Oh, Dyson—the Apple of appliances. They’re the only company we can think of that’s managed to convince us that fans, vacuum cleaners and hand dryers are, in reality, incredibly cool—and well worth the extra money that Dyson models tend to cost over conventional  versions.

But are they actually worth it? No one’s going to come to your restaurant strictly on the coolness of your hand dryers, so there has to be a real cost saving to justify your investment.

How does the Dyson Airblade stack up?

Believe it or not, it’s hard to find objective information on this topic. Studies paid for by dryer companies point out that air dryers—Airblade or otherwise—have a lower long-term cost and smaller overall environmental impact than paper towels. (Paper towels made from non-recycled paper, especially, are energy and money gobblers.) Paper towel companies retaliate by pointing out the most hot air dryers dry hands too slowly, leading patrons to exit the washroom with damp hands—creating a favourable environment for bacteria growth and a less-than-pleasant user experience.

So where does the Airblade come into all this? Well, again, there’s not a lot of objective data out there, but what Dyson’s got on its website is pretty impressive.

Fast and environmentally friendly? Really?

Because the Airblade works more efficiently than a standard hot-air dryer, it dries hands in about 12 seconds—as opposed to over 40 seconds for conventional models. It also uses up to 80% less energy than a traditional dryer, meaning it costs less to run AND has a lower carbon footprint than either other dryers or paper towels. (You can take a look at Dyson’s savings calculator here.) Finally, the Airblade uses a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, so you’re not drying your hands in dirty bathroom air.

So what’s the drawback to a Dyson?

In a word: cost. Airblades cost a lot more in the short-term than a standard hot-air dryer or paper towels. A small Airblade (suitable for a restaurant or other lower-traffic facilities) sells for between $1,014 and $1,354, whereas a standard hot air dryer will run about $450.

That being said, running an Airblade costs less: $91 less per year than a conventional dryer, and $1,428 less than paper towels.

So is a Dyson worth it?

The bottom line? If you’re looking at purchasing an air dryer to replace paper towels, an Airblade is worth the investment. If you’re replacing your existing hot air dryer because it’s breaking down, getting an AirBlade is also worth it—but it likely isn’t worth replacing a functioning hot air dryer with an Airblade simply based on potential cost-savings.

Do you have an Airblade in your facility? What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Image credit: eric fox1