Can You Use an Extension Cord on a Hair Dryer?

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Sometimes the cords on hair dryers are just not long enough to be able to use the hair dryer where you want! Is there a solution? What about an extension cord?

Can you use an extension cord on a hair dryer?

It is not a good idea to use an extension cord on a hair dryer. It is unsafe to plug any appliance that uses a lot of power, such as a hair dryer, into an extension cord.

However, if an extension cord is the only available option, you can take precautionary measures to prevent accidents and damage, such as getting a high-quality extension cord. 

In this article, we’re going to look at

  • Why is it not advisable to use an extension cord on a hair dryer
  • What are the suitable extension cord options? 
  • Extension cord do’s and don’ts. 

So let’s take a look at whether you can use an extension cord on a hair dryer safely.


Can You Use an Extension Cord on a Hair Dryer?

The U.S. National Protection Association advises against using an extension cord on hair dryers and other appliances that produce heat. These appliances tend to pull considerable power. You may have noticed that sometimes even the lights will dim for a moment when you turn a hair dryer on full blast.

These tools draw a lot of electricity. And if you have a thin and long cord, there is a possibility it could start a fire.

These tools draw a lot of electricity. And if you have a thin and long cord, there is a possibility it could start a fire.

Most manufacturers recommend plugging hair dryers directly into the wall outlet. Apart from preventing fires, this correct use prevents the hair dryer from getting damaged. 

So, what are the effects of using an extension cord on a hair dryer? 

As we have discussed, hair dryers pull a lot of power from the extension cords, which can lead to severe damage by causing a meltdown that quickly starts a fire. Furthermore, since they don’t have fixed points, they are dangerous and riskier than traditional wall outlets. 

These electrical appliances are dangerous and injure many people yearly. An extension cord consists of insulated wires where electrical current flows, generating heat. If you have one that has too much flowing current, there are higher chances that it will overheat and melt, leading to short circuits, electrocution, and fires. 

Therefore, it is best to heed the UNPA advice that discourages using extension cords on hair dryers.

However, what if you have no other option? 


What Are the Suitable Extension Cord Options? 

Note: we are a beauty blog, not electricians. We are following recommended guidelines. And as a reminder, always check the manual for your hair dryer before using with an extension cord.

Note: we are a beauty blog, not electricians. We are following recommended guidelines. And as a reminder, always check the manual for your hair dryer before using with an extension cord.

If the electrical outlet in your home doesn’t support your dryer and you need your hair done, there are various suitable extension cords that you can use.

However, there are several factors to consider. The number one factor to look out for is the extension gauge. The smaller the gauge, the greater the quality. 

Extension cords are measured in American wire gauge, AWG. The best cords to consider are between 10 and 12 AWG. Extension cords with these specifications are robust and effectively provide the power required by hair dryers. 

Here’s an example of a 12 gauge cord , often used for power tools and other tools that draw lots of electricity.:

IRON FORGE CABLE 25 ft Lighted Outdoor Extension Cord - 12/3 SJTW Heavy Duty Yellow Extension Cable Extension Cable with 3 Prong Grounded Plug for Safety, 15AMP -Great for Garden and Major Appliances
  • ALL PURPOSE EXTENSION CORD for Indoor...
  • WATER RESISTANT & WEATHERPROOF: Flexible...
  • REINFORCED BLADES protect prongs from...
  • LIGHTED SOCKET - The female end of the...
  • LIFETIME REPLACEMENT WARRANTY – Iron...

It is essential to know that the 10 AWG gauge is the thickest. The 14 AWG cords are the longest and thinnest. You should avoid using 14 AWG, not only for hair dryers but also for other home appliances.

The key takeaway is that the 10-12 AWG options are the best and safest extension cords on a hair dryer. 

Another important factor to consider is the voltage rating, which you should ensure matches that of the dryer. Hair dryers are average electrical appliances and therefore require moderate voltage, depending on the hair dryer. Most hair dryers use 12 AWG 15 Amp extension cords.

You might also find other 10 AWG powerful extension cords with variable amp ratings, and you should always ensure the rating matches that of the hairdryer. 

You can also use power strips, although they are also not recommended. This is because the dryer pulls heat from the strips, similar to an extension cord. If you opt for these strips, get a quality one with sustainable voltage. 


The Do’s and Don’ts of Extension Cords and Hair Dryers

Hair dryers are essential styling equipment that we use regularly. However, if you have no option but to use an extension cord on your hair dryer, you must be extra careful during these sessions. 

Therefore, learning the dos and don’ts of these electrical appliances is essential to prevent the risk of fires or electrical short circuits. These simple measures reduce the danger these extension cords pose to ensure you, your family, and your home stay safe. 

These simple measures reduce the danger these extension cords pose to ensure you, your family, and your home stay safe. 

The Do’s

  1. Always ensure you use a high-quality extension cord in the best condition. This means checking for defects and quality issues before plugging in your hair dryer. In addition, it is best to get a cord with three long plugs (grounded) since they are safer. 
  2. Before you use your hair dryer, always confirm that you have fully inserted it into the wall outlet. Then, after use, unplug it from the outlet and store it in a dry place. 
  3. Keep your extension cord, hair dryer, and any other electrical appliance away from water. Water is a good conductor of electricity. Exposure to water can damage the components or cause electrocution. 
  4. The best way to learn the proper use of your extension cord is to read its product manual. These appliances vary, and the manual illustrates the correct application and maintenance measures. 
  5. One can use extension cords for temporary use. Therefore, they act as the last resort for those without convenient wall outlet access. 

The Don’ts 

  1. Avoid covering extension cords. Sometimes extension outlets spark, and they could cause flammable clothes or items to catch fire. A high-quality extension cord should also have good insulation features.
  2. Don’t plug a three-prong plug into a two-prong outlet. This is because, in most cases, the third prong is used as a grounding outlet. Therefore, plugging a three-prong plug into a two-prong outlet means the grounding outlet will be compromised. 
  3. Do not continue using your hair dryer if you notice the extension cord getting hot. The best approach is to unplug it before it gets hotter and comes into contact with other flammable material leading to accidental fires. 

Conclusion

Extension cords make life easier by bringing electrical outlets closer to us. However, according to the U.S. National Protection Association, using them on hair dryers is unsafe. To be safe, it is best to avoid using cords to prevent the potential damage they can cause.

However, if you have no other alternative, follow the simple guidelines to ensure you can be as safe as possible. Again, always check your hair dryer’s manual before use with any extension cord.

Written by Kayla Young

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