From a noisy spin cycle on your new washing machine that sounds like an aircraft taking off, to a vacuum cleaner that’s noisier than busy traffic, a loud appliance can go a long way to disturbing the peace in your household, particularly if you have an open-plan living space.
To help you avoid clanging tumble dryers, rumbling washing machines, gurgling dishwashers and spluttering kettles, we’ve rounded up some of the quietest appliances to pass through our test labs, as well as a couple of noisy horrors to avoid.
Read on to see which products go about their business with a whisper, rather than a bang.
1. Best quiet kettles for a relaxing brew
A screaming kettle can put a dampener on kitchen conversations, and drown out the TV in an open-plan space, too. That’s why we measure the decibel noise level of each kettle we test, as well as getting an expert panel to rate the noise, making note of any particularly annoying aspects such as rattling, beeping or high-pitched noises.
If you’re looking for a quiet kettle, one of the least offensive models we’ve found is the Russell Hobbs Essentials 21440, which comes in at a relatively unobtrusive 78.8dB. It’s available for just £15, too, so you don’t need to break the bank to get a quiet cuppa. But will it boil quickly and efficiently? Read the full review for our verdict on the Russell Hobbs Essentials 21440 kettle.
Do noisy kettles boil more quickly?
When we analysed test data from hundreds of kettles, we didn’t find any link between noise and speed. A deafening kettle won’t necessarily boil water any quicker, and a quiet one shouldn’t be any slower.
Lots of factors can affect how noisy a kettle is, including the material it’s made from and the design of the heating element. One of the loudest kettles we’ve come across recently – and definitely one to avoid if you want to keep the peace at tea time – is the Russell Hobbs Glass Line 20780.
Do kettles get noisier over time?
If you’re finding that your kettle is noisier than when you first bought it, it’s worth descaling it and giving it a good clean. This will get rid of any limescale which could be causing extra noise as it heats up and vibrates.
2. Best whisper-quiet vacuums for late-night cleaning sprees
If you’re looking for a quiet vacuum, a cylinder model is your best bet. We’ve dug into our test data, and discovered that they tend to be quieter than upright and cordless models. This is probably because there is more space for sound-isolating padding around noisy parts such as the motor.
Two of the quietest models we’ve tested are both self-named ‘silent’ vacuums: the AEG X Silence VX8-2-BM-P and the Miele Complete C3 Silence EcoLine. Both lived up to their names, cleaning much more quietly than rival models.
The AEG pipped the Miele to the post slightly in our tests, with a noise rating of just 58.7dB, compared with the Miele’s 62dB. This is 10 times quieter than the noisiest vacuums we’ve tested. At this volume, conversations should still be easy – you shouldn’t even have to raise your voice to be heard.
By contrast, if you were using our noisiest vacuum, the Von Haus 2in1 handheld (92.3dB), it would be akin to trying to talk while standing by your local dual carriageway on a busy Friday.
Do quiet vacuums still clean well?
You would think that a noisy vacuum must be working hard to suck the dirt out of your carpets, but we’ve found that noisy vacuums are often all bark and no bite, leaving you with the worst of both worlds. And while a quiet vacuum may seem like it’s working less hard, the best quiet vacuum cleaners are perfectly capable of cleaning your home brilliantly.
Head to our vacuum cleaner reviews to see which models we recommend.
3. Get laundry done overnight with a quiet washing machine
Washing machine spin cycles can be alarmingly noisy, so a quiet model could be handy if you want to set it to finish just before you wake up in the morning, or run a quick cycle in the evening without disturbing your neighbours. One such washing machine is the Hoover HBWM814TAHC. In our independent assessments, we found it to be noticeably quieter than rivals.
One to avoid if you’re a late-night laundry fan is the John Lewis JLWM1417, which scored a poor two stars out of five for noise in our tests.
If your washing machine becomes noisy, or is particularly unbearably loud, it could be down to it being unbalanced. This can cause more noise than usual, particularly on the spin cycle. Use our step-by-step video guide on how to fix a loud washing machine to eliminate this possibility before stumping up for a replacement.
4. Best quiet tumble dryers for a relaxing laundry day
Even if you have a utility room to tuck your tumble dryer into, a noisy one can still disturb the whole home.
The Bosch WTWH7561GB shouldn’t have this problem, though, as in our tests it proved to be one of the quietest options around. At £750, it’s quite an investment, so make sure you check the full Bosch WTWH7561GB tumble dryer review to find out if it dries quickly, evenly and efficiently enough to warrant its premium price.
We’ve found quiet tumble dryers costing anything from £130 up to more than £1,000, with scores ranging from as low as 44%, low enough to qualify as a Don’t Buy, up to 77% – good enough to be named a Best Buy.
Head to our tumble dryer reviews to compare the best quiet options for your budget, and see the models to avoid.
5. Best quiet dishwashers for silently sparkling crockery
You may be able to stash your laundry appliances in a utility room, but dishwashers are usually slap-bang in the middle of your kitchen, so the last thing you want is one that rattles, gurgles, hisses and glugs loudly, especially if your space is open plan.
Luckily, you’ll find the Miele G 6630 SC dishwasher to be pleasantly stealthy – unlike the John Lewis JLDWW907 dishwasher (£329), which makes hissing noises while it fills, and hums loudly during the wash cycle. Quiet operation comes at a premium, though, as the Miele costs just shy of a £1,000.
You might be willing to pay a premium for a quieter life, but you’ll want to make sure your new dishwasher leaves your dishes spotless, too – check our dishwasher reviews to compare scores.
6. Quick and quiet blenders for an early morning smoothie
Blending together a concoction of fruit, vegetables, dairy and whatever else you like in your smoothie will never be a quiet task, but we’ve found that some blenders are blisteringly loud.
The Kenwood Kmix BLX750BK, for example, is one to avoid if you’re keen on making an early-morning smoothie to take on the go. Scoring just one star out of a possible five, it’s one of the noisiest models we’ve tested.
A quiet and wallet-friendly alternative is Asda’s George Home High Power Blender 900W. It’s quick, too, so any noise it does make will be over before you know it. Read the full Asda George Home 900W Blender review to find out if it makes lump-free smoothies to earn our recommendation.
Making sense of decibel ratings
It’s a common misconception that decibels ratings operate on a standard linear scale, like weight or distance – with many thinking that 80dB is twice as loud as 40dB, for example.
However, a rating of a few decibels high can be significantly noisier, as decibels are actually a log scale, more like a slope. So a 10dB increase in the level actually corresponds to 10 times the sound intensity and double the perceived loudness. This means that 80dB is actually 16 times louder to us than 40dB, rather than just double.
Noise levels above 85dB are considered potentially damaging to your hearing, depending on the length of exposure.