Considerations for choosing a hand dryer for an office environment are going to depend on the following factors, to name a few:
• the type of office
• the number of people
• are there staggered break times
In a busy office with a loud sales team (eg the trading floor of a stock exchange), you would expect a high degree of traffic with steady flow (no major rush at any one time, for example breaks or lunch – money never sleeps remember!) and a high level of noise.
The noise from a hand dryer is going to matter a lot less than it would for example in the office toilets of a law library or next to a recording studio.
Noise level, measured in decibels (dB), will vary depending on several factors. The motor generates a lot of noise but this can be quite insignificant to the noise generated by the air hitting the user’s hands which can be more then 10dB louder than the hand dryer on its own without hands obstructing the air stream. Of course the hand dryer with no hands in place is pointless and defeating its purpose so this extra level of noise is unavoidable. The noise from the hand dryer motor itself is likely to carry through walls more than the noise of the users hands due to the vibrations from the fan motor and the unit being firmly attached to the wall. These will vary depending on the construction of the wall. It is best practice not to locate a dryer on a wall adjacent to an office as it will surely carry through the wall unless you use some sort of acoustically insulating board behind the dryer or inside the wall.
The speed of hand dryer you choose will have to suit the footfall in the washroom. For a busy office with peak periods at certain times of the day, (eg lunch/ break etc) you will need a dryer with a high speed and quick drying time to avoid a bottleneck in the washrooms at the hand dryers.
For an office with low footfall at steady periods throughout the day, where disruption from noise is going to be an issue, you would be better choosing a quieter dryer without a high speed jet of air (since this is what causes most of the noise). A good drying time can be achieved using a heating element and high volume of air.
Some recommended dryers are going to be:
• Low traffic
• Low noise
• Low Budget
• High peak traffic