dishwasher noise levels

Dishwasher noise level ratings: what you should know

When most people shop for a dishwasher, they’re mostly looking at things like washing and drying capabilities, capacity, features, design, colours, and so on. However, one aspect any experienced dishwasher user will keep an eye (or perhaps an ear) out for is the decibel rating.

As with washing machines, dishwashers can really create quite a din. But while washing machines can be stored places other than the kitchen, the dishwasher is going to be something you’re likely going to have in the kitchen. And if it’s loud, and you spend quite a bit of time in your kitchen, at the dining table or if you have an open-plan living room/kitchen, then it’s going to really get on your nerves. Who wants to have their binge watch of the latest streaming hit disrupted by the rumbling of a loud dishwasher?

So Repair Aid is here to walk you through what you need to know about noise levels in dishwashers and explain what we mean by ‘decibel ratings’.

noise coming from your dishwasher can be annoying

Decibel ratings explained

Firstly, let’s define what we mean by ‘decibel’. This is unit that is used to demarcate levels of sound and you’ll often see it abbreviated to dB. To give you an example of how many decibels everyday sounds can reach, a ticking clock will be somewhere in the region of 20dB, a regular conversation will be about 60dB, a car horn is over 100dB and thunder is about 120dB. So a dishwasher ranges anywhere from about 40dB to 80dB. It’s a big range but it does tend to be lower in newer models.

With models that aren’t built for silence, you can see how they could affect your ability to have a conversation with another person while the dishwasher is on. A dishwasher that is considered to be a silent model (around about the 40dB mark) will be no more distracting than the background noise of a fridge. So if silence is important to you, these are the types of figures you should be looking at.

model with reduced noise levels

Why are some models quieter than others?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to the decibel rating of a dishwasher model. Unsurprisingly, one such factor is the type of materials used – more specifically, the quality of these materials. The insulation is one area where dishwasher materials tend to differ and this can have a huge bearing on the sound levels that are produced. Generally, models from stainless steel are quieter but, of course, the trade-off is that they are more expensive. But you do get cheaper energy bills thanks to this material insulating the generated heat far better. That means it requires less energy to heat the water and/or dry.

The design and construction process can also have a bearing. Older models are inevitably louder as sound considerations have been more pressing for dishwasher manufacturers due to many of us living in urban flats and having open-plan kitchens. However, the way in which these designs are realised is important too. Dishwashers that have the motor and pump attached to to the tub portion are going to be louder than those with motors built into the bottom of the dishwasher (but the trade-off here is, again, cost).

Lastly, you’ll find that the more bells and whistles added to your dishwasher, the higher the chances grow that it’ll also be louder. While this isn’t necessarily always true, there are certainly features that will add noise. For example, models with extra jet streams and spray arms, as well as those with disposal systems, will tend to run louder. Additionally, dishwasher filters can also make a difference to noise too – especially if it’s self-cleaning (which will be attached to its own motor). You can avoid this noise by getting a manual filter which will require cleaning every couple of months.

Hopefully this guide has helped you find out what decibel ratings mean, why they are so important to consider when buying an appliance and the ways in which you can know how to identify whether a dishwasher is likely to be loud or not.

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