The Right Dryer for the Job

Dog grooming dryersA quick guide to the many types of dryers

The right tool for the job can make all the difference…

You can save a lot of time and money simply by selecting the right drying equipment for a particular situation. Dryers are some of the most important grooming supplies in a pet grooming salon. There are three main types of dryers available – understanding the differences between each type will help ensure you make the right selection.

Most grooming shops will use a combination of dryers to meet the various needs of the staff, dogs and customers they serve. The three most common types of dryers are cage dryershigh velocity “force” dryers and stand dryers. Each type of dryer performs differently and has some specific applications. Learning more about each type will help shop owners determine which types are needed in their shop and which type will work best for a particular groom.

Whether or not they use heat, all dryers work by moving air and blowing water off of an object and by evaporating water. Dryers that do not have heating elements still produce warm air since the operation of the motor generates heat and warms the air that blows through it. The air from these dryers will be 10 to 20 degrees warmer than ambient air temperature. Therefore it is always important to closely monitor dogs while drying them.

Cage Dryers

Cage dryers are very practical to have in a busy shop and are quite common. They allow groomers to multitask because dogs can be drying in the cage while other dogs are being bathed or groomed. Cage drying works best for dogs with a medium to short, smooth coat and coats that do not require a lot of brushing. Cage drying can also work well for dogs that don’t tolerate other drying methods. Dogs being cage dried still need to be supervised and the health, age, and size of the dog must be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to cage dry and for what length of time. It is important to remember that short-faced dogs like Pugs and Bulldogs as well as elderly and sick dogs do not tolerate heat well. If using a cage dryer with a heating element always use a timing device and make sure a staff member has a view of the cages at all times.

Large volume room air dryers or blower fans that do not have heating elements are another option. They work by moving large volumes of room temperature air. Many come with attachments that allow them to be used as cage dryer.

Force Dryers

Force (sometimes called “high velocity”) dryers are the most commonly used dryers in the grooming salon. In this type of dryer, the airflow is concentrated through constricted nozzles to create a forceful airflow. This can be especially helpful in removing excess water from the animal’s coat as it sits in the bathing tub. The constrictor nozzle can be removed when a less forceful airflow is needed. Force/high velocity dryers are also commonly used before bathing to remove the undercoat of large hairy breeds. They are also ideal for straightening hair on curly coats. Straightening a curly coat while drying can make it easier to scissor the coat more evenly while grooming. Force dryers are available in one speed with one motor, two speeds with one motor and two speeds with two motors.

One complaint groomers sometimes have about force air dryers is that the noise generated by the forced air can at times be upsetting to the dog. Often times, groomers may use place cotton balls into the dog’s ears to help reduce noise exposure. Professional products such as the Happy Hoodie are designed to minimize discomfort and reduce noise. The Hoodie calms and protects dogs during the drying process.

Stand Dryers

Stand dryers are also known as “fluff” or “finish” dryers as they are most commonly used for fluff drying. Stand dryers work great for breeds that need to be brushed out while drying such as Poodles and drop coated breeds such as Bichons, Maltese and Shih-Tzus. Stand dryers are usually mounted on a base with for easy positioning/moving around the grooming table. Groomers sometimes find that stand dryers can be unstable, so remember that the more legs the base has, the more stable the dryer will be. Most stand dryers will feature heat and air flow adjustment controls. Stand dryers tend to be quieter than force air dryers and can be a good option for a dog that won’t tolerate force air-drying.

Combo Dryers

Combo dryers are yet another option and are capable of serving as more than one of the functions of the three main types.  Accessory kits can be purchased for some stand dryers that allow them to be used as cage dryers.  Similarly, some large volume air dryers (originally designed to dry carpets and large spaces) also have attachments available that allow them to be used as cage dryers.  A force dryer with a mount and the concentrator removed can be used like a stand dryer.

Selecting the Right One

When selecting and purchasing a dryer keep in mind the physical layout, constraints and needs of the space they will be used in. Make sure you investigate what accessories you need and whether or not they are available with the dryer or need to be purchased separately or might be available after the dryer is purchased. For instance, some force air dryers have mounting brackets available so that the dryer may be mounted on a wall or under the grooming table. This is helpful in reducing clutter and trip hazards. If one dryer is going to be used in multiple locations, wheels might be important. Also, be sure to review the warranty policy and understand what is covered and how long the coverage lasts.

Learn the Lingo

Learning the lingo can be helpful in making sure you get the specifications you need and will be happy with. Some manufacturers refer to a dryer’s Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM), which is the measurement of how much volume of air is produced by a dryer while Feet per Minute (FPM) measures the speed at which the air flows. When nozzles or air concentrators are added to the hose end of a dryer, this increases the FPM. Most cage dryers are measured by CFM.

Another commonly used term is AMPS, which refers to the amount of electrical current the dryer needs to operate. It is important to make sure your space can support the amount of electricity needed for the dryer you choose. This is especially important when planning to use the dryer in mobile grooming operations as they often have less electrical capacity.

RPM’s and horsepower relate to the speed and power of the motor. Revolutions per Minute (RPM’s) refer to the speed of the motor’s rotation and horsepower refers to the power of the motor. The higher the horsepower, the more powerful the motor is.

Maintenance is the Key

Most dryer-related accidents and injuries to people and pets could have been prevented by prober maintenance.  Hair can build up rapidly in a dryer’s filter system.  Plugged filters can overheat motors, reduce air output and create fire and safety risks.  Dryer filters should be cleaned daily and replaced when they show signs of wear. Carbon brushes should be checked at least once each year and more often if the dryer is used in a busy salon.  Heating elements can also accumulate hair over time and should be cleaned out on a regular basis.  Other internal parts such as motor mount foam rings in force dryers can dry out and cause loss of power.  As with any type of grooming equipment, regular maintenance should be done by a trained technician.  This can eliminate costly breakdowns and poor efficiency in your drying equipment as well as ensuring the safety of your equipment.

Questions? We’re Here to Help.

Our Sharpening and Repair center has over 20 years of knowledge and experience. If you’ve got any questions about dryers, shears, clippers, tables or pretty much anything else found in a grooming salon…we’ve got someone on staff who can help.

Ryan’s Sharpening and Repair Center
(800)-525-7387 option #3

20 Years of servicing what we sell
Visit our sharpening and repair center online.

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