Hand Dryers – Airforce vs Airblade

 04/02/2013

These two hand dryer brands have become the two bestselling hand dryers in the UK, so which is better?

We all like something a little bit different and although the Airforce hand dryer has a unique multi-jet airflow drying system, it’s still a hands under dryer. The Dyson Airblade on the other hand, literally turned hand drying upside-down!
Dyson created a new and innovative way of drying hands that made going to the bathroom a more interesting experience, well Mitsubishi did in 1993 but let’s not worry about.

So the Dyson is cool but does it actually perform better than the Airforce?

Yes, despite the manufacturers stating similar dry times, the Dyson Airblade will dry you hands every time in 13-14 seconds and with lower water concentrations in as little as 10 seconds, the Airforce on the other hand will realistically take 20 to 25 seconds to consistently dry hands, of course this will impact on Energy efficiency.

Which is the more energy efficient hand dryer?

The Airforce hand dryer is rated at 1.1kw and consumes around 3.66 watts in a 10-12 second cycle whereas the Dyson Airblade is 1.6kw rated and uses 4.44kw per dry in the same time. Realistically, the dry times will be shorter with the Airblade so when this is factored in, it will become marginally more energy efficient than the Airforce. The difference is really negligible in terms of potential cost savings and will never cover the difference in price of the two machines.

Which creates the least noise?

The Airforce Mark III is quieter than its predecessors at 79db and the new Airblade DB emits 80db. A 5db change is clearly noticeable and 10db would be twice as loud, so the difference between the Airblade DB and the Airforce is negligible. The Airforce noise levels seems to amplify more than blade style dryers, the same is alos true of the Dyson V blade which appears particularly loud in situ.

City traffic is around 85db and 79db is equivalent to a telephone ring tone. Both hand dryers are about average for low energy, high speed models although there are much quieter models like the Mitsubishi jet towel.

Noise becomes a  factor if the wash room leads onto somewhere where noise can cause disturbance or the walls are thin. Noisy hand dryers can be an issue for young children, the elderly and people suffering from particular conditions too.

Which is most Hygienic?

The Dyson Airblade and Airforce hand dryer both have antibacterial coating on the plastics and are touch free operation. It can be argued that the Airblade surfaces are more likely to be touched due to drying method, some have argued this creates cross contamination points. The HEPA filter on the Dyson airblade means the airflow is filtered of particles over 0.3 microns to 99.9%, however this effect will reduce as the HEPA filter becomes older and more dust and debris are trapped. The major drawback of the Dyson is that its U-bend has no drainage system, so they tend to gather with skin, hairs and dirt from other users who may not have cleaned their hands properly. If the U bend is not regularly cleaned out it looks unsightly and this debris can blow around. The water also forms around the parameter of the dryer, which rather negates a major point to having a large, ‘hands in dryer’

Airforce hand dryers have no HEPA filter and the skin and hair drop to the floor which is more likely to be cleaned by the staff (hopefully).

Price

The new AB14 Airblade DB model will cost you about £640, the Airforce hand dryer around half this, you then have to add on the fact that the Dyson Airblade is likely to cost you a lot more to install if you are using an electrician. Dyson are very expensive to repair if something goes wrong on them outside the 1 year service guarantee, whereas World Dryer offer a complete 3 year on site guarantee on the Airforce hand dryer.

Ease of installation

The Airblade wins hands down here. Ask any installer and ‘blade’ style hand dryers are a pain in comparison with something so lightweight and compact as an Airforce hand dryer.

Verdict

It really depends on your budget? If you have £650 to £750 including fitting to spend on a hand dryer then the new Dyson Airblade DB is a great peace of kit, although it does have flaws. Otherwise choose an Airforce or one of the many even better performing, more energy efficient, quieter and much cheaper options.

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