The best air movers for getting things dry fast

Air movers on display.
Air movers from xpower on display.

Air movers, also known as carpet blowers, are not to be confused with regular old fans, as their power far surpasses them. Here we explain what they are, how they work, and review some of the best air-movers from trusted brands such as Shop-Vac, XPower, DeWalt, and B-Air – each ideal for rapidly drying flooded homes and carpets.

Topics Covered

  • What is an air mover?
    • So what does an air mover do exactly?
    • What advantages do they have over regular fans?
  • Features to look for in an air mover
    • Horsepower and CFM
    • Different speed settings
    • Portability
    • Durability
    • Angle variety
    • Dust resistance
  • The best air movers
    • XPower-230AT
    • Shop-Air 1030100
    • DeWalt DXAM-2818
    • B-Air Grizzly GP-1
    • Lasko High-Velocity Utility Fan
  • Commonly asked questions
    • How do you use an air mover?
    • How long can you leave an air mover on?
    • Are air movers worth it?


Unit Model Horsepower CFM Price
XPower-230AT Carpet Blower XPower-230AT 1/5 HP 925 CFM
Shop-Air 1030100 Carpet blower Shop-Air 1030100 1/2 HP 1600 CFM
DeWALT DXAM-2818 DeWALT DXAM-2818 3/4 HP 1800 CFM
B-Air Grizzly GP-1 B-Air Grizzly GP-1 1 HP 3550 CFM
Lasko High-Velocity Pro-Performance Pivoting Utility Fan Lasko High-Velocity Utility Fan 375 CFM





What is an air mover?

An air mover works similarly to a fan but with a few fundamental differences. Whereas a fan blows air over a relatively wide area, an air mover blows air onto a much more focused area at a much higher velocity.

These machines have a wide range of applications and are used at industrial sites and by home restoration companies. Over the last few years, they have become much more compact, more affordable, and a lot more energy-efficient, which is why today they are also commonly found in regular households.

So what does an air mover do exactly?

They dry things rapidly. For example, carpets, floors, walls, and even ceilings in homes that have undergone flooding. They are also used for drying hard-to-reach places or freshly painted walls in a much shorter period or even simply for ventilation and cooling purposes.

What advantages do they have over regular fans?

Drying things with a regular fan will get things done… eventually. But unlike a typical fan, an air mover blows air at a much higher pressure and therefore gets things dry in a fraction of the time, which is very important for preventing mold growth and permanent damage.


Features to look for in an air mover

Air movers water damage.
Air movers drying cabinets that underwent flooding. Image from crrs.com.

There are many different models available with varying features, which can make things confusing. Here we have listed the most important things to look for when buying an air mover.

Horsepower and CFM

When looking at specs, you will come across horsepower and CFM. Horsepower measures how powerful the machine is, while CFM (cubic feet per minute) measures the amount of air it moves every 60 seconds.

How much horsepower do I need?

That depends on your needs. If the main purpose for you wanting to buy an air mover is to move air around in a room where you need as much silence as possible, then 1/5 horsepower will do.

On the other hand, if you need one for intensive water damage in a large open area, then a 1 horsepower machine will be required.

For drying carpets after steam cleaning or for water damage in houses and apartments, 1/5 to 1/2 horsepower will be perfectly sufficient.

Different speed settings

Quality air movers come with three-speed settings – low, medium, and high. It adds versatility and makes the fan suitable for a wider range of applications.

Portability

Whether you need a carpet blower for commercial or residential purposes, you will probably want one that can be moved easily.

Look for a machine that is compact and fairly lightweight. A carry handle and back wheels will also make moving it around a lot easier.

Durability

Durability is important, especially with the outer body, because it protects the motor and fan. You could bump the air mover against things while moving or transporting it, so you will ideally want one made from polyethylene or polypropylene.

Both polyethylene and polypropylene are lightweight and strong plastics, but polyethylene has stronger impact resistance.

Angle variety

Being able to adjust the direction of airflow is a handy feature, especially when drying a wide area. Fortunately, most come with 0, 45, and 90 degree angles as standard.

Dust resistance

Dust resistance is something you may want to consider, especially if you will be using the air mover in a dusty environment because dust buildup on the motor will shorten its lifespan.


The best air movers

The XPower-230AT

XPower-230AT Air Mover

The XPower-230AT air mover is compact and lightweight without compromising on power, but that doesn’t mean that it’s power-hungry because it draws only 2.3 amps on its lowest setting.

It has a 3-speed setting and four-angle drying positions that allow you to dry everything from floors/carpets to stairs, walls, and ceilings. It’s also so compact enough for use in crawl spaces, car interiors, and cabinets.

Other features include power outlets built into the unit and an adjustable timer that can leave the machine on permanently or set for 3 hours.

The XPower-230AT is ideal for residential carpet drying and water damage restoration.

Included: 1x air mover unit, 1x timer, and an owner’s manual.

  • Brand: XPOWER
  • Model: P-230AT-Green
  • Housing material: Polypropylene
  • Horsepower: 1/5 HP
  • CFM: 925 CFM
  • Amps: 2.3 Amps
  • Dimensions: 10.7″ x 12.4″ x 13.6″
  • Weight: 9.9 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 Year limited warranty


The Shop-Air 1030100 by Shop-Vac

Shop-Air 1030100 Carpet Blower

The Shop-Air 1030100 excels at drying wet floors and carpets. It also has a setting for specifically drying ceilings and walls that underwent flood damage.

The unit weighs 11 pounds, but moving it around is a breeze thanks to its convenient carry handle and rear wheels. It also has a powerful 1600 CFM motor and a 30-foot long power cord.

Included: 1x air mover unit and an owner’s manual.

  • Brand: Shop-Vac
  • Model: 1030100
  • Housing material: Polypropylene
  • Horsepower: 1/2 HP
  • CFM: 1600 CFM
  • Amps: 5.0 Amps
  • Dimensions: ‎23.88″ x 23.88″ x 18.13″
  • Weight: 11 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 Year limited warranty


The DeWALT DXAM-2818

DeWALT DXAM-2818

The DeWalt DXAM-2818 is perfectly suited for drying carpets and flood damage restoration with its powerful 3/4 horsepower and 1800 CFM motor.

It has 3-speed settings and is capable of blowing air at two angles, while the 30′ foot cord gives the air mover a lot of reach.

Moving the carpet blower around is easy thanks to the adjustable sliding handle and rear wheels.

Included: 1x air mover unit, 30’ electrical cord, and an owner’s manual.

  • Brand: DeWalt
  • Model: DXAM-2818
  • Horsepower: 3/4 HP
  • CFM: 1800 CFM
  • Dimensions: ‎18.9″ x 16.3″ x 20.3″
  • Weight: 39 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 Year limited warranty


B-Air Grizzly GP-1 1 HP 3550 CFM

B-Air Grizzly GP-1 Carpet Blower

The B-Air Grizzly GP-1 is the most powerful air mover on this list, thanks to its 1 horsepower and 3550 CFM motor.

It’s ideal for any water damage restoration job – no matter how small or big.

It features 3-speed settings, 4 airflow angles, and a highly durable polyethylene casing. Other features include anti-skid rubbers so that it doesn’t slide around while in use, and safety locks so for use with a ducting kit.

Included: 1x air mover unit and an owner’s manual.

  • Brand: B-Air
  • Model: Grizzly GP-1
  • Housing material: Polyethylene
  • Horsepower: 1 HP
  • CFM: 3550 CFM
  • Amps: 8.7 Amps
  • Dimensions: ‎19″ x 18″ x 19.5″
  • Weight: 37 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 Year limited warranty


Lasko High-Velocity Pro-Performance Pivoting Utility Fan

Lasko High-Velocity Pro-Performance Pivoting Utility Fan

This last one on the list is not exactly an air mover/carpet blower, but it’s worth a mention. It’s a high-velocity utility fan from Lasko that moves 10x more air than a regular fan, and it’s surprisingly quiet.

More interestingly, the fan looks super modern and actually looks like something Darth Vader would design and use.

The fan has 3-speed settings, pivots 360 degrees, and delivers 341 CFMs – which makes it ideal for cooling, circulating stuffy air, and drying light water damage.

Included: 1x utility fan and an owner’s manual.

  • Brand: Lasko
  • Model: B077BMBR5B
  • CFM: 375 CFM
  • Dimensions: ‎11.25″ x 14.5″ x 14.5″
  • Weight: 13.2 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 Year limited warranty


Commonly asked questions

How do you use an air mover?

Using an air mover is pretty straightforward. Face the machine in the direction of whatever you want to be dried and turn it on. If drying carpets or floors, make sure that the blower is blowing across the floor and not upward. Also, periodically reposition the machine if the air it blows doesn’t cover the entire area you want to be dried.

And most importantly, make sure that nothing blocks the intake areas (usually located on the sides of the unit) because that can cause the machine to overheat and potentially result in a fire.

How long can you leave an air mover on?

Many people play it safe by turning heavy-duty equipment off at night to reduce the risk of an electrical fire. Doing so is wise but not necessary with quality air blowers because they are designed and engineered to run continuously for days on end.

Also, turning drying equipment off at night in a water damage situation will increase the chances of mold growth and permanent damage to water-soaked items and materials. So it’s perfectly fine to run an air blower 24/7 until its job is done – even if it takes a good couple of days.

However, leaving it running while unattended is not recommended because things can go wrong.

Are air movers worth it?

If you’ve been thinking about buying an air mover, you must have wondered if it’s even worth it. Well, it might be, depending on your situation.

These machines were previously solely used on construction sites and by water damage restoration companies, but have become compact and affordable enough for residential use. So they are small enough to not be in the way and affordable enough for most people.

They are multi-purpose tools and can be used for drying carpets or couches after they have been washed, dry freshly painted walls in a fraction of the time it normally would, or even getting rid of fumes and dust in a garage/workshop.

But where they are most invaluable is with water damage restoration. They can dry time-sensitive things quickly such as walls, ceilings, cabinets, floors, carpets, and anything else you can imagine after a flood. Thus, air movers play a big role in preventing mold and saving you a lot of money by saving items and minimizing damages.


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