Light as a Feather, Tough as They Come
Lightweight. Flexible. Durable. Kink-resistant. Professional grade. These are all terms Dan Lennon says he would use to describe the BluBird Oil Shield air hose (part no. KTI72018) from K Tool International, an air hose he has been using in his shop for the past year.
Dan Lennon has been in the industry for 36 years and has owned his shop, Dan’s Penn Auto Care in Richfield, Minn., for seven years. The 4-bay shop does mostly light and medium duty work and employs a staff of three, including Lennon.
Lennon was first introduced to the BluBird hose by Bob Isbell, a customer of his who is also a product manager for BluBird. Lennon had always used air hoses, but had experienced leaks with the ones that he had been using, which caused him to have to frequently repair or replace them. Isbell, who describes the hose as “the best on the market” sold Lennon on it. Dan’s Penn Auto Care currently has four in the shop.
“We use it all of the time,” Lennon says.
BluBird Oil Shield Air Hose Features
While most air hoses on the market are a hybrid of multiple materials, the BluBird is made from 100 percent rubber, the best material possible for an air hose. The oil- resistant core tube and cover of the hose make it impervious to anything it could come in contact with in a shop, including welding spatter, which can burn hoses and cause leaks. This was an issue that Lennon was experiencing.
Another feature that sets it apart from competition is the weight of it.
“The hoses that I had been using were heavy and bulky,” Lennon says. “Now, I’m able to move it around much easier.”
The 3/8-inch by 50-foot rubber air hose with ¼-inch NPT is 40 percent lighter than the average air hose. The hose, which has a ¼-inch NPT, operates at a maximum of 300psi.
Isbell adds that the hose lays flat and has no memory, which means it won’t kink up and can easily be wrapped around items in the shop. The hose will remain flexible in even the most extreme weather conditions, from -30 to 190-degree Fahrenheit. The hose also features a four finger grip bend restrictor, which makes it easier and more efficient to use.
“I’ve had really good luck with it,” Lennon says.
Before, Lennon had two black and two blue air hoses that he was using. According to Lennon, the blue were not flexible enough and with all of them, he would frequently get burn holes, which would cause him to have to repair or replace the hoses. With the BluBird, Lennon doesn’t have either of these issues. Lennon also adds that the bright yellow color makes it easier to spot, which increases safety in the shop by preventing staff from tripping over it.
Located in Minnesota, Lennon and his staff work in extreme weather. Being extremely humid in the summer and brutally cold in the winter, the fact that the hose was built to withstand the harsh conditions is a plus—as is the weight.
“We have to drag them outside frequently,” Lennon says. “It’s much easier to move around.”
The biggest return that Lennon has seen is the life expectancy. Isbell says that in his experience, he says it’s not uncommon for shops to have to replace a hose once per year.
“Time is money,” Isbell says. “If a guy like Dan has to send someone to pick up another hose, it’s a waste.”
Lennon says that he has not had to replace any of the BluBird hoses he’s been using for the past year, which is a welcome relief.
“Before, I was always returning them,” Lennon says. “It was a hassle.”
Isbell says that the BluBird hose will last much longer than the average repair hose and it also includes a 3-year warranty.