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An electric hand dryer that actually dries hands...really!

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Dyson Airblade

As someone who picks paper towels over electric hand dryers every time, I never would have expected to find a dryer that I not only want to use, but actually want to talk about too. Until, that is, I discovered the Dyson Airblade™ at San Francisco International Airport a few weeks ago. (Before this, the only electric hand dryer for which I’d developed even a slight fondness was one I saw in Australia—and that was only because it was adorned with an illustration of a kangaroo drying its hands while chatting with a cassowary.)

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Unfortunately I can’t claim to be turning you on to something new, as the Airblade has been around since 2006. But it’s a product that really works, and I think that always deserves mention.

Enchanted by the Airblade, I wanted to know more about its inner workings, and I was fascinated by what I learned. The Airblade shoots unheated air at 400 MPH (!) through two openings that are only 0.3 mm wide, which has the effect, according to the company website, of “scraping water from hands like a windshield wiper.” Those air sheets start out as the air hanging around the dryer. When they’re sucked into action, they’re sent through a HEPA filter for cleaning and then sent over the dryer’s electronics to cool the components before making their swift exit.

Because it does not rely on heating the air it expels, the Airblade apparently uses less energy (up to 80% less, according to Dyson) than conventional hand dryers. While I cannot personally verify that claim, I can certainly attest to some of the product’s other claims: The Dyson Airblade works faster and more thoroughly than any other hand dryer I’ve used. Next time you see one, try it out!

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