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What Are Adapter Plugs?

110 volt grounded American plug.
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  • Written By: S. Gonzales
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 25 March 2014
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Adapter plugs are devices that allow a user to make a foreign electrical outlet compatible with a device. They're very popular among those who travel frequently or who plan to move to a different country. The plugs usually are small and highly portable, making them a must-have travel accessory for many people.

The devices that can be used in conjunction with an adaptable plug are numerous. Typically, electronic equipment such as cell phones and smart phones, laptop computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), alarm clocks, battery chargers and similar electronic equipment can be used with the plugs. However, consumers are advised to refrain from using the plugs with devices that require high voltage, such as irons, curlers and blow dryers. Using the plugs with high-voltage devices might result in a fire hazard.

Great adapter plugs will come equipped to work in several different countries. It's not uncommon to come across plugs that can work in European, North American and Australian wall sockets. Some can work in more than 100 countries. Plug adaptability correlates with the number of countries in which the plug can function.

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Some adapter plugs can come with surge protection. This can ease their users' minds, because the adapter plugs protect devices from power surges and equipment failure. Consumers might have to look specifically for products with this feature if it is one that is attractive to them. A plug with surge protection might cost a little more money than a standard plug, but the investment can save a consumer the hassle of having to repair or replace devices that have been damaged by power surges.

Many adapter plugs do not change electrical voltage, which is important for their users to know. Consumers will have to look into a currency converter if they want to change the electrical voltage of the power available to them. Some currency converters can come bundled with the an adapter plug, so consumers would do well to look for a bundle if they want to save money. Alternatively, currency converters can be purchased separately and at a higher price.

Adapter plugs are commonly sold in kits that contain several of the most common adapter plug configurations. Users can simply select the appropriate adapter plug wherever they might find themselves. Adapter plugs can have safety release buttons and fuses to ensure that their usage is not dangerous. They also can be marketed as travel necessities. Indeed, many travelers find adapter plugs to be an indispensable part of their traveling gear.

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