Step Down Transformers – Features and Buying Tips
In cases when a power tool, an electronic device or an appliance was built for a specific voltage which is not available at the moment, the only way the device can be used again is by converting the power up or down to the correct level. The voltage converter (also known as a voltage transformer or a power converter) is the electric power conversion device used precisely for that. It is used to change the electrical output of a power source. They are most commonly used to change the voltage from 220 volts down to 110 volts, or from 110 volts up to 220 volts.
However, there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to stepdown transformers, since not every country’s power grid runs on the same voltage level. To find the right transformer for your needs, you will need to keep in mind certain key features.
- A cycle per second is measured in Hz (hertz) and it can impact some devices that use AC as their timing base, like analog clocks and other timing circuits. But you won’t need a stepdown transformer if you are using a newer type of technology like phone chargers, printers or any kind of monitors from a CRT to ones with OLED displays. This is so because not every country’s grid uses the same “refresh rate” (some operate at 60Hz and some at 50Hz), thus the difference makes some devices to operate incorrectly.
- Quality stepdown transformers will allow you to deviate a little bit when converting voltage. For example, if you have an appliance that works in 110 volts, the converter is capable of making it work in a grid where the voltage is 220, 230 and even 240 volts. This is to ensure that you have a broader range of voltages available.
- A major safety feature in stepdown transformers is the voltage stabilizer which helps maintain a steady voltage and keeps your appliance/ device safe. In different parts of the world the voltage can fluctuate, which causes power surges that can cause damage – this is called a brownout. A converter that comes with a built-in voltage stabilizer won’t allow your device to be damaged because as soon as the voltage drops far below the normal, it will shut down the device.
- Watts (W) show the power of your appliance/device and in order to make sure you can safely use it, getting a converter with 3x higher wattage is crucial. This is also needed in order to ensure enough room for the power surge your TV, Laptop or DVD player gets when you turn them on.
- The power (wattage) can sometimes be marked in A (ampers) – this is nothing to be concerned about as you will only need to convert it back to W (watts). This is done by multiplying the input voltage with the amperage rating or by simply using an online calculator.