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How Many Decibels is a Vacuum Cleaner in the UK?

Written by James Hall |

how many decibels is a vacuum cleaner

Are you looking for a quiet vacuum cleaner? Here’s our guide to how many decibels the average vacuum cleaner generates, along with tips for choosing a quieter model.

All vacuum cleaners make noise – even ones that are marketed as “silent.” The loudest vacuums can be unpleasant to use, especially if you have pets, children, or just prefer a quiet household.

Fortunately, the decibel scale allows you to quickly compare the noise intensity of different vacuums. In this article, we’ll discuss how loud vacuum cleaners are in decibels and how to choose a quiet vacuum.

How Many Decibels is a Vacuum Cleaner?

Vacuum cleaners have a decibel rating that ranges from approximately 64dB to 80dB. Most vacuums fall in the 70dB to 80dB range, with uprights tending to be the loudest. The quietest vacuums are always cylinder models that are designed to minimise noise output (and often have “silent” or “quiet” in the product name.)

What Are Decibels?

Decibels is a measure of sound intensity. The higher the decibel level, the louder a noise is.

When humans are speaking, we tend to have a conversation noise level of around 60dB. TV is often around 70dB, while a train passing around 100 feet away is approximately 83dB.

Here are a few more examples of noise levels.

Type of NoiseEstimated Decibels *
Breathing10dB
Whisper30dB
Fridge Humming40dB
Normal Conversation60dB
Normal Laughing65dB
Hair Dryer70dB
Vacuum Cleaner (Maximum)80dB
Lawnmower90dB
Train100dB
Rock Concert110dB – 130dB
* This is a rough estimate of noise level. In reality, the noise output varies within a certain range.

How to Compare Decibel Levels for Vacuums

When comparing vacuum cleaners, it’s important to understand that decibels are not a linear scale.

Doubling the decibel level doesn’t double the noise intensity. Instead, an increase of 10 decibels means that the noise is actually 10 times more powerful.

In other words, a vacuum cleaner with a 60dB noise output is actually 10 times quieter than a vacuum with 70dB. And a 60dB vacuum is 100 times quieter than one with an 80dB output.

This can make comparing vacuum outputs more difficult. What’s the actual difference between a vacuum with a 68dB noise intensity and a 72dB noise intensity? And how will this affect your cleaning tasks?

We consider any vacuum under 75dB to be quiet, while those below 65dB are “silent.” With that said, you still won’t be able to have a regular conversation if your vacuum cleaner outputs 75dB. It’s still relatively loud, but noticeably quieter than the loudest vacuums.

Tip: It’s vital to protect your hearing against loud noises. Hearing loss can be caused by both intense noises and listening to a noise for a long time.

How Many Decibels Does the Average Vacuum Generate?

Corded vacuum cleaners tend to range from 65dB up to 80dB depending on the brand and machine.

Most vacuums are at the higher end of this scale though. In fact, the majority of uprights have an 80dB noise intensity, as this is the maximum allowed by EU regulations (which the UK still adheres to at the time of writing this article.)

  • Upright vacuum cleaners typically have a noise output of 75db to 80dB. They are often the loudest vacuum cleaners due to their powerful suction and motor size.
  • Cylinder vacuum cleaners are a bit quieter than uprights on average, with a range of approximately 72dB to 80dB. There are some “silent” cylinder vacuums on the market with noise intensity as low as 64dB (these typically have “Quiet” or “Silence” in their name.)
  • Cordless vacuum cleaner range in noise output from 68dB to 80dB. They tend to be quieter than uprights on their regular suction mode, due to a smaller motor. Many have multiple suction settings which affects noise intensity though.
  • Robot vacuum cleaners are quieter than full-size vacuums, as they have a smaller motor and are designed to be unobtrusive.

Remember: Vacuum cleaner manufacturers typically measure their machine’s noise output on standard suction mode. The listed noise output will increase if you switch to turbo mode.

What’s the Maximum Allowed Vacuum Cleaner Noise Output?

EU regulations came into effect in 2017 that limited both the noise and power of vacuum cleaners.

These regulations state that a vacuum must have a maximum noise output of 80dB. This is why so many uprights have an 80dB noise level.

The EU regulations only apply to dry vacuum cleaners though. Wet and dry vacuums are not affected.

Tip: The regulations also state that vacuum cleaners must have a maximum power of 900W. This is why the latest vacuums have a lower power than those manufactured a few years ago.

Examples of Quiet Vacuum Cleaners

There aren’t a huge amount of quiet vacuum cleaners on the market, but here are a few of the most popular:

Frequently Asked Questions

What Affects a Vacuum’s Noise Level?

There are a number of factors that affect how loud a vacuum cleaner will be. Some of the most important include the size of the motor, whether the motor is suspended, how efficient airflow is through the vacuum, and how much noise insulation surrounds the motor.

Vacuums can also become louder if they aren’t maintained properly. Clogged filters, blocked hoses, and overfilled bags or canisters can force the vacuum motor to work harder.

Does a Silent Vacuum Cleaner Exist?

All vacuum cleaners generate noise – there aren’t any that are truly silent. We consider vacuums with a noise output of less than 65dB to be “silent,” as these allow for a regular conversation.

Are Loud Vacuum Cleaners More Effective?

No, we’ve found that loud vacuum cleaners are no more effective (on average.) In fact, vacuum cleaners that are excessively loud are often poorly designed.

With that said, models that fall into our “silent” category (less than 65dB) tend to have less suction power than the strongest vacuum cleaners. There are still some excellent models in this noise range though, such as the Miele Complete C3 Silence.

Summary

Vacuum cleaners tend to have a noise output of 70dB to 80dB. There are some quieter models on the market, however, with the quietest generating a noise output of just 64dB.

If you’re looking for a quiet vacuum, keep in mind that the noise output is just one consideration. It’s still important to buy a vacuum with strong suction power, convenient design, and the tools you need to clean your home.

Do you have any questions about how many decibels vacuum cleaners generate? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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