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I’ve wanted one of these for my garage for I don’t know how long. I’m always getting water all over the place when I wash my hands in the sink, then flail around looking for the roll of paper towels hanging off a nearby tool cart. (Well, hopefully it’s hanging off a nearby tool cart. Often enough I leave the roll laying somewhere else in the shop, in which case I get to drip all over looking for it.) Of course, one thing stops me from ordering one today: The one pictured costs $40. That’d buy a lot of, you know, tools.

And yes, I realize this is a very “First World” problem. Hell, it’s pretty damn cool just that I have a sink in the garage. (Thanks again to the awesome builder who recommended it. It cost me a whopping $50 to red-line the sink into the house plans, and that included a cheap plastic stand-up sink that’s still soldiering on seven years later despite incredible abuse.) But I’ve always thought these were a relatively elegant solution to the problem of keeping things nice and tidy.

Assuming I was willing to shell out the $50 — fat chance, as I’m a cheap bastard — the refill towels are pretty cost-effective. Wal-Mart sells the refill towels (online only, though) for $55 per 12-roll box. Each roll is 350 long, so that’s a lot of towels, especially considering that since you can’t steal them to go clean up the car or whatnot they’re likely to actually get used for things near the sink only.

Now if I could just talk myself into actually ordering one.

Update: A little Googling shows that Staples carries the dispenser for $34 and the refills for $26 — a pretty big discount. As of the moment, though, the Staples website appears to be broken (not loading it’s stylesheets for me, anyway).

Georgia Pacific Push Paddle Roll Paper Towel Dispenser [Google]


21 Responses to I Want A Commercial Towel Dispenser

  1. Ray says:

    It all starts with the compulsive hand-washing.
    Admit it — you’re turning into Howard Hughes.

  2. Andy says:

    If there are any schools or universities near you, it wouldn’t hurt to ask them (maybe the janitorial staff specifically) if they have any extras sitting around. At the university where I work, they’ve replaced all the paper towel dispensers on campus TWICE in the last 6 years. There must be (used) spares of the old designs filling up a store room somewhere.
    Or maybe at an auction if an office building is being cleared out? Or a store, or a church, or just about any place with a public restroom… I just have to think there are bunches of used (probably scratched, but still functional) paper towel dispensers floating around.

    • browndog77 says:

      Years ago I was doing some renovations at local schools, and they were replacing the old tri-fold towel dispensers. I have one in my garage, but never remember to buy towels for it! Thanks for the reminder! They do still carry them @ sam’s club.

  3. brisaacs says:

    what ever you do, don’t get those useless brown paper towels on a roll. They have to be the least absorbent product out there. I bought a case for mine and ended up throwing them away/recycling them, or using them as padding for packages.

    I agree with Andy – ask any commercial enterprise. The movie theater that owns the other part of my building was throwing one away because it had a crack on the front. A little dumpster diving and now it’s in my garage. I don’t have a sink though…..

  4. Gary Z says:

    I have one of the automatic dispensers with the big rolls of paper. Best damned thing I’ve added. I’m not sure how long the roll of towels are, but I’m still on the first one after almost 6 years! You can get these from janitorial suppliers.

  5. Kurt says:

    Costco carries replacement commercial paper towel rolls, at least in my (Sacramento, CA) area. You could probably fab a dispenser out of dowel and a hacksaw blade that would be serviceable, if not as cool. For me, I use the Costco “consumer” rolled paper towels, which are pretty nice, and a cheap plastic holder over the sink in my shop’s bathroom.

    Which is, admittedly, not as cool.

  6. Brau says:

    I’m with “brisaacs”, I don’t like the brown paper. Make one of these to dispense normal paper towels and I’ll buy it. 10-1 my wife would too.

  7. ShopMonger says:

    I use a commercial dispenser with the above mentioned costco paper towel refills, they are pretty tough and very absorbent. And yes, those brown paper rolls…are horrid. Was in a shop the other day that had these , we spilled a water bottle, and they would not even soak hat up, let alone something else that you might spill in a shop….


  8. Rick Reimundez says:

    Man, you weren’t kidding, Chuck… First World problem indeed. A one inch dowel, or a broomstick, couple of sections of wires and four screws. Then get any size roll of paper (commercial brown stuff, griots shop towels, or consumer Bounty-style) and you’re golden. One screw into each end of the dowel, wrap thick wire around screws and then make little eyelets at the end and screw to the wall. Leave one eyelet around the screws on the end of the dowel a little open so you can unhook the wire from the screw to swap the roll out. Total cost – probably nothing because you probably have it all around the house.

    In my shop I also use the box-o-disposable rags (like this: http://www.amazon.com/Scott-Paper-75260-10-by-13-Inch-Rags-in-a-Box/dp/B00004TBJF/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1329320420&sr=8-2-fkmr1)

    I created a mount from scrap wood where the opening is facing down and there’s a lip on the front to keep the box from sliding out when I pull out a rag. Once the box is done, I just pop a new on up there.

  9. Dave A. says:

    Looks for a Habitat for Humanity – “Restore”. I see them there often. Restaurant remodels sometimes upgrade them.

  10. Rick Reimundez says:

    This is what I have, more or less, but made out of scrap wood. http://www.sledtech.com/trailer/trailer_pics/cabinet/474-475.jpg

    For the garage, I like this better than a roll of paper towels.

  11. Brad says:

    Uline carries a dispenser for individual towels that’s relatively inexpensive. http://www.uline.com/BL_1125/Single-Fold-Towels-and-Dispenser?keywords=paper towel dispenser

  12. paul says:

    I used to be in charge of maintenance for a large facility. We switched these things out at LEAST once every year. A. they break, B. paper towels are often made in propriotary sizes so as you must use that companies dispenser. Think like you have a service contract with a company for cleaning restrooms, well if you were considering switching you’d have to switch all the paper towel dispensers, toilet cover dispensers…

    Ok, back to the topic of finding cheap ones. Maint rooms have extras and previous models of these sitting in piles for above mentioned reasons, should nto be hard to find them. Also when you agree to buy certian towels you get them FREE! It has been a few years ago so I’m nto certian if this offer still stands but Gordon Food Service would provide a dispenser free if you bought a couple cases of towels. They would also offer replacements via the website for $1.00 per unit.

  13. Jim K. says:

    Personally I’ve always wanted one of these cloth towel dispensers

  14. Dr Bob says:

    One suggestion – go to a farm store and check out “dairy towels”. My local farm store has metal tower dispensers and various kinds of tri-fold towels from the cheap brown ones to the heavier, more absorbent white towels.

  15. Mac says:

    I’m a little late, but I’m with Rick… leftover wood dowel, leftover screws, coathangers, and I’m in business.

    Lots of other cool ideas/solultions here though.

  16. A.Crush says:

    As mentioned, I find the brown towels aren’t very absorbent, and are also pretty rough on the hands or whatever else you’re wiping. This means they scratch.

    I think the better solution is the blue folded shop towels. Think gas station. You know, the ones they have at the pump. The beauty of this is the dispensers are usually metal (at least, the old school folded paper towel ones are, which also happen to fit folded shop towels, being the same size) so they should last forever, or you can just make one, since the dispeser is nothing more than a rectangle holder with an angled slot at the bottom.

    The additional benefit of this is free towels. Forever. I get mine at the service station whenever I fill up. They all seem to use the same blue shop towels. No, I don’t take them all, just some to get a little more of my money’s worth for what I’m paying for at the station. It usually it’s too hard to wind up with a full dispenser and start a box of refills after awhile.

  17. ky says:

    I like to use and old quick clamp. Holds the paper rolls, and you can position it wherever you need it, or have multiple.

  18. Larry says:

    Just have the little woman cut up a bunch of old cloths, bath towels into squares and take a small wooden box and fill it up with clean towels/rages put on your counter and have another box for dirty ones under your sink. When the box is full of dirty towels then little woman can re-wash them. Save bucks!! or Next year Google my invention I.C.T.S. “individual cloth towel dispenser” which dispenses individual cloth towels(like how paper towels are dispensed) and you can get a cool dispenser with cool looking logo-ed race cars them or whatever logo and have a better towel which would be a cloth towel for clean up that is more absorbent (4 time more than paper towels you us much less) and better tensile strength than paper towels and each towel is reusable over one-hundred times. Don’t buy into you must have paper towels to use because they are convenient. You already do laundry (or you little woman does). Paper towels are wasteful and the landfills and environment will appreciate it.

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