How to choose the best hand dryers - Part 1

Updated: Nov 9

This is an educational blog series for hand dryer buyers about the important factors to keep in mind while buying hand dryers.

In this first part of the blog series, we will concentrate on the motors. The motor is the heart of the hand dryer. Motor plays a vital role in hand dryer's performance and usually is the costliest part of the hand dryer. Having a heavy duty motor is vital for long operational life of the hand dryer as a bad quality motor can result in high repairing costs and down time and frustration for users.

There are many hand dryers available at different price points from Rs 2000 to Rs 1,00,000. What makes some hand dryers so cheap and others so expensive? What is the difference between these hand dryers? Usually, among other reasons, the major difference is the motor.

Lets have a look at the different types of motors used in hand dryers:

1) Brushless DC motors (expensive, good air speed)

2) Capacitor or induction AC motors (inexpensive, slow air speed)

3) Brushed Universal Motors (moderately expensive, good air speed)

4) Brushed DC motors - Rarely used in hand dryers these days

* Operational life of these motors will depend on their quality.

Universal Brushed Motors

These motors are called universal motors as they can work on AC as well as DC voltage. As you might have guessed, the brushed universal motors are most widely used motors in hand dryers as they provide best of both the worlds - good air speeds and cost efficiency. Below are some pictures of good quality brushed motors. These motors use special type of steel for stampings and construction, has UL certification which guarantees quality and safety as they are tested by an independent laboratory, thermal cut-off device to prevent overheating and big carbon brushes (minimum 1 inch in length).

The through flow vacuum brushed motor are usually used in vacuum cleaners but they have found application in high speed hand dryers. The traditional carbon brushed motor are also widely used. The through flow vacuum motors have RPM in excess of 20,000 RPM and the brushed motors have RPM in the range of 8000-15000 RPM.

Brushless DC (BLDC) motors

As the name suggests, these motors do not have carbon brushes for commutation. They use hall effect sensors and electronics for commutation. This motor is accompanied by a control PCB as shown in the picture below. The speed in these motors is not limited by friction of the carbon brushes and can be switched even thousands of times per second to provide high RPM which is not possible with other motors. This motor is also known by other names like digital motor or switched reluctance motor but they have the same working principle.

BLDC motor for hand dryer
BLDC motor with control circuit