Choosing a Hand Dryer

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

When it comes to hand dryer performance, choosing the best product depends on the specifics of your application. The main hand dryer features you’ll want to consider include: speed, efficiency, power, sound, appearance, maintenance, cost and warranty. While a new, energy-efficient hand dryer might cost more upfront when compared to paper towels, it will be more beneficial and cost effective in the long run, especially when purchasing hand dryers for venues and other large facilities. You should also consider the warranty of the product and whether it is an ADA compliant hand dryer.

Consider how many guests will be using your hand dryer every day. The XLERATOR hand dryer has an 8-second* dry time, making it ideal for busy restrooms where a longer dry time may cause congestion. The XLERATOR eco hand dryer has a slightly longer dry time given its no-heat technology, which provides energy savings and the ability to have two hand dryers on one dedicated circuit. An affordable option for smaller restrooms with less traffic, our ThinAir Hand Dryer has a 14-second* dry time and a slimmer profile to meet ADA compliance standards. Both the XLERATOR and XLERATOReco have 7-year limited warranties, while ThinAir has a 5-year limited warranty. Review a comparison chart of our hand dryers and find the right model for your specific needs.

Can I customize my hand dryer to match the restroom?

Absolutely. All Excel hand dryers have many cover options. XLERATOR/XLERATOReco options include white thermoset resin, white painted, graphite textured paint, brushed stainless steel, chrome, special paint options and custom covers. We offer custom hand dryers with custom cover 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 set your hand dryer into the restroom wall slightly for an ADA-compliant bathroom; and XChanger Kits, to completely replace a paper towel and waste receptacle wall unit. When customizing your hand dryer, you can opt for a painted Recess Kit or XChanger Kit to match it.

How much does a hand dryer cost?

In the USA, Excel Dryer’s hand dryer pricing ranges from $370 to $1,075 per unit, depending on the model, cover type and features selected.

Are hand dryers a more cost-effective option than paper towels?

Hands down: yes! Operating an XLERATOR Hand Dryer costs only $0.50 per 1,000 dries, while, on average, paper towels cost $23 per 1,000 dries—and it stands to reason. 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.

In fact, switching from paper towels to an Excel Dryer product represents a typical 95% cost savings. Don’t believe it? Use our Cost and Environmental Savings Calculator to determine the cost of hand dryers vs. paper towels and see how much money your facility can save, how quickly you can achieve your payback and how much you can reduce your environmental impact by switching from paper towels to an Excel Dryer product.

How environmentally friendly are hand dryers? 

Because paper towels generate a lot of carbon emissions and waste over the course of their life cycle, hand dryers are a significantly greener option. In fact, switching from paper to XLERATOR reduces a facility’s hand drying carbon footprint by up to 75%. High-speed hand dryers that use room temperature air, like the XLERATOReco environmentally friendly commercial hand dryer, are the most energy-efficient and produce the least amount of carbon dioxide emissions. As an added bonus, Excel Dryer’s high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryers help facilities qualify for the most LEED v4 credits of any hand dryer on the market.

It’s important to note that not all hand dryers are created equal. Does it make sense for your facility to make the investment to go green with hand dryers? One way to evaluate a hand dryer in terms of sustainability is 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. Excel Hand Dryer was the first hand dryer manufacturer to publish verified, third party EPD certifications.

Hand Dryers & Hygiene

Are hand dryers hygienic?

Yes! Excel Dryer is committed to manufacturing hygienic, sustainable and cost-effective hand dryers. Hands-under, high-speed, energy-efficient hand drying is a highly sanitary method for drying hands after washing.

We care about educating users on the topic of hygiene, especially hand dryer hygiene! Our Hygiene Resource Page features independent third-party resources on hand hygiene including scientific studies, articles, blogs and more. One study is especially important to point out: in 2020, a scoping review conducted by researchers from the University of Arizona determined that hand dryers are hygienic. In analyzing widespread hygiene findings, researchers found:

  • MOST studies are biased, incomplete and/or do not duplicate real-world scenarios.
  • There is no science that backs up a statement that hand dryers are unhygienic and/or that paper is more hygienic than hand dryers.
  • The researchers concluded: “…the breadth of scientific data does not support a uniform conclusion as to which drying method is safer or more hygienic.”

Also, see information on our hygiene systems and accessories including our HEPA hand dryer and Antimicrobial Wall Guards.

What are the hygienic benefits of hand dryers over paper towels?

Paper towels are not as hygienic as one might believe. According to an independent third-party study by the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), unused paper towels made from recycled fibers are home to between 100 to 1,000-fold more bacteria than a wood pulp brand—and these could even be the flu virus, Bacillus or E. coli, the main cause of food poisoning.

Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water is important to stop the spread of germs. The Mayo Clinic found that there are no differences in the efficiencies of removing bacteria from washed hands when hands are dried using paper towels, cloth towels, warm forced air or spontaneous evaporation.

Do hand dryers help protect against COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), general airborne transmission of COVID-19 is unlikely, and most infections are spread through close contact. Similarly, the World Health Organization (WHO) says COVID primarily spreads by respiratory droplets among people who are in close contact with each other.

However, in consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic and heightened public concern, Excel Dryer promptly took scientific measures to determine and prove our products’ defense against viruses:

  • We contracted LMS Technologies, a preeminent air media and filter testing company, to conduct viral filtration efficiency testing on the XLERATOR Hand Dryer.
  • This testing challenged the HEPA Filtration System with approximately 380 million viruses released into an air chamber. The result was the HEPA Filtration System removed 99.999% of viruses from the airstream!
  • XLERATOR Hand Dryers with HEPA filtration were also proven to remove 99.97% of potentially present bacteria at 0.3 microns from the air stream.

Rest assured: no touch, sensor-activated, hands-under, high-speed, energy-efficient hand drying is a hygienic method for drying hands after washing.

Why doesn’t a HEPA filtration system come standard with XLERATOR/XLERATOReco/ThinAir, rather than being optional?

Every dryer from Excel is a hygienic hand drying solution, but those with HEPA provide an additional 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 to upgrade, 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 the 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, as it is unnecessary for hygiene purposes. UV light is most effective in killing germs on smooth, flat surfaces and requires five, ten, even 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.

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, especially if either may have been exposed to contagion.

Hand Dryer Specification and Installation

How much does it cost to install a hand dryer?

The cost of installing a hand dryer can vary depending on the electrician. While we highly recommend that the installation is done by a licensed electrician, this video showing how to install your XLERATOR and XLERATOReco Hand Dryers may be a helpful resource.

How close can a hand dryer be to a sink?

In general, a hand dryer should be mounted at least 24” away from basins and 20” away from corners. However, market offerings are constantly evolving into innovative solutions—check out the DI13 Sink System featuring the XLERATORsync® Hand Dryer. The sink system includes fixtures to wash and dry hands all in one space.  

How does a hand dryer sensor work?

A hand dryer’s sensor emits a constant ray of infrared light that is invisible to the human eye. When your hands move into the path of the light, it deflects back to the hand dryer unit, triggering the sensor and turning the hand dryer on.

Normal operation is indicated by a red LED being on when not drying, and off when motion is detected under the sensor. Most XLERATOR and ThinAir models’ sensor lights will flash codes when maintenance is required.

How hot does a hand dryer get?

Hand dryers usually generate heat up to 50°F above ambient temperature.

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 to be placed around the cover at the wall. The Model XL-BW is best suited as it resists condensation from colder overnight temperatures. As always, the installation should comply with national and local electrical codes.

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 hand 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 hand 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 hand dryer version?

The 230-V is used in Europe and tested to CE standards rather than UL standards.

How many watts does a hand dryer use? 

  • Our XLERATOR Hand Dryer comes in three different specifications: 1,240–1,450 watts; 1,160–1,490 watts; and 1410 watts.
  • Our XLERATOReco Hand Dryer comes in three different specifications: 460–530 watts, 425–500 watts and 500 Watts
  • Our ThinAir Hand Dryer comes in three different specifications: 770–915 watts, 735–950 watts and 890 watts.

Can I put a heating element into an XLERATOReco Hand Dryer?

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

Hand Dryer Maintenance and Troubleshooting

How long do hand dryers last?

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

Where is the serial number of my hand 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.

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. We have videos showing how to remove your XLERATOR hand dryer cover, and how to remove your ThinAir hand dryer cover that may be helpful.

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

You cannot switch off the power on your Excel Dryer hand dryer, as it 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.

Why doesn’t my hand 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 hand dryer have any heat?

In some cases, the hand dryer is not meant to dispense hot air—for example, an XLERATOReco has no heating element and will not dispense hot air.

If you do not have an XLERATOReco, 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; contact us for further assistance.

Why is my hand dryer blowing with half its original power?

Check for cracks in the plastic housing, the nozzle, 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; contact us for further assistance.

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; contact us for further assistance.

How do I make my hand dryer quieter?

Newer models have adjustable sound and heat controls. Removing the cover will allow you to adjust the speed, heat or sensor height using the three knobs on the control assembly. View our video showing how to adjust the motor speed, sound, heat, and sensor range on your hand dryer. For older models, the option is to change the nozzle.
All XLERATOR models with a .8” standard nozzle (black) operate at 65 to 75 decibels (dB), 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 volume of an XLERATOR by 9 dB by reducing air deflection noise but it will also increase the dry time by approximately three 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. Contact 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 hand dryer unit?

It is recommended that you inspect the inside of the dryer and clean it at least twice per year. If there is excessive lint, dust or other particles in the air, it 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 my hand dryer, is there any other regular maintenance required?

No. Cleaning is the only regular maintenance your hand dryer needs.

Hand Dryer Distributor Questions

Contact us if you would like to become a hand dryer distributor.