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Dryer FAQ's

Here are the answers to the dryer questions we get asked most often, including help with choosing and comparing dog dryers. If you can’t find the answer to your question below, or would like personal service, please call 0800 ALL GROOM (0800 255 476) or contact us by email.  

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Dryer FAQ's

What’s the difference between dryers? How do I compare dryers?

How am I best to dry my dog’s coat type?

Why has my dryer stopped working? Can you repair it?

How do I change the carbon brushes in my dryer?

What is an ionic dryer?

What’s the difference between the dryer nozzles? What dryer nozzle should I use?

What is a finishing dryer? Do I need a blaster and a finisher?

Or view our Clipper & Blade FAQ's > or our Scissor FAQ's > 

What’s the difference between dryers? How do I compare dryers?

There’s no one perfect dryer as each has different features and benefits to match your needs. Consider the following to help you decide:

NOISE How the dryer is made, combined with its top speed & maximum CFM, all impact noise. Some dryers tell you the dB’s or decibels in the description. A running shower is around 70dB to compare. Also look for a mention of noise-reducing technology or design – such as a clamshell or double-layer housing (which works a bit like double-glazing does in a house to dampen sound). A dryer with a lower maximum CFM and/or lower maximum speed tends to be much quieter than more powerful dryers also.

MAX AIRFLOW (CFM) This stands for Cubic Feet per Minute (you might also see LFM: Linear Feet per Minute, or CPH: Cubic Metres per Hour). CFM tells you how fast the dryer would fill up one cubic foot with air. This is the main measure for comparing dryers. It tells you how well a dryer will ‘blast’ the water off a dog’s coat if you’re looking for a more powerful, faster-drying dryer. It is airflow not heat that dries the coat.

As a general guide, high-velocity or forced-air dryers tend to around 100 to 300 CFM or higher (170 to 500 CMH).

HEAT Heat is not what dries a dog's coat. It’s the air flow / pressure (measured in CFM) that removes or 'blasts' the water out of and off the coat. Even when a dog dryer comes with a heater, it will not get ‘hot’ like a human hairdryer does. This protects a dog’s more sensitive skin, avoid burns and overheating, which can happen very easily with human hairdryers and can be fatal. Human hairdryers also take a lot longer to dry your dog, increasing the risk of overheating.

WARNING: Dogs can quickly overheat, especially flat-nosed or short-nosed breeds. Overheating can be fatal. Undercoats can also heat up very quickly and trap hot air against the skin causing burns. Even dryers without heaters will gently heat the air from the motor, so in warm rooms or salons, at warmer times of the year and in warmer climates, play it safe and use your dryer with the heater turned off.

TIP for wool coats: If your dog has a wool, curly or wavy coat, use a more powerful dryer at first. It will help straighten the coat while it dries, so when you scissor or clip it after drying, you’ll get a smoother, more even result. After drying to around 90% with a velocity dryer, either turn the dryer way down or swap to a fluff dryer for finishing wool and fleece coats. Use a fluff dryer on low. If your fluff dryer comes with a stand, this allows you to dry hands free to brush the coat in sections (line brushing) to dry it completely, straighten and remove knots and tangles at the same time.

TIP for high-shed breeds: Velocity dryers like the Shernbao Typhoon and Vortex Dual Pro are superb to help blow out stuck undercoat in thicker and double-coated Spitz and high-shed breeds, like Huskies, Malamutes and Shepherds, especially during high-shed times and for dropping coat between seasons. 

VARIABLE SPEEDS When dealing with different breeds, coats & sizes (ie: a busy salon with a wide mix of client dogs), variable speed dryers mean you can adjust air flow depending on coat type. The other benefit of variable speeds is turning them down to lower, quieter speeds for anxious or sensitive dogs. Shernbao models have a fully adjustable speed dial. The Vortex have multiple stepped speed settings (such as the Vortex 5 with 5 speed, and 5 heat settings).

TIP for drying hands-free: If the dryer you want does not come with a stand, consider a Groom Assist Dryer Clamp which holds flexible dryer hoses for you, so you can dry hands free.

AIR FILTER A busy salon will have a lot of hair around, so look for an easy-change air filter. It’s easy to forget to check and clean the air filter, so when you do remember you’ll be more likely to do it if you don’t need tools. Not as much of a concern for home use however.

HANDHELD These dryers look like human hairdryers but are more powerful. They usually offer a more affordable step up from a human hairdryer for home use, giving you extra air force for faster drying, but without the noise of a larger, more powerful dryer. They are usually smaller, so easier to store, but always keep in mind that handheld dryers – like all dog dryers – are best used on the lowest heat setting

TIP for dryers for salon use: Many groomers will invest in two dryers. Other than the obvious benefit of having a back-up should anything go wrong with your main dryer, it's normal to have a velocity blaster dryer as well as a gentler fluff dryer on a stand. For example a combo of the Shernbao Typhoon velocity dryer and Vortex 5 with stand (that also comes with a handy rigid hose), turned down and used as a fluff dryer, is a very popular combination. The other benefit of having two dryers is when you have an anxious dog, a puppy, small or toy breeds come in, as a dryer like the Vortex 5 or the Shernbao Super Cyclone is ideal in those situations.

How am I best to dry my dog’s coat type?

When using any high velocity dryer, always avoid the eyes, ears, nose, rectum and genitals.

Dry dogs from back to front (do the head last, usually with no nozzle on). Dry sensitive areas last.

Always pat and squeeze dry with a towel first to remove excess water before using a dryer. Press the towel down and 'squeeze' the coat to soak up excess moisture. Do not 'rub' the coat with a towel, or towel dry with an up and down or back and forth motion, as this is likely to cause knots and tangles.

SHORT OR CURLY coats are best dried with the nozzle a centimetre or so from the skin. Keep the nozzle moving. When working close to the skin, watch the air temperature doesn’t get too hot. It’s better to use a more powerful dryer with the heat off or on its lowest setting. Get shorter areas of coat dried first, then finish the rest. The cone and spade nozzles are good options.

LONG coats need the nozzle angled in the direction of the coat growth. Extra long coats are best dried on a low air force / lower velocity setting to avoid tangles, using a spade or wide spade.   

DOUBLE-COATED breeds are dried the same as short or curly coats, but you move in gentle circles, starting closer then moving further away as each section dries in order to remove dead undercoat. A more powerful dryer will help straighten the coat as you dry it, ready for clipping or scissoring. Get a velocity dryer to blast out stuck, dead coat for high-shed breeds with thick, dense coats.

WARNING: Human hairdryers tend to get too hot too fast (which can quickly become serious for your dog), and don’t usually have the required air force to thoroughly and quickly dry a dog’s coat, especially denser, thicker or double coated breeds.

TIP for coats that knot when drying: Dryers that come with stands usually come with a rigid, smooth-sided hose. A smooth sided hose tends to cause less multi-directional air movement between the dryer and nozzle, so for extremely knot-prone coats that tangle when drying, try using a smooth sided hose instead of the standard concetina-type dryer hose, and try using it with a wide-spade nozzle to help the air flowing in one direction. 

Why has my dryer stopped working? Can you repair it?

Most motors have carbon brushes. Washing machines, vacuum cleaners, blenders, clippers... and dryers. The most common thing that stops a motor from working is worn carbon brushes. Replace the carbon brushes and you're usually up & running again straight away, saving you having to buy a new appliance.

Carbon brushes conduct electricity to the motor. They are made to wear down over time (that's how they pass electricity to the motor). How fast they wear down depends on a number of factors. If a motor's brushes have worn down too far, the motor will stop working until you change the brushes. In most cases you can repair your dryer & avoid buying a new one.

To repair your dryer: Purchase the required carbon brush for your brand & model of dryer. We carry some spare parts as stock items - such as the Vortex Carbon Brush - and can usually order parts in for you if you bought your dryer from us.

You can change the brushes, or have them changed by your local appliance repairer or electrician (we recommend a professional do the job for you), or our repairer can change them for you for a repair fee if you prefer to send your dryer to us. Always contact us  before ordering a repair. 

How do I change the carbon brushes in my dryer?

You can do it yourself, however we recommend getting an electrician or appliance repairer to change them for you. It's a quick job if you know what you're doing. Our repairer can do it for you for a repair fee if you bought your dryer from us, however you may find it's cheaper and faster to get it done locally rather than the added cost and time for sending it to us, but we're here to help if needed. 

We didn't write this article, but it has some great general advice about how to change carbon brushes in any eletrical device: How to change carbon brushes on any motor >

What is an ionic dryer?

Iconic dryers are often preferred by dog show exhibitors and for certain coats like Poodles and Bichons. They speed up drying time so reduce heat damage, and result in a smoother finish as they help protect coats from frizz or fly-aways. Ionic dryers are favoured for lay flat coats also and for fluff drying.

What’s the difference between the dryers nozzles? Which dryer nozzle should I use?

Professional dryers often come with different nozzle attachments. The most common are a cone shape (smaller, round opening), a spade and/or a wide spade. Different groomers have their personal preferences. This is just general starter advice:

The CONE ‘opens’ the coat, ideal for compact double coats or tightly curled coats, for dematting and getting out the undercoat. The air comes out like a vortex / tornado, so it can ‘twist’ long coats, causing knots. If you notice knots or tangles, use a spade nozzle instead, or hold the cone nozzle further back from the coat.

Use the SPADE nozzle for ‘ironing’ curly coats for an easier clip and for general drying. Also known as water strippers or standard dryer nozzles. They force out as much water as possible. They save finishing time by straightening the coat. The air comes out in a straight line, so matting is minimal.

The WIDE spade nozzle is great for longer coats prone to knotting, and for lay-flat or drop coats like the Shih Tzu or Maltese. Groomers often use it as a finishing nozzle after excess water is blown off. It has less pressure making it ideal for a coat you want to lay flat, but doesn’t dry as fast as the spade.

What is a finishing dryer? Do I need a blaster and a finisher?

After using a blaster or velocity dryer (also called a forced-air or high-velocity dryer), to ‘blast’ excess water off a dog, some groomers like to use a lower-velocity finishing dryer (also called a stand or fluff dryer), while grooming the dog at the table, or turn the air flow down and use it with the heat on.

Finishing dryers provide heat and air direction, helping straighten the coat during combing to get it sit the way you want. Some are now negative ion dryers also for avoiding frizz or flyaways for an even smoother finish.

Finishing dryers tend to be more popular with grooming show dogs for a show-ring or ‘fluff dry’ finish and for Poodle-type coats, however dryer type and methods do come down to what groomers were trained with and personal preference. Negative ion finishing dryers (also called ionic dryers), are favoured for show dogs.