Which power adapter do you need to bring for using a clothes iron in Panama?

Panamanian power outlet

Summary

First check your clothes iron can handle the voltage in Panama:

  • If your clothes iron can run on 120 volts or can support dual voltage (how you can tell) then you'll only need to use a suitable power adapter listed on this page if the plug on your clothes iron won't fit in the outlet.

If not then:

  • Use a dual voltage travel iron [2] - you might still need an appropriate power adapter for Panama however 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 clothes iron and other applicances with a 120 volt Panamanian power outlet, however this is significantly bulkier, heavier and more expensive than a dedicated travel clothes iron. A power converter changes the voltage but not the physical shape of the plug on your clothes iron to fit in the wall outlet used in Panama, therefore please check that the power converter comes with the right power adapter for Panama otherwise you will still need to bring a seperate power adapter. Be aware that your domestic clothes iron might not be suited for travelling and you risk potential damage in transit. [7] [AD]
Warning: If your clothes iron won't handle 120 volts used in Panama you run the risk of blowing a fuse, damage to your clothes iron or even an electrical fire hazard. Before using your clothes iron in Panama check the instruction manual to ensure safe operation.

Using a clothes iron in Panama

Will my clothes iron work in Panama?

That will depend on if your clothes iron is designed to operate using the 120 volts as used in Panama:

Panama power outlets and plug sockets

What frequency is used in a Panamanian power outlet?

The frequency in a Panamanian power outlet is 60Hz. [8]

What is the mains voltage in Panama?

The typical residential voltage in Panama is 120 volts.

Which plug adapter will you need when using a clothes iron in Panama?

Type A and B power outlets

Which plug adapter will you need when using a clothes iron in Panama?

There are two different types of power outlets used in Panama, types B and A with the primary power outlets being type B:

  • Plug Type A - The power socket (known as the type A power outlet) is identified by the 2 thin slots next to each other for live and neutral blades.
  • Plug Type B - This plug outlet, technically called a type B power outlet, is identified by the 2 thin slots parallel to each other for live and neutral blades with a semicircle hole below for the earth pin.

A Type B plug adapter is suitable for powering a 120 volt clothes iron in Panama; read the simple guide below for full details of how to use a travel adapter for Panama. Be aware that unless you that have a dual voltage clothes iron you will need to check if you have to bring a power converter.  [4] [9] [AD]

Dual voltage travel irons

Is my clothes iron dual voltage?

An easy way how to tell if your clothes iron supports dual voltage is to look for either a sticker or numbers printed on the base, handle or plug of your clothes iron. The location might vary depending on the make and model of your clothes iron and should also state on the box or in the instruction manual. Some dual voltage models will change automatically, however other irons will have a button or switch which allows you to toggle between different regions.

  • A specific number such as 110V indicates a single voltage clothes iron. If this number matches the 120 volts used in Panama then you should be able to use your clothes iron with a Panamanian power outlet.
  • A small voltage range with a dash such as 100-120V also indicates a single voltage clothes iron which can accomodate small voltage fluctuations. If the 120 volts used in a Panamanian power outlet falls within the range shown on your clothes iron then you can use it in Panama.
  • A larger voltage range separated with a slash such as 100/240V indicates a dual voltage clothes iron capable of being used in Panama or any other country.

Travelling to Panama with a clothes iron

Can you bring a clothes iron in your hand luggage?

According to the TSA guidelines for clothes irons there are no restrictions when bringing a mains powered clothes iron in your carry on luggage through airport security in the US. The TSA also suggests that you should verify that your airline who is taking you to Panama will allow a clothes iron onboard and that it will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the airplane. The TSA also recommends wrapping cords tightly around clothes irons. If you do intend to bring a fragile or expensive clothes iron in your hand held luggage then it is recommended to use hard carry on luggage as this offers the greatest protection against drops and knocks during transit.   [10] [11] [AD]

Power converters for Panama

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

Voltage converter

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

A cheap, small and lightweight power adapter (or plug adapter) changes the shape of the plug on your clothes iron to fit into a power outlet in Panama, but a heavy and bulkier power converter will convert a 120 volt Panamanian power outlet to work with a non-120 volt clothes iron. [7] [AD]

Do I need a voltage converter to use a clothes iron in Panama?

The correct model of power converter (or voltage transformer) will allow your clothes iron using a different voltage to work with the 120 volt power outlet used in Panama. Travellers wishing to bring their own clothes iron can use a power converter, but it could be cheaper to buy a dedicated dual voltage travel iron [2] than it will be to buy a power converter. Also worth noting, a power converter is substantially heavier than a travel clothes iron making a power converter less suitable for packing in luggage. [7] [AD]

How to use a clothes iron in Panama using a type B power adapter

How to power your clothes iron in Panama with a 3 pronged Type B power adapter.

  1. Check that the iron is either a dual voltage travel iron [2] or can work with a 120 volt power supply but if it doesn't then don't continue because you might blow a fuse, damage your iron or create an electrical fire hazard. Some irons will usually have a switch to toggle between voltages, before using the iron ensure you have set it to the 120 volt setting to use in Panama - consult the user guide to find out how to do this.
  2. You will need to use a Type B plug adapter [4] if the shape of plug on your clothes iron isn't the same type of plug outlet which is used in Panama. The Type B plug adapter helps fit plugs on appliances from other countries into a power outlet in Panama simply by changing the shape of the plug, but the adapter doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your clothes iron to work with a 120 volt supply.
  3. Begin the process by plugging the Type B plug adapter into the power outlet. You can recognise this plug supply by the two slots where the twin blades slide into with a single hole below for the slightly long grounded pin.
  4. After that plug in your clothes iron into the Type B plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the Panamanian power outlet. The clothes iron can now be used in Panama.
How to use a clothes iron in Panama using a type B power adapter

How to use a clothes iron in Panama using a type A power adapter

A page showing how to use a clothes iron in Panama using a Type A travel charger.

  1. Check that the iron is either a dual voltage travel iron [2] or can work with a 120 volt power supply but if it doesn't then don't attempt these instructions because you might create an electrical fire hazard, blow a fuse or damage your iron. Some dual voltage irons might usually have a switch to toggle between voltages, before using the iron ensure you have set it to the 120 volt setting to use in Panama, consult the user guide for more information on how to do this.
  2. Please check that you don't already own a clothes iron with a Type A plug - if it does then you won't need a power adapter (but still check that your clothes iron will work with a 120 volt power outlet). If the shape of the power outlet which is used in Panama isn't the same shape as the plug on your clothes iron you'll need to bring a Type A plug adapter [6]. This plug adapter is designed to convert different plugs on appliances from other countries for use in a power outlet in Panama simply by changing the shape of the plug, but the adapter doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your clothes iron to work with a 120 volt supply.
  3. Begin the process by plugging the Type A plug adapter into the power outlet. You can recognise this plug supply by the two slots next to each other for live and neutral blades.
  4. Plug in the clothes iron into the Type A plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the Panamanian power outlet.
  6. Your clothes iron should now be ready to use.
How to use a clothes iron in Panama using a type A power adapter

See also

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  1. Wikipedia - Panamanian country wikipedia page
  2. Amazon - dual voltage travel iron
  3. iec.ch - Type B power outlet
  4. Type B plug adapter - US and Japanese 3 pinned Type B plug adapters have a single unearthed round pin along with 2 shorter parallel rectangular flat blades containing holes in each blade, costing £5-£10.
  5. iec.ch - Type A power outlet
  6. Type A plug adapter - There are 2 parallel rectangular flat blades on an unearthed Type A plug adapter with small holes in each blade, estimated price £4-£5.
  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, estimated price £100-£110.
  8. Wikipedia - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country -
  9. iec.ch - IEC World Plugs by location -
  10. tsa.gov - TSA guidelines for clothes irons -
  11. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on, estimated price £40-£45.