While most of the electricity in the world is supplied at 220 volts, the voltage in Canada, the United States and Mexico is 100 volts. If you purchase some appliances overseas, converters or transformers are required to make your appliances work.
We should differentiate between electric and electronic appliances. To electric appliances belong hair dryers, toothbrushes, irons and fans. They have simple heating device. Radios, computers and camcorder recharges are regarded as electronic appliances. They have a chip or a circuit. Unlike transformers, which can be used with both electronic and electrical appliances, electrical converters are designed to be used with electric appliances only, such as irons, immersion heaters and hair dryers.
Electrical converters can be used for short periods, not more than three hours. For this reason it is not advisable to include them in travel supplies. Whenever you travel with appliances, which must be used for a long period of time, continuous-use transformers are better option, irrespective of the fact that the appliance is electric and can be used with an electrical converter. Small travel voltage transformers are perfect for journey.
The wattage combinations of electrical converters range from 50 to 1875 watts. Transformers are classified into signal (up to one watt), small power (1-1000 watts), power transformers (1 kilowatt-1megawatt) and large power transformers (over one megawatt). Whenever you choose among converter and transformer to take with you in a trip, determine whether the appliances you are going to use are electric or electronic. For 500 watts electric appliances it is possible to use either a small power transformer or a 50-1875 converter. In case the wattage of the appliance doesn't fall within the range of the transformer or converter, the appliance will be damaged. If the appliance is dual voltage, it will operate on both 110-125v and 220-250v.
Such appliances have a label, which indicates it adjusts for the higher voltage automatically. Dual voltage appliances require an adapter plug. If the appliance is not dual voltage, a transformer or a converter is needed.
The HILO converter, which is the combination converter/mini transformer, is extremely popular with many travelers. HILO converter includes a 50-1875 watt converter and a 1-25 watt mini transformer. It is suitable if you take a 15 watt curling iron and a 1500 watt hair dryer. Some electrical converters are equipped with cut-off switches, which are designed to stop power surges. If the internal temperature of an electrical converter rises, it shuts off and resumes operation only when the temperature goes down.
Take advantage of electrical converters every time you make a journey. You can purchase converters, as well as transformers, adapter plugs and other travel supplies at travel stores. There are also a great number of online travel stores and vacation-oriented web sites, so that you can everything you need for your journey.