Traveling light is something that’s becoming harder to achieve lately.
Gone are the days when all you had to pack were a few essentials. Nowadays, many people include everything from mobile phones, laptops, and digital cameras to power banks, gimbals, and drones on their travel necessities list.
With that many devices, charging all of them during the trip can be challenging.
Except if you have a power strip, of course.
While you can probably use one you’ve got lying around at home, it’ll likely be bulk and, heavy, often lacking useful features like surge protection or USB sockets, and generally just not the best tool for the job.
Instead, take a look at our recommendations for the best travel power strips you can drop in your suitcase and take with you anywhere. They don’t cost a lot, take up far less of that precious space and weight allowance, and are built with the specific needs of travelers in mind.
- Size: 5.3 x 5.3 x 1.6 inches
- Weight: 13.8 ounces
- AC outlets: 5
- USB outlets: 2 x USB-A, 1 x USB C
- Surge protection: 900J
- Size: 5.3×3.9×1.5 inches
- Weight: 0.9 pounds
- AC outlets: 2
- USB outlets: 2 x USB-A
- Surge protection: 1700J
- Size: 4.1 x 3.1 x 1.1 inches
- Weight: 8.5 ounces
- AC outlets: 0
- USB outlets: 4 x USB-A, 1 x USB C PD
- Surge protection: n/a
- Size: 2.2 x 5.2 x 7.2 inches
- Weight: 0.5 pounds
- AC outlets: 3
- USB outlets: 2 x USB-A
- Surge protection: 918J
- Size: 6.5 x 3.1 x 2.1 inches
- Weight: 8 ounces
- AC outlets: 9
- USB outlets: 2 x USB-A
- Surge protection: n/a
- Size: 4.8 x 3.5 x 1.5 inches
- Weight: 0.7 pounds
- AC outlets: 3
- USB outlets: 2 x USB-A
- Surge protection: 1050J
Best Travel Power Strip: POWERADD Travel Power Strip
The POWERADD Travel Power Strip takes our top spot mainly because it combines many of the critical features you need in a portable power strip.
For one, it’s no larger than a smartphone and weighs roughly the same. Despite the compact shape, the circular layout gives you enough space to use all of the AC outlets without plugs bumping into each other.
The retractable cord makes the power strip easier to pack, and although it’s quite short, it still gives you the freedom to place the power strip nearer or further from an outlet as needed without having excess cable lying around.
This power strip provides five AC outlets with a total power output of 1625W, two USB-A ports that put out a combined 2.4A, and a single 3A USB C port. Although the USB C port doesn’t provide Power Delivery (PD) charging, the strip does detect your device’s maximum charge levels to deliver appropriate output levels. The result is faster, safer charging for all of your gadgets.
Speaking of safety, this power strip has built-in 900J surge protection and a circuit breaker that helps protect your devices from overloading. It also has a fire-resistant exterior, with heavy-duty copper wires to cut down on heat transmission.
Overall, the POWERADD Travel Power Strip’s portability, generous number of AC outlets and USB ports, excellent power output, and safety features make it the overall best choice for travelers.Buy on Amazon
Best Power Strip for International Travel: BESTEK USB Travel Power Strip
The BESTEK USB Travel Power is a versatile and adaptable power strip that’s ideal for international travel.
The main selling point is the set of eight adapters that cover outlet standards of almost every major country in the world. While you can buy adapters like these separately, buying them in a bundle like this saves a bit of extra hassle and cost..
This power strip provides just two AC outlets but a generous 5 USB-A sockets. Given that the majority of travel devices are charged via USB these days, that’s a sensible mix for many travelers. These sockets have a combined output of 8A (40W), with each capable of reaching 2.4A (12W), so it’s easy to achieve maximum charging speeds even with multiple devices plugged in.
We also like the compact shape of the power strip, which makes it very portable. It feels durable overall, with a sturdy fire-resistant shell, although this makes it somewhat heavier than typical power strips.
This model also has strong safety features, including powerful surge protection of up to 1700J – almost twice as that of other power strips. It’s beneficial if you’re unsure of the power quality or stability in your destination, a frequent problem when traveling.
One useful feature that this (and most other) power strips lack is a voltage converter, which can be a problem especially if you plan to use US appliances rated at 110V in a country that has 220-240V. If this is a deal-breaker for you, consider getting the BESTEK Universal Travel Adapter instead. It has fewer adapters and a slightly different mix of sockets, but is otherwise quite similar.
An important note: if your travels include time on a cruise ship, be aware that you can’t use this power strip onboard due to the surge protection feature. As an alternative, check our cruise-specific recommendation below.
For other types of international travel, however, the BESTEK USB Travel Power Strip’s flexibility has you covered.Buy on Amazon
Best USB Travel Power Strip: Anker PowerPort 1 PD
If you primarily use a power strip to charge mobile devices and don’t need extra AC outlets at all, the Anker PowerPort 1 PD is a fantastic choice.
This USB-only power strip includes 4 USB-A slots and a faster USB C PD port. With a total power output of 60W – including 30W reserved exclusively for USB C – it delivers one of the fastest USB charging speeds you’ll find in a travel-sized power strip.
The Anker power strip is built like a rock, with a durable yet sleek exterior. It’s drop-resistant, scratch-resistant, and smudge-proof, with useful safety features like temperature control, surge protection, and voltage regulation.
Of course, the drawback of this power strip is the lack of AC outlets. If you need those, you’ll need to look elsewhere. For USB charging, however, the speed, extra power output, and durability you get easily make this our top pick in this category.
You’re paying for quality here, and the Anker PowerPort 1 PD is quite expensive compared to other power strips. If you don’t need the USB C port, you can get the slightly cheaper USB-A only Anker PowerPort 5 charger instead.Buy on Amazon
Best Mini Travel Power Strip: Belkin SurgePlus Swivel Charger
The Belkin SurgePlus Swivel Charger is a very compact travel power strip with good features and specs for its size.
With a compact form that fits in your pocket, this power strip is easy to pack. It eschews wires altogether, eliminating any tedious cord management, instead plugging directly into the wall outlet. The swiveling plug section let you orient it in any direction, helping deal with space constraints.
As for safety features, it has a useful 918J of surge protection, slightly more than what most similar power strips offer. The outer shell is also durable and fire-resistant.
The Belkin mini power strip has three AC outlets and two USB ports, which is pretty generous considering its size. One drawback, however, is that the USB ports only have a combined power output of 2.1A. That’s not enough to fast-charge many phones, and can result in quite slow charging speeds if two devices are plugged in at once.
To get around this limitation, you can charge your device using your usual charger in one of the AC outlets instead. Alternatively, you can opt for the Anker PowerPort Cube, which has an extra outlet and 3.6A combined USB output. While its longer 5-ft cable makes it bulkier to pack, that can also be a benefit when you need to plug into an outlet that’s behind furniture or halfway up a wall.
If you don’t need faster USB charging and want to keep your power strips as small as possible, however, the Belkin SurgePlus Swivel Charger is an excellent, flexible option.Buy on Amazon
Best Cruise Ship Approved Power Strip: AHRise Cruise Ship Power Strip
Planning to go on a cruise ship soon? If you’re taking a bunch of devices with you, It’s important to note that most ships have strict policies on the kind of power strips you can bring onboard. Specifically, they must not have surge protection or an extension cord.
You’ll find a lot of cruise ship-approved power strips on the market that leave out those features, and the AHRise Cruise Ship Power Strip is the best of the bunch.
It’s compact enough to fit in your purse, or backpack while still providing more outlets than the competition: a whopping 9 AC and 2 smart USB sockets with a combined 2.4A output. Thanks to the extra space between outlets, you can use all of them without plugs blocking each other.
Without surge protection, however, this power strip has minimal safety functions save for a fireproof exterior. In a cruise ship setting, this shouldn’t be much of a problem. However, using it anywhere else, especially somewhere with a dubious power grid, can carry a greater risk than other options on this list.
Nevertheless, if you work or travel on cruise ships and have several devices that need charging from a wall outlet, the AHRise Cruise Ship Power Strip is a must-have accessory.Buy on Amazon
Best Travel Power Strip with Surge Protection: Tripp Lite Traveler3USB Surge Protector
The Tripp Lite Traveler3USB Surge Protector is an excellent option if you want extra protection for your portable devices. Its surge protection is rated at 1050J, more powerful than the average power strip.
A light indicator lets you know when surge protection is active. When it does go out (usually due to a particularly large power surge), it’s a sign that you need to get a new power strip. Fortunately, Tripp Lite’s lifetime warranty means the company will replace the unit for free if this happens, making it a reliable long-term purchase.
The power strip includes three standard AC outlets, including one on the back for bulkier plugs. There are also two USB-A ports, but unfortunately they only have a combined output of 2.1A. That’s fine for things like e-readers and headphones, but don’t expect to charge a pair of phones or tablets at anything like full speed.
The exterior is rugged and feels like it can take a beating, making it ideal for traveling. The 18″ cord wraps neatly around the body of the power strip and plugs into the rear socket for easy storage, although the extra durability means it’s still a relatively bulky device compared to some of the others on this list.
Overall, the Tripp Lite Traveler3USB Surge Protector offers some of the best electrical protection you’ll find in a portable power strip.Buy on Amazon
Wrapping It Up
Overall, you can’t go wrong with the POWERADD Travel Power Strip. It provides plenty of outlets, excellent power output, built-in surge protection, and portability features.
If you only need USB charging, however, it’s worth picking up Anker's PowerPort 1 PD or PowerPort 5, while those considering international travel may be better off with the flexibility of the BESTEK USB Travel Power Strip.
If you plan to hop on a cruise ship, though, grab the AHRise Cruise Ship Power Strip instead.
Main image via Shutterstock, product images via Amazon