Hand Dryers or Paper Towel Dispensers: Which Washroom Solution is Best?

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When equipping your washroom, choosing between paper towel dispensers and washroom hand dryers is not an easy task. Which option keeps the clients satisfied whilst meeting the requirements of hygiene, cost, maintenance, and the environment?

Paper Towel Dispensers vs Washroom Hand Dryers – which is more hygienic?

Hygiene comes first. Properly drying the hands is almost as important as washing them since bacteria thrive in damp conditions. Both paper towels and hand dryers can dry your hands perfectly, but there is a connected matter of user-friendliness.

Paper towels are quick and easy to use. Studies suggest that 10 seconds of drying with a paper towel is as effective as 40 seconds of using a standard hot air hand dryer. With slower hand dryers, people may be less inclined to wait around until their hands get properly dry although modern high speed dryers can be just as quick as paper towels, powerfully blowing the water off your hands!

Paper towels can also be used to wipe door handles, locks and flush buttons plus other surfaces in the restroom. On the other hand, washroom hand dryers provide the possibility of a touch free washroom since you don’t need to touch them at all, minimising the potential for bacterial cross contamination.

The cost: Short term vs Long term

Even though hand dryers are initially more expensive upfront than paper tower dispensers, they become more cost effective in the long run. Using just one paper towel per dry can cost up to 13 times more than the electricity spent in operating a hand dryer.

Calculators show that hand dryers save up to 87 percent in operation costs. No restocking, ordering, taking up storage space and labour hours. And definitely no frustration of finding the washroom paper towel dispenser empty or jammed.

Paper or Air – which do people prefer?

It all comes down to location and personal preference. Studies indicate the following example: Out of three people that go into the restroom, two will go for paper towels, while one will prefer the hand dryer.

Simply put, most people expect to find a paper towel dispenser in the washroom. In order to make sure people feel comfortable, it’s important to choose the right kind of the paper towel dispenser among a wide selection.

Hand Dryers are more environmentally friendly

Environmentally speaking hand dryers are far more friendlier than paper towels. New generations of hand dryers use up to 80% less electricity and whilst they still require manufacturing, they tend to have a much lower impact on the environment. On the other hand, paper towel production requires forest management, manufacturing and regular transportation for replenishing stocks.  But let’s not forget that trees are sustainable and well managed forest programmes can benefit the environment.

But, it takes more energy to create just one recycled paper towel than to operate the hand dryer.

Pros and cons of daily use

People like paper towels. Washroom paper towel dispensers can be stocked with low cost options through to high quality paper towels that leave people feeling pampered with a little bit of luxury.

However, pampering can have its downsides. Some people pull out a lot more paper from paper towel dispensers than they actually need. Some toss used paper around the overflowing waste bin, leaving the washroom floor littered and untidy. Or even worse – paper can clog toilets if someone irresponsibly flushes them.

On the other hand, Hand Dryers help to minimise the waste in the washroom. They are attractive and stylish. So much so that a Hand Dryer was even used as a part of the set dressing in “Star Trek” reboot movie in 2009!

But not all hand dryers are the same. Far from it.

Depending on the different washroom requirements, selecting the right kind among a wide range of hand dryer options is very important.

The art of noise

Having worked in the washroom industry for a number of years many bizarre situations have been encountered.  In a previous role a complaint about the noise level of dryer was brought to my attention.  This was strange as the unit was one of the quietest available at the time, scratch the surface of the complaint and it turned out that the location was a crematorium and the sound of the dryer could be heard during ceremonies.  I never quite got to the bottom of who recommended this installation in the first place, certainly no one was admitting to it!  In this situation paper towels was undoubtedly the right option.

So, whilst paper towels may create waste and something else for the cleaning teams to deal with they do reduce noise which is a major consideration for locations such as care homes, hospitals, hotels, offices etc where people are trying to rest or concentrate.

Which One is Best? Leave it to your clients!

When choosing whether to install hand dryers or paper towel dispensers in the washroom, it will really depend on the washroom footfall, design and requirements.

However, as a washroom services provider, it is ultimately better to offer the choice to your clients. Some clients will opt for paper towel dispensers, while some will choose to fit out their washrooms with hand dryers. But all will be happy with the possibility of choice.

Contact Dudley Industries

Dudley Industries manufacture a range of high-quality paper towel dispensers and hand dryers that are suitable for various requirements and washroom designs. To find out more about our washroom accessories, contact our team.