Types Of Hand Dryers And Their Comparison With Paper Towels

Types of Hand Dryers

The age-old argument of hand dryers versus paper towels still hasn’t been put to rest. Both are valid and efficient approaches to drying hands in public washrooms, where reusable cloth towels are not an option. People claim that one is more hygienic than the other or one is more efficient than the other. Don’t know what’s true and what’s false? Let’s take a closer look at the different types of hand dryers in the market and then compare them to hand drying with paper towels. 

Types of Hand Dryers

There are more types of hand dryer models than you may initially think. Some are more high-tech or common than others. Let’s take a look at the various differentiation between public washroom hand dryers. 

  • Automatic — these types of dryers function by activating the airflow once hands are detected by the sensor.
  • Manual — on the contrary, manual hand dryers rely on the press of a button or similar mechanism to activate. Hand dryers of this type used to be very common but are now often replaced by automated models.
  • High-speed — these models quickly dry hands in 10 seconds or less by blasting cool air out of the dryer.
  • Conventional — hand dryers that use warm air to dry hands are called conventional hand dryers since they are equipped with a heating agent (that’s absent in high-speed dryers).
  • Hands-in — these are hand dryers that come with a compartment to slide hands into in order to dry them. This also doubles as a water collecting tray to ensure water doesn’t splash against the walls or floor during the process.
  • Hands under — these are more commonly found and are hand dryers that don’t have a water collection tray. You simply place your hands under the nozzle and the air blows onto them. 

Keep in mind that hand dryers can have a combination of characteristics. For example, you can have a manual functioning conventional hand dryer or a high-speed automatic one. If you want a large selection of hand dryers ranging in different shapes, sizes, and functions, then check out MaxDry hand dryers

Hand Dryers vs. Paper Towels

It’s difficult to pinpoint one primary reason that one is better than the other since both are excellent at getting the job done. Let’s break down and compare hand dryers and paper towels according to various criteria. 

By Price

Believe it or not, it may cost you more to maintain paper towels than electric hand dryers. Besides the price of the one-time purchase, you also need to pay your energy bill to maintain a hand dryer whereas paper towels require daily restocking. The amount of paper towels you will need to purchase to constantly keep the washroom stocked depends on how much foot traffic the washroom has. In cases of medium to high traffic, you may need to restock the dispensers several times a day, which can add up the cost-per-use price way more than an energy-efficient hand dryer. 

By Hygiene

By far the greatest argument is regarding which one is more hygienic. Scientists and other healthcare specialists alike have been doing tests for years to determine which hand drying approach is more or less hygienic. The results primarily are in favor of paper towels due to their disposable nature. People dry their hands and then dispose of them in the trash. In comparison, hand dryers blow the germy surface of the hands into the air of the washroom. It’s important to keep in mind though that hand dryers are more effective at drying hands than paper towels since people are often in a hurry and quickly wipe their hands or skip the step altogether. 

By Sustainability

Electric hand dryers take the win here without a doubt. The number of trees cut down every year in order to keep up with the demand for paper towels is much greater than the environmental impact brought on by using hand dryers. Especially now since there are more and more energy-efficient models of hand dryers being introduced to the market now. 


The presence of paper towels in a washroom is bound to threaten the cleanliness of the space. We often see trash cans overflowing with them, not to mention the amount of crumpled-up paper towels just decorating the wet floors. This can be avoided if the washrooms are cleaned several times a day. Similarly, there can be a lot of water splattered on the floor when people move their wet hands from the sink to the hand dryer. The consequences are about equal for both and depend more on the cleaning habits of your facility. 

We hope this will make your decision-making process even a little bit easier!


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