Hand sanitiser has become a permanent fixture in everyone's lives. As one of the key ingredients making up 'the new normal', it seems inevitable that, just as we're starting to see prototypes of face masks that'll amplify your voice, monitor air quality, emit a siren when a virus gets near, and phone your mum for you every Sunday, companies are starting to explore the gadget tie-in potential of alcohol gel. Step forward INEOS Hygienics and its home Sanitiser Dispenser.
The INEOS Sanitiser Dispenser is a touch-free, cartridge-based dispenser designed for the home. It can be put on a tabletop or you can buy an extra bit that'll let you mount it onto a wall. There's also a supersized office version, but I'm not focusing on that one here.
With an RRP of £179 for the 300ml home dispenser (plus £11 per replacement cartridge), it's still very much not the most cost-efficient way of eradicating those pesky virus particles from your hands. (Note: at time of writing, it's much, much cheaper than that on Amazon, so it might be worth taking that sticker price with a pinch of salt.) So is it worth it? I've been testing one out for a few weeks now – read on for my full INEOS Sanitiser Dispenser review.
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INEOS Sanitiser Dispenser review: design and use
As you might have gathered from that price tag, INEOS is pitching this as a premium product, and the design and build quality back that up. While the tech is nothing exactly revolutionary – we've all used automatic soap dispensers in public bathrooms – this dispenser looks and feels super smart, and only mildly clinical. There's a sturdy, curved aluminium frame, and you can choose from a range of tasteful colours (black, cream, silver and red) to tie in with your home decor. I could have done without the big INEOS logos on both sides, though.
INEOS calls it "a feat of British design and Swiss engineering", and while we think that might be overstating things slightly, I'd be happy enough to have one in my hallway. You can also wall-mount it to keep it out of the way, although that does, in my opinion anyway, give it a bit more of a 'hospital' vibe.
While it's true that washing your hands with good old soap and water is just as effective at protecting you, and it's also true that there are stations in every home dedicated to just that, there's no denying there's an ease and efficiency to this approach that's appealing. If you've got guests over, it's a lot less disruptive for them to swipe their hands under this as they enter your home than it is to funnel them all immediately into the downstairs loo.
In terms of the effectiveness of the hand sanitiser solution itself, it ticks all the boxes you need. INEOS is Europe's largest producer of high-purity synthetic ethanol, and distributed millions of bottles of the stuff to NHS, medical institutions and front-line healthcare workers around the world, for free, when the pandemic first struck in March 2020. This is hospital-grade stuff, with 75% synthetic ethanol, and it'll kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. So you should have no concerns on that front.
INEOS Sanitiser Dispenser review: setup and usability
The home dispenser is very easy to set up: you press in the top of the front panel and it'll open gently, then the battery and gel cartridges just slot into place. The gel dispensing itself is smooth and speedy, the shape is ergonomic, and the sensors work reliably well.
A nice touch is that you can alter the amount of alcohol gel that gets dispensed. It'll automatically give you 1ml, but there's the option to decrease it to 0.5ml (for people with small hands, or children), or increase it right up to 2ml (for goalkeepers, pianists, puppeteers and so on). A flashing light indicates what volume setting you're on.
The lithium-ion battery that powers the dispenser charges via USB (a cable is provided) and there's a handy slot within the machine itself where you can store an extra battery. There are LEDs that light up to indicate different functions – on / off, low battery life and low cartridge levels – to keep things running smoothly.
While it depends how often you use it, and how much hand san you're dispensing in each swipe, INEOS estimates the average UK household will get through one cartridge every 2-3 months. The 300ml cartridges are filled in the UK and made from HDPE 2, which is the same stuff that's typically used for shampoo bottles and ice cream tubs, and is widely recyclable (you'll need to double-check locally if that's 'stick them in your green box' recyclable, or 'head to the skip' recyclable).
INEOS Sanitiser Dispenser review: verdict
Now to the crux of my INEOS Hand Sanitiser review – should you buy one? In terms of how the product looks and functions, I have no complaints. This sanitiser is well designed, looks smart, feels premium and works exactly as you need it to.
INEOS has its hopes set on a future in which there's a touch-free hand sanitiser dispenser installed in the entrance hall to every home. When its press release dropped into my inbox, and I clocked the £179 price tag, I thought, "Well that's never going to take off." But then INEOS sent me one in the post, and I used it for a bit, and ... I can't truthfully say that I'm not coming around to the idea.
While I wouldn't put one in a room with a sink already in it, I can see the appeal of placing one next to the door, where anyone can easily swipe their hands under it on their way in or out, with no effort or fuss.
Do you need one? No, you'll be able to get by without, as you've been doing since the dawn of the pandemic. But if you're a regular T3 reader you've probably got more than a few gadgets that you don't strictly need, but that look beautiful and make your life a bit easier or spark a bit of joy. And if indeed we are heading for a future in which sanitising your hands continues to be as vital as it is at the moment, I can certainly see the appeal of a stylish and well engineered alcohol gel dispenser such as this one.