Can I Use My Hair Straightners in the UK?
(Or anywhere else that uses 230V)
The answer depends on which straighteners you have as some are dual voltage and others are not. If yours are dual voltage they will say something along the lines of "110/240V 50/60Hz"
somewhere on the appliance. If they don't then you can safely assume that they were not made to operate on 230V.
If They are Dual Voltage
Take them with you, they will be fine. GHD IVs and GHD Vs should be dual voltage. You will however need a travel adaptor in order to plug them in and you have to be a little bit careful if you want to remain safe. There are two important points that you need to consider:
Do they need to be earthed? If so you will need an earthed adaptor (one that has 3 pins instead of two). How do you tell? The easiest way is to look at the plug that came with the device. If it only has 2 pins or the earth pin is plastic then it doesn't need earthing otherwise assume that it does need to be earthed. Many hair straighteners for example do not need earthing.
How much current do they draw? Cheap adaptors that you may get in a pound shop / dollar store are cheap for a reason. Usually they are rated for a very low current - maybe just 1 or 2 amps and they often will not even give a rating on the packaging so you can't even tell.
Working out the current that a pair of hair straighteners will draw is not so simple either. We have seen GHDs which claim that they use 35 watts. Whilst they may only use 35 watts once they are up to temperature you can bet that they use a whole lot more in the initial warm up, in fact we've seen measurements of 300 watts. On a UK supply of 240V 300 watts will only require 1.25 amps but when you try to extract the same amount of power out of a 110V supply it will draw 2.7 amps which will likely be more than a cheap adaptor is comfortable handling. You may get away with it as it is not drawing this current over an extended time, but then again you may set fire to your hotel room!
You can also get universal adaptors
in either earthed or unearthed forms if you want a more flexible solution. Again you need to check that they can handle the current before using one.
If They are not Dual Voltage
Operating devices designed for 120V on 230V is highly dangerous and may result in fire, serious injury and irrepairable damage to your hair straighteners. Mark 3 GHDs and earlier are not dual voltage. If you really can't live without your straighteners then you have three options:
- Buy a cheap set when you get there.
- Treat yourself to a new set of dual voltage straighteners before you leave.
- You can take a voltage converter / transformer to convert the voltage (the frequency 50/60Hz will not matter). But, and its a big but, they can cost nearly as much as a decent set of straighteners, are bulky and heavy.
It is generally recommended that you choose a transformer with a power output around 25% greater than the peak draw of the appliance which means that you will probably need something that is rated for 400 - 500 watts.