Types Of Soap Dispensers

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Set of different soap dispensers in white background

If you are in the market for a quality soap dispenser, then you might expect to see a couple of different types to choose from at your local home improvement store. Now, what if we were to say that there aren’t just a couple of soap dispenser variations but 9, to be exact. Yes, that is how many soap dispenser types are out there. Pretty crazy, huh? 

Well, to help you figure out which one is best suited for your home, we compiled a list of all the variants and what to expect from each. By the end of this article, we are confident that you will be able to narrow down your options as to which type of soap dispenser to buy. 

Different Types of Soap Dispensers

Besides the different types of soap dispensers, this tool also uses other materials. You will find a soap dispenser made from plastic, ceramic, stainless steel, and even wood. If you are aiming for a specific aesthetic in your bathroom or kitchen, you might want to go with a particular material.

Well, then, let us begin our list of the different types of soap dispensers available in the market today. 

1. Manual Soap Dispenser

bath dispensers, soap and white towel on the tray

First up, we got the most common version, which we can find in most homes. The manual soap dispenser features a push mechanism that activates the pump and dispenses the liquid soap. This soap dispenser can come in clear plastic, which is cheap and allows you to check how much soap is left. However, it also comes in ceramic which is more expensive and more aesthetically pleasing with its classy appearance. 

2. Automatic Soap Dispenser

Close up of female hands using automatic soap dispenser

Next up, we have the automatic soap dispenser, which is primarily found in commercial establishments. As the name implies, this type automatically dispenses liquid soap using sensors that detect if a hand is near its nozzle. In addition, some models feature a notification that shows if the liquid soap container needs a refill. 

3. Disposable Pump Soap Dispenser

The cheapest soap dispenser type in the market, these do not require any maintenance as they are, as the name suggests, disposable. That said, if you find yourself frequently washing your hands, then this particular soap dispenser type might not be the most practical option. 

4. Refillable Pump Soap Dispenser

liquid soap dispensers on the gray wall

Refillable pump soap dispensers are another affordable option. This type of soap dispenser can be refilled, which means you don’t need to buy new containers every time you run out of liquid soap. That said, you will need to clean this model regularly to prevent stains and bacteria buildup.

5. Wall-Mounted Soap Dispenser

If you prefer to maximize countertop space, you might want to consider the wall-mounted pump soap dispenser. This type is installed on the wall and offers a sleek and modern appeal to your bathroom. There are also automatic versions of this type of soap dispenser. 

6. Sink-Mounted Soap Dispenser

This soap dispenser is specially designed for a specific type of sink that features the option to attach a built-in soap dispenser. The sink-mounted soap dispenser offers more convenience and creates a more streamlined appearance for your bathroom. You can also find automatic versions that further enhance comfort. 

7. Shower-Mounted Soap Dispenser

For those with larger shower stalls at home, you might want to check out the shower-mounted soap dispenser. This type typically incorporates three compartments which hold shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. As you might have guessed, this type of shower dispenser is quite bulky. There are automatic versions of this type of soap dispenser as well. 

See our picks for best shower soap dispensers here and the bulk body soap and shampoo to fill them with.

8. Semi-Automatic Soap Dispenser

For a more versatile option, the semi-automatic soap dispenser features both manual and automatic functionalities. In addition, the semi-automatic soap dispenser is a bit more affordable than the fully automatic models. 

9. Foam Soap Dispenser

Hand using soap dispenser

Finally, we have the foam soap dispenser, which utilizes air pressure to dispense liquid soap. The advantage of using this type of soap dispenser is that it is significantly easier to clean and maintain. In addition, foam soap dispensers are designed to prevent clogs due to limescale buildup. However, refilling the foam soap dispenser might take longer due to the design of the compartment. 

Click here for tips on how far from the faucet you should install your soap dispenser. 

Main Difference Between Liquid and Foam Soap

Take note that liquid and foam soap are not interchangeable. While foam soap initially comes in liquid form, it is aerated by the mechanism within foam soap dispensers, dispensing it as foam. So make sure to check whether the dispenser is the standard liquid one or the liquid foaming soap version. 


Choosing the best soap dispenser for your bathroom will depend on several factors, including your budget, preference, and design. Manual soap dispensers are cheaper, while automatic models offer more convenience. Do you want a sleek built-in dispenser, or are you okay with the practicality of a disposable version? Once you have these questions answered, you will be able to narrow down your choices of soap dispensers.