Which plug adapter will you need for using a curling iron in South Africa?

South African power outlet

Summary

Check that your curling iron can handle the voltage in South Africa:

If not then:

  • Use a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] - you might still need a power adapter for South Africa but these cheap lightweight accessories are designed specifically for the rigors of travel.
  • Use a power converter (or voltage transformer) - you can then use your existing curling iron and other applicances with a 230 volt South African power outlet, however this is considerably heavier and more expensive than a dedicated travel curling iron. A voltage transformer changes the voltage but not the actual shape of the plug on your curling iron to fit in the types of wall outlet used in South Africa, therefore check that your voltage transformer includes an appropriate power adapter for South Africa otherwise you will still need to bring a seperate power adapter. Be aware that your own personal curling iron might not be suitable for travelling and you risk damage in your suitcase. [11] [AD]
Warning: If your curling iron won't handle 230 volts used in South Africa you run the risk of damage to your curling iron, an electrical fire hazard or a blown fuse. Before using your curling iron in South Africa read the instruction manual first to ensure safe operation.

Using a curling iron in South Africa

Will my curling iron work in South Africa?

This will depend on if your curling iron is designed to operate using the 230 volts used in South Africa. If you're using either a dual voltage curling iron or your curling iron can handle 230 volts and you have the appropriate plug adapter then you can use it in South Africa. If not then you will need to consider using either a power converter or a dual voltage travel curling iron [2]. Read our guide on will a voltage converter work with your domestic curling iron in South Africa for help deciding which option is more suitable. [11] [AD]

South Africa power outlets and plug sockets

What frequency is used in South Africa?

The frequency of the current in a South African power outlet is 50Hz. [12]

What is the voltage in South Africa?

Power outlets in South Africa are 230 volts.

Which travel adapter do you need when using a curling iron 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 - You can recognise the wall outlet by the 2 circular holes adjacent to each other where the twin plug socket pins sit.
  • Plug Type F - The round plug socket can be recognised by two 4.8mm adjacent holes for live and neutral pins along with a pair of metal grounding clips at the top and bottom.
  • Plug Type M - You can recognise this wall socket by the three large holes in a triangular shape for live, neutral and ground pins.
  • Plug Type N - You can identify this flattened hexagon shaped wall socket by the 3 large circular holes in a flattened triangular configuration.

A recommended plug adapter to bring for using a 230 volt curling iron in South Africa is a Type M plug adapter; read the step-by-step guide below for full details of using a travel adapter for South Africa. Note that unless you that have a dual voltage curling iron you will need to see if you also need to bring a power converter.  [8] [13] [AD]

Which travel adapter do you need when using a curling iron in South Africa?

Dual voltage curling irons

How can you tell if your curling iron is dual voltage?

An easy way how to tell if your curling iron will accept dual voltage is to look for either a sticker or numbers printed on the handle or plug of the curling iron. The location will depend on the make and model of your curling iron and should also be written on the box. Some dual voltage models might change automatically but other irons will have a button which allows you to operate between different voltage ranges.

  • A specific number such as 110V indicates a single voltage curling iron. If this number matches the 230 volts used in South Africa then you should be able to use your curling iron with a South African 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 230 volts used in a South African power outlet falls within the range shown on your curling iron then you should be able to use it in South Africa.
  • A large voltage range separated with a slash such as 100/240V indicates a dual voltage curling iron capable of being used in South Africa or any other country.

Travelling to South Africa with a curling iron

Can I carry on a curling iron to South Africa in my luggage?

According to the TSA guidelines for curling irons 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 suggests that you should verify that your airline which is flying you to South Africa will allow a curling iron onboard and that it will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the airplane.

Packing your curling irons in a dedicated heat resistant protective hot tools travel case leaves it easily accessible by airport security, it can be packed away quickly avoiding a tangle of power wires in your carry on luggage (the TSA advices wrapping cables tightly around electronic items). If you intend to pack fragile or expensive curling irons in your hand held luggage then it is advisable to use hard carry on luggage as this offers the greatest protection against bumps and knocks during transit.   [14] [15] [16] [AD]

Is it safe to bring my curling iron to South Africa?

Bringing a dual voltage travel curling iron is preferable to packing your existing curling iron as it ensures that it will operate correctly with the 230 volt power outlets used with a South African power outlet, provided that you use the correct power adapter for South Africa.

Note that packing your expensive domestic curling iron could place it at risk due to potential loss or damage in transit by airport baggage handlers in South Africa. The inconvenience and costs of repairing an expensive specialised curling iron in South Africa might outweigh the cost of purchasing a cheaper dual voltage travel curling iron [2] before your trip. If you intend to bring along your own curling iron in your luggage either slide it inside a sneaker or boot to protect from light damage, alternatively use a shockproof and heat resistant hot tools travel case which also allows the curling iron to be packed right after use without waiting to cool down.  [15] [AD]

Power converters for South Africa

Can I use my curling iron with a voltage converter for South Africa?

The correct type power converter (or voltage transformer) will allow a curling iron using a different voltage to operate with the 230 volt power outlet used in South Africa. Travellers wishing to use their own curling iron can use a power converter, however it might be considerably less expensive to buy a dedicated dual voltage travel curling iron [2] than it will be to purchase a power converter. Also, a travel curling iron can be significantly smaller and lighter than a power converter making a travel curling iron more suitable for packing. [11] [AD]

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

Voltage converter

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

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

How to use a curling iron in South Africa using a type C power adapter

How to power your curling iron in South Africa using a Type C power adapter.

  1. Please check that your curling iron is either a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] or can work with a 230 volt power supply but if it doesn't then don't proceed as you might damage your iron, blow a fuse or create an electrical fire hazard. Dual voltage curling irons typically have a switch to toggle between voltages, before using the iron ensure you have set it to accept 230 volts for use in South Africa - refer to the user guide to find out where the switch is located.
  2. You will need to buy a Type C plug adapter [4] if the shape of the power outlet used in South Africa doesn't accomodate the plug on your curling iron. The power adapter is designed to fit plugs from other countries for use in an electrical outlet used in South Africa simply by changing the shape of the plug, but the adapter doesn't change the voltage of the curling iron to work with a 230 volt supply.
  3. Insert the Type C plug adapter into the South African power outlet. You can recognise the wall outlet by the 2 circular holes next to each other where the live and neutral plug outlet pins sit.
  4. Plug in your curling iron into the Type C plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the South African power outlet. Your curling iron is now ready to be used in South Africa.
How to use a curling iron in South Africa using a type C power adapter

How to use a curling iron in South Africa using a type F power adapter

How to use a curling iron in South Africa with a 2 pinned Type F power charger.

  1. Make sure that the curling iron is either a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] or can work with a 230 volt power outlet but if it doesn't then do not proceed as you could damage your iron, blow a fuse or create an electrical fire hazard. Travel curling irons usually have a switch to toggle between voltages, before using the iron ensure the switch is set to accept 230 volts for use in South Africa - please refer to the owners manual for more details on where the switch is found.
  2. You'll need to bring a Type F plug adapter [6] if the shape of plug on your curling iron isn't the same shape as the power outlet used in South Africa. The plug adapter will help adapt plugs on appliances from other countries into an electrical outlet found in South Africa simply by changing the shape of the plug, but it doesn't change the voltage of the curling iron to work with a 230 volt supply.
  3. Start the process by taking the Type F plug adapter and inserting it in the South African power outlet. The round plug supply (known as the Type F power outlet [5] or Schuko plug) can be recognised by two adjacent holes where the twin pins go along with a pair of metal grounding clips at the top and bottom.
  4. Next plug in your curling iron into the Type F plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the South African power outlet.
  6. Your hair curling iron can now be used in South Africa.
How to use a curling iron in South Africa using a type F power adapter

How to use a curling iron in South Africa using a type M power adapter

Instructions on how to use your curling iron in South Africa with a three pronged Type M travel charger.

  1. Please ensure that your curling iron is either a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] or can work with a 230 volt power supply - if it doesn't then don't attempt these instructions as you might damage your iron, blow a fuse or create an electrical fire hazard. Before using a travel curling iron ensure you have set it to accept 230 volts - refer to the user guide to find out where the switch is located.
  2. If the type of power outlet which is used in South Africa isn't the same shape as the plug on your curling iron you will need to use a Type M plug adapter [8]. The power adapter is designed to fit plugs from other countries for use in an electrical outlet used in South Africa by changing the shape of the plug, but the adapter doesn't change the voltage of the curling iron to work with a 230 volt outlet.
  3. Insert the Type M plug adapter into the South African power outlet. You can recognise this power outlet by three large holes forming a triangular configuration for live, neutral and ground pins.
  4. After that plug in the curling iron into the Type M plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the South African power outlet.
  6. Your hair curling iron can now be turned on.
How to use a curling iron in South Africa using a type M power adapter

How to use a curling iron in South Africa using a type N power adapter

A guide on how to power your curling iron in South Africa by using a Type N travel adapter.

  1. Ensure that your curling iron is either a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] or is compatible with a 230 volt power supply; but if not then don't continue because you may create an electrical fire hazard, damage your iron or blow a fuse. Before using a dual voltage travel curling iron which can toggle between different voltages make sure you have set it to the 230 volt setting; consult the manufacturers instructions to find out how to do this.
  2. If the plug on your curling iron isn't the same shape as the outlet which is used in South Africa you'll need to bring a Type N plug adapter [10]. This Type N plug adapter will help convert different plugs from other countries into a power outlet found in South Africa by changing the shape of the plug, however the adapter doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your curling iron to work with a 230 volt outlet.
  3. Firstly plug the Type N plug adapter in the power outlet. This flattened hexagon shaped wall supply, technically called a Type N power outlet [9], looks like 3 round holes forming a triangular pattern for live, neutral and ground.
  4. Plug in the curling iron into the Type N plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the South African power outlet. Your hair curling iron should now be ready for use in South Africa.
How to use a curling iron in South Africa using a type N power adapter

See also

We endeavour to ensure that links on this page are periodically checked and correct for suitability. This website may receive commissions for purchases made through links on this page. As an Amazon Associate WikiConnections earn from qualifying purchases. For more details please read the disclaimers page.

  1. Wikipedia - Wikipedia.org entry about South Africa
  2. Amazon - dual voltage travel curling iron
  3. iec.ch - Type C power outlet
  4. Type C plug adapter - European Europlug Type C plug adapters are unearthed and comprise of two 4mm rounded pins placed 19mm apart, £10-£15.
  5. iec.ch - Type F power outlet
  6. Type F plug adapter - Schuko Type F plug adapters are earthed using two clips at the top and bottom with two rounded 4.8mm pins set 19mm apart, £10-£15.
  7. iec.ch - Type M power outlet
  8. Type M plug adapter - South African Type M power adapters have three large circular pins in a triangular shape with the top earthed pin longer and larger in diameter, £5-£10.
  9. iec.ch - Type N power outlet
  10. Type N plug adapter - The three rounded pins on a grounded Brazilian Type N plug adapter form a flattened triangular pattern, the 10 amp version uses 4mm thick pins whilst the 20 amp version has 4.8mm thick pins, £5-£10.
  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, estimated cost under £110.
  12. Wikipedia - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country -
  13. iec.ch - IEC World Plugs by location -
  14. tsa.gov - TSA guidelines for curling irons -
  15. Hard case for hot tools - Hard case designed for storing and protecting a flat irons, curling irons and hair straighteners, priced at £10-£15.
  16. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on, around £35.