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What does a Quiet Dishwasher Sound Like? (Reviews)

Steve Sheinkopf  |  January 04, 2017  |  5 Min. Read

Dishwashers

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We wrote an article called Quietest Dishwashers listing the best dishwashers by decibel level.

However, you probably want to know how quiet a dishwasher actually is when running. Also, at what point is a dishwasher quiet enough without having to spend a fortune for an even quieter dishwasher.

So we bought a directional microphone and listened to a 44 dB Thermador (made by Bosch, by the way) and a 55 dB Frigidaire. You will be able to hear both.

First you need an explanation of what a decibel is. Then you will listen to two very different dishwashers.

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What is a Decibel (dB)?

The decibel (abbreviated dB) is the unit used to measure the intensity of a sound. The difference between 0 dBA and 10 dBA is 10 times more power. For a reference, here are some common activities and their decibel levels.

  • Near total silence - 0 dB
  • A whisper - 15 dB
  • Normal conversation - 60 dB
  • A lawnmower - 90 dB
  • A car horn - 110 dB
  • A rock concert or a jet engine - 120 dB
  • A gunshot or firecracker - 140 dB

So the difference between a 44 dB dishwasher and a 50 dB dishwasher is significant or 4 times. However, there is a point where a dishwasher could be quiet enough.

Let’s listen

 
 
 
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Thermador Dishwasher 44 dB

At 44 decibels, you can hardly tell a dishwasher is running. Dishwashers at this level should be considered for open kitchen layouts. Bosch has actually created the “Info-Light” so you would tell when the cycle is complete by looking at the light on the floor.

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Frigidaire 55 dB

55 Decibels is much louder. You can hear this dishwasher, especially if you have an open kitchen living room configuration.

So what should you do?

First, you do not need to step up to a dishwasher less than 44 dB. A middle level Bosch at $600-750 is that level of quietness. The Bosch Benchmark and 800 series is 37-40 dB, but can be $300-$1,000 more. They will have more features, but the additional quietness is not necessary.

In other words, buying a dishwasher less than 44 dB based on just quietness is wasting your money.

Buy a more expensive dishwasher for better features like cycles or a third rack.

On the other side, the difference in 1 dB can be huge. 50 dB is noisy, so you will hear a dishwasher over 46 decibels.

Additional Resources

Want to learn more about dishwashers? Click on the Yale Dishwasher Buying Guide to learn about the latest features, quietness and reliability of the best brands like Miele, Bosch, Frigidaire, Asko, Maytag, Jenn-Air and more. Well over 200,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

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Editor's Note: This article has been clarified to accurately explain the differences in decibel rating. 

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Steve Sheinkopf

Steve is the third-generation CEO of Yale and a lifelong Bostonian. He currently resides in Boston, one mile from where he was born. Despite being one of the worst goalies of all time, he is a huge hockey fan of college hockey and the Boston Bruins. The love of his life is his daughter Sophie.

Steve has also been featured in numerous publications such as the New York Times, Consumer Reports, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg Radio, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur, for his knowledge of how to buy appliances and appliance repair.

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