America power adapters - what plugs are used in America?

American power outlet

Summary

The type of power adapter, power converter or charger that's needed when visiting America all depends on the voltage and type of device that you're trying to power with an American power outlet. If you do not know what voltage your device can use then please read the section below about how can you tell if you have a single voltage or dual voltage device first.

  • If your device is 120 volts or is dual voltage and the plug will fit in an American power outlet then it can work in America without needing anything else.
  • If your device is 120 volts or is dual voltage but the plug won't fit in an American power outlet then you will need to bring a suitable plug adapter for America such a Type B plug adapter [2]. Please be aware that a plug adapter for America (or power adapter) will only change the actual shape of the plug on your device to fit into a plug outlet found in America, but doesn't convert the voltage from 120 volts to a different voltage.
  • If your device is unable to use 120 volts and isn't dual voltage then you'll also need a power converter for America to convert the voltage from 120 volts to the correct voltage on your device. You will still need to bring along a suitable plug adapter for America if your power converter doesn't have the correct Type B plug adapter.
  • If you only want to power USB devices such as a cell phone or a tablet then a USB travel power adapter is suitable and it should work with any voltage, however ensure that you choose to bring a USB travel adapter which has a Type B plug adapter otherwise you'll still need to pack a suitable plug adapter for America.

Warning: If your device won't handle 120 volts you run the risk of blowing a fuse, damage to your device or even an electrical fire hazard. Prior to using your device in America read the instruction manual to ensure safe operation.

Background

If you are organizing to travel to America it is helpful to know if you'll be able to power your important gadgets when you reach your destination. By not knowing which wall socket to expect you are more likely to bring the wrong power adaptor, therefore having to buy or borrow a suitable charger when you arrive. Varying different combinations of standards and plugs can all cause confusion when planning on staying in another country, especially for the first time traveller. However this isn't as complicated as it first appears, with only a handful of different types of sockets being used throughout the world this article tells you exactly what you'll need in advance to charge your device in America. This page contains links to simple instructions showing you exactly how to charge your devices when you are in America using their Type B or A 120 volt 60Hz plug outlets, Type B power outlets are used by most Americans. Power is different depending on which country you are travelling to therefore we suggest reading the power adapters page for a complete list of countries. We suggest referring to the America Wikipedia page [1] for more indepth details.

America power adapters

What is the best power adapter for America?

The best power adapter for America is a Type B power adapter [2] which is suitable for powering any 120 volt appliance or device.

What is the best power adapter for America?

America power outlets

What plugs do they use in America?

There are two different types of power supply used in America, these are type B and A with the primary power supply being type B:

  • Plug Type A - The power socket, technically known as a type A power outlet, is recognised by the two thin slots adjacent to each other for live and neutral pins.
  • Plug Type B - The plug socket, technically known as a type B power outlet, is recognised by the two thin slots adjacent to each other for live and neutral blades with a single semicircle shaped hole below for the slightly longer earthed pin.
What plugs do they use in America?

What is the voltage in America?

The standard residential voltage used in America is 120 volts.

What electrical frequency is used with an American power outlet?

The frequency of the alternating current found in an American power outlet is 60Hz.

America USB chargers

What is a USB travel power charger?

A USB travel charger is a dual voltage charger with interchangeable plugs and multiple USB ports, suitable for travelling abroad.

What USB charger do I need for America?

If travelling to more than one country the best travel charger for America is a multiple USB charger which includes swappable plugs like a 4 port USB travel charger [5]. Americans use two different types of plug sockets (B and A) and using a travel charger like this ensures that you are covered for type A. Because these chargers are supplied with interchangeable pins and handle 100 - 240 volts it makes them ideal for multiple countries around the world simply by switching the plugs. If your device is compatible with Fast Charge then you will benefit from quicker charging times with one of these power chargers plus support for certain power demanding devices. Having a four port charger will allow you to charge more than one device simultaneously without needing to buy individual travel adapters on your trip to America or occupying additional power outlets. By only needing to pack a single international USB travel charger will also keep the overall size and weight down, making it ideal to fold up in hand luggage whilst travelling and suitable for recharging your devices at the airport or on the plane. Because of their space saving versatility these types of power chargers can be used at home as well as abroad so when you're not travelling they can sit under your bedside table charging multiple smartphones and tablets without using up an additional power outlet.

If you travel frequently we recommend searching for this type of versatile travel adapter online - the multipurpose travel adapter illustrated here is the iKits 4 Port USB Wall Charger [5] which has been tested successfully with multiple USB devices in numerous different countries with perfect reliably.

What USB charger do I need for America?

Why use a travel USB charger for America?

  • Typically travel USB chargers include multiple USB charger ports, meaning you now only need to bring one charger to charge multiple devices. This helps reduce the weightand size of your luggage by only packing a single USB wall charger rather than bringing numerous chargers.
  • Most travel USB chargers include interchangeable plug heads for different power outlet types making them suitable when visiting other countries which will probably use different standards to America.
  • Good chargers are compact, rugged and lightweight - ideal for rigors of travel rather than risking bringing a domestic charger which might be hard to repair in America.
  • USB chargers will accept the 120 volt power outlets in America and different voltage standards across the world.
  • There is a chance that hotel rooms in America only have one power outlet, by using a travel charger with multiple USB ports means you can share out the single power supply with family or other traveler rather than having to wait to recharge each device one by one.
  • Because of their flexible nature they take the worry out of travelling to an unknown destination as they are guaranteed to work practically anywhere in the world.
  • Power outlets found in airports can be sparse and the demand for charging multiple cell phones from other passengers during departure can be high, therefore a USB travel charger with multiple ports and the capability to fast charge is perect.
  • Sometimes the power grid in a country can be unstable, a good quality travel USB charger allows for unexpected surges and will help prevent damage to any devices attached to it. Attempting to repair an overloaded cell phone or tablet in America could prove to be difficult and costly.
  • Premium USB travel chargers will also include a power outlet strip to allow you to plug in multiple low wattage domestic appliances such as laptops, howeverthese will be unsuitable for high powered domestic such as hair dryers or clothes irons. Read the guide on using travel appliances with an American power outlet for helpful guidelines and advice on the most suitable power adapter for an American power outlet for high powered devices.
  • Some cell phones and tablets could require more than the normal 500 milliamps supplied by a normal 5 volt USB adapter to charge or provide fast charge. Higher priced USB chargers will support fast charging incase some of your devices require additional power.
  • On back at home travel USB chargers can also be useful by charging multiple mobile phones every day using one power outlet.

What is the best USB charger for America?

The is the most compact option for travellers from any country who only have USB devices, but for visitors also wanting to use their domestic plugs these power converters provide larger but more versatile solutions. All three power converters offer surge protection which is useful for visitors of regions with unreliable power grids. These travel converters come with interchangeable type C, I and G plugs covering both America and over 150 countries around the world:

  • BESTEK Portable International Travel Voltage Converter - The BESTEK travel adaptor has 4 USB charging ports with 3 AC power outlets and is the best selling portable power converter for travellers originating from America visiting America.
  • ORICO Traveling Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip - Also having 4 USB ports but only 2 AC power outlets the travel adapter from Orico is also aimed at travellers from the US using type B plugs and is a more cost effective alternative to the BESTEK with one less AC outlet for almost half price.
  • BESTEK International USB Travel Power Strip - This power strip has just 2 AC outlets but offers 5 USB charging ports. This versatile power strip is compatible with both American plugs and popular plug types A, D,E/F, G, H, I, L and N making it perfect for most travellers from around the world visiting America.

Power converters for America

What is the difference between a power adapter and a power converter?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a power adapter and a power converter?

A small, cheap and lightweight power adapter [6] (or plug adapter) will change the shape of the plug on your appliance to fit into a power outlet found in America, but a more expensive and heavier power converter [7] will convert the voltage of 120 volts from an American power outlet to work with a non-120 volt appliance.

Do I need a power converter for America?

When you are visiting America from a different country check your device can be used with a 120v supply.

  • If your device slowly recharges or doesn't turn on when you are visiting America from a different country check that it is compatible with a 120 volt power supply. Devices which come from another country which use a higher voltage (for example 240 volts) sometimes take longer to charge or won't turn on, check your device is dual voltage (you'll find these are usually marked with 100-240 volts) else you may need to use an additional International travel voltage converter [9] to ensure safe and proper use when powering devices.
  • For supplying power to larger appliances if you are traveling to America from a higher 230 volt location you will need to use a bulkier Step Up Voltage Converter [8] to convert the voltage from 230 volts to 120 volts.

See the world power outlets page to find out which voltage your country uses.

What voltage is my appliance?

Single voltage hair dryer

What voltage is my appliance?

The easiest method to see if a appliance is dual voltage is to look for numbers printed on the power plug or on the unit itself, typically near to where the power cord plugs into. The location will vary depending on the make or model of your unit but could also state in the instruction manual.

  • Single voltage devices could have a specific number - such as 220V.
  • Single voltage devices could also have a small voltage range (20 volts diffence) with a dash to accomodate small voltage fluctuations - such as 220-240V.
  • Dual voltage devices will typically say a larger range separated with a slash - such as 100/240V.

Travel appliances that can connect to an American power outlet

Clothes iron
clothes iron

Curling iron
curling iron

Hair dryer
hair dryer

Hair straighteners
hair straighteners

Beats Pill speakers which can connect to an American power outlet

Beats Pill
Beats Pill

Beats Pill 2
Beats Pill 2

Jabra Bluetooth speakers which are compatible with an American power outlet

Jabra Solemate
Jabra Solemate

Jabra Solemate Mini
Jabra Solemate Mini

Mobile phones that can connect to an American power outlet

A mobile phone
mobile phone

Apple iPhones that can connect to an American power outlet

iPhone
iPhone

iPhone 3G
iPhone 3G

iPhone 3GS
iPhone 3GS

iPhone 4
iPhone 4

iPhone 4S
iPhone 4S

iPhone 5
iPhone 5

iPhone 5C
iPhone 5C

iPhone 5S
iPhone 5S

iPhone 6
iPhone 6

iPhone 6 Plus
iPhone 6 Plus

Samsung Galaxy phones that work with an American power outlet

Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy S4

A list of Amazon Kindle tablets which work with an American power outlet

Kindle Fire 1st generation
Kindle Fire 1st generation

Kindle Fire 2nd generation
Kindle Fire 2nd generation

Kindle Fire HD 3rd generation
Kindle Fire HD 3rd generation

Kindle Fire HD 6 4th generation
Kindle Fire HD 6 4th generation

Kindle Fire HD 7 2nd generation
Kindle Fire HD 7 2nd generation

Kindle Fire HD 7 4th generation
Kindle Fire HD 7 4th generation

Kindle Fire HD 8.9 2nd generation
Kindle Fire HD 8.9 2nd generation

Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition tablet 4th generation
Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition tablet 4th generation

Kindle Fire HDX 3rd generation
Kindle Fire HDX 3rd generation

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 3rd generation
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 3rd generation

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 4th generation
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 4th generation

A list of Apple iPads which are compatible with an American power outlet

iPad
iPad

iPad 2
iPad 2

iPad 3
iPad 3

iPad 4
iPad 4

iPad Air
iPad Air

iPad Air 2
iPad Air 2

iPad Mini
iPad Mini

iPad Mini 2
iPad Mini 2

iPad Mini 4
iPad Mini 4

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States - Wikipedia entry about America.
  2. Type B plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type B power outlets without converting voltage.
  3. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/ - International Electrotechnical Commission World Plugs
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country
  5. IKits 4 Port USB Wall Charger - A universal USB charger capable of charging up to 4 USB devices with swappable international adapters.
  6. https://www.amazon.com/Ceptics-GP-12PK-International-Worldwide-Universal/dp/B01DJEBLQU/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=CFDDSXZJ59CH648AVQ0H&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnections-20&linkId=b865b6ca5e535d710bf1e1b3a790f622 - power adapter
  7. Power converter - A step up step down power converter transformer converts 110-120 volts up to 220-240 volts and 220-240 volts down to 110-120 Volts.
  8. https://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&bbn=10967761&camp=1789&creative=390957&fst=as%3Aoff&linkCode=ur2&qid=1451325551&rh=n%3A172282%2Cn%3A!493964%2Cn%3A281407%2Cn%3A173541%2Cn%3A10967761%2Cp_n_feature_keywords_browse-bin%3A2888021011&tag=wikiconnections-20&linkId=HWUDRS5BKFQ75ACA - Step Up Voltage Converter
  9. International travel voltage converter - Travel voltage converters change the voltage of an electrical power supply by stepping up or stepping down the voltage and are often compact units which support both plug sockets and USB charging.