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Curling irons

If I have a dual voltage, all I need is an adapter, correct? Do things get too hot?

Posted by
1620 posts

"Do things get too hot?" - Depends who you are with. Yes, just an adapter.

Posted by
298 posts

Be aware that it may not work overseas as well as it does in the US. I recently took a travel-sized, dual-voltage straightener overseas and used an adapter. It turned on just fine but only heated up a tiny bit. It heated so little that I could still touch it with my fingers.

I thought it might be the adapter, so I switched it out with a different adapter--same thing. No heat. So then I thought the straightener must have "died." When I brought it home and plugged it in to the socket here in the US, it worked (heated) perfectly!

If anyone knows what I did wrong, so that Lulu348 can avoid doing the same thing, please reply with your ideas.

Posted by
1529 posts

My travel dual voltage curling iron gets too hot. I plug it in for just a few minutes and then have to turn it off before I use it.

Edited: OK, corrected by Lee. My curling iron is multi-voltage. It gets hot. It works.

Posted by
5132 posts

I had similar issues as slbdaisy, except that mine did not work when I returned home. I have had others work in the past, but not this time.
I hate to buy one in Europe, but it may come to that. But then, would a curling iron purchased in Germany work in Switzerland or the UK, which require different adapters???

Posted by
2508 posts

I would think that an appliance bought in a country with 220 power would work just fine in any 220 country given the correct plug adapter.

Posted by
4586 posts

It used to be tough but nowadays you can easily buy hair tools with the correct voltage for your destination. As in, Amazon, Travelsmith, etc. So you need to find out what that is, outside the US it's usually 220 volts. And yes, then you just need the correct plug adapter. The days of converters are thankfully gone.

Or if you buy one and then forget it, it's easy to buy onsite. For instance, in France at a FNAC store. I just happen to know that.

Posted by
6651 posts

But then, would a curling iron purchased in Germany work in
Switzerland or the UK, which require different adapters???

A curling iron bought in continental Europe will work almost everywhere in continental Europe without the need for an adapter.

Posted by
1625 posts

I purchased a cheap Revlon dual voltage ceramic curling iron at Target ($29) for my first Europe trip about 14 years ago and it is still kicking and no it does not get too hot, just a regular old curling iron that has gone on three trips. If your looking for a higher end brand I highly recommend Babyliss for hair tools with dual voltage. In 2020 I purchased a New in box babyliss set of travel size hair tools from Mercari for a really decent price, about 1/2 of what you would pay for in a store so you may want to look there too. You can get a 12 pack of Adaptors on Amazon for like $13. I always leave one behind this way I have plenty.

Posted by
19169 posts

Lulu, you say the iron is dual voltage, but when I look at the picture, I don't see the switch to change input voltage. Doesn't it have a switch?

Posted by
19169 posts

Please! When posting here about a dual voltage appliance, make sure that you really have a dual voltage appliance.

Dual mean two. Dual voltage is a term primarily used to describe a heating appliance, like a hair curler or straightener, sometimes a hair dryer, which is designed to use on of two voltages by using with a switch to put the heating elements in two configurations, series or parallel, so that the heating elements always see the same voltage (115V, eg). The switch will have two positions, 110V - 220V, or 120V - 240V - always a multiple of two. Dual voltage appliances will always have a switch.

Some time ago, they started producing voltage converters that used a transistor to limit the voltage to the appliance. These weigh a lot less than a transformer of the same wattage, but the wave form from these converters is unsuitable for electronic devices. You can tell them because the output voltage was independent of the input voltage. Thus, a voltage converter for 115V output (example) could use an input of anything from 115V to 250V. These are called multi-voltage converters. Note:

More recently, manufacturers of heating appliances have started to build solid state converters into their products. These appliances do not have a switch, and can accept a range of input voltages, from the minimum of what the appliance needs (110V? up to 240V (and probably higher, but no country has residential power at more than 240V).

If your heating appliance says it take an input voltage of 120V/240V and it has a switch, it's dual voltage. If it says it take 100V - 240V and it doesn't have a switch, it's multi-voltage.

Posted by
19169 posts

Joe, that appliance is not dual voltage, it's multi-voltage. It will operate at any voltage between 100V and 240V (at, say, 180V).

A dual voltage device will operate with either of two voltage ranges, 115V± or 230V±, but not at 180V. (The ± voltage is just approximate. It operates on two ranges, each range common in US or European households.)

Posted by
11484 posts

Lee

I suspect most readers here do not have the engineering background you have to be cognizant of dual voltage vs multi-voltage distinction as it applies to a curling iron, All most will care is that what they have in the US will work in Europe.

I respect your sense of precision as an engineer, but sometimes all one needs to know is that Santa does fit through any size chimney. :-)

Posted by
981 posts

It did say Dual Voltage 200-240V. I’m assuming all I need is an adapter.

Posted by
531 posts

We just returned from Paris….my friend brought her straightener iron…..confident it would work in our Paris hotel. She plug it in and it fried her iron. Not sure what her her voltage was.

Posted by
857 posts

I own a CHI flat iron that is MULTI VOLTAGE. I just used in Paris in October with an adaptor only, it has no switch to change voltage, I had no issue whatsoever.

Posted by
19169 posts

I own a CHI flat iron that is MULTI VOLTAGE. ... it has no switch

It doesn't need a switch if it is Multi-Voltage. The switch is needed for Dual Voltage to change between the two voltages.

It did say Dual Voltage 200-240V. I’m assuming all I need is an adapter.

I think that's a mistake. These devices are probably made in China, and the description page is written by someone in China who doesn't understand English well.

It is probably 100V-240V, which is the typical input for Multi-voltage. 200-240V does not make sense for Dual Voltage; one voltage is typical half of the other voltage. (The reason for 100V on Multi-voltage inputs - power in Japan is 100VAC. It's 50 Hz on some islands, 60 Hz on others).

I know of nowhere where the power for normal homes is 200V. The high voltage, like for ranges or clothes dryers, which is normally 230V in most homes, is 208V on Con-Edison around NYC (as soon as Con-Ed has a brown out, they're down to 185V).

But, assuming they really meant "Multi-voltage, 100V-240V", you would still only need an adapter.

Sorry, Joe, but there are different Santas for different size chimneys. (And, aren't you a little old to still believe in Santa?)

Posted by
1302 posts

I will add ,the cheap plug adapters are rated at 5A with resettable fuses.
I can well.imagine hair curlers are at the limit of that .

Posted by
19169 posts

I will add ,the cheap plug adapters are rated at 5A with resettable
fuses. I can well.imagine hair curlers are at the limit of that .

5A at 230V would be 1150W. From what I have seen, and it's difficult because sometimes advertisements don't give important information, like wattage or amperage, but I think curling irons tend to be less than 1000W (I've seen 600W), so 5A would probably handle them.

However, I'm more concerned about the polarization, because the curling irons I've taken apart only have a one pole switch, on the side that would be hot if the appliance is properly polarized. This configuration prevents an internal short from turning on an unattended curler and starting a fire. Some of the adapters I've investigated reverse the polarity and therefore defeat the fire hazard protection.

Posted by
4329 posts

I still want to know if Santa fits down the chimney if you use a straightener instead of a curling iron. Ha!

Posted by
195 posts

I've found that even with a converter switch, my American devices get too hot. A few years ago, knowing that I would be going to Europe at least once a year, I purchased a curling iron and flat iron while in Hungary. Absolutely worth the small cost.

Posted by
19169 posts

Christy, Bravo!

It's just better to use an appliance that is designed for the available power.

Without knowing how the heating elements in these devices are designed, I can't say for sure, but I have a suspicion that the current through them is limited somehow by what is called impedance, which is proportional to the frequency of the input power. So at 50 Hz in Europe, instead of 60 Hz, there is less impedance and, therefore, higher current through the heating elements, which leads to overheating.

Posted by
65 posts

Santa aside, I really enjoy Lee's detailed explanations. I'm a geek at heart, as was my now deceased partner. I used to tell him that if someone asked him the time he would tell them how to build a clock!
This thread makes me smile....