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When we think of high powered appliances, the fridge and AC quickly come to mind. But hair dryers use a lot of electricity too, which is why a lot of people ask, what inverter size do I need to run a hair dryer?
The average hair dryer uses 1500 to 1800 watts at the highest setting, so a 2000 watt inverter is ideal. Smaller hair dryers will consume 800 watts so a 1000 watt inverter will be sufficient.
Calculate Hair Dryer Inverter Size Requirements
Hair dryers come in different styles, designs and functionality. Some use more power than others, so we need to take a closer look at the numbers to find out what inverter size you need.
Most hair dryers have a power consumption ranging from 800 to 1800 watts. This electricity usage however is on a per hour basis. Unless you blow dry your hair for an hour, the usage will be lower.
The following is a power consumption guide for a 1500 watt hair dryer. These are only estimates and the watts usage might be different with yours.
- 60 minutes: 1500 watts
- 30 minutes: 750 watts
- 15 minutes: 375 watts
- 5 minutes: 160 watts
A person spends 15 minutes a day using a hair dryer on average. Assuming it is a 1500 watt model at maximum setting, power consumption will be 375 to 400 watts.
Again this figure is based off a 1500 watt inverter. High powered blow dryers might use 2200 watts or more. At the other end of the spectrum are low powered hair dryers that max out at 800 watts.
With this in mind, we can draw the following conclusions:
- A 1500 watt hair dryer is not going to use 1500 watts of inverter power, not unless you use it for an hour.
- If you blow dry your hair for 15 minutes a day (the average for most people), inverter power consumption will be 375 to 400 watts.
- A more powerful hair dryer will use more watts. But it might dry your hair faster so runtime will be shorter.
- The opposite might be true with low powered hair blowers. An 800W hair dryer might take more time to dry your hair so you end up using it longer than a 1500 watt model.
In other words, the power consumption might eventually come out the same. But it will depend on the product design and efficiency.
Technically you might get by with a 500 watt inverter. But we recommend a 1500 watt inverter in case of a power surge or extended use. There are plenty to choose from, and one of our favorites is the POTEK 1500W Power Inverter as it is easy to use and durable.
How Many Batteries Do I Need to Run a Hair Dryer?
If you are living off the grid, you need a battery bank to run appliances and other electronics off an inverter. This is particularly true for a hair dryer as it needs a steady stream of power.
A 125ah deep cycle battery can run a 1500 watt hair dryer for an hour before it is fully discharged. Hair blowers that use 2000 watts or more require a minimum 200ah battery bank.
A Renogy 200ah 12V AGM battery will do nicely here. Once plugged into the inverter it will run your hair dryer as if it is on 120V.
There are a few things you need to know before running a hair dryer – or any appliance – off a battery bank. Namely, the depth of discharge and the appliance’s actual usage.
A hair dryer, just like a solar powered microwave , is usually not run for hours on end. So you have to calculate its watt usage by the minutes it operates.
The guide provided earlier illustrates how many watts a 1500 watt hair dryer might use over a specific period of time. We need to take the same approach with the batteries.
If you run a 1500 watt hair dryer for an hour, it consumes 1500 watts. For this you need a 12V 125ah battery (watts divided by volts = amps).
If you use the hair blower for 30 minutes, you would need 62.5ah. Use the blow dryer for 15 minutes and it would require 31.25ah and so on.
Depth of Discharge
So if you don’t use the hair dryer for an hour, you don’t need a 125ah battery. If you just use it for 15 minutes a day, a 31.25ah battery is sufficient, right?
Not quite, because of depth of discharge or DOD. The DOD determines when the battery should be recharged, and with lead acid batteries that is 50%.
So while you can fully discharge a 31.25ah battery, it is not a good idea. This will shorten the battery life cycle and might lead to long term damage.
The solution is to double the capacity to 62.5ah. Even if you use the hair dryer for 15 minutes there would still be 50% capacity left, just right for the DOD recharge.
There is no 62.5ah battery available though, so get the next largest available. That would be 75ah to 100 ah. 100ah is the standard size used in RVs and homes, so might as well go for that.
Will a 1000W Inverter Run a Hair Dryer?
A 1000 watt inverter can power a hair dryer provided there is enough energy in the battery bank. This also assumes the hair dryer uses less than 1000 watts when it runs.
In our examples above we have been using a 1500 watt hair dryer. But if you have one that consumes less than 1000 watts, a smaller inverter will work.
A small inverter should have no problems with an 800 watt hair dryer. As long as the installation and cables are the right size , the device will function properly.
For the hair dryer to run effectively, it must be the only appliance loaded on the inverter. Yes there is about 200 watts power in reserve, but it is actually less than that due to inefficiency.
Inverters lose energy when DC is converted to AC. The losses range from 15% to 5%.
This is expressed in efficiency ratings like 85%, 95% and so on. Due to this, an inverter consumes more power than its load.
If you have an 800 watt hair dryer loaded onto an 85% efficient 1000 watt inverter, the system uses 15% more watts:
800 x 115% = 920
While the hair dryer uses 800 watts, the inverter ends up using another 120 watts due to inefficiency. At 920 watts it is pretty close to the system capacity.
This is why you need to have reserve power available. Extra power capacity is also essential in case of a sudden power spike. Grounding solar wires is also required for these reasons. The bottom line, he more battery power available, the longer you can run the hair dryer and other appliances.
Do I Need Solar Panels to Run a Hair Dryer?
You do not need solar panels to use a hair dryer. It can run off the inverter battery bank. But if you are off the grid you probably have a solar system installed already.
While you do not need solar panels, the PV modules are necessary to recharge the batteries. Solar panels charge the battery bank so you can use it to power the inverter and your hair dryer.
If you want to use solar panels to run a hair dryer, it will take a 5 x 300W solar array. This will be enough to power an 800 to 1500W model for at least 5 hours.
This solar array can produce up to 1500 watts an hour. Due to changing weather patterns, panel efficiency, set up etc. the output will probably be lower. Even in ideal condition, the array may reach peak (close or reach 300 watts) for a couple of hours only.
But even so, the output should be more than 800 watts, enough to get the hair dryer going. And if you are only using it for 15 minutes a day, the runtime will not be a problem.
But most likely you will use the panels to power up the batteries. An 800 watt hair dryer needs a 12V 100ah battery. A 3 x 300W solar array can recharge it in an hour or so. For a 1500 watt hair blower you will need a 5 to 6 x 300W solar panels.
If you are going to use a hair dryer in an off grid system, be prepared to reserve a bit of power. You can use a battery bank as mentioned here, or shore power or even a generator.