If you have any kind of business that needs rest rooms, you’re likely to realize the expenses that come with keeping them properly maintained.
From catering establishments through to general stores and bars, bathrooms are something you take for granted as a customer.
As a business owner, though, you’ll need to take charge and invest in the necessary equipment.
Fortunately, there’s not much to think about once the toilets and sinks are operational.
Looking for the best hand dryer can be rather bewildering. It’s not a product most people are familiar with other than using it.
We road tested 10 of the market-leading dryers and then whittle it down to the top 5. After reading our hand dryer reviews, you should easily be able to get the best machine for your business.
Before that, we’ll walk you through what you need to look for when buying one of these environmentally-friendly alternatives to paper towels.
Luckily, we’re here to help.
Table of Contents
- Why Install a Hand Dryer?
- What To Consider When Looking For The Best Hand Dryer
- Best Hand Dryers: Our Top 5 Reviews
Why Install a Hand Dryer?
You might be asking yourself why you should install a hand dryer in the first place.
Paper towels, long the obvious choice for drying hands, are not only costly but also bad for the environment. Lots of paper is wasted for very little gain.
Installing a hand dryer is simple economics. It won’t take you long to recoup the investment and start coming out on top. Think of how you’ll slash your paper towel bill.
You should bear in mind that most customers still prefer paper towels. If you run a casino, a hotel or a restaurant, consider offering both a dryer and tissue. With any business that hinges on exceptional customer service, it’s worth using a belt and braces approach. You can keep your customers happy while also reducing your reliance on paper towels so it’s a win-win.
What To Consider When Looking For The Best Hand Dryer
Costs: Initial Set-Up and Ongoing Costs
Costs vary wildly with hand dryers. You can pay a few hundred or well over a thousand depending on what sort of unit you’re looking for.
Our advice is to look beyond the bottom line. With hand dryers, you also need to think of ongoing operational costs.
You’ve got 2 broad options with dryers:
- Heated Hand Dryer
- Non-Heated Hand Dryer
Although heat is not required for effective hand drying, heated models are obviously more comfortable for the user. They are generally the better quality dryers.
Leading brands, including Dyson, are starting to produce non-heated models. The absence of a heating element has 2 advantages. Firstly, you’ll use less electricity so slash your running costs. Also, since 2 or 3 dryers can be attached to a single line, you’ll save on installation costs.
Analyze your situation carefully and work out which type of dryer would be the most cost-effective for you.
A non-heated dryer will take 1-2 extra seconds for dry hands so it’s not the end of the world. If you are buying in bulk, these are perhaps the smart option. The savings you’ll make on installation and running costs will be worth the slight drop in quality.
One thing to avoid is simply rushing out to buy the cheapest dryer you can find. Doing this is likely to result in something that’s not fit for purpose and is so inefficient you’ll spend more money in the long run keeping it going. Cheap dryers are also prone to packing up completely leaving you completely out of pocket.
Costing properly is crucial if you want to end up with the best hand dryer.
Type of Business and Restroom Users
The type of business you have and the likely audience of the bathroom will influence your buying decision.
If you have a hotel, a nice restaurant or a car dealership, clientele will expect an upscale hand dryer. Design and branding are important. Don’t blow the impression you have made with an inefficient, cheap dryer.
For businesses where there’s a high throughput of customers using the bathroom, something functional which dries hands rapidly is more than adequate.
Whatever your business, think about what your customers want most just like in other aspects of running things effectively. Do they want speed at the expense of any other factor? Would a quieter dryer be better than something powerful but noisy?
Getting things right here will narrow down your search and prevent you from making an expensive mistake. Take the time to think about the intended user of the dryer. It will be time well spent.
You need to take the likely traffic through your rest room into consideration. This is something you need to think about before assembling your shortlist of hand dryers to ensure you buy something appropriate.
If you have a busy bar, restaurant or nightclub, you’ll obviously need something more heavy duty than someone with a convenience store and a bathroom that’s only used a handful of times each day.
Look out for a top-quality motor and overall build quality. Be prepared to spend in line with your requirements.
It’s also worth bearing in mind how many people are likely to be using the dryer and in what way. If you are looking to equip the bathroom at a large sporting venue, for example, it’s pointless getting a dryer designed for occasional use.
If you’re caught between 2 different dryers and you’re not sure, err on the side of the more capable model. You’re better to have more power than not quite enough.
Speed and Power
Speed and overall performance are uppermost when it comes to selecting the best hand dryer.
You can cleave dryers into 2 main types:
- Standard Speed Hand Dryers
- High Speed Hand Dryers
Standard Speed Hand Dryers
The classic World Dryer Model A is the industry standard for regular speed dryers. It’s a staple of school washrooms around the world.
Standard speed units have a dry time of between 25 and 30 seconds.
Cast iron covers, lengthy 10-year warranties and vandal-proof build quality make these rugged workhorses well worth considering.
Whether it’s the traditional push button style or fully automatic, these standard speed dryers are cheaper, quieter and make good sense in the right establishment.
High Speed Hand Dryers
With ultra-quick dry times of 10-15 seconds, high speed dryers are the kneejerk choice today.
When dryers first came on the market, they were a tough sell. They simply took too long to get the job done. Nowadays, there’s no excuse to keep relying on paper towels when these high speed dryers take care of business in the time it would take you to reach for some tissue.
The other key benefit of high speed dryers is their energy efficient nature. Where a regular dryer might use 2500 watts of energy, these upgraded versions use just 1500 watts. They are also on for much less time, often only half the time of a standard speed.
The main drawback of high speed dryers is that they are correspondingly noisy. This is one area the manufacturers are working on.
The power of the dryer is related to the speed. Higher-powered units work more rapidly so will get hands drier sooner.
On the flipside, powerful dryers kick out much more noise.
The question is, would you sooner listen to a louder machine for just 10 seconds or one that’s only slightly quieter but goes on for 45 seconds?
Don’t be fooled into thinking that a more powerful dryer will use more energy. The very fact it dries hand so swiftly means that it’s in commission for much less time and can actually reduce electricity costs.
There’s no escaping that any machine expressly designed to blow out high-powered air will make some noise.
If you need to place a dryer somewhere that noise will be an issue, opt for one of the traditional dryers that works at a lower speed.
Look out for adjustable high-speed models if you need a combination of pace and little noise. You can tweak these so that the power and noise both drop.
Technology does not yet allow for a truly high-speed dryer that’s also extremely quiet so you’ll need to decide whether speed or noise is most important for you and choose accordingly.
Today’s hand dryers are not only highly capable but also very energy efficient.
The more sophisticated automatic models with sensors and brisk dry times mean that running one of these won’t hit you badly in the pocket. You should spend less than fifty dollars a year on running costs.
Non-heated dryers consume even less energy. With no heating element, the cost drops attractively. These are particularly useful for schools or sports stadiums. When you have hundreds of units in constant use, those savings can soon mount up.
As with most aspects of buying a hand dryer, needs will differ considerably according to what type of establishment you’re running.
If you have a small office or shop, you won’t need quite the same durability as a dryer you’d place in a school or bar.
Be honest about the kind of treatment your dryer will experience. If harsh use and potential vandalism are order of the day, place a premium on a rugged unit which will stay the distance.
Taking a glance at the warranty can usually give you some indication about whether you’re looking at a heavyweight dryer or something that will let you down when it counts.
There will always be germs in any shared restroom, it’s just a case of managing them effectively.
The most hygienic dryers are automatic. Obviously, there’s no need for anyone to touch them with dirty hands, they simply spring into action when needed. This will lessen the chance of any germs spreading from surface to surface.
With some of the better dryers, you’ll get HEPA filtration. This will make sure that the air blown out is also perfectly sanitary. This extra feature is particularly valuable if you have any kind of catering business.
The vast majority of hand dryer sales today are for the automatic rather than push button variety. The main market for the push buttons is as replacements for existing machines.
Hygiene is uppermost when people are using public restrooms. The infrared sensors on automatic dryers mean there’s no need for hands to come into contact with any buttons. The germs transmitted from hundreds of hands pressing the dryer can be a menace.
Not only do this advanced dryers get your hands dry in 10-15 seconds, they stop once hands are removed from the sensors so you’ll enjoy a reduced power bill while also keeping your customers safe and sound.
Hand dryers need to comply with regulations in place to protect anyone with a disability.
In the US, this is dealt with by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Any object mounted more than 26 inches from the floor needs to protrude less than 4 inches from the wall.
Clearly, most hand dryers are more than 4 inches deep so what’s the solution if you want to remain compliant?
For years, recess kits have been sold along with dryers. You simply cut a hole in the wall and mount the dryer inside the recess.
New technology has seen the introduction of several models that are ADA compliant with no need for any messing around. Thin enough to sit flush on the wall or detectable by a blind person with a cane, the new breed of dryers address this issue head on.
Now you’ve got a solid overview of what to look out for, it’s time for our hand dryer reviews.
As we mentioned, we ran through 10 products initially. After whittling these down, we checked out the best 5 so we can point you towards the very best dryers on the market.
Best Hand Dryers: Our Top 5 Reviews
Less than 12 seconds
7 and 12 seconds
Less than 12 seconds
1 TCBunny Commercial Hot Hand Dryer (2-pack)
Kicking off our look at the best hand dryers for your business is a pair of TCBunny dryers at an extremely keen price point.
While this might be a budget dryer, performance is first rate. Hand drying time is 10-12 seconds which is extremely impressive for such an affordable unit. This is achieved with a wind speed of a colossal 200mph.
The air coming out is heated so you can ensure your customers enjoy a comfortable drying experience. If you want to encourage them not to use paper towels, make the alternative as palatable as you can. Hot air helps. The air comes out at between 45 and 60 degrees.
Finished in a heavy-duty stainless steel, these dryers look sleek while being built to stand the test of time. This is certainly not a case of form over function. The TCBunny dryer is rugged and durable without sacrificing appearance.
This dryer is a motion-activated automatic which is a very eco-friendly solution to hand drying. There’s inbuilt protection against overheating. The dryer will stop running after 60 seconds of continuous use.
It’s very easy to install and instructions are equally simple.
Although it’s not the quietest unit, the noise is manageable. The brushless motor keeps things ticking over at 70-72 decibels. This chart will give you some indication of noise levels and what the decibel level translates to in real life.
You’ll get a 3-year limited warranty so you can buy with complete peace of mind.
While you can certainly get some cheap hand dryers that are worse than getting nothing at all, the TCBunny combines value for money with performance and makes a great choice for any restroom. During testing, it presented us with no problems whatsoever. Pop it on your shortlist!
2 Tek Motion Commercial Hand Dryer - Our Choice
Another very reasonably priced dryer is up next, a commercial-grade unit from the industry shark Tek Motion.
As with many dryers, it comes in a robust yet attractive stainless steel. While it’s no painting hanging on the wall, it doesn’t look ugly either. The brushed covering helps to ward off general wear and tear. It’s rust-resistant and won’t show up chips or damage too easily.
The high-speed dry time of 10-12 seconds places this dryer in the top tier. At 1800 watts, there’s no need to fear that raw power will come at the cost of a rampant utility bill. With low energy consumption, you can do your bit for the environment without compromising your budget.
Like the previous TCBunny, this dryer runs at 70-72 decibels. That’s like being the passenger in a car at 65mph or listening to loud music.
This is an automatic with the default distance set to 5 inches. You can alter this if it’s not to your liking.
Crucially, the dryer is waterproof. Be aware, though… It’s rated at IPX1 which means it’s only protected against dripping water.
As with most similar dryers, the Tek Motion will cut off after 60 seconds of use. This saves power and stops it from overheating.
The cord is about 3 feet long so you should have more than enough room for installation.
For a no-nonsense hand dryer that looks the part without breaking the bank, check out the Tek Motion. This is a fast and incredibly effective dryer that will grace the wall of any establishment.
3 XLERATOR XL-BWX High Speed Hand Dryer
It’s impossible to read any collection of hand dryer reviews without encountering the mighty XLERATOR front and center.
Produced by the US company Excel Dryer, you can buy into this exceptional brand heritage without spending a fortune.
You’re spoiled for choice with a range of voltages and amperages (from 110V/12.5 amps through to 277V/5.5 amps). You can also buy this dryer with or without a noise reduction nozzle. Focus on getting the right configuration for your needs. The model we tested was the 277-volter.
If you opt for the noise reduction nozzle, you can knock 9 decibels off the output which is a noteworthy drop in sound.
Drying your hands in 10-15 seconds, this is classed as a high speed dryer.
The white polymer casing is extremely durable. It’s highly resistant to bumps and scrapes and won’t rust out on you. Simply mount it on the wall and let it go about its business while you go take care of yours.
Meeting all environmental standards, you can do your bit for the planet with this incredibly efficient and green-friendly hand dryer.
As with all these dryers, installation is available at a considerable extra cost.
There’s a comprehensive, 5-year limited warranty. This demonstrates the confidence Excel Dryers place in their products. This company does one thing and does it very well indeed.
For a top-notch hand dryer that combines performance, efficiency and affordability in one attractive package, check out the XLERATOR XL-BWX. It will not disappoint.
4 AjAir (2-pack) Commercial Hot Hand Dryer
Another 2-pack of dryers is up next, a fantastic commercially-rated heated model from AjAir.
The automatic infrared system will keep hygiene uppermost and prevent the transfer of germs that happens with the old push-button dryers.
You’ll get heated air coming out at 45-60 degrees which is the norm for heated variants. Give your customers comfort as well as convenience. The sensing distance is adjustable.
Dry time is impressive at between 7 and 12 seconds. This is achieved thanks to a high speed motor that kicks out an incredible 25000RPM.
Installation is straightforward. You can plug it in or hardwire it by removing the cord and connecting a wire from the circuit panel. As always, avoid the expert installation package available unless you cannot find a cheaper way or do it yourself. Mount the stainless steel shell on the wall and you’re good to go.
If you’re looking for a solid and dependable hand dryer at a very reasonable cost, the AjAir is well worth further investigation.
5 Dyson AB12 Airblade V Hand Dryer
We’ll round out our hand dryer reviews with the classic Airblade from the pioneering Dyson. It’s not just vacuums that this company does well!
The Airblade is not cheap and absolutely not for everyone. For small bathrooms with minimal traffic, it’s not really worth spending this much. If, on the other hand, you have a business where customers expect a certain level of quality, why not ramp things up in the bathroom with the slimmest fast hand dryer on the market?
With cutting edge Airblade technology and a highly able digital motor, you’ll have dry hands in less than 12 seconds.
Only 4 inches deep, the Airblade needs no recess kit or tinkering to be ADA compliant.
Hand dryers are never quiet and the Airblade is no exception.
There’s a 5-year limited warranty showing you that Dyson stand firmly behind their product. If you want to play your part in helping the environment while also providing your customers with a first-class hand dryer, it might be time to invest in the Dyson Airblade…
Note: this model has now been discontinued and replaced with the HU-02. Don’t let this put you off – it’s the perfect time to buy one and capitalize on the lowered cost!
We hope you’ve found this guide to the best hand dryers to be useful and informative.
We tried to simplify the technical information and steer clear of needless jargon while paving the way for you to get the best dryer for your business at the right price.
Relying on paper towels is no longer good enough. Think about what you can do to cut costs, save the environment and improve your customer experience into the bargain. Getting the right dryer is a smart investment.
Feel free to get in touch with any questions or feedback. We’re always ready to help in any way we can.