Proper sanitation is one of those things that people don’t necessarily get excited about but can suffer serious consequences if they don’t heed it at all. While the release of a new or quiet hand dryer isn’t ever going to rival a new iPhone or gaming system in terms of hype, they’re nevertheless essential for personal health.
Hand dryers make it easier to avoid transmission of germs and viruses – and that was the case before COVID. In its aftermath, preventing that transmission is more important than ever. Paper towels are better than nothing, but they still involve more touching of common property in a bathroom setting than we would like, even without a pandemic going on.
A good hand dryer preventing transmission of viruses can literally be a lifesaver.
With that in mind, let’s dig a bit further into what you should want in a hand dryer and which ones are the best on the market.
What to Look For Before Purchase
There are several factors one should consider before purchase. We have also covered this topic in regard to hair dryers, so feel free to check it out as well.
First and foremost, a hand dryer obviously needs to be effective at being able to clean your hands. Simply blowing air on your hands isn’t enough. They need to use warm air at a high enough degree of pressure to rid both the water particles and any germs, viruses, or other contaminants. That’s harder than it sounds, and requires lots of power.
Then there’s the fact that hand dryers have a reputation for being, well, loud. Whether you own a restaurant, office, or other public establishment, you probably don’t want your hand dryer to shriek like a banshee every time it’s activated. It’s simply not pleasant, and not great for business. That’s why finding a quiet hand dryer is so important. That said, a lot of that noise is the result of the aforementioned power requirements mentioned above.
You thus want to balance finding the most powerful and quietest hand dryer possible.
The time it takes to dry your hands should also be a consideration. Older hand dryers can take 45 seconds to fully dry off your hands. Not only do you not necessarily want to wait that long, you also probably don’t want to have to keep hitting the button that triggers these dryers. The more often you hit a button, or touch any element of the hand dryer for that matter, the greater the risk of exposing yourself to germs, viruses, and other contaminants. Many of the fastest hand dryers today can dry hands in around 10 or 11 seconds.
That’s why you’ll want to find hand dryers that can dry your hands faster – and, if possible, do so in a contactless fashion. In addition, that’s also why many of the best hand dryers on the market today are triggered not by pushing a button but by motion sensors. This makes it much more sanitary, and these machines are often a lot more efficient than other, older models.
Then there are the operating costs. Your average 160 kilowatt-per-hour hand dryer uses about $15 per month. That’s considerably more than you might expect to pay with paper towels, which can easily cost in excess of a hundred dollars per month given all the times you might have to refill it with new paper. Even if it costs more at first, a low noise hand dryer may therefore also be a low cost option in comparison over the long run. However, that is contingent upon the hand dryer being energy efficient and not racking up a higher electricity bill.
Aesthetics & Accessibility
Finally, you might give a thought to the aesthetics and accessibility. You can only do so much to make a bathroom “look nice,” but every little bit helps, and that includes pristine hand dryers. In addition, you’ll want to make sure that your units are in compliance with the American Association of Disability regulations.
Top Six Hand Dryers
With that in mind, let’s take a look at six great low noise hand dryer options so you can see which one is the best fit for your boudoir.
1) Alpine Hemlock Automatic Hand Dryer
This model measures 13.5 x 8.6 x 17.4 in. and is by far one of the louder units at 75 to 80 decibels. On the flip side, that loudness belies its power, as this model boasts excellent dry time at around 10 seconds. What’s more, while the burst of air is noisy, the motor itself is very quiet.
The model boasts a sturdy if bulky polycarbonate casing, while the unit itself is very energy efficient and thus cost efficient. All in all, this model boasts a simplified and easy to use design.
- Quiet motor
- Loud dryer fan compared to other models
Our rating: 4.7 / 5
2) Mitsubishi JT-SB116JH2-S-NA Dry Jet Towel
The best thing about this model is that it’s one of the quietest models on this list. It runs at about 58 to 63 decibels, which is fantastic. It also works pretty quickly, being able to dry your hands in just about 11 seconds. This Mitsubishi model is able to accomplish that because it generates 235 km/hr worth of speed, which it generates with a DC motor.
While many Japanese models are noted for their sleek and smaller design, this is not one of them. At 700 mm x 300 mm x 219 mm, it is bigger than several of the models on this list. That said, that size is in part due to its innovative design, which allows you to stick both hands into the dryer opening and have both sides dried simultaneously. That’s part of why it can dry your hands so quickly, and it makes for a much easier usage experience.
Even so, this unit only uses about 3.5 watts of power, making it reasonably efficient.
This model is definitely one of the priciest on this list, costing anywhere from several hundred to potentially over a thousand dollars. That said, you get what you pay for, and in this case what you get is one of the great blends of high-speed drying and innovative design on this list.
- Quiet model
- Innovative design
- Energy efficiency
- Bigger than other models
Our rating: 4.4 / 5
3) Penson and Co. Automatic Commercial Hands Free Electric Hand Dryer
This is a great example of what a comprehensive hand dryer looks like. It measures 10.7 x 9 x 7 inches, which is on the compact side as far as hand dryers go, and it has a power level of 0.95kW. From a quietness standpoint it is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it emits 72 decibels of sound, which is at the edge of what could be considered a quiet hand dryer but still acceptable. On the other hand, it can still sound loud when placed in the kind of enclosed echo-friendly space that bathrooms tend to be.
That said, they are still able to dry your hands in 10 seconds, which is very fast, and feature a HEPA filter which can remove as much as 99.7% of the bacteria it sucks up. This is a reasonably inexpensive model, and a rustproof one at that, which can help cut down on repair costs.
All of this makes this model a good, fast, efficient model.
- Fast and efficient
- Good HEPA filter
- Motor can sometimes overheat
- Can be on the louder side of “quiet”
Our rating: 4.4 / 5
4) Tek Motion Electric Automatic Bathroom Power Hand Dryer
This model gives you a fast burst of air with which to dry your hands in around 10 to 12 seconds. That is well within the range mentioned above as being the preferable speed for hand dryers, making this a plus in this model’s favor.
These hand dryers are environmentally-friendly, and don’t require as much energy as other models. Both of those factors combined make this a more economically-efficient model than others, and far more than conventional paper towel dispensers.
The casing itself is waterproof and made from IPX1, which is a type of stainless steel cover. The unit is also resistant to chipping and scratching, making it reasonably durable.
The noise rating is around 70 to 72 decibels. That doesn’t make it quite the quietest hand dryer on this list, but it’s still respectable. You stick your hands beneath a chute as with traditional hand dryers. Again, that’s perfectly fine, but there are other models that boast a far more innovative design.
Still, for an improved automatic bathroom hand dryer, this is a solid option.
- Energy efficient
- Sturdy cover
- There are quieter models
- There are more innovative designs
Our rating: 4.3 / 5
5) Stiebel Eltron Galaxy Ultra Quiet Touchless Automatic Hand Dryer
Of all the options on this list, this option from Stiebel might rank as the quietest hand dryer available at just 53 decibels. It combines that silence with a 266 mm x 175 mm x 230 mm frame and a 1.85kW power level. Taken together, that’s a strong showing for this model.
This is also another model that makes use of touchless infrared sensor technology. It is not preprogrammed to shut off after a given time, so you can keep your hands in there for as long as you like. Unfortunately, you may have to keep them there longer than you might wish. If there is a big strike against this model, it’s that its dry time is by far the longest on this list. It can take as long as 30 seconds to dry your hands with this model. While 30 seconds isn’t too long in the grand scheme of things, in the context of a hand dryer, that’s practically an eternity.
On the flip side, this model’s brushless motor has a good battery life, so it’s built to last and conserve energy. This model comes with a choice between aluminum or BS polycarbonate casing. It comes in white, charcoal, and metallic colors.
Taken together, this is one of the quietest and most effective low noise hand dryer models listed here.
- Good battery life
- Quiet operation
- Aesthetically appealing options
- Sturdy casing options
- Slow dry time (low power)
Our rating: 4.3 / 5
6) Dyson Airblade V
Few names in the cleaning appliance industry have a higher profile than Dyson, so how does this model measure up?
The dry time for this model can vary from between 10 to 14 seconds. It can thus be at the faster or slower end of the spectrum. What isn’t in question is that, at 79 decibels, no one will confuse this for the quietest hand dryer on this list. It is also on the expensive side, costing several hundred dollars.
At the same time, it offers other benefits that could help offset its comparative loudness and priciness.
For one thing, this is far and away one of the sleekest designs listed here. The sides come down into a neat point at the bottom, giving the model a very distinguished look.
What’s more, while this model is pricy in the short term, it does not generate a lot of heat while still being able to efficiently dry your hands. The result of that is that the model saves a lot of energy and thus money on electricity bills in the long term. That efficiency comes from a quality HEPA filter as well as an ability to reduce CO2 emissions.
Interestingly, while this model is louder than others, Dyson is accredited with the Quiet Hand marker, which is a designation for models committed to reducing noise. That should give you some idea that, at least where this model is concerned, the decibel numbers may not be everything and it might actually be quieter than it seems.
- Aesthetically appealing
- Economical energy saving model
- Quiet Hand marker
- Lessens CO2 emissions
- One of the louder models
- Can take a bit longer than other models
- Quite expensive
Our rating: 4.2 / 5
Ultimately, which low noise hand dryer is right for you will vary on a variety of factors.
In terms of a quiet hand dryer, the Tek and Stiebel offer the quietest models by far.
The Penson and Co. offers a robust all-around design, the Mitsubishi is highly innovative, and the Dyson offers the chicest appearance.
Any one of these quiet, quick, and efficient hand dryer models can help you “clean up your act” today.