Whilst hand dryers may only be one of many washroom fixtures you have to think about, they are one of the most important and there are many factors to consider when choosing the right commercial hand dryer for your business’ washroom. This guide aims to provide you with all the facts you need to help you make an informed decision, with signposting to other relevant content to further help you make that choice.
A History of Hand Dryers
Hand dryers have been around considerably longer than you may think – almost 100 years! The first hand dryer was patented in 1921 by inventors R.B Hibbard, D.J Watrous and J.G. Bassett and was known as the ‘electric towel.’
Hand dryers have come a long way since the first patent with newer eco-friendly hand dryers that can dry hands under 10 seconds coming to the market. Original hand dryers tended to be loud and slow which meant users failed to dry their hands effectively – unless they were very patient. Older styles of hand dryers worked by using a heating element to warm the air that evaporated water from our hands however in newer models the heating element is removed to make them more energy efficient.
Since their inception, the traditional push button that we are familiar with is seen less and less with infra-red sensors used to activate the hand dryer.
However, even with all the advancements in hand dryer technology, the concept of hand dryers has always remained the same; an innovative piece of equipment aimed at drying your hands in the washroom.
The Benefits of Commercial Hand Dryers
As stated by the HSE, all workplaces must provide a hand drying option in washrooms; whether that be electric hand dryers or paper towels. Whilst both options are effective at drying hands, there is an ongoing debate about which hand drying solution is actually best. Paper towel dispensers are a great option where a mains supply is not available however hand dryers have a number of other benefits.
Hygiene & Cleanliness
Whilst everyone always talks about how important handwashing is, so too is hand drying. Much attention has been given throughout the pandemic to the importance of hand washing however less importance has been placed on drying your hands. Miryam Wahrman; a professor from the William Paterson University agrees stating that 'the very act of drying hands is rife with potential problems, problems of the recontamination of hands.' She says that improper hand drying can undo the work done by good hand washing as if hands are wet or damp this can lead to germs actually spreading more. Moisture is what germs thrive on in fact!
Damp hands can spread bacteria fast which is why hand dryers are so important to prevent the spread of infection. By providing hand dryers, you can ensure best hygiene practices in your workplace and your employees are less likely to spend time off sick! Most hand dryers offer hands-free operation these days, reducing the need for the user to touch them making them particularly hygienic. Especially in the current climate, users may feel more anxious about touching surfaces in washrooms so automatic hand dryers are the ideal solution.
Hand dryers will also ensure high levels of cleanliness in your washroom as no waste is generated. Opting for paper towels requires a waste bin and very often, they can end up on the floor making your washroom messy thus presenting the wrong impression.
Download our free handwashing poster to promote effective hand care in your business.
Improved User Experience
The experience a user has in your business’ washroom can make or break the whole customer experience. If a washroom is unclean, if there’s a lack of toilet paper or there are queues then customers may complain leading to bad word of mouth which can be harmful to a business. There are a number of washroom supplies that can improve the user experience with hand dryers being one of them. Hand dryers that are efficient and fast can improve the user experience by keeping the flow of washroom traffic moving. Old inefficient hand dryers can mean that people are constantly waiting to dry their hands or worse; people don’t dry their hands at all!
Cost-Effective & Environmentally Friendly
Whilst hand dryers may have a higher up-front cost, in the long-run they can actually work out cheaper due to the fact you do not have to buy replacement paper towels, dispenser or waste bins. This also means they are environmentally friendly too. If you take the example of an average business that sees 150 hand dries performed each day; 6 days a week this could equate to over £1000 in paper towels. This doesn't equate for the paper towel wastage either. Compared to paper towels, an electric hand dryer would cost you approximately £600 less at £400. More information on how much money your business could be save through hand drying can be found here.
Alternatively, why not use our money saving calculator to learn how much your business can save with energy efficient hand dryers.
If you’re looking for a low maintenance option, then hand dryers are the solution for you.
Every time your washroom runs out of paper towels, they need replacing, new ones should be ordered and monitoring is required by your maintenance teams. Once installed, hand dryers can be left to work in the background and a good hygiene services company will offer servicing as part of their package.
Types of Commercial Hand Dryers
There are various types of hand dryers available all with unique qualities and which type you choose will depend on a number of factors. Here a couple of the main types:
Hands under dryers are more traditional in style than hands-in variants however they are just as effective. Although there are still some hands-under dryers with a push button operation, hand dryers such as this Automatic Dryer or this Eco Hand Dryer offer superior hygiene with their touchless operation.
Both of these options are extremely reliable and energy efficient as they have been designed to use minimal power which not only saves you money but is kind on the environment too.
Eco-Friendly Hands-In Dryers
Due to developments in technology, newer models of hand dryers are far more environmentally friendly. Older types of hand dryers rely on heat to dry your hands whereas newer hand dryers generate cooler air but at higher velocities. The heating element in older models made them less energy efficient.
One example of an eco-friendly hand dryer is the Citron Airjet Blade Hands In Dryer. The hand dryer is activated by a sensor and blades of air are used to scrape water from the sides of hands. This hand dryer is the ideal solution for all washrooms as it features sensors at the top and bottom to ensure it can be used by all.
Hands-in dryers are also extremely clean and hygienic, as water is collected in a waste-water trough below which avoids drips on the floor which otherwise could become a safety hazard.
How to Choose the Best Commercial Hand Dryer
With a number of different varieties of hand dryers to choose from, what factors must be taken into consideration when deciding on the best one for your business? What is deemed as the ideal solution for one business may not suit your washroom environment.
Factors to Consider
In order to make the right decision, you must consider who your washroom is being used by and how often. If your washroom experiences high footfall, a high-speed hand dryer may be more suitable whilst a standard hand dryer may be sufficient if footfall is lower. Generally speaking, high speed dryers can dry hands in 9-11 seconds whilst standard equates to about 11-13 seconds. Drying time will be especially important in businesses such as theatres, restaurants or pubs where there is a greater requirement to keep the flow of traffic moving. If your washroom experiences high traffic, you may also want to compare the power consumption to ensure hand dryers are energy efficient when in use.
If your washroom is used by children, it’s also vital that you choose hand dryers that cater for the little ones and that can be positioned at a child friendly height. As children can be more susceptible to some infections, hand dryers used by children should be easy to use and fast to encourage the use of them.
Quieter hand dryers can offer a better user experience however noise levels are also important depending on where your washroom is located. If your washroom is near an exam hall or office space, then quieter models will ensure they don’t provide disruption to others when in use. Look for automatic hand dryers that have the Quiet Mark accreditation to show that the product is successful at reducing noise levels.
How your washroom presents itself can paint a thousand words to the user so if you want your washroom to be an extension of your brand, then choosing the right style is an important factor. Most modern hand dryers are aesthetically pleasing however service companies may offer different colours and finishes to suit your washroom environment.
Hand dryers are cost-effective in the long-run but budget will still be an important consideration. Some models will be more expensive outright so you do need to weigh up the options vs your budget.
Washrooms are often not blessed with space and therefore size and layout of your washroom will be an important factor to consider when choosing the best hand dryers. In smaller washrooms, opting for compact, versatile dryers that utilise the space will be more suitable. If you need to install several hand dryers in one washroom, compact dryer designs will also be more beneficial. An experienced hygiene company will be able to provide expert advice on the right solution if you are unsure.
Download Our Full Guide to Choosing a Hand Dryer
Encourage Hand Drying in Your Business
Ensure you are promoting effective hand hygiene in your organisation and preventing the spread of germs by supplying the best hand dryers. Whether you are looking for new hand dryers or wanting to upgrade the ones you have, Citron Hygiene can help you decide on the best ones to meet your requirements.