February 20, 2014

Which Charger Should I Get for my Kindle in South Africa?

As an expat in South Africa, your Kindle may very well be your most prized possession. Books are expensive, shipping from overseas is not very reliable, and libraries are more or less non-existent. (I've written about public libraries in Johannesburg here, but don't hold your breath.)

I've told you about how your Kindle works in South Africa here and here. But recently I got a question about Kindle chargers and adapters, and I thought my answer warrants a blog post of its own.

Question

Please can you help me? I live in California, I'm going to visit my Dad in Pretoria and want to buy him a Kindle. Do I need an adapter and what should I buy? Amazon has been no help to me at all, I've spent over 40 minutes with customer service and they still can't tell me! Thanks so much!

Answer

Option 1: The Kindle uses the same exact charger as a Blackberry. Does your Dad have a Blackberry? Then you wouldn't have to get him a charger at all. He could use his Blackberry charger for the Kindle and be totally fine.

Option 2: Buy him the Kindle charger on Amazon.com (the regular one fitting into a US outlet) and in addition buy a universal adapter plug - it will fit into a South African outlet, and anything will fit into it on the other side, including European and American plugs. I'm thinking you'll need one or more of them anyway when you travel, for all YOUR chargers from the US. You could then just leave one of them with your Dad when you return home. The universal adapter plug that we used in South Africa, and really liked, is the VCT VP110 Universal Travel Outlet Plug Adapter for South Africa from Amazon.com.

In case you are wondering, you don't have to worry about the voltage problem (South African voltage is 220V like in Europe, versus 120V in the U.S.) - both Kindle and Blackberry chargers cover the whole range of voltages. You really just have to get an adapter plug that allows for the American plug to be put into a South African outlet. And don't think that buying a Kindle from Amazon in the UK will change anything - you'll still need an adapter plug for the European Kindle charger to fit into the South African outlet, the Kindle will likely cost more in Europe, AND you'll have to now have it shipped from Europe to South Africa, a risky proposition (in case you've been following my Postal Service series). Bringing the Kindle from the United States when you are visiting is by far the best way to go.

And now, go ahead and buy that Kindle. Do it by clicking the text link or the link below - it will get me some much appreciated advertising dollars from Amazon:-). Even if you don't buy that one but another kind, it will still be linked back to my site. Thank you!