Choosing a Hand Dryer

How do I choose the best hand dryer for my needs?

Choosing the best hand dryer depends on what features are most important to you. You’ll want to consider hand-drying speed, efficiency, power, sound, appearance, maintenance, cost, and warranty. While a new, energy-efficient hand dryer might cost more upfront, it will be more beneficial and cost-effective in the long run. You should also consider the warranty of the product and if it is an ADA-compliant hand dryer. Each of these and more will impact your purchase decision. 

Other items to consider when finding the best hand dryer for your needs are to look at products that have been PCR tested, which means tested and evaluated in a clear, consistent way, allowing you, the consumer, to make better-informed decisions. Consider how many guests will be using your hand dryer every day. The XLERATOR has an 8-second dry time, making it ideal for busy restrooms where a longer dry time may cause congestion. The XLERATOReco has a slightly longer dry time but has added features to save energy. Our ThinAir hand dryer has a 14-second dry time. ThinAir is an affordable option for smaller restrooms with less traffic. Both the XLERATOR and XLERATOReco have 7-year limited warranties, while ThinAir has a 5-year limited warranty. Compare the models of our hand dryers and find the right fit for your needs with our product comparison chart.

What should I look for in hand dryer performance?

Finding the hand dryer with performance ideal for your facility depends on what features are important to you. Look for Made in USA Certified hand dryers with a warranty you are comfortable with. You may also want to look to products that have been PCR tested which means tested and evaluated in a clear, consistent way, allowing you, the consumer, to make better-informed decisions. Consider how many guests will be using your hand dryer every day. The XLERATOR has an 8-second dry time, making it ideal for busy restrooms where a longer dry time may cause congestion. The XLERATOReco has a slightly longer dry time but has added features to save energy. Compare the models of our hand dryers and find the right fit for your needs with our product comparison chart.

How long do hand dryers last?

Most hand dryers last between seven to 10 years, depending on the frequency of use. Our high-speed energy-efficient hand dryers are warrantied for 7 years and last much longer.

How much does it cost to install a hand dryer?

Installing a hand dryer is very simple and can range in costs for installation. We highly recommend the installation is done by a licensed electrician. Follow these five easy steps to install your hand dryer.

How do I select an appropriate hand dryer voltage?

To determine which hand dryer voltage is appropriate for your facility and usage, you’ll want to consider the voltage in use at your facility. If you don’t know your facility’s voltage settings, consult an electrician for available usage and match that number with the voltage settings listed for each hand dryer.

My dryer is marked for 110V, but I have 208-277V service. Is there a switch to convert the voltage?

There is no switch to convert the voltage of your hand dryer. Although hand dryers are available in multiple voltages, the dryers are voltage specific and must be installed on appropriate voltage as marked.

Does the 208-277V option make the dryer more powerful?

No, either 110V or 208-277V will produce approximately the same volume of air and heat.

Why do you have a 230-V version?

This is a version used in Europe and is tested to CE rather than UL standards.

How many watts does a hand dryer use? 

Our XLERATOR hand dryer comes in 3 different specifications and uses 1240-1450 Watts, 1160-1490 Watts, and 1410 Watts.
Our XLERATOReco hand dryer comes in 3 different specifications as well and uses 460-530 Watts, 425-500 Watts, and 500 Watts
Our ThinAir also comes in 3 different specifications and uses 770-915 Watts, 735-950 Watts, and 890 Watts.

Can I install an XLERATOR hand dryer outside?

Although not rated for outdoor use, an XLERATOR hand dryer can be installed in an outdoor enclosure provided it is protected from the weather on three sides and GFCI protected. We also recommend a bead of silicone sealant be placed around the cover at the wall. The Model XL-BW is best suited as it resists condensation from overnight colder temperatures. As always, the installation should comply with national and local electrical codes

How can I calculate how much money I will save by switching from paper towels to one of your hand dryers?

Our Cost and Environmental Savings Calculator gives people an opportunity to calculate how much money they can save, how quickly they can achieve their payback and how much they can reduce their environmental impact by switching from paper towels to the XLERATOR/XLERATOReco/ThinAir. Calculate the cost of hand dryers and compare it to paper towels cost.

How much does a hand dryer cost?

In the USA, Excel Dryer’s hand dryer pricing ranges from $320 and to $750 per unit, dependant on the model type and features selected.

How much does it cost to run a hand dryer?

Operating an XLERATOR hand dryer costs only .50 cents per 1,000 dries. Using paper towels costs $23 per 1,000 dries. A savings of 95% can be expected when switching to hand dryers!
Don’t believe it? Calculate your cost savings with hand dryers yourself with our online calculator. 

How close can a hand dryer be to a sink?

Usually, a hand dryer should be mounted at least 24 inches away from basins and 20 inches away from corners. However, market offerings are constantly evolving into innovative solutions – check out DI13 Sink System featuring the XLERATORync® Hand Dryer and take a step into the future of commercial restrooms.

How does a hand dryer sensor work?

Hand dryer’s sensors constantly emit a ray of infrared light that is invisible to the human eye. When your hands move into the path of the infrared light, it deflects the light back to the hand dryer unit, triggering the sensor. A triggered sensor turns the hand dryer on.

How hot does a hand dryer get?

Usually, hand dryers generate heat up to 50 degrees above ambient temperature.

What is a GSA-approved vendor?

General Service Administration (GSA) approves vendors to sell products and services to the United States Government. Excel Dryer is proud to be a GSA-approved vendor.

Hand Dryers & the Environment

How sustainable and environmentally friendly are hand dryers? 

Not all hand dryers are created equal. To understand if a hand dryer is environmentally friendly, check to see if it has an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) certification. This is a way of assessing the impact a product will have on the environment through the study of its energy consumption during production, usage, and disposal. The first hand dryer manufacturer to publish verified, third party EPDs was Excel Dryer. Because paper towels generate a lot of carbon emissions and waste, hand dryers are a significantly more sustainable, “greener” option. High-speed hand dryers that use room temperature air, like the XLERATOReco, are the most energy-efficient and produce the least amount of carbon dioxide emissions. An added bonus, Excel Dryer’s high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryers qualify for the most LEED v4 credits of any hand dryer on the market

Are hand dryers hygienic?

Yes! – Excel Hand Dryers are very hygienic!
Excel Dryer is committed to manufacturing hygienic, sustainable, and cost-effective hand dryers. Hands-under, high-efficiency hand dryers are an efficient and extremely hygienic method for drying hands after washing.

We care about educating users on the topic of hygiene. Our Hygiene Resource Page features independent third-party resources on hand hygiene including scientific studies, articles, blogs and more. The most credible study being the MAYO Clinic who found no statistical difference in bacteria counts when drying with Paper or Air Dryers. Also, see information on our hygiene accessories including our HEPA Filtration System and Antimicrobial Wall Guards.

Why are hand dryers better than paper towels?

Hand dryers provide dramatic cost savings over paper towels over time. While hand dryers require the upfront investment of purchasing the unit, paper towels must be purchased often and in bulk. Paper towels also drive up restroom management costs, requiring maintenance staff to refill paper towel dispensers and clean up paper towels left on floors, in the toilet, or in other inappropriate areas. Determine your potential cost savings and cost of hand dryers with our calculator.

How do I turn the power off to my hand dryer?

You cannot “switch” off the power on your Excel Dryer hand dryer. Your dryer must be hard-wired back to your electrical panel. Locate the circuit breaker assigned and turn it off. The red LED light in the sensor on the hand dryer will also go out confirming the device is no longer receiving power.

Can I put a heating element into an XLERATOReco hand dryer?

No, a heating element cannot be added to the XLERATOReco hand dryer. The XLERATOReco dryer is tested by UL to a different standard than our standard XLERATOR. Modifying the heating element in any way will void the warranty and UL listing of your XLERATOReco.

Do hand dryers kill Covid-19?

There is no evidence that hand dryers are able to kill COVID-19.

  • Hand dryers do not spread anything that is not already present in a restroom.
  • Rest assured: no touch, sensor-activated, hands-under, high-speed, energy-efficient hand drying is a hygienic method for drying hands after washing.

Airborne transmission of COVID-19 is unlikely:

  • The CDC says that:
    • Most infections are spread through close contact, not airborne transmission.
    • At this time, there is no indication of a general community need to use special engineering controls, such as those required to protect against airborne transmission of infections.
    • NOTE: the CDC uploaded a DRAFT report in ERROR on September 18 that was removed from the website on September 21. The draft report said that COVID could be aerosolized. The CDC director has come forward admitting the error and explaining that he believes it is spread through close contact.
  • The WHO says that:
    • The main way the virus spreads is by respiratory droplets among people who are in close contact with each other.


Do I need to wear personal protective equipment when handling the washable pre-filter on my HEPA filtration system to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

It is recommended that you refer to the WHO or CDC for handling guidelines when cleaning the pre-filter or replacing the HEPA filter if either may have been exposed to contagion.

Why don’t all XLERATOR/XLERATOReco/ThinAir hand dryers automatically come with a HEPA filtration system instead of giving people the option to include it?

All dryers from Excel are a hygienic hand drying solution, but those with HEPA add another level of protection. To keep our products competitively priced, HEPA is offered as an option at this time. If your dryer was shipped without HEPA and you would like this option, please contact [email protected] to purchase a HEPA Retrofit Kit or new subassembly with HEPA filtration system.

Can I add a HEPA filter to any XLERATOR dryer?

Yes, if your unit Serial Number is #370656 or higher and your control assembly is marked as Stock #40102 or #40103, there is a HEPA Retrofit Kit available for your dryer.

Can I remove the HEPA filter at a later date and still have the dryer work?

Although not recommended, this can be done if an empty Pre-Filter/Frame is purchased as a replacement.

Do your hand dryers come with a UV light?

Hand dryers in the Excel Dryer line do not come with a UV light, nor do they need to for hygiene purposes. UV light is most effective in killing germs on smooth, flat surfaces and requires five, ten or twenty minutes or more to do so. This does not make UV light effective for use in hand dryers which dry hands in seconds. Further, the World Health Organization notes that UV lamps should not be used to disinfect hands or other areas of your skin as radiation can cause serious damage.

Hand Dryers & Design

Can I customize my hand dryer to match the restroom?

Yes! Customizing your Excel Dryer hand dryer to match your restroom design and architecture is simple. Create a custom hand dryer with Custom Covers, which allows you to customize your hand dryer with colors, graphics, or messaging that aligns with your brand. When installing your hand dryers, you’ll also have access to Wall Guards, which protect your restroom walls from the displaced water; Recess Kits, which sit your hand dryer in the restroom wall slightly for ADA Compliance; or XChanger Kits, to completely replace a paper towel and waste receptacle wall unit. When customizing your hand dryer, you can also get a painted recess kit or XChanger Kit, so they can match the hand dryer. They don’t have to be stainless steel if that does not match the aesthetic of the restroom.

How do I remove the cover from my hand dryer?

To remove your Excel Dryer cover, a special 5/32” (.1563 mm) Hex Key with a hole in the center of the arm is required. Check with your distributor or manufacturer to obtain one.

Hand Dryer Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Where is the serial number of my dryer located?

You can find the serial number of your Excel hand dryer both on the outside cover (lower left side) and on the inside housing.

Why doesn’t my dryer turn on?

There are many reasons why a hand dryer may not turn on. Refer to the Excel Dryer Trouble Codes Chart for troubleshooting assistance. If troubleshooting does not resolve the problem, please contact us.

Why doesn’t my dryer have any heat?

In some cases, the hand dryer is not meant to dispense hot air — for example, an XLERATOReco® dryer has no heating element and will not dispense hot air. If you do not have an ECO dryer, check the dial marked H on the control assembly and ensure it is in the “on” position. If your hand dryer still does not have heat, your heating element may have failed.

Why is my dryer only blowing half of what it used to?

Check for a crack in the plastic housing, nozzle, at the heating element, and in the motor bracket inside the housing. Cracks will allow air to escape before reaching the nozzle area. If no cracks are found, your motor may be failing.

Why does my hand dryer have a burning smell and/or a grinding noise?

A burning smell or grinding noise can be caused by debris being sucked up into the heating element, so inspect the dryer and clear it of any debris. If there is no debris in the heating element, a burning smell or grinding noise might be signs of a failing motor.

How do I make my hand dryer quieter?

If your hand dryer is too loud, you may have a dryer with a standard .8 nozzle. All XLERATOR models with a .8” standard nozzle (black) operate at 65 to 75 decibels but can jump to over 90 decibels if hands are perpendicular to the air stream and held extremely close to the air outlet. A 1.1 noise reduction nozzle (gray) can lower the decibel level of an XLERATOR 9 dB by reducing air deflection noise but increases the dry time by approximately 3 seconds. You can also turn the motor speed down (turn the knob on the control marked ‘M’ counterclockwise), which can help reduce hand dryer noise. Call us with your serial number and we can determine the best course of action for you.

What is the cleaning and/or maintenance procedure for the dryer unit?

It is recommended to inspect the inside of the dryer and clean at least twice per year. Excessive lint, dust or other particles in the air may require more frequent cleaning. Do not clean the HEPA Filter or allow it to come into contact with water. If you do have a HEPA unit, we recommend inspecting annually.

Besides cleaning, is there any other regular maintenance required?


Hand Dryer Distributor Questions

Please visit our Distributor page.