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Foam Versus Gel Hand Sanitizer – Which is Better?

It’s one of our most popular and most commonly asked customer questions: “Which is better, gel or foam hand sanitizer?”

We often recommend, “Whatever type your healthcare workers, students, employees prefer and will use more often.”

The refreshing news is there is no wrong answer or bad choice in the Foam Versus Gel Hand Sanitizer Debate. It’s most often a personal choice, and both are winners.

Both Foam and Gel Hand Sanitizer are equally effective at killing germs. You will remove just as many using either popular hand sanitizer option.

The best way to determine what sanitizer will work best for your staff, employees, students or guests is to ask them in a survey. If the results prove to be a 50-50 split, it may be best to break down the Pros & Cons List for each of these superb Coronavirus killers.

What are the advantages of foam hand sanitizer?

Avant hand sanitizer foam

The major difference between the two is the special pump dispenser that creates the foam in hand sanitizer. It has a chamber that injects air into the sanitizer as it releases, creating its foam effect. The use of air enables people to fully cover their hands with less sanitizer than the typical gel sanitizer. Foam also sticks to hands like a glove, giving hands complete coverage. In comparison, gel sanitizer can easily slide off hands and leave marks on waxed floors.

A common, but misguided “advantage” we sometimes hear from people about foam sanitizer is that “you use less sanitizer per application, so it’s cheaper per application.” While it’s true that most foam pumps have a smaller output per push than a gel pump, we would caution against this math. For a hand sanitizer to be effective, the hands need to stay wet with alcohol for 15 seconds. Simply using less sanitizer per application saves money. But, if the effectiveness of the application is diminished due to insufficient volume then this is not an advantage.

But foam will go wherever you spread it, while gel will go wherever gravity takes it.

What are the disadvantages of foam hand sanitizer?

Foam hand sanitizers tend to be more pricy due to the pumps and ingredients that make the alcohol foam being more expensive compared to a gel formulation and pump.

What are the advantages of gel hand sanitizer?

Avant Original hand sanitizer 16.9 oz

A highly regarded germ killer for decades and an essential ready weapon during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Gel sanitizers have been available for decades and most people know how to properly use them. Students throughout the country have learned how to best apply gel sanitizer: Spreading the product on the fronts, backs, in between fingers, and pressing finger tips and cuticles into the palm.

A clear advantage of liquid gel hand sanitizer is the consistency of water. While foam clings to hands while it is being applied, liquid gel sanitizers spread easily and absorb into the skin, between fingers and under fingernails. Also, liquid hand sanitizers do not clog dispensers, making them a safe delivery method.

What are the disadvantages of a gel hand sanitizer?

The only real negative is that gels can drip from the hands. Hand sanitizer drips can leave marks on the floor and less hand sanitizer on the hands means that fewer germs will be killed. Some users may not like the residual sticking feeling of gel as it dries on hands.


Again, the best news about this debate is there is no bad choice. You won’t swing and miss on either Foam or Gel Hand Sanitizer.

We offer ours in both foam and gel. One great feature of our Eco-Flex dispensers is that they will work with both foam and gel refills. So, you can change between a gel and foam formulation without the time and expense of changing dispensers.

But the best hand sanitizer choice, between foam and gel, is a decision to be made by your healthcare workers, students, employees, or staff. Whichever sanitizing option they will use more often is the best answer for your facility. We recommend trialing both Foam and Gel Hand Sanitizer to truly know which of these superb germ stoppers is the best choice for your team and people.

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