Date of Review: 29/1/2023
The Sales Pitch from Carbon Collective :
Our Air Force 1 Dryer delivers powerful, effective and contactless drying; whether you are at home, or on the go. Contactless drying ensures the prevention of swirls and scratches as opposed to traditional methods of drying. Perfect for soft paint, classic cars, motorcycles and hard to reach areas.
Portable, compact and easy to transport, our Air Force 1 Dryer uses a single motor design, which outperforms most dual motor machines on the market today. This is due to cyclone motor technology, which produces greater airflow with lower friction. The cyclone technology also provides a 30% energy saving over traditional dryers.
A max power output of 2800W combined with a 600W heating element ensures the water is displaced or evaporated, stopping watermarks and leaving a perfectly streak-free finish. Air is filtered through a washable and removable air filter to ensure the safest possible drying, whether this is on paintwork, glass, chrome or hard to reach areas such as air vents or interiors.
The dryer is designed to dry an entire car without the need for an extension lead, the 5-metre hose and 5-metre power cable are long enough to ensure you aren’t restricted during drying.
The variable speed controller adjusts the airspeed and volume, whilst the two-way temperature switch allows hot air for drying and cold air for dust removal in interiors and awkward areas.
- Powerful and effective contactless drying.
- 30% energy saving over traditional dryers.
- 2 silicone coated interchangeable nozzles to adjust air pattern.
- Variable-speed controller to easily adjust the airspeed and volume.
- Neoprene coated handle to prevent heat transfer.
- Heating range of 56 degrees celsius.
- High impact, insulated ABS housing.
- Air filter (washable & removable).
- Filtered air to ensure the safest possible drying.
- Contactless drying to prevent swirls and scratches.
- 2800W Single Motor Design
- 600W Heating Element
- 900G Blow Force
- 7 CBM Max Airflow
- 66,000 FPM Max Speed
- Wheels Included as Standard
- 2 Interchangeable Nozzles (Wide Nozzle and Round Nozzle)
- 5 Metre Hose
- 5 Metre Power Cable
- 74dB Noise Output
- Unit Weight: 4kg
Source: Air Force 1 Car Dryer – LTD Edition Anniversary Colour | Carbon Collective
What You Get:
A product from a very well respected detailing company “Carbon Collective” who produced their own car dryer.
A plain looking box that hides the goodies within; this is the “Limited Edition – Metallic Pear” 10 years of Carbon Collective. This is a great colour which is different to the normal teal coloured unit.
There is also a small booklet which I have re-created below and a PDF for download lower down.
Inside the box my blower hose attachment was already assembled. There is a nozzle connector, neoprene sleeve, hose connector, hose and a couple of attachments. You may need to bolt the wheels onto the cradle which is simple enough.
Why was my dryer pre built? I had a freebie item that came with it from the supplier and they put it in the box.
Case & Handle
The case is made of a plastic mould but could be mistaken for metal. The handle is rugged and does not flex or distort the case when being picked up to be moved rather than dragged around.
The is a pull along style cylinder dryer with a hose and couple of attachments. The mains cable is a generous 5m long with a pre installed fused plastic plug. The cable connection to the base is reinforced which you don’t see very often now days. This base uinit will run from a standard UK wall outlet and has a 13amp fuse fitted.
Hose & Fittings
The hose when unpacked is about 1.8m long. However, once some air is blown through it and warmed up it expands to a again another generous 5m long. I found that after use it didn’t recoil back to the shorter length. For me this is fine as constantly having to pull against a sprung hose would be stressful on the wrists. At the end of the hose is a neoprene foam cover for the substantial handle. The hose to handle is also reinforced by the handle to prevent strain on the hose. The hose itself is gloss ribbed concertina finished which allows for easy wipe over if it happens to be on the ground. The replacement hose is around £35.
Both ends of the hose fittings are ‘bayonet’ still and again substantial not about to break of in a hurry. The bayonets lugs have a slight cut away to allow a self pull into lock.
There are two supplied nozzles, a wide flattened end and a pointed jet.
These nozzles are very sturdy plastic with a surprise at the ends; they are rubber tipped. Why is this important? As you are blowing the excess water away the chances or touching the paint could be quite high especially when reaching over on high topped vehicles. With the rubber tip it will not damage or mark the paint if it does touch any part of the car. Replacements nozzles are around £8 each.
The attention to detail carries on inside the nozzles as there is a sealing ring to the hose handle to prevent any lost air pressure coming out the sides where you don’t want it. The bayonet lugs makes sure there is a tight fit to the hose.
The blower motor (base) sits on a cradle which is made of the same high quality plastic as the handle and the nozzles. The weight of the unit is very manageable 4kg and when running its 74db, so similar to a vacuum cleaner.
It’s noted in the sales pitch that the motor is “30% energy saving over traditional dryers”, I’m not sure how they gauge this or back it up. But if they say it, then according to Trading Standards – it must be true.
To move the base around there are four casters bolted one in each corner.
Each of the casters has a potential to be locked in place at the wheel (not on the base) to stop wheel rotation. This gives the option to allow the whole base to freely follow you around, or lock the wheels as you need in order to stop it moving around. The little levers are durable and locate with a reassuring click into place. The lever in the up position for free movement and down for locked in place. Locking the wheels from turning still allows the wheels to swivel.
Fitting of the hose to the front sees another sealing ring inside the base fitting which forms a tight seal with the hose when twisted into place. See above.
The rear of the base has an easy clip in and out cover which pulls in the airflow. Unclipping from the top and lifting out of the location at the bottom allows easy access to the filter(s). The cover has slightly sprung clips top and bottom to stop the cover moving or rattling when fitted in place. With the cover unclipped it will expose the small air filter which is so simple to remove.
Once the small filter has been removed this allows access to another filter which is larger in diameter. Dead simple to remove by a bending.
It’s worth noting that the instructions only mentions a single filter. But I’m more than happy with two filters to be honest.
The filters can be cleaned with an air line or a stream of water. Allow to fully dry before refitting the filters.
The switch on top is a three position rocker. Middle is Off, Fan or Fan & heater element. Yep you read that correctly, a gentle warming heater element to a non adjustable temperature set at 56 degrees Celsius (or 133 degrees Fahrenheit). My only minor moan is that it would be nice to see an illuminated LED when the base unit has a power supplied to it.
There is an adjusting dial on the top regulates the airflow of the unit. The maximum airflow of 7cubic meters which roughly gives you 900g or force. This of could change depending on the type of nozzle used. With that type of pressure being pushed down a hose you need to have the solid fit bayonet to hold them in place or they would just fly off the end of the hose.
The power requirement of the unit is a hefty 2800w which if run for an hour with energy tariff at £0.52p per hour would cost you around £0.75p to run. Running with the heating unit on at 600w it would around £0.31p on the same tariff. So you could say that’s around a £1 per hour on full pelt. There is a model up from this unit aimed at the professional or commercial market which requires a 20amp outlet.
Do you need the variable dial?
Maybe, when getting to more delicate places or tight places you may want to turn it down a bit. But that would mean going to the base unit each time to adjust. Just move the nozzle back a bit for less air pressure.
Do you need the heater?
It’s a blower so not really, but saying that on a cooler day then the heat does help to evaporate the water quickly.
To power the unit you make a choice of heat or not, and how much. Most people will leave it on full speed for use.
If you can use a hairdryer then you can use this. The idea is to start from one direction working to the other side. There is enough force here to make a single pass and dry the water. My video on the left I tried to film myself and ended up going back over myself. (Trying to film and dry one handed is not ideal, but you get the idea.)
To try and show the force of the air stream I started to blow the water away from the car on the right hand side video. A bit pointless to be honest, but it shows the air stream.
The hose can become heavy when using on top of a high sided roof vehicle. But with plenty off air rushing through it the hose still remains flexible.
Storage of the hose could be an issue with such a lot of it. I hang mine on a garden hose pipe bracket on the wall to keep it neat. The mains power lead wraps nicely around the base under the cylinder, but it’s not a dedicated storage.
It works. There is a technique to drying a car with air, forgetting to get into the nooks and crannies can make water appear later. So do a quick blast of the panel, get into the tight areas then a final proper dry off. If it doesn’t remove the water, then you didn’t do it properly.
I found that the blow works amazingly where you wouldn’t want to put a high quality drying towel, like under the wheel arches for example. Having the blower on full power can dislodge grime and blow it everywhere, so turning it down to take a little longer and stop yourself a) getting wet, b) blowing what ever is in there all back out over your paint job.
Air drying wheels is simple for lug nuts areas, and brakes as well.
Getting the equipment out seems such a effort compared to picking up a drying towel. In my opinion it takes longer to dry the car with a blower than it does with a towel. The towel will get the water of large surfaces quicker, but it doesn’t dry everything. I lost count the number of times I started to wax only to find a run of drips from gaps. Yet drying with the blower will get everywhere and water appears out of nowhere but soon gets blown away.
It’s worth the effort.
I hate giving full marks and I got out my way to pick up on the smallest flaws. I’m disappointed to say I didn’t find any. My only gripe was the lack of LED to show power going to the unit. Should I knock a mark of for that? Maybe 1/2 a mark? But this is about functionality of drying a car. I can only give it full marks, but they are deserved.
Ease of use – 10 out 10
Finish – 10 out 10
This ‘no touch’ approach to drying is becoming the new norm, providing you have electricity available of course. It’s a much more thorough way of drying the car and means the less you contact the paintwork the less chance of swirls appearing.
Drying a car in cooler overcast conditions can take a while for the water to evaporate. But this air blower method speeds that up and with the heater on it makes it even quicker.
The argument I here is that a blower is just a blower, why not use a leaf blower? The difference is simple – filtered air.
Remember forcing air out at that rate it does, any tiny specs of dirt will be fired at your paint. Think of hail stones on a much smaller scale. This unit has two filters to stop that happening. To keep the unit optimal you will need to keep the filters clean to allow air flow through unimpeded.
After drying a car with a towel you just hang it up or go and wash it. But, after using this you have to put it all away, it’s a small effort for a proper job.
Cost: We need to talk about the cost of this unit. Yes it’s expensive, but when compared to others of similar designs on the market it’s not that expensive. There are some nice features on this model, powerful 2800w motor, four lockable casters, heating element, variable speed control. Some more expensive models don’t have these. I expect the unit to last a good number of years for the home user for sure.
Would I recommend it? Yes.
Would I buy it again? Yes.