When making the choice to install paper towel dispensers or electric hand dryers there a several factors to consider such as hygiene, waste, efficiency and cost. In this blog we break down the most important considerations to help you to decide on the best option for your requirements.

Which is More Hygienic, Paper Towels or Electric Hand Dryers?

There is a lot of conflicting information around how hygienic the two drying methods are. However, clinical trials by The Mayo Clinic and the Journal of Applied Microbiology conclude that there are no statistically significant differences between paper towels and hand dryers in the efficiency of bacteria removal from washed hands.

Advantages of Hand Towel Dispensers

Paper towel dispensers can offer users a quick way to dry hands if they are kept stocked with quality paper towels. This means that in order to provide an efficient hand drying option the dispensers must always remain well stocked. This calls for someone to regularly monitor and refill the stock, place timely orders for stock replenishment and also space to store spare stock.

Paper towel dispensers are a more quiet method of hand drying, however there are plenty of quiet hand dryers now on the market such as ATC TIGER and Anda 2.5kW Automatic Hand Dryer. Also, towel dispensers and hand dryers are generally installed in commercial applications where some noise is generally tolerated and not an issue.

Although hand towel dispensers are cheaper to buy than an electric hand dryer in the first instance, keep in mind the rate at which you may need to be restocking the dispensers and how much this will cost you over time. Many electric hand dryers have warranties of 2-3 years on average and a general life expectancy of around 10 years, so it is unlikely that you will need to pay out to replace them for at least this length of time.

You should also consider the disposal of paper towels. Bins will need to be provided and regularly emptied to keep the washroom tidy and hygienic so this is another costand practicality to keep on top of. The disposal of hand towels also has an environmental impact.

Advantages of Electric Hand Dryers

Electric hand dryers are no much more energy efficient than they ever used to be and you'll easily cover the cost of purchase in energy savings. Hand dryers such as the ATC Cub High Speed Hand Dryer cost and average of £100 per year* to run compared to replenishment costs of £7,800 per year for hand towels**.

Hand dryers are very low maintenance and you can generally have them installed and leave them to run without having to worry about any associated maintenance and they are also quick and efficient, drying hands in an average of around 10 seconds, pretty much on par with a paper towel but without the waste and replenishment costs.

Should I Buy an Electric Hand Dryer or a Paper Towel Dispenser?

To conclude, you could save and average of £7700 per year by running an electric hand dryer vs keeping hand towel dispensers stocked. There is also much less waste and mess to contend with and the environmental impact is significantly lower with an electric hand dryer.

We hope that this blog has been helpful in helping you choose whether to install a paper hand towel dispenser or an electric hand dryer in your commercial space. If you have any questions please contact one of our helpful, knowledgeable staff on 0203 994 5470, drop us an email at sales@electricpoint.com or use our Contact Form.


*Calculations are worked out with 100 people using a 1.1kw hand dryer with a cycle of 15 seconds for three times per day each, spread across 5 days a week and a kWh cost of 28p.

**Paper towel calculations based on 100 people using 2 paper towels each, 3 times per day, 5 days per week and a replacemnt cost of an average box of 1200 paper towels at £60.00