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hair dryer use

bringing my hairdryer and voltage converter to spain
my hairdresser told my I would "fry" my hiar because it would over heat


Posted by
16894 posts

If your hairdryer feels imperfectly matched to the voltage converter, the hairdryer motor may get overheated, but your hair won't. I assume your dryer has more than one heat setting. I also assume that your hotels will usually have driers available, as that is pretty standard in most European hotels now.

Posted by
5687 posts

Hair dryers use a lot of power. They can trip circuit breakers and blow fuses if you are using one in an old dwelling without adequate power. I've heard more than one story of this happening. Some places apparently put up signs for guests warning them not to use hair dryers. If you know where you are staying, I would consider contacting the places ahead of time and asking them about hair dryer use.

A voltage converter doesn't provide any additional current - so it doesn't solve a potential power problem. It only keeps the hair dryer that isn't designed to work on 240 volts from burning out.

It might be easier/better to buy a little hair dryer when you get over there, so you can be pretty sure it will work. Or buy a "travel" hair dryer which may not need a voltage converter (just a plug converter, much simpler). Then you can leave your "regular" one at home and not worry about it.

The advice to use the dryer at a lower power setting is wise, though - because then you reduce the chance of drawing too much power and blowing a fuse.

Posted by
1205 posts

Why would your hairdresser tell you that? If the blow dryer over heats ( and it happened to me) than you shut off the blowdryer and let it cool down and unplug it. It will not fry your hair. The blow dryer may overheat but as I said, if you see this you shut it off fast. Your blowdryer should work with the converter but if it does not, as it was already said you should have blow dryers in the rooms of all the hotels on your tour. If there is no blowdryer, then ask the front desk for one. If you don't want to do this buy a blow dryer in a near by pharmacy. I travel to Europe almost very year, so I bought a blow dryer while I was in Florence and I bring it with me to Europe each year and it works well. I also found that the blow dryers in the hotels are not hot enough ( powerful enough) so I wanted a blow dryer like the one I have at home in the states. It was taking too long to dry my hair with the hotel blow dryer and I have short hair, above my shoulders. I also need to hurry up so sometimes ( sounds silly) I use both blow dryers, mine and the hotel at the same time to get my hair dry. I use a curling iron to curl my hair so I don't care how drys my hair is as long as it is dry and then I curl it. I also bought my curling iron in Paris and bring that when I go to Europe.

Posted by
33107 posts

Not all voltage converters are created equal.

If you have to use one because your hair dryer isn't suitable for overseas, it is highly likely that the small converter you might bring may fail spectacularly in a shower of sparks, smoke, and if you are really likely - flames. It may even take the dryer with it.

To properly convert that much amperage you need a big heavy transformer rated at the wattage rating of the dryer plus about 10%. You won't want to carry 10 pounds of additional transformer weight.

1.Use the hotel provided dryer.

2.Bring a universal one with you.

3.Buy a cheap one in Europe.

Do check the existing one - the label on it may indicate that it is dual voltage (if so, be sure to turn the switch around).

Posted by
10344 posts

Some people reporting in here do this for hair dryers:
they see if the hotel provides one. If it doesn't, on day 2 they buy a cheap one over there. That's Alternative 1.

Alternative 2 potentially adds some excitement to morning 2 of your trip:
bring your own hairdryer from home and go for it. If you blow some of the fuses in the hotel, you could view it as an exciting extra to the beginning of your trip when the hotel security staff visits you in the morning while you're in your bathrobe with wet hair (hotel security may not be in a good mood after you've messed with their electrical system).

Posted by
142 posts

I brought my dual voltage hair dryer from the States which worked fine. Some hotels had perfectly adequate hair dryers, while some did not. One hotel we stayed at in Italy had a hair dryer that I swear was from the 1970's. It was a huge contraption that had what looked like a vacuum cleaner hose attached to it. On top of that, it had weak air flow and little heat. I remember some of the women on the RS tour stating they wished they brought their dryers from home.

Posted by
4171 posts

Anathema to most I'm sure, but I'm a strong advocate of having a totally appliance-free hair cut and style, both at home and abroad. Saves time time and is hassle-free. I take a comb I really don't need and don't even bother with a brush.

Posted by
8200 posts

I always carry my own travel hair dryer. We also have our own voltage converter that's given us many years of good usage.

When traveling, I never want to be a "greaser."

Posted by
32237 posts

I agree with the three options that Nigel posted. Using a high wattage appliance with a Voltage Convertor could be "problematic". Your Voltage Convertor likely uses a solid-state conversion method, which produces a very poor AC (sine) wave. If the Hair Dryer is an older model consisting basically of just a heating coil, fan and switch, it may work fine. However if it's a newer model with electronic control circuits, you may have problems. Some hair appliance manufacturers specifically prohibit use of their products with voltage converters, so you may want to check that.

It would be unfortunate if you had the same experience that I witnessed in a hotel in Stresa. A woman from the U.S. switched on her 115 VAC Hairdryer and promptly knocked out the power to a portion of the hotel. She was also treated to the aforementioned fireworks display of sparks and smoke. The owner of the hotel was NOT impressed!

Posted by
891 posts

Some years ago I brought a curling iron that blows hot air and a converter to Italy. Took about 30 seconds to blow the circuit breaker. The hotel electrician visited me, he was very nice and checked that I had a converter. He told me to turn the curling iron to low which I did. Took about 30 seconds to blow the circuit breaker again. Again the electrician visited and the hotel owner was with him.
they requested I not use the curling iron again. The hotel owner, Mrs. Kahn, had a curling iron just like mine that I could borrow.
Worked great. At the end of our stay we were going to be traveling around italy for another 2 weeks. the curling iron Mrs. Kahn loaned me had never been used so I asked her if she would sell it to me and she did. it goes with me to Europe every trip and has made my traveling a lot easier. I suggest you buy an inexpensive one over there, bring it home and don't forget to take it with you on your next trip!

Posted by
9110 posts

Despite all the illuminating voltage and amperage discussion, hair dryers have a motor. American motors are designed for 60hz, Europeans for 50hz. No matter how you change the voltage around, nothing a tourist will own can switch the frequency. The machine will be short lived.

My wife's dual voltage, U. S. bought dryer konked out somewhere in 220 land. She went out and bought herself a new one the next day. It lasted a couple of months after she got home. She now has two and we have matrimonial happiness

Buy another 220v / 50hz dryer early on. Solve the rest of the problem with adapters.

Posted by
5837 posts

...never want to be a "greaser"

First: What's a" greaser"? Is that someone whose job involves lubrication like cars or heavy machinery?

Second: I saw a $100+ 800 watt 120v iron get fried when a "voltage converter" didn't work. The converter name plate rated the device for more than 800 watts. Apparently the converter was not a step down transformer which is a relatively heavy device.

Posted by
2145 posts

I don't think your hair dryer will fry your hair but I'd keep a close eye on a curling iron or electric rollers. My dual voltage curling iron heats up very quickly in Europe so I do my hair as fast as I can and unplug it. I haven't blown any fuses but I'm always aware of the possibility of doing that or burning down the hotel!