The best carpet dryer

Jennifer Blair

Begin drying your carpet as soon as you notice any signs of water damage. Mold can start growing in as little as 24 hours.

If you’ve ever experienced a flood or leaking pipe in your home, you know the serious damage that water can do. Even something as simple as a soaked carpet spells big trouble because mold can start growing in a hurry. With a carpet dryer, you can help the water evaporate more quickly so your carpet dries before mold and bacteria can take root.

We’ve gathered plenty of tips to help you choose the best carpet dryer for your home. Our top choice, the Air-Foxx Air Mover/Dryer, is a powerful unit with a three-speed air control to allow for easy airflow adjustment.

What to know before you buy a carpet dryer

How does a carpet dryer work?

When your carpet is soaked through, the water trapped in the fibers begins to evaporate, turning from liquid to vapor. The surrounding air absorbs the water vapor, but the water needs more time to evaporate if there’s too much vapor in the air. That means the carpet takes longer to dry.

A carpet dryer uses a fan to remove the water vapor from the air to make it dryer. The dry air can better absorb the water and promote evaporation, so your carpet doesn’t need as much time to dry.


The most important thing to know about a carpet dryer is how quickly it can dry your carpeting. The speed is measured by the amount of cubic feet of air the unit can move per minute, so a dryer’s CFM can give you a good indication of its drying time. A carpet dryer with a higher CFM can help dry your carpet more quickly.

In most cases, it’s recommended you have at least one 2,800 CFM carpet dryer per 300 square feet of wet carpeting. You’ll either need to employ additional dryers or opt for a model with a higher CFM for a larger area.


A carpet dryer’s power is measured in horsepower. Commercial dryers typically feature a one-HP motor, so a ¼-HP or ⅓-HP model is a useful option for home use. It won’t be as large or noisy either.

Keep in mind that a dryer’s HP doesn’t always relate to its CFM rating. A ⅓-HP dryer may have a 500 CFM rating or a 1000 CFM rating. While HP lets you know how powerful a dryer is, it shouldn’t be your main criteria when choosing a model.

Axial vs. centrifugal fan

A carpet dryer can have either an axial or a centrifugal fan. Axial fans are basic all-purpose fans. Their blades resemble petals on a flower and spin around the center. Centrifugal fans look more like a paddlewheel boat’s blades. They feature an enclosed design with a cylinder shape. A centrifugal fan produces high pressure but with directed airflow. It’s usually most effective for drying carpeting and other surfaces.

Bottom line

For a carpet dryer to be as effective as possible, it should have a centrifugal fan and offer enough HP to provide the necessary CFM to dry your space. When you’re looking at air dryer product specifications, your first concern should be the type of fan it has. Next, consider its CFM. As mentioned previously, HP should really be your last concern.

Carpet dryer features


Some carpet dryers only operate at a single speed, but you can find many that feature low, medium and high speeds. Models with variable speeds are usually more expensive, but you’ll have more control over the speed for greater versatility.


You shouldn’t leave a carpet dryer running unattended, but you may sometimes forget to turn it off and run it longer than you need to. Some models have a timer, though, so you don’t have to worry about wasting energy.

Built-in outlet

If you have a leak or flood that covers an extremely large area of carpeting, you’ll need to use more than one carpet dryer. Some dryers feature a built-in outlet, so you can easily connect a series of dryers the same way you can connect a series of string lights.


Some carpet dryers can be fairly large, particularly if they're extremely powerful. A dryer’s size usually doesn’t matter, but if you’re placing it in a smaller space, make sure that it can fit.


A carpet dryer is often fairly heavy and has a somewhat awkward shape. To make it easier to move from room to room, choose a model with a built-in handle that provides a comfortable grip.

Noise level

Carpet dryers are pretty noisy when they’re running. If you’re concerned about the noise, look for a model that runs at a lower volume.


The majority of carpet dryers come in bright, bold colors. That makes them stand out in low lighting and prevents you from tripping over them.

Carpet dryer cost

Basic carpet dryers that aren’t very powerful can cost $100 or less, but they’re only suitable for small areas. For $100 to $240, you can find models with solid power that are suitable for most home drying situations. If you need a large, powerful carpet dryer, expect to pay between $240 and $400.

Carpet dryer FAQ

How long does it take to dry a carpet?

A. It can depend on various factors. If you’re drying a carpet after cleaning it, you usually only need a couple of hours with a carpet dryer. When your home experiences a flood, it may take several days of constant operation to dry the carpet.

How can I help a carpet dryer work more quickly?

A. Make sure the space is well-ventilated. Running a dehumidifier can also help remove moisture in the room. If possible, it also helps to change the carpet’s position every couple of hours to ensure it’s drying evenly.

Which carpet dryer should I get?

Best of the best carpet dryer

Air-Foxx Air Mover/Dryer: available at Amazon

Our take: A professional and powerful air mover that will finish the job fast.

What we like: Offers up to 3,450 CFM for a fast drying time. 25-foot cable. Has three speed settings and three different ways to position the dryer. Compact.

What we dislike: Some reports of durability issues.

Best bang for your buck carpet dryer

Shop-Vac Mighty Mini Air Mover: available at Amazon

Our take: A compact, feature-packed dryer that can work for nearly any small flood or leak.

What we like: Offers three speeds and three operating positions. The 10-foot power cord makes it easy to position. Features a built-in handle. Can be stacked for storage. 500 CFM.

What we dislike: Isn’t powerful enough for large areas.

Honorable mention carpet dryer

XPOWER Mini Air Mover: available at Amazon

Our take: A powerful dryer that lets you adjust the angle and speed to hasten the drying process.

What we like: Features three speeds and four drying angles. Offers two built-in outlets. The built-in timer allows you to use the dryer when you’re not at home. 800 CFM.

What we dislike: Some users report durability concerns.

Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

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