Using a curling iron in China

Chinese power outlet

Summary

Check that your curling iron can handle the voltage in China:

If not then:

  • Use a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] - you may still need to use a suitable power adapter for China however these cheap lightweight accessories are designed specifically for travel.
  • Use a power converter [9] (or voltage transformer) - this enables you to use your existing curling iron and other applicances with a 220 volt Chinese power outlet, however this is significantly bulkier, heavier and more expensive than a dedicated travel curling iron. A voltage transformer will change the voltage but not the shape of the plug on your curling iron to fit in the types of wall outlet used in China, therefore please check that your voltage transformer includes an appropriate power adapter for China otherwise you will also need to bring another power adapter. Note - your own existing curling iron might not be suited for travelling and you could risk damage in transit.

Warning: If your curling iron won't handle 220 volts you run a risk of a blown fuse, damage to your curling iron or even an electrical fire hazard. Before attempting to use your curling iron in China check the instruction manual first to ensure safe operation.

Using a curling iron in China

How can I use my US curling iron in China?

The instructions on this page assume that you are an America reader visiting China and will provide advice on using your American curling iron with a Chinese power outlet.

Will my curling iron work in China?

This will depend on if your curling iron is designed to handle the 220 volts used in China:

China power outlets and plug sockets

What is the voltage in China?

The typical voltage used in China is 220 volts.

What frequency is used in China?

The frequency used in a Chinese power outlet is 50 Hz.

Which plug adapter do you need to bring for using a curling iron in China?

Type A, I and C power outlets

Which plug adapter do you need to bring for using a curling iron in China?

There are three types of power outlets used in China, types I, A and C with the primary power outlets being type I:

  • Plug Type A - You can recognise this wall socket by the 2 thin slots adjacent to each other where the twin plug socket pins sit.
  • Plug Type C - This ungrounded power socket (technically called a Europlug) is identified by 2 round holes adjacent to each other.
  • Plug Type I - You can identify this plug socket by three slots in a triangular shape with a single vertical pin at the base and the top pair of slots sloping upward for the live, neutral and earth.

A suitable power adapter to bring when using a 220 volt curling iron in China is a Type I power adapter [6], read the step-by-step guide below for full details of how to use a curling iron in China. Note that unless you that have a dual voltage curling iron you might also have to use a voltage converter.

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 supports a dual voltage outlet is to check for either a sticker or numbers printed on the handle or the plug. This location might vary depending on the make or model of your curling iron, it should also state on the box. Some dual voltage models can change automatically but other models will have a button which allows you to operate between different voltage ranges.

  • Single voltage could say a specific number - such as 110V. If this number matches the 220 volts used in China then you should be able to use your curling iron with a Chinese 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 220 volts used in a Chinese power outlet falls within the range shown on your curling iron then you can use it in China.
  • Dual voltage will typically say a larger voltage range separated with a slash - such as 100/240V. Your curling iron will be capable of being used in China or any other country if these numbers are shown.

Travelling to China with a curling iron

Is it better to bring my domestic curling iron or dual voltage curling iron to China?

Bringing a dual voltage travel curling iron is preferable to bringing your existing curling iron as it is safer to assume that it will work with the 220 volt power outlets used with a Chinese power outlet, as long as you bring the correct plug adapter for China. It is also worth bearing in mind that packing expensive domestic curling iron could put it at risk because of potential loss or damage in transit by airport baggage handlers in China. The inconvenience and costs of repairing an expensive quality curling iron in China could outweigh the cost of buying a cheap dual voltage travel curling iron [2] before setting off. If you intend to pack your own personal curling iron in your suitcase either slot it inside a boot or sneaker to protect from light knocks, alternatively use a heat resistant and shockproof hot tools travel case [12] which also allows the curling iron to be transported whilst hot without waiting to cool down.

Can you carry on a curling iron?

According to the TSA guidelines for curling irons [13] there is no restriction on carrying a mains powered curling iron in your carry on luggage through airport security in the US. The TSA recommends that you should verify that your airline that is flying you to China will allow curling irons 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 [12] leaves it easily accessible by airport security, it can be packed away quickly avoiding a tangle of wires in your carry on luggage (the TSA suggests 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 recommended to use hard carry on luggage [14] as this provides the most protection against knocks and bumps during your journey.

Power converters for China

Can I use a voltage converter to use my curling iron in China?

A suitable power converter [9] (or voltage transformer) will allow a curling iron using a different voltage to operate with the 220 volt power outlet used in China. A power converter is more suitable for travellers wishing to use their existing curling iron, but it could be more costly to purchase a power converter than it is to purchase a dedicated dual voltage travel curling iron [2]. Also, a travel curling iron can be significantly lighter and smaller than a power converter making a travel curling iron more suitable for travelling.

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

Voltage converter

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

A heavy and bulky power converter [9] converts a 220 volt Chinese power outlet to work with a non-220 volt curling iron, but a cheaper and smaller power adapter (or plug adapter) changes the shape of the plug on your curling iron to fit into a power outlet found in China.

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

How to use a curling iron in China with a Type C travel adapter.

  1. Check that the curling iron is either a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] or works with a 220 volt power outlet but if not then do not continue because you may create an electrical fire hazard, damage your iron or blow a fuse. Before using a travel curling iron ensure you have set it to accept 220 volts for use in China - please refer to the owners manual for more information on where this switch is.
  2. You will need to buy a Type C plug adapter [4] if the shape of the power outlet used in China doesn't accomodate the plug on your curling iron. This Type C plug adapter will convert different plugs from other countries into a power outlet found in China by changing the shape of the plug, however the adapter doesn't change the frequency or voltage of the curling iron to work with a 220 volt outlet.
  3. Start by taking the Type C plug adapter and inserting it in the power outlet. You can recognise the wall outlet by the 2 round adjacent holes for live and neutral pins.
  4. After that plug in the curling iron into the Type C plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the Chinese power outlet.
  6. You can now switch on your curling iron in China.
How to use a curling iron in China using a type C power adapter

How to use a curling iron in China using a type I power adapter

How to use a curling iron in China with a 3 prong Type I travel charger.

  1. Please ensure that the curling iron is either a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] or can work with a 220 volt power supply but if it doesn't then do not proceed because you could 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 220 volt setting, refer to the user guide to find out where the switch is found.
  2. You will need to buy a Type I plug adapter [6] if the type of plug on your curling iron isn't the same type of power outlet used in China. The plug adapter helps adapt different plugs on appliances from other countries for an electrical outlet in China simply by changing the shape of the plug, however it doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your curling iron to work with a 220 volt outlet.
  3. Begin by plugging the Type I plug adapter in the wall outlet. The power supply (known as the Type I power outlet [5]) can be identified by the three slots in a triangular configuration with a single vertical pin at the base and the top pair of slots sloping upward for the live, neutral and ground. Note that the neutral and live blades are configured reversed compared to Argentinian power outlets, check that your Type I power adaptor is compatible in China.
  4. Then plug in the curling iron into the Type I plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the Chinese power outlet.
  6. Your hair curling iron can now be used in China.
How to use a curling iron in China using a type I power adapter

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

The WikiConnections guide on how to power your curling iron in China using a Type A power adapter.

  1. Check that your curling iron is either a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] or is compatible with a 220 volt power supply; but if not then don't attempt these instructions as you may 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 the switch is set to accept 220 volts to use in China; please consult the user guide to find out how to do this.
  2. Check that you are not already using 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 220 volt power supply). You'll need to buy a Type A plug adapter [8] if the shape of the power outlet which is used in China isn't the same shape as the plug shape of your curling iron. The plug adapter will help adapt plugs on appliances from other countries for an electrical outlet in China simply by changing the shape of the plug, however it doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your curling iron to work with a 220 volt outlet.
  3. Insert the Type A plug adapter into the Chinese power outlet. The wall supply (sometimes known as the Type A power outlet [7]) can be recognised by two slots parallel to each other for live and neutral blades.
  4. Plug in your curling iron into the Type A plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the Chinese power outlet. Your hair curling iron can now be used in China.
How to use a curling iron in China using a type A power adapter

See also

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China - China page on Wikipedia.org
  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/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/typeI.htm - Type I power outlet
  6. Type I plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type I power outlets without converting voltage
  7. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/typeA.htm - Type A power outlet
  8. Type A plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type A power outlets without converting voltage
  9. 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
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country
  11. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/list_bylocation.htm - IEC World Plugs by location
  12. Hard case for hot tools - Hard case designed for storing and protecting a flat irons, curling irons and hair straighteners.
  13. https://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa/cib_results.aspx?search=curling%20iron - TSA guidelines for curling irons
  14. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on.