Drying Hands Matter: The Paper Towel Dispenser

Hand drying in a public restroom is a necessity. If you are including paper towels in your ADA restroom, the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design offers advisory guidelines in Advisory 606.1 General. They must be located within the reach ranges specified in 308: 308.1 Unobstructed or 308.3.2 Obstructed High Reach, depending on where it will be placed. If unobstructed, then the side reach can be 15” to 18” above the floor. If obstructed (by the sink) and the depth is 10”, then the side reach can be 15” to 48”. However, if the depth exceeds 10”, but no more than 24”, then the side reach range is 15” to 46”.

Keep in mind that these dimensions are different for children’s restrooms. They are:

Children’s Reach Ranges
Forward or Side Reach Ages 3 and 4 Ages 5 through 8 Ages 9 through 12
High (maximum) 36” 40” 44”
Low (minimum) 20” 18” 16”

Often when specifying paper towel dispensers for ADA restrooms, the wording is general such as “provide ADA compliant paper towel dispenser.” Surprisingly, paper towel dispensers are most often specified under the Specialties Division. Sometimes the specifications list a specific manufacturer or manufacturer list. At this writing, there were 142 projects in ConstructConnect within the Specialties Division that specified ADA paper towel dispensers for this year. Since most do not contain a specific manufacturer, the field is wide open for product manufacturers to become a basis of design or position their dispenser as THE ones for ADA restrooms.

Choosing the right paper towel dispenser can play a large role in encouraging handwashing and keeping users healthy. Options to look for in paper towel dispensing include systems that can be operated with one hand. Roll or Fold? Folded towel or roll dispensers offer one towel at a time or roll systems with one lever to push down for a preset length of towel. Sensor-operated dispensers are ideal options because they do not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist.


There are many manufacturers of towel dispensers for ADA restrooms. Here are a few to consider.

Bobrick. Bobrick is recognized as an industry leader in well-designed, value-oriented restroom accessories and toilet partitions. Some of the world’s most renowned companies and institutions rely on Bobrick Solutions to reinforce their brands, reduce long-term operating costs and position their organizations for a successful future. You will find a large section dedicated to paper towel dispensers on their website, such as:

American Specialties Inc. (ASI). The ASI Group designs, engineers, and manufactures fully integrated washroom accessories, partitions, lockers, and visual display products from one source. A wide variety of single wall-and-floor mounted paper towel dispensers and dual soap dispensers and paper towel holders are available and include:

Kimberly-Clark Professional. Kimberly-Clark Professional partners with businesses to create Exceptional Workplaces, helping to make them healthier, safer, and more productive. You will find a selection of paper towel holders roll and individual:

Georgia-Pacific Pro is a division of Georgia-Pacific and a leading provider of advanced dispensing solutions for commercial facilities. GP PRO offers a variety of paper towel dispensers and paper towels to help make any restroom or breakroom better, such as:

San Jamar. San Jamar is part of the CFS Brands family. CFS Brands is the parent company of the leading names in foodservice, healthcare and sanitary maintenance. washroom products. For more than 20 years San Jamar has listened and innovated – making your operations smarter, safer and more sanitary. Find out more about San Jamar paper towel dispensers:

Oasis Creations. Oasis Creations, based in Los Angeles, develops and makes high quality products for customers’ across the US. Oasis Creations also offers a range of products for home or office including paper towel dispensers all in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Find out more:

Tork USA. Tork, a part of Essity, offers professional hygiene products and services ranging from restaurants and healthcare facilities to offices, schools and industries. Our products include dispensers, paper towels.  Find out more:

Advance Tabco. Advance Tabco was established in lower Manhattan in 1929 by two brothers from the Ukraine. They have over 6,000 standard products, most of which can be customized to satisfy a customer’s needs including paper towel dispensers. Find out more:

Bradley Corporation. Bradley is one of the most complete and advanced manufacturers for commercial washrooms, and comprehensive solutions for emergency safety and industrial applications. Now in the fifth generation of the Mullett family their continued commitment includes treating customers and employees like family.  Find out more:

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