As recently as a decade ago, making the quietest dishwasher was not at the top of manufacturers’ mind. Most people capitulated after all dishwashers were merely known as loud appliances, nearly all of them rising above 60 dB or louder. (This is the approximate volume of a propeller plane flying overhead.) The sound of a dishwasher could be heard throughout the house, and it seemed that this was simply the way things would always be.
In the early 2000s, Bosch changed everything with an advertising campaign that touted the brand as the quietest dishwasher in the world. Suddenly, brands throughout the market were scrambling to find ways to make their dishwashers quieter, and customers took notice.
Today, most people list noise concerns as their number-one decision point when it comes to choosing a dishwasher. Unfortunately, manufacturers assume that we all have an engineering degree and push various decibel (dB) ratings and associated price points to us. So, if you are unclear about decibel (dB) ratings and how various brands and models compare when it comes to noise you will find our guide useful.
We even made an informative video with an actual sound test for decibel comparison. You will find great visuals and a decibel chart in our production. This way you will be able to select the best and the quietest dishwasher to meet your needs and your budget.
What does the decibel rating mean?
Manufacturers love to use decibels to describe the noise levels of their machines. But the funny thing is, most of us have no idea how loud decibel levels are or how they compare. Manufacturers simply assume that if they advertise a decibel level with enough vibrancy and excitement, consumers will assume it’s an impressive figure. Then they have the dishwasher installed only to find out they can hear it from their bedroom. So let’s talk a bit about decibels when it comes to dishwasher ratings.
Decibels are a unit of measurement that is what mathematicians call logarithmic, meaning it goes up in powers of ten. Which means that a decibel number that’s 10% higher than another isn’t going to be 10% louder. For example, a 70db sound is actually twice as loud as a 60db sound.. A 50db sound is one-fourth as loud as a 60db sound. We figure, you get the picture on decibel comparison now.
How many decibels is a quiet dishwasher?
When it comes to dishwashers, it’s important to note that all modern models are now quieter than 60db. At the very least, we recommend finding one that’s 50db or quieter. (Remember, this is a quarter the volume of 60db.) 50db is roughly the noise level of a quiet conversation, and we have found that it’s usually more than quiet enough for most people. However, an open floor plan kitchen might have you looking for something even quieter, and those options are available.
Having said that, the truth of the matter is that paying extra for anything below 44db is a waste of money unless you plan on sleeping in your kitchen every night. We’re talking about the volume of a library, so if a brand claims that anything lower than 44db is the only acceptable volume—ignore them. At 44db you may still hear a very slight noise coming from the dishwasher so if you are extra sensitive to sound there are models available as quiet as 38db. But for most homes this will be overkill.
What Makes a Dishwasher Quiet or Loud?
The factors that go into determining how loud a dishwasher will be while running are numerous and diverse. The main sources of noise within a dishwasher are the movement of water through the water pump, the drain pump removing water from the space, water moving and bouncing off of surfaces within the dishwasher including the wash tubs and plates, and the movement of dishes within the device. Units that utilize a hard food disposal system tend to be louder, as well.
That being said, manufacturers have found effective ways to minimize the amount of sound that is produced and how much of that sound escapes the dishwasher. Some of these design innovations involve the washing process itself, using quieter pump systems and variable speeds that keep the dishwasher from constantly running at full power (and full volume).
Another tactic manufacturers use is to add insulation around the unit to keep noise from escaping. This helps keep any sounds isolated to the inside of the dishwasher.
Measuring Noise Across Different Brands
Comparing brands when it comes to their decibel claims can be tough because there is no standardized practice for measuring noise levels. This means that one company could be measuring at a distance of one meter while another is conducting tests from across a warehouse, or in a different type of room.
Besides, are the brands considering the noise levels during water intake or discharge or are they measuring quietness during wash cycles? What is the soil level of the dishes during the test as the advanced sensors will adjust water pressure and cleaning intensity based on samples taken throughout the cycle? You can see from these examples how decibel level readings could be misleading. Your only truly safe bet is when making relative comparisons between models offered by the same brand, because they at least can be expected to use the same noise testing methods.
Bosch and Miele are two dishwasher brands who have the quietest dishwashers. They have been battle-tested and shown to have the best noise ratings across the board. Considering that their testing methods to be the most stringent in the industry we highly recommend them as a safe bet.
If you’re ever in doubt, ask around to see if any friends or family members can vouch for a certain model’s volume level. This is much better than taking brand’s claims at face value.
Rankings of 5 Best Quietest Dishwashers of 2020
Why We Like It: This Bosch Benchmark dishwasher clocks an ultra quiet 40 dB in sound tests. It incorporates all important Bosch technologies including the water softener which helps eliminate unwanted water marks from your dishes.
If you are in a hard water area such as New Jersey you may want to strongly consider getting a dishwasher with water softerner for a better clean and to ensure longevity of your investment.
Bosch priced this dishwasher competitively and seasonally provides additional sales incentives via competitive consumer rebates. Equally equipped dishwashers from other brands start usually have an additional $300 on the price tag.
6 Program Cycles: Heavy, Auto, Glass, Normal, Speed60 (for under 1hr wash), Rinse
6 Options that include Delay, Half Load, Delicate, Sanitize, Extra Dry, ExtraScrub
40 db Silence - TimeLight beams time left on the floor
Smooth gliding racks and the premium MyWay 3rd Rack
Large interior fits 16 place settings
Color and Style: Stainless steel or panel ready door. Pocket handle or towel bar handle designs available
More information on Bosch dishwashers. All models compared and reviewed.
Why We Like It: Handleless design make this dishwasher blend in any kitchen without clashing with other appliances. So, if you have to replace your dishwasher with the best in class but worry about introducing a new manufacturer brand to your kitchen this Bosch dishwasher is ideal for you.
Amazing drying with CrystalDry. It offers a great price point for a feature-rich dishwasher.
- 6 Program Cycles: Heavy, Auto, Glass, Normal, Speed60 (for under 1hr wash), Rinse
- 6 Options that include Delay, Half Load, Delicate, Sanitize, CrystalDry, ExtraScrub
- 40 db Silence - InfoLight beams a red dot to the floor which indicates operation
- Energy Star
- Standard racks and the premium MyWay 3rd Rack
- Large interior fits 16 place settings
- Color and Style: Stainless steel with pocket design
Why We Like It: Excellent clean with the latest in dishwasher technology. Amazing drying performance with AutoOpen door. Eliminates musty smells that usually occur on dishwashers from other manufacturers. Built in Water Softerner ensures spotless results.
This machine is very quiet at 45 dB which means it will not disturb conversations or TV noise. We ranked it as one of the top dishwashers in our quietest list as it makes up for advance sound insulation with its great cleaning abilities.
6 Program Cycles: Normal, QuickIntenseWash, Pots & Pans, SaniWash, Rinse & Hold, China & Crystal
Options that include Delay Start, Short and Half Load
45 db Silence - Don't let this number fool you. It is reported by Miele's internal testing department which takes its job super seriously. Incorporates water in/out noise level averages.
AutoOpen door when cycle finishes. Eliminates odors and provides better drying
Advanced 3rd rack design which makes room for ladles and ramikens
Large interior fits 16 place settings
Color and Style: Stainless steel or panel ready with pocket handle or towel bar handle design
More information on Miele dishwashers. All models compared and reviewed.
Why We Like It: Ultimate in cleaning, and drying. Peppered with exquisite touches that provide convenience with your dishwashing chore.
The Miele Lumen comes in different styles to match any high-end kitchen. You can have a visible control panel, hidden controls with a towel bar, match the door with surrounding cabinets, or even get the version without any handles and just gently knock on the door to open.
Ultra quiet, dependable and super effective.
- 12 Program Cycles: Normal, QuickIntenseWash, Pots & Pans, SaniWash, Rinse & Hold, China & Crystal, Grates, Machine Clean and more.
- Options that include - Lower Rack Wash, Extra Dry, Short, Energy Saver
- Ultra Quiet at 39 dB
- Energy Star
- Interior LED Lights
- AutoOpen door when cycle finishes. Eliminates odors and provides better drying
- Advanced 3rd rack design which makes room for ladles and ramikens
- Large interior fits 16 place settings
- Color and Style: Stainless steel or panel ready with pocket handle or towel bar handle design. Select models have the knock-2-open feature which allows for completely handleless smooth-front finish.
Why We Like It: GE makes quality appliances. Although most of the GE dishwasher catalog is not a poster-child for quietness, this GE Profile series dishwasher is ultra quiet at 39 dB.
This dishwasher is a like a waterpark for dishes with 140 cleaning jets.
- Deep clean, dedicated silverware jets
- Dedicated bottle jets ideal for families with infants
- Steam and sanitize cycles
- Large capacity with 16 place settings
- You can focus on upper or lower level for half load wash cycle
Quietest Dishwasher Brands
(1) Bosch Dishwashers
When it comes to quietness Bosch puts in the most amount effort. In fact, Bosch dishwashers are so quiet that they project a beam of light (in Bosch language infolight or timelight) to the floor to indicate they are working.
Bosch makes over 100 dishwashers and it can be overwhelming to choose one that matches your needs. We prepared an in-depth Bosch dishwasher review article that covers all series and models.
Most Popular Bosch Dishwashers
|SHP865ZD5N||500 DLX Flush Handle Dishwasher at 44 dB|
|SHX878ZD5N||800 DLX Series Dishwasher w/Bar Handle at 44 dB|
|SHE89PW55N||Bosch Benchmark dishwasher with Recessed Handle, Water Softener, and Interior Lights at 39 dB|
|SHV88PZ63N||Bosch Benchmark dishwasher with Water Softener, Interior Lights at 38 dB|
(2) Miele Dishwashers
Miele makes the best dishwashers in the world when it comes to cleaning. Similar to Bosch, Miele dishwashers are extremely quiet. We prepared an in-depth Miele dishwasher guide to help you select the best product which has the features that are tailored for you.
Popular Miele Dishwasher Models
|G4948UCLST||Futura Classic Plus Dishwasher at 46 dB|
|G4228SCUSS||Futura Classic Plus Dishwasher, Cutlery Tray, Express Cycle at 46 dB|
|G6665SCVISF||Futura Crystal Dishwasher, Hidden Controls, 3D Cutlery Tray at 45 dB|
|G6745SCUCLST||Futura Dimension Dishwasher, Auto Open at 39 dB|
|G6875SCVISF||Futura Lumen Dishwasher, Interior Lights at 39 dB|
Runners Up on Quiet Dishwasher Brands
Over the past 3 years we have noticed that even the low-cost dishwashers are becoming quiet. This Whirlpool has an acceptable price/performance ratio.
The Whirlpool WDTA50SAHZ is fully Integrated Dishwasher with Hidden Controls at 47 dB
Dishwasher drawers are getting more popular in the US. Fisher Paykel is the only brand that makes drawer dishwashers. Although, the drawer design has some inherit drawbacks when it comes to distributing water quietly in the tub Fisher Paykel has done a great job keeping the noise at a minimum.
The Fisher Paykel DD24DAX9N Double Dishwasher Drawer is the most popular in the lineup and features a 45 dB silence rating.
More and more manufacturers are developing quiet dishwasher models, however Bosch and Miele are two brands who have been battle-tested and shown to have the best noise ratings across the board, so these two are always a safe bet. If you’re ever in doubt, ask around to see if any friends or family members can vouch for a certain model’s volume level. This is much better than taking brand’s claims at face value.
In addition, when choosing a new dishwasher you may need to consider additional factors besides quietness alone (such as ability to clean and dry). Check out this comprehensive dishwasher buying guide for useful tips and hot models.