How do I use my hair straighteners in America?

American power outlet

Will my hair straighteners work in America?

First check that your hair straighteners can work in America:

If not then:

  • Use a power converter [7] (or voltage transformer) - you can then use your existing hair straighteners and other applicances with an 120 volt American power outlet, however this is considerably heavier and more expensive than dedicated travel hair straighteners. A voltage transformer will change the voltage but not the physical shape of the plug on your hair straighteners to fit in the types of power outlet used in America, so please check that the power converter [7] comes with a power adapter for America otherwise you will also need to purchase another power adapter. Please be aware that your own personal hair straighteners might not be suitable for travelling and you risk potential damage in your luggage.

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

Using hair straighteners in America

Can I use my US hair straighteners in America?

The instructions on this page assume that you're an America reader travelling to America and will provide advice on using your American hair straighteners with an American power outlet.

Will my hair straighteners work in America?

It depends on if your hair straighteners can handle the 120 volts which are used in America:

America power outlets and plug sockets

What voltage is used in America?

The standard voltage used in America is 120 volts.

What electrical frequency is used in America?

The frequency of the current used in an American power outlet is 60 Hz.

Which plug adapter will you need to bring to use  hair straighteners in America?

Type A and B power outlets

Which plug adapter will you need to bring to use hair straighteners in America?

There are two different types of power supply used in America, types B and A with the primary power supply being type B:

  • Plug Type A - This ungrounded power socket, also known as a type A power outlet, is identified by the two adjacent slots next to each other where the live and neutral plug socket blades go.
  • Plug Type B - You can identify the power outlet by the 2 thin slots for live and neutral blades with a hole below for the earth pin.

A growing number of hotels in America are upgrading their power outlets to include built in USB charging ports.

Dual voltage hair straighteners

Are my hair straighteners dual voltage?

Dual voltage hair straighteners

Are my hair straighteners dual voltage?

A simple way to tell if your hair straighteners supports dual voltage is to check for either a sticker or numbers printed on the handle or plug of the hair straighteners. The location might depend on the make or model of your hair straighteners, it should also state in the instruction manual or on the box. Some dual voltage hair straighteners can change automatically, however other straighteners will feature a button which allows you to toggle between different voltage ranges.

  • Single voltage might say a specific number - such as 110V. If this number matches the 120 volts used in America then you should be able to use your hair straighteners with an American 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 an American power outlet falls within the range shown on your hair straighteners then you should be able to use it in America.
  • Dual voltage will say a larger range separated with a slash - such as 100/240V. Your hair straighteners will be capable of being used in America or any other country if these numbers are shown.

Travelling to America with hair straighteners

Is it safe to bring my hair straighteners to America?

It is preferable to bring dual voltage travel hair straighteners as opposed to bringing your existing domestic hair straighteners to America as it is safer to assume that they will work with the 120 volt power outlets used with an American power outlet, provided that you use the correct power adapter for America.

Please be aware that packing expensive domestic hair straighteners could put them at risk because of potential loss or damage in your check in luggage by an airline baggage handler in America. The cost and inconvenience of replacing expensive quality hair straighteners in America might outweigh the cost of purchasing much cheaper dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] before travelling to bring with you. If you intend to pack your own personal hair straighteners in your suitcase it is recommended to either slot them inside a boot or sneaker to protect from light damage, alternatively use a shockproof and heat resistant hot tools travel case [10] or heat travel mat for hair straighteners and curling irons [11] which also allows the hair straighteners to be packed whilst hot without waiting to cool down.

Can hair straighteners go in carry on luggage to America?

Travel hair straighteners with heat protective cap

Can hair straighteners go in carry on luggage to America?

According to the TSA guidelines for hair straighteners [12] there is no restriction on bringing mains powered hair straighteners in your carry on luggage through airport security in the US. The TSA recommends that you should check that your airline who is taking you to America 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 for airport security checks, they can be packed away quickly and should avoid a tangle of cables in your carry on luggage (the TSA recommends wrapping cords tightly around hair straighteners). If you do intend to pack fragile or expensive hair straighteners in your hand held luggage then it is recommended to use hard carry on luggage [14] as this offers the greatest protection against knocks and drops during transit.

Power converters for America

Do I need a voltage converter to use my hair straighteners in America?

The correct type voltage transformer [7] (or power converter) allows hair straighteners using a different voltage to work with the 120 volt power outlet used in America. Travellers wishing to use their existing domestic hair straighteners can use a power converter, but it could be a lot cheaper to buy dedicated dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] than it will be to purchase a power converter. A power converter is also considerably heavier than travel hair straighteners making a power converter less suitable for travelling compared to travel hair straighteners.

What is the difference between a power converter and a power adapter?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a power converter and a power adapter?

A cheap, small and lightweight power adapter (or plug adapter) changes the shape of the plug on your hair straighteners to fit into a power outlet in America, whereas a more expensive and heavier power converter [7] will transform a 120 volt American power outlet to work with non-120 volt hair straighteners.

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 America using a type B power adapter

How to use hair straighteners in America with a Type B power adapter.

  1. Please check that the hair straighteners are either dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] or is compatible with a 120 volt power supply; but if not then do not attempt these instructions because you could blow a fuse, damage your straighteners or create an electrical fire hazard. Some dual voltage hair straighteners will sometimes have a switch to toggle between voltages, before operating your hair straighteners make sure the switch is set to accept 120 volts to use in America, please refer to the user guide to find out how to do this.
  2. You'll need to bring a Type B plug adapter [4] if the type of power outlet used in America doesn't accomodate the plug shape on your hair straighteners. This plug adapter will adapt plugs on appliances from other countries into an electrical outlet used in America by changing the shape of the plug, but the adapter doesn't change the frequency or voltage of the hair straighteners to work with a 120 volt outlet.
  3. Plug the Type B plug adapter into the American power outlet. You can identify the wall supply by the two thin slots next to each other for live and neutral blades with a single semicircle hole below for the slightly long earth pin.
  4. Then plug in your hair straighteners into the Type B plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the American power outlet. The straighteners are now ready for use.
How to use  hair straighteners in America using a type B power adapter

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

A step by step guide showing how to use hair straighteners in America with a Type A power adapter.

  1. Make sure that the hair straighteners are either dual voltage travel hair straighteners [2] or is compatible with a 120 volt power supply; but if not then do not attempt these instructions because you could create an electrical fire hazard, blow a fuse or damage your hair straighteners. Before using a travel hair straighteners which can toggle between different voltages make sure the switch is set to the 120 volt setting to use in America, please refer to the owners manual to find out how to do this.
  2. This guide assumes 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 still check that your hair straighteners will work with a 120 volt power outlet). If the type of power outlet used in America doesn't accomodate the plug shape on your hair straighteners you'll need to bring a Type A plug adapter [6]. This Type A plug adapter will adapt different plugs on appliances from other countries into an electrical outlet used in America simply by changing the shape of the plug, but the adapter doesn't change the frequency or voltage of the hair straighteners to work with a 120 volt outlet.
  3. Begin by inserting the Type A plug adapter into the American power outlet. You can identify the wall supply by the 2 thin slots for live and neutral blades.
  4. Then plug in your hair straighteners into the Type A plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the American power outlet. You can now switch on the straighteners for use in America.
How to use  hair straighteners in America using a type A power adapter

See also

  1. https://www.visittheusa.co.uk/ - Visit The USA
  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 at C$15-C$20.
  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, C$20-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, around C$60.
  14. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on, estimated price under 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, costs under C$10.
  16. Heat protectant spray - Thermal protector spray used prior to styling with heated tools such as blow dryers and flat irons, estimated cost around C$35.
  17. Energy saving outlet with timer - Automatic power shut down of a connected appliance after a preset length of time, C$20-C$25.
  18. Hair straighteners which include a heat resistant end cap - Example of hair straighteners with a protective cap suitable for travel, costs 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, under C$10.