Why are hand dryers so loud? Here comes the quiet revolution
So, you will have heard the noise yourself from some of the hand dryers that are in many offices and public buildings. The ones that can scare young children, or cause disruption to meeting rooms or classrooms from neighbouring washrooms. These hand dryers are popular because they do the job they were intended to do the quickest. The powerful motors produce rapid air speeds that literally blow the moisture off the hands in around 10 – 12 seconds, leaving users satisfied with dry hands. The noise is a by-product of the force of airflow. Conventional warm-air, low noise hand dryers have proven in the past that the reliance on heat evaporation solely at the expense of a fast air speed is just not productive and can be costly due to the energy use.
The need however for hand dryers to be quiet is becoming increasingly popular. With consumers now willing to compromise a little on dry time so that they can have a hand dryer that doesn’t piece the ear drums and disrupt the rest of the building when they are being used. As stated above, old conventional hand dryers, with energy guzzling heater elements were great at keeping noise levels down, but when they don’t do the job they are supposed to do it really is a false economy.
So, who needs a quiet hand dryer?
There are now some great hand dryers out there that have a good balance between noise level, hand drying performance and energy efficiency. These are good for getting the job done in a relatively quick dry time that will not disappoint the user, whilst at the same time being soothing on the ears.
These kind of hand dryers are sort after for noise sensitive areas of work places or schools, the latter not just for the environment but for any younger children that the hand dryers are intended for. The picture below shows my son, who was 6 at the time, using the Dryflow Elite at Eureka Children’s Museum. He has come across louder hand dryers in the past and was frightened by the noise and wouldn’t use them. He was very happy to use this one.
It has also been shown that people with Autism, especially children, can be seriously affected by loud noise hand dryers and it is a constant battle for parents to find a toilet with low noise hand dryers so that they don’t have a “meltdown” . This has been noted in other incidences, where parents dread the strain that is put on their children when using loud hand dryers from the sheer stress and anxiety caused. Although, everybody is unique, therefore some are fine with the noise and even learn to adapt to it, achieving personal developmental milestones. That said, it is always good to be able to provide an option that is pleasing to every user.
What is being done and what is available?
Most hand dryers do come with a stated decibel level (db). However sometimes these are not always the best indicator of the noise level and not realistically understood by the general public. Most are measured in sound proof chambers, from 1 or 2 meters away, and not recorded with the hands in the airflow which naturally raises the noise level.
There is now an accreditation called the Quiet Mark, which is setting the standard for showing which products in the world have been tested to a required level that isn’t heavy on the ear drums.
In their own words,
"Quiet Mark is the international approval award programme associated with the UK Noise Abatement Society charitable foundation. It encourages companies worldwide to prioritise noise reduction within the design of everyday machines and appliances, and find solutions to noise problems."
"Through scientific testing and assessment, we can identify the quietest products in a given category, making purchase decisions quicker and easier. The more successful the scheme becomes, the more designers and manufacturers will be driven to reduce sound levels in their next generation of product."
The Quiet Mark assessment takes the product and puts it in real life situations. They also look at the relevance of the sound to the performance. For example, there may be quieter products out there but the performance suffers due to this. In their own words “who wants a quiet hair dryer that takes an hour to dry your hair, or a quiet dishwasher that leaves your plates dirty?” Therefore, you are safe in the knowledge that the products with the Quiet Mark attached have been scientifically tested to show they will help reduce noise pollution in society, yet still do the job they were intended to do.
Which are the quiet but good performing hand dryers?
We have written the blog post “Top 9 Quiet Hand Dryers in 2019” which highlights a number of Quiet Mark approved hand dryers. Below are a few examples. The full selection of Quite Mark approved hand dryers available from us can be found here
Dryflow Viper – Dries each hand simultaneously and the options of adjustable speed and optional heat are really popular with people needing to reduce energy consumption and noise levels further.
Mitsubishi Jet Towel Slim - These are the best built hand dryers on the market in our opinion. We are yet to have a failure and the latest model has much improved performance from previous models. They are one of the fastest drying “hands-in” style hand dryers on the market but use as little as 1/3 of the energy and are 50% quieter.
Mitsubishi Jet Towel Smart – long lasting and very energy efficient, these quiet hand dryers pack in some great features with the reliability you would expect from a world-renowned manufacturer.
It is always worth contacting us for samples or a demonstration to see whether the noise levels are appropriate for your location if you are requiring quiet hand dryers so that you can test them out properly and effectively to fulfil your unique requirements.
For more information or for help in finding your ideal hand dryer or washroom product, please call us UK offices: North: 0114 3540047 South: 0203 3270448; Eire office: +353 19036387, use our contact us page by clicking here or click to visit the website. You can also use our Intelligent Search Tool that helps you identify the perfect dryer for your location by clicking here.
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