By Allen Halstead, Director of Sales, USA

Are you wondering whether to invest in an automatic hand soap dispenser or to stick with a manual hand soap dispenser? Then you are not alone. This is a common question, one we hear over and over again from facility managers. Hand hygiene programs must be up to date, easy to access and clearly identified to promote public health in your facility. Whether to choose automatic or manual hand soap dispensers for your building restrooms will depend upon many distinct traits of your facility. 

To help your facility keep up with the public health requirements of a fully functioning hand hygiene program, you will want to make sure you choose the hand soap dispensing system that works best for your facility type, based on these aspects of your program:

  • Staffing levels
  • Number of people who use your building 
  • Budget
  • Infection prevention goals
  • Impact on human health 
  • Sustainability goals 

We’ve assembled a pro/con list for automatic hand soap dispensers versus manual hand soap dispensers. This quick guide, along with the unique needs of your facility, will help you choose the right hand soap dispenser for your building.

Automatic Hand Soap Dispensers

Automatic hand soap dispensers come with sensors that respond to movement to automatically dispense a predetermined amount of hand soap. These are the hand soap dispensers that dispense soap after somebody waves their hand underneath the censor. People are not required to touch the dispenser, which means the contact point is eliminated and microbes are not transferred on the dispenser. 

Pros for Automatic Hand Soap Dispensers

  • Eliminating points of contact reducing the spread of germs
  • Controlled portions means lower costs, less product waste
  • Efficient proportioned control of soap saves money
  • Often comes in updated designs, contributing to aesthetics of the restroom
  • Less room for occupant error
  • No excess product on floor, less spillage, cleaner 
  • Easier to use for building occupants

Cons for Automatic Hand Soap Dispensers

  • Batteries will need to be maintained and replaced for uninterrupted operation
  • Has a potential environmental impact unless properly recycled at municipal facilities 
  • Additional battery costs are associated

Manual Hand Soap Dispensers

Manual hand soap dispensers are a more traditional hand soap dispenser, and can be wall-mounted or they might sit on a countertop. Countertop dispensers are often referred to as sink side. These require occupants to pump or press them to dispense hand soap. These types of dispensers have been used for many decades, and are often less expensive and require no installation.

Pros for Manual Hand Soap Dispensers

  • Less expensive
  • Often already included in the design/layout of a facility
  • Easier to maintain
  • Sink side dispensers can be placed anywhere throughout a facility
  • No battery or electricity costs or environmental impacts

Cons for Manual Hand Soap Dispensers

  • Because they must be touched to operate, there is greater potential for spread of germs
  • Amount of product dispensed is not controlled
  • Requires more cleaning of the touch points of the dispenser
  • Less efficient

There is no one right choice for every facility. As with any purchasing decision in the cleaning industry, the right choice for your facility lies in the balance of your budget, number of building occupants, priorities, sustainability goals and workforce. Having a robust hand hygiene program that makes ample soap available in all restrooms is a basic public safety requirement for today’s world. Making that soap program healthier for your building occupants, staff and the environment is a topic we take very seriously. Learn about our award-winning ALLORGANICⓇ Hand Hygiene Program, or contact an expert at Charlotte with your specific questions.