Recently we have been approached by a number of architects asking for advice on which hand dryer to use for their washroom project. Due to the number of hand dryers in the market, each with their own different features, it can be difficult to specify a dryer that meets all the needs of the client. Therefore we have collated the questions that we get asked most frequently to help you choose which dryer best suits your project.

Why so many different types of dryer?

By today’s standards hand dryers that are clunky, noisy and waste electricity by taking an eternity to dry ones hands are no longer acceptable. Most people want dryers that are economical, hygienic, easy to maintain and reliable. In addition to these basic features some people require dryers that are quieter, more environmentally friendly or particularly small. Positioning within the washroom also needs to be considered: some dryers will be hidden behind a mirror, others will be surface mounted and will need to match with the washroom design.

Due to such demand there is now more choice than ever: dryers offering a 10 second dry time, ultra-compact dryers, hands-in dryers, behind-mirror dryers, dryers with 360° nozzle, slimline dryers, recessed dryers and economy dryers. Research has found 85 per cent of microbes are transmitted by moist hands, compared with 0.06 per cent by dry hands, so it is critical to install a dryer that your washroom users are actually going to use.

What is a high-speed dryer?

A high-speed dryer typically dries dripping wet hands in under 13 seconds with a powerful jet of air. They are the most hygienic since the quick dry time means customers are less likely to leave the washroom with wet (aka germy) hands. They are also faster and more energy efficient because they use less energy and are on for shorter time periods. Their quick dry time makes them perfect for high volume areas reducing traffic and spillage however the powerful motor means they tend to be noisy.

So why would anyone buy a low-speed dryer?

If the washrooms are placed near noise sensitive areas such as offices, classrooms and consultation rooms a low-speed dryer may be more beneficial. Low-speed dryers are often much quieter, as the motor is less powerful, however, they will obviously take longer to dry wet hands. Low-speed dryers generally are much cheaper to buy initially however the long term costs will often cost more than buying a high-speed dryer because of the increased energy consumption.

Can I get a quieter dryer?

Yes – we have several hand dryers in our Velocity range that suit the requirement for a quieter dryer. Our new addition the BC2008 is the quietest dryer in the market – see it here. Some of our dryers have the option to run as high-speed or low-speed such as our BC2002 so the customer can choose which best suits their needs.

Which dryers are most environmentally-friendly?

Dryers that use warm/hot air will always use more energy than dryers that blow out cold air and they cost more to run, however all our Dolphin Velocity high-speed hand dryers save up to 80% of energy costs in comparison with conventional dryers. We also use stainless steel for all our hand dryers as it is 100% recyclable. The lifespan of a dryer is usually the same as the warranty period, but varies depending on number of uses, environment and whether consumables are replaced when required. Warranty dates are fixed from the time of purchase. The guarantee on Dolphin dryers is normally 3-5 years, please refer to our website to see the guarantees for the dryers in our Velocity range. The end of life may be reached due to fashion changes (product still functions but the design is out-dated) or technological redundancy (product is replaced by a more efficient technology). Even though the end of life is reached, this means the stainless steel is useful as a recyclable product. The main alloying elements of stainless steel (chromium, nickel and molybdenum) are all highly valuable and can be easily be recovered and separated from other materials making stainless steel dryers an environmentally-friendly choice.

Which dryers are most hygienic?

On request, selected Dolphin Velocity dryers can be supplied with a HEPA filter, which cleans the air as it goes in by pushing air through a fine mesh that captures harmful particles such as dust mites, germs, smoke, pollens etc. An astonishing 95% of people do not wash their hands for the recommended 15 seconds, therefore it is important to minimise their touchpoints throughout the rest of the washroom to avoid cross-contamination. Touch-free dryers use an infrared sensor to detect movement, and so minimise the spread of germs. This makes the dryers hygienic and easy to clean. Finally the quicker the dryer works, the less chance there is of the user leaving the washroom with wet hands.

Which dryers are most cost-effective to run?

High-Speed dryers that have an air speed of 90 m/s consume less power, typically 0.28 watts per second, against a conventional dryer which consumes 0.67 watts per second on average. High-speed dryers typically run for 10-12 seconds compared with a conventional dryer at 30-40 seconds. Any infrared hand dryer will be more cost effective as they are only in use when the sensor is triggered. For more information on cost-effective dryers please click here.

Which dryers work best behind a mirror?

A behind the mirror hand dryer is specified by architects looking for a more elegant finish, by hiding dispensers and dryers behind the mirror above the basin. It is one of the best design solutions to use in a washroom that is limited on space since the user stands in one position to wash and dry their hands. The dryer must be IP14 rated so that it is suitable for use in wet areas and a smaller, high speed dryer would be the best to use to minimise queues. Our Velocity BC2003-BM high-speed hand dryer is a perfect example of a compact, high-speed dryer that can be fitted behind a mirror.

For a plug-and-play solution, our ALAVO system is designed so that it uses all behind-mirror components, including infra-red sensor taps, foam soap systems and high-speed low energy dryers – to save time, water, energy, soap, space and money. As an all-encompassing unit, ALAVO leaves no mess on the floor and designers are free to add their own touches in the space it saves. For more information on ALAVO click here.

Have you got a dryer that will work in small spaces?

Our new BC2008 has been designed with compact and space saving in mind. Measuring just 270.1mm H x 161.4mm W, 101mm D it is the smallest dryer in the market. This is ideal for washrooms on trains, airlines and any other washroom extremely limited on space. It also has a dry speed of just 10 seconds making it an excellent choice for high traffic washrooms.

Can I get a dryer finished in another colour to match my design?

All our dryers are finished in stainless steel as standard, and the BC2002W and BC2001W also come in a white finish. Due to increasing demand for alternative metallic finishes, we can now offer products with a PVD coating in brass, bronze, gold, rose gold or copper. We can also offer a powder coating on our dryers available in any RAL colour you specify. To see how effective these alternative finishes can be in a washroom, check out our case study Deer Walk, the centre in Milton Keynes.  We now have the new Velocity 02.4011 Dolphin recessed hand dryer high-speed in bespoke finishes – stainless steel, glass front, acrylic front and Corian front.

How do I choose which dryer I need?

We hope this blog has helped you to clarify some of the options around which dryer to use in your washroom design.  We do also have dedicated product specialists that would love to help advise you on which dryer to choose for your project. If you would like to see a dryer in situ to get a better idea of how it works/looks/feels, please visit our showroom.


We also offer free samples on some of our production for more information on how to request a free sample.


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