How to use a curling iron in South Korea

South Korean power outlet

Summary

First check your curling iron can work in South Korea:

If not then:

  • Use a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] - you may still need to use the right power adapter for South Korea however these cheap lightweight accessories are designed specifically for the rigors of travel.
  • Use a power converter (or voltage transformer) - this will enable you to use your existing curling iron and other applicances with a 220 volt South Korean power outlet, however this is substantially bulkier and more expensive than a dedicated travel curling iron. A power converter changes the voltage but won't change the actual shape of the plug on your curling iron to fit in the wall outlet used in South Korea, therefore check that your power converter includes an appropriate power adapter for South Korea otherwise you will also need to bring another power adapter. Be aware that your own personal curling iron might not be suitable for travelling and you risk potential damage in your luggage. [7] [AD]
Warning: If your curling iron won't handle 220 volts used in South Korea you run the risk of damage to your curling iron, an electrical fire hazard or a blown fuse. Before attempting to use your curling iron in South Korea check the instruction manual first to ensure safe operation.

Using a curling iron in South Korea

Will my curling iron work in South Korea?

It depends on if your curling iron can operate using the 220 volt power outlets in South Korea. If you're using either a dual voltage curling iron or your curling iron is designed to handle 220 volts and you have the correct power adapter then you should be able to use your curling iron in South Korea. If not then you will need to consider using either a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] or a heavier and more expensive power converter, read the section on can you use a power converter with your domestic curling iron in South Korea for help deciding which solution is more suitable. [7] [AD]

South Korea power outlets and plug sockets

What is the frequency used in South Korea?

The frequency from a South Korean power outlet is 60Hz. [8]

What voltage is used in South Korea?

The standard voltage in South Korea is 220 volts.

Which power adapter will you need to use a curling iron in South Korea?

Type C and F power outlets

Which power adapter will you need to use a curling iron in South Korea?

There are two different types of power outlets used in South Korea, these are type F and C with the primary power outlets being type F:

  • Plug Type C - You can identify the wall outlet by the 2 circular holes adjacent to each other where the twin plug socket pins sit. Please be aware that that Type C electrical outlets might not be as common in South Korea as Type F outlets.
  • Plug Type F - You can recognise the wall socket by the two 4.8mm circular holes 19 mm apart from each other for live and neutral and two grounding clips above and below. These are the most commonly used outlets in South Korea.

A Type F plug adapter is suitable for powering a 220 volt curling iron in South Korea; read the step by step instructions below for full details of using a curling iron in South Korea using a power adapter. Note that unless you that have a dual voltage curling iron you might also need to use a voltage converter.  [6] [9] [AD]

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 plug or the handle of the curling iron. The location might depend on the make or model of your curling iron and should also state in the instruction manual or on the box. Some dual voltage models will change automatically but other models will feature a button or switch which allows you to toggle between different regions depending on which country you are in.

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

Travelling to South Korea with a curling iron

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

According to the TSA guidelines for curling irons there is no restriction on bringing a mains powered curling iron in your carry on luggage through airport security in the US. The TSA recommends that you should check that your airline who is flying you to South Korea will allow curling irons onboard and that it will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the aircraft.

Packing the curling irons in a dedicated heat resistant protective hot tools travel case leaves it easily accessible for airport security checks, it can be packed away quickly and should avoid a tangle of cords in your carry on luggage (the TSA recommends wrapping cables tightly around electronic items such as curling irons). If you do intend to bring fragile or expensive curling irons in your hand held luggage then it is recommended to bring hard carry on luggage as this provides the most protection against knocks and bumps during your journey.   [10] [11] [12] [AD]

Should you bring travel curling iron or dual voltage curling iron to South Korea?

It is preferable to bring a dual voltage curling iron as opposed to bringing your existing domestic curling iron to South Korea as it is safer to assume that it will work with the 220 volt power outlets used with a South Korean power outlet, as long as you bring the correct plug adapter for South Korea. It is also worth concidering that bringing expensive domestic curling iron might place it at risk because of potential damage or loss in your check in suitcase by an airline baggage handler in South Korea. The cost and inconvenience of repairing or replacing an expensive quality curling iron in South Korea could outweigh the costs of buying a cheaper dual voltage travel curling iron [2] . If you intend to bring along your own curling iron in your luggage it is recommended to 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.  [11] [AD]

Power converters for South Korea

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

Voltage converter

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

A small, cheap and lightweight power adapter (or plug adapter) changes the shape of the plug on your curling iron to slot into a power outlet found in South Korea, however a heavy and bulkier power converter converts the voltage of 220 volts from a South Korean power outlet to work with a non-220 volt curling iron. [7] [AD]

Do I need a power converter for South Korea to use a curling iron?

The correct model of power converter (or voltage transformer) allows a curling iron using a different voltage to operate with the 220 volt power outlet used in South Korea. Travellers wishing to use their existing curling iron can use a power converter, however it might be more costly to buy a power converter than it is to purchase a dedicated dual voltage travel curling iron [2]. A power converter is significantly heavier and bulkier than a travel curling iron making a power converter less suitable for packing compared to a travel curling iron. [7] [AD]

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

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

  1. Ensure 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 continue because you may create an electrical fire hazard, damage your iron or blow a fuse. Some dual voltage travel curling irons typically have a switch to toggle between voltages, before operating the iron make sure the switch is set to accept 220 volts to use in South Korea, please refer to the owners manual for more information on where the switch is.
  2. If the plug on your curling iron isn't the same type of outlet used in South Korea you will need to use a Type C plug adapter [4]. The Type C plug adapter is designed to convert plugs from other countries for use with a power outlet found in South Korea 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 220 volt outlet.
  3. Begin by inserting the Type C plug adapter into the power outlet. You can recognise the wall supply by the 2 circular holes adjacent to each other where the live and neutral plug outlet pins sit. Please be aware that that Type C electrical outlets might not be as commonplace in South Korea as Type F outlets.
  4. Plug in the curling iron into the Type C plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the South Korean power outlet.
  6. Your curling iron can now be turned on.
How to use a curling iron in South Korea using a type C power adapter

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

How to use a curling iron in South Korea with a 2 prong Type F power charger.

  1. Check that your curling iron is either a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] or is compatible with a 220 volt power outlet; but if not then do not continue because you might create an electrical fire hazard, damage your iron or blow a fuse. Some dual voltage travel curling irons usually have a switch to toggle between voltages, before operating the iron ensure the switch is set to accept 220 volts to use in South Korea, please refer to the owners manual for more details on where the switch is found.
  2. If the plug shape on your curling iron isn't the same type of outlet used in South Korea you'll need to use a Type F plug adapter [6]. This Type F plug adapter will help convert different plugs from other countries into a power outlet in South Korea 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 the process by taking the Type F plug adapter and plugging it into the wall outlet. You can identify the wall supply by the two circular holes 19 mm next to each other where the twin plug outlet pins sit along with two thin grounding clips above and below. The most frequently found sockets in South Korea are Type F power sockets.
  4. Next plug in your curling iron into the Type F plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the South Korean power outlet. The curling iron is now ready to be used in South Korea.
How to use a curling iron in South Korea using a type F power adapter

See also

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  1. Visitkorea - Korea Tourism Organization site
  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, around £5.
  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, under £10.
  7. 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, £100-£110.
  8. Wikipedia - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country -
  9. iec.ch - IEC World Plugs by location -
  10. tsa.gov - TSA guidelines for curling irons -
  11. Hard case for hot tools - Hard case designed for storing and protecting a flat irons, curling irons and hair straighteners, costing £5-£10.
  12. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on, priced £40-£45.