Which power adapter will I need to bring to use hair straighteners in Panama?

Panamanian power outlet

Will my hair straighteners work in Panama?

First check your hair straighteners can work in Panama:

  • If your hair straighteners can run using 120 volts or can support dual voltage (how to check) then you will only need to bring the right power adapter listed on this page if the plug on your hair straighteners won't fit in the outlet.

If not then either:

  • Use a power converter [7] (or voltage transformer) - you can then use your existing hair straighteners and other applicances with a 120 volt Panamanian power outlet, however this is significantly bulkier, heavier and more expensive than dedicated travel hair straighteners. A power converter will change the voltage but won't change the actual shape of the plug on your hair straighteners to fit in the types of power outlet used in Panama, so please check that the power converter [7] includes a suitable power adapter for Panama otherwise you will need to purchase another power adapter. Be aware that your domestic hair straighteners might not be suited for travel and you could risk damage in your luggage.

Warning: If your hair straighteners won't handle 120 volts you run the risk of damage to your hair straighteners, an electrical fire hazard or a blown fuse. Prior to using your hair straighteners in Panama please check the instruction manual to ensure safe operation.

Using hair straighteners in Panama

How can I use my US hair straighteners in Panama?

The guides on this page assume that you are a reader from the US travelling to Panama and will provide advice on using your US hair straighteners with a Panamanian power outlet.

Will my hair straighteners work in Panama?

That will depend on if your hair straighteners is designed to operate using the 120 volt power outlets used in Panama. If you're using either dual voltage hair straighteners or your hair straighteners is designed to operate using 120 volts and you have the appropriate plug adapter then you should be able to use the hair straighteners in Panama. If not then then you will need to consider purchasing either dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] or a heavier and more expensive power converter [7], read our guide on do you need a power converter to use your hair straighteners for help deciding which solution is more suitable.

Panama power outlets and plug sockets

What is the mains voltage in Panama?

The residential voltage in Panama is 120 volts.

What electrical frequency is used in a Panamanian power outlet?

The frequency from a Panamanian power outlet is 60Hz.

Which plug adapter will you need for using  hair straighteners in Panama?

Type A and B power outlets

Which plug adapter will you need for using hair straighteners in Panama?

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

  • Plug Type A - You can identify the power socket 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 slide into with a single hole below for the slightly long earth pin.

A recommended plug adapter to bring for using 120 volt hair straighteners in Panama is a Type B power adapter [4], read the step by step instructions below for full details of how to use hair straighteners in Panama with a power adapter. Note that unless you that have dual voltage hair straighteners you will need to check if you have to bring a power converter.

Dual voltage hair straighteners

How can I tell if my hair straighteners are dual voltage?

Dual voltage hair straighteners

How can I tell if my hair straighteners are dual voltage?

An easy way how to tell if your hair straighteners supports dual voltage is to check for either a sticker or numbers printed on the plug or the handle of your hair straighteners. The location will depend on the make or model of your hair straighteners, it could also be written on the box. Some dual voltage models will change automatically, however other straighteners will have a button which allows you to operate between different regions.

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

Travelling to Panama with hair straighteners

Is it safe to bring my hair straighteners to Panama?

Packing dual voltage travel hair straighteners are preferable to packing your existing hair straighteners as it ensures that they'll operate correctly with the 120 volt power outlets used with a Panamanian power outlet, as long as you bring the correct power adapter for Panama.

Please note that bringing expensive domestic hair straighteners might place them at risk due to potential loss or damage in your check in luggage by an airline baggage handler in Panama. The inconvenience and costs involved in repairing or replacing expensive specialised domestic hair straighteners in Panama could be higher than buying cheap dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] beforehand to bring along with you. If you intend to pack your own personal hair straighteners in your suitcase it is recommended to either slide them inside a sneaker or boot to protect from light knocks, alternatively use a heat resistant and shockproof hot tools travel case [10] or heat travel mat for hair straighteners and curling irons [11] which will also allow the hair straighteners to be packed whilst hot without risk of burning.

Can hair straighteners go in hand luggage?

Travel hair straighteners with heat protective cap

Can hair straighteners go in hand luggage?

According to the TSA guidelines for hair straighteners [12] there is no restriction on carrying mains powered hair straighteners in your carry on hand luggage through airport security in the US. The TSA also suggests that you should verify that your airline that is flying you to Panama will allow hair straighteners onboard and that they will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the airplane.

Packing the hair straighteners in a dedicated heat resistant protective hot tools travel case [10] leaves them easily accessible by airport security, they can be packed away quickly avoiding a tangle of power cords in your carry on luggage (the TSA recommends wrapping cords tightly around electronic items). If you intend to pack fragile or expensive hair straighteners in your hand held luggage then it is advisable to bring hard carry on luggage [14] as this provides the most protection against bumps and knocks during transit.

Power converters for Panama

Do I need a power converter to use my hair straighteners in Panama?

The correct model of power converter [7] (or voltage transformer) will allow your hair straighteners using a different voltage to operate using a 120 volt power outlet used in Panama. Travellers who wish to use their existing domestic hair straighteners can use a power converter, but it could be a lot less expensive to purchase dedicated dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] than it is to purchase a power converter. Also worth noting, a power converter is considerably bulkier and heavier than travel hair straighteners making a power converter less suited for travelling compared to travel hair straighteners.

What is the difference between a plug adapter and a power converter for Panama?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a plug adapter and a power converter for Panama?

A heavy and expensive power converter [7] converts the voltage of 120 volts from a Panamanian power outlet to work with non-120 volt hair straighteners, whereas a cheaper and smaller power adapter (or plug adapter) changes the shape of the plug on your hair straighteners to slot into a power outlet found in Panama.

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 [11] or use a hot tools travel case [10] 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 [11] 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 Panama using a type B power adapter

Instructions showing how to use hair straighteners in Panama using a three pronged Type B power adapter.

  1. Check that the hair straighteners are either dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] or works with a 120 volt power supply but if it doesn't then don't attempt these instructions as you may damage your straighteners, blow a fuse or create an electrical fire hazard. Before using a dual voltage travel straighteners make sure you have set it to the 120 volt setting to use in Panama - consult the manufacturers instructions for more information on how to do this.
  2. You'll need to bring a Type B plug adapter [4] if the type of plug used on your hair straighteners isn't the same type of plug outlet which is used in Panama. The Type B plug adapter will help convert different plugs on appliances from other countries for use in a power outlet found in Panama by changing the shape of the plug, however it doesn't change the voltage of the hair straighteners to work with a 120 volt outlet.
  3. Begin by taking the Type B plug adapter and plugging it in the Panamanian power outlet. This power outlet, sometimes known as a Type B power outlet [3], can be recognised by 2 thin slots for live and neutral blades with a single hole below for the earth pin.
  4. Plug in the hair straighteners into the Type B plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the Panamanian power outlet. The hair straighteners can now be used in Panama.
How to use  hair straighteners in Panama using a type B power adapter

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

The WikiConnections page showing how to use your hair straighteners in Panama with a Type A travel charger.

  1. Check that the hair straighteners are either dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] or works with a 120 volt power supply but if it doesn't then don't attempt these instructions as you may blow a fuse, damage your straighteners or create an electrical fire hazard. Before using a dual voltage travel straighteners ensure you have set it to the 120 volt setting to use in Panama - refer to the manufacturers instructions for more information on where the switch is found.
  2. These instructions assume that you are not already using hair straighteners with a Type A plug - if it does then you won't need a power adapter (but you will still need to check that your hair straighteners can work with a 120 volt power supply). So, if the plug shape on your hair straighteners isn't the same type of outlet used in Panama you'll need to bring a Type A plug adapter [6]. This plug adapter helps fit plugs from other countries for an electrical outlet found in Panama simply by changing the shape of the plug, but the adapter doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your hair straighteners to work with a 120 volt supply.
  3. Insert the Type A plug adapter into the power outlet. You can identify the power outlet by the two slots adjacent to each other for live and neutral blades.
  4. After that plug in your hair straighteners into the Type A plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the Panamanian power outlet.
  6. You can now switch on the straighteners to use in Panama.
How to use  hair straighteners in Panama using a type A power adapter

See also

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panama - Panama Wiki 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, priced under C$10.
  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, priced around 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, around C$60.
  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. Hard case for hot tools - Hard case designed for storing and protecting a flat irons, curling irons and hair straighteners, under C$20.
  11. 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, priced at under C$25.
  12. https://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa/cib_results.aspx?search=hair%20iron - TSA guidelines for hair straighteners
  13. Dual voltage travel hair dryer - Folding handle hair dryer with dual voltage suitable for international travel, under C$70.
  14. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on, C$60-C$70.
  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, costing under C$10.
  16. Heat protectant spray - Thermal protector spray used prior to styling with heated tools such as blow dryers and flat irons, priced under C$40.
  17. Energy saving outlet with timer - Automatic power shut down of a connected appliance after a preset length of time, priced under C$25.
  18. Hair straighteners which include a heat resistant end cap - Example of hair straighteners with a protective cap suitable for travel, under C$60.
  19. Power outlet splitter - Splits a single power outlet to multiple power outlets, allowing multiple appliances to simultaneously use a single wall outlet, costs under C$10.