I'm pretty sure I need a voltage converter, but I wanted to double check. One thing I don't want is to fry my appliance overseas. Thanks, everyone!
Yes you need a voltage converter and depending on the "appliance" you nay need more than a voltage converter. Things designed to operate on 60Hz AC power behave a little or a lot differently on European 50 Hz AC power. For instance you curling iron won't get as hot and your clock will run slow.
My appliance is actually a travel-size water pick - for my 2 children ages 13 and 10 who have a full mouth-full of braces. We don't HAVE to take it with us, but it's either taking it along or me having to help my younger son floss between his teeth for 6+ weeks every evening. Doable but not desirable.
If you don't want to pack a converter, or if you get there and find, as James says, that your Water Pik doesn't work well with the converter, you can buy one there. For six weeks, I'd buy one there to be sure it worked right, and look at it as part of the cost of the trip. I've seen them for sale in appliance stores (like Saturn in Germany). If you tell us which country you'll be in first, others here can recommend stores that will sell them.
Harold, that's a great suggestion...we'll be in Italy first, landing in Venice and then heading to Tuscany (Pistoia to be exact) a few days later. If anyone knows where I can pick one up in Italy (Venice preferably), that would be great.
Pam, Yes, you will need a Voltage Converter to use the Water-Pik in Europe. I'd suggest checking the owners manual to begin with, to see if there are any warnings about using that particular product on 50 Hz electrical systems. You might have a look at THIS Voltage Converter from Magellans. The low wattage side will supply up to 50 watts using transformer conversion, which should work fine. I assume the Water-Pik has a two-pin (ungrounded) North American Plug??? Although that particular product is fitted with a two-pin European plug, I'd highly recommend packing along a couple of Plug Adapters as well. They'll be essential in case you encounter recessed outlets, and also if you'll be travelling in countries with different outlet configurations. Using the Voltage Converter with a Plug Adapter produces a bit of an "ungainly contraption", but it works. The Voltage Converter may not be rated for "continuous duty", so I'd suggest using it only when necessary, and disconnecting from the outlet when not in use. Happy travels!
Carrying a full size waterpick defies "traveling light". This is probably more information than most people want to know, but I love my pick as well. I have a battery powered version that isn't as good but does work that I carry with me. http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-EW-DJ10-A-Oral-Irrigator/dp/B0027LSEPS/ref=sr_1_2?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1361800304&sr=1-2&keywords=battery+waterpick I also noticed that waterpick has a rechargeable model. Almost all rechargers are dual voltage rated so that might work too.