Integrating Hand Dryers into ADA Restrooms

Hand drying is part of every restroom. While designing your ADA restroom, there are basically three options on how to handle hand drying: paper towels, warm-air dryer or jet dryer (or a mix of each).

If you are including hand dyers in your ADA restroom, the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design does not specifically mention hand dryers. However, the reach ranges and mounting heights criteria must be met. First, the hand dryer must be accessible for both right-handed and left-handed users. This allows for various wheelchair approaches in the restroom.

The reach ranges are 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 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”.

If there are any operable parts, users should be able to operate them with no more than 5 lbs. of force and not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. Plus, the entire unit cannot extend out more than 4”.

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 hand dryers for ADA restrooms, the wording is general such as “provide ADA compliant hand dryer.” Surprisingly, hand dryers are most often specified under the Specialties Division. Sometimes the specifications list a specific manufacturer or manufacturer list. At this writing, there were 535 projects in ConstructConnect within the Specialty Division that specified ADA toilets 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 hand dryer as THE ones for ADA restrooms.

Choosing the hand dryer can play a large role in encouraging hand hygiene. It’s always important to look at the location of the hand dryer and make sure a wheelchair user can fit through the area and also have room to extend arms under the dryer.


There are many manufacturers of hand dryers for ADA restrooms. Here are a few to consider.

Excel Dryer. Excel Dryer has been manufacturing American-made hand dryers for more than 50 years. The family-owned and -operated company revolutionized the industry with the invention of the patented XLERATOR® Hand Dryer that created the high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryer category and set a new standard for performance, reliability, and customer satisfaction. A selection of Excel Dryer products can be found on their website.

Here are some examples:

World Dryer. Since 1951, World Dryer, based in Berkeley, IL, is on a never-ending mission to build solutions upon customers’ challenges and insights without compromising the pillars of safety, sanitation, performance, and compliance. World Dryer is now part of the Zurn product portfolio.

Here are some examples:

American Specialties Inc. (ASI). The ASI Group designs, engineers, and manufactures fully integrated washroom accessories, partitions, lockers, and visual display products from one source. This includes hand dryers.

Here are some examples:

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 section dedicated to hand dryers on their website.

Here are some examples:

  • Bobrick 7128115V TrimLine ADA Automatic Hand Dryer . Patented dual-flow parallax ducts project air, ensuring fast and comfortable hand drying. Touch-free, auto-sensor turns dryer on immediately after hands are placed within proximity and off immediately after hands are removed. With a maximum noise of 73 dBA, this unit provides an excellent balance between quiet operation and task efficiency. ADA-Compliant, barrier-free design results in excellent, “from-wall” projection.
  • Bobrick ADA Recessed Automatic Hand Dryer 110/120V. Bobrick’s New Recessed B-3725 Hand Dryer features a contemporary low-profile design, is ADA compliant and splash-resistant. With a 17 second dry time and 70 dBA sound level, this dryer meets the needs of modern facilities.

Dyson. Dyson Ltd is a British technology company established in the United Kingdom by Sir James Dyson in 1991. It designs and manufactures household appliances such as vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, hand dryers, bladeless fans, heaters, hair dryers, and lights. Their hand dryers can be found on their website.

Here are some examples:

  • Dyson 307173-01 Air Blade V HU02-W-LV Hand Dryer. The newly re-engineered Air blade “V,” the HU02, is now 30% quieter, but still has a fast dry time due to an air aperture redesign and reprogrammed v4 motor. ADA compliant and surface mounted. The innovative back plate design allows the dryer to be detached from the wall for more convenient servicing and filter changes, meeting the needs of modern restrooms.
  • Dyson Airblade 9kJ HEPA Filtered Hand Dryer High Voltage 200-240V. With a curved blade design, and the option to switch between two modes, this is the quietest Dyson Air blade hand dryer yet. Featuring a small carbon footprint and hygienic air drying technology. Costs just $19 per year to run in Eco mode. Create extra space in your washroom with the Dyson Airblade!

Mitsubishi. With  nearly  100  years  of  experience  in  providing  reliable,  high-quality  products,  Mitsubishi  Electric  Corp. is a recognized world leader in the manufacture, marketing and sales of electrical and electronic equipment used in information processing and communications, space development and satellite communications, consumer electronics, industrial technology, energy, transportation and building equipment. Find out more about Mitsubishi hand dryers on their website.

Here are some examples:

  • Mitsubishi JT-SB116JH2-S-NA Jet Towel Slim Hand Dryer. The Mitsubishi Jet Towel JT-SB116JH2-S-NA is designed to be a high-speed drying, low-noise, and energy-saving. The high impact ABS resin panels that create the exterior surfaces of this attractive, user-friendly unit are like modern color-molded car bumpers.
  • Mitsubishi Jet Towel Mini JT-MC106G-W-NA. The High-speed Hand Dryer delivers a quick and quiet user experience through new wave-shaped nozzles. The dryer offers a stylish design combined with convenience and cost-performance.

Blue Dry. Blue Dry offers a range of Hand Dryers to suit any washroom application. Find out more on their website.

Saniflow. Saniflow Corp., a division of Mediclinics S.A., offers a wide range of products for commercial washrooms in North America since 2003.  Saniflow offer fast, eco-friendly, and versatile hand dryer models, offering the perfect solution to any washroom or commercial restroom application. Find out more on their website.

Here are some examples:

  • Saniflow E88A Automatic Hand Dryer. The powerful Saniflow E88A Automatic Hand Dryer features an aluminum base and a universal motor. The E88A also includes a waved wire NiCr heating element that incorporates a safety thermostat and an adjustable IR electronic detection senor. The cover is fixed to the base with two vandal-proof lock screws.
  • Saniflow Dualflow Plus M14ACS Automatic ABS Silver Satin Hand Dryer. The Saniflow Dualflow Plus M14ACS Automatic ABS Silver Satin Hand Dryer is a high speed, surface mounted, upright U-shaped designed washroom hand dryer. The Duraflow Plus M14ACS features Innovative hands-in design, 2 IR sensors on both sides of the product for instant hands detection, and is motor power adjustable, easily drying hands in only 10 -15 seconds (high speed). Suitable for medium and high traffic facilities, with easy maintenance.

Sloan Valve. Sloan is a leading manufacturer of commercial plumbing systems and has been in operation since 1906. Headquartered in Franklin Park, Illinois, the company is at the forefront of the green building movement and provides sustainable restroom solutions by manufacturing water-efficient products such as flush valves, electronic faucets, and soap dispensing systems, sink systems and vitreous china fixtures for commercial, industrial and institutional markets worldwide. Find out more about Sloan wall-mounted hand dryers on their website.

Here are some examples:

  • Sloan 3366050 Sensor Activated Hand Dryer. Sloan XLerator Sensor Activated Hand Dryer. ADA compliant Surface mounted Hygienic, hands free.
  • SLOAN 3366053 Optima Hand Dryer. Sloan Valve 220/240 volt, 6.5 amps, 1560 watts, chrome surface mounted electronic hand dryer with hands-free infrared sensor. The ultra-fast drying Sloan Valve XLerator hand dryer completely dries hands in 10-15 seconds. This hand dryer features a 35-second lockout, an air velocity of 16,000 LFM, and a 78-80 dB decibel rating.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>