Using your curling iron in America

American power outlet

Summary

Check that your curling iron can work in America:

If not then either:

  • Use a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] - you may still need a suitable power adapter for America however these cheap lightweight accessories are designed specifically for the rigors of travel.
  • Use a power converter [7] (or voltage transformer) - this will enable you to use your existing curling iron and other applicances with an 120 volt American power outlet, however this is substantially heavier and more expensive than a dedicated travel curling iron. A voltage transformer will change the voltage but not the physical shape of the plug on your curling iron to fit in the power outlet used in America, so check that your power converter [7] includes a suitable power adapter for America otherwise you will still need to bring a seperate power adapter. Also worth noting that your own personal curling iron might not be suitable for travelling and you risk potential damage in your luggage.

Warning: If your curling iron won't handle 120 volts you run the risk of blowing a fuse, damage to your curling iron or even an electrical fire hazard. Before using your curling iron in America check the instruction manual first to ensure safe operation.

Using a curling iron in America

Will my curling iron work in America?

This depends on if your curling iron can operate using the 120 volts as used in America:

Can I use my US curling iron in America?

The instructions on this page assume that you're an America reader visiting America and will provide advice on using your US curling iron with an American power outlet.

America power outlets and plug sockets

What mains voltage is used in America?

The common residential voltage in America is 120 volts.

What is the electrical frequency used in an American power outlet?

The frequency in an American power outlet is 60 Hz.

Which power adapter do you need to bring to use a curling iron in America?

Type A and B power outlets

Which power adapter do you need to bring to use a curling iron in America?

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

  • Plug Type A - The power outlet (also known as the type A power outlet) is identified by 2 adjacent slots for live and neutral pins.
  • Plug Type B - The plug outlet (also known as a type B power outlet) is recognised by two slots where the live and neutral blades slide into with a single semicircular hole below for the longer grounded pin.

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

Dual voltage curling irons

Is my curling iron dual voltage?

One method to tell if your curling iron supports dual voltage is to check for either a sticker or numbers printed on the plug or the handle. This location will vary depending on the make and model of your curling iron and should also be written in the instruction manual or on the box. Some dual voltage models will change automatically, however other irons will feature a button which allows you to operate between different voltage ranges depending on which country you are in.

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

Travelling to America with a curling iron

Can you pack a curling iron in your hand luggage?

According to the TSA guidelines for curling irons [10] there are no restrictions when bringing a mains powered curling iron in your carry on hand luggage through airport security in the United States. The TSA recommends that you should check that your airline who is taking you to America will allow a curling iron onboard and that it will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the aircraft. Packing your curling irons in a dedicated heat resistant protective hot tools travel case [11] leaves it easily accessible when going through airport security, it can be packed away quickly and should avoid a tangle of power cords in your carry on luggage (the TSA recommends wrapping cords tightly around curling irons). If you do intend to pack fragile or expensive curling irons in your hand held luggage then it is advisable to bring hard carry on luggage [12] as this offers the greatest protection against knocks and bumps during your journey.

Should you bring your travel curling iron or dual voltage curling iron to America?

It is preferable to packing a dual voltage curling iron rather than packing your existing domestic curling iron to America as it ensures that it will operate correctly with the 120 volt power outlets used with an American power outlet, as long as you bring the correct plug adapter for America. Be aware that bringing your expensive domestic curling iron could put it at risk due to potential loss or damage in your check in luggage by an airline baggage handler in America. The cost of repairing an expensive specialised domestic curling iron in America might be more than buying a cheaper dual voltage travel curling iron [2] beforehand to bring along with you. If you intend to bring your own personal curling iron in your suitcase it is recommended to either slide it inside a boot or sneaker to protect from light damage, alternatively use a shockproof and heat resistant hot tools travel case [11] which also allows the curling iron to be packed whilst hot without risk of burning.

Power converters for America

Do I need a power converter to use a normal curling iron in America?

The correct voltage transformer [7] (or power converter) allows a curling iron using a different voltage to work with the 120 volt power outlet used in America. Travellers who wish to use their own curling iron can use a power converter, but it can be a lot cheaper to buy a dedicated dual voltage travel curling iron [2] than it will be to buy a power converter. Also worth noting, a power converter is significantly bulkier and heavier than a travel curling iron making a power converter less suited for packing.

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

Voltage converter

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

A heavy and bulky power converter [7] transforms the voltage of 120 volts from an American power outlet to work with a non-120 volt curling iron, whereas a smaller and more lightweight power adapter (or plug adapter) will change the shape of the plug on your curling iron to slot into a power outlet found in America.

How to use a curling iron in America using a type B power adapter

How to power your curling iron in America using a three pronged Type B power charger.

  1. Check that the curling iron is either a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] or works with a 120 volt power outlet - if it doesn't then don't continue because you might create an electrical fire hazard, damage your iron or blow a fuse. Travel curling irons sometimes have a switch to toggle between voltages, before using the iron make sure the switch is set to accept 120 volts for use in America - consult the manufacturers instructions for more information on where this switch is.
  2. You will need to buy a Type B plug adapter [4] if the type of plug used on your curling iron isn't the same shape as the plug outlet which is used in America. The plug adapter is designed to fit plugs from other countries into a power outlet in America simply by changing the shape of the plug, but it doesn't change the voltage of the curling iron to work with a 120 volt outlet.
  3. Start by taking the Type B plug adapter and plugging it into the American power outlet. The wall outlet (known as a Type B power outlet [3]) is identified by the 2 thin slots next to each other for live and neutral blades with a single hole below for the earthed pin.
  4. After that plug in your curling iron into the Type B plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the American power outlet. Your curling iron can now be used in America.
How to use a curling iron in America using a type B power adapter

How to use a curling iron in America using a type A power adapter

How to power a curling iron in America using a three pronged Type A power charger.

  1. Check that the curling iron is either a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] or can work with a 120 volt power outlet - if it doesn't then don't continue because you might create an electrical fire hazard, damage your iron or blow a fuse. Travel curling irons sometimes have a switch to toggle between voltages, before operating the iron make sure the switch is set to accept 120 volts for use in America - consult the manufacturers instructions for more information on where the switch is.
  2. This guide assumes that you don't already own a curling iron with a Type A plug - if it does then you won't need a power adapter (but still check that your curling iron 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 America doesn't accomodate the plug shape of your curling iron. The Type A plug adapter helps convert different plugs on appliances from other countries for an electrical outlet used in America by changing the shape of the plug, but the adapter doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your curling iron to work with a 120 volt outlet.
  3. Plug the Type A plug adapter into the American power outlet. You can identify the power supply by the two thin slots parallel to each other.
  4. After that plug in your curling iron into the Type A plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the American power outlet. Your hair curling iron can now be used in America.
How to use a curling iron in America using a type A power adapter

See also

  1. https://www.visittheusa.co.uk/ - Visit The USA
  2. https://www.amazon.com/Travel-Smart-Conair-Ceramic-Curling/dp/B002WQ93F8/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1484157133&sr=8-3&keywords=dual+voltage+curling+iron&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnections-20&linkId=9539dbabb2cd76a0541c75b1e59576ba - dual voltage travel curling iron
  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=curling%20iron - TSA guidelines for curling irons
  11. Hard case for hot tools - Hard case designed for storing and protecting a flat irons, curling irons and hair straighteners.
  12. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on.