How to Buy a Used Power or Plug Adaptor

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How to Buy a Used Power or Plug Adaptor

Power and plug adaptors make it possible to connect a variety of devices to different power sources, often in foreign countries. They are necessary because different parts of the world have differently shaped power sockets, which means that travellers can convert their existing plugs instead of buying new devices, such as laptops, mobile phones, and cameras. Power and plug adaptors simply change the plug type or the configuration of the plug, they do not convert the voltage. Customers often use power or plug adaptors in conjunction with a voltage transformer if their electronic devices are not dual voltage.

Adaptors are usually made of plastic and the existing electrical plug can fit into them. They can also be found in various shapes, which allow them to be used with a variety of plug and socket types from different countries. Power and plug adaptors are lightweight and small, making them convenient for travelling. When purchasing a used power or plug adaptor at retailers such as eBay, buyers should familiarise themselves with the dual voltage system, consider electrical limits in various regions of the world, and understand what to look for when buying used products.

Features of Used Power and Plug Adaptors

Power and plug adaptors come in various types including grounded and ungrounded. Ungrounded adaptors have two prongs, while grounded adaptors have three. These prongs, blades, or pins, are designed to fit into matching slots or holes in the socket. Adaptor used in the UK are set for a 220 volt system and the alternating current cycle is rated at the speed of 50 Hz, while some other countries, such as the United States, operate on a 110 volt system, which alternates at 60 Hz, requiring a different type of plug adaptor. Many power or plug adaptors allow multiple devices to be plugged in simultaneously.

The Dual Voltage System

With an increase in travel and people shopping for electronic devices from around the world, manufacturers have recognised the need for products with dual voltage capability. Devices such as hair dryers, shavers, travel irons, and clothes steamers all now have dual voltage models. These can be switched over to the appropriate voltage when used abroad. Other electronics, such as laptops, are made to operate at dual voltages and switch over automatically. However, some devices, including camcorder battery chargers, CD players, and mobile phones, require a plug adaptor in order to be plugged into a foreign socket. When taking electronics on holiday or purchasing items from overseas, buyers should examine them for a rating. The rating is usually found on the bottom of a product or on its AC adaptor. Products that read "Input: AC 100-240V" are safe for use in the UK. However, buyers may still need to purchase a power or plug adaptor.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Used Power or Plug adaptor

When buying a used power or plug adaptor, buyers should consider both the electrical limits, the country where the device was sold, and the country in which it is used. These factors ultimately determine the type of power or plug adaptor that is required.

Electrical Limits for a Used Power or Plug Adaptor

Buyers should always consider electrical limits when purchasing a power or plug adaptor. Buyers may need to buy multiple adaptor plugs to fit several electrical items.

Electricity in Various Regions of the World

When purchasing a power or plug adaptor, buyers should consider the electrical system in the country that the device was purchased in and that of the country where the device is used. For example, a UK buyer may have purchased a camera online from the United States, so an adaptor may be necessary for it to be plugged in to be charged in the UK. Similarly, a buyer may have a laptop from the UK that they wish to take on holiday to the United States. Electrical systems tend to vary in different regions of the world.




North America

120 V

Most electrical goods operate at around 110 V

Two pronged outlet

Devices that operate on a higher voltage than 110 V may take longer to charge

Hair dryers take longer to heat up and may not be as powerful

UK and Ireland

230 V

Most electrical goods operate at around 220-240 V

Three pronged outlet

The Rest of Europe

230 V

Most electrical goods operate at around 220-240 V

Two pronged outlet

Australia and New Zealand

240 V

Most electrical goods operate at around 220-240 V

Three pronged outlet

Buyers should ensure that their devices are compatible with the voltage of the country when using it with a power or plug adaptor. Dual voltage products that are rated at 100 and 240 volts or 110 and 220 volts are designed to operate with appropriate adaptor plugs around the world without using a voltage transformer or converter.

Check the Used Power or Plug Adaptor

There are many benefits to buying a used plug adaptor. However, there are certain aspects that a buyer should bear in mind to ensure that the used device is in proper working condition and safe. As adaptors are generally intended for use with expensive equipment, such as a laptop, it is important that they function properly in order to avoid damage to the device.

Test the Inputs of the Used Power or Plug Adaptor

Buyers should plug in the power or plug adaptor to ensure that it works. Travelers should not wait untiil they are overseas to find out if their adaptor is compatible with a region’s wall sockets. All power or plug adaptors should fit into the socket snugly. Buyers should avoid using partially inserted plugs that expose live pins. If touched, these pins can electrocute the buyer.

Safety for the Used Power or Plug Adaptor

It is always important to consider safety when purchasing any used power or plug adaptor. A major cause of electrical accidents stems from using power or plug adaptors that are in a poor condition. Buyers should check the condition of the adaptor carefully for any worn casing or exposed, frayed wires. This helps to reduce the risk of an electrical shock.

Price Comparison for the Used Power or Plug Adaptor

Power or plug adaptors are relatively inexpensive. Before purchase, buyers should compare prices of used power or plug adaptors with those of new, similar models. Used adaptors should always be available at a fraction of the cost of new models. Although cosmetic damage to the power or plug adaptor may not hinder its ability to function properly, any wear and tear should result in a lowering of the price.

Terminology for a Used Power or Plug adaptor

Buyers should always read the item description carefully when buying a used power or plug adaptor. Power or plug adaptors may be listed as refurbished or reconditioned. While still considered used, refurbished power or plug adaptors has been renewed or updated to some degree. It is always a good idea to find out whether the manufacturer or a third party refurbished the product. On the other hand, devices that have been reconditioned have been used and repaired. These products are usually reconditioned by the company that sells the product, rather than the manufacturer.

Buying a Used Power or Plug Adaptor on eBay

Buying a used power or plug adaptor online on eBay offers buyers a wide selection of products. Used devices can be found in a price range to meet any budget. Buyers can search easily for a used power or plug adaptor by using eBay’s keyword search. Buyers can type in any related key terms such as power adaptor or plug adaptor. To find used items, either select the "Used" filter, or include the word "used" in the key terms. This general search is likely to result in a large number of listings. For more limited search results, buyers should type in more specific key terms such as "used Europe plug adaptor". Sellers must use standard terminology to describe the condition of their items, as outlined in eBay’s guidelines, and each listing includes a brief definition of the item’s condition in the Item Specifics section. This helps buyers to understand the current working condition of the used power or plug adaptor.

Buyers can also use eBay’s advanced search function. This allows them to limit their search by price Buyers can also limit results to items sold by Top-rated sellers. Top-rated sellers are recognised by the eBay community for their high levels of customer service. These sellers receive consistent positive feedback ratings, which are left by past buyers.


Buying a used power or plug adaptor is a great alternative to a buying new model. Used devices offer the same benefits to the buyer, but at a reduced cost. They are not only less expensive, but are often exclusively used for travel and have therefore received light use. So, many power or plug adaptors may be found in like new conditions. Buying a used power or plug adaptor is an important decision. Buyers should make sure that the adaptor has not incurred any damage as this can directly affect the adaptor’s ability to function properly and safely, and may cause permanent damage to a device. Buyers must also consider their travel destination, or where the device has been purchased from. The type of power or plug adaptor required varies by region, making it important that the correct model is used. eBay sellers offer a wide selection of power and plug adaptors.

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