Inside a Whirlpool dishwasher that is in operation. Three glasses are being sprayed with water.

Dishwasher dBA: What's Loud? What's Quiet?

Are you shopping for a new dishwasher? If so, you may want to think about how much noise the models you are considering will produce when in operation. This is especially important for those living in small spaces or an open concept home.

This article will introduce you to what is important to know about the noise a dishwasher makes, what decibel levels (dBA) mean, what typical dishwasher dBA is, how to buy a quiet dishwasher and more.

Understanding Dishwasher dBA

The noise a dishwasher makes is calculated in dBA, which stands for “A-weighted decibels”. Ultimately, it gauges how loud a noise will sound to the human ear.

Understanding dishwasher dBA is relatively straightforward: the higher the dBA level of a dishwasher, the noisier the appliance will be.

A Whirlpool dishwasher next to green cabinets that are under a sink. Next to the dishwasher is the front door and a bench with pillows on top and a backpack leaning against it.
PRO TIP

Sound level is generally subjective. As a reference point, many people can notice a sound level increase of 5 dBA1. This means it only takes a few decibels to make a difference in noise level2.

1 https://www.abdengineering.com/blog/perception-vs-reality/#:~:text=In%20fact%2C%20you%20have%20to,a%20far%20cry%20from%203dB
2 https://learn.compactappliance.com/dishwasher-decibel-ratings/

How Many Decibels is a Quiet Dishwasher?

Many consumers want to know if a 50 dBA dishwasher is quiet?

Any dishwasher with a decibel level of 44 dBA or lower is usually considered to be quiet.

For most, a rating of 40 dBA and below is the best bet as it is considered to be virtually silent no matter the wash cycle setting.

As mentioned, sound is very subjective so selecting the right dishwasher dBA for your home is based on what you are comfortable with.

Purchasing a Quiet Dishwasher

Multiple mechanical and structural factors can help lower the noise that a dishwasher produces. Some key factors that impact a dishwasher’s noise level include:

  • Dishwasher units with food disposals built-in are often louder than models without one3. Furthermore, many dishwashers also feature a food trap system that is considered to be easy to clean while also working to ensure that the dishwasher is quieter when running4.
  • The quality of materials used in the construction of a dishwasher can play a role in the noise a dishwasher will produce5. Additionally, the thickness of the insulation will affect the decibel rating6.
  • A stainless steel tub, typically found in many dishwashers, usually produces less noise than plastic tubs7. Sound dampening on the outside of the tub is another factor that may help reduce noise8.
  • Water movement may adversely affect the noise level of a dishwasher. This occurs when water is pumped into and then cycled through the dishwasher before being pumped out again. Several dishwasher manufacturers have been able to successfully minimize the noise caused by water movement by innovating a number of factors, including wash cycles, the speed and force used to spray water, and by creating pump systems that produce less noise9.

3 https://www.kitchenaid.com/pinch-of-help/major-appliances/how-to-choose-quiet-dishwasher.html
4 https://www.kitchenaid.com/pinch-of-help/major-appliances/how-to-choose-quiet-dishwasher.html
5 https://learn.compactappliance.com/dishwasher-decibel-ratings/
6 https://learn.compactappliance.com/dishwasher-decibel-ratings/
7 https://www.kitchenaid.com/pinch-of-help/major-appliances/how-to-choose-quiet-dishwasher.html
8 https://www.kitchenaid.com/pinch-of-help/major-appliances/how-to-choose-quiet-dishwasher.html
9 https://www.kitchenaid.com/pinch-of-help/major-appliances/how-to-choose-quiet-dishwasher.html

Inside a Whirlpool dishwasher that is in operation. Three glasses are being sprayed with water.

Many new dishwashers have lower levels of dBA thanks to improvements in sound insulation, the development of quieter motors and other innovations.

PRO TIP

For older dishwashers or models that are too noisy, you can try installing something known as sound-deadening material. This acts as insulation and may result in less noise. Always consult your use and care guide or the manufacturer before making any changes to your dishwasher.

Whirlpool has it all: Innovative features, impressive capacity and sleek designs.

Noise, or the lack thereof, is an important consideration for a dishwasher. Remember, though, there are other considerations to make. Take a look at our buying guide and learn more about buying a dishwasher before you make your purchase.

The WDTA80SAK model is Whirlpool brand’s quietest dishwasher with a 41 dBA noise level. Shop for one today.

Learn more about Whirlpool® dishwashers here.

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