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Should You Use a Blow Dryer in Your RV?

Should You Use a Blow Dryer in Your RV?

Using a blow dryer to stylize your hair doesn’t usually involve too much thought unless you’re in an RV. In a house, you simply plug it in, dry and style your hair, and turn it off. Beautiful hair ready to take on the world.

But using a blow dryer in your RV needs a little more thought before plugging it in and putting it to work. Actually, should you even use a blow dryer in your motorhome?

We’ll share all the details you need to know before potentially causing a power blowout.

Let’s check it out!

Should You Use a Blow Dryer in Your RV?

The question of whether you should or shouldn’t use a blow dryer in your RV deserves a bit of thought. Probably more than you thought. Can you use a blow dryer? Of course. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. 

It all depends upon your RV’s ability to handle the wattage that comes from a hair dryer. Hair dryers are small appliances, but they take up a great deal of power. RV’s have limited power, meaning you could end up with tripped breakers when using a blow dryer.

But the end result of using a hair dryer in your RV doesn’t have to be tripped breakers. All it takes is a bit of simple planning ahead of time.

Make sure the air conditioning is turned off. Don’t use the microwave at the same time. And make sure all other electrical items aren’t in use or are turned off, including heaters and coffee makers. 

Once you’ve done that, power up the blow dryer and get your style on!

What Is the Lowest Wattage Hair Dryer? 

Hair dryers come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in different wattages. The lower the wattage, the better for your RV, but the longer it might take to dry your hair.

However, if you feel the need to use a hair dryer in an RV, it’s better to have the lowest wattage to prevent any possible problems such as tripping breakers. It may take longer, but it’ll take even longer if you’re constantly tripping breakers and trying to reset everything. That’s not good for anyone and could cause issues with appliances.

So, go for the lowest-wattage hair dryers. While most blow dryers have a wattage of 2,000 or more, you can find ones that have less.

These low-watt dryers can range anywhere from 1,000 to 1,800 watts, meaning they also consume less energy. An added benefit to low-watt hair dryers is that they’re also smaller and more compact, making them a great size for RVs.

FYI: Here’s a great low-wattage hair dryer for an RV.

How Many Watts Does It Take to Run a Hair Dryer? 

Watts measure power and as mentioned earlier, RVs have limited power. When using blow dryers in a motorhome, it makes sense to know how many watts it takes to use one. Most hair dryers have labels indicating their maximum wattage, which we just learned can be greater than 2,000.

But what exactly is a watt? In its simplest form, the power measured by watts is stating the rate at which energy flows.

The fine folks at Building Green like to explain it this way, “Watts are basically the miles-per-hour measurement of the electrical world – they tell you how fast the electrons are speeding down the highway.” For example, a 60-watt light bulb uses electricity at a rate of 60 watts.

A blow dryer can use less energy when not used at its full heat level or full power. If using unheated air, the watts could be as few as 70 watts of power. But when using it at its full potential – heat and high power – it could use upwards of as much as 1,500 watts of power.

And in an RV, those watts are an important consideration because all you have is determined by what your connection is. In general, a 50 Amp connection will give you around 12,000 watts, and a 30 amp will give you around 3,600.

These watts have to power almost everything in your motorhome. And this is why it’s better to use a low-wattage blow dryer.

Can an Inverter Run a Hair Dryer? 

So now you know that you can use a blow dryer in an RV. But can you use an inverter to power a blow dryer?

First, you need to understand the difference between the two types of power – AC and DC. AC is an alternating current, meaning that the current can run in alternating directions. This is the power source that allows you to run your appliances such as a blow dryer.

DC is a direct current, meaning that the current runs in one direction. This can be the sunlight that strikes a solar panel. 

An inverter converts electricity types from one to another. For example, when the sun hits a solar panel, an inverter can take that stored energy and turn it from DC into AC, allowing it to power a hair dryer.

What Size Inverter Do I Need to Run a Hair Dryer in an RV? 

But not just any inverter is suitable to power a blow dryer. If your hair dryer requires 1,500 watts of power, it would make sense that the inverter would need to create 1500 watts of power.

But that’s only if you’re drying your hair for a full hour because the watts are measured on an hourly basis. On average, it’ll take about 15 minutes to use your blow dryer. This means that the power usage needed from the inverter for your 1,500-watt blow dryer will be about 375 watts.

You can see now why having a lower-wattage hair dryer makes a lot of sense in an RV. Because remember, the hair dryer isn’t the only appliance requiring power.

You could get away with using a 500-watt inverter if you’re only attempting to power a blow dryer. But you might be better off with a 1,500-watt inverter to handle continued use. It all depends upon your power usage, in addition to the hair dryer.

Do 12v Hair Dryers Work? 

With all this talk about voltage, watts, and inverters, we might as well go one step further and mention 12v hair dryers. This type can run off the power coming directly from your vehicle.

For example, the plug on a 12v hair dryer fits into a 12v plug, which you may recognize more easily as the old cigarette lighters in cars. These now help to power your phone and other small items without a USB plug.

Compared to a regular low-wattage blow dryer clocking in around 1500 watts, 12v dryers only use about 200 watts of power. But you’ll also get less usage from them. Most 12v hair dryers only have cool and warm settings. They won’t give off as much forceful air as the higher-powered 120v common electrical plug-in options do.

So, yes. A 12v hair dryer will work. It just won’t work as well as your 120v hair dryers. But, a little drier is better than soaking wet.

Is It Worth Using A Blow Dryer in Your RV?

Having wet, unstyled hair is always an option when traveling or living in an RV. But when you can style your hair with a blow dryer and do so in an RV, we think it’s definitely worth it.

Especially when you know what type of blow dryer to use and when to use it. There’s no excuse for not having well-styled hair, even when camping in your motorhome. 

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