One of the major reasons people have shied away from hand dryers in the past has been the simple lack of effectiveness – they took too long to dry hands! Well, the technology has come a long way, and each manufacturer now makes “high speed” hand dryers. The users of these dryers are much more satisfied by the experience because they actually work in a time that is comparable to drying with paper towels (sometimes faster, especially if the dispenser is automatic and only gives you a couple inches at a time). And of course, the manufacturers like to tell you (the customer) about their fantastic dry time! What do those dry times mean?
If you are interested in a high speed hand dryer, you may wonder if it is possible to compare the dry times. The truth is….well, sort of. We (and others) have tried to study the dry times and test them. The only test that we know of that has some kind of technical test protocol that is repeatable is the NSF test that was designed to meet their “hygiene” test (Dyson is the only manufacturer that put their product through the protocol (P335) and now carries the NSF certification). That test proved the Dyson Airblade dry time to be 12 seconds for the 110/120v machine. However, each individual experiences a different time. I know most people I’ve talked to use the Dyson for around 8-9 seconds.
The most frequent claim we see from the manufacturers is “10-15 seconds.” The truth is that they are all very close in dry time, but that the actual dry time depends on how someone defines dry hands, how big the hands are, and how well they rub their hands. I like to tell people it’s like red wine – it’s easiest to see the difference when they are next to each other, but hard to tell when you use the units (or drink the wine) by itself. So, when we show “Manufacturer’s Dry Time is X seconds,” we are stating the claim of the manufacturer. It’s not scientifically comparable to the other dryers we carry. But it’s probably pretty close.
In general, we think that Dyson is really the fastest. Xlerator and the ExtremeAir GXT are pretty close after Dyson. World Dryer’s SMARTdri, SLIMdri, Airforce and AirMax and Veltia are pretty good too. We put all of these into the “high-speed” category, but it is very hard to get a really scientific dry time comparison. All of these are definitely huge improvements from the traditional hot air dryers that many of us grew up using.