Kristen Hicks on June 23, 2016 1 Comment Table of Contents Types of Hand Dryers Factors to Consider While Shopping Popular Brands of Hand Dryers If you own a store, restaurant, or any sort of commercial establishment that offers bathrooms to customers, then you know how quickly people can go through paper towels drying their hands off. Obviously, it’s good that people are washing their hands and it makes perfect sense that they want them to be dry once they leave the restroom, but the sheer quantity of paper you can go through in a matter of days – not to mention weeks and years – is staggering. Paper towels are wasteful. They serve a useful purpose, but they cost a lot and they’re bad for the environment. If they’re still the only option you’re giving your customers, it’s time to invest in a commercial hand dryer. You can count on saving some serious cash in the long run (just go look at your accounting records to see how much you’ve spent on paper towels), and you’ll be helping to reduce needless waste. It’s a win-win for business owners. Types of Hand Dryers As commercial hand dryers have become more popular over the years, vendors have made different options available that answer some of the early complaints of customers. Click Here to View All Hand Dryers Traditional Hand Dryer Traditional hand dryers come with a button that users push to start the dryer, which then blows out hot air. Typically, these hand dryers take about 30-45 seconds or so to dry hands and are comparatively some of the most affordable hand dryers on the market. Benefits: Affordable. To Keep in Mind: Slower than some users like. Require pushing a button to turn on, which isn’t especially sanitary. Use more energy than some other types. High-Speed Hand Dryer Many users find traditional hand dryers too slow in comparison to using paper towels, which has created a space in the market for high-speed hand dryers. These hand dryers manage to dry users’ hands within 10-15 seconds, making them a much faster and more convenient option for customers. They also use less energy, so can save you money on energy costs over time. The main downsides of high-speed hand dryers are that they cost more than traditional hand dryers, and they’re loud. The tradeoff for buying a machine more powerful is that it makes more noise. Benefits: Work fast. Energy efficient. To Keep in Mind: Expensive. Loud. Automatic Hand Dryer Automatic hand dryers remove the need for pushing a button by using infrared sensors that can tell when someone’s hands are under the vent. They’ll turn on automatically once needed and then turn off again the moment someone removes their hands when they’re done. This is useful for sanitary purposes, as the user doesn’t have to touch anything in order to use the machine. They also use less energy since the dryer doesn’t stay on for a moment longer than needed (in comparison, push button models keep going through the end of a timer cycle). Benefits: Sanitary. Energy efficient. To Keep in Mind: Expensive. There’s overlap in some of these categories. You can find high-speed hand dryers in both automatic and push button forms, as well as automatic hand dryers that take longer than high-speed versions. Factors to Consider When Buying a Hand Dryer If you’ve never thought much about hand dryers before, then you may be surprised just how many different factors there are to consider before purchasing one. Here are some of the main issues to keep in mind in your search. Cost What you end up spending for your commercial hand dryer will involve a lot of different factors. The cost of hand dryers can range anywhere from about $150 to over $1,000, depending on which model you go with. Those on the lower end of that range will be the most basic models. They’ll get the job done, but won’t offer anything extra. If you want anything that goes beyond the basics – an automatic hand dryer with an infrared sensor, a higher powered one that dries faster, one that looks good, or one that offers increased energy efficiency – you have to shell out more. If you’re purchasing a hand dryer for a high-end restaurant or business tower, then one of the more expensive models may be worth the high cost. If your brand is more burgers than caviar, then you can probably get by with one of the more affordable models. Do keep in mind that paying extra upfront for an energy efficient model will usually pay off in energy costs over time, and a hand dryer you don’t have to replace for a while will cost you less in the long run than one you do. Speed Speed is one of the most crucial components in considering the quality and practicality of a hand dryer. No one wants to spend longer in the bathroom of a commercial establishment than they have to. Hanging out by the hand dryer for 45 seconds or longer is low on the list of ways people are willing to spend their time. Many high-speed hand dryers fall in the mid range pricewise – think $250-$600 – and can still offer the promise of fast drying times. The difference between 10 seconds and 45 may not seem like a lot in most contexts, but when it’s a matter of getting out of the bathroom and back to one of the many things you’d rather spend your time doing, it makes a big difference. Power Power relates back to speed. A higher-powered hand dryer works faster and gets those hands dryer sooner. The downside to higher power is that it’s also loud, but most people are happier listening to a loud hand dryer for 10 seconds than an only moderately quieter one for 45. A hand dryer that offers more power won’t necessarily use more energy. The fact that it dries hands in half the time or less usually adds up to lower energy costs. Noise Any machine specifically designed to blow out air at high power will be loud. Most of the traditional hand dryers that work at a lower power level are quieter than their more expensive high-powered counterparts, so if the hand dryer will be placed somewhere where noise is a concern you may want to stick with one of those. Some higher end models do have adjustable motors, so you can opt to turn the power down for a quieter performance, if you’re willing to make the trade-off in dry time. As much as businesses would love to offer a high-powered quiet hand dryer (and you can bet the first brand to develop one will charge handsomely for it), the technology really isn’t there yet. You’ll have to figure out if it’s more important to buy a hand dryer that’s on the quieter side, or if speed trumps noise concerns. Energy Use In general, high-speed hand dryers perform much better in terms of energy efficiency than traditional ones. Automatic hand dryers also fare well due to being designed so that they’re only on while in use and none of that energy is wasted. It therefore follows that high-speed automatic hand dryers are some of your best options if you want a hand dryer that won’t use all that much energy. There are many commercial hand dryers specifically marketed as being eco-friendly that have been designed to use as little energy as possible. And any hand dryer that doesn’t use heating elements, so simply blows out air without heating it, will perform better in terms of energy consumption. No matter what commercial hand dryer you buy, you can rest assured that your customers’ use of it will be better for the environment than the energy and waste involved in producing and tossing paper towels. For those concerned about being green, you have some models that are better than others to go with, but simply by taking the step of buying a hand dryer, you’re making a difference. Durability A hand dryer that will go into a business office won’t need quite the same level of durability as one that goes into the bathroom at an elementary school. If you expect that your hand dryer may get some rough use, then picking a model that’s designed to withstand heavy use is your best bet. Like most commercial appliances, hand dryers come with warranties, so look for one that offers a strong warranty as an indication of how long you can expect it to last. Hygiene In any shared restroom space, germs are an issue. Automatic hand dryers are more hygienic than push button ones because no one has to touch them in order to use them, which means fewer opportunities for germs to spread from one surface to another. Some higher-end hand dryers also offer HEPA filters to ensure that the air that’s blown out is sanitary as well. For any restroom in an establishment that sells food, an extra feature that helps minimize the germs your employees and customers face can be a big value add. ADA Compliance Every business needs to be careful to comply with ADA guidelines in the hand dryer they choose and how they install it. With commercial hand dryers designed to be installed low to the ground, you may not have much to worry about. Those attached high up on the wall will need to be placed in a spot where blind customers won’t bump into them unexpectedly. To stay in compliance with this rule, you should either buy a hand dryer that’s less than four inches in depth, or purchase an adapter kit that will ensure you can install it so that it protrudes less than four inches. Popular Commercial Hand Dryer Brands You have different types and features to choose from, but just as importantly, you want to consider the reputation of the brand. There are a few key players vying for sales in the commercial hand dryer market. We looked at what people had to say about each online to provide you with a summary of your top options. Dyson Dyson’s hand dryers are on the expensive side, but popular at many higher-end establishments. They’re fast, effective, and they all come with a HEPA filter to improve the cleanliness of a consumer’s experience. Some users complain that they’re loud, but most are happy with how fast their hands dry. Excel Dryer Excel sells popular high-speed hand dryers in a more affordable price range than Dyson. Theirs are some of the most common dryers around, in large part because they pack a ton of power for the price. You can dry your hands in about 10 seconds with these machines and they’re certified by the Green Business Bureau, so you know you’re doing your part for the environment. Customers are happy with how much money Excel’s dryers save them on paper towels and how fast they work, but they do also mention that the dryers are loud. Most seem to feel the noise is well worth the value and performance they get from the machines though. OION Technologies OION sells a low-cost, high-speed automatic hand dryer with mostly positive reviews from customers. Customers had a couple of complaints about durability and the dryer not being as powerful as those of other brands, but more customers than not were happy with their purchase, especially for the low price. TC Bunny TC Bunny also offers low-cost options for those needing to find the best hand dryers available on a tight budget. Their reviews are strong. Customers say they’re easy to install, fast, quiet, and all at an awesome price. If you need a strong budget choice, their dryers are a reliable pick. Tek Motion Tek Motion is another budget option with solid reviews. Many of their reviews are short and to the point: customers like the product, and they like the price. The reviews we looked at all earned four and five stars across the board, so there’s a very good chance you’ll be satisfied with your Tek Motion hand dryers if you choose to go with them. World Dryer World Dryer’s commercial hand dryers are especially known for their durability. If you need a dryer that can stand up to some potential abuse, they’re a smart choice to consider. They fall in the middle range pricewise. They aren’t as widely reviewed as the other brands we looked at, so you’ll be taking a little more of a risk going with these guys, but the reviews that are out there suggest quality. Conclusion Commercial hand dryers are good for the environment, good for customers, and good for you. You’ll save money on paper towels and have less mess to clean up in the bathroom. If you go with one of the higher end models, anyone using it can count on getting their hands dried quickly and in a way that’s hygienic. At this point, most consumers expect to find commercial hand dryers in the bathrooms of public places and businesses they frequent. You don’t want to disappoint them. Find one that fits well in the bathroom space you need it for and start enjoying the savings.