How do I use my hair dryer in Costa Rica?

Costa Rican power outlet

Can I use my blow dryer in Costa Rica?

First check your hair dryer can handle the voltage in Costa Rica:

If not then either:

  • Use a power converter (or voltage transformer) - this will enable you to use your existing hair dryer and other applicances with a 120 volt Costa Rican power outlet, however this is substantially heavier and more expensive than a dedicated travel hair dryer. A voltage transformer will change the voltage but won't change the actual shape of the plug on your hair dryer to fit in the wall outlet used in Costa Rica, therefore please check that the power converter comes with the right power adapter for Costa Rica otherwise you will still need to bring a seperate power adapter. Please be aware your own existing hair dryer might not be suitable for travel and you could risk damage in your suitcase. [7] [AD]
Warning: If your hair dryer won't handle 120 volts used in Costa Rica you run a risk of damage to your hair dryer, an electrical fire hazard or a blown fuse. Before attempting to use your hair dryer in Costa Rica check the instruction manual to ensure safe operation.

Using a hair dryer in Costa Rica

Will my hair dryer work in Costa Rica?

This depends on if your hair dryer can handle the 120 volt power outlets used in Costa Rica. If you're using either a dual voltage hair dryer or your hair dryer can handle 120 volts and you have the correct power adapter then you can use it in Costa Rica. If not then you will need to consider purchasing either a dual voltage travel hair dryer [2] or a heavier and more expensive power converter. Read the section on do you need a voltage converter to use your hair dryer for help deciding which solution is more suitable. [7] [AD]

Best travel hair dryers for Costa Rica

Choosing the best travel blow dryer

An ALCI safety plug

Choosing the best travel blow dryer

When choosing the best hair dryer look for a sturdy but lightweight dual-voltage model which operates with a 120 volt Costa Rican power outlet power outlet with a folding handle, long cable and a safety plug. If drying thick hair buy a model which includes a diffuser that uses a faster 1600+ watt motor.

Things to consider when buying a new hair dryer

  1. You shouldn't be tempted to go for the cheapest travel dryer on the market; as well as concerns with safety there is a greater chance that the dryer could break during travelling abroad due to cheaper components.
  2. Your hair dryer has to be dual voltage in order to operate with a 120 volt Costa Rican power outlet.
  3. A 'cool shot' button will quickly cool hair down after drying to hold in a style but this feature is missing in smaller dryers.
  4. The safest travel hair dryers will include an 'ALCI' safety plug which reduces the risk of overloading the motor leading to starting a fire - these can be recognised by 'reset' and 'test' switches on the plug.
  5. If you have curlier or thicker hair then you could need a travel hair dryer with a more powerful motor. A higher wattage ceramic dryer which has a diffuser will dry hair much faster, thereby avoiding damage.
  6. Try looking for lightweight travel hair dryers which are durable enough to survive being transported in baggage, dryers with a folding handle will mean more space.
  7. Hotel rooms in Costa Rica could have a mirror positioned too far away from a outlet which makes it hard to use the hair dryer, therefore when buying a blow dryer search for the unit with the lengthiest power cord available or use either a power extension cord or a hand mirror.
  8. It might be cheaper and more convenient purchasing a new dryer which includes a diffuser and concentrator rather than scouring stores to look for expensive third party attachments.
  9. Ideal travel hair dryers should let you to control both speed and temperature with high and low options, lower temperatures with slower speeds prevent damage to hair whilst a faster hotter speed can quickly dry wet hair.
Which is a good dual voltage ionic hair dryer with diffuser attachment for Costa Rica?

Hot Tools 1044 Ionic Travel Dryer with folding handle

Which is a good dual voltage ionic hair dryer with diffuser attachment for Costa Rica?

  • The X5 Superlite Ceramic Ionic has a 1600 watt motor with a 1.65m power cable, it is supplied with a tourmaline diffuser however lacks cool shot.
  • A Hot Tools 1044 Ionic Travel Dryer features a long 1.82 metre power cable for greater freedom when styling with an ALCI safety plug and removable filter to clean easily. With a strong 1875 watt motor it also has a cool shot option making it more suited for drying thick hair.

Each ionic hair dryer includes a diffuser and concentrator with powerful motors to make them the best travel hair dryers suitable for thick hair. Each dryer is lightweight and folds up to fit in carry-on baggage, only requiring a suitable plug adapter for Costa Rica to fit into a Costa Rican power outlet.  [8] [8] [9] [AD]

What is the best mini ionic travel hair dryer?

BaBylissPRO Tourmaline Titanium with concentrator

What is the best mini ionic travel hair dryer?

  • For quickly drying fine or thin hair whilst on the go then a ceramic 1200 watt Conair MiniPRO is the most cost effective mini ionic hairdryer available to buy.
  • For a folding hairdryer which is compact enough to carry in a handbag then the 10.5oz BaBylissPRO Tourmaline Titanium is recommend. With a removable filter and tourmaline outlet that can emit infrared heat for a glossy finish this dryer has features which are typically reserved for larger dryers.

Both are dual voltage mini hair dryers and when used with the right power adapter for a Costa Rican power outlet they should work in Costa Rica and fold conveniently enough to be carried for drying on the go. Both have a 2 speed motor, have a 1.5m power cable and include a concentrator.  [10] [10] [11] [AD]

What is a good hair dryer for thick hair?

Thick hair will take much longer to dry and might be difficult to dry without your hair going frizzy, the best option will be an ionic dryer, if the hair is curly we suggest a diffuser as both are suitable to manage and dry hair smoothly. Both an Hot Tools 1044 Ionic Travel Dryer or the X5 Superlite Ceramic Ionic are recommended because they both have powerful motors, ionic outlets and included diffusers - avoid buying a blow dryer with a motor that is less powerful than 1600 watts as it will struggle to dry thicker hair.  [8] [9] [AD]

What is a good dual voltage travel hair dryer for Costa Rica?

Berta Folding Hair Dryer with attached concentrator

What is a good dual voltage travel hair dryer for Costa Rica?

  • Using a powerful two speed 1875 watt motor and removable filter the Conair Compact Styler features cool shot which can will rapidly cool hair down.
  • The Berta Folding Hair Dryer also features a cool shot setting, a ceramic tourmaline air outlet resulting in safer styling, 2 heat settings, a longer 1.8m power cable and comes with a concentrator.

Both models fold, include an ALCI safety plug to prevent power overloads and support dual voltage making them perfect for travel to Costa Rica in carry on luggage when used with a power adapter for a Costa Rican power outlet.  [12] [12] [13] [AD]

Best travel hair dryers for 2019

Which is the best travel blow dryer to buy for Costa Rica?

Conair
MiniPRO
Budget mini ionic hair dryer with 1200 watt 2 speed motor and bundled concentrator attachment
BaByliss
PRO
https://www.amazon.ca/BaBylissPRO-Bambino-Titanium-Travel-Dryer/dp/B00G6K4Q2G/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=luxury-beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1526763008&sr=8-4&keywords=BaBylissPRO+Tourmaline+Titanium+Travel+Dryer&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnectio-20&linkId=72e11c75afb6439cf02b232579a5f2b0
Conair
Compact
https://www.amazon.ca/Conair-Compact-Folding-Handle-Voltage/dp/B01KXNCTA2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1519921295&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=Conair+1875+Watt+Compact+Hair+Dryer+with+Folding+Handle&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnectio-20&linkId=51431d36fc488ca4d8a48ab1f4ffe61f
Berta
Folding
https://www.amazon.ca/Berta-Negative-Folding-Voltage-100-240V/dp/B015MI8CE0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1519920710&sr=1-3-fkmr0&keywords=erta+1875W+Folding+Hair+Dryer+Dual+Voltage+Blow+dryer+Negative+Ions+Travel+Dryer&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnectio-20&linkId=3dc0e1fbd88d50b389612b2d9b3c34aa
X5
Superlite
https://www.amazon.ca/Travel-dryer-1600w-dual-voltage-Count/dp/B001FSK70Y/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1519941997&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=X5+Superlite+1600W+Dual+Voltage+Ceramic-Ionic+Travel+Dryer&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnectio-20&linkId=6fafe5e0fa9b14128840bf0cecfa35a7
Hot Tools
1044
https://www.amazon.ca/Hot-Tools-Professional-Ht1044-Folding/dp/B003A1DWRO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1519989887&sr=1-1&keywords=Hot+Tools+Professional+Ht1044+Ionic+1875+Watt+Travel+Dryer&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnectio-20&linkId=d22904e808073d320ddc26958cd3bab5
Class Mini Compact Compact with diffuser
Works in Costa Rica Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Works in US Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dual voltage Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Watts 1200 1000 1875 1875 1600 1875
Folds Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ceramic Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ionic Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tourmaline Yes Yes Yes
Infrared Yes
Speed settings 2 2 2 2 2 2
Heat settings 1 1 1 2 1 1
Cool shot Yes Yes Yes
Removable filter Yes Yes
Concentrator Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Diffuser Yes Yes
ALCI safety plug Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cord length 1.52m 1.52m 1.52m 1.8m 1.65m 1.82m
Color
Estimated price under C$50 under C$70 around C$2 under C$45 around C$80 under C$60
Buy Buy Buy Buy Buy Buy

Original testing and suitability of hair dryer models was compiled 2017, subsequent updates and price checks performed monthly - last updated April 2019.

Costa Rica power outlets and plug sockets

What mains voltage is used in Costa Rica?

Power outlets in Costa Rica are 120 volts.

What is the electrical frequency used in Costa Rica?

The frequency of the alternating current in a Costa Rican power outlet is 60 Hz. [14]

Which travel adapter do you need to bring to use a hair dryer in Costa Rica?

Type A and B power outlets

Which travel adapter do you need to bring to use a hair dryer in Costa Rica?

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

  • Plug Type A - You can identify this plug outlet by the two slots adjacent to each other.
  • Plug Type B - You can recognise this plug outlet by the 2 thin slots parallel to each other where the short two plug socket blades sit with a hole below for the slightly long grounded pin.

A Type B plug adapter is suitable for powering a 120 volt hair dryer in Costa Rica; read the simple instructions below for full details of how to use a hair dryer in Costa Rica with a plug adapter. Note that unless you that have a dual voltage hair dryer you will need to confirm if you also have to bring a power converter.  [4] [15] [AD]

Dual voltage hair dryers

How can I tell if my hair dryer is dual voltage?

Dual voltage hair dryer

How can I tell if my hair dryer is dual voltage?

The method to tell if your hair dryer supports dual voltage is to look for either a sticker or numbers printed on the plug, handle or the base of your hair dryer. The location might vary depending on the make or model of your hair dryer, it could also be written in the instruction manual or on the box. Some dual voltage hair dryers can change automatically, however other hair dryers will have a button or switch which allows you to change between different regions.

  • Single voltage might say a specific number - such as 110V. If this number matches the 120 volts used in Costa Rica then you should be able to use your hair dryer with a Costa Rican power outlet.
  • Single voltage could also have a small voltage range with a dash to accomodate small voltage fluctuations - such as 100-120V. If the 120 volts used in a Costa Rican power outlet falls within the range shown on your hair dryer then you can use it in Costa Rica.
  • Dual voltage will typically say a large voltage range separated with a slash - such as 100/240V. Your hair dryer will be capable of being used in Costa Rica or any other country if these numbers are shown.

How can I use my dual voltage blow dryer in Costa Rica?

  1. Check that you are using a dual voltage hair dryer and that it will work with a 120 volt power outlet.
  2. If the hair dryer is dual voltage then ensure it is switched to the 100-127v range. This is usually found on the handle or base of the blow dryer and requires a screwdriver or coin to switch.
  3. Plug the hair dryer into the power adapter for Costa Rica and then plug in the power adapter into the Costa Rican power outlet.
  4. Your hair dryer is now ready to be used in Costa Rica.
  5. It's normal for dual voltage hair dryers that originated from a country that operates with 220-240 volts to work slower when in a country which uses 100-127V electricity.

How do I switch the voltage on a dual voltage travel hair dryer?

  1. Normal dual voltage hair dryers have either a switch or dial which toggles between 2 voltages although some dryers can automatically detect the voltage used in Costa Rica.
  2. This switch or dial requires either a small screwdriver or coin to set the dryer to the correct voltage between a 110v-120v range or the 220v-240v range.
  3. In addition to switching this it's worth making a note of the 2 switch positions as the painted numbers are prone to rubbing off on certain models of travel dryer.

Travelling to Costa Rica with a hair dryer

Can I bring a blow dryer in my carry on?

Folding travel hair dryer with cord wrapped for carry on

Can I bring a blow dryer in my carry on?

According to the TSA guidelines for hair dryers there is no restriction on carrying a mains powered hair dryer in your carry on hand luggage through airport security in the United States. The TSA recommends that you should check that the airline which is flying you to Costa Rica will allow a hair dryer onboard and that it will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the airplane.

Packing the blow dryer in a dedicated heat resistant protective travel hair dryer case leaves it easily accessible when going through airport security, it can be packed away quickly and should avoid a tangle of wires in your carry on luggage (the TSA advices wrapping cables tightly around electronic items). If you intend to bring fragile or expensive hair dryers in your hand held luggage then it is advisable to bring hard carry on luggage as this provides the greatest protection against drops and knocks during transit.   [16] [17] [18] [AD]

Should you bring a travel hair dryer or domestic hair dryer to Costa Rica?

It is preferable to packing a dual voltage travel hair dryer rather than packing an existing domestic hair dryer to Costa Rica (marked with 'For domestic use only') as it ensures that it will work with the 120 volt power outlets used with a Costa Rican power outlet (provided that you use the correct plug adapter for Costa Rica). Travel hair dryers typically feature a folding handle and are much lighter, this will help reduce the size and weight in travellers luggage compared to packing a domestic hair dryer. Please note that bringing your expensive domestic blow dryer might place it at risk due to potential damage or loss in transit by an airline baggage handler in Costa Rica. The cost of repairing an expensive specialised domestic blow dryer in Costa Rica might be higher than buying a cheaper dual voltage travel hair dryer [2] and a suitable travel hair dryer case .  [17] [AD]

Is there a hair dryer in your hotel room in Costa Rica?

Hotel hair dryer

Is there a hair dryer in your hotel room in Costa Rica?

Depending on the individual hotel and class of the accommodation a hair dryer might be available in the hotel room, either packed in the bedroom cupboard, wardrobe or drawer, found attached to a bathroom wall or could potentially be a slower air hose variety.

If staying in cheaper hostels, motels and hotels a communal hair dryer could be offered at the reception but might involve waiting in turn for other guests. If you are uncertain about the hotel hairdryer availability you can either telephone your hotel in Costa Rica or look on the hotel web site to find out what is available to guests. Hotel hair dryers are adequate but are normally basic models lacking a diffuser, notorious for providing slow air speeds and low heat. Those concerned with hygiene should remove any burnt hair from other guests on a shared hair dryer as room service might not have removed this when cleaning the room.

Travellers who don't want to take a chance that a suitable and germ-free hair dryer is readily available should put their mind at rest by bringing their own Dual voltage travel hair dryer.  [2] [AD]

Power converters for Costa Rica

Do you need a power converter in Costa Rica to use your hair dryer?

A voltage transformer (or power converter) allows a hair dryer using a different voltage to operate using a 120 volt power outlet used in Costa Rica. Travellers wishing to bring their own hair dryer can use a power converter, but it can be more costly to purchase a power converter than it is to buy a dedicated dual voltage travel hair dryer [2]. Also, a travel hair dryer can be substantially smaller than a power converter making a travel hair dryer more suited for travelling. [7] [AD]

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

Voltage converter

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

A small, cheap and lightweight power adapter (or plug adapter) changes the shape of the plug on your hair dryer to fit into a power outlet in Costa Rica, but a heavy and bulkier power converter converts the voltage of 120 volts from a Costa Rican power outlet to work with a non-120 volt hair dryer. [7] [AD]

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

How to power a hair dryer in Costa Rica using a Type B power adapter.

  1. Make sure that your blow dryer is either a dual voltage travel hair dryer [2] or can work with a 120 volt power supply but if not then do not proceed as you may create an electrical fire hazard, damage your hair dryer or blow a fuse. Before using a travel hair dryer make sure the switch is set to accept 120 volts, consult the owners manual to find out how to do this.
  2. If the plug on your hair dryer isn't the same type of outlet used in Costa Rica you'll need to bring a Type B plug adapter [4]. This plug adapter helps fit plugs from other countries for an electrical outlet found in Costa Rica simply by changing the shape of the plug, but the adapter doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your hair dryer to work with a 120 volt supply.
  3. Insert the Type B plug adapter in the power outlet. The wall outlet, sometimes called the Type B power outlet [3], can be recognised by the 2 slots parallel to each other for live and neutral blades with a single semicircular hole below for the earth pin.
  4. Then plug in your hair dryer into the Type B plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the Costa Rican power outlet. You can now switch on the hair dryer in Costa Rica.
How to use a hair dryer in Costa Rica using a type B power adapter

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

A guide showing how to use a hair dryer in Costa Rica using a three pronged Type A power adapter.

  1. Ensure that your blow dryer is either a dual voltage travel hair dryer [2] or can work with a 120 volt power supply but if it doesn't then do not proceed as you may create an electrical fire hazard, damage your hair dryer or blow a fuse. Before using a dual voltage travel hair dryer which can toggle between different voltages make sure the switch is set to accept 120 volts, please consult the owners manual to find out how to do this.
  2. Check that you don't already own a hair dryer with a Type A plug - if it does then you won't need a power adapter (but still check that your hair dryer will work with a 120 volt power outlet). You'll need to buy a Type A plug adapter [6] if the type of power outlet used in Costa Rica isn't the same shape as the plug on your hair dryer. The Type A plug adapter will adapt plugs on appliances from other countries for use in a power outlet in Costa Rica simply by changing the shape of the plug, but the adapter doesn't change the voltage of the hair dryer to work with a 120 volt outlet.
  3. Start the process by plugging the Type A plug adapter into the Costa Rican power outlet. You can identify the power supply by the two slots next to each other for live and neutral blades.
  4. After that plug in your hair dryer into the Type A plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the Costa Rican power outlet.
  6. You can now switch on the hair dryer in Costa Rica.
How to use a hair dryer in Costa Rica using a type A power adapter

See also

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  1. Wikipedia - Costa Rica Wikipedia page
  2. Amazon - dual voltage travel hair dryer
  3. iec.ch - Type B power outlet
  4. Type B plug adapter - US and Japanese 3 pinned Type B plug adapters have a single unearthed round pin along with 2 shorter parallel rectangular flat blades containing holes in each blade, estimated cost C$45-C$50.
  5. iec.ch - Type A power outlet
  6. Type A plug adapter - There are 2 parallel rectangular flat blades on an unearthed Type A plug adapter with small holes in each blade, priced C$10-C$15.
  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, costs under C$90.
  8. Hot Tools Professional Ht1044 Ionic 1875 Watt Travel Dryer with Folding Handle and Dual Voltage - 1875 watt travel hair dryer with 1.82m power cord, an ALCI power plug, removable filter and cool shot, estimated price C$50-C$60.
  9. X5 Superlite 1600W Dual Voltage Ceramic Ionic Travel Dryer - 1600 watt travel blow dryer with a 1.65 metre power cable, tourmaline diffuser and concentrator, priced C$80-C$90.
  10. BaBylissPRO Tourmaline Titanium Travel Dryer - 10.5 ounce dual voltage travel blow dryer small enough to carry in a purse including concentrator, under C$70.
  11. Conair MiniPRO Folding Handle Tourmaline Ceramic Styler - Budget mini ionic hair dryer with 1200 watt 2 speed motor and bundled concentrator attachment, estimated price under C$50.
  12. Berta 1875W Folding Hair Dryer Dual Voltage Blow dryer Negative Ions Travel Dryer - Ceramic tourmaline hair dryer with cool shot, two heat settings, 1.8m power cord and bundled concentrator, priced under C$45.
  13. Conair 1875 Watt Compact Folding Handle Hair Dryer with Dual Voltage - Budget 1875 watt 2 speed travel hair dryer, ALCI safety plug, removable filter and cool shot, under C$3.
  14. Wikipedia - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country -
  15. iec.ch - IEC World Plugs by location -
  16. tsa.gov - TSA guidelines for hair dryers -
  17. Hard case for travel hair dryer - Hard case designed for storing and protecting a hair dryer safely during travel in luggage, estimated cost under C$140.
  18. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on, around C$70.