Hand Dryers are a popular alternative to paper towels for businesses due to the cost and time savings as a result of not having to replace paper towels regularly. Hand Dryers were patented as early as 1921 by the Airdry Corporation based in New York, but didn’t become commercially popular until 1948 when George Clemens founded World Dryer, since then, hand dryers have become a staple in many commercial buildings such as offices, restaurants and shopping centre bathrooms.
Installing a hand dryer has a wide range of benefits over the use of paper towels.
Firstly, hand dryers are much more environmentally friendly in comparison to paper towels, this is due to many paper towels not being biodegradable, resulting in them ending up in a landfill or having to be incinerated. There is no longer the counterargument that hand dryers consume too much energy to make it worth it, due to modern hand dryers being much more energy efficient it is not only more environmentally friendly but it is also much cheaper short term and long term. It is estimated that hand dryers use 5% less energy than the usage of paper towels within the first year and after 5 years 20% less energy is used.
Another benefit to hand dryers is the massive reduction in maintenance time and costs. Paper towel dispensers require constant maintenance to ensure they are adequately stocked, that there is enough space in the bins and no litter has been created. The only maintenance required for a hand dryer is if there is a malfunction, but with modern hand dryers being so reliable it is very rare that maintenance is required at all.
Lastly, hand dryers create a more hygienic environment and a more seamless experience for those using the washroom. With some modern hand dryers drying hands in as quick as 10 seconds, this ensures no build-up or queues are created as a result of paper towel usage.
There is a misconception that hand dryers are unhygienic due to circulating bacteria around the washroom. Firstly, while hand dryers may contribute a very small amount to the circulation of bacteria, most of it is just through the simple movement of people across the washroom which cannot be controlled and the removal of a hand dryer would certainly not make a noticeable difference. Furthermore, paper towel dispensers and bins harbour more bacteria than a hand dryer, especially modern hand dryers which no longer require touch to activate. This is further proven due to the World Health Organisation (WHO) advocating for the use of hot hand dryers as an option for preventing the spread of bacteria.
Hand dryers vary from unit to unit in how hot the hand dryer can be, with many modern hand dryers having a selectable heat output option, allowing you to switch to the right temperature for speed, and noise or to save on energy bills. Regardless, hand dryers are typically around 45°C with most not reaching higher than 50°C.
The amount of electricity used by a single-hand dryer varies from unit to unit. To know exactly how much electricity a hand dryer consumes you’ll need to refer to the technical specifications or the datasheet. However, generally speaking, modern hand dryers typically use between 0.6kW and 2.3kW, much lower than older hand dryers which cost much more to run.