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Travel hair dryer and flat iron

I’m looking online for a travel dryer and flat iron. Should I only purchase if they’re dual voltage? Do I still use a converter if they are dual voltage?
Can I buy them to take to England and Italy even if they are not dual voltage? Thank you!!!

Posted by
16742 posts

If they are dual voltage, you will only need a plug adapter so it will connect to a British socket. Get one here, as they might be hard to find in Europe, where 220 vac is universal.

Posted by
21041 posts

Very nearly all lodgings have hair dryers. Folks with difficult (thick) hair have commented on the forum that those dryers are not as powerful as what they have at home, and some have opted to take a dryer with them. That's something I would avoid if at all possible because of the weight and bulk involved.

If you decide to shop online, check specifications very carefully as to size and weight. I bought a dual-voltage hot-air brush without such care, and the thing turned out to look like a baseball bat. I could never have traveled with it.

Posted by
115 posts

So, I can take a 9 Oz travel hairdryer that is only 110 voltage, as long as I have the converter, correct?

Posted by
21041 posts

I suspect that what you have and are calling a "converter" is a little plug-like device, correct? If so, that is not a converter, it is an adapter. Converters are considerably larger and heavier. I have never owned one, but I remember earlier comments on this forum, to the effect that sometimes things do not go well when you use a converter. As in blown fuses, ruined appliances, etc.

However, I am not an electrician and am only parroting what I have read.

Posted by
3789 posts

If your dryer is only 110, then yes you need a converter and an adapter. Converters are not cheap and most likely costs more than buying compact dual voltage travel hair appliances.

Posted by
5784 posts

Don't take a 120v thermal device to 240v countries. But if you must, you would need a step down transformer (converter) rated to handle the power (watts) with a safety factor of at least two to handle power surges if your device does not switch on and off and a safety factor of three if it has surges. Note that irons typically turn off and on to maintain desired tempearture. I.e. if the dryer or iron is rated to output 1500 watts, get a transformer rated for 4500 watts. If the "converter" is small, light and cheap, it will not likely hold up to sustained power loads.

Here's what a 5000 watt step down looks like:
http://www.voltagesuperstore.com/powerspark-diamond-series-5000-watt-step-up-step-down-voltage-converter.html

5000 Watt - Diamond Series

Weighs 42 lbs. (19 kg)

Dimensions: 8.25 in x 12.5 in x 6.75 in (21 cm x 31.8 cm x 17.1 cm)

$175.50

Posted by
1214 posts

As others have said, nearly every accommodation in Europe has hair dryers. I have very thick hair and the dryers usually take a little longer to dry my hair but it's better than lugging a hair dryer in the suitcase.

I'd be tempted to by a curling iron in Europe just because my family took one to Europe the first time and it even with a converter the rubber tip melted.

Posted by
21041 posts

Edgar, a flat-iron is a hair-straightening appliance, not something used to remove wrinkles from clothing. But for all I know, they're similar from an electrical standpoint. (We have this confusion every time someone posts a question about taking a flat iron to Europe.)

Posted by
2635 posts

If you'll be traveling multiple times to Europe then it may be worthwhile to buy dual voltage appliances. Certainly easier than converters. I found an inexpensive mini dual voltage flat iron at TJMaxx. 2nd best thing ever. The best thing ever was getting a hairstyle that didn't require a flat iron! One less thing to pack.

The dual voltage appliance, while not requiring a voltage converter, will still require the country appropriate pin adapter.

Posted by
1063 posts

As said, voltage converters are heavy and can be a bit iffy, I've heard of them blowing up, better to buy dual voltage appliances or buy them over here.

Terminology alert: In the UK a "flat iron" is called a hair straightener, most people would think you're talking about a flat clothes iron.

Posted by
3681 posts

Two-level hairdryers are cheap in North America. But why bother, especially since they will only operate on Low in the 220 system? Flat iron is more or less the same, under-powered. A straightener, though, draws a lot of power and I have read forum comments about blown fuses and even fireworks displays.

Posted by
64 posts

I have used a travel converter for the last 2 years. It has a rating of 1275 watts, which is essentially a hair dryer. We actually bought a hairdryer and a flat iron for the wife at Tesco. The hair dryer was 10 pounds, flat iron was 15 or 20. My converter was $40.00 and the wattage was too close for me to risk. We just take the dryer and straightener back every year.

Posted by
20 posts

I wouldn't bother with a hair dryer for all the reasons folks have already mentioned (although I did stay in an AirBnB last year that did not have a dryer in the unit - the manager found one for me, though).

I have a wonderful device that I have used in England and on the continent for several years. It's a dual voltage combination flat iron AND curling iron! It's made by Berta and available on Amazon for about $35. Fantastic to have both options in one appliance!

That said, I take a dual voltage power strip with me as well. I use an adapter to plug it in to the wall and then just use my regular American plugs in the strip. My strip also has a couple of USB ports as well. No converter needed; just take the adapter that will work for the countries you'll be visiting.

Posted by
3681 posts

Bottom line, you need appliances that work on 220. They need to have plugs that will work in the receptacles of the countries you are visiting.

You are going to England and to Italy. Both are 220, but the plug receptacles are different.

The easiest option is to use the hairdryers provided by your lodgings. I've never stayed anywhere in Europe that did not have a hairdryer. I've never used one there that didn't dry my hair.

Appliances that straighten hair are not provided. Try styling your hair without a flat iron before you go. You may find a way to wear it that doesn't require extra equipment.

If you find that you can't work that out, buy one
here or in the country of your arrival, and get the appropriate plug adapter(s) for it.

The simplest plug adapters from US plugs to those used in Italy are this type. I've been using them for years. As the description says, this type doesn't work in the UK or Ireland, so you need one like this for England.

If you buy a hair straightener device in the UK, you will need a plug adapter like this one for Italy. If you buy one in Italy, you'll need one like this for the UK. I'm sure that if you buy this appliance in the UK, you'll be able to get a plug adapter for Europe and vice versa.

Posted by
3336 posts

I ordered both a blow dryer and flat iron from Amazon UK so they are designed for that voltage and have the right plug. When I go to the continent I can just buy an adapter and carry on. I've never had good luck using a converter with a US blow dryer...the converters cannot often handle the voltage needed to operate a blow dryer.