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I live in a country where the electrical supply is 220V/50Hz.

I would like to buy a electric grill in Canada, where the supply is 120V/60Hz.

Can I run this appliance using a transformer? The appliance consists mainly of heating elements and dial to set the temperature, although one model has a digital temperature indicator screen.

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Yes, you could buy and install a step-down transformer. However, heating appliances use a lot of power (an electric grill might use 900–1500 watts) and the corresponding transformer will likely be as much as the price of the appliance. Here are some which might do. Notice that a 1500 watt transformer weighs 18 pounds (8 kg)! The transformer should be rated at least twice the nominal load of the heating device to handle the cold start power curve.

If you are in an area with unstable voltage, a regulated transformer would provide some protection against under and over voltage. See these.

It is certainly better to buy an appliance which adapts to different voltages—which is easy with most electronic gizmos like computers and cell phone chargers—or is made specifically for 240 V.

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Maybe.

If the electric grill is a pure resistive device (a heater coil with a switch or mechanical thermostat, and perhaps an indicator light), a simple voltage-shift transformer should be sufficient.

If it contains a transformer anywhere (say, in a power supply for a digital thermostat and display panel), that transformer is probably sized for the faster switching of a 60 Hz power supply. If you drive it with 50 Hz power, you risk the primary coil of that transformer saturating, overheating, and catching fire. In this case, you'll need a converter that changes both voltage and frequency.

Other inductive loads (such as a fan motor) are anybody's guess as to how they'll behave: maybe they'll simply run slower, maybe they'll catch fire, maybe they'll blow every fuse in the building.

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