Dual voltage Hair dryer redux

Jul 22nd, 2004, 10:41 AM
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Dual voltage Hair dryer redux

Buyer Beware, if you have hard to dry hair like mine.

I odered one of the ion travel hair dryers, 1875 watts, dual voltage, sounded like just the thing I needed. The brand ws Hot Tools Professional, made by Helen of Troy.

In reading the directions, I find that it must only be used on LOW at the 220 voltage setting. To get an idea of how this dryer performs on LOW, just blow on the back of your hand.

Secondly, the directions for changing the voltage from the factory setting of 120 to 220, say " Take a small screwdriver....".
Opps. Must have left that off my things to pack list.

So I guess I'll have to side with the poster who suggested buying one when you arrive at your destination.

Linda431 is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 10:50 AM
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I have one of those dual voltage dryers (not by Helen of Troy) but I have been happy with mine. I just switch it before I go. When it is switched to 220 it does only operate on one setting - I think the LOW - but it actually has the force of the HIGH setting. It is almost always better by far than the hairdryers in the hotel bathrooms although on my recent trip to Spain and France it seemed the hotel dryers were better than before. So MAYBE on my next trip I will not take my dryer (pack light!) but I have thick hair and like a good dryer,
suec1 is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 10:53 AM
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I don't have that particular brand but i suspect the reason you need the scredriver is to turn a small slotted disc on the adapter/transformer. You could probably do this even with a plastic spoon/nail file/ruler, etc. The reason they say use it only on low is that the "low" setting at 220 volts will perform like the high setting at 110 volts. Hope that helps ...
ssachida is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 10:56 AM
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Back when hair was an issue, I too had a similar dual voltage dryer. The toggle to 220v was shaped and placed in such a way that a small screwdriver would flip it, but other things worked, too - like edge of a knife or even a credit card. And as suec1 notes, the output on low setting using the 220v setting is higher (and hotter) than the low setting when on 110v.
Seamus is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 11:12 AM
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Maybe that's just a bad brand (I've never heard of it). I have had a small dual voltage by Clairol for 15-20 years which still works fine and I've never had a single problem in Europe, Egypt or many other places over all those years. Mine has a simple switch to flip the voltage (I always look at features before I buy something to make sure I like the design) and you don't need a screw driver or anything but your finger.

Mine does only work on low but the low speed at 220V is as high as high speed when I have it on the lower voltage in the US. Actually, it maybe higher as it dries my hair very fast.

So, this was your experience with that one brand, but it isn't true of all dual voltage hair dryers.
Christina is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 11:19 AM
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..my hair dryer has a little disc i turn with a penny..basically at 220 i can only use the low....the low at that voltage is "high"..works perfectly well..just be sure you have a plug adapter to fit in the wall outlet...i dont think you have been ripped off at all..i have a "name brand" and it is obviously designed in a similar manner to yours.
travelbunny is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 11:24 AM
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Does anybody know where I can buy a hair dryer in the U.S. that works in France. A store? A website? I want a hair dryer with some power not one of those dreadful ones that they have in hotel bathrooms. And I'd rather get it now than have to go to the Monoprix on the first day of my trip.
jddet is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 11:31 AM
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I have owned two of those dual voltage ones, and I agree with the post above that even on LOW at 220 it pretty much equals the HIGH setting at home. Although I think both mine have been Vidal Sasoon, when I sent for a reorder of the brush attachment, the order goes to Helen of Troy, so I suspect that is actually the manufacturer of most of the ones marketed under various names.
Patrick is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 11:35 AM
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I bought a dual voltage hair dryer at Brookstone that worked very well. Not only was the drying power fine, it's very small and folds up as well. jddet, as for your question about a hair dryer for France, just buy a kit that has the different size plug inserts; making sure you have a dual voltage dryer, or a converter.
MzPossum is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 11:56 AM
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I bought a dual-voltage dryer by Vidal Sassoon at Walgreen's a couple of years ago for about $20.

This one requires the setting to be changed with a screwdriver, which I do right before I throw it in the suitcase (along with the appropriate plug adaptor). It's used with the Low setting in Europe, which acts just like when I have it set on High in the US.
janeygirl is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 12:12 PM
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I purchased a travel size from Walmart for less than $10. My only problem was when I used a coin to switch it to 220 I didn't turn the dial all the way. When I switched it on I could tell by the way it was blowing that something was wrong. Before I could get it switched off it was ruined. How dumb was that!
sundowner is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 12:19 PM
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While traveling in France with my dual voltage hairdryer, I accidentally left my adapter plug at a hotel. So, I bought a new "French"hairdryer, which turned out to be a good thing. My dual voltage one did only run on low at the 220 setting and took forever to dry my hair. The new one has worked great in every other country in which I have used it, without the need for a plug adapter!
Marsh is online now  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 12:23 PM
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It's also useful to buy a short extension cord so that you don't have to sit on the floor near an electrical outlet. Often the outlets in bathrooms are only for shaver voltage.
Underhill is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 03:07 PM
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Thanks to all who pointed out about the low equals high issue. I never would have thought of that.

I've been using the newer ion dryer at home and it really does dry your hair faster so I am anxious to try out this travel version.
Thanks again!
Linda431 is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 03:22 PM
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In a similar vein....
I bought a dual voltage flat iron for out last trip (which brought me to thinking about the dual v. hair dryer for this year) and I love it. You don't have to change the voltage, it automatically "knows" somehow. I also found that I needed to turn the temp down. The brand name on that was Wigo Europe. It's a bit heavier than I would like for travelling, but it flat out gets the job done. (Sorry about the pun!)
Linda431 is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 04:08 PM
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Glad you read the directions that it must only be used on Low - my daughter didn't know and tried to use her dryer on High - and it blew it out. I had always switched mine over to 220 before leaving home - forgot last trip - turned it on - and blew it out! That is when I bought one in Italy and it worked so great (in France too), that I was very glad to have it for future use! It's nice not to have to remember to switch it over or to only use the Low setting.
blh is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2004, 07:41 AM
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Extension cords are good to have, but must match the maximum wattage put out the the hairdryer. Most light weight extension cords will support hairdryers up t0 1500W. Once you move to the 1600W or 1800W, the extension cords themselves get heavier as to the plugs on either end.

If the extension cord is not appropriate it will burn up. So look for the maximum wattage tag on the cord before putting down your money.
Jul 23rd, 2004, 08:31 AM
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Good point about the extention cord Sandi.
That's got me thinking about the wattage on this hair dryer.

If this dryer says 1875 watts, assuming that that means on high in U.S. 120 voltage operation, when I switch it to 220 in France and turn it to low, am I still getting 1875 watts since it seems to approximate the high setting on 120? If so, is that likely to cause a problem with European electricity?

Hope this makes sense. Basically, I just want to make sure I don't blow a fuse. Obviously I don't know much about voltage & wattage.
Linda431 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 04:21 PM
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Can someone tell me where to buy an adaptor for my hairdryer which will work in Italy. On previous trip to Italy I bought one over the internet which did not work once I got there. Is there a reliable website?
ssgraber is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 04:28 PM
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Here's a website for determining plug adapter required:


I've been traveling with the same Revlon dual-voltage blow dryer for many years. Low in Europe is about the same as High at home. I, too, change the switch before leaving home - mostly so I don't forget to do it once there.

Here's another recommendation for packing an extension cord. Often very handy.

djkbooks is offline  

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