is on 220 volts), you instead need to look for a (heavier, bulkier) voltage converter.

But first take a good look at the fine print on your electronics’ plugs before buying a voltage converter to see what voltages it actually accepts (and you can compare that with the specific voltage and frequencies for the country you’re travelling to).

You’ll find that most smaller consumer electronics items like laptops, mobile phones, and even hair dryers sold today say something like “100-240V ~ 50-60Hz”; this means that they accept anything from 100 to 240 volts and from 50 to 60 Hz — to put it simply, they work in Europe, America, Asia, anywhere. If, as is most likely, your devices accept a range of voltages that include the voltage of the place you are travelling to, you don’t need a voltage converter, just a plug adapter like the ones we’re recommending in this article.

If you do in fact need a voltage converter for something like a trimmer, shaver, or hair straightener, be sure to get one that can handle the high wattage of the specific device. It may be easier and cheaper to buy a specific device for travel, like this travel hair trimmer that charges anywhere—or to buy or borrow such a device at your destination.

The Smallest Universal Plug Adapter that’s Worthwhile—But No USB Ports

The Kikkerland arranged for a UK socket

If you just need a plug adapter without USB, or you’d like an extra plug adapter for your pack, the best option is the Kikkerland Universal Travel Adapter, which is small, light, and incredibly flexible. For example, the Euro prongs can be moved in and out a bit to fine-tune for the width of some truly weird sockets. I found this flexibility to be useful on occasion in parts of India and Brazil. This can also help to keep the plug from falling out of a socket.

The only downside is that it can be a bit complicated to configure. Don’t just throw the two pieces in your bag and then try to figure out how to put them together once you’ve reached your destination. Take the card as well with the illustrations showing the configurations. This will save you a lot of hassle.

I kept the instructions myself and took them with me, but was overconfident and wasted about five minutes trying to put the pieces together for a UK outlet. Once I actually looked at the instructions, however, I was able to set it up in a few seconds and get to charging.

The Kikkerland adapter set for the USA, Canada, and Latin America (turn the prongs inward slightly for Australia and New Zealand)
The Kikkerland adjusted for mainland Europe

Wrap-Up: The Travel Power Adapters We Recommend

Here is the most convenient solution that we’ve found for converting pretty much any plug for any outlet, anywhere.

Epicka Universal Adapter with USB-A and USB-C
Has three USB-C and two USB A ports and accepts a standard wall plug; works anywhere in the world; has safety fuse and spare fuse
Kikkerland Universal Adapter
I also always carry this adapter, it’s a little bit more adjustable for the most fiddly screwball electrical sockets of the world, like when you need to move European prongs in and out; there is no USB or USB-C.
Europe to USA Plug Adapters
If you just need a couple of adapters for American devices when on a trip to Europe, these are very cheap.

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6 thoughts on “The Best Universal Power Plug Adapter for Travel with Fast-Charging USB-C”

  1. John Galbraith

    I can’t tell which size round poles/prongs this has? Either way, it’s missing one IMPORTANT type for Europe. Different countries in Europe need either the 4mm poles, or 4.8mm. You can shove a 4.8 into some older/worn 4mm outlets… but not exactly safe, and will NOT fit in all.

  2. Can I find a list of countries where the Nierbo adapter works? I may need D, G & M plug styles for Botswana.

    1. Mose Hayward

      Yes you should be fine; see the full list at the Amazon link above. Generally it works anywhere, but if you do come across super-irregular local plugs you’ll generally find adapters easily available to the more common plug types.

  3. i need a univeral adaptor that works in egypt.
    please let me know your recommendation. None of the ones you sight mention egypt.
    thanks

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