Universal power adapters are devices that make it possible to connect a power supply to various devices in just about any setting. There are adapters for handheld devices, laptops, and even for various types of household appliances. The need for a universal power adapter usually comes about when an individual is traveling to another country, where the type of electrical outlets and the kind of power supply must be converted in order to function properly with the device.
One of the more common examples of a universal power adapter would be the universal laptop power adapter. Adapters of this type normally come with plug attachments that make it possible to connect the power cord to different configurations of wall outlets. Since various countries use different designs and standards for electrical outlets, anyone who travels to a foreign location is likely to need these attachments in order to be able to use the laptop without relying solely on battery power.
Along with making sure that the plugs are compatible, a true universal power adapter will also help to convert the type of current available within the country to a type that is compatible with the electronic device. For example, if a handheld device or laptop requires direct current to operate properly, but the individual is traveling in a country where alternating current is the norm, the adapter will compensate for the difference in voltage and cycle of the electrical current. This makes it possible to use the device without damaging the components.
Universal power adapter kits for travelers are relatively easy to purchase today. Many include a selection of plugs that match the sockets used in most countries around the world, notably the United States, the United Kingdom, and most of Europe and Asia. In the event that the plugs included in the power adapter kit does not match with a local type of plug, it is usually a simple matter to purchase an appropriate plug locally.
Along with adapters for use by travelers, people who are living abroad for a period of time may also make use of a universal power adapter on any household appliance he or she is taking along. Adapters of this type can be used with stereo equipment or other expensive electrical items that the individual wishes to have access to on an ongoing basis. When purchasing adapters for this purpose, it is important to make sure the particular appliance will function properly with an adapter, since some electrical appliances will not work at full efficiency even with the use of an adapter plug to convert the power supply.