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The Dolphin Alavo Mirror System is our flagship washroom product, which is a favourite for specifying in large public or commercial developments. However, we are sometimes asked, ‘I can get a behind the mirror system cheaper than the Alavo, so how is your product different when it looks similar to other systems on the market?’

While purchasing mirror systems with a low price tag may indeed reduce initial costs, it often comes at the detriment of operational efficiency and sustainability features that can actually save money in the long run. These benefits outweigh the pros of saving on the initial cost.

In this blog post, we will outline five essential factors that should be taken into account when comparing the Dolphin Alavo Mirror System to a traditional behind the mirror system available on the market.

By the end of this post, we hope to demonstrate that investing in a premium washroom solution like the Alavo Mirror System can offer businesses a more cost-effective and sustainable option for upgrading their commercial washroom facilities.

Get in touch on our contact page if you have any further questions, or to configure your alavo click the link here. 

Men's washroom with an Alavo washstation behind mirror system

5 factors to consider when choosing between Alavo and a Mirror Box Installation


1. Warranty and Customer Service

Alavo Washstation

The Dolphin Alavo Mirror System comes with a 10 year warranty and provides one point of contact for any queries. This means that you can be confident in the quality and reliability of your mirror system and have peace of mind knowing that any issues will be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Standard Mirror Box Installation

With traditional behind the mirror systems, warranties can be inconsistent, and you may have to deal with multiple suppliers for different components, including plumbing and electrics, as well as different suppliers for the washroom products located behind the mirror, such as hand dryers, soap dispensers, sensor taps, and paper towel dispensers.


2. Adjustable Hinges and Modular Design

Alavo Washstation

One of the standout features of the Alavo Mirror System is the substantial adjustable hinge system. This allows for easy and regular access to the plumbing and electrical connections, while still keeping the mirrors perfectly aligned for many years.

The modular design of the system includes all plumbing, power, and cabinets, which allows for rapid installation with approximately 20 minutes per tap.

Choosing the Alavo system has cost benefits as it can be installed in a few hours, which reduces labour costs and minimises the time the plumber and electrician spend in the washroom installing all the different components.

Standard Mirror Box Installation

Standard mirror box installations require multiple trades to crossover which can take days to install.

If you are a contractor who chose a generic behind the mirror system installation, you should be aware that multiple repairs will need to be carried out over several days by two different trades, namely plumbers and electricians. This is because generic systems have multiple feeds and pipework going to each individual cupboard, as well as a greater number of wires than the Alavo system, resulting in a longer installation period and increased labour costs.

Grey-themed washroom with RGB lighting for the Alavo washstation

3. Lighting Features

Alavo Washstation

The Alavo Mirror System offers a range of lighting features, including illuminated pictograms, through mirror lighting, and halo/vanity lighting.

The lighting is controlled by RGB to meet DDA requirements and is part of the plug and play system.

The system also features a light sensor that turns off the lighting on the Alavo unit when the washroom lighting is off.

Standard Mirror Box Installation

Lighting for a traditional behind the mirror system is often bespoke and only available in a specified colour, with limited opportunity to ensure good visual contrast.

4. Maintenance and Efficiency

Alavo Washstation

Maintenance and efficiency are key considerations when choosing a washroom mirror system. The Alavo system offers easy access to all plumbing fittings, including the TMV3 thermostatic mixing valve, and all electrical connections.

Dolphin’s Alavo Premium system includes a refill indicator which alerts facilities teams to replenish the paper towels and soap reservoir. This saves maintenance and cleaning teams a lot of time since they can anticipate when to replenish the consumables. It also ensures a positive user experience, as soap and paper towels will always be available.

Additionally, the behind mirror hand dryer and paper towel dispenser are fully interchangeable and take up to 5 minutes to switch out the appliances. The system also includes a PPM agreement, which ensures regular maintenance and reduces the need for reactive repairs.

Standard Mirror Box Installation

On the other hand, traditional behind the mirror systems have limited access to connections and often require an electrician to change out paper towel dispensers and hand dryers. This adds to the ongoing outsourced labour costs which is something you want to avoid.

If there is no refill indicator in a behind the mirror system, facilities teams would not be aware that the paper towels and soap need to be replenished. This, in turn, can leave users feeling frustrated when paper towels and soap run out.

Alavo washstation in gold and behind mirror lights

5. Compliance and Value for Money

Alavo Washstation

The Alavo washstation is WELL Standard compliant and features a foam soap cartridge multifeed system that is mess free and can supply up to 8 soap dispensers.

The Alavo Lite option, with back painted pictograms, offers a 15-20% saving if it is preferred to go with the cost-effective Alavo washroom solution.

The system is also proven to be a value for money option when SMART washroom technology is specified to be integrated into the system, with regular Alavo specifiers and users attesting to its cost-effectiveness and sustainability advantages.

Standard Mirror Box Installation

Traditional behind-the-mirror systems may appear to offer cost-effective options, but clients may miss out on several benefits, such as sustainability, lower operational and utility costs, longevity, and compliance with WELL v2, Q4 2022 standards.

Although the initial cost may be lower, clients may not realise that they have to bear the brunt of the running costs, which ends up making what seemed like the cheaper purchase now a more expensive one.

Premium washroom solutions can be more cost-effective

Choosing the right mirror system for your budget and washroom design is crucial. While traditional behind the mirror systems have been the go to choice for many years, the Dolphin Alavo Mirror System offers a more innovative, practical, and efficient option.

With features such as a 10 year warranty, easy maintenance, adjustable hinges, modular design, and a range of lighting options, the Alavo system provides a superior user experience and is proven to be much more cost-effective in the long run.

Additionally, the Alavo washstation is compliant with WELL standards, making it a sustainable and environmentally friendly option. By choosing the Dolphin Alavo Mirror System, businesses can ensure that their commercial washrooms are both functional and stylish, providing a positive experience for users and contributing to the overall success of their operations and sustainability goals.

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