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Automatic Hand Dryers vs Push Button Hand Dryers

Back in the days where technology is not as it is right now, there were no so much options. If you wanted a Automatic Hand Dryers (or hand drier for some other countries), you got a push button, cast iron dryer, and it did the job. It was during the 1980’s that hand dryers began appearing in automatic versions, having infra-red sensors that detected the presence of hands under the dryer’s nozzle.     


There are big advantages of using Automatic Hand Dryers.   The first in its advantages is that it is hygienic to use. When using an automatic hand dryer you don’t have to touch it, reducing the possible spread of germs that could be left on the dryer.  Another advantage of an automatic dryer is that it has low power or energy consumption for you only use it for as long as you need it.  Many traditional push button hand dryers’ timers are set for 30 seconds.  But the user may opt to leave after only 10 seconds of drying, wasting the energy used for the rest of the cycle. Another user might want to dry his hands for 35 seconds, wasting almost an entire second push of the button. 

With these clear advantages, you would assume that all new hand dryers would be automatic.  Yet upon looking,  a large portion of our sales are still push button.  Why are people remain purchasing push button hand driers? 

One reason, many of the specifications out there are left over from years ago, when hand driers came in only one flavour.  Push button may have worked for you in the past and you don’t see any reason to change that now.  

Another reason is that there is a perception that mechanical push button dryers are more durable and easier to fix than electronic sensors.  Admittedly, when sensors were first introduced, they were less reliable than the tried and tested push-button timers because the eyes could be either too sensitive, going off simply by the reflection of light against the surface below (a problem known as “ghosting”), or not sensitive enough, not activating the dryer at all possibly cause by having it in a particularly bright environment that is not friendly to an electronic sensor.  

Also, the first generation of sensors had short life spans. It needed to be replaced too often. 

However, as mentioned above technology now is not what it was those times. Electronic technology has improved, the sensors and their circuit boards which were the problems before in a sensor working hand dryer is now some of the most reliable components in the dryer. 

Of course, it is imaginable to encounter some problems with sensors, nonetheless mechanical push button timers can also have problems with the timer or the push button itself. Whichever case, a simple fix is usually available by replacing a couple parts. 

Based on my experience, sensors, that have fewer moving parts compare to push buttons, are more reliable.  The sensor usually costs more than push button dryer however you should be able to make up the difference in energy savings.  

The main reason, most likely,  why a lot of push button hand dryers are still purchased is that some people think that they are not as easy to vandalize as motion-sensor hand dryers. It is because some vandals will try to damage the automatic sensor  by scratching it or putting gum on it.

The sensor eye is designed to resist scratching, and even a scratched or partly covered sensor will still work, but it could affect its performance because n matter how durable a product is it still possible to do some damage if one were to really work at it. Moreover dryers are programed to stop running after a period of time if the sensor is blocked, the substance needs to be removed from the dryer by a maintenance person. 

Then again a push button can also be vandalized, but maybe not as easily. It sometimes happens that you will see the button itself sprung out from the cover. This happens when the clip holding it in place pops out. This can be fixed by purchasing a new clip.

Having it all said, I believe that the hygiene and convenience that an automatic dryer can provide is what most of us want and need. I would always recommend the automatic over push button because no one wants to touch anything in the restroom and even I, myself, dislike the idea of touching those buttons.  

As new dryers are come out, you will notice that they are the automatic versions.  Sooner or later, there will be no more push button hand dryers.  Though, at the present time they are still popular and you may find for whatever reason, that they are right for your preference.