# At what distance are dishwasher sound levels (db) measured?

Asked by LuckyGuy (33324) April 17th, 2014

I have a sound pressure level meter (db meter) and can measure my dishwasher easily. I would call my old dishwasher “very noisy”. It is loud enough to interfere with the radio and speech. At 3 meters, 10 ft I get
40–42 db during fill (quiet)
62–66 db during wash. (very noisy)
39–41 db during pump out. (quiet)
But these levels obviously depend upon the distance. In another room I can’t hear it at all.

I can’t find any specifications that detail how current dishwashers are measured. What cycle? What distance? Are they reporting the average or the peak?
Reporting a spec in db without listing the distance is like saying “My car only uses a liter of gasoline on a typical trip to the grocery store.” We need to know the distance to make the number meaningful.
So how do they measure it?
If I am in another room the
60 know 40 to 50db is very quiet. and 47 to 55 is ”,

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## 13 Answers

I would think it would have to be the peak db most likely rather than the average throughout a cycle. Is there a formula for computing how sound diminishes with it’s distance from a source?

I’m guessing there are many liberties taken with the published data. UL-1206 should cover this. If it does not then be skeptical.

@Adirondackwannabe When you compare dishwashers they just show one number and say things like . “At 44 db our dishwasher is the quietest in its class.” The numbers are meaningless without the initial conditions.

@ARE_you_kidding_me I just went to the UL site. There is plenty of electrical safety testing there but I did not see noise measurement.

I am looking for the definition of the test. Without that info the results can all be bogus.

LuckyGuy (33324)

I have a feeling the tests probably are bogus. You could test yours averaging through all cycles at say a meter away and compare to the spec just to get an idea.

GQ. I was shopping for a dishwasher this past weekend. There must be a standard for the test, or you are correct the results would mean nothing. Not only does it matter how far from the appliance, but also if the appliance is tested free standing or inside a cabinet. When inside a cabinet the difference of space from the washer to the cabinet can affect the noise I would think. Half a centimeter, centimeter, might move the decibel a few points.

The dishwasher in my apartment is incredibly loud. The one in my last couple of houses have been quiet. I was thinking I would look up the decibel on both so I get a good idea what is quiet enough for me. I don’t need one extremely quiet, but definitely quieter than what I have now.

I tried to goggle a little when I saw your question and could not find information on it. It must be regulated I would think? Maybe you can figure it out by testing a few against their claims. Or, maybe it isn’t regulated? It wouldn’t be the first time we assume there is a standard or regulation and there really isn’t.

JLeslie (52866)

@JLeslie. Believe me, before I wrote this Q, I checked too and did not find useful info.

I want a way to compare my unit at home to a new one that is supposedly “quiet”. Without the distance and definition the numbers can’t be compared. Mine is perfectly quiet (<39 db) for the 5 seconds between the rinse cycle and the pump out. It is quite noisy during the wash cycle. Do unscrupulous manufacturers or their marketing department pick and choose any value they like? Do they time weight them?

LuckyGuy (33324)

The standard for sound measurement is decibels and I think it is measured at one meter from sound source.
I don’t know what distance is used by the dishwasher manufacturers.
I have a Bosch that you can run; stand next to it and I can still hear my wife ask for another cup of tea in her upstairs office in a normal voice.

@LuckyGuy At what decibel is your dishwasher advertised? The GE Profile I had was very quiet. One of the few GE products I feel was quite good.

JLeslie (52866)

@JLeslie Mine is old. 10 years? I’d have to look around to see if I can find it.

LuckyGuy (33324)

Perhaps a group such as Consumer Reports could at least point you in the direction of discovering the testing parameters for appliances.

canidmajor (9565)

@canidmajor GA. Or they might have their own tests so LuckyGuy could cross reference the results.

It’s obvious that the comparisons are not designed for people with technical competence. The assumption is that consumers are in fact morons. The Consumer Reports option from @canidmajor is the way to go. CR is famous for stating every fact pertinent to testing.

stanleybmanly (14118)

I’d imagine it’s measured at peak from a very close distance because decibel levels can vary greatly based on the environment due to reflections, standing waves, diffusion, etc.

Silence04 (4668)

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