Does Your Gadget Need a Plug Adapter or Transformer?

One of the downsides of being a tech-focused traveler is figuring out how to plug everything in. Advances in multi-voltage gadgetry have made it much easier to travel with your electronics, but there’s still some difference between electrical systems around the world. At the very least, you’re probably going to need a plug adapter.

Why Is It Such a Mess, Anyway?

North America tends to use 110- or 120-volt lines with electricity running at 60Hz, which was promoted by Tesla, Westinghouse, and eventually General Electric in the US. Many other countries use 220 or 240 volts and 50Hz, which was promoted by German firms after World War II. It’s more efficient to transmit electricity at a higher voltage, but not enough more that it’s worth retrofitting millions of existing appliances.

Much of Europe’s electrical infrastructure was destroyed in World War II. Europe as a whole used the German standard as

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