A safe and simple way to charge electronics abroad
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TripSavvy / Rebekah Joan
All-in-one adapter and converter
Can be used in more than 150 countries
Has two grounded outlets and four USB ports
Protects devices against power surges
Makes noise while on
On the bulky side (relative to other adapters)
A two-in-one adapter and converter, the Foval Power Step-Down Voltage Converter is exactly what every international traveler needs to keep their electronics charged up.
We purchased the Foval Power Step-Down Voltage Converter so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
Headed off on a far-flung adventure? Chances are you’ll need an adapter and converter. While the first allows you to plug your electronics into otherwise incompatible wall sockets, the latter converts voltage to ensure you don’t fry your devices. American electronics generally run on 110 volts while European ones use 220 volts, so it’s essential to have a converter on hand. Foval’s Power Step-Down Voltage Converter is a two-in-one gadget that functions as an adapter and a converter so you can safely charge your smartphone and DSLR and use it to power larger devices like blow dryers and laptop computers. Keep reading for our assessment of the model’s performance, design, price, and competition.
The Foval converter measures 4.8 x 3.1 x 1.5 inches—making it about the same size as a passport or a point-and-shoot camera. The device, which comes in gray, red, and white, is outfitted with two grounded outlets and four USB ports so you can charge six devices at one.
We took it along on a recent trip to Ireland and all we had to do was attach the correct adapter, plug it into the socket, and press the power button.
A European type-C adapter—with a 5-foot detachable cord—plugs into the side of the converter, which offers more versatility in where you plug it in. Depending on your location, you can also swap out the plug for a type-A (US), type-I (AUS), or type-G (UK) adapter. The device automatically converts voltage from 220 to 240 volts to 110 to 120 volts, making it compatible with outlets in more than 150 countries.
The adapter/converter is also programmed to protect your devices by powering down when it overheats or experiences a power surge or short circuiting.
The Foval Step-Down Voltage Converter is fairly easy to use. We took it along on a recent trip to Ireland and all we had to do was attach the correct adapter, plug it into the socket, and press the power button. It’ll start making a whirring noise and in a second or two your devices will start charging at a normal pace. We charged plenty of devices with it, including our phones, a portable charger, and our camera.
Other than the slight delay, which is to be expected, everything runs smoothly. The whirring noise is fairly quiet, but if you’re staying at a hostel or with other people, it might annoy light sleepers if left on overnight.
While this converter has lots of different ports for charging your devices, that doesn’t mean you should use all of them at the same time. When you charge multiple devices at once, you still need to make sure the total wattage doesn’t exceed 200 watts. Foval also notes that the converter isn’t safe for use with curling irons, hair dryers, or hair straighteners. It is fine with electric toothbrushes, CPAP machines, game consoles, and tablets, though.
We charged plenty of devices with it, including our phones, a portable charger, and our camera.
Last but certainly not least, you have to make sure that the devices you’re using aren’t rated at 220 to 240 volts. This is a step-down converter, meaning it’s only compatible with devices that are within the 110- to 120-volt range (most American devices).
The Foval Power Step-Down Voltage Converter retails for roughly $35. While it is priced higher than most adapters, you have to consider that it also functions as a converter. If you were to buy the two devices separately, it would actually cost more.
HAOZI Universal Travel Adapter: If you don’t need a converter, check out this little adapter. The HAOZI comes in blue, black, or green, and has the same adapters as the Foval Voltage Converter. The difference is that the HAOZI adapter has a more compact, lightweight design. There’s no cord or extra accessories because everything slides in and out of the adapter for easy storage.
Travel Ready AC Power Adapter: The Travel Ready is a tiny little adapter that will fit anywhere in your bag. It’s lightweight, bright purple so you’ll never lose it, and has a built-in surge protector. The catch? It only has the two-pronged European plug (that doesn’t work in Italy, Switzerland, or the UK), and it doesn’t convert voltages. If neither of those are a problem, you can find it retailing for around $20.
PowerBear Travel Adapter and Surge Protection Strip: The PowerBear has all the same features as the Foval Voltage Converter, minus the converter part. It has two grounded outlets, four USB plugs, the same adapter plugs, and an on/off switch. The major difference is that the PowerBear’s cord is built-in, not detachable.
Definitely worth it.
The Foval’s two-in-one design and ability to charge six devices at once make it a no-brainer purchase. If you were already planning on buying an adapter and a converter, this device will save you space and money.
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