Right now, some of you might be asking yourselves “why would I need a special machine just to dry my car? I have the sun for that!” When I first heard of this particular device, I thought much the same thing. However, after giving this tool a thorough evaluation complete with lots of research and testing, I must re-think my former opinion. This is a machine that is actually far more useful than I would have at first imagined. Yes, the sun will dry your car (or anything else that you clean with water, for that matter), but it will take all day. Think about it. When you do your laundry, you can hang your clothes on a line or the fencepost, and that will do the job. However, most people will use a clothes dryer anyway. In like manner, it is worth spending a little money to save a whole lot of time.
But the time-saving advantages of a car dryer are not the only benefit. These machines are not exactly cheap, so it wouldn’t be worth it to buy one just for a little time-saving. The real reason to buy a car dryer is the fact that it will give you better results. When you wash your car and leave it in the sun to dry, you will almost certainly be able to see streaks, circles, and water spots on both the body and the windows. It may be a small thing, but it irritates me, and it probably also irritates anyone else who wants their car to be clean and appealing to the eye.
A car dryer will eliminate this problem, leaving your vehicle with a shiny, clean, smooth finish that glistens flawlessly in the sun. We should, of course, mention the common practice of drying your car with towels or chamois. This is certainly not the worst method, but it takes too long. In the time it takes to soak up every drop of water from your vehicle’s surfaces, you almost could have let the sun do the job.
The toweling approach will keep your car from showing streaks, circles, and water spots, but only if the towel itself is very clean. This means that you have to wash it between uses, adding even more time to the process. A car drying tool, by contrast, can do the job in five to ten minutes. Because this is a specialized and moderately expensive tool, it is very important to choose the right one.
1. Air Force Master Blaster Revolution:
This machine is one of the standard tools of the detailing industry. When you look for videos about auto detailing, this is a model that is frequently shown. Its popularity can be seen in the fact that its reviews on Amazon are 90% positive (meaning either four or five stars). With 4.0 horsepower and 18 Amps of power, this model is strong enough for any job. While the cost may be prohibitive for some people (a little over $400), it is a great saver of time and effort.
Performance And Technical Issues:
When we look at the small number of negative reviews, we can see a pattern. The pattern shows that there are some issues with the 30-foot hose that comes with the unit. More than one user complained that the heat from the dryer caused the adhesive holding the hose in place to weaken. This resulted in the hose becoming detached, and two users say that they were unable to make it stay in place afterward. One cannot help but wonder why they simply did not buy some heat-hardening epoxy glue and fix the problem instead of complaining about it.
One user complained that the hose melted together while the product was sitting in the back of his work van. This is certainly a major failing, but the reviewer does not say how long the unit sat in his van, or how hot the temperature was on that particular day. The reviewer also does not tell us where he lives, meaning that we cannot even make a decent guess about the temperature.
Is It Recommended?
In my estimation, this product can be safely recommended. When 90% of those who buy such a popular product give it such good reviews, I find it difficult to argue. Those who complain of issues with the hose seem to be nit-picking, perhaps in the hope of getting reimbursed because they bought something they could not afford. Either way, the excellent track record of this product gives me numerous good reasons to recommend it.
- The 30-foot hose makes it easy to reach every nook and cranny without having to stretch or plug up a bunch of extension cords.
- The foam air filter is easy to locate, remove, and clean.
- The product comes with a wall mount for the unit and a separate mount for the hose. As long as your garage is less than 30 feet across, you may never have to take it off the wall.
- This unit is suitable for low-amperage circuits. If this device trips your circuit breaker, it means that there is probably something wrong with your wiring and not with the unit itself.
- The adjustable air output has two settings, to customize for light or heavy-duty work. This is great for vehicles with fragile finishes.
- The unit is light and easy to move. The caster wheels make it even easier.
- This model is commonly used by professionals, and we can only assume that there is a good reason for that fact.
- The long hose of this unit is more prone to break than a shorter hose.
- You could possibly problems with the hose coming loose, but a little heat-curing epoxy will solve that.
- The hose bracket seems a little too small. The hose only just barely fits when fully coiled.
- This unit is quite expensive, even for a car dryer.
- The unit’s corded design reduces portability, and gas-powered models are preferred by some.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Is it safe to use this machine with a standard electrical outlet?
A: Yes, the device is meant to be powered by a standard 110V wall outlet. The cord is thick and strong enough to handle much more, so you don’t have to worry about the cord melting. It is well-grounded, making it unlikely to blow your breaker.
Q: Is this product available with a shorter hose?
A: Yes, you can buy a 10-foot hose for this model if your working space is small.
2. McKee’s 37 MK37-9638100
The McKee’s 37 is a lot of dryer in a small and compact package. Rather than being equipped with wheels, it is equipped with a carry handle so that it can be used much like a hand-held vacuum cleaner. This one doesn’t seem to be quite as popular as our first entry but is generally well-regarded. At $200, it is about half the cost of the Master Blaster and claims to deliver six horsepower. This makes it significantly more powerful than the competition.
Performance And Technical Issues:
This one does not have a great approval rating, with 56% of Amazon buyers giving it positive reviews. This is probably due to the higher number of people who have complained of power issues. Again and again, I see users complaining that the device does not possess the high level of power that it claims. People consistently say that this dryer takes too long to do the job and has a hard time removing water from large flat surfaces like the roof and hood.
A lot of people also claim that this model has a tendency to blow its nozzle. Apparently, the nozzle pieces do not lock in place, and thus will often be blown off. This is very bad because it risks damaging your paint job.
Is It Recommended?
Based on what I see in the reviews, I do not think I can recommend this model. It claims to deliver a level of power that is greatly superior to the competition. According to its technical specs, it should do exactly that. However, the McKee’s 37 apparently does not. Based on this, I can only conclude that this product is not being advertised in an honest way. As such, I recommend you avoid this one. A small defect can be dealt with, but dishonesty is a deal-breaker in my book.
- The product is 100% made in the USA. This is good because it means that the company is not shipping jobs overseas. However, this product doesn’t exactly make me feel proud of America.
- This model has a 35-foot power cord which makes it easy to maneuver and eliminates the need for working close to an electrical outlet.
- A vinyl-coated nozzle is intended to keep your nozzle from damaging the paint when (not if) it flies off.
- The product is very light and compact, making it very portable and easy to handle. Total weight is about five pounds.
- The product comes with a shoulder strap that makes it even easier to handle.
- The hose is very thick for increased durability.
- The nozzles, extensions and other hose parts do not lock securely together, leading to the “blow-off” problem described above.
- This product is consistently judged to be less powerful than advertised. This brings up possibilities of dishonesty on the company’s part.
- Some reviewers have complained of motors that burned out quickly. One or two say that the device worked well one time and then died in a puff of smoke and never worked again.
- The short-term warranty on this product can make returns difficult.
- This product is only good for small spaces, according to most reviews.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: The hose looks too short. How long is it?
A: The hose comes in at 80 inches, without the nozzle.
3. Chemical Guys ACC_303 JetSpeed VX6
This is the budget model. At only $45, the price is hard to beat. At such a low cost, our expectations for it must be lowered accordingly. However, this little device is more powerful than the average leaf blower and has the bonus of doubling as a precision vacuum cleaner. While this one isn’t exactly a top-of-the-line model, it is a great choice for those who cannot afford the big boys. It is also ideal for motorcycle/dirt bike owners because it provides just enough muscle to do the job.
Performance And Technical Issues:
Some users have complained of technical issues with this model. The most frequent complaint is that the machine is not powerful enough for an entire full-size car. This would seem like a frivolous complaint since the advertising does not make any large claims about power. More significant is the fact that some users report the device dying quickly after one or two uses. Based on their words, it sounds as if the power switches tend to go bad. However, this product receives mostly positive reviews (66% gave it four or five stars), so I would not call this a faulty product.
Is It Recommended?
I would not recommend this one to a professional car detailer or any other professional. In addition, those who own multiple cars might want to look elsewhere because this is a light-duty tool. However, it does its job as advertised, and worked well at the scale for which it was designed. I would recommend this model for someone who needs a cheap and basic solution that doesn’t involve a large expense. You could certainly do much worse.
- By attaching a small bag, this dryer can be quickly converted into a vacuum cleaner that is ideal for small spaces. We all know how junk and trash can accumulate between car seats. This device is perfect for those small, precise vacuuming jobs.
- Power varies from 1 to 6, allowing for precise adjustment of the air flow.
- Extremely light at only 1.1 pounds. Its small size makes it suitable for either exterior or interior detailing work.
- Despite complaints about its power level, this device does very well for its small size.
- The locking mechanism on the trigger allows you to use this dryer for long periods of time without tiring your hands.
- This model is much cheaper than the competition.
- the long, flexible rubber tube that comprises the tip is very soft and totally unable to scar up your paint job or scratch your windows.
- This model is too weak for large jobs or multiple cars.
- There is no air filter on this model, making it functionally identical to a leaf blower. This also makes it unsuitable for high-debris environments.
- This little device is extremely loud, even on the lowest power setting. Earplugs are recommended while you are using it.
- The device has only one nozzle, although it doesn’t really need any more.
- When using this model, large surfaces will usually require more than one pass to dry them effectively.
- Some users have reported power issues that sound like faulty wiring or bad switches. As such, you should always demand a demonstration before buying a used one.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Can I run this thing with an inverter plugged into my vehicle’s cigarette lighter?
A: Yes. The small size and low power requirements make it ideal for this kind of use.
Q: Will this blower really do an entire car?
A: Yes, but it is not ideal for an entire car. It is better to use this dryer for the small spaces and the glass surfaces, for which it is ideal.
Buyer’s Guide And Criteria
For the inexperienced person, buying a car dryer can seem overly complicated. Companies will offer you all sorts of options and models, and will often tout the features of their product as being special even if they are as common as grass. As such, it is helpful to have a handy list of criteria with which to evaluate a potential buy. I recommend evaluating your dryer by consulting this list.
- Material: The material of which your dryer is constructed will be the most important factor in determining its durability. The higher-end models will usually advertise an all-steel construction. The cheaper models are normally made of plastic. Obviously, metal is preferable for a machine that deals with a high level of air pressure.
- Horsepower: As with any other motor, you can get a sense of your powerful your dryer motor is by looking at its horsepower rating. For the higher-end models, a rating of four to eight horsepower is considered adequate. Smaller models will have much less, so remember to look for something that fits your needs.
- Hose And Cord Length: Whenever you are thinking about buying a tool, you should imagine yourself using it in a realistic way. As you do this, make sure that you consider the length of both the hose and the cord. It is a pain in the backside when you have to use three extension cords just to dry your car. It is equally annoying when you have to constantly lug the main unit around because the hose is too small. A short hose can also be bad when working in a dirty garage because the bottom of the unit will pick up dirt which may be transferred to the interior of the car if you are forced to set the unit inside the cab. On top of that, exposed cords can create a trip hazard if not properly managed.
Warranty and Service: Before you lay your money down, it would be a good idea to check the warranty and look at all the customer reviews you can find. This is generally a good thing to do anyway, but one of the main reasons is the need to find out how well the company stands behind their product.
- Extensions And Accessories: As we can see from looking at the second entry on our list, nozzles and extensions are a factor that should not be overlooked. You should look for a model with a soft or padded nozzle so that small mistakes will not create ugly scratches and scars on the surface of your vehicle. You should also make sure that the nozzle locks securely in place for the same reason.
- Large Surface Drying: Even small, junky blowers are good for drying small nooks and crannies. However, you can do the same thing with a blow dryer at a much lower cost. This means that you should expect a little more from your tool. Only by testing it on a large surface (like a hood or windshield) can you fully evaluate the effectiveness of your car dryer.
In closing, it should be noted that not all products and companies are created equal. More to the point, not all of them are completely honest. There are some who will make gigantic claims about the effectiveness, or the features of their product, only to disappear once they have collected their money. As such, do not take a seller’s word for anything unless you know them personally. Only good research and self-education can guide you properly in your choice. With that in mind, I wish you happy hunting and happy detailing.