How do I use my hair dryer in South Africa?

South African power outlet

Will my hair dryer work in South Africa?

First check that your hair dryer can work in South Africa:

If not then you can either:

  • Use a power converter [11] (or voltage transformer) - this enables you to use your existing hair dryer and other applicances with a 230 volt South African power outlet, however this is significantly heavier, bulkier and more expensive than a dedicated travel hair dryer. A voltage transformer will change the voltage but not the actual shape of the plug on your hair dryer to fit in the wall outlet used in South Africa, so check that the power converter [11] has the right power adapter for South Africa otherwise you will need to bring a seperate power adapter. Please be aware that your own existing hair dryer might not be suited for travelling and you could risk potential damage in a suitcase.

Warning: If your hair dryer won't handle the 230 volts used in South Africa you run a risk of a blown fuse, damage to your hair dryer or even an electrical fire hazard. Prior to using your hair dryer in South Africa please check the instruction manual to ensure safe operation.

Using a hair dryer in South Africa

How can I use my American hair dryer in South Africa?

The instructions on this page assume that you are an America reader travelling to South Africa and will provide guidance for using your American hair dryer with a South African power outlet.

Will my hair dryer work in South Africa?

It depends on if your hair dryer is designed to operate using the 230 volts used in South Africa:

Best travel hair dryers for South Africa

How to choose the best travel blow dryer for South Africa

A dual voltage switch on a travel hair dryer

How to choose the best travel blow dryer for South Africa

When looking for the best travel hair dryer choose a strong but lightweight dual-voltage dryer which will work with a 230 volt South African power outlet power outlet, has a folding handle, long cord and an ALCI safety plug. When drying thicker hair buy a higher 1600+ watt dryer and included diffuser.

Things to look for when purchasing a hair dryer

  1. Don't be tempted to just buy the cheapest hair dryer on the market - as well as safety issues there is a greater risk that the dryer could fail during travelling abroad due to a poor build.
  2. The safest travel hair dryers will include an ALCI safety plug which reduces the danger of overloading that could lead to fires, these are identified with the 2 reset and test buttons found on the plug.
  3. If you have curlier or thicker hair then you could require a hair dryer with a more powerful motor, a high wattage ceramic model which includes a diffuser will dry hair faster to prevent damage.
  4. Your hair dryer needs to support dual voltage in order to work in South Africa.
  5. A cool shot option on modern travel dryers will rapidly cool down hair after drying which will hold in a style but this option could be missing in smaller dryers.
  6. Some hotel rooms in South Africa could have a mirror installed some distance away from the nearest outlet making it awkward to operate the blow dryer, so search for the lengthiest power cord available or pack either a hand mirror or extension cord.
  7. Rather than looking for expensive third party attachments it might be more convenient to buy a new dryer that is supplied with both a diffuser and concentrator from the manufacturer.
  8. Look for a lightweight travel hair dryer which is durable enough to survive being transported in luggage, dryers with a handle which folds will mean more room.
  9. The best hair dryers should give control of both speed and temperature settings with two options; a lower temperature with a slower speed will reduce damage to your hair whilst a hotter faster speed will dry thicker wet hair faster.
What is a good folding travel hair dryer with diffuser attachment?

Hot Tools 1044 Ionic Travel Dryer with bundled diffuser and concentrator

What is a good folding travel hair dryer with diffuser attachment?

  • A X5 Superlite Ceramic Ionic [12] has a 1600 watt motor with a 1.65m electric power cord, it is supplied with a tourmaline diffuser however doesn't have cool shot.
  • A Hot Tools 1044 Ionic Travel Dryer [2] has a generous 1.82 metre electric power cable for greater flexibility when drying with an ALCI safety plug and a removable filter for cleaning. It uses a strong 1875 watt motor including cool shot making it perfect for drying thick hair.

Each ionic travel hair dryer features both diffuser and concentrator with powerful enough motors to make them the best travel blow dryers for thick hair. Both only require a suitable plug adapter for South Africa to fit into a South African power outlet, they are lightweight and will fold up to fit in carry-on luggage.

Which is the best travel hair dryer with cool shot?

Berta Folding Hair Dryer

Which is the best travel hair dryer with cool shot?

  • With a powerful two speed 1875 watt motor and removable filter the Conair Compact Styler [14] features cool shot which can be used to quickly cool hair down.
  • The Berta Folding Hair Dryer [13] also has a cool shot button, uses a tourmaline ceramic outlet for negative ions resulting in faster and safer styling, 2 heat settings, a longer 1.8 metre electric power cable and includes a concentrator attachment.

Each model is folding, has an ALCI power plug to prevent overloading and support dual voltage making both ideal for travel to South Africa in carry on luggage when plugged into a power adapter for a South African power outlet.

Which is the best hair dryer for thick or curly hair?

Thicker hair will take longer to dry and could be difficult to do so without hair going frizzy. The best option is an ionic blow dryer, if the hair is curly use a diffuser as both are able to manage and dry hair smoothly without frizz. Both an Hot Tools 1044 Ionic Travel Dryer [2] or the X5 Superlite Ceramic Ionic [12] are suitable as 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 this won't be strong enough.

What is a good mini ionic travel hair dryer with dual voltage?

BaBylissPRO Tourmaline Titanium with folding handle

What is a good mini ionic travel hair dryer with dual voltage?

  • To dry fine and thin hair on the go the 1200 watt ceramic Conair MiniPRO [16] is the most affordable mini ionic hair dryer available on the market.
  • For a folding hairdryer which is lightweight and small enough to carry in a handbag then a 10.5 ounce BaBylissPRO Tourmaline Titanium [15] is recommend. Featuring a removable filter and tourmaline outlet that emits infrared heat to protect from heat damage this dryer has options which are normally reserved for larger blow dryers.

Both mini hair dryers support dual voltage when used with the right plug adapter for a South African power outlet they will work in South Africa folding conveniently enough to be carried around all day for styling on the go. They include a concentrator, have 1.5 metre power cables and have a twin speed motor.

Best travel hair dryers for 2018

What is the best blow dryer in 2018?

Conair
MiniPRO
Budget mini ionic hair dryer with 1200 watt 2 speed motor and bundled concentrator attachment
BaByliss
PRO
https://www.amazon.com/BaBylissPRO-Tourmaline-Titanium-Travel-Dryer/dp/B003QKL5YQ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1506766914&sr=1-1&keywords=babyliss+pro+tourmaline+titanium+travel+dryer&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnections-20&linkId=42ac8156b2378ba326cc5bd3c1fbaccb
Conair
Compact
https://www.amazon.com/Conair-Compact-Folding-Handle-Voltage/dp/B00006IV22/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1506767106&sr=1-1&keywords=Conair+1875+Watt+Compact+Folding+Handle+Styler+/+Hair+Dryer+with+Dual+Voltage&th=1&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnections-20&linkId=b7a9525a9878573b5912d116cbadea28
Berta
Folding
https://www.amazon.com/Berta-Folding-Voltage-Negative-Setting/dp/B06XWV3K4L/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1506767023&sr=1-1&keywords=Berta+1875W+Folding+Hair+Dryer+Dual+Voltage+Blow+dryer+Negative+Ions+Travel+Dryer+with+2+Heat+2+Speed+Setting&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnections-20&linkId=48f8830f8b22743bab2b92d60efe19ae
X5
Superlite
https://www.amazon.com/X5-Superlite-Voltage-Ceramic-Ionic-Travel/dp/B001FSK70Y/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&keywords=X5+Superlite+1600W+Dual+Voltage+Ceramic-Ionic+Travel+Dryer&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnections-20&linkId=63c08ef699ac6c441e4c0862ebe99524
Hot Tools
1044
https://www.amazon.com/Hot-Tools-Professional-Ht1044-Folding/dp/B003A1DWRO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1506767312&sr=1-1&keywords=Hot+Tools+Professional+Ht1044+Ionic+1875+Watt+Travel+Dryer+with+Folding+Handle+and+Dual+Votage&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnections-20&linkId=e4d6cd8511a014951b16d43f9ec3a809
Class Mini Compact Compact with diffuser
Works in South Africa 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
Cost Price Price Price Price Price Price

South Africa power outlets and plug sockets

What mains voltage is used in South Africa?

Power outlets in South Africa are 230 volts.

What is the frequency used with a South African power outlet?

The frequency from a South African power outlet is 50Hz.

Which plug adapter do you need to bring when using a hair dryer in South Africa?

There are four different types of power outlets used in South Africa, types M, C, F and N with the primary power outlets being type M:

  • Plug Type C - This plug socket (technically called a Europlug) is recognised by two round holes next to each other.
  • Plug Type F - You can identify this plug socket by two 4.8mm circular holes 19 mm next to each other along with thin metal grounding clips on the top and bottom.
  • Plug Type M - You can identify this power socket by the 3 large round holes in a triangle shape.
  • Plug Type N - You can identify the flattened hexagon shaped wall socket by the 3 round holes forming a triangle pattern.

A Type M plug adapter [8] allows you to use a 230 volt hair dryer in South Africa - read the step by step instructions below for full details of using a power adapter for South Africa. Note that unless you that have a dual voltage hair dryer you will need to confirm if you also have to bring a voltage converter.

Which plug adapter do you need to bring when using a hair dryer in South Africa?

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?

An easy way how to tell if your hair dryer supports a dual voltage outlet is to check for either a sticker or numbers printed on the handle, base or the plug. This location might vary depending on the make or model of your hair dryer, it should also be written on the box. Some dual voltage hair dryers might change automatically, however other hair dryers will feature a switch which allows you to toggle between different voltages.

  • Single voltage might say a specific number - such as 110V. If this number matches the 230 volts used in South Africa then you should be able to use your hair dryer with a South African power outlet.
  • Single voltage might also have a small voltage range with a dash to accomodate small voltage fluctuations - such as 100-120V. If the 230 volts used in a South African power outlet falls within the range shown on your hair dryer then you should be able to use it in South Africa.
  • 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 South Africa or any other country if these numbers are shown.

How should I change the voltage on a travel hair dryer?

  1. Most dual voltage hair dryers have either a dial or switch which toggles between two voltages although some models are capable of automatically detecting the voltage from a South African power outlet.
  2. This switch or dial needs either a small screwdriver or coin to change the dryer to the correct voltage between the 110v-120v range or a 220v-240v range.
  3. In addition to changing this over it is worth jotting down the two switch positions because the painted numbers can occasionally fade on certain models.

How do I use a dual voltage hair dryer in South Africa?

  1. First check that you are have a dual voltage hair dryer and that it works with a 230 volt power socket.
  2. If the dryer supports dual voltage please make sure it is switched to operate within the 220-240V range. This is usually found on the handle or base of the hair dryer and may require a screwdriver or coin to switch.
  3. Plug your dryer into the power adapter for South Africa, then plug in the power adapter into the South African power outlet.
  4. It is normal for most travel hair dryers operating in the 220-240 volt range to only work safely on their lowest speed setting, but the temperature and speed should still be adequate for drying hair. Always check the hair dryer guidelines to see if this rule is applicable for your model of dryer to avoid the risk of overheating.
  5. The dryer can now be operated in South Africa.

Travelling to South Africa with a hair dryer

Is a hair dryer allowed on a plane in South Africa?

Folding travel hair dryer with cord wrapped for carry on

Is a hair dryer allowed on a plane in South Africa?

According to the TSA guidelines for hair dryers [19] there is no restriction on carrying a mains powered blow dryer in your hand luggage through airport security in the US. The TSA also recommends that you should check that your airline that is flying you to South Africa will allow hair dryers onboard and that it will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the aircraft.

Packing the hair dryer in a dedicated heat resistant protective travel hair dryer case [20] leaves it easily accessible for airport security checks, it can be packed away quickly avoiding a tangle of power cables in your carry on luggage (the TSA advices wrapping cords tightly around blow dryers). If you intend to bring fragile or expensive blow dryers in your hand held luggage then it is advisable to bring hard carry on luggage [21] as this offers the greatest protection against bumps and knocks during transit.

Are there hair dryers in hotel rooms in South Africa?

Hotel hair dryer

Are there hair dryers in hotel rooms in South Africa?

Depending on the hotel and class of the accommodation a hair dryer could be available in the hotel room, either packed in a bedroom wardrobe, drawer or cupboard, found in the bathroom or could be of a slower air hose variety. When staying in cheaper hostels, motels and hotels a communal hair dryer might be available at the reception, however that could involve waiting in turn for other guests. If you are uncertain as to hotel hairdryer availability then either check on the booking web site or telephone your hotel in South Africa to find out if a suitable hairdryer available to guests. Hotel hair dryers are usable but normally basic models with no diffuser and notorious for low heat and providing slower air speeds. Those concerned with hygiene might want to remove burnt hair cuticles from other guests on a communal hair dryer as room service might not have scraped this off when cleaning the room.

Travellers who don't want to take a chance that a suitable or hygienic hair dryer is readily available should put their mind at rest by bringing their own Dual voltage travel hair dryer [15] or telephone the hotel in South Africa to check first.

Should you bring a travel hair dryer or domestic hair dryer to South Africa?

It is preferable to packing a dual voltage travel hair dryer rather than bringing your existing domestic hair dryer to South Africa (marked with 'For domestic use only') as it is safer to assume that it will work with the 230 volt power outlets used with a South African power outlet (provided that you use the correct power adapter for South Africa). A travel hair dryer will normally feature a collapsible handle and are much lighter, this helps in reducing the size and weight in travellers luggage compared to bringing a domestic blow dryer. It is also worth concidering that bringing an expensive domestic blow dryer might put it at risk because of potential loss or damage in transit by airport baggage handlers in South Africa. The costs of replacing or repairing an expensive quality domestic blow dryer in South Africa could be more than purchasing a much cheaper dual voltage travel hair dryer [2] and a suitable travel hair dryer case [20] before travelling .

Power converters for South Africa

Do I need a voltage converter to use my normal hair dryer in South Africa?

A voltage transformer [11] (or power converter) will allow a hair dryer using a different voltage to operate with the 230 volt power outlet used in South Africa. Travellers who wish to use their existing hair dryer can use a power converter, however it might be more expensive to buy a power converter than it is to buy a dedicated dual voltage travel hair dryer [2]. A power converter is considerably heavier than a travel hair dryer making a power converter less suited for packing.

What is the difference between a power adapter and a voltage converter for South Africa?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a power adapter and a voltage converter for South Africa?

A lightweight, cheap and small power adapter (or plug adapter) changes the shape of the plug on your hair dryer to fit into a power outlet found in South Africa, whereas a heavy and bulkier power converter [11] converts a 230 volt South African power outlet to work with a non-230 volt hair dryer.

How to use a hair dryer in South Africa using a type C power adapter

How to use a hair dryer in South Africa with a Type C power adapter.

  1. Please check that the hair dryer is either a dual voltage travel hair dryer [2] or can work with a 230 volt power supply but if not then do not continue because you may create an electrical fire hazard, blow a fuse or damage your hair dryer. Dual voltage blow dryers sometimes have a switch to toggle between voltages, before using the hair dryer ensure the switch is set to the 230 volt setting; consult the user guide to find out where the switch is found.
  2. If the type of power outlet used in South Africa isn't the same shape as the plug shape on your hair dryer you will need to bring a Type C plug adapter [4]. This Type C plug adapter is designed to convert plugs from other countries into an electrical outlet found in South Africa simply by changing the shape of the plug, however it doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your hair dryer to work with a 230 volt outlet.
  3. First you'll need to insert the Type C plug adapter into the South African power outlet. This ungrounded wall outlet (sometimes known as a Type C power outlet [3] or Europlug) is identified by two round adjacent holes next to each other for live and neutral pins.
  4. Plug in the hair dryer into the Type C plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the South African power outlet. Your hair dryer can now be powered on.
How to use a hair dryer in South Africa using a type C power adapter

How to use a hair dryer in South Africa using a type F power adapter

How to use a hair dryer in South Africa with a Type F power adapter.

  1. Please ensure that the hair dryer is either a dual voltage travel hair dryer [2] or works with a 230 volt power supply but if it doesn't then do not attempt these instructions because you might create an electrical fire hazard, damage your hair dryer or blow a fuse. Some travel blow dryers might sometimes have a switch to toggle between voltages, before operating the hair dryer ensure the switch is set to accept 230 volts to use in South Africa; please consult the manufacturers instructions to find out where the switch is located.
  2. You'll need to bring a Type F plug adapter [6] if the type of power outlet which is used in South Africa isn't the same shape as the plug shape of your hair dryer. This Type F plug adapter will help convert plugs from other countries for use in an electrical outlet found in South Africa simply by changing the shape of the plug, but it doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your hair dryer to work with a 230 volt outlet.
  3. Firstly you'll need to insert the Type F plug adapter in the South African power outlet. You can recognise this wall outlet by the two round holes 19 mm adjacent to each other for live and neutral, plus a pair of metal grounding clips at the top and bottom.
  4. After that plug in the hair dryer into the Type F plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the South African power outlet. Your hair dryer can now be switched on.
How to use a hair dryer in South Africa using a type F power adapter

How to use a hair dryer in South Africa using a type M power adapter

How to use your hair dryer in South Africa by using a Type M power adapter.

  1. Make sure that the hair dryer is either a dual voltage travel hair dryer [2] or can work with a 230 volt power outlet but if not then do not continue because you may create an electrical fire hazard, blow a fuse or damage your hair dryer. Dual voltage blow dryers sometimes have a switch to toggle between voltages, before using the hair dryer make sure the switch is set to the 230 volt setting; consult the user guide for more details on where the switch is found.
  2. If the plug on your hair dryer isn't the same type of outlet which is used in South Africa you will need to bring a Type M plug adapter [8]. This Type M plug adapter is designed to fit plugs on appliances from other countries into an electrical outlet in South Africa simply by changing the shape of the plug, however it doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your hair dryer to work with a 230 volt outlet.
  3. First you'll need to insert the Type M plug adapter into the South African power outlet. The power supply, sometimes known as the Type M power outlet [7], looks like 3 circular holes forming a triangular configuration for live, neutral and ground pins.
  4. Plug in the hair dryer into the Type M plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the South African power outlet. You can now turn on your hair dryer in South Africa.
How to use a hair dryer in South Africa using a type M power adapter

How to use a hair dryer in South Africa using a type N power adapter

Simple instructions showing you how to use your hair dryer in South Africa by using a 3 pin Type N power charger.

  1. Check that your blow dryer is either a dual voltage travel hair dryer [2] or works with a 230 volt power outlet; but if not then don't attempt these instructions as you might damage your hair dryer, blow a fuse or create an electrical fire hazard. Before using a travel hair dryer which can toggle between different voltages make sure you have set it to the 230 volt setting - refer to the owners manual for more information on how to do this.
  2. If the plug on your hair dryer isn't the same shape as the outlet which is used in South Africa you'll need to buy a Type N plug adapter [10]. The power adapter will help adapt different plugs on appliances from other countries for a power outlet in South Africa by changing the shape of the plug, however the adapter doesn't change the frequency or voltage of the hair dryer to work with a 230 volt supply.
  3. Start the process by taking the Type N plug adapter and inserting it into the wall outlet. You can recognise this hexagon shaped plug supply by three large holes in a flattened triangular shape for live, neutral and ground pins.
  4. Plug in your hair dryer into the Type N plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the South African power outlet.
  6. Your hair dryer can now be used in South Africa.
How to use a hair dryer in South Africa using a type N power adapter

See also

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Africa - South African Wikipedia web page
  2. https://www.amazon.com/Hot-Tools-Professional-Ht1044-Folding/dp/B003A1DWRO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1506767312&sr=1-1&keywords=Hot+Tools+Professional+Ht1044+Ionic+1875+Watt+Travel+Dryer+with+Folding+Handle+and+Dual+Votage&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnections-20&linkId=e4d6cd8511a014951b16d43f9ec3a809 - dual voltage travel hair dryer
  3. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/typeC.htm - Type C power outlet
  4. Type C plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type C power outlets without converting voltage
  5. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/typeF.htm - Type F power outlet
  6. Type F plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type F power outlets without converting voltage
  7. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/typeM.htm - Type M power outlet
  8. Type M plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type M power outlets without converting voltage
  9. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/typeN.htm - Type N power outlet
  10. Type N plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type N power outlets without converting voltage
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. 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
  14. 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.
  15. BaBylissPRO Tourmaline Titanium Travel Dryer - 10.5 ounce dual voltage travel blow dryer small enough to carry in a purse including concentrator
  16. Conair MiniPRO Folding Handle Tourmaline Ceramic Styler - Budget mini ionic hair dryer with 1200 watt 2 speed motor and bundled concentrator attachment.
  17. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country
  18. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/list_bylocation.htm - IEC World Plugs by location
  19. https://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa/cib_results.aspx?search=hair%20dryer - TSA guidelines for hair dryers
  20. Hard case for travel hair dryer - Hard case designed for storing and protecting a hair dryer safely during travel in luggage.
  21. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on.