Buying Plug and Power Adaptors: How Not to Fry Your Hairdryer

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Buying Plug and Power Adaptors: How Not to Fry Your Hairdryer

Travelling outside of the country with small appliances, like hairdryers and curling irons, can be tricky. Plugs in the UK are not the same as those used throughout other parts of Europe and the world. Additionally, the voltage of an outlet might be different depending on which country a person is travelling to. This means that travellers run the risk of frying their hairdryers or even electrocuting themselves if they haven’t taken the time to properly prepare for the trip. Two types of adaptors are available for small appliances: plug adaptors and power adaptors. It is important for a traveller to understand the differences between the two. In order to be fully prepared to use small appliances while travelling, travellers should evaluate the different types of adaptors, understand how voltage varies from one country to another, and evaluate the different options for protecting hairdryers from being damaged by electricity. When shopping for plug adaptors and power adaptors for a trip, travellers can find everything they need on eBay.

Plug Adaptor vs. Power Adaptor

In order to avoid frying your hairdryer, it is important to note the differences between a plug adaptor and a power adaptor. Both types of adaptors are useful for people who are travelling abroad or in Europe with their UK appliances. In order to protect your appliances and yourself from damage and injury, you need to be sure that you have the right type of adaptor.

Plug Adaptor

A plug adaptor is used to change the configuration of the prongs on a plug. The outlets in other countries are shaped differently, so the plug for a hairdryer from the UK shall likely not fit into an outlets in other parts of Europe. A plug adaptor is a small device that has the prongs for one type of outlet on one side and the opening for a different type of plug on the other side. The adaptor plugs into the wall and then the appliance connects to the adaptor to draw power from the wall outlet.

Power Adaptor

A power adaptor converts the voltage of the outlet to accommodate the power needs of the appliance. Not only do the shapes of the outlets differ from country to country, but so do the voltages. Power adaptors may also be plug adaptors or they can have the male and female ends for the same type of outlet. This type of adaptor is most important for travellers who are trying to avoid frying their hairdryers and other small appliances.

Understanding the Differences Between Various Plugs and Outlets

Before deciding whether a plug adaptor or a power adaptor is needed for travel, it is necessary for shoppers to understand the differences between the various outlets and plugs used around the world. Outlets and plugs differ in shape as well as the voltage. The table below lists the differences in plug types and voltages by region.


Plug Type


United States

A, B

110 V

United Kingdom

G, D, M

230 V

Other Parts of Europe

C, F

220 V

As seen in the table above, the voltage does not differ much in the UK and throughout Europe, but they use completely different plug types. Appliances from the US differ in both shape and voltage, so if the hairdryer was purchased in the US to be used in the UK or Europe, extra caution must be taken.

Travelling From the US to the UK

Outlets in the US operate at a standard 110 V, so the appliances are designed to accommodate this voltage. Any appliances that are rated between 100 V and 130 V work fine in American outlets. It is not until these appliances are brought to the UK that they pose a problem. The UK outlets are officially rated at 230 V plus or minus 10 per cent, though usually the power is supplied at 220 V. This is more than twice the voltage that the American appliances are designed to handle. For this reason, a US to UK power adaptor is required to use an American hairdryer in the UK without it incurring damage.

Travelling From the UK to Other Parts of Europe

UK and European outlets vary slightly in their voltage. Any devices or small appliances rated between 200 V and 250 V do work just fine in UK and European outlets. This means that travellers won’t need to invest in power adaptors when taking their hairdryers on holiday in Europe. However, the shapes of the plugs in the UK and Europe do differ. Most EU plugs only have two prongs, while UK plugs have three. A UK to EU plug adaptor can easily be placed at the end of the cord to convert the shape to fit in the EU wall sockets. Travellers won’t have to worry about voltage differences or frying their hairdryers when travelling through Europe.

Other Ways to Not Fry Your Hairdryer

There are a few simple things that travellers can do to protect their hairdryers from being fried in an electrical accident. Travellers who don’t know much about electricity might want to avoid power adaptors altogether. This is especially true for those staying in older buildings that might have archaic wiring. To avoid fire hazards and possible electrocution, travellers should be mindful of the following tips.

Unplug All Appliances

When using appliances at a hotel, especially those with power adaptors, guests should be sure to unplug them when not in use. Even if the appliance is not powered on it is still drawing power from the outlet. Leaving a hairdryer plugged in and unattended poses a fire risk. The appliance should be plugged in to use then packed away when done.

Buy New Appliances

Sometimes the best way to protect a hairdryer is to leave it at home. Hairdryers are relatively inexpensive to buy, and a traveller can pick one up once they reach their destination. This is often a cheaper alternative and less of a hassle than purchasing a plug or power adaptor to make the hairdryer work with a different outlet in another country. Some hairdryers come with a voltage converter switch that can be changed from 110 V to 220 V. These are known as dual voltage hairdryers, and they eliminate the need for a power adaptor because it is already built into the appliance. People who plan to travel frequently back and from from the US to the UK might consider this option.

Call Ahead

One of the simplest things travellers can do to prevent any mishaps with appliances in other countries is to call ahead to the hotel or bed and breakfast to see if hairdryers are readily available. Many hotels have hairdryers in the rooms to prevent dangerous situations from occurring. Travellers can leave their hairdryers at home and have one less thing to worry about packing or losing while on holiday.

How to Buy Plug and Power Adaptors on eBay

You can find all of the adaptors and small appliances that you’ll need for your travels on eBay. This online marketplace allows people to come together to buy and sell their plug and power adaptors at reasonable prices. A wide selection of small appliances with the correct plugs and voltage ratings are also available on eBay. To find the best deals on the items you’re looking for, learn how to search the site effectively so that you don’t get lost in the millions of items that are offered for sale at any one time.

Finding Plug and Power Adaptors

A basic keyword search is usually the quickest and most direct way to find what you’re looking for. Simply enter keywords to describe the item you’re looking for in the search bar and then search the entire site for listings that match. For example, if you’re searching for a plug adaptor to use in France, type "UK to EU adaptor" into the search bar and press the search button. Sort the listings by price, distance, or condition to narrow down the results. Additionally, specifying a price range limits the adaptor listings to only those that fit within your budget. For a more refined search, use the Advanced Search feature.


Many people like to pack their hairdryers and other small appliances when travelling out of the country, and there are a few things a traveller can do to be sure that their appliances work once they arrive at their destination. Since plugs and outlets in countries outside of the UK vary in both shape and power, appliances from the UK won’t work without an adaptor. Plug adaptors and power adaptors are the two types that travellers need to consider, and the one they’ll need depends on their destination. In order to find the right equipment to protect travellers from frying their hairdryers or possibly injuring themselves, shoppers should take the time to learn the purpose of each type of adaptor, understand the voltage differences in other countries, and decide whether it is worth investing in an adaptor or leaving the hairdryer at home altogether. eBay is a source that offers a huge selection of adaptors and small appliances to meet any traveller’s needs.

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