Let’s talk about the Tornador and cut to the chase.
Do you need it? Which one should you buy? Where do you use it? And how can it help you detail faster? Those are the questions I want to answer here after 6 years of using this tool.
If you search through videos about this product, you will see some of the dumbest detailing out there because, in MOST cases… The Tornador tends to slow you down.
I do love the Tornador, and I use it all the time in my detailing business to make more money and detail way faster.
To avoid the pain of slow details & bad results… keep reading. I’ve compiled a Tornador crash course below, so you know what to buy, how to use it, and most importantly: What to avoid!
Let’s start here:
To skip all the details, jump straight to the BIG IDEAS section at the bottom.
Which Tornador Should I Buy?
There are 3 variations of that Tornador you need to be aware of:
There are others, but these are really the only 3 that I think have merit.
I use theI use The Tornador Max professionally for 3 main reasons:
- I am hard on my tools, and the Tornador max is extremely durable. I can throw it around without worrying about it breaking.
- It feels great to use in my hand. From the swivel quick disconnect to the silicone-wrapped handle, I care about the user experience, and I actually enjoy how it feels.
- Because of the way it’s built, I can sit the tool flat on the ground without it falling over. The swivel at the end of the handle allows the air hose to move when the tool is on a flat surface rather than sticking straight out of the handle with no swivel causing it to tip over like in other models.
Where To Use the Tornador
The most common place I use the Tornador is when I am detailing the headliner, modern upholstery seats in newer cars, & the impossible carpeting
What are the main problems the Tornador solves in each of these areas?1. Headliner Detailing Problems
Wicking is the biggest issue when cleaning headliners because the material makes it so easy for stains to wick. Wicking happens when you stir up a stain with cleaner, and that stain soaks into other areas of the fabric, creating an even bigger stain.
- Tornador solution: Because the Tornador introduces a small mist of water at high pressure, it creates the perfect way to stir up the stain without introducing so much liquid that you create more problems.
Sagging happens over time when the glue that holds the headliner to the roof starts to break down, and the headliner falls. Most of the time, this happens when a steamer heats up the glue or too much liquid is used when cleaning, and the glue weakens.
- Tornador solution: Introducing only a little water with the Tornador means we don’t have to worry about sagging. It’s the best of both worlds… enough water to clean well, but not so much that you have to worry.
Wicking happens with the modern upholstery fabric because it is a piece of tight, cheap, & mesh fabric that covers a spongy seat. When a stain gets stirred up during the cleaning, it is prone to spreading.
- Tornador solution: Not only does the Tornador use very little water, but it is also using a lot of air. There is not enough water being sprayed on the seats to cause wicking. In these situations, the Tornador can be WAY more effective than an extractor.
Cheap Fabric: The newer upholstery material found in entry-level cars tends to trap the cleaner you are using in one place. You can spray your all-purpose cleaner all over the seat, but when you scrub, you can’t get it to spread around the seat.
- Tornador solution: The Tornador gives you just enough water as you scrub to move the cleaner around the seat, “untrapping” the cleaner in some sense. It’s one of the best ways to use only a little cleaner (to avoid too much liquid) and get great results.
- Impossible Carpet Detailing Problems:
Trapped dirt: Entry-level car manufacturers use the cheapest fabric known to man as the “interior carpets.” These carpets trap dirt, dog hair, sand, and everything else you can think of, like an unbreakable safe.
- Tornador solution: The vortex motion of the air coupled with the pressure is a fantastic way to “untrap” the dirt from underneath the carpet fibers so that you can easily vacuum it up.
Stains: Stains in the impossible carpet cannot be extracted because this carpet is a thin layer of felt with nothing underneath. Extracting it will just make it wet.
- Tornador solution: At best, you can rinse the impossible carpeting while mopping up the rinsed dirt with a microfiber towel. The Tornador is perfect for this. After cleaning the area with a carpet shampoo and drill brush, I use the Tornador to push the cleaner and dirt out of the fabric, soaking it up with my microfiber.
How NOT to use the Tornador
I highlighted all of the main areas where I use the Tornador because this tool can easily slow you down & create more work for yourself if you’re not careful… Here’s how:
- I only fill the Tornador with water. Filling the canister with the cleaner will cause you to overuse your chemical and spend a lot of time cleaning up. In every situation, it makes far more sense to pre-treat the area with your cleaner, then use the Tornador filled with water as a rinsing aid or add some more liquid as your cleaning.
- Don’t buy all of the attachments. There are endless “attachments” you could purchase for this tool that will only cause you to detail slower. This tool as it comes is all you need! If you need a brush, use a detail brush; if you need a vacuum, use your detailing vacuum. Don’t get caught up in the add-ons.
- Use it only in specific areas. Some guys act like this is the “all-in-one” tool we’ve all been waiting on. It isn’t, and that’s why I highlight the 3 main areas on the interior where I use it. Figure out where it’s best used, and keep it for those things. It’s not a fix-all.
A quick disclaimer: The Tornador Air Gun, which comes without the liquid canister, is actually the Tornador tool I use most day-to-day because the vortex air comes in handy in dozens of situations.
When I’m blowing out carpets, cleaning pads, or just need some compressed air, I often use the Tornador Air Gun. This is a tool that comes in handy in a lot more situations than the Classic Tornador with the liquid canister.
After 6ish years of using the Tornador… that is what I have learned. It’s a great tool for specific areas that are often overhyped and underused.
So should you buy it? My vote is: Only if your business is growing and you don’t worry about spending the money. It will help you in a small handful of areas that become important as your business grows, but not in the beginning stages.
The reality is there are other ways to get similar results with other tools, and considering the price point of the Tornador, this tool is a luxury, not a necessity.
- I use the Tornador most on the headliner, upholstery, and impossible carpeting. Each of these areas is made easier to clean by using less liquid, and the Tornador is perfect for that. I use the Tornador Air Gun most often day to day out of any Tornador tool because the vortex air motion is so useful in so many situations.
- I never fill the Tornador with cleaner… ONLY water. Filling the Tornador with cleaner causes you to use way too much product and slows you down big time. The only REAL situations where you will want to use this tool will always be best attacked by pre-treating the area with cleaner, then using the Tornador to add some water and air for agitation and rinsing.
- I use the Tornador MAX, which is the most expensive version, and while yes, it’s amazing quality… I don’t use it enough to worry about the quality at that level. There’s almost a $100 difference between the Tornador Classic and the Tornador MAX. Yes, there is a big quality difference, but based on the usage, I do not think it’s necessary at all. It’s strictly a matter of preference (and I like nice things).
So there it is… my quick explanation of the Tornador after 6 years of use. Hope this helps.