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Elementary Schools, Middle Schools, High Schools

School hand dryer
One of the AirMax hand dryers that Restroom Direct provided for Hough High
 - a new high school in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School District.

Hand Dryers are used in a large percentage of schools in the United States - more and more all of the time.  Restroom Direct supplies a number of school systems, including some that have switched their entire systems from paper towels to hand dryers.  Below we will talk about the best hand dryers for schools.

The hand dryer proposition is very attractive to schools for a number of reasons:
  1. Cost.  With the high cost of paper towels and the shrinking budgets of school systems, many schools simply cannot afford to keep their restrooms stocked with towels.
  2. Hygiene.  We have heard the following from a number of teachers: "Thank you so much for putting in hand dryers.  We are always out of paper towels and the kids need some way to dry their hands."
  3. Vandalism:  Many hand dryers are made to withstand serious vandalism.  Many of the most vandal-prone schools use hand dryers to lessen the opportunities for vandalism in the rest room.
  4. Litter.  Kids love to throw paper towels around the restrooms - and into the sinks and toilets.
  5. Environment.  Hand dryers are better for the environment when compared to paper towels.  (We'll write another post about that soon with details.)
Which hand dryers are the best for schools?
By our estimation, the number one hand dryer used in elementary, middle and high schools in the US is the World Dryer Model A hand dryer. 
  World Dryer Model A
There are three main reasons for the popularity of this hand dryer. 

  1. The Model A with the cast iron cover, either the push button, A5 series hand dryer (such as the A5-974) or automatic, XA5 series (such as the the XA5-974 is built specifically with vandalism in mind and very difficult to vandalize.  The cast iron cover is literally bullet proof and the porcelain enamel coating over the cover (like an old fashioned bath tub) is nearly scratch-proof.  This product has undergone many tests throughout the years both in schools and the lab to make sure it is resistant to pretty much anything a teenage mind can think up.  Some schools swear by the push button, others use the automatic.  We like the automatic.  (See: push button vs automatic hand dryers.) 
  2. The Model A is durable and reliable.  This hand dryer comes with a 10 year warranty, but often lives a life of more than 20 years.  The Model A hand dryer can take a lot use without having to worry about it.  It should be cleaned out once or twice a year, depending on use, the motor brushes need to be replaced every 4 years or so, and other than that there is not much much to do. 
  3. The Model A drys hands quickly and efficiently.  It's not a high speed hand dryer, but it is a solid, good hand dryer that is faster than many.

The second most popular World Dryer hand dryer for schools, is the AirMax hand dryer.
  AirMax Hand Dryer
The AirMax is also our top pick for schools and we sell more AirMax hand dryers to schools than Model A's.  The AirMax is a high speed hand dryer.  It dries hands in 15 seconds and is about twice as fast as the Model A.  The AirMax is identical to the Model A with the exception of the motor (and a couple of other parts) which runs about twice as fast.  So you get all of the benefits of the Model A listed above, but also the high speed.  A high speed hand dryer not only is nicer to use, but it is more likely that the user will dry their hands more thoroughly (so it is more hygienic), it gets more people through the restroom with fewer dryers, and it is more energy efficient.  In this case the AirMax draws the same amount of electricity as the Model A, yet since it dries hands about twice as fast, it uses about half the energy. 

There are two other differences to be aware of with the AirMax:
  1. The warranty on the motor is 5 years instead of 10 years since it runs faster.  (The rest of the warranty is the same)  From our experience, the motors seem to last just as long, however.
  2. The AirMax is louder than the Model A.  Therefore if you are in a noise-sensitive area, close to a classroom for example, then you are you might want to stick with the Model A, which is pretty quiet.

The Excel Dryer Xlerator hand dryer is another popular choice in schools.
Xlerator hand dryer schools

The Xlerator is very efficient and a little faster than the AirMax (about 12 seconds vs about 15 seconds).  The Xlerator acts like an air hose, blowing the water off of hands.  It is a little rougher, but most people really enjoy using it.  It is also louder, and if the hand dryer is very close to a classroom or a hallway, then it may not be ideal.  (A noise reduction nozzle is available to lower the noise level - bringing the dry time down a little).  The Xlerator comes with a 5 year warranty.  The construction and the cover material options are not as durable as bullet-proof cast iron covers, but it is a reliable dryer with a good maintenance record.  Standard option for schools is the XL-W
Xlerator XL-W hand dryer white

with a zinc die-cast cover with in white porcelain enamel finish.  The stainless steel cover (XL-SB) is the best looking, best for vandalism and most expensive.
Xlerator Stainless XL-SB Hand Dryer
         XL-SB Stainless

The Nova hand dryers are popular with many schools, and have been a standard in Canadian schools for many year.

The Nova 4,
Nova 4 hand dryer
with it's indestructible cast iron cover is the most popular in schools.  These are only sensor-activated, automatic hand dryers. The Nova 4 also comes with a top-knock-out option
for wiring from the ceiling - model 0512.

  The Nova 5
Nova 5 Hand Dryer
  has the same motor as the Nova 4.  It comes with an aluminum cover and can be either push button or automatic.  These have nice, quiet induction motors.

You should be aware of the durability of hand dryers before you purchase them for schools.
  Look at the warranty period as a good indicator.  Because of budget constraints, some schools purchase dryers that are not made for high use (and are also on the slow side).  Resist the temptation to skimp on quality for cost - you will pay for it in the end when you have to replace and repair these units - not just in the cost of the unit, but also in the cost of re-installing them, (most warranties do not cover labor) and in down-time.