By Kathy Hosler
Whether it’s true or not – we have all heard that ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’. But, if you make your living in the grooming industry, you will find that ‘dryers are a groomer’s best friend’!
Time really is money in the grooming profession, and the equipment you use has to help you make the most of every minute. Because the time that is spent drying pets is a significant amount of the grooming process, you need to make sure you are using equipment that increases your productivity.
Pet dryers work by removing excess moisture from hair using moving air and heat. The air volume, speed of the air flow, and the temperature of the air determine how quickly the drying occurs.
Choosing the right dryer can be challenging. Do you need one that produces heat, or one that just blows air? Do you want a dryer with one motor, or two, or even three? How much horsepower do you need? And, what’s the difference between CFM and FPM? Help!
You can easily compare the features of different dryers by going to the manufacturers’ websites or researching them through pet supply catalogs. Price alone should never be how you choose your dryers. Going to trade shows is one of the best ways to compare and find the best equipment. You can actually see how they work and experience the power, speed, and volume of air produced.
“In the past, many of the dryers were extremely loud, and they could really take a toll on a groomer’s hearing,” says Cassandra de la Rosa, grooming guru and breeder of Lhasa Apsos. “The newest electronic technology with advancements like brushless motors allows us to have all the heat, volume, and capacity as the old, heavy dinosaurs without the negative aspects like the noise level.”
“Brushless motors are quiet and they deliver exceptional performance,” says Ryan Chang of X-Power. “There are health benefits too – there is no carbon brush dust released into the air you breathe.”
Before you buy a dryer, or purchase any equipment, make sure it will not become a liability.
“When stylists are working in a consumer’s home (house call groomers), or hooking up or plugging in (mobile groomers), or in a self-wash setting where the consumer is actually touching the product, or if you have employees – it is absolutely imperative that you have UL certified or ETL certified dryers that fall within OSHA standards,” states Lynne Allen, Senior Account Manager for B-Air Dryers.
“Groomers who use equipment that is not certified are potentially taking a grave risk,” Ms. Allen continues. “If that equipment causes a fire, or a person or pet is injured – that groomer may be faced with a lawsuit. Insurance companies will not cover damage or injuries caused by the use of non-certified equipment.”
The dryers you select will depend on the type of grooming that you do. House call groomers need a dependable, lightweight all-purpose dryer that is easily transportable. It has to be powerful enough to dry any coat, but also gentle enough to use on faces and puppies.
One new hand-held dryer is equipped with ion technology. Ionization breaks apart the water molecules and helps to dry the coat faster. It also decreases static and frizz for a better finish.
A new accessory that permits hands-free drying is an apron that allows a small dryer to be attached to the front of it. You can direct the air and heat exactly where you need it and still have both hands free to style as you dry.
Mobile groomers have unique situations and need powerful equipment that can dry any pet from a Great Pyrenees to a Persian cat. They must make sure that their dryer’s amperage draw doesn’t exceed what the generator is able to handle. Finding a multi-purpose dryer that can force dry and also finish fluff is essential.
“Dryers equipped with variable air speed and heat selections give groomers infinite control over the blowing power, warmth, and the noise produced,” says David Stern, VP of Marketing at Metrovac. “Lots of groomers are using multi-purpose dryers; like the stand dryers that can be used as a forced air dryer or converted into a cage dryer.”
In most salons, the ‘go to’ dryer is their HV (high-velocity) dryer. It is often the one that is used on almost every dog after it has been bathed. The powerful airflow blasts water off the hair and skin. Different nozzles are available to aid in the water removal.
Whether you finish the animal by cage drying or with a fluff dryer, force drying it first opens up the coat and allows it to dry quicker. It also straightens the hair and helps remove lots of undercoat.
HV dryers blow water off dogs to speed drying – but that can add a lot of moisture to the air. When moisture builds in the grooming area, the drying slows down, and if the air becomes saturated, drying does not occur. Many salons keep exhaust fans running to help remove the moisture filled air. Air conditioners also aid in moisture removal.
However, putting a commercial dehumidifier in your drying room or close to your bathing area will dramatically reduce the drying time of the pets and definitely increase your productivity. A dehumidified environment also reduces rusting of equipment, and greatly increases groomer comfort.
Although some stylists hand dry every pet that they groom, cage drying is used safely in many salons every day. There has been a lot of controversy about cage dryers in the last few years. Cage dryers can be a very important piece of equipment in a salon. But, like every piece of equipment that you use – it is only as good as the person operating it.
Most cage dryers can be used with or without heat, and they have safety features like timers and built-in sensors that turn it off if it goes above a certain temperature. There are small, single units that hang on the front of a cage, while other larger models may sit on top of a bank of cages and multiple hoses can be directed into several cages at the same time.
There are also compartment or kennel dryers. These self-contained units usually hold one or two pets. Some pets can’t tolerate being force dried. Judicious use of cage dryers allows the pet to get dry in a less stressful environment.
When it comes to pet dryers, today’s stylists can find quality equipment to accommodate their every need. Cutting edge technology is allowing pet dryers to have more power, run quieter, and to require less maintenance – which may help you shave hours – yes, hours – off of your workday.
Yes! Dryers are a groomer’s best friend! ✂