After we have planned the perfect getaway. Our big fears while traveling are, overpacking or under packing. Both can cost you time and money.
If you overpack, you won't have as much space to bring home souvenirs you bought while on your trip. Not to mention the infamous extra luggage fees at the airport.
Then again if you under pack, you must deal with not having something that you really need. That means you have to find a good local salon that is familiar with your hair type. Become a hot mess and hate most of your vacation photos. Settling for the hotel’s hairdryer or buying a new one. All of these are very Scary ideas especially if you are traveling overseas.
Another common concern is weight. Whether you are traveling by air or you are a backpacker, weight is paramount.
In this article, we will show you highly recommended travel size hair dryers, and not so common alternatives. Informative tips on overcoming the challenge of a smaller dryer. And answer the question. What is a dual voltage switch, and how to use it?
In this modern age, the question of whether there will be electricity seems rather silly. However, it is still a valid question.
That's an important question if you are heading for someplace new, especially to a foreign country, be informed of what situations you may encounter.
A friend of mine visited the middle east a couple of years ago, and she thought there would be issues with power. When she asked the hotel owner about power outages, he looked at her as if she had two heads. He said they never lose power.
My friend had traveled extensively in countries like the one where I live. We have what is called 24 hr power. But it is actually about 18-20 hrs of power in most cases. If you want to travel off the beaten path and see how the local population lives, the rural areas receive electricity 8-10 hours of the day. The rest of the day we usually have limited power from batteries that get converted to 110v energy.
Understanding the local power situation is more than just knowing If the power is 110v or 220v You need to understand that there are different plug configurations. And different sources of energy.
12v or 24v DC power, for example, that is converted to 110v or 220v is becoming common in the USA and in other countries as an alternative to the power grid. You will find this kind of power if you use travel trailers, boats, wind, solar, and water turbine power(off the grid). If the power is inverted and not direct, you can use a regular dryer, but it should have low wattage, ( I recommend 1000 watts or less) so you don't completely discharge the batteries or damage your inverter. There are 12v hairdryers available but they are not highly rated mostly because of the low output.
Essentially dual voltage means you can use your travel hairdryer in any country, the only thing you may need is a plug adapter if the plug configuration is different from your home country.
For better understanding in this article, we use the term: 110 v to refer to (90-127v) and 220v to refer to (220-250v). The voltage can fluctuate, but most hair dryers have a range of input voltage that is acceptable that will not hurt the dryer.
All appliances are manufactured for a particular country. Different countries have different standards for power output and plug configurations. Appliances are wired or electronically programmed to only accept certain amounts of voltage. If these parameters are ignored the device can be damaged or worse, you can get hurt.
Usually, the plug configuration prevents you from doing so. But generally speaking, if the voltage is too high, it draws too much current and burns out. If the voltage is too low, it draws too little current and does not perform well.
If you are plugging a 110 V appliance into a 220V outlet you can only hope that your dryer has some sort of internal protection. Otherwise: The hairdryer will develop close to four times the designed heat, could catch fire and burn out within minutes, if not seconds. If it is an AC motor Hair Dryer, it will burn out very quickly. If it is a universal drive motor, (or DC motor), it will work harder than intended, and wear out quickly.
An example of a travel-sized DC motor hair dryer:
If you plug a 220V dryer into 110V outlet, it will last a little longer than 110v into a 220v before it dies. But: An AC mechanical drive may fail to start, or take more current than it is designed for being more expensive to operate, and eventually burn out.”(source GoHz.com)
You can buy a 220v converter so that your dryer will work smoothly. That's great if you want to pack your favorite hair dryer that doesn't have a dual voltage switch. A word of caution: converters are rated for certain wattage output. So don't use a dryer rated for 2000 watts with a converter that is rated for 500 watts.
Appliances manufactured to accept a larger range of power input, are universal, except for the plug configuration. Thus it doesn't need a dual voltage switch ( the battery-operated dryer at the end of this article, is an example)
In the world of hair dryers, a dual voltage switch. It is a manual switch that changes over the power input so you don't burn up your hairdryer.
Pro Tip: Look for the dual voltage switch on the handle, it looks like a screw and is clearly marked with the voltage. You will need a small flat-tip screwdriver or a thin coin to change over the voltage.
For more useful information about dual voltage read Best European Hair Straighteners
Of course, nothing can beat the “World’s smallest hair dryer” for size and weight. But in reality, it’s just a fan that happens to look like a blow dryer.
We wanted a compact travel dryer that’s worth buying and that will really do the job.
StyleCraft PeeWee 1200 Dual Voltage Folding Handle Travel Dryer (best overall) (best portable hair dryer for thick hair)
Yes, this is a thing.
Fun fact. Did you know that butane gas was the power source of choice for travelers in the 1970s, and1980s? Hard to believe especially since 9/11. Now common sense would tell you that this seems like a bad idea. The butane hairdryers, in reality, was a cordless hot airbrush
So if you don't want to deal with voltage issues or a cord. Here are some dryers to consider
Running time for this dryer is 15 minutes on warm, and 7 minutes on hot
FreeDryer generates 420Watts power output, which is the highest of the kind. The warmness provided is around the second speed of a traditional hairdryer. (By Tek Maker USA SELLER on February 23, 2019)
Travel tip: Battery-powered hair tools should be packed in your carry on luggage; batteries are not permitted to fly in checked baggage. For airport security, one can hand carry batteries under 100WH in total. The FreeDryer battery is of 38WH each. (By Tek Maker USA SELLER on November 28, 2018) You can fly with both batteries if you don't have a lot of other electronic devices.
The future is coming soon! This cordless dryer will soon be released. I'm excited to see the final product.
Volo cordless infrared dryer (not yet available for sale on Amazon)
These are a few areas where our mini hair dryer might be challenged
We recommend getting a small hair dryer that comes with it's own smaller sized attachment
The best one we found had a 7ft cord.
Some travelers have mentioned they wanted to find a travel-sized Hairdryer with a retractable cord.
We are now better prepared to find just the travel-sized Hairdryer we need to look our best and focus on the great experience of our travels.
No need to fear overpacking or bad hair days while on vacation.
Andis 1875-Watt Tourmaline Ceramic Ionic Styling Hair Dryer ( doesn’t fold )
In case you already have a travel-sized dryer of your dreams but no diffuser. Here’s a great diffuser that fit most travel-sized dryers