Which plug adapter will you need to use a curling iron in Panama?

Panamanian power outlet

Summary

Check that your curling iron can handle the voltage in Panama:

If not then:

  • Use a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] - you might still need to use the correct power adapter for Panama 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 120 volt Panamanian 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 physical shape of the plug on your curling iron to fit in the wall outlet used in Panama, so check that the power converter comes with a power adapter for Panama otherwise you will still need to purchase another power adapter. Also worth noting that your own domestic curling iron might not be suited for travel and you could risk potential damage in a suitcase. [7]
Warning: If your curling iron won't handle 120 volts you run a risk of a blown fuse, damage to your curling iron or even an electrical fire hazard. Prior to using your curling iron in Panama check the instruction manual first to ensure safe operation.

Using a curling iron in Panama

Will my curling iron work in Panama?

This will depend on if your curling iron is designed to handle the 120 volts used in Panama:

How can I use my US curling iron in Panama?

The guides on this page assume that you are an America reader visiting Panama and will provide advice on using your US curling iron with a Panamanian power outlet.

Panama

Panama power outlets and plug sockets

What is the voltage in Panama?

Power outlets in Panama are 120 volts.

What frequency is used in Panama?

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

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

Type A and B power outlets

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

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

  • Plug Type A - You can identify this plug socket by two adjacent slots where the live and neutral blades go.
  • Plug Type B - You can recognise the wall socket by the 2 thin slots parallel to each other with a single semicircle hole below for the earthed pin.

A Type B power adapter will allow you to use a 120 volt curling iron in Panama - read the simple instructions below for full details of how to use a curling iron in Panama using a travel adapter. Note that unless you that have a dual voltage curling iron you might also need to use a power converter.  [4] [9]

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 can accept dual voltage is to check for either a sticker or numbers printed on the handle or plug of the curling iron. This location will vary depending on the make and model of your curling iron and could also be written in the instruction manual. Some dual voltage curling irons can change automatically, however other irons will feature a switch which allows you to change between different regions depending on which country you are visiting.

  • Single voltage could say a specific number - such as 110V. If this number matches the 120 volts used in Panama then you should be able to use your curling iron with a Panamanian 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 120 volts used in a Panamanian power outlet falls within the range shown on your curling iron then you can use it in Panama.
  • Dual voltage will typically say a larger voltage range separated with a slash - such as 100/240V. Your curling iron will be capable of being used in Panama or any other country if these numbers are shown.

Travelling to Panama with a curling iron

Is it safe to bring my curling iron to Panama?

Bringing a dual voltage travel curling iron is preferable to packing your existing curling iron as it ensures that it will work with the 120 volt power outlets used with a Panamanian power outlet, provided that you bring the correct power adapter for Panama.

Be aware that bringing your 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. The cost and inconvenience of replacing or repairing an expensive quality domestic curling iron in Panama could be more than buying a cheap dual voltage travel curling iron [2] . If you intend to pack your own personal curling iron in your suitcase either slot it inside a boot or sneaker to protect from light knocks, alternatively use a heat resistant and shockproof hot tools travel case which also allows the curling iron to be transported whilst hot without risk of burning.  [10]

Can curling irons go in your carry on luggage?

According to the TSA guidelines for curling irons there are no restrictions when bringing a mains powered curling iron in your hand luggage through airport security in the United States. The TSA also suggests that you should check that the airline that is taking you to Panama will allow a curling iron 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 when going through airport security checks, it can be packed away quickly and will avoid a tangle of cables 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]

Power converters for Panama

Do I need a power converter in Panama to use a curling iron?

The correct model of power converter (or voltage transformer) allows a curling iron using a different voltage to work with the 120 volt power outlet used in Panama. A power converter is more suited for travellers wishing to use their own curling iron, but it could be more expensive to purchase a power converter than it is to buy a dedicated dual voltage travel curling iron [2]. Also, a power converter is considerably bulkier and heavier than a travel curling iron making a power converter less suitable for packing compared to a travel curling iron. [7]

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

Voltage converter

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

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 Panama, however a heavy and bulkier power converter converts a 120 volt Panamanian power outlet to work with a non-120 volt curling iron. [7]

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

How to power your curling iron in Panama using a Type B power adapter.

  1. Check that the curling iron is either a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] or is compatible with a 120 volt power outlet; but if not then do not continue because you may create an electrical fire hazard, damage your iron or blow a fuse. Before using a travel curling iron make sure you have set it to the 120 volt setting, consult the manufacturers instructions to find out how to do this.
  2. You'll need to bring a Type B plug adapter [4] if the shape of plug on your curling iron isn't the same shape as the power outlet which is used in Panama. The plug adapter will adapt different plugs on appliances from other countries for an electrical outlet in Panama simply by changing the shape of the plug, however it doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your curling iron to work with a 120 volt supply.
  3. First plug in the Type B plug adapter in the power outlet. You can identify this power outlet by two slots parallel to each other for live and neutral blades with a single semicircular shaped hole below for the long earth pin.
  4. Then plug in your curling iron into the Type B plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the Panamanian power outlet.
  6. Your hair curling iron can now be turned on.
How to use a curling iron in Panama using a type B power adapter

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

A guide on how to power your curling iron in Panama by using a Type A travel adapter.

  1. Check that the curling iron is either a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] or is compatible with a 120 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. Before using a dual voltage travel curling iron which can toggle between different voltages make sure you have set it to the 120 volt setting, consult the manufacturers instructions to find out how to do this.
  2. This guide assumes that you don't already own a curling iron with a Type A plug - if it does then you won't need a power adapter (but still check that your curling iron will work with a 120 volt power supply). If the shape of the power outlet which is used in Panama doesn't take the plug shape on your curling iron you will need to bring a Type A plug adapter [6]. This Type A plug adapter will fit different plugs from other countries into a power outlet in Panama 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 120 volt outlet.
  3. Firstly plug the Type A plug adapter into the Panamanian power outlet. You can recognise this wall outlet by the 2 thin slots.
  4. Plug in your curling iron into the Type A plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the Panamanian power outlet.
  6. You can now switch on your curling iron in Panama.
How to use a curling iron in Panama using a type A power adapter

See also

  1. Wikipedia - Panamanian Wikipedia web page
  2. Amazon - dual voltage travel curling 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, between $5 to $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, between $10 to $15.
  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, priced between $90 to $100.
  8. Wikipedia - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country -
  9. iec.ch - IEC World Plugs by location -
  10. Hard case for hot tools - Hard case designed for storing and protecting a flat irons, curling irons and hair straighteners, under $15.
  11. tsa.gov - TSA guidelines for curling irons -
  12. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on, priced under $50.