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How Do I Choose the Best Hands-Free Soap Dispenser?

Anna B. Smith
Anna B. Smith

To choose the best hands-free soap dispenser, consumers should purchase a unit that adequately fits into the area of the home where they will use it, and that works well with their preferred brand of soap. Most dispensers indicate on the exterior packaging whether mounting equipment is needed prior to using the model, or whether the unit can stand alone on a countertop. These items may also be purchased with adjustable soap level settings that allow the user to choose how much liquid is dispensed at each use.

A hands-free soap dispenser can be purchased in either a countertop model or a wall mounted unit. Countertop models can sit on any flat surface and tend to dispense soap from the top of the unit. Items placed beneath the nozzle activate a motion detecting sensor that releases a stream of liquid.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

Wall mounted units are typically designed to dispense soap from the base of the unit, and position a refillable soap reservoir above the dispenser. The base of the hands-free soap dispenser must generally be mounted 10 inches (25.4 cm) or more above a flat surface to allow adequate room for hands or sponges to be placed beneath the sensor. Most wall mounted kits include hardware with the dispensing unit for easy installation. Some select models are capable of both means of use, both countertop and wall mounting, and include hardware for either option depending on the consumer's preference.

Consumers who prefer to use a variety of liquid hand soaps may prefer to purchase a hands-free soap dispenser that can be refilled manually. Some dispensers only accept refill packages that were designed by the manufacturer of the original unit. This type of design prevents the user from pouring soap into the unit. The dispenser pack is merely removed from the back of the unit once it has been completely used, and a new, full package is put into place. Other models provide a storage tank attached to the back of the unit which can be accessed by a small door through which new soap of the user's choice may be added.

Replaceable soap packets, however, do eliminate the hassle for of monitoring the full or empty level of the soap. Refill packets are generally designed using clear packaging through which the level of the soap can be constantly monitored. Units which require the user to place her own soap into a storage reservoir often fail to operate when the soap drops below a certain level. This requires the consumer to constantly check the level of the soap visually by opening the refill door, and add small amounts of soap if the level is approaching critically low levels.

Consumers can also benefit from purchasing a hands-free soap dispenser with an adjustable soap stream. This type of unit provides a button selector that can move between different setting levels. These levels generally include a low soap flow, a medium soap flow, and a continuous stream soap flow. These options are useful for facilities which may cater to a particular group of individuals who continuously use the dispenser. For example, a children's daycare center can use such settings so that they may adjust the flow to low for small hands.

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Discussion Comments


We have an automatic soap dispenser at the restaurant, and it comes in very handy when we're in a hurry. We went with a commercial wall soap dispenser mounted over a hand sink. If I've handled something greasy or raw, I can just put my hand near the sensor and get the soap I need right away. When we had regular liquid soap dispensers, they would often fall off the sink and onto the ground.

Our particular kitchen soap dispenser uses pre-filled replacement bags, because we don't always have time to refill it with liquid soap from a large bottle.


I have to wonder if the benefits of an automatic soap dispenser are worth the added cost. I have several manual hand soap dispensers around my house, and I usually don't worry about contamination. I can see where others might want to have a sensor soap dispenser for convenience, since they might work on dirty engines or spend a lot of time in the kitchen. They might get a standard liquid soap dispenser too dirty for others to use.

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