Friday, June 24, 2011

Product Review: Metro Air Force Commander Dryer

About four years ago I bought a used Metro dryer off the yahoo group "dogshowstuff". It was a well loved and marginally cared for Air Force Commander that was 5-6 years old when it came to me. It was dented, scratched, scraped and the hose had been repaired with black electrical tape. All of this was fine, because the price was right - I believe I paid about $50 for it - including shipping from Maryland and apart from the visual blemishes the thing ran like a champ. That little orange friend served me well for many years (and potentially would have for many years in the future) if not for a little field trip said dryer made with a friend and a 'tragic' accident where my dryer was introduced to a flight of stairs and concrete floor at the bottom. I figured I'd gotten more than my $50 out of it, so I decided to just replace it with a new one rather than trying to have it repaired.

I made the choice to purchase the used Metro Air Force in large part because I've seen the abuse that the Metros have endured at the local self-serve pet wash for the last few years with no problems.

I'm told the dryers at the pet wash have to be replaced every two-three years (8 hours in the day of a pet wash, appointments are 30 minute each - figuring about half the people will use the blower after a bath (more in the winter and less in the summer I'd wager) and guessing a 50% booking rate those dryers are probably used about 1500 times a year (each). I personally wouldn't be very disappointed if my blower died after 3,000-4,500 uses! Oh and for what it's worth, the last time I checked the local pet wash had the mid-range blowers (23,000 ft/min).

My old dryer was a 18,000 feet/minute model. The low-end model retails for about $140 but wholesale from PetEdge costs about $127. I could have easily just replaced what I had - but with a generous gift of a gift card, I decided to splurge a little and purchase the 28,000 feet/minute model (retail $170 and $155 from PetEdge) expecting a little better performance with the extra 10,000 ft/min.

The new dryer arrived yesterday and today, despite the grey overcast afternoon with temperatures hovering around 63 degrees and a threat of thunderstorms coming at us, the boys really wanted to swim before dinner. OK gang, we've got our new dryer let's give it a go.

I have to admit that I'm (figuratively) blown away with the difference in output between the two units. For the most part I need them dry to sleep at night, I don't need them show ring-dry after a swim. For this metric my 18,000 ft/min unit was adequate - I was usually able to dry each dog completely in about 20 minutes, less if it was warm enough to let them air dry the rest of the way. With my new 28,000 ft/min dryer I was able to get the dogs from dipping wet (no toweling off beforehand) to about 90% dry in about 10 minutes. I suppose that doesn't sound like a big difference until you consider how often I might need to blow dry my dogs (potentially once per day about 120 days per year), now three dogs (360 dries per year) saving 10 minutes per dog every dry could save me 60 hours a year!!

My advice to anyone looking for a dryer: You can't go wrong with the Metro Air Force and the higher output really does make a difference. My one complaint with the new dryer? The old one came with attached clips and a shoulder strap that made moving around the dog on the table easier. No such clips on the new dryer, meaning I either need to hold the handle, put it down on the table/ground or come up with some way to rig it over the shoulder - I'm hoping for the latter.

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