17 Types of Soap Dispensers [Yes, That Many]

Last updated on October 15, 2023

At first glance, you wouldn’t say there are many types of soap dispensers. But we have counted 17 types, and that’s not all.

If you consider the material a soap dispenser is made of, you can easily double or triple the number of types available. Hopefully, this guide will help you choose easier.

Besides the below list of the types of soap dispensers, each of them can have these materials and finishes:

  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Stainless steel
  • Ceramic
  • Wood

What type of dispenser is made of what material depends on the design. For example, you might find a manual dispenser made of wood, but you won’t find an electric one made of this material. Likewise, many refillable dispensers are made of ceramic, but disposable ones will almost always be plastic.

To illustrate most of the dispensers, we have included product links (they earn our site a commission at no cost to you.)

Manual Liquid Soap Dispensers

Evhome Manual Soap Dispenser Kitchen Bathroom Wall
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The most common type of handwashing station is a manual soap dispenser. These units are typically made from plastic and have an open design where users can see how much soap they’ve used. They also usually come equipped with a push-button mechanism so that users don’t have to reach into the machine to press down on the lever to activate the pump. Many of the manual dispensers have a ceramic finish for design value.

Manual soap dispensers are also called pump dispensers owing to their pump-based mechanism of dispensing liquid soap.

Automatic Soap Dispensers

Simplehuman 9 Oz. Touch-free Rechargeable Sensor
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An automatic liquid soap dispenser uses sensors to dispense soap for the user. For this reason, it is also known as the touchless soap dispenser. The electric pump pushes the liquid soap through the nozzle automatically. Some models include timers and alarms to remind users about replacing their bottles. These can be freestanding or counter mount devices too. Automatic dispensers cost more than their manual counterparts.

Disposable Pump Soap Dispenser

Oval Clear Plastic Soap Dispenser Pump Bottles
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The disposable pump dispenser is a great way to dispense soap. It’s easy to use, and it doesn’t require any cleaning or maintenance. The only downside is that you have to buy the soap each time you wash your hands, which can get expensive if you’re washing them frequently. However, this type of dispenser does save money over buying individual bars of soap because they are cheaper than individually wrapped bar soaps.

Refillable Pump Soap Dispenser

Sunrise Premium 2-pack 16 Oz Amber Glass Hand Dish
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A refillable liquid soap dispenser has an internal reservoir where you fill up with liquid soap. This allows you to reuse the same container multiple times without purchasing new containers every single time. You need to make sure that you clean out the old contents before refilling the container. If you don’t do this properly, bacteria will build up in the container and cause illness. These can be counter mount too.

Wall-Mounted Pump Soap Dispenser

Crw 8oz Liquid Soap Dispenser Wall Mounted Glass
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If you prefer not to store your soap on the countertop but still like the convenience of using a pump dispenser, then wall-mounted pumps may be right for you. These types of dispensers usually come with a built-in sink faucet and allow you to rinse off your hands after washing them easily. They also tend to look more elegant than other options available.

Sink-Mounted Pump Soap Dispenser

Moen 3942srs Deck Mounted Kitchen Soap Dispenser
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Some sinks (especially kitchen sinks) have a separate hole for a soap dispenser. The dispenser pump is often included with the sink. It comes in the same finish (such as stainless steel) as the sink itself. Such a setup provides convenience and makes less mess on the countertop.

Shower-Mounted Pump Soap Dispenser

Better Living Products, White 76354 Euro Series
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These soap dispensers work best in showers since they provide enough space for a large amount of soap at once. They work like regular soap dispensers, but they are waterproof and are conveniently installed in the shower. They often have up to 3 compartments for body wash, conditioner, and shampoo.

Wall-mounted Automatic Soap Dispenser

Automatic Soap Dispenser, Fully Transparent Hand
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You can install a wall-mounted automatic soap dispenser anywhere in your home. Most of these units feature a sensor that detects hand movement. Wall-mounted automatic soap dispensers are ideal for bathrooms because they keep everything tidy.

Sink-mounted Automatic Soap Dispenser

Asi 20333 Deck Mounted Automatic Soap Dispenser
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A sink-mounted automatic soap dispenser is popular in commercial and public bathrooms. Like its wall-mounted counterpart, this model features a sensor. Since most people already own a sink, this makes installation easier and saves some extra cash.

Shower-Mounted Automatic Soap Dispenser

Aike Triple Automatic Soap And Shower Dispenser
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The last type of automatic soap dispenser we’re going to discuss here is a shower-mounted version. Showers are typically smaller spaces, so it doesn’t take too long for the bottle to run dry. The good news is that many manufacturers offer shower-mounted versions of their wall-mounted counterparts. For example, if you want to get a wall-mounted automatic dispenser for your master bath, you might consider getting a similar model for your guest bathroom instead.

Semi-automatic Soap Dispenser

using an automatic soap dispenser

A semi-automatic soap dispenser allows you to choose between a manual operation or automatic operation. This kind of device has two parts: an upper part where you place the container and a lower part that holds the mechanism responsible for spraying the soap. Semi-automatics are great for small areas such as powder rooms or kids’ baths, but they are less popular than their fully automatic counterparts.

Handheld Soap Dispenser

Upgrade Leakproof Hand-held Dish Scrubber With
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A handheld soap dispenser is another alternative to using a traditional pump-style dispenser. These devices usually come with a trigger button that lets you dispense just what you need without having to fill up the entire reservoir first. Handhelds are perfect for use around the house, and they often include a brush or a sponge for cleaning.

Large Capacity Soap Dispenser

Automatic Soap Dispenser Touchless Rechargeable
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If you’ve got a large family or lots of guests coming over regularly, then you’ll definitely appreciate a large capacity soap dispenser. You won’t be able to fit one of those things under every single faucet in your home, but at least you’ll always know exactly how much soap it is left. Large capacity systems also make cleaning easy since you don’t have to worry about running out of soap while scrubbing down the tub.

Hand Sanitizer Dispenser

Purell Tfx Touch-free Foam Hand Sanitizer
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Sanitizing hands before touching food or drinking water is important for preventing illness. Many restaurants now provide sanitizer stations near the entrance so customers can wash their hands right away. However, sometimes you may find yourself in situations where you don’t have access to a restroom. To prevent spreading germs from person to person, you could try carrying around a portable hand sanitizer dispenser.

Battery Powered Soap Dispenser

Obor Automatic Soap Dispenser, Soap Dispenser
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Some models of battery-powered soap dispensers feature built-in lights. They work by drawing power from the light switch inside the room. Other units draw energy from solar panels mounted outside. Either way, these kinds of dispensers save money because they require no electricity other than what’s provided by batteries.

An automatic soap dispenser with built-in lighting is ideal for bathrooms. It will automatically turn itself off after 30 minutes of nonuse. When you return, all you have to do is press a button to start again. Some models even include timers to set different times during the day when the unit turns back on.

Electric Soap Dispenser

Secura 17oz / 500ml Premium Touchless Battery
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You can buy electric soap dispensers either as stand-alone products or as components of larger automated systems. Electric pumps tend to be less expensive than mechanical ones, but they lack some of the features offered by the latter. Standalone electric dispensers are often used in places like hotels and hospitals, where hygiene is especially critical.

Foam Soap Dispenser

Mefaso Automatic Soap Dispenser, 8.45 Oz. Touch
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The foam type of soap dispenser uses air pressure instead of gravity to push liquid through its nozzle. Foam dispensers are typically easier to clean than conventional designs because they’re not subject to clogs caused by limescale buildup. The downside is that they take longer to refill compared to standard pumps. However, you can use regular soap to refill them if you add water.

We hope this article helped you understand the various types of soap dispensers available today. We covered everything from basic manual soap dispensers to fully automated machines capable of handling multiple containers simultaneously. The best thing about modern technology is that it makes our lives easier. With the help of a few simple tools, you too can enjoy cleanliness wherever you go!


How many soap dispensers are there?

There are dozens of varieties of soap dispensers available. Most people prefer to use plastic bottles rather than glass jars due to safety concerns. Glass is more likely to break if dropped, meaning any spilled contents pose an immediate health risk. Plastic bottles are safer because they shatter into small pieces making cleanup quick and easy.

What is the top of a soap dispenser called?

A soap dispenser has two parts: the base and the lid. The base holds the container while the lid covers it. The lid has a nozzle and works as the actuator. Both parts should be made out of sturdy materials such as stainless steel or aluminum.

Are foaming soap dispensers different?

Yes, they differ mainly in how their actuation mechanism operates. In most cases, the pump uses an air injector to create lather from the liquid soap before dispensing it.


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