The right force or high-velocity dryer can save time, cut down on labor and increase a grooming shop’s bottom line.
Force or high-velocity (HV) dryers are some of the best time- and labor-saving devices in the grooming industry today. In the 1970s, there were only a few available. Now, there are so many manufacturers of this style of dryer that it’s difficult to choose one. And force dryers continue to gain in popularity. Initially used almost exclusively for the bodies of dogs with thick double coats, such as Newfoundlands or Huskies, force dryers, especially those with variable-speed controls, are now sophisticated enough to be used in drying all breeds.
A force dryer pushes a lot of air quickly through a hose and nozzle. Usually sold without heating elements, they provide warmth from the airflow past the motor, and from the friction of the air going through a ridged hose. Usually, this warmth is about 15 to 45 degrees above ambient room temperature, but some dryers can get as warm as 60 to 65 degrees above room temperature.
HV dryers use a combination of air and warmth to dry the animal. Attractive to customers because they reduce the risk of overheating, groomers love them for the speed and great finish they can provide.
As with other pieces of equipment, there isn’t an overall “best” dryer, just one that suits a groomer’s particular needs. A force dryer to do touchups or to dry Chihuahuas is going to be different from one that will quickly dry and blow out the undercoat of a Malamute.
Selecting a dryer can be tricky. For years, groomers looked for a way to compare dryers, so manufacturers began to provide CFM/FPM (cubic feet per minute/feet per minute). This is a place to begin, but is not definitive. CFM is a measure of volume over time. For example, if there was a one-square-foot plastic cube, CFM is the number of cubes that the dryer’s motor can fill in a minute. FPM is a measure of the distance that the air produced by a motor would travel in a minute, if no resistance were present.
Other factors to consider are horsepower; the size and shape of the opening on the end of the nozzle; the length, diameter and type of hose; how much heat is produced by the motor; the motor type and how many there are; whether the air is passed back over the motor a second time for extra heat; and the noise level.
Most groomers agree that to get the best power, longevity and ease of use, as well as less noise, some money will have to be spent. It may be difficult to choose, so be sure to go over each dryer’s specifications carefully before buying.
Carol Visser is a Nationally Certified Master Groomer and Certified Pet Dog Trainer.