General Inquiries: 800-256-1073 Need Service? 920-230-8501
Distributor Locator      Portal     Online Tools      Architects      Horizon

Go back to Blog main page

Distributor Blog | Selecting the Right Gear Dryer

Scott Vlahos is president of Advantage Equipment Inc., a full-service laundry solutions provider serving Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Over the course 21 years, Advantage Equipment has sold and installed turnout gear washers at more than 600 fire departments. In this Q and A, Vlahos provides expert advice on how to select the right washer for cleaning turnout gear according to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1851 recommendations.


Q: What are the two different types of gear dryers on the market and how do each work to safely dry gear?

A: The first thing to know is that you can’t use a regular tumbler dryer or can damage protective fabrics. That’s why we recommend either the StationDry Cabinet Gear Dryer or ExpressDry Gear Dryer. Cabinet models work by circulating ambient or heated air around protective gear located inside a cabinet. They dry gear generally in 1 to 2 hours and are the quietest drying device available.  The ExpressDry open-air dryers blow heated or ambient air through garments hanging on stickmen. They dry gear in 2 to 3 hours. But there are other models on the market that take 9-12 hours or more to dry gear. Both the ExpressDry and StationDry Cabinet models also allow you to quickly dry boots, gloves and facemasks. Both styles are NFPA compliant and come in different sizes to accommodate any need.


Q: Is one better than the other? 

A: Both types work very well – drying gear in hours rather than days. The StationDry Cabinet Gear Dryer is an enclosed system that comes in two sizes with the capability of drying up to 6 bunker gear sets. It also offers up to 3 boot racks, 6 glove hangers and one hose rack. It quickly dries turnout gear, hoses, dive suits, boots, gloves and more. The ExpressDry Gear Dryer is available in 4-, 6-, and 8-unit capacities. The largest ExpressDry Gear Dryer dries up to 8 gear bunker sets and features 24 accessory ports for drying boots, gloves, facemasks and more. There is also a Special Ops ExpressDry Gear Dryer with reversible stickmen for drying special ops suits upside down and bunker gear right side up.


Q: What are the Installation Requirements?

A: The StationDry Cabinet Gear Dryer requires just a 2-inch clearance from the back of the machine to the wall, making it easy to swing out of position to service. Most cabinet dryers can be installed with inside venting in areas with adequate air circulation, which is typical in an apparatus bay. If the unit needs to be installed in an enclosed area, it is recommended to vent to the outside to remove the humidity. The SD2 model (33”W x 37”D x 84”H)  uses a standard 120V appliance plug, whereas the SD6 (55”W x 38”D x 82”H) offers a range of voltages (208-240V/60/1-3). I recommend using a twist plug suitable for the 208-240V/60/1-3  to make the cabinet movable for servicing. The ExpressDry Gear Dryer does not require outside venting and sits on casters for easy relocation. This is convenient when it needs to be moved around when it’s not in use, for example. It uses a 120V grounded plug for the ambient air models and 208-240V  hardwiring for the heated model. Portability is the key with this unit, so most fire departments use the 120V models. If the station has limited available floor space these units can be moved easily when not in use.


Q: Is One Model More Affordable than the Other?

A: Generally, the open-air ExpressDry Gear Dryer has a higher price point when compared to the StationDry Cabinet Gear Dryer. The big benefit of the ExpressDry is it’s easily moved around the station. Both are also backed by an industry-leading factory warranty. It’s important to note that if your fire department has a tight budget, these dryers often qualify for funding through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program and sometimes state grants.


Q: Sign Us Up. How Do We Get One? 

A: Just contact your Girbau North America (GNA) distributor. GNA distributors sell and service these products for fire departments. They will provide recommendations, a quote, installation, training and service after the sale. To find a distributor in your area visit our distributor locator.

Ask an Expert form


Ask an Expert form

Subscribe to blog


Have Questions?

Request a Call