What are the best air curtains? While the technology mostly only works in one particular way, there are some other factors to consider when buying your air curtains. The unit should be energy efficient, especially when it comes to their long-term use. Choose a device with a standard and easy-to-replace filter system. Also, air curtains should be adjustable, automated, and powerful enough to fulfill the purpose for which they are made. Opt for models that have dual-mode capabilities: if it is cool inside, you want cold, if it is warm inside, you want hot. We believe that DuraSteel Aerial Titan-2 Commercial Indoor Air Curtain fits these criteria best.

DuraSteel Aerial Titan-2 Commercial Air Curtain: photo

Why have we chosen it? The product is made by a company with a global outreach, which has offices in the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. While being affordable, this model is perfect for homes, small offices and small businesses. It is easy to use and requires no complicated wiring. The product is versatile and can operate in two modes: Cool and Heat. The unit is equipped with a motor that can run up to 5,000 consecutive hours, delivering powerful airflow. It is 100% fireproof and is made from an aluminum alloy that is resistant to rust.

What Are Air Curtains?

Air curtains sound like something either science fiction, a special kind of ventilation curtain for windows, or something maybe used on airplanes. However, air curtains are actually a pretty unique technology that serves a few different purposes. Now, when I describe how this technology works, it’ll sound like some kind of boundless technology that you’d expect to see used more heavily. However, these are actually a niche technology, but they do have their uses.

Air curtains mount above doorways, with an intake vent, and a directed output vent which blows air, powerfully, in a focused way. If you could see the wind, it’d look like a flowing sheet. This creates a barrier of wind defined by its powerful motion and its distinct temperature compared to the ambient temperatures on either side of it.

This technology is used for a host of reasons, but the main idea is to provide a permeable wall that things with some strength and solidity can cross. Temperature differences between either side of the curtain (as well as humidity and air contaminants) cannot cross this barrier readily. Insects also can’t cross these barriers, generally.

You will have encountered these in a lot of public spaces. When you walk into a grocery store, especially when it’s really hot or cold outside, notice you often get a blast of strong hot or cold air, hotter or colder than the inside climate, coming down from the ceiling with force? If you paid much attention to it at all, you assumed it was just a courtesy blast of warmth or cold to greet you.

That, my friend, is an air curtain helping to keep the climate control in, the bugs and snow and debris out, and to brush pollen off you as you enter. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also pleasant, so that is a small added benefit.

So, if you need an air curtain device, there are a few factors to consider with them. The technology mostly only works in one particular way, so you’re not going to see wild variances in the implementation nor base technology that drives them.

You want to aim for maximum energy efficiency, because these things have to work hard when they’re engaged. If you’re using this in a lab or industrial environment for long-term barriers, you’re going to burn so many joules of energy if you don’t have the most energy-efficient model possible.

You also want to aim for a filter system that’s standard, easy to replace, and not back-breaking in its expense to replace as well. You’ll also want the maximum possible strength, because if these aren’t powerful enough, they won’t fully fulfill the purpose for which they’re made.

You also should aim for one that can do both hot and cold, because if it’s an exterior barrier, then you need to make sure you can have the right temperature differential to establish a barrier. If it’s cool inside, you want cold, if it’s warm inside, you want hot, simple as that. Never make the barrier match the exterior temperature, it’ll just exacerbate the problem and carry more of that air in due to equivalence. Since it’s blowing inward, if it matches the interior temperature, that equivalency isn’t an issue due to sidedness, as it were.

Finally, you want one with adjustable but excellent optimal power. You’ll find times when stronger wind is necessary, and times when a gentler strength is ideal, depending on exactly what you’re trying to defend against.

Automation is also often important, but I’ll get into that a little later on. Now that we understand this, let’s talk about when these are called for, and when they’re not.

Best Air Curtains

Below, you will find a review of the two best air curtains at a price ranging from $200 to $450. The first one is perfect for residential or small business use and requires no complicated wiring. The other is designed for drive-thru windows or other smaller apertures, but it is very powerful. Also, they have different weight, with the former being much heavier. Both items are made of aluminum and can operate in two modes: Cool and Heat.

DuraSteel Aerial Titan-2 Commercial Indoor Air Curtain

DuraSteel Aerial Titan-2 Commercial Indoor Air Curtain: photoThis is the more affordable of the two we’re looking at. I did say you only had to pay a little over a certain amount for one of the two, right? This is perfect for residential or small business use, and requires no complicated wiring.

Features

  • Weight: 28.5lbs.
  • Material: Aluminum.
  • Dual-Mode: Yes, micro-switch for Cool, Off, Heat.

Performance

This works just fine for small-scale use. It’s not very versatile, but it’s also only intended for the simpler implementation of the idea. I recommend this for homes, small offices or small businesses no problem.

Pros Cons
  • Simple.
  • Affordable.
  • No crazy installation.
  • No temperature control.
  • Not fancy-looking.

DuraSteel: Check the current price

Berner DTU03 DRIVE-THRU Window 18" Air Curtain

Berner DTU03 DRIVE-THRU Window 18" Air Curtain: photoThis one is designed for drive-thru windows or other smaller apertures, but it is very powerful. If you had a couple of these, you could use them for heavy-use loading bays or other things, though again, they’re mainly for smaller spaces.

Features

  • Weight: 10lbs.
  • Material: Aluminum.
  • Dual-Mode: Yes, micro-switch for Cool, Off, Heat.

Performance

This one’s probably really only for you for small window spaces, though Berner offers similar models for larger spaces as well.

Pros Cons
  • Simple.
  • Affordable.
  • No crazy installation.
  • Powerful as heck.
  • No temperature control.
  • Really small and meant for drive-thru windows and similar things.

Berner: Check the current price

6 Best-Selling Air Curtains Comparative Table

Pros & Cons of Air Curtains and Where To Use Them

These aren’t heaters nor are they air conditioners. They’re a branch of climate control technology, and much of how they work uses the same sets of principles (aside from how the air blows), but you cannot use these to heat nor cool a space.

Air curtains, as I said, are mainly used as a barrier system. So, let’s look first at when they’re called for.

  • Commercial space customer entrances – This is a common use for them. With automatic doors that slide open and make a big gap, an air curtain can help keep the climate control in, and it can also help keep the unpleasant weather outside.
  • Greenhouses – These are common in greenhouses that have compartmentalized environments that you need unhindered movement across. The air curtain helps to maintain temperatures and pressures, even if a door is open. This helps prevent cross-contamination.
  • Industrial spaces – This same contaminant prevention is often used in industrial spaces as well, for the same general reasons.
  • Residential utility entrances – I actually have an air curtain device over the door leading out to my garage. It’s not climate controlled, and sometimes I have to be in and out of there with my hands full unloading groceries or what have you. An air curtain comes on automatically when that door opens, and this keeps flies out, keeps my AC in, keeps the heat out there, and allows me unhindered movement through my doorway without worrying about air conditioning the not-so-great outdoors.

Pros

  • It forms a decent temporary barrier that you can walk through.
  • It can help blow contaminants off of you.
  • It has a nice blast of warm or cold, which customers tend to like.

Cons

  • It’s not secure at all.
  • Larger animals will cross them.
  • They run the power while active.
  • They cause turbulence in the room.

Comparing to Other HVAC

I don’t think this section needs to exist, to be honest with you, because these aren’t climate control, not in the same sense as other heaters. They don’t heat your space, that’s not remotely what these are designed for.

Heaters produce hot air which they blow out in a spread area from a large aperture, be it vents, grills or something else. They pump hot air out to fill a room and establish a stable warm climate. They involve heating elements or combustion chambers, and often a fan that distributes the heat widely.

Air curtains are barrier technology. In a small enough space, yes, I suppose they could heat things up, but it’s a square peg in a round hole. They cast air in a broad, thin, powerful blast of shaped wind, creating a downward barrier of off-temperature and rapidly-moving air. This prevents two climates from mixing through an opening, it keeps bugs out, it prevents cross-contamination from things like pollen and other airborne irritants.

You’re not going to buy an air curtain to heat your house nor your workshop nor garage. You’re going to get one to help preserve that heat when you open doors. You’re hemorrhaging heat out into the outdoors while loading stuff into your house. An air curtain can be crossed through by solid objects, but will work to keep your ambient heat contained. Some of the air curtain’s heat will be deflected out into the cold, but your house’s air will stay put.

You shouldn’t leave the door open with this air curtain running for super long periods of time, because you’re burning electricity in a new and creative way to fight the cold after a point.

Again, these aren’t heaters. They may involve forcing air, they may involve heating and/or cooling elements, but they’re not to actually control the climate of your space directly, merely help preserve it when doors or windows have to be opened. That said, they can be worth the little bit of time, expense and consideration, and it’s surprising that more homes don’t have these over their front and back doors for the sake of improved climate control retention.

For temporary containment, they’re very effective and honestly, it’s a clever concept.

High-End vs. Cheap Air Curtains

So, I feel the need to hammer home that you want to buy a good brand of these. This technology is somewhat specialized, and when you have specialized technology, there aren’t that many standard parts at play, even if the basic technology concept is shared by other implementations.

This means that the cheap ones are using the cheapest parts possible, which will have a serious gap compared to ones engineered and manufactured by the top brands. Now, given I’ve said that these are for a very specific purpose, you may be flinching at spending more than two hundred dollars on one of these things.

However, if you actually talk to a retailer that uses one on their door, ask them how much it saves them on lost heat or air conditioning during the extreme months of the year. They will pay for themselves in short order. Truth be told, one of the good ones is barely over two hundred anyhow, and I do mean barely.

Another advantage to buying a good brand of air curtain is that they have far better return policies, defect replacement policies and of course, far better warranties. A company that charges a price for their product must show confidence in their product this way, because it helps to justify such a brash expense, even if you don’t directly notice that being the case.

Finally, at the end of the day, it’s like the old saying goes. You do get what you pay for. If you want a quality product with actual longevity, high performance, and confidence in its design, it’s going to cost more than something really cheap you buy on a whim on Amazon. Let it be said, though, that you can buy high-end ones online too, you just have to actually look for them.

Air Curtain Maintenance & Cleaning

These devices are generally pretty low-maintenance. They will have a filter (usually), which should just slide out of either the top or bottom. It’ll slide on tracks, and snap into place. Most of these filters can just be washed in cold water with some soap.

Replacement filters tend to be pretty affordable, but they do have the problem of these filters being kind of special, and needing to be ordered from a provider. Aside from dusting their intake vents from time to time, there’s really not much more maintenance to be done to these.

If it’s also able to do cold air (many of these are both), you may also need to drain it once in a while, as cold air creation results in condensation. Air conditioners produce water, remember.

For a longer life out of your air curtain and its filter, consider turning it off when the climate’s nice and you don’t have AC or heat on, and you’re not worried about an onslaught of bugs at the time. Don’t let the thing run when it doesn’t need to. But also make sure once a month, you do turn it on and run it, because devices that’re never used actually do break down sometimes.

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