Trying to decide whether to install manual or automatic hand dryers in your office? Generally, we would suggest choosing the most hygienic option. However, when it comes to manual and automatic dryers, there is substantial disagreement about which one is best.

How do automatic and manual hand dryers differ?

First, it is important to know that there is no consensus in the research. We cannot just tell you that one is better than another. Instead, we have to look at how the different drying methods compare to each other.

In terms of drying efficiency, the most efficient method is cloth towels. You can reduce the residual water on your hands to almost zero with just 15 seconds of drying. However, cloth towels may differ in efficiency from each other. More absorbent towels do a better job with water removal. Hand dryers take almost three times as long to remove the same amount of water. Jet air dryers are about as efficient as towels, so they are more efficient than hot air dryers.

Drying efficiency is important because if your hands are wet, bacteria is more likely to survive on them. So, getting an efficient method is important. However, people spend more time using air dryers than they do with cloth towels. People usually just spend a few seconds using towels to dry their hands. They spend longer with air dryers. While they do not spend enough time on either, they do tend to spend enough time with jet air dryers to get their hands dry. Hot air dryers take the longest and people do not spend enough time with them.

What else should you consider when deciding between automatic or manual hand dryers?

Drying efficiency is not the only thing that impacts bacteria growth. You also have to consider whether the method increases the likelihood of bacteria growth. Studies have given contrasting results about whether towels or air dryers spread more bacteria. However, when you look at the results of all the studies, they seem to have similar results.

Some people are concerned that air dryers can contribute to cross contamination. This was especially an issue at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when airborne contamination was a serious threat. Air dryers do seem to contribute to air contamination, but that the difference was not significant in most environments.

Given that the methods seem to have similar results, it often comes down to user preference. Some users prefer towels, while others prefer hand towels. That is why many places implement both air dryers and towels. Whatever type of drying system you want for your workplace, Flick can help. Contact us today to get started.

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