Indiegogo staffers are putting crowdfunded products to the test in our new series of honest reviews. In this edition, our very own Karisa Hunt tries out the PETKIT AIRSALON MAX, a new enclosed hair drying cabin for cats and dogs that everyone’s talking about. Does it live up to the hype? Read on as we put it to the test!
Lots of people think that cats don’t need to have baths.
That’s really not true.
As someone who’s had cats all my life, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve had to bathe them over the years. Sometimes they leap over barriers and step on newly-cleaned floors and need to be washed so they don’t get sick. Sometimes they lay in something gross and it’s either bathing them or letting them track it everywhere. Sometimes medical conditions occur that mean regular baths until they clear up. Whatever the reason, cats definitely need to get baths… which means that cats need to get dried off afterwards.
Meet the PETKIT AIRSALON MAX.
I’ve had to bathe cats for all of the reasons above (and more), but my current cat-bath issue is with Mozzarella String Cheese. She’s got allergies that make her itchy, so she has to get regular baths to keep her skin clean and clear of hot spots. I usually just towel her dry afterwards and then let her run away and sulk for a little bit, but it’s getting cold where I live, and I don’t want to chance her getting sick during winter bath times. I had to give the AIRSALON MAX a try.
Packaging and Unboxing
The first thing I noticed is how big this device is. I know it’s labeled as the MAX, and several of the photos show multiple cats in the box, but I was still a little skeptical. My biggest boy, Bacon Bits, is a 17-pound bowling ball of a cat (we’re working on it!), and I doubted from the photos that he’d fit inside. However, I could tell just from the size of the box that there wouldn’t be an issue getting him inside.
The packaging is very simple: the box has two pieces of styrofoam inside, one on the top and another on the bottom. They hold the unit securely inside, and there’s a cutout in the top piece that holds the power cord. It holds everything in place very well without being overkill, which was nice to see–especially with the non-recyclable styrofoam.
The setup for the AIRSALON MAX is one of the easier ones I’ve attempted. After getting it out of the box, all I had to do was turn the plate in the bottom of the unit over (it’s shipped upside-down, presumably to protect the pieces in transit) and plug it in. There’s an on/off switch on the box, and once I hit it, the unit booted up.
I was a little confused about the companion app for the product–there’s a QR code in the instruction booklet, but there’s no way to set this product up in it yet. (PETKIT has an amazing array of pet products that can be controlled and monitored through the app–it just looks like this one hasn’t been added in yet, since it’s still in the prototype stage.)
Putting It To Test
There are three main settings you can toggle on the top of the AIRSALON MAX: temperature, fan speed, and time. There’s also a start/pause button, a light button, and a button that locks the rest of the buttons (so when, say, your smallest cat jumps on top while you’re trying to dry your middle-sized cat, he doesn’t turn the temperature all the way up and possibly hurt her).
The AIRSALON MAX is really easy to use. I tried it out without a cat in it first just to see how it worked, so I just let it go on its presets. The fan started out on its lowest setting, and the box heated up quickly (I was able to use the petting door on the top of the unit to reach my hand in and see). It took a little while to get the hang of the locking button–you have to double-tap it, and then it relocks itself really fast, so you have to make sure you perform whatever action you’re trying to do right after unlocking it or it’ll just lock itself again.
After testing it out for a few minutes, it was time to add a cat.
I figured the way to test it with the least chaos was to bring one cat to it at a time and put them in dry, just to see how they reacted. They’re always more stressed after bath time, and I didn’t want to introduce something new to them when they were already stressed out. The first cat up was Tater Tot, who is also the one I figured would have the easiest time with the device, because he’s naturally curious and likes new and interesting things.
When I put him in, he sniffed around for a little while before sitting in one of the corners. He seemed mostly curious about it, so I turned the fan on its lowest setting and let it run for a little bit. He was a little spooked by it turning on and blowing against him, but he really didn’t get scared, especially since I used the petting door on top to reach in and let him know I was there. He didn’t even mind when I turned the fan up, which was pretty funny for me, because I got to see the fur on his stomach rippling in the breeze like he was in a shampoo commercial.
With the easy cat out of the way, I jumped straight into Hard Mode with Mozzarella String Cheese. She’s the cat I have to bathe the most often, but she’s also the one I knew would have the hardest time with being shut in the box. She’s kind of a chicken, and she doesn’t like things that aren’t laying all over the place, so I figured it might be a little more excitement than she wanted to have.
I was right. She was not a fan.
Even before I turned the AIRSALON MAX on, she was already protesting being in the box. I turned it on for a little bit, but I ended up letting her out fairly quickly. There’s no way I’d be able to leave her inside for long enough to actually dry off. I couldn’t even turn the fan up; she was so anxious about the whole experience that I let her out without turning it up, which would have made the whole thing louder.
Bacon Bits, for his part, was mostly uninterested–not upset, but not curious about it. I was right to think that it was big enough for him; he was even able to turn around in the box while the door was shut, which is a remarkable feat for a cat his size. He did try to escape out the petting door when I opened it up, though, so my guess is that he wouldn’t enjoy being in it for long enough to dry off, either.
It was easy to tell, from these small tests, that the AIRSALON MAX would indeed dry a cat (or a dog small enough to fit inside). The issue isn’t that it wouldn’t work–the issue is that almost no cats would be tolerant enough to stay inside for long enough to actually dry off.’
Large enough to hold an XL-sized cat
Petting door allows access to soothe pets inside
Warms up quickly
Very easy to set up
Cats don’t like being closed in
User manual doesn’t have a troubleshooting guide
Overall, I think this is a product that will work very well for a small number of people. Not a lot of people bathe their cats (although they probably should!), and not a lot of cats will like being closed into a device like this. However, for the cross-section of those groups, this would be an absolutely fantastic solution. It’s definitely a good way to get your cat dry, especially after giving them a quick towel-dry first.
Just make sure you keep an eye on your furry friend and make sure they’re not panicking inside the box.
To learn more, check out the campaign for PETKIT AIRSALON MAX, live now on Indiegogo.