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Converters

If I understand it correctly, the adapter is simply what I plug into the wall socket and then plug my cord into it. Correct?

If I am plugging in a hair dryer or a razor, how will I know if I need a converter?

Posted by
4686 posts

Right - just plug the low power device (cell phone charger, laptop, razor, etc.) into the converter and plug the converter into the wall. No electronic "converter" required in most cases. You can verify this by reading the fine print on the US adapter itself (take a picture of it with your phone and zoom in if you can't read it, the tiny print can be impossible to read). You want to see specs on the power adapter or charger that say "110-240v 50hz-60hz." That means only the physical converter is required.

If it says "110-120v" only, then it won't work without a more complicated electronic converter. Mostly this should be high-power devices like hair driers (not razors which should be pretty low power - I know my Norelco is). I did have a "white noise box" that was very low power but still had only a 110v power adapter, not suitable for use in Europe, and I didn't read the specs on it and plugged it in and burned it out (the power adapter, not the device), but that was over ten years ago. I'm guessing almost any modern low power device is dual voltage and safe for use with just the simple converter plug, but it doesn't hurt to read the specs on the device just to make sure.

Posted by
83 posts

Thank you! I will go buy a converter for my flat iron . I appreciate your help.

I know ther was a different adapter for Europe than for London. Is the converter the same or do I need different ones? We will be in London, Paris and Germany.

Posted by
8607 posts

I'll make it easy.....look at your device or charger. There should be some electrical info on it. If it says 110-240v then all you need is the adapter plug. (The higher number is critical.)

If it doesn't have that higher number, think about replacing it with one that does.

BTW, every hotel room I've stayed in during the last few years had a hair dryer.

As for the flat iron, instead of a converter why not just buy one over there.

Posted by
8607 posts

Electricity is basically the same in both the UK and the rest of Europe. The adapters are different.

Posted by
995 posts

I'll second what Frank II said about hair dryers being everywhere. Even in our hotel on the edge of the Sahara, there was hair dryer. (No shampoo, but there was a hair dryer.) At one hotel in rural Costa Rica, we had to request a hair dryer from the front desk and return when we checked out, but I never worry about hair dryers any longer when I travel.

You'll possibly need different adaptors for different countries, but check the travel section of your local mart-type store. Wal-Mart, Target, etc. You may be able to find a multi-country option there which is sold as one package.

Have a great trip!!

Posted by
901 posts

Flat irons and hair dryers that work on either voltage are available inexpensively. This would be a better solution than buying a converter, which you will have little use for in the future. Nearly all hotels have hair dryers in the room or available to check out at the front desk. I’d advise you to email them to ask. It will save you the potential bother of (buying and) lugging one with you.

Posted by
3279 posts

Converters are heavy and can be very bulky. They also have to be sized for the device you will be using it with and if not able to produce the amount of power required can go up in smoke. The one for the UK is the same as the one for the rest of Europe except for the plug. You will probably need a heavy duty adapter plug as most sold are designed for low power use like charging cell phones.

It would be easier to buy a multi voltage version of the flat iron. A lot less expensive. Or go without and try a new hair style for the vacation. :-)

Posted by
5008 posts

Dont just plug something in and see if it works. You could blow fuses or start a fire (I've seen that happen). Please check the device for dual voltage first. Or just buy one there as suggested.

Posted by
2092 posts

I bought an adapter off Amazon a few years ago that includes both England and Europe configurations.

Posted by
30957 posts

"Thank you! I will go buy a converter for my flat iron ."

That's probably not a good idea. Voltage Converters that are small and light enough for travel, use solid-state conversion and that may not work well with some appliances (ie: sparks and smoke!). A transformer converter with enough capacity for heating appliances will be inherently heavy and awkward to travel with. Finally, some flat iron manufacturers specifically prohibit use of their products with voltage converters. I believe Chi is one such brand.

If you can't live without the flat iron, I'd suggest either checking Target or Wal-Mart and buy a dual-voltage version OR buy a 220V model when you arrive in Europe.

Posted by
83 posts

Thanks for the heads up on the difficulty with converters for my flat iron. I will go with curly hair for the trip or see if I can find an inexpensive one there. Don’t want my vacation “going up in smoke”. Thanks.

Posted by
17653 posts

Notice, most flat irons, curling irons, etc, never show their plug in the pictures. That's partially because important safety features require a polarizing plug (one blade wider) in the US. Except for Switzerland, and then you need to be using a three prong grounding adapter, European power is not polarized. So don't take your US appliances with polarizing plugs to Europe.

Now, I know you won't heed my advice, so at least do this. Never leave the device plugged in when not in use. An internal short could cause it to come on while unattended and start a fire. This is because its single pole switch has to be on the "hot" side, and the only way to assure that is with polarized power and a polarized plug.