99 Years of Hand Dryers in Bathrooms: How Hand Dryers Have Changed Restrooms for the Better

The original hand dryer called the “electric towel” was patented in 1921. Over the last 99 years, hand dryers have undergone massive innovation and creative engineering to become the ideal choice for restrooms across the world. Countless hours of research and development led to the creation of the XLERATOR® hand dryer for bathrooms in 2002 and its revolutionary super-fast dry time, which is down to 8 seconds in 2020 models.

How else have hand dryers in bathrooms changed in 99 years? We share our findings below.

Hand Dryers in Bathrooms Have Helped the Environment

Not only does the process of creating paper towels take a major toll on the environment, but paper towels also take years to break down in landfills, much longer than toilet paper or tissues. Hand dryers have reduced that load dramatically, providing an alternative to paper towels that takes less environmental load to create. Very little electricity is needed to run hand dryers in bathrooms, making them a truly green option.

Architects and Designers Can Enjoy Wider Design Possibilities

Consumers today expect style from every area of a business, including the bathroom. Many hand dryers offer custom covers or designs, some that can be easily swapped out as styles or promotions change. Get inspiration from these school-related covers or check out these past custom covers for Brooklyn Bowl and others.

New options are also available for retrofitting old paper towel dispensers, like the XChanger® Combo Kit, making it easier than ever to make the switch in style.

Hand Dryers in Bathrooms Have Saved Businesses Thousands

Hand dryers provide a 95% cost savings over paper towels and a reduction in overtime pay for maintenance staff who need to clean up the mess left by paper towels. While hand dryers in bathrooms cost more upfront, they pay back that investment tenfold. Our cost calculator will tell you how much you can expect to save.

New Technology Makes for Healthy, Clean Restrooms

Technology has advanced quite a bit in 99 years. Part of that advancement has brought us revolutionary technology like HEPA filters that remove 99.999% of viruses from the airstream based on testing conducted in 2020. Using a top-of-the-line HEPA filtration system delivers clean, purified air quickly and is an optional feature on all new XLERATOR® and XLERATOReco® hand dryers and can be retrofitted onto existing models. HEPA filtration comes standard on all XLERATORsync hand dryers as well, providing the vast benefits Excel Dryer is known for in tandem with the health properties of HEPA.

Hand Dryers in Bathrooms Do Not Spread Bacteria (Bad Handwashing Does!)

There have been many fear-mongering reports in the last year about the hygienic properties of hand dryers. Let’s set the record straight: the only defense against spreading bacteria is proper handwashing. Using the WHO-recommended method of scrubbing hands, wrists, and under nails for at least 20 seconds with a warm-air dryer is the best infection protection.


Ninety-nine years of innovation don’t lie. Are hand dryers right for your bathroom? Find more resources and discover the perfect solution for your restroom here.