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Learn The Leaf Blower For Car Drying Method & Find The Best Car Detailing Blower

Turn Over a New Leaf & Prevent Scratches & Swirls By Drying Your Car With a Leaf Blower

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toro powerplex 40 volt cordless

Toro PowerPlex 40 Volt Cordless

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dewalt 20 volt max blower

Dewalt 20 Volt Max Blower

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Sun Joe electric blower

Sun Joe 10 Amp Leaf Blower

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leaf blower for car drying
A leaf blower is a fantastic tool for touch-less drying of a car.

Using a leaf blower for car drying might not be the first thing to come to mind, but it’s a great way to finish off a car detail or wash.

Nothing mars the appearance of a car more than seeing deep swirls and micro-scratches in the paint finish. You spend hours polishing and perfecting the paint finish. After waxing or adding sealant you think you are good to go, but weeks later swirls have returned to the car’s finish. Park in the sun or under a bright light and those swirl marks are glaring. Most likely it is your drying regimen that is causing the swirls but there is an easy remedy.

Drying your car is the last step when washing a car and is the most critical part to ensure that the car is left spot-free without swirls or micro-scratches. Without proper care, the drying of a car can induce swirls and water spots to blemish the final look. For years many detailers have used expensive air dryers to dry their customers’ cars, but now you can produce the same results at home, using of all things – an electric leaf blower.

Leaf Blower For Car Drying Method

Generally, when a car is finally rinsed off, despite all the waxes and sealants you may have applied, water will still be left standing. Worse, water tends to seep out over time from collection points, including mirrors and trim pieces.

In the worst case, rust can develop over time. In the past, detailers used chamois to dry off the car and others swore by cloth diapers. When microfibers crashed the scene, various fluffy concoctions became the rage. But despite the best care and precautions, any dirt particle caught in the drying material could produce those ugly swirl marks.

Detailers Solution

Detailers seeking a better solution migrated to the Metro Vac Air Force Master Blaster as one solution.  This blower, generated from two fans, pushed heated air at over 5,000 linear feet per minute to thoroughly dry the car, truck, or motorcycle without ever touching the vehicle. A hose could reach all the nooks and crannies that trapped water and blow them away. The unit could even dry the rims and lug nuts of a car effortlessly.

If you knew where to look, the blower could also push out all those secret pools of water that if left unattended eventually seeped out and left water spots on the sheet metal. But at nearly $400 this “must-have tool” often is left on the wish list.

But don’t despair. The common, ordinary leaf blower can double as your car dryer with a similar effect.  Most leaf blowers come with a variety of outputs and many can easily do double duty. But the use of a leaf blower does come with some precautions.

Cautions When Using a Leaf Blower For Car Drying

Many leaf blowers have the option of converting to a leaf vacuum. They suck up the debris and collect it into a cloth bag for disposal. This means there is a slight risk that when reversing the unit to blow instead of vacuum, some remaining debris might dislodge and shoot out onto the car. So I would recommend either having a unit solely dedicated for vehicle use or not use the vacuum option on the leaf blower while landscaping.

Another concern among users is that if you have a gasoline-powered unit, that trace amounts of fuel and oil might get blown onto the car, which of course defeats the purpose of washing the car. For that reason, we only recommend electric leaf blowers, either battery or corded.

Leaf blowe
Leaf blowers are a great tool for drying off an engine compartment after water seeps in

Things to Look For in a Leaf Blower For Car Detailing

The blowers produce a lot of air that comes out of a nozzle. The smaller the nozzle the more focused the air is when drying the vehicle. Since these outlets are usually plastic, consider zip-tying a soft, rubber hose around the outside of the nozzle. That way if you accidentally get too close to the car, the rubber hose will cushion the contact and prevent damage to the car.

The use of a blower will speed up your drying time but remember you will still be holding the blower for a few minutes. So look for a unit that is balanced, easy to handle with cushioned grips, and lightweight. Some opt to use ear protection, but since it’s battery-powered, usually have the unit down low and away from your head, and only use it for a limited time it shouldn’t cause any hearing issues.

Generally speaking, the corded leaf blowers will have the more powerful motors and you could use the blower on multiple cars in succession. A battery-operated unit should have sufficient capacity to dry even a large, older station wagon but you might need a spare battery pack if you intend on doing multiple vehicles in a row.

You can also use the blower to blow debris out of the trunk and carpets if you wish. The common electric leaf blower is truly a multi-purpose tool!

Best Leaf Blowers For Car Detailing

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1. Toro PowerPlex 40 Volt Cordless

toro powerplex 40 volt cordless

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This leaf blower offers up an insane 150 mph of air with its most concentrated nozzle. It’s a variable speed controlled blower so you can dial in the force you desire. It can move up to 480 cubic feet per minute. So it will take no time to dry that car in your driveway.

The description does note that at “turbo speed” you will only have 10-minutes of run time, but additional battery packs could be bought if desired. Slow down your power and your battery pack could last up to 60-minutes. It only takes the same 60-minutes to recharge the battery pack, if you don’t get a spare.

With a brushless motor, you’ll have worry-free years of reliable service. The speed lock allows you to keep the output consistent without having to constantly keep your finger on a trigger. The 8.4-pounds are substantial but well-balanced, meaning you won’t get too tired drying the vehicle.

2. Toro Ultra Electric Corded

toro ultra electric corded

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This red leaf blower ramps up to 250 mph with the concentrator nozzle and can move up to 350 cubic feet per minute of air when used as a blower. This offers the vacuum option, so heed our warning from above.

Like most corded competitors there is only a short polarized plug so you will have to provide an extension cord. You probably will need at least a 25-foot extension cord, depending on your electric source location.

It weighs 8.5-pounds, but the ergonomic handle makes it easy to hold and sweep the leaf blower over your car’s surface. The dial controlled variable speed allows you to adjust for your specific needs and comfort. The manufacturer offers a 2-year warranty for worry-free use.

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3. Dewalt 20 Volt Max Blower

dewalt 20 volt max blower

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This unit would require a 20 V Max XR battery pack and charger to be purchased additionally so factor that into your car detailing budget.

It offers 90 mph with 400 cubic feet per minute of air movement. The speed is controlled by a variable trigger which can be locked in place.  You get up to 18-minutes of runtime off of that one battery pack and in 75-minutes the battery is fully charged again.

Presently, the unit comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee so you can try it out on your rides risk-free. The unit comes with a 3-year limited warranty as well.

It weighs in at just over 7.5-pounds and the DeWalt’s have a great reputation for rugged reliability. The handle is placed over the motor housing and there is a tendency to have it naturally direct down, so it will be a bit awkward to aim the unit at the roof of your vehicle.

4. Black and Decker 7 Amp Blower

black and decker 7 amp blower

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This corded leaf blower is another affordable option. Black and Decker’s have a reputation for dependability and the price is right, but you get what you pay for too.

So this one does drop down in capacity with only 180 cubic feet per minute of airflow, but can still reach up to 180 mph and is less than 5-pounds to carry. Most of the weight is focused under the handle with only a small nozzle left to offset the heft of the unit.

It is a smaller unit at 16.5-inches long, so it will be easier to maneuver around your vehicles. The motor is listed at 7 amps of AC power.

Best Budget Choice

5. Sun Joe 10 Amp Leaf Blower

Sun Joe electric blower

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Sun Joe offers an economical option but still pushes out up to a 215 mph blast of air in a corded unit. It flows up to 240 CFM of air.

It weighs just over 4-pounds, making it one of the lightest of our recommendations. When using the concentrator nozzle it will extend out to 32-inches long, giving you outstanding reach.

That concentrator nozzle is also responsible for those airspeed numbers as well. The two-part nozzle easily comes off for compact storage. The unit has two speeds as well, for additional control.

6. Chemical Guys ProBlow

Chemical Guys Pro Blow

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The boutique car detailing supply company Chemical Guys recently released its corded dryer/blower. So if a leaf blower seems awkward or cumbersome this might be the solution at a great price as well.

It is also different by including a built-in 10-foot cord for the 1,000-watt motor. Thanks to its compact design it weighs a feathery 3.3-pounds. The motor is rated at a powerful 8.5-amps. Since it is designed for car detailing, the end of the nozzle already comes with a protective rubber tip.

We got our hands on one and have loved it so far. It is small, nimble, and powerful. It is quick and effective at drying vehicles and ensuring that there are no water spots or streaks left after a wash.

The only caution we have is to make sure you manage the cord well, so it does not bang against the vehicle and possibly scratch the paint.

Turn Over a New Leaf With a Car Detailing Blower

So there you have it, six exceptional units to help you dry your car. Any of them will do a great job of drying your entire car while preventing swirls.

Of course, you’ll get some puzzled looks from your neighbors until you convert them to the leaf blower drying method. But, explain it to them and help them turn over a new leaf.

car detailing blower

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to use a leaf blower to dry my vehicle?

Absolutely, as long as you use some proper precautions. Never let the leaf blower make contact with the car or any sensitive parts. You don’t want to blow off a decal or direct air into an exposed paper air filter.

How long does it take to dry a car with a leaf blower?

If you have a good layer of wax or sealant already on the car, the water should already be beading up.  A slow walk around the car working from the top to the bottom is a good first step and then focus on molding, seams, and mirrors where water tends to collect. Finish up with the wheels and lug nuts and in about 10-minutes you should have a dry car without touching it.

Is a corded or cordless leaf blower better for car drying?

If you have easy access to an electrical plug and an extension cord, the corded units usually will have a more powerful motor and unlimited time of use. Just be careful to not scratch your car with the cord while moving around to dry the vehicle. With a cordless unit, you gain some flexibility on where and when you can use it and the battery life should be sufficient for one car.

Mark Bach
About Mark Bach

Mark C. Bach is a well preserved automotive junkie with 30W oil in his veins and remembers feeler gauges and brake springs. He has a love for all things that move, especially old-school muscle cars. Bach covers the car auctions and the automotive scene and writes for a variety of outlets, including Chevy Classics, Round-Up Publications and eBay Motors, and maintains Route66pubco.com.