Last updated on September 4th, 2023
How To Safely Charge Your Vaporizer or Vape Pen in a Foreign Country
Travelers who are going abroad often have questions about how to charge their electrical devices. Many answers can be found online, but when it comes to charging e-cigs, vape pens, vape mods, pod vapes and other personal vaporizers abroad, it's harder to find a direct answer.
This article will answer those questions (and more). You'll find out how to safely charge your vaping devices abroad and I'll also recommend the adapters you'll need.
Common Questions Vapers Have Regarding Charging Their E-Cigs Abroad
- Can I use any USB cable?
- Do I need to buy a special USB power adapter if I travel?
- Will my U.S. ecig explode if I plug it into an outlet that puts out 220/240 volts?
- Will my UK ecig even charge if I plug it into a U.S outlet that only delivers 110/120 volts?
- Can I use my USB adapter along with a country/regional specific power adapter plug?
- Do I need to use a converter?
- Does my electrical adapter plug need to be grounded?
- Should I get an adapter that has surge protection?
Direct USB Charging – No Adapter Needed
USB outlets are all the same worldwide. They use around 5-15 volts, which is pretty tame. That means you can safely plug your e-cigs' USB cable or your Pod Vape's little USB charging dock directly into any worldwide USB port.
When using a USB cable, use the one that came with your ecig kit! Not only is it the safe way to go, it will fit perfectly into your vaporizer as well as the USB outlet. Some vaporizers use plugs, others have magnetic connections. Others, have threaded connections
If you need another charging cable, buy it from the same place you bought your vape. There are lots of cheap cables floating around on the market. Many of them are not certified for use. Nor have they been inspected for quality.
That said… no matter how many USB cables you have with you while traveling, you'll find there may be only 1, (or 0) USB ports in your hotel room abroad. If you're lucky to have one, charging can be slow. That's why people bring a USB power adapter.
Using a USB Power Adapter When Traveling Abroad
If you purchased your e-cig from a reputable company, you'll sometimes get a USB power adapter along with your USB cable. The adapter lets you plug in your USB cable (or your Pod Vape's USB charging doc) into a regular power outlet.
Most people use this type of adapter to charge their e-cigs at home because they get a faster charge.
If you look at the specifications on the USB power adapter, you'll see – Input:100-240V 50/60 Hz 0.15A Output 5V – 1A. Sometimes you'll see 1000mA, but it's the same thing as 1A.
The input of 100-240 volts tells you the adapter will work worldwide. The output of 5 Volts is the standard amount you'll need for any USB device. The 1A is the amperage. Amps determine the speed of the charge. Ecig devices usually use no more than 1 amp.
You can use any USB power adapter that has these specifications, (including an Apple USB power adapter). You can even use one that has more amps.
About Those Amps
The amps listed on your adapter indicate the amount of current your ecig battery can draw.
Some USB adapters have the same voltage specifications, but they have more amps. Most ecigs only need 1amp. The good part is, if your power adapter has more than 1amp, your device will only draw as much as it needs. So, you can use higher amps because using a bigger amperage will in no way ‘force' more amperage into the battery.
The only exception would be if your ecig's battery is faulty, in which case the more amperage the power unit can supply, the more damage can occur. It's just another reason to always buy quality devices.
What About Voltage?
You NEVER want to charge a vaping device with a USB adapter that delivers more than 5-15 volts of power.
One of the main reasons vaporizers burn out (or explode) is because the ecig battery received too much electrical current. That's why ecig companies say to “only charge your vaporizer with the power adapter and cable that comes with your kit”.
More About Voltage….
When traveling abroad, power supplies (voltage input) can vary. For example, in the USA and Canada, outlets deliver 110/120 volts to your device.
The vast majority of the world uses 220/240 volts.
That's an important consideration when you are charging larger electrical appliances such as hairdryers, straightening irons and laptops, but when it comes to smaller electronics, such as cell phones, tablets and e-cigarettes using USB, it's a bit easier.
No Need to Use A Power Converter
It doesn't matter whether the electrical socket you plug it into delivers 110 or 240 volts. All USB power adapters use a world-wide voltage (about 5V). They work as a transformer that converts the 110 or 240v to around 5-15v to charge the battery on the device.
Of course, your power adapter's plug won't fit into a foreign outlet, so you'll still need a country/region Power Plug Adapter. Here are some examples –
What About Surge Protection and Grounding?
You don't need to buy power plug adapters with surge protection. That's especially true if you're going on a cruise, as they say not to use them.
You also don't need to buy plugs that are grounded, although grounded plugs will still work and are safe to use.
All the adapter plugs shown above will work, but frankly, I prefer much smaller adapters. They do the same job, and you'll avoid a very unpleasant situation.
The Dreaded Recessed Socket
I've run into sockets in Europe that are recessed into the wall. They're not uncommon! If you bought an adapter too large to fit into the recess (like one of those heavy “universal adapters”) just pray that the hotel's front desk will provide you with a smaller adapter.
It's usually hard to buy one once you've left home.
Too Many Adapters?
Some people worry that connecting too many adapters will compromise the connection, or will cause an electrical fire, or will blow up their vaporizer ….maybe even the hotel.
That's not going to happen. Using multiple adapters is nothing like overloading an electrical socket with too many appliances, or using a charger that puts out a high voltage.
If you're traveling abroad, you can use your USB Cable with your USB Power Adapter along with your country specific Power Plug Adapter.
Here is an example of how you would set up a standard vaporizer to be used abroad. The wall plug adapter is a type L, ungrounded. This example applies to most vaporizers.
If you're not comfortable doing that…or if you want to travel with fewer adapters, you can buy 1 USB power adapter charging plug that also has the correct prongs for the country you're visiting. These little adapters are inexpensive, and you can buy them on-line before you leave town.
Here's an example of a Type C, USB adapter known as a “Euro Plug”.
The adapter, called a Dual European USP Travel Wall Charger has 2 ports and works with all e-cigs and most other USB devices including cell phones and tablets. Use the 1A port for your e-cigarette and the 2.1A slot for your iPad or other tablet. You can use it in Europe, but this type won't work in the UK, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta.
What About UK Adapters?
This US to UK Adapter Plug by Tessan is a Type G Travel Adapter. It has 4 AC outlets, and 3 USB ports. It is small, lightweight, and is also fully cruise ship approved. You can buy it using the link below the image.
These little adapters will also solve another problem…..
Charging Pod Vapes!
Pod Vapes are great for travelers. They're lightweight, and you don't have to pack bottles of e-juice. The JUUL comes with a magnetic USB dock instead of a USB cable. You can run into ridiculous problems if your large adapter plug only has input ports on the top of the charger. Have a look at this unfortunate situation.
The voltage or amps aren't the problem with this grounded European adapter plug. Neither is the obvious fact that I shot this without showing the wall socket. It's the location of the USB port! If there isn't a USB port on the opposite side of the plug, you won't be able to plug the darn thing into the socket.
Other Important Tips For Charging Your Vaping Device Abroad
- Don't forget to bring your vape's USB cable!
- Don’t leave your e-cigs charging overnight or unattended. Not all chargers switch off automatically once fully charged and if things start to go wrong, you need to be there to intervene quickly.
- Unplug the USB charger or wall plug charger when the battery is fully charged.
- If your e-cig is damaged, don’t charge it!
- You'll find the correct Adapter Plug for the country you're visiting on the IEC-World Plug's website.
Happy Travels and Safe Vaping!
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