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Purchasing a hair dryer in the US vs UK

I’ve read many informative posts on the forum. We’ll be going on a trip to the UK later this year, and I know there’s a few stances on hair dryers: bring a dryer, leave it at home, or purchase one in UK. This is my first international trip (not counting Canada), but I’m skeptical of dryers available at rentals (low power).

With that in mind, if I were to purchase, I’ve narrowed it down to a BaByliss 1000w dryer that I’d purchase in the US (US model), or a BaByliss 2000w dryer in the UK (UK model).

With the voltage differences, would the 1000w US dryer be the equivalent of the 2000w UK dryer? Would I be better off with one over the other?

Posted by
6526 posts

I’ve narrowed it down to a BaByliss 1000w dryer that I’d purchase in
the US (US model)

Make sure it is dual voltage if you plan to bring it to Europe.

With the voltage differences, would the 1000w US dryer be the
equivalent of the 2000w UK dryer?

No, watt is power, defined as joule per second, volt is electric potential, defined as joule per coulomb.

Posted by
2477 posts

I do fine with UK/Europe hairdryers, but note that if you buy a UK version, it will be easy to use in other countries in Europe with a simple UK to Euro adapter.

Posted by
14153 posts

Take care if you click on the embedded link above in wbmjunaid2's post . It appears to go to the Top 10 attractions in New York. I've reported it for review.

I guess it depends on your hair but the hotel hair dryers in England worked fine for me over the last 3.5 weeks. I have short straight hair so YMMV. The hardest thing is finding a plug in the hotel room where you can also see a mirror, lol.

If you think you will travel more to Europe I'd just purchase one there and then get the adapter plug for use on the Continent.

Posted by
1106 posts

What sort of accommodation are you going to be staying in? Everywhere I’ve stayed in recent years has provided a decent hairdryer, including Premier Inns. I think you may well find that you do not need to bring your own.

Posted by
15525 posts

That's another thing. There are no electrical plugs in the bathroom except low voltage for shavers. That''s the law. You will have to dry your hair in the bedroom.

Posted by
9429 posts

I bought a blow dryer in England (and one in France) years ago after taking my US one for over 10 yrs. The US ones constantly had problems, turning off, over heating, smoke billowing out. I should have bought a UK and European one long before i did.

I do not like to rely on hotel/B&B’s providing one. Sometimes they don’t, but even when they do they’ve never worked well for my longish, wavy hair.

As Pam said, the very frustrating part in the UK is no plug in the bathroom and often no mirror in the bedroom, or it’s not near a plug. Hmm… maybe i’ll buy a UK extension cord next time i’m there.

Posted by
4817 posts

If I were going to purchase another non-US hair dryer, I'd get one with a Europe plug rather than a UK plug, because it would fit so many more countries without an adaptor.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for the replies so far!

Yes, it would be dual voltage if I brought my own.

I have short hair, so at least the use of a dryer would be quick. I've also been reading up on some of the differences between the US and Europe, and I will definitely avoid any hair dryer in the bathroom.

This will be my first trip across the pond (and hopefully not the last). I could take my chances with our accommodations (no hotels, mostly AirBnB), but I'm leaning towards the purchase of one there. We're in the UK for 9-10 days, and then finish up in France for 5 days. Because of that, I'd want to get one in the UK, and we do have adapters that would work in Europe.

Posted by
4817 posts

And my UK to Euro adaptor is quite clunky. As is the UK plug itself. So clunky x 2.

Posted by
9429 posts

My US blow dryer was dual voltage, still always had the problems i mentioned. I’d never bring a US one again. You can buy a European one online. Mine are travel size, light weight, folds up, takes very little room. But strong which i need. If a blow dryer isn’t strong enough i get frizz instead of waves.

Posted by
755 posts

I stopped taking a hairdryer long ago as I found that it wasn’t worth it. There has always been a hairdryer in every place I have ever stayed all over Europe and yes, sometimes it isn’t a perfect hairdryer, but my hair doesn’t need to be perfect either. I would much rather have that space in my bag.

Posted by
7562 posts

My ancient US dual-voltage dryer was always underpowered, but very compact for traveling. But every place I’ve stayed in the past 10 years has either automatically had a good dryer, or provided one after I asked. Multiple heat settings, multiple fan speeds, usually a “cold shot” button, too. You wouldn’t need to buy one over there unless the ones they offer at your lodging are really inferior, which I really doubt.

If you’d be bringing the dryer home and using suitcase packing space for it on the way back from the UK anyway, just bring one from home, along with 2 adapter plugs for both the UK (3 thick rectangular prongs) and Continental Europe (2 round prongs). That works back in the USA, and you’ll be able to use it on your trip, too. You’ll probably pay less getting it at home, too. Unless you want the experience of shopping for small electronics across the pond (might be fun, but unnecessary), and then own a dryer with a clunky UK plug, which will require clunky adapters to use it anywhere else, save yourself the hassle. Again, just use what they provide over there. Or if you absolutely need to have your own, get it in the USA (dual voltage model) and bring it, along with the adapter plugs.

I think the UK wants to guarantee you won’t get electrocuted in the bathroom - there just aren’t any plugs anywhere in the room, near water.

Posted by
510 posts

I purchased a hair straightener many years ago while in Italy. To this day, I love pulling it out when I’m planning a trip. Somehow it makes my plans more real, so not quite the answer you were probably looking for, but it’s why I vote for getting one there. As for the power of dryers at rentals, I’ve had mixed results, but consider it part of the adventure.

Posted by
3 posts

We went to AAA to pick up some more adapters (in addition to the few my wife already had), so we’re all set for the limited amount of plugs that will be available to us. :)

The UK plug adapter plugs right into the Euro adapter, so a UK dryer would just require the one adapter, so that’s a potential plus. Slightly clunky, but lightweight.

My wife was in Europe last year with her sister and aunt. Her aunt forgot to switch the voltage, so there was some smoke for a brief amount of time on the first use. After that was corrected, they had no issues. Her sister had a 1200w Lura travel dryer, small and lightweight, and had no issues at all.

I think every place should have one, but I don’t necessarily want to depend on that. My hair is short enough that like Rachele said, it doesn’t have to be perfect. That’s where a hat comes in, which I prefer to the bald option. :)

Cyn, I thought about that, space wise, but like someone else said, if I do plan on more Europe trips, then something made for over there has some merit. I don’t want to go too far out of my way, but some quick research tells me that I could deal with that in the airport when we land in Scotland. Plus getting electrocuted would be a bad start to a trip.

KRS, I had a similar thought about making it real, so that’s still a possibility….and it would be part of the adventure. :)