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Electrical conversion question: Can I use fan/hair dryer on low w/out converter?

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On a previous trip to Europe I bought a small hair dryer that had a switch for going from 110V to 220V which I thought was rather high tech. We used the hair dryer on the trip w/ no problem. We also took a small fan to help with sleeping. We turned that puppy on high the first night and were amazed at how quickly the little fella could spin…almost blew itself off the desk. About 10 minutes later it died w/ a sizzle. Upon returning to the US I dropped the hair dryer and had to open it up to remove a loose part that was rattling around inside. I was amazed and disappointed to see that my high tech hair dryer that I thougth had a built in converter actually only had a small switch that locked out the ability to use high...there was no actual converter in it.

The point to all of this is to ask...is it USUALLY ok to take appliances that have a high and low setting to Europe, use a plug converter and only use it on the low setting? I’m talking about things like fans, hair dryers, curling irons, etc...not high tech electronic items.

Thanks

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