Bolivia power adapters - what plugs are used in Bolivia?

Bolivian power outlet

What adapter do I need for Bolivia?

You need to pack a Type C plug adapter [3] for Bolivia if the plug you intend on using won't fit in a Bolivian power outlet.

The type of plug adapter, converter or charger that's needed when visiting Bolivia all depend on the voltage and type of device that you're attempting to charge with a Bolivian power outlet. If you're unclear about which voltage your device uses then please read the section below about how can you tell if you have a dual voltage device first.

  • Certain areas in Bolivia do not have access to electricity and suffer from power blackouts, it is advised to pack a portable charger [4] if you want to recharge your mobile phone whilst staying in a region without electricity or during a blackout.
  • If you are visiting Bolivia from the US we recommend bringing a plug adapter for Bolivia as US Type A or B outlets might not typically be found. Because the voltage is different in Bolivia you need to bring a power converter for Bolivia if your device isn't dual voltage.
  • If your device is 115 volts or is dual voltage and the plug fits in a Bolivian power outlet then you can use it in Bolivia without needing anything else.
  • If your device is 115 volts or is dual voltage but your plug doesn't fit in a Bolivian power outlet you will need to bring a suitable plug adapter for Bolivia such a Type C plug adapter [3]. Please be aware that a plug adapter for Bolivia (or power adapter) will change the actual shape of the plug on your device to fit into a plug outlet found in Bolivia, but won't change the voltage from 115 volts to another voltage.
  • If your device is unable to use 115 volts and isn't dual voltage then you will also need a power converter for Bolivia to convert the voltage from 115 volts to the correct voltage for your device. You'll still need to bring along a suitable plug adapter for Bolivia if your power converter doesn't include the correct Type C plug adapter.
  • If you need to power USB devices such as a mobile phone or a tablet then a USB travel power adapter will be more suited and it should be dual voltage, but make sure that you choose to bring one which has a Type C plug adapter otherwise you'll still need to bring along a suitable plug adapter for Bolivia.

Warning: If your device won't handle 115 volts you run a risk of a blown fuse, damage to your device or even an electrical fire hazard. Prior to using your device in Bolivia check the instruction manual first to ensure safe operation.

Bolivia power adapters

Power adapters for Bolivia

Varying different combinations of standards and plug types can all be daunting when planning to travel to another country, especially if you've never been there before. This isn't as complex as it first appears, with only a handful of different types of plug sockets used in the world this guide tells you exactly what you'll need in advance to charge your device in Bolivia. This page has links to instructions which shows exactly how to power your devices when you are visiting Bolivia using their standard types C or A Bolivian 115 volt 50Hz plug outlets. You'll discover that most power adapters will change depending on which area you travelling to therefore please read our Wikiconnections travel power adapters guide for a full list showing powering devices in different destinations.

What is the best power adapter for Bolivia?

The best power adapter for Bolivia will be a Type C plug adapter [3] which allows you to use any 115 volt appliance or device.

What is the best power adapter for Bolivia?

What is a power adapter?

Power adapters are compact, cheap and lightweight plastic adapters that allow an electic socket in Bolivia to accept a different shaped power plug from an appliance from a different region.

Also known as: an electrical adapter, plug adapter, travel adapter, electrical adaptor, mains travel adapter or power adaptor [5].

Can a power adapter change the voltage in Bolivia?

A power adapter only adapts the shape of a plug to fit into a 115 volt Bolivian power outlet and can't convert the power to a different voltage. If you wish to safely use any 220-240 volt device you also need to bring a more expensive step up power converter.

What does a power adapter do?

A power adapter enables a visitor travelling from another country to use electrical appliances in Bolivia simply by changing the shape of the plug from one type to another.

Do I need a plug adapter in Bolivia?

If the power plug you are using is different to the shape of the Bolivian power outlet then you will need a power adapter.

Will I need a plug adapter if I'm visiting Bolivia from America?

A US Type A or Type B outlet might not readily be found in Bolivia so it is advisable to use a suitable power adapter for Bolivia.

Electrical adapters for Bolivia

Power Plug Adapters

A cheap and simple type C plug adapter

Power Plug Adapters

Benefits of a power plug adapter

  • Straightforward design makes it simple to use.
  • Light and small.
  • Cheapest option, with prices under $10 USD (under £15 GBP / under C$45).
  • Using a Type C plug adapter [3] will work in Bolivia.

Disadvantages of a power plug adapter

  • Accomodation may only have a single power outlet available, so you'll only be capable of powering a single device at a time.
  • If you intend on travelling to more than just one country you may need to pack multiple power adapter types.
  • Adapter only changes the actual shape of the plug to fit in a Type C Bolivian power outlet but not the voltage used in Bolivia, so if your appliance doesn't support a 115 volt outlet and isn't dual voltage then you will also need to pack a voltage converter.
  • If you need to charge any USB device then you also still need to pack your USB charger.
  • Only one adapter per plug - for every separate device you'll also need to bring a separate power plug adapter.
Universal Travel Power Adapters

A universal travel power adapter

Universal Travel Power Adapters

Benefits of a universal travel power adapter

  • Fairly easy to use.
  • All-in-one design which is both lightweight and small, between $15 to $20 USD (£15-£20 GBP / C$25-C$30).
  • There are some models which have a built in surge protector which will prevent your electronics from being overloaded by an unstable power grid.
  • Retractable pins won't catch against other items when packed in luggage.
  • When you return home the power strip could still work as a USB charger.
  • There are some universal travel power adapters which include multiple USB charging ports.

Disadvantages of a universal travel power adapter

  • Because universal travel adapters only work with fit A/B, E/F, G and I power outlets the pins don't change shape to fit in a Bolivian power outlet. So you will still need to plug a universal travel adapter into a separate power adapter for a Bolivian power outlet if you want to use universal travel adapter to benefit from surge protection and powering multiple devices from one power outlet.
  • Must not be used with a high powered appliance such as hair straighteners, kettles, vacuum cleaners, curling irons or hair dryers.
  • Lacking a built in voltage converter will mean it isn't suitable for non-115 volt devices.
  • Might not be totally universal; models might not cover certain countries with less popular power outlets.
  • Pins and internal moving parts might be fragile on some models which could make them likely to possibily fail.
  • Only charges one appliance.
Travel USB Wall Chargers

A compact travel USB wall charger

Travel USB Wall Chargers

Benefits of a travel USB wall charger

  • Ideal in situations when you only want to power devices which are USB powered, for example mobile phones, iPads and MP3 players.
  • Rather than bring multiple domestic power chargers you will only have to bring one unit which costs roughly under $15 USD (around £10 GBP / under C$20).
  • Supplied with interchangeable adapter heads which means they can be used in a large number of countries. The interchangeable adapter heads are typically small and lightweight which makes them easy to pack.
  • Travel USB wall chargers will include a surge protector built in to protect any device from being overpowered by an unstable power grid in some countries.
  • When you return home the charger could still be of use.

Disadvantages of a travel USB wall charger

  • The interchangeable heads don't include one which is compatible with a Bolivian power outlet - therefore you'll still need to bring a separate power adapter for a Bolivian power outlet.
  • They only have USB ports so you will be unable to power any electrical appliances, only USB ones.
Travel Power Strips

A travel power strip with included adapters

Travel Power Strips

Benefits of a travel power strip

  • Certain models are able to convert voltage for low wattage electronics (for example laptops). So therefore if the electronic device isn't dual voltage it should still be used in Bolivia by using just a travel power strip. This will make a travel power strip a cheaper and lightweight substitute for a power converter.
  • Able to charge many electical appliances and devices concurrently using only a single Bolivian power outlet, costs under $40 USD (under £40 GBP / under C$45).
  • Most models will also feature a number of USB charge ports.
  • The voltage from power outlets in certain areas could fluctuate, a surge in power might damage your delicate electrical items. There are some travel power strips that include a surge protector to protect any device from being overloaded by an unstable power grid.
  • It will still be of use back at home.

Disadvantages of a travel power strip

  • Not supplied with the correct plug adapter for Bolivia therefore you should pack an additional power plug adapter for a Bolivian power outlet as well .
  • Unlike a dedicated voltage converter, the voltage converter on a travel power strip won't work with high wattage appliances such as hair straighteners or clothes irons.
  • Due to their size power strips might be unsuitable for packing in hand luggage.
  • Travel power strips might be excessive if you only bring a small number of items to power.
Plug Adapter Sets

Plug adapter sets

Plug Adapter Sets

Benefits of a plug adapter set

  • With prices roughly between $15 to $20 USD (£15-£20 GBP / C$20-C$25) an adapter set will typically work out more reasonable than buying multiple individual power plug adapter types costing over $15 USD (over £5 GBP / almost C$10) each.
  • By bringing every type of plug adapter ensures that you are covered for every country and not just a Bolivian power outlet.
  • The most flexible option for anyone travelling to multiple locations.
  • Set includes Type A, B, C, D, E/F, G, H, I, J, L, M and N adapters so should be suitable with a Bolivian power outlet.

Disadvantages of a plug adapter set

  • Not flexible - before any trip you will need to decide which adapters to bring in advance, or alternatively bring every adapter type with you.
  • Lots individual items to pack.
  • With just a single working plug adapter the remaining power adapters will be redundant.
  • Not every power adapter types are typically included (especially rarer ones), so ensure that your set has an adapter which works in Bolivia.
  • Each plug adapter only modifies the shape of the plug but doesn't change the voltage.
Voltage Converters

Voltage converters offer surge protection

Voltage Converters

Benefits of a voltage converter

Disadvantages of a voltage converter

  • A voltage converter will only change the 115 volts in Bolivia and not the actual shape of the plug to slot into a Bolivian power outlet, you'll still need to bring the correct type of power adapter.
  • Costly - almost $120 USD (almost £90 GBP / over C$120).
  • The typical size of most models of voltage converters makes them unsuitable for carrying in carry-on luggage.
  • Redundant after your visit to Bolivia.
  • Often much cheaper and more practical to purchase a dual voltage travel appliance than to purchase an expensive power converter simply in order to bring your existing appliance in Bolivia.

Comparison of electrical adapters for Bolivia

Type C Power Plug Adapter
Power Plug Adapter
Universal Travel Power Adapter
Universal Travel Power Adapter
Travel USB Wall Charger
Travel USB Wall Charger
Travel Power Strip
Travel Power Strip
Plug Adapter Set
Plug Adapter Set
Voltage Converter
Voltage Converter
Can be used in Bolivia Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Types of plug included C A/B, E/F, G and I A/B, E/F, G and I A, B, D, E/F, G, H, I, L and N A, B, C, D, E/F, G, H, I, J, L, M and N B
Compatible number of countries (A) 135+ 150+ 150+ 200+ 230+ 230+
Fits in a Type C Bolivian power outlet Yes Yes
Additional Type C plug adapter required to fit in a Bolivian power outlet Yes Yes Yes Yes
Compatible number of countries (A) 2 150+ 150+ 200+ 230+ 230+
Fits in a Type N Bolivian power outlet Yes Yes Yes
Additional Type N plug adapter required to fit in a Bolivian power outlet Yes Yes Yes
Useful when you return home Yes Yes Yes
Typical combined number of USB ports and AC outlets 1 3 4 7 1 2
Powers USB devices Yes Yes Yes
Typical number of USB ports 0 2 4 4 0 0
Powers a 115 volt AC appliance in Bolivia Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Typical number of AC outlets 1 1 0 3 (B) 2
Converts voltage (?) Yes (C) Yes
Surge protection Yes Yes Yes Yes
Typical dimensions 2.6 x 1.9 x 1.4 inches 3 x 2.1 x 2.1 inches 4.3 x 3.4 x 1.3 inches 6.6 x 3.6 x 1.5 inches 7.1 x 3.9 x 2.8 inches 11.7 x 8.1 x 6.7 inches
Typical weight 4.5 ounces 4 ounces 4.5 ounces 1.6 pounds 13 ounces 20 pounds
Typical number of items to carry (D) 1 1 5 8 12 2
Suitable for hand luggage Yes Yes Yes • (E) • (F)
Estimated price under $10 USD (under £15 GBP / under C$45) between $15 to $20 USD (£15-£20 GBP / C$25-C$30) between $10 to $15 USD (£10-£15 GBP / C$15-C$20) between $35 to $40 USD (£35-£40 GBP / C$40-C$45) between $15 to $20 USD (£15-£20 GBP / C$20-C$25) almost $100 USD (almost £110 GBP / over C$60)
Buy Buy Buy Buy Buy Buy

Bolivia power outlets and plug sockets

What plug sockets are used in Bolivia?

Type A and C power outlets

What plug sockets are used in Bolivia?

There are two different types of power outlets used in Bolivia, types C and A with the primary power outlets being type C socket:

  • Plug Type A - You can identify the plug socket by 2 slots adjacent to each other where the twin blades slide into.
  • Plug Type C - You can identify the plug socket by 2 round adjacent holes next to each other.

Do US plugs work in Bolivia?

Maybe with certain power outlets that are available in Bolivia; but we recommend bringing all types of plug adapters for Bolivia as US Type A or B outlets might not typically be found. Also it is recommended that you check that your device or appliance can work with a 50hz power outlet.

Is the voltage in Bolivia the same as in the US?

The voltage in Bolivia is 115 volts, however Americans use 120 volts. Even though these are very similar it is recommended to check the voltage on your US charger or appliance supports voltage fluctuations between 100-127 volts or that it is dual voltage.

How do I use a 220 volt appliance in Bolivia?

To use a 220V appliance in a Bolivian power outlet you need to use a step up power converter.

What is the frequency used with a Bolivian power outlet?

The frequency of the alternating current from a Bolivian power outlet is 50Hz.

Are Bolivian power outlets the same as in the US?

Even though US Type A or Type B outlets could be available in Bolivia it is advisable to use a suitable plug adapter for Bolivia. The voltage is within the 100-128 volt range used in America however the frequency is different so ensure that your device works with 50hz.

Is there good access to electricity in Bolivia?

Almost 10% of the population doesn't have access to electricity in Bolivia.

Are there power outages in Bolivia?

It is reported that there are potentially monthly power failures in Bolivia.

Should I pack a power bank for Bolivia?

Because electricity isn't available to 100% of the population of Bolivia together with potential power blackouts, travellers should use alternative charging options if they need to continue using devices such as mobile phones or eReaders.

  • During a trip to Bolivia increased reliance on smart phones for taking photographs, storing itineraries, social network sharing, getting directions and staying entertained can syphon off power more excessively than normal. As well as the simple missing photograph opportunities a flat mobile phone battery can potentially leave you without enough power to make an emergency call or being able to use a GPS app to find your way back to hotel. Using a portable charger [4] in Bolivia lowers that risk as it allows you to recharge your smart phone on the go, especially when travelling to a country with limited access to electricity and power cuts in some areas.
  • A 10,000mAh power bank [4] will supply enough power to cover around 3 full days of mobile phone use whilst a 20,000mAh portable charger [14] should keep a typical mobile phone powered for around seven days.
  • Providing that your laptop uses a USB-C charging port then packing a portable charger for a laptop [15] marked with PD (power delivery) which supplies 20Wh or more can be used to extend the battery life of the laptop when travelling to Bolivia. Be aware that some airlines prohibit portable chargers on an aircraft that supply 100Wh of power or more and must not be left in checked-in luggage so please check ahead with the carrier first.
  • Consumer portable chargers won't work with high powered items that generate heat, although a rechargeable hair dryer [12] or gas hair straighteners [13] are designed for travelling to locations with both power cuts and a lack of access to electricity like Bolivia.
Should I pack a power bank for Bolivia?
Does a solar powered charger work in Bolivia?

Solar backpacks are ideal in hot weather

Does a solar powered charger work in Bolivia?

The climate in Bolivia will be suitable enough to recharge solar power bank [17] dependably, but needs to be left in strong sunlight in order to provide adequate power for a single charge. It may prove inconvenient to constantly unpack a solar power bank then wait for it to recharge in sunny spells.

  • The bigger durable solar panels found on a solar backpack [16] give the backpack the ability to create more electricity within a shorter period of time, making them ideal for the climate in Bolivia.
  • A phone that is plugged directly into a USB port of a solar backpack can trickle charge the battery during sunny periods in Bolivia, however this could be inconvenient to have it continually tethered in the bag if it is to be used frequently. A solar powered bag is usually exposed to daylight therefore can be powering up a power bank during the day, unlike a handheld solar power bank that requires unpacking and facing sunlight.
  • Although the climate in Bolivia is suitable, a bag should have a solar cell efficiency of at least 22%, be able to generate at least 6 watts of power and includes a 10,000mAH power bank or greater. Unlike regular rigid solar cells, the flexible and durable solar cells used in solar powered bags are designed to survive scratching and bending. They are found in laptop messenger, rucksack and backpack styles which makes them perfect for travel, domestic and work.

Sources

  • International Electrotechnical Commission - World plugs by location (cited August 2014)
  • Wikipedia - Mains electricity by country (cited July 2014)
  • Index Mundi - Power outages in a typical month (cited May 2018, data collected between 2006 to 2017)
  • Index Mundi - Access to electricity (cited May 2018, latest data collected 2010)
  • WikiPedia - List of countries by average yearly temperature (cited May 2018, data averaged between 1961 to 1990)

Bolivia 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 charging multiple USB powered devices when travelling abroad.

What USB charger do I need for Bolivia?

If travelling with more than just one device the best travel adapter for Bolivia to buy is a multiple USB port charger which includes swappable plugs like a 4 port USB travel charger [7]. Bolivians use two different types of plug sockets (types C and A) and using a power adapter like this ensures that you are covered for both types A and C. As these types of chargers come with interchangeable plugs and handle 100 to 240 volts will mean that you can travel to multiple countries around the world just by changing the supplied heads. If your device can support Fast Charge then you will benefit from much faster recharging times by using one of these power adapters, along with support for certain power hungry devices like tablets.

Having a 4 port adapter will allow you to recharge more than one device simultaneously without needing to pack seperate power adapters or using up additional wall outlets. Only packing a single lightweight USB travel charger will also keep the weight down, making it perfect to fold up and store in hand luggage. Due to their space saving versatility these types of travel adapters can be used when back at home not just abroad so when you're not travelling they can be used overnight charging multiple tablets, smartphones and speakers and using just a single plug socket.

For those travelling frequently we recommend buying a versatile travel charger similar to this online, the power charger illustrated here is the 4 Port USB Wall Charger [7] which has been tested successfully with multiple USB devices in numerous countries on a daily basis.

What USB charger do I need for Bolivia?

Why use a travel USB charger for Bolivia?

  • Normal travel USB chargers include 4 or more USB charger ports, meaning you only need to bring one charger to charge multiple devices. This helps reduce the weight of your baggage by only bringing one USB wall charger rather than bringing several different USB chargers.
  • Travel USB power chargers will include swappable plug heads for different power outlet types. This is ideal when visiting different countries across South America which are likely to use different standards to Bolivia.
  • Good USB travel chargers are lightweight, compact and rugged; perfect for the rigors of travel rather than risking bringing a domestic charger which could be impossible to repair or replace in Bolivia.
  • USB travel chargers will accept the 115 volt power outlets in Bolivia along with other voltage standards in other countries.
  • There is a chance that some hotels in Bolivia only have one wall outlet, by using a travel charger with multiple USB ports means you can share the single wall outlet with all your devices rather than having to wait to recharge each device one by one.
  • Because of their versatile nature a travel USB charger takes the uncertainty out of travelling to an unknown destination as they are guaranteed to work almost anywhere on the planet.
  • Power outlets found in airports can be in short supply and demand for charging multiple cell phones and tablets from other passengers during departure can be high, therefore a USB charger with multiple ports and the ability to charge quickly is perect.
  • Sometimes the power grid in a country can be unstable, a good quality travel charger allows for unexpected fluctuations and will prevent damage to any devices attached to it. Attempting to repair an overloaded mobile phone in Bolivia might prove to be difficult and costly.
  • Larger USB chargers also incorporate a power outlet strip to allow you to plug in low powered devices such as laptops, however these will be unsuitable for high wattage appliances such as hair dryers or clothes irons. Read our section on using travel appliances in Bolivia for useful guidelines and advice on the most suitable power adapter for a high powered devices with a Bolivian power outlet.
  • Certain mobile phones could pull more than the standard 500 milliamps supplied by a normal 5 volt USB adapter to charge or provide fast charge. Quality USB chargers will support fast charging incase any of your devices need extra power.
  • When returning home travel USB power chargers can also be useful by recharging multiple cell phones every day using a single power outlet.

What is the best USB charger for Bolivia?

The is the most compact option for travellers from any country wanting to recharge devices using USB, but for visitors also wishing to use their domestic plugs the following power adapters provide larger but more versatile solutions. All three power strips offer surge protection which is useful when visiting counties with unreliable power grids to prevent damage to any connected devices. These power adapters come with interchangeable type C, I and G plugs covering Continental Europe, North America, Australia, United Kingdom, Japan, China and over 150 destinations:

  • 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 compact option for travellers originating from America visiting Bolivia using 3 pin type B US plug sockets.
  • ORICO Traveling Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip - Likewise having 4 USB ports but only 2 AC power outlets the travel adapter from Orico is also aimed at travellers from North America using type B plugs. This gives the same functionality as the BESTEK with only one less AC outlet for almost half price.
  • BESTEK International USB Travel Power Strip - This power strip has 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 a majority of travellers from around the world visiting Bolivia.

Power converters for Bolivia

What is a power converter for a Bolivian power outlet?

A power converter for Bolivia will enable travellers to use a 220-240 volt electric appliance with a 115 volt Bolivian power outlet.

Also known as: electrical converter, electrical transformer, voltage converter, power transformer or voltage transformer.

What is the difference between a power converter and a plug adapter for Bolivia?

A lightweight, cheap and small power adapter (or plug adapter) changes the shape of the plug on your device to fit into a power outlet found in Bolivia, however an expensive and bulkier power converter [18] will transform the voltage of 115 volts from a Bolivian power outlet to work with a non-115 volt appliance.

Do I need a power converter for Bolivia?

When travelling to Bolivia from another country please check that your device can be used with a 115 volt power supply.

  • You will need a step up power converter [10] if you are visiting Bolivia from a country that uses 220-240 volts and your device is incompatible with 115 volts. See our WikiConnections list of world power outlets guide to discover which voltage is used in your country.
  • You shouldn't need a power converter if you are already using either a single voltage device that works with 115 volts or one that supports dual voltage.
  • Typically, devices which originated from a different country which use a higher voltage such as 240 volts and then used in a 115 volt power outlet sometimes take longer to charge or won't power up. If your device charges slowly or does not power up when travelling to Bolivia from a different region check that it can be used with a 115 volt power supply otherwise you will need to bring a step up power converter [10].
  • You won't need a converter if you wish to charge a smaller electrical device such as a tablet or cell phone as these are normally support dual voltage and designed for international use, but you should always check the device for dual voltage support prior to your journey.
  • For powering high wattage appliances or generate heat (for example clothes irons and hair dryers) then you will need to use a more expensive higher wattage heavy duty power converter [19] which allows the appliance to be used with a 115 volt Bolivian power outlet.
  • Investing a robust lightweight dual voltage travel appliance will be more practical and cost effective than bringing a much heavier power converter just to use your existing domestic appliance.
  • For more information read these comprehensive guides on travelling with clothes irons, curling wands, flat irons and blow dryers with a Bolivian power outlet , along with advice for some affordable dual voltage alternatives.

Do I need a power converter for Bolivia if I'm from the US?

A US plug does not need a power converter because the voltage from a Bolivian power outlet is in the same 100-120 volt range as America.

What kind of converter do I need for Bolivia?

You will need to buy a step up power converter [10] to use any 220, 230 or 240 volt appliance in Bolivia.

What voltage is used in Bolivia?

Bolivia uses 115 volts in their normal power outlets.

How to convert 115 volts to 220 volts

  1. Use a step up power converter [10] to allow you to use 220, 230 and 240 volt appliances with a 115 volt Bolivian power outlet.
  2. If the power converter doesn't include the correct shaped plug then it will also be necessary to plug in the power cord from the power converter into a power adapter for Bolivia before plugging that into a Bolivian power outlet.
  3. Some power converters include the ability to perform both step up and step down voltage conversions, therefore it may be necessary to manually switch the converter to output the voltage from 220-240v.
  4. Plug your appliance into the converter and turn the power on, your 220-240 volt appliance can now be used with a 115 volt Bolivian power outlet.
What is the difference between a transformer and a converter?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a transformer and a converter?

Converters and transformers are both used to change one voltage to another, but this ambiguity can cause confusion as their purposes are different:

  • Power converters are designed for simple electrical appliances which typically generate heat or use motors such as clothes irons, shavers or hair dryers. Transformers are designed for more complex electronic items such as televisions or games consoles.
  • Buying a power converter is cheaper than buying a power transformer.
  • Power transformers are larger and heavier making them more suited for permanent residential use; for example an expat wishing to use an imported television would need to use a transformer for this purpose.
  • Power converters are more suitable for travellers wishing to bring domestic appliances abroad such as hair dryers or flat irons. However, it is more practical and cost effective to purchase a dual voltage appliance designed for travel rather than a heavier power converter.
  • Power converters are suitable for 2 pin ungrounded appliances, it could be harder to find a converter if you want to use a grounded 3 pin appliance.
  • Transformers can be used constantly however it is recommended that converters are used for no longer than a couple of hours at a time.
  • Shops may sell transformers under the name of converters, for the purposes this guide we will be referring to both converters and transformers as converters.
How can you tell if you have a single voltage or dual voltage device?

Dual voltage hair dryer

How can you tell if you have a single voltage or dual voltage device?

The method to see if a appliance is dual voltage is to look for a sticker on the supplied power adapter or on the unit itself, typically on the rear of the device or near to where the power cord sits. The location will depend on the make and model of your device and could also state on the box.

  • Single voltage devices might have a specific number - such as 240V.
  • Single voltage devices could also say a small voltage range (around 20 volts) with a dash to accomodate small voltage fluctuations - such as 100-120V.
  • Dual voltage devices will typically say a larger range separated with a slash - such as 100/240V.

Substantiations

How we compared products

Typical figures based on top 5 popular electrical adapters for each form-factor from different manufacturers with prices as of October 2018.

  • Power Plug Adapters - Ceptics Grounded Universal Plug Adapter, TESSAN Grounded Universal Travel Power Plug Adapter, Tmvel Universal International Power Adapter Plug, EnriQ Plug Adapter, Ckitze Travel Power Plug Adapter.
  • Universal Travel Power Adapters - BESTEK Universal Travel Adapter, NEWVANGA International Universal All in One Worldwide Travel Adapter, Bluegogo Universal All in One Worldwide Travel Adapter, HAOZI All-in-one International Power Adapter, UROPHYLLA Universal European Adapter Dual Fuses.
  • Trvel USB Wall Chargers - iKits 4-Port USB Wall/International Charger, LENCENT 4 Port USB Travel Adapter, PISEN USB Wall Charger, Anker 27W 4-Port USB Wall Charger PowerPort 4 Lite, USB Plug Travel Charger Adaptor, Turata 4 Port Universal World Wall Charger.
  • Travel Power Strips - BESTEK International USB Travel Power Strip, TESSAN 3 Outlet Surge Protector travel Power Strip, Portable Travel Adapter Power Strip Charging Station, GR-8 Power Compact & Slim Travel Charging Station, NTONPOWER Portable Charging Station.
  • Plug Adapter Sets - Ceptics GP-12PK International Travel Worldwide Grounded Universal Plug Adapter Set, Ceptics World Travel Adapter Set - 11 Pack, BESTEK Grounded Universal Plug Set, OREI 7 World Travel Adapter Plug Set, Ceptics Adapter Plug Set for World Wide International Travel Use.
  • Voltage Converters - Power Bright VC2000W Voltage Transformer Step Up/Down converter, LiteFuze LT-3000 3000 Watt Voltage Converter Transformer - Step Up/Down, SEYAS 1000W Auto Step Up & Step Down Voltage Transformer Converter, Rockstone Power 5000 Watt Heavy Duty Step Up/Down Voltage Transformer Converter, KRIEGER 1700 Watt Voltage Transformer Step up/down 120V / 230V AC outlet American European Converter.

Weight, dimensions, number of AC outlets and number of USB powers were all based by calculating and rounding an average figure for each attribute where known.

Key to electrical adapter comparison

  1. Compatible number of countries based on data from the International Electrotechnical Commission World Plugs page (cited November 2018).
  2. Assuming only a single plug adapter from the plug adapter set will be used at any one time in a compatible location.
  3. Depending on if the power strip supports voltage conversion for low wattage items. All travel power strips tested do not convert voltage for high wattage appliances.
  4. Including the device itself, any supplied plug heads and power cords.
  5. Some travel power strips featuring less AC outlets may be small and lightweight enough to be suitable for hand luggage.
  6. Number of items if bringing an entire set of plug adapters for use in multiple locations to cover all eventualities (unless bringing only the necessary single plug adapter).

What type of adapter do you need for Bolivia?

Which type of plug adapter do you need for Bolivia?

The type of plug adapter or power converter which is best to bring to Bolivia is dependant on your requirements, so before choosing the right one to use we recommend using this checklist:

What are the different types of electrical devices do you want to charge in Bolivia?

Will you need to power appliances

What are the different types of electrical devices do you want to charge in Bolivia?

  • There are three different types of electrical devices:
    • Low wattage electronic items that can be plugged into a power outlet - for example cameras or laptops.
    • High wattage appliances that can be plugged into a power outlet - for example hair straighteners and clothes irons.
    • USB powered devices that charge using a USB port - for example mobile phones.
  • When you only intend to bring along just USB powered devices to Bolivia then you'll find that a travel USB charger is ideal because you will only have to bring that single charger rather than needing to pack lots of domestic chargers.
  • Travel power strips are built for powering and voltage conversion for many low wattage devices of any voltage, however won't work with high wattage appliances that require voltage conversion.
How many electrical items will you be packing for Bolivia?

How many devices are you bringing

How many electrical items will you be packing for Bolivia?

  • List all the applicances and devices you intended on packing for Bolivia (including laptops, cell phones, tablets, eReaders, hair straighteners or clothes irons).
    • Remember to allow for more devices in the future. Are you thinking about purchasing a new tablet computer soon?
    • There is a growing amount of USB powered rechargeable devices such as electric shavers that use a USB port as their power source. The if you have to buy a new device it might use a USB adapter so please ensure your travel adapter has enough spare ports to power these as well.
  • Will you be travelling with a partner who will need to recharge their iPads as well?

Do your devices and appliances only work with a 115 volt power outlet?

Will you only be planning on charging USB devices in Bolivia?

Are you only charging USB items

Will you only be planning on charging USB devices in Bolivia?

  • Should you only intend on using USB powered electronics such as mobile phones for Bolivia then it is recommended to just bring a travel USB wall charger.
  • If you only use a simple power plug adapter you will still need to bring the USB charger that was supplied with your device as well.
How many Bolivian power outlets will be available?

Are multiple wall outlets available

How many Bolivian power outlets will be available?

  • A hotel might only offer a single power outlet on the wall. This will present an inconvenience if charging up batteries of more than one electronic device overnight because you can only charge a single device at a time every few hours.
  • To recharge more than one device at the same time look to bringing a travel USB wall charger or a travel power strip which are capable of charging multiple USB ports and outlets.

What is your budget?

  • A basic power adapter starts at under $10 USD (under £15 GBP / under C$45) which charges a single device from a Bolivian power outlet (provided that works with 115 volts or it is dual voltage) but investing in roughly between $15 to $20 USD (£15-£20 GBP / C$25-C$30) will allow you to charge multiple devices simultaneously and be able to bring them to various countries.

Are you planning to visit anywhere abroad in the future?

Is Bolivia the only country you plan on visiting?

  • Single power adapters only typically work in a single country which they are built for, therefore if you need to visit multiple countries you may need to bring additional power adapters which can in turn add to the number of adapters you'll have to bring.
  • On the other hand travel USB wall chargers and universal travel adapters are designed for travelling to more than one country becuase of their interchangeable head system.
Are you flying long haul to get to Bolivia?

Arriving at an airport

Are you flying long haul to get to Bolivia?

  • If you're taking a longer trip to get to Bolivia it's worth thinking about packing an appropriate airport-friendly charger that works in different outlet types, one which is light enough to pack in carry-on luggage and can top up tablets and phones.
  • As not all flights have power outlets available for the public we recommend packing a travel portable charger [4] which will recharge on the go. When you land you could have to rely on your phone for making a call, receiving messages, using sat nav to locate a hotel or recalling an itinerary; therefore it is recommended that your phone has enough battery power left.
Are you only bringing hand luggage?

Are you bringing just hand baggage

Are you only bringing hand luggage?

Will you always have reliable access to electrical power?

  • The power could sporadically fluctuate in Bolivia and this might cause damage to your devices, look for a power adapter which has surge protection such as a travel power strip.
  • Because Bolivia has power cuts and having partial access to electricity you might find that whatever power charger you pack for the country doesn't work anyway. Using a portable charger [4] or a solar backpack [16] will prepare you for power cuts and limited electricity access.

Would you like to use your charger when returning home?

What can I connect to a Bolivian power outlet

Travel appliances that can connect to a Bolivian power outlet

Beats Pill speakers which can connect to a Bolivian power outlet

Jabra Bluetooth speakers which are compatible with a Bolivian power outlet

Mobile phones which work with the Bolivian power outlet

Apple iPhones that can be connected to a Bolivian power outlet

Samsung Galaxy phones that work with a Bolivian power outlet

A list of Amazon Kindle tablets which work with a Bolivian power outlet

A list of Apple iPads which are compatible with a Bolivian power outlet

Corrections

We endeavor to ensure all details on this page are correct and relevant to travelers visiting Bolivia, if you wish to contribute any useful information or feedback please email travel@wikiconnections.org. For more comprehensive technical details visit the Wikipedia page on AC power plugs and sockets [20].

Disclaimer

WikiConnections is not responsible for any injury or damage caused due to using any type of suggested product with any other electrical device or appliance in any location, full details are available on the disclaimer page. All functions and capabilities should be checked prior to purchasing or using any power adapter. Assumptions on if any power adapter, charger, converter or power strip works in any location is based on data from publicly available sources and if it fits the primary power outlet used in that country. WikiConnections has not taken into consideration other less common power outlets which might be found as these might only be used in certain areas or in the process of being phased out.

Where possible, WikiConnections only recommends the type of product as being suitable along with alternatives and does not make any endorsement for any specific brand or product. Always check with the manufacturer to ensure full compatibility prior to attempting to use any device. Always check the reputation of the manufacturer and product to ensure the quality and safety of any electrical device being used.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolivia - Bolivia entry on wikipedia.org.
  2. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/ - International Electrotechnical Commission World Plugs
  3. Type C plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type C power outlets without converting voltage, between $5 to $10 USD (£10-£15 GBP / around C$40).
  4. Portable charger - A power bank is a portable charger which can recharge USB powered devices such as mobile phones and tablets on the go, between $30 to $35 USD (£20-£25 GBP / around C$35).
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adapter - power adaptor
  6. Universal travel power adapter - A typical universal travel power adapter can be used in over 150 different countries for use with appliances and USB devices, estimated cost under $20 USD (£15-£20 GBP / C$25-C$30).
  7. 4 Port USB Wall Charger - A universal USB charger capable of charging up to 4 USB devices with swappable international adapters, between $10 to $15 USD (£10-£15 GBP / under C$20).
  8. Travel power strip - A travel power strip includes surge protectors, AC power outlets, USB ports and swappable plug adapters for use in multiple countries, priced between $35 to $40 USD (£35-£40 GBP / under C$45).
  9. Plug adapter set - Plug adapter set containing a number of different power plug adapters for use in different countries, around $15 USD (£15-£20 GBP / C$20-C$25).
  10. Step up power converter - A step up power converter allows a 220-240 volt appliance to be used in a 100-120 volt power outlet, priced at between $110 to $120 USD (£80-£90 GBP / around C$120).
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country
  12. Rechargeable hair dryer - Rechargeable battery powered blow dryer suitable for travelling, between $150 to $160 USD (£140-£150 GBP / around C$460).
  13. Gas hair straighteners - Cordless ceramic hair straighteners powered by gas cartridges, estimated price between $20 to $25 USD (£30-£35 GBP / under C$45).
  14. 20,000mAh portable charger - High capacity 20000mAh high-speed portable USB charger suitable for charging mobile phones and some tablets for several days, priced between $35 to $40 USD (under £40 GBP / under C$50).
  15. USB-C PD power bank - Power Delivery charger suitable for charging laptops with USB-C support, between $120 to $130 USD (£100-£110 GBP / under C$150).
  16. Solar backpack - A solar backpack will charge USB devices or an internal power bank when left in sunlight, estimated cost under $90 USD (£70-£80 GBP / C$270-C$280).
  17. Solar power bank - Portable power bank with solar cells which can recharge when placed in sunlight and power any USB powered device, under $25 USD (£15-£20 GBP / C$50-C$60).
  18. Power converter - A step up step down power converter converts 110-120 volts up to 220-240 volts and 220-240 volts down to 110-120 Volts, under $100 USD (£100-£110 GBP / C$60-C$70).
  19. Heavy duty power converter - A 5000 watt heavy duty step up and step down power converter used to convert voltages for domestic appliances, power tools, televisions, heating appliances and motors, costing between $140 to $150 USD (under £110 GBP / under C$130).
  20. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC_power_plugs_and_sockets - AC power plugs and sockets