Competition in the Bathroom

For many years, a common graffito in men’s rooms was: “Wash hands, place hands under blow dryer, dry hands on pants.”  The old-fashioned low-powered dryers didn’t have enough power to dry hands well in any reasonable amount of time.  No more: about 10 years ago the Dyson Airblade was marketed, and it was revolutionary:  10 or 15 seconds and one’s hands really were dry.

I assume that they were expensive, which is why I only saw them in a few places, even in the U.K., where they originated. Today they are much more widespread.  They aren’t cheap (I see a discounted price of £615), but I bet they have come down in price.  Why?  The answer is competition: other companies are now making equally effective products, both in the U.S. and the U.K. An innovating entrepreneur may enjoy a monopoly for a while, but competitors with similar products will enter the market, forcing prices down (and increasing consumer surplus for now dry-handed users like me!).


I wonder how much money is saved when you don't need to buy as many paper towels as you used to because the blow dryers are actually drying.


Also cost savings from less trash


I prefer a paper towel as I can use it to open the door.


No thanks, please give me paper towels. Otherwise I'll come out and just ask for napkins.

These never work well enough.


My biggest gripe with these is that in most women's restrooms, there are too few hand dryers. It's common to see 10 or so stalls, 6 or so sinks, and then just two hand dryers. So I'm guessing that either they're still expensive (even in the prices dropped), or companies with large restrooms are too cheap to buy more, or not everyone is expected to wash/dry their hands.

Jake Peters

I seem to recall that, in Japan, Mitsubishi had these "blade style" hand dryers at least 12-13 years ago. Back then, they were new to me, but they were not new to Japan, and therefore might be much older. And, they work at least as well as the Dyson

So, don't be too sure that Dyson really pioneered this capability. It may have done so, but only for the western world.


I first saw a Dyson had dryer in a WC in Bath, England. It was awesome enough I encouraged my studies to go potty just so they could try it out. They agree it was great.

When I can get one for $200 it'll go into my home....


Another problem with these dryers is related to how to get out of the bathroom with your clean hands intact. Your hands may be perfectly clean, but unless it's a doorless entryway you then need to push/pull on the door without an intervening towel, contacting the same surfaces that people did who skipped the hand-washing altogether and immediately contaminating yourself.