Why Are Hand Dryers So Loud (& How To Fix Them)

Hand dryers are a common sight in public restrooms, but have you ever wondered, “Why are hand dryers so loud?

Hand dryers are loud due to the high-speed air flow they generate to dry hands efficiently. The noise is produced by the air being forced out of the dryer at high speed, which creates a loud, rushing sound. To mitigate this, consider installing sound-absorbing materials around the dryer or opting for models designed to operate more quietly. 

This article will delve into the reasons behind the high decibel levels of these devices and provide practical solutions on how to soundproof loud hand dryers.

We’ll explore the mechanics of hand dryers, understand why they generate such a racket, and then guide you through some effective soundproofing techniques.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to make your restroom experience a little more peaceful. So let’s dive in and turn down the volume on those noisy hand dryers!

Why Are Hand Dryers So Loud?

Hand dryers are loud due to the powerful air blowers they use. The noise is caused by the high-speed fan motors and air turbulence. To reduce the noise, manufacturers can invest in quieter motor technology and design better sound insulation. Regular maintenance also helps in keeping hand dryers quieter.

How Hand Dryers Work

Hand dryers operate by drawing in air from the environment, heating it, and then blowing it out at high speed to evaporate the water on your hands. This process is facilitated by a high-powered motor that forces air through a small opening, creating a strong airflow.

Role of High-Powered Motors

The high-powered motors in hand dryers are responsible for generating this strong airflow. However, these motors also produce a significant amount of noise. The faster the motor spins, the louder the noise it generates. Therefore, hand dryers designed to dry hands quickly tend to be louder due to their faster motor speeds.

Impact of Bathroom Acoustics

Another factor contributing to the loudness of hand dryers is the acoustics of the bathroom itself. Bathrooms are often enclosed spaces with hard surfaces such as tiles and mirrors. These surfaces can reflect sound waves, causing them to bounce around the room and amplify the noise produced by the hand dryer.

The Impact of Loud Hand Dryers

Loud hand dryers can have a significant impact on our daily lives. Let’s delve into the specifics:

Potential Harm to Hearing

Prolonged exposure to loud noises can lead to hearing damage. Hand dryers often operate at high decibel levels, which can be harmful if one is exposed to them regularly and for extended periods.

Effect on User Perception

The noise produced by hand dryers can also affect how users perceive the device. A loud hand dryer can be seen as unpleasant or disruptive, especially in quiet environments like offices or libraries. This negative perception could discourage people from using hand dryers, defeating their purpose of promoting hygiene.

Understanding Noise Levels

Noise levels are typically measured in units called decibels (dB). This unit helps us quantify the intensity of sound and understand how loud or soft a sound is.

Decibels and Safe Noise Levels

Decibels are a logarithmic unit, which means that a small increase in the number of decibels represents a significant increase in the intensity of the sound. For instance, a sound at 30 dB is not just twice as loud as a sound at 15 dB; it’s actually many times louder.

Can Electric Hand Dryers Hurt Your Hearing?

Electric hand dryers can potentially hurt your hearing. Prolonged exposure to their loud noise, typically over 85 decibels, can cause hearing damage. To prevent this, use ear protection in loud restroom settings and choose quieter hand dryer models. Regular breaks can also reduce the risk.

Hand Dryer Noise Levels

Hand dryers often operate at noise levels well above this safe threshold. Some hand dryers can reach noise levels as high as 100 dB, which is comparable to the noise level of a motorcycle or a chainsaw.

How to Soundproof Loud Hand Dryers

If you’re bothered by the noise produced by hand dryers, there are several methods you can use to soundproof them.

Check for Loose Objects and Blocked Ventilation

Loose objects can vibrate when the hand dryer is in use, contributing to the overall noise. Ensure that all parts of the hand dryer are securely fastened. Also, check the ventilation system of the hand dryer. Blocked vents can cause the motor to work harder, resulting in more noise.

Reposition the Dryer

The location of the hand dryer can significantly affect its noise level. If possible, reposition the hand dryer away from hard surfaces that can reflect sound waves.

Repair or Replace Faulty Parts

If your hand dryer is unusually loud, it may have faulty parts. Consider having it inspected by a professional and repair or replace any faulty parts.

Materials You’ll Need:

  • Acoustic Panels: Purchase acoustic panels online or at a hardware store.
  • Adhesive: Get a strong adhesive suitable for your wall surface.
  • Screwdriver: For removing the dryer cover.
  • Weatherstripping: A sealing strip for gaps.
  • Ear Protection: To measure noise reduction.

Steps to Soundproof Loud Hand Dryers:

  1. Remove the Dryer Cover: Use a screwdriver to carefully remove the cover of the hand dryer. This will allow access to the internal components.
  2. Apply Acoustic Panels: Cut your acoustic panels to the size of the interior walls of the dryer. Attach them using adhesive, covering as much surface area as possible. The panels will absorb sound and reduce noise.
  3. Seal Gaps: Apply weatherstripping around the edges of the cover and any gaps where sound can escape. This will ensure a tight seal and minimize noise leakage.
  4. Reassemble the Dryer: Once the acoustic panels and weatherstripping are in place, reattach the dryer cover using the screwdriver. Make sure it is securely fastened.
  5. Test the Noise Reduction: Turn on the hand dryer and measure the noise reduction using your ear protection. You should notice a significant decrease in noise levels.

Quiet Hand Dryer Options

If the noise from hand dryers continues to be a concern, you might want to consider switching to quieter models. Here are a few options:


The AIKE AK2630S is a popular choice for a quiet hand dryer. It operates at a lower noise level compared to traditional models, making it suitable for environments where noise is a concern.

Valens Hand Dryer

The Valens Hand Dryer is another excellent option. It’s designed to be quiet yet efficient, offering a comfortable hand drying experience without the loud noise.

Remember, while quieter hand dryers may be more expensive upfront, they can provide a more pleasant and comfortable experience for users in the long run.

How can I measure the noise level of a hand dryer?

To measure the noise level of a hand dryer, you can use a device called an electrical microphone. This device has a special component that vibrates and creates voltage differences when it comes into contact with sound waves.

Here are the steps you can follow:

1. Use the A scale with slow response for sound measurement.

2. Stand in front of the dryer at a height of 5 feet from the floor and at 18 inches from the wall.

3. Measure the noise level with no hands under the dryer and then measure with hands inthe process of hand drying.

Keep in mind, many variables can affect the noise level, such as how close hands are positioned to the air outlet, how large the hands are, the angle of the hands, and the dimensions of the restroom. Therefore, it’s important to consider these factors when measuring the noise level of a hand dryer.


We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article, from understanding why hand dryers are so loud to exploring various methods for soundproofing them. We’ve also looked at the impact of loud hand dryers on our hearing and user perception, and discussed quieter hand dryer options.

Remember, while hand dryers are a convenient and hygienic way to dry hands, it’s important to consider their noise levels. Prolonged exposure to loud noise can lead to hearing damage. Therefore, it’s crucial to take steps to soundproof loud hand dryers or consider quieter models.

We hope this article has provided you with valuable insights into the world of hand dryers and how to make your restroom experience more pleasant. Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for more informative articles.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What factors contribute to the loudness of a hand dryer?

The loudness of a hand dryer is primarily due to the high-powered motor and the design of the dryer that forces air through a small opening, creating a strong airflow and consequent noise.

Are there regulations about the noise level of hand dryers?

While there are general guidelines about noise levels in public spaces, specific regulations about the noise level of hand dryers can vary by country and region.

Can the placement of a hand dryer affect its noise level?

Yes, the placement of a hand dryer can significantly affect its noise level. For instance, placing a hand dryer near hard surfaces can amplify the sound.

Are there hand dryers designed to be quieter?

Yes, there are hand dryers on the market that are designed to be quieter. These models often use different motor types or designs to reduce the noise level.

What can be done to reduce the noise level of an existing hand dryer?

There are several methods to reduce the noise level of an existing hand dryer, such as checking for loose parts, ensuring proper ventilation, and considering repositioning the dryer away from hard surfaces.


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