Which plug adapter do you need to bring for using hair straighteners in Costa Rica?

Costa Rican power outlet

Will my hair straighteners work in Costa Rica?

First check that your hair straighteners can work in Costa Rica:

If not then you can either:

  • Use a power converter [7] (or voltage transformer) - this will enable you to use your existing hair straighteners and other applicances with a 120 volt Costa Rican power outlet, however this is significantly heavier and more expensive than dedicated travel hair straighteners. A voltage transformer changes the voltage but not the actual shape of the plug on your hair straighteners to fit in the wall outlet used in Costa Rica, so check that the power converter [7] has the correct power adapter for Costa Rica otherwise you will need to purchase a seperate power adapter. Be aware that your own personal hair straighteners might not be suited for travelling and you could risk damage in transit.

Warning: If your hair straighteners won't handle 120 volts you run a risk of damage to your hair straighteners, an electrical fire hazard or blowing a fuse. Before attempting to use your hair straighteners in Costa Rica read the instruction manual first to ensure safe operation.

Using hair straighteners in Costa Rica

Will my hair straighteners work in Costa Rica?

This will depend on if your hair straighteners is designed to handle the 120 volts which are used in Costa Rica. If you're using either dual voltage hair straighteners or your hair straighteners is designed to handle 120 volts and you have the correct plug adapter then you'll be able to use the hair straighteners in Costa Rica. If not then then you will need to consider purchasing either a power converter [7] or dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2]. Read our guide on do you need a voltage converter to use your domestic hair straighteners for help deciding which solution is more suitable.

How can I use my US hair straighteners in Costa Rica?

The instructions on this page assume that you are an America reader travelling to Costa Rica and will provide guidance for using your American hair straighteners with a Costa Rican power outlet.

Costa Rica power outlets and plug sockets

What frequency is used in Costa Rica?

The frequency of the alternating current from a Costa Rican power outlet is 60 Hz.

What is the voltage in Costa Rica?

The common voltage in Costa Rica is 120 volts.

Which travel adapter will you need for using  hair straighteners in Costa Rica?

Type A and B power outlets

Which travel adapter will you need for using hair straighteners in Costa Rica?

There are two types of power outlets used in Costa Rica, these are type B and A with the primary power outlets being type B:

  • Plug Type A - This ungrounded wall socket, technically called a type A power outlet, can be identified by the 2 adjacent slots for live and neutral pins.
  • Plug Type B - You can identify this power socket by the 2 thin slots next to each other with a semicircular shaped hole below for the long earth pin.

A Type B power adapter [4] will allow you to use 120 volt hair straighteners in Costa Rica; read the step by step guide below for full details of using a travel adapter for Costa Rica. Note that unless you that have dual voltage hair straighteners you might also have to use a voltage converter.

Dual voltage hair straighteners

Are my hair straighteners dual voltage?

Dual voltage hair straighteners

Are my hair straighteners dual voltage?

An easy way how to tell if your hair straighteners will handle dual voltage is to check for either a sticker or numbers printed on the handle or plug. This location might vary depending on the make or model of your hair straighteners, it should also state on the box. Some dual voltage models might change automatically but other straighteners will have a switch which allows you to change between different regions depending on which country you are in.

  • A specific number such as 110V indicates single voltage hair straighteners. If this number matches the 120 volts used in Costa Rica then you should be able to use your hair straighteners with a Costa Rican power outlet.
  • A small voltage range with a dash such as 100-120V also indicates single voltage hair straighteners which can accomodate small voltage fluctuations. If the 120 volts used in a Costa Rican power outlet falls within the range shown on your hair straighteners then you should be able to use it in Costa Rica.
  • A large voltage range separated with a dash or slash such as 100/240V indicates dual voltage hair straighteners capable of being used in Costa Rica or any other country.

Travelling to Costa Rica with hair straighteners

Can you take hair straighteners in your carry on to Costa Rica?

Travel hair straighteners with heat protective cap

Can you take hair straighteners in your carry on to Costa Rica?

According to the TSA guidelines for hair straighteners [10] there are no restrictions when carrying mains powered hair straighteners in your carry on hand luggage through airport security in the US. The TSA also recommends that you should verify that your airline that is flying you to Costa Rica will allow hair straighteners onboard and that they will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the aircraft. Packing the hair straighteners in a dedicated heat resistant protective hot tools travel case [12] leaves them easily accessible when going through airport security checks, they can be packed away quickly and should avoid a tangle of power cords in your carry on luggage (the TSA advices wrapping wires tightly around electronic items). If you intend to pack fragile or expensive hair straighteners in your hand held luggage then it is advisable to use hard carry on luggage [13] as this offers the most protection against drops and knocks during your journey.

Is it safe to bring my hair straighteners to Costa Rica?

Bringing dual voltage travel hair straighteners are preferable to packing your existing hair straighteners as it is safer to assume that they will work with the 120 volt power outlets used with a Costa Rican power outlet, provided that you bring the correct power adapter for Costa Rica. It is also worth concidering that packing expensive domestic hair straighteners could put them at risk due to potential loss or damage in transit by an airport baggage handler in Costa Rica. The cost and inconvenience of replacing or repairing expensive quality domestic hair straighteners in Costa Rica could be higher than purchasing much cheaper dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] before your trip. If you intend to bring along your own hair straighteners in your suitcase it is recommended to either slot them inside a boot or sneaker to protect from light knocks, alternatively use a heat resistant and shockproof hot tools travel case [12] or heat travel mat for hair straighteners and curling irons [14] which will also allow the hair straighteners to be transported whilst hot without risk of burning.

Power converters for Costa Rica

Will a voltage converter work with my normal hair straighteners in Costa Rica?

The correct model of power converter [7] (or voltage transformer) allows hair straighteners using a different voltage to work with the 120 volt power outlet used in Costa Rica. A power converter is suitable for travellers who want to bring along their existing domestic hair straighteners, however it could be more expensive to purchase a power converter than it is to buy dedicated dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2]. A power converter is considerably heavier than travel hair straighteners making a power converter less suited for packing.

What is the difference between a power converter and a power adapter for Costa Rica?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a power converter and a power adapter for Costa Rica?

A heavy and expensive power converter [7] will transform the voltage of 120 volts from a Costa Rican power outlet to work with non-120 volt hair straighteners, whereas a more lightweight and smaller power adapter (or plug adapter) will change the shape of the plug on your hair straighteners to fit into a power outlet in Costa Rica.

Hair straightener safety

Are hair straighteners dangerous?

The temperature of the ceramic plates used in hair straighteners can reach over 200 degrees with the potential to burn hair, skin, and even start a fire if not used correctly. According to figures from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service electrical beauty products have been responsible for an estimated 650,000 fires in the United Kingdom alone.

How can I minimise risk using hair straighteners?

A heat resistant glove

How can I minimise risk using hair straighteners?

  • Skin protection: Wear heat resistant gloves [15] during styling to protect hands from heat.
  • Children's protection: With 10% of children's burns being caused by hair straighteners it is recommended to look for hair straighteners which include a heat resistant end cap [18] to keep the plates closed shut when not in use, making it easier to store out of reach of children.
  • Luggage protection: Placing hair straighteners directly into luggage without allowing them to cool down can risk damage to clothes and heating up combustible or flammable packed items. If your hair straighteners weren't supplied with a heat protective cap then wrap them in a heat mat [14] or use a hot tools travel case [12] to pack them into luggage whilst warm. A travel case will also keep expensive hair straighteners protected from damage during transit.
  • Hair protection: Applying a heat protectant spray [16] prior to using hair straighteners is essential to prevent burning, as well as using the correct technique for your hair type - read our guide on how to use hair straighteners for comprehensive information.
  • Fire protection: It can take up to 40 minutes for hair straighteners to cool down so resting your straighteners on a heat mat [14] could reduce the risk of setting fire to furniture. Forgetting to turn off hot domestic appliances can also cause fires. This risk can be reduced by using a model of straightener with a timer socket [17] which will turn itself off automatically after a certain length of time, you can also add this feature to any basic straighteners by using a timer socket in a power outlet.

How can I add a safety timer to my existing hair straighteners?

Hair straighteners connected to a timer power outlet

How can I add a safety timer to my existing hair straighteners?

1 in 12 owners of hair straighteners admit to forgetting to turn them off after use, unless your hair straighteners have a built in automatic timer then leaving them on could potentially start a fire. However you can add this functionality to any model even if it doesn't have an integrated timer:

  1. Add an automatic timer to any hair straighteners by plugging them into a timer socket [17] then plugging the timer into a power outlet.
  2. Turn on the timer and use the hair straighteners as normal.
  3. After you have finishing using the hair straighteners turn off the power at the outlet.
  4. However if you forget to turn the power outlet off then the timer will automatically switch off the straighteners after a pre-set length of time. Depending on the model of timer this could be 15, 30, 60 or 120 minutes - ideally pick the shortest length of time possible.
  5. For added peace of mind use a power outlet splitter [19] to share the outlet from the timer with both your hair straighteners and a lamp. When the timer is running both the straighteners and the lamp will be turned on, making the lamp a clear indicator that the straighteners are still being heated. When leaving a room it is second nature to ensure all lights are turned off, if the lamp is still on then this acts as a reminder to switch off the straighteners.

How to treat a hot iron burn

If you accidentally burn yourself run cold water under your burn and if it is severe it is advised to seek medical attention from a doctor or hospital.

How to use hair straighteners in Costa Rica using a type B power adapter

How to power hair straighteners in Costa Rica with a Type B travel adapter.

  1. Please ensure that your hair straighteners are either dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] or works with a 120 volt power supply but if it doesn't then do not proceed because you could create an electrical fire hazard, damage your hair straighteners or blow a fuse. Some travel hair straighteners might sometimes have a switch to toggle between voltages, before operating your straighteners ensure the switch is set to accept 120 volts to use in Costa Rica; consult the manufacturers instructions to find out where the switch is located.
  2. If the plug shape on your hair straighteners isn't the same type of outlet used in Costa Rica you will need to use a Type B plug adapter [4]. The power adapter is designed to adapt plugs on appliances from other countries for an electrical outlet in Costa Rica simply by changing the shape of the plug, however it doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your hair straighteners to work with a 120 volt outlet.
  3. First you'll need to insert the Type B plug adapter in the Costa Rican power outlet. You can identify the plug outlet by two thin slots parallel to each other for live and neutral blades with a hole below for the longer ground pin.
  4. Then plug in your hair straighteners into the Type B plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the Costa Rican power outlet.
  6. You can now switch on the straighteners in Costa Rica.
How to use  hair straighteners in Costa Rica using a type B power adapter

How to use hair straighteners in Costa Rica using a type A power adapter

The WikiConnections guide on how to power your hair straighteners in Costa Rica using a 2 blade Type A power charger.

  1. Please make sure that your hair straighteners are either dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] or is compatible with a 120 volt power supply; if it doesn't then don't proceed as you could create an electrical fire hazard, damage your hair straighteners or blow a fuse. Some travel hair straighteners will typically have a switch to toggle between voltages, before operating your straighteners ensure the switch is set to accept 120 volts to use in Costa Rica; please consult the instructions to find out how to do this.
  2. This guide assumes that you don't already own hair straighteners with a Type A plug - if it does then you won't need a power adapter (but please check that your hair straighteners can work with a 120 volt power outlet). You will need to buy a Type A plug adapter [6] if the shape of plug on your hair straighteners isn't the same shape as the power outlet which is used in Costa Rica. This Type A plug adapter will convert different plugs from other countries for use with a power outlet used in Costa Rica by changing the shape of the plug, but the adapter doesn't change the voltage of the hair straighteners to work with a 120 volt supply.
  3. Start the process by taking the Type A plug adapter and inserting it into the wall outlet. You can recognise this wall outlet by the 2 slots adjacent to each other where the short two blades go.
  4. Plug in your hair straighteners into the Type A plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the Costa Rican power outlet. You can now turn on your straighteners to use in Costa Rica.
How to use  hair straighteners in Costa Rica using a type A power adapter

See also

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costa_Rica - Costa Rica Wikipedia web page
  2. https://www.amazon.ca/Salona-Professional-Straightener-Worldwide-Resistant/dp/B00RNFY344/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1519922940&sr=8-1&keywords=Salona+Professional+1%22+Titanium+Flat+Iron+Hair+Straightener+Worldwide+Dual+Voltage&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnectio-20&linkId=890eced392f65c51961e1309e5a4c538 - dual voltage travel hair straighteners
  3. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/typeB.htm - Type B power outlet
  4. Type B plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type B power outlets without converting voltage
  5. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/typeA.htm - Type A power outlet
  6. Type A plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type A power outlets without converting voltage
  7. Power converter - A step up step down power converter converts 110-120 volts up to 220-240 volts and 220-240 volts down to 110-120 Volts
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country
  9. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/list_bylocation.htm - IEC World Plugs by location
  10. https://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa/cib_results.aspx?search=hair%20iron - TSA guidelines for hair straighteners
  11. Dual voltage travel hair dryer - Folding handle hair dryer with dual voltage suitable for international travel
  12. Hard case for hot tools - Hard case designed for storing and protecting a flat irons, curling irons and hair straighteners..
  13. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on.
  14. Heat travel mat for hair straighteners and curling irons - Protects surfaces from hot hair irons and wraps around the appliance allowing instant packing into baggage.
  15. Heat resistant gloves for hair styling - Heat resistant glove recommended to protect skin against the risk of heat from a curling iron, flat iron or hair dryer
  16. Heat protectant spray - Thermal protector spray used prior to styling with heated tools such as blow dryers and flat irons.
  17. Energy saving outlet with timer - Automatic power shut down of a connected appliance after a preset length of time.
  18. Hair straighteners which include a heat resistant end cap - Example of hair straighteners with a protective cap suitable for travel.
  19. Power outlet splitter - Splits a single power outlet to multiple power outlets, allowing multiple appliances to simultaneously use a single wall outlet.