Whether you are planning a trip across the pond or a far-flung adventure to the South Pacific, you need to understand the voltage and plugs used by the country you are visiting in order to use your hair dryer. Remember that a converter transforms voltage so you don't blow up your hair dryer and an adapter allows you to change the shape of the plug to fit a power outlet.
Basic Electricity Guide
If you plan on traveling with a single-voltage device, like a hair dryer, you need to know the power supply at your destination to ensure you can use it safely. Traveling outside the U.S. can be tricky if your appliance doesn't have dual voltage; if this is the case, you'll need a converter and an adapter. Whereas electricity in the United States is typically 120 volts (at 60 Hz), many countries around the world use 220-240 volts (at 50 or 60 Hz).
Worldstandards offers a list of plugs, sockets and the voltage used by each country, helping you determine the adapter, plug configuration and converter you will need. Look on the handle or near the cord of your hair dryer to check if it is dual-voltage; it should say 110/240V. If not, you may need a converter. Some devices have a toggle switch for switching between voltages.
Adapter and Converter Choices
It is important to keep in mind that there are two different kinds of converters: the types that run heating appliances such as hair dryers and curling irons that use a lot of power and those that use less power for razors, computers and camcorders. Not all converters and adapters are made alike. Consider one of these recommended options.
BONAZZA 2000W Universal World Travel Adapter
The BONAZZA 2000W Universal World Travel Adapter and Converter features two modes: an adapter mode for dual voltage appliances (i.e., 100-240V devices like curling irons and straighteners) and a converter mode for a single voltage devices like hair dryers.
It also has high temperature, short circuit and surge protections built-in. It is an easy to use, all-in-one adapter and converter combo that fits electrical outlets in over 150 countries. Vitchelo.com rates the Bonazza as one of the smallest and best travel adapters in the world, noting it is user-friendly, solid and sturdy. This device comes with a 60-day warranty and a lifetime guarantee.
The selling price is about $36.
Hyted 2000 Watt Travel Adapter/Converter
An all-in-one option that can be used in 120 countries, the Hyted 2000 Watt Travel Adaptor and Converter is suitable for hair dryers. Weighing only 4.8 ounces, it is one of the smallest converters on the market that offers a special hair dryer mode.
This device has a built-in short circuit and surge protector and comes with a lifetime guarantee. Most Amazon customers are very happy with this product although it was noted that the design does not work well in New Zealand power outlets. Tripsavvy includes the Hyted among its list of best travel adapters; it is the only converter recommended by them that can be used with a hair dryer.
Retail price is $37.95.
Travel Smart by Conair
The Travel Smart by Conair international converter set (TS702CRR) is designed for high-end electronic styling tools and can be used in 150 countries. It converts 220/240V electricity for 110/120V single-voltage appliances and has a slide switch on the top of the unit that corrects wattage for your appliance. This way, you can use it for everything from shavers to curling irons.
Orei 7 Travel Adapter Set
The Orei 7 travel plug set consists of seven international travel adapters that can be used in over 150 countries. The handy fitted zip-up case is small enough to tuck into a carry-on and each adapter is clearly labeled with the type and the country/countries where it is commonly used.
Each adapter also has two-outlet plugs, so it is possible to charge two devices at once, and because the adapters are grounded, you can plug in a three-pronged power cord too. It is important to note that this is just an adapter set and does not convert voltage.
With over 1,500 customer reviews on Amazon, the Orei 7 has a near perfect overall rating. It sells for about $28.
Know Before You Go
If you are planning to travel internationally with a 110V single-voltage hair dryer, make sure you know what type of adapter you need and double check that the converter you bring with you is made for hair dryers. Make sure you purchase your converters and adapters before you travel because they can be surprisingly difficult to find abroad.