Foaming Soap Dispensers for a Covid-Stricken World

What seems like years ago, at the start of the Covid pandemic, back in the UK I reviewed a foaming soap dispenser, still in use over there – nice but not wall mounted which meant another gadget taking up valuable bathroom real estate..

The first of a pair of wall–mounted products I’ve received here in Spain is the Xiaowei X9 800ml Intelligent IR Sensor Liquid Soap Dispenser Hand Sanitizer (Shampoo Body Wash Soap Container for Bathroom, Kitchen, Hotel, Restaurant, School, Hospital) – from the Banggood description. In other words seemingly useful just about anywhere you need hands-free soap dispensing, which I suspect for a few more months is going to continue to be the norm. The foaming soap for these incidentally is usually dirt-cheap at supermarkets. Like, sub-€1 at Aldi or Lidl.

Xiaowi X9 800ml IR Sensor soap dispenser

So we know what it does but how does it work and how is it powered? Last things first, the unit is powered by four AA batteries. This unit has been in the queue for review for about a month now. I initially fitted it out with a set of Amazon Basics AA batteries which are just about dead – so, first lesson – don’t use cheap batteries with motorized gadgets like these… false economy.

How does the soap dispenser work? Well, as you put your hand under the unit, the battery triggers a small motor which dispenses a suitable amount of foaming soap before stopping. On the top of the unit is a plastic-key-operated, largely pointless “locking” mechanism.

Fixing to the wall is by tried-and-tested, supplied plastic rawlplugs and screws. There’s a pretty orange LED on the front, the unit can handle around 800ml of soap and claims a working distance of 0-10cm. Basically you put your hand underneath and it dispenses foaming soap without physical contact. Instructions are provided in English but aren’t really necessary. There is (again somewhat pointless – and not particularly solid) an on-off button on the underside and the batteries are a bit of a tight fit. Cost is around €20 (or relevant dollar/pound equivalent depending on where you are based).

The second unit I received – the Bakeey Automatic Sensor Hand Free Soap Dispenser – is nearer €15 and holds, accordingly, less foaming soap. This time however, the locking mechanism works and feels solid. After a month of the unit sitting doing nothing, again my cheap Amazon BASICS AA batteries were just about flat. This is really going to need Energisers to work.

Bakkey Foaming Soap Dispenser

The four batteries in this instance form part of the wall mount bracket. On connecting up, the on-off switch needs to be pressed once and the unit is ready to go, giving off a vibrating sound and a nice blue glow when you put your hand underneath for soap.

I have to say, despite the reduced capacity of around 450ml, this is my preferred unit by some way (if I owned a supermarket chain I may feel differently). I like it – it works and it is simple but remember, don’t use rubbish batteries. Two plastic rawlplugs and 2 screws are provided for wall mounting. I need to order up some foaming soap from Lidl next time we’re allowed out of our Covid-lockdown village (hence the stock image, mine is currently filled with water to test).

As an aside, elsewhere, I’ve looked at hands-free water dispensing but it is noticeable that none of the units I’ve seen will switch between hot and cold water hands-free – maybe manufacturers are missing something here?

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