Choosing the right hand dryer – a helpful guide

Posted by Andrew 09/06/2022 0 Comment(s)

Firstly, it’s good to talk! This guide's here to help but don’t forget we’ve been the experts on hand dryers for over 20 years. Give us a call on 0114 322 3663 or contact us here. We’d love to help you pick the right product..


We like and know a lot about them but let’s face it, buying a hand dryer isn’t the most exciting thing you'll ever do. At the end of the day, it’s just a box on the wall that blows air. So, where do you start? Especially when they all have different features and prices?

No need to fret, we’re here to help get you through the process quickly and easily; preventing any potential buying mishaps.

This guide will give you the important things to consider when purchasing a hand dryer as well as where to get key information to make the right choice.





Our step by step hand dryer buyers guide



1. Price. Why such a difference?


As with any product, the price comes down to several factors, including standard /advanced features and brand perception.


In general, our prices are based on motor life; how long in hours a motor would last if continuously ran before dying.


That’s not to say that a lower-priced hand dryer will only last a few days. It all depends on daily usage levels in any given facility. Some lower-priced hand dryers also pack in some great features, so shouldn't be disregarded.




2. So what’s the daily usage of each of your hand dryers likely to be?


Key point:

Not all hand dryer motors are created equally. Some would have you believe that their units will last forever in any building type but put a low usage unit in a busy airport and you’ll be in trouble very soon.


The general rule of thumb to calculate your own usage:


Office, School or similar building (places where each person on average spends 4+ hours a day)

Number of people in the building per day multiplied by 4, divided by the number of hand dryers in the building.

E.G. 200 people work in an office with 8 hand dryers in the building. Each hand dryer will get (on average) 100 uses a day (200 multiplied by 4 then divided by 8)



Building like an airport, stadium, cinema etc (places where each person on average spends less than 4 hours a day)

Number of people in the building per day multiplied by 2, divided by the number of hand dryers in the building.

E.G. 5000 people a day visit an airport that has 30 hand dryers in the building. Each hand dryer will get (on average) 333 uses a day (5000 multiplied by 2 then divided by 30)



If the resulting number comes to below 100 you need hand dryers suitable for low traffic; between 101 and 300 a medium traffic; above 300 high traffic.



Of course, there is no problem putting high/medium traffic hand dryers in low usage locations, this will of course just increase longevity. What this calculation does save you though is money, as a low use hand dryer in a low use facility will give years and years of service for a fraction of the cost of high traffic models.


This is why we've given you a usage guide in the specification tab of each unit (and also as a filter option). Be sure to check these out when looking at dryers to suit you.



3. Fast drying vs noise level


Sometimes faster dry times can come with increased noise levels.


When should you consider noise levels? Think about the type of user and their comfort level when deciding on a noise limit. Could a louder noise be uncomfortable for a small child? What about noise transfer into adjacent rooms? A compromise can be achieved if required.

Our quiet hand dryers section shows either low noise as standard or units that have adjustable settings, allowing you to reduce the motor speed which in turn makes the dryer quieter. The filter section on each category also allows specifying of low noise hand dryers.

Adjustable motor speed hand dryers include:


A note on decibel levels


In our experience, decibel levels quoted in specifications cannot be relied upon as testing is not standardised. Some are tested from 1 metre away, some 2 metres. Some are in soundproof chambers, and some are recorded without hands present so aren’t realistic.

The Quiet Mark was set up to approve products that not only do the job they are intended to do but are also good at keeping the peace. Accredited hand dryers we have in stock include:


Available Quite Mark accredited hand dryers


Note: If in doubt we will happily provide samples so you can test the dryer before buying to get a true reflection of the sound level in your own building. Call us on 0114 322 3663 or contact us here to request any sample.




4. "Hands under" Vs "hands in"


A “hands under” hand dryer is the traditional style of hand dryer where the unit is higher on the wall and the hands are placed underneath to dry. They take up less space than a "hands in" blade style unit.


Benefits of blade style hand dryers

  • Collect water driven off the hands, keeping floors, walls and users dry
  • Scrape moisture from both sides of the hands creating fast dry times
  • Are generally made for high traffic facilities with the exception of the Dryflow Jetforce Junior hand dryer which is ideal for low traffic facilities looking for all the benefits of a “hands in” style dryer, without needing to pay the price of a high traffic motor life.




5. Brushless motor?


Hand dryers tend to have a brushed motor, however, there are brushless motor options available. So what’s the difference? Brushless motors are superior to those found in most other hand dryers and carry a number of advantages including no need to maintain brushes that wear over time, greater efficiency using less energy per rotation, quieter operation and increased lifespan.



6. Running costs and carbon footprint


The more a heater element is used, the greater cost to run and the worse for the environment it is. Old conventional hand dryers relied on heat to evaporate moisture off the hands. Slower motors were quieter, but the trade off was really slow dry times (around 40 seconds compared now to 10 – 15) and a lot of energy use from the heater element.


Nowadays, the speed of the motor and resulting powerful airflows are the driver of faster dry times, with no need for heat. In fact the increased speed of the motor creates its own heat takeing the edge off a colder blast of air on a chilly day. That said, some hand dryers still use a heater element. There are a number of reasons. Firstly some quieter, low speed motor hand dryers still rely on them for performance. Secondly, as stated, heat on the hands in the colder months provides comfort.


Most hand dryers now have either a switch to turn the heater element on, or even have an intelligent system where the hand dryer senses the temperature of the room and automatically adds heat to the airflow when required.


To see how economical and energy efficient the hand dryer is, have a look at the number of dries that can be achieved for £1 of electricity spent. The more hands dried per £1 spent, the lower the cost to run and the better energy conservation.




In Summary


  • Price can be brand related, but here on Hand Dryers UK it mostly relates to the motor life of each dryer
  • Choosing a dryer based on daily usage is crucial in getting the right hand dryer for you. It can save you a lot of money if you get it right, or give you unwanted headaches if you dont.
  • Noise levels need consideration, there is a trade off between dry times and low noise levels. Adjustable hand dryers are available to get the best of both in one unit.
  • For efficiency, energy usage and cost to run, brushless motors and heater element usage are a consideration worth thinking about.


Don't forget we're here to help and advise. Give us a call on 0114 322 3663 or contact us here if you need us.