​What’s the Difference between Hardwired vs Plug In Hair Dryers?

Posted by Gary Brown on 25th Sep 2018

​What’s the Difference between Hardwired vs Plug In Hair Dryers?

You’ve decided to install wall mounted hair dryers in your hotel, fitness center or home and want the best one for your application. The first question to ask is whether you prefer a hardwired or plug in model and what’s the difference?

Wall mount hair dryers are a great amenity for your customers or for your own personal use at home. But some models come in both a plug in and a hardwired version. The most obvious difference between hardwired and plug in hair dryers is that plug in models come with a regular plug and hardwired models don’t have a plug. But the differences go beyond that and come down to ease of installation and use of outlet space in the bathroom.

Do I have electrical outlets to spare?

Most bathrooms have 2 outlets next to the sink. Vanities with two sinks might come with 4 outlets. Fitness centers have much larger bathrooms and locker rooms and may have many . more outlets. So whether or not you want a hardwired or plug in hair dryer could come down to how many outlets are available. Wall mounted hair dryers are typically mounted on the wall next to the plug and will be using one of the outlets. That is one less outlet available for shavers, curling irons, hair straighteners, electric toothbrush chargers and other products we typically use in the bathroom. The big advantage of the hardwired hair dryer is that it is wired directly to power in the wall, does not have a plug at all and does not take up valuable outlets. If you have lots of outlets to spare, then that might not be an issue, but if you only have two outlets in your bathroom, then giving up one of them to your wall mounted hair dryer could be limiting. You can always unplug the hair dryer of course if you need the outlet for another device but it’s definitely easier to have that outlet available all the time without having to unplug.

Do you prefer less cords around your bathroom sink?

There is no getting around it that hardwired hair dryers have one less cord and make for a much cleaner look near a sink that may already have have cords running from electric toothbrushes, shavers, hair straighteners and other devices. Once everything else is put away, with a direct wire hair dryer, the only cord showing is the coiled cord going from the wall cradle to the handset.

Which is easier to install, hardwired or plug in?

Without a doubt, plug in wall mounted hair dryers are easier to install. You simply mount the hair dryer close to an outlet and plug it in. All wall mounted hair dryers come with a mounting bracket screws and wall anchors. The only tool needed is a screwdriver and perhaps a drill to make holes for the wall anchors. Hardwired wall mount hair dryers require more work to install. You will need to hire the services of an electrician or a handyman that knows about electricity. Direct wire hair dryers have two wires coming out of the back of the hair dryer which are connected directly to power in the wall. It’s important to make sure that the power is off to the wires or receptacle that you will be connecting to. You will also need electrical tape and wiring nuts for the installation. If you are not sure then it is best to hire an expert to install the hardwired hair dryer for you.

What about the ALCI switch reset buttons?

Today’s hair dryers all come with an ALCI plug or switch to protect against electrical shock. ALCI stands for Appliance Leakage Current Interrupter. ALCI switches monitor the electrical current in the hair dryer. If the switch senses and imbalance of current, it cuts the power in a fraction of a second. Once the ALCI switch is tripped, the hair dryer will not operate until re-engaged by pressing the Test and Reset buttons. These are typically red and yellow or red and white. Most plug in wall mount hair dryers will have the reset buttons on the plug and on direct wire models the buttons will be located on the wall cradle portion of the hair dryer.

Will the wall mounted hair dryer fit in the space I have available?

Direct wire wall mounted hair dryers are usually identical twins of their plug in counterparts with the same dimensions. You will need to measure the wall space you have available to install the hair dryer. Make sure to take into consideration the length of the power cord and distance from the outlet if you are installing a plug in model. Also make sure that the cord to the handset is long enough that you will be able to use the hair dryer comfortably to dry all of your hair front and back and both sides. Wall mounted hair dryers include specifications indicating the dimensions of the unit installed on the wall and cord lengths.

Is theft of the hair dryer a concern?

One of the big advantages of a direct wire wall mounted hair dryer is that since it is hardwired and does not have a plug, it is much less likely to disappear from your facility or home. Most thieves don’t want to mess with a unit that harder to remove, harder to sell and harder to install. So whereas the installation is more involved to begin with, it has the advantage of being a theft deterrent.

What happens when the hair dryer needs to be replaced?

A plug in wall mounted hair dryer has the advantage of being much easier to replace. If your hair dryer breaks or has just seen better days, you can simply unplug the old unit and install the new one in the same place. Hardwire models will require more work to disconnect the wires from the power and reconnect the wires from the replacement unit. Either way, for both hardwired and plug in models in most cases if you are replacing your hair dryer with the same model, you will also be able to use the existing wall bracket so no tools will be needed. Many models like the Sunbeam 1632 series use the same wall bracket as previous generations of the hair dryer which makes swapping for a newer model a breeze.

Where can I compare hardwired vs plug in hair dryers?

WallMountDryer.com carries one of the largest selections of plug in wall mount hair dryers and hard wired wall mount hair dryers. There are many more plug in hair dryer models available because they are easier to install. Direct wire models are listed in their own category and will always indicate “direct wire” or “hardwire” in the product description.


Whether a hardwire or plug in wall mount hair dryer is better for your application is for you to decide. The hardwire version will require more work to install, and replace, but has the advantage of a cleaner look with less cords, leaves an extra electrical outlet available for other devices and is less likely to be stolen. The plug in models have easy installation and are easy to replace when the time comes. Either way, wall mounted hair dryers are a useful amenity to provide to your guests and a helpful tool to have in your home.


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