Picking The Best Dog Dryer: Handheld, Standing or Forced Air?

The very first step to decide on when searching for the best dog dryer for your own use is to exactly find out how you’ll use it. Are you going to use it for occasional grooming of your dogs, or is it for your own grooming salon?

Regardless of the usage, there are features to look for when buying a top quality dog dryer.

  • Durability — Make sure the materials used are going to hold up to your usage, avoid metallic-based dryers as they may rust or even amplify the sound of the motor it is housing.
  • Storability — Dog dryers come in so many shapes and forms, more than you probably think. So whether you go with a handheld dog dryer, a stand dryer, a cage dryer, or a mount dryer, make sure it suits your needs (storability, weight, mounting hardware, etc.)
  • High Air Flow — Unlike human hair dryers, the doggy counterpart should not expel a too hot air flow. Instead, dog dryers must provide enough air pressure to remove the water from the dog’s fur. That way, dogs’ sensitive skin remains intact.
  • Variable Speed — If you only breed one type of dog that has one type of fur, pick the right single-speed dryer and you’re good to go. Now if you are a groomer dealing with different breeds, coats and sizes, you do need a variable speed dog dryer so you can adjust the air flow depending on the coat type you are drying. Variable speed dog dyers tend to be the best choice anyway because they offer a quieter experience with the lower speeds but still provide you with the versatility you need to deal with any type of hair.
  • Non-Heated Air — Like explained above, dog hair dyers do not technically *dry dog hair*. Confusing I know. Dogs have a sensitive skin, undercoat and hair, so a too high heat would burn them. The motor itself will warm the air up enough for pet grooming use, there is rarely a need for an auxiliary heating element. It is clearly unsafe to dry or groom your dog with a human hairdryer.
  • Quality Hose — Air pressure and heat can crack or break a low quality dog dryer hose, especially with an intensive use. Dog dryers with a heavy-duty spiral-wound hose last a lot longer but cost a little more; their longer life makes these a worthy investment.
  • Quietness — A metal housing amplifies the noise a lot more than a polymer housing that tends to absorb noise. Unless you go for a crappy dog dryer, engineers usually understand how dogs react and offer a decently quiet final product. You have to be realistic too. No dryer will ever be fully silent, so simply look for a dog dryer mentioning the use of a proprietary technology or some sort of modern silencing technology.
  • Easy-To-Clean Air Filters — Even when you know how to do it, this is not something we just think of doing often. Make sure the filters are easy to change or clean so when you do it, you don’t take a full day off for it. Ideally, you want air filters than can be cleaned or changed using no tools at all.
  • Horsepower — Ignore horsepower claims with dog dryers (ie. 2HP, 4HP…) because although most manufacturers claim how great and high their horsepower is (2P, 4P, etc.), there is very little use for it since to draw great horsepower, you need at least 30 amps where most only handle 12 amps.
  • CFM — So if I ignore horsepower, what should I look at? Cubic Feet per Minute and Linear Feet per Minute. These pretty much mean how fast the dog dryer blows (fills) one cubic feet with air. This is the true measure you should care about as it is what gets the water off the dog’s fur.

Designs & Types of Dog Dryers

A bit like shoes, there are several types of dog dryers available out there. And like shoes, there is no absolute best, just a dog dryer that is more suited to your usage and grooming habits.

Depending on the type of dog dryer you want to go for, you will see that each type comes usually in a given design.

  • Handheld dog dryers are handheld (yes, really), light and mobile
  • Low pressure dryers are usually mounted in a cage or standing
  • Forced-air dryers have a handheld nozzle, and the motor on the floor

Some may have stands, wall or under table mounting and hands-free drying contraptions. It is a matter of personal preferences and how your room is laid out.

Low Pressure Dog Dryers (ie. Stand Dryers, Cage Dryers)

Also called carpet dryer, or cage dryer, this particular type of dog dryer is composed of a large blower that produces a lot of air flow at a very low pressure. This is a gentle way to dry sensitive dog coats.

Many low pressure dog dryers come with an auxiliary heater to warm up the air flow and dry the fur faster. A little safety note here. Dogs have a much more sensitive skin, you want to avoid any additional heating technology or system, including air heaters, when drying dog hair. They may not bark or complain, but you will still damage their skin; and many dogs died from overheating because of the cage dryer.

Have some chilled water available at all times for the dogs and make sure the room temperature is warm enough and these guys will dry pretty quickly with no need for an auxiliary heater. If there is a heating setting or switch, just turn it off unless you know what you are doing.

High Pressure Dog Dryers (ie. Forced-Air Dryers, High Velocity Dryers)

These are the best and most-efficient dog dryers, they are fast at drying both the undercoat and outer coat of all dogs, regardless of their coat type.

One or two small reverse vacuum motors are used to blow air through a hose and nozzle to force the water off the coat, and stretch the hair by flattening it to the skin. Because high-velocity dryers are becoming the most popular, they now come standing, mounted or armed!

Forced-air dog dryers rarely have an added heater and do not need one. They actually should not have one. The high-pressure and extreme air flow are enough to penetrate the thickest and most knotted hair to get rid of the wetness.

However, as you can imagine with such high velocity dog dryers, you must be careful with sensitive area such as genitals, ears and eyes. This is where having a variable-speed dog dryer helps as you can be gentle on sensitive parts, and more efficient on difficult areas.

The number #1 advantage of the high-pressure dog hair dryers is that they save you loads of time.


There is no perfect dog dryer, each has its very own upsides and downsides. The one type of dog drying system that comes close to doing everything professional pet groomers need is a variable-speed forced-air high-velocity dog dryer. We definitely avoid recommending human-style dryers as they are not adapted and suitable for dogs’ skin and sensitivity.