One of the most important and often overlooked usability features of a vacuum cleaner is its noise output. It doesn’t matter if you have a feature-rich model with amazing suction power if the unit ends up disturbing the neighbors every time it’s turned on. Unfortunately, some manufacturers do not mention the decibel levels in the spec sheet. We did some digging of our own and here’s our guide of best quiet vacuum cleaner in 2018.
- 1 3 Reasons to Buy a Stealthy Vacuum Cleaner
- 2 How Loud is Too Loud?
- 3 Top 3 Quietest Upright Vacuum Cleaners
- 4 Top 3 Quietest Cordless Vacuum Cleaners
- 5 Top 3 Quietest Canister Vacuum Cleaners
- 6 Top 3 Quietest Robot Vacuum Cleaner
- 7 Final Comments
3 Reasons to Buy a Stealthy Vacuum Cleaner
As mentioned before, noise output of a vacuum cleaner is one of the most underrated features. Buyers often get too caught up in comparing specs like suction power and filtration standard to inquire about the decibel output. Following are 3 reasons why a quieter vacuum cleaner is always the more practical choice:
- Clean Longer Without Getting Stressed Out: There is enough scientific evidence to conclude that loud noises increase the level of cortisol, a stress hormone. Prolonged loud noises such as aircraft noise, traffic noise, and sound generated by a noisy vacuum cleaner can not only increase your stress levels but also lead to conditions such as headaches and hypertension. This means a morning cleaning session can potentially leave the entire family stressed out for the day ahead. How strange is that babies sleep better on the kind of white noise produced by a vacuum cleaner or a hair dryer, right?
- Give Your Pets a Break: If you have pets at home, then it’s borderline cruel to bring home a loud vacuum cleaner. Dogs and cats have acute hearing and are highly sensitive to loud noises. What sounds like a moderate purr to you may feel like a booming, thunderous noise to them. Some dogs are even known to act out by chasing or displaying weird behavior when subjected to the roaring noise of a vacuum cleaner.
- Clean Whenever You Want: A stealthy unit will allow you to clean your house at odd hours without drawing too much attention. This means a cleaning session after you come back late from work will leave the kids, neighbors, and pets undisturbed.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Most full-sized vacuum cleaners have a noise output of 70 to 80 decibels (dB). For reference, 80 decibel is the level of noise generated by a typical garbage disposal system. While 70 decibel vacuum cleaners are significantly quieter than 80 decibel units (the scale is exponential), they don’t really qualify for marketing tags such as ‘Silent’ or ‘Ultra-Quiet’. For the sake of this guide, I picked models with noise outputs of 70 dB or lower at their lowest power setting. Because each type of vacuum cleaners has different characteristics, I’ve grouped below various models by their category. As general rule of thumb, I consider a vacuum cleaner to be quiet if it produces a maximum of 67 dB. Given the 2018 market however, I might go over this line in some cases.
I’ve measured the sound in 2 different ways: with Decibel X, a great iPhone app, and with a small sound level meter. Although both methods pretty much converged, I’ve done this for consistency, and averaged the findings.
Top 3 Quietest Upright Vacuum Cleaners
Perfectly suited for cleaning carpets, upright cleaners can be quite noisy. Moreover, bagless units are usually noisier than bagged ones. The following are our top picks of the quietest upright vacuum cleaners on the market. As one can trivially see, the noise produced does increase with the suction power:
|Product||Noise level (dB)||Suction power (AW)|
|Hoover HushTone Hard-Bagged 15+||69 dB||200 AW|
|Electrolux Sanitaire Quiet Clean Dual Motor||67 dB||160 AW|
|Shark APEX DuoClean||75 dB||300 AW|
Hoover HushTone Hard-Bagged
The HushTone from Hoover lives up to its name by generating only 69 dB of noise during normal operations. This Hoover upright cleaner comes with 2 stage motor speed control and the patented WindTunnel technology that allows great dust pickup from hard floors as well as carpets. Hoover HushTone is fitted with self-sealing bags that do not allow dust and debris to back into the environment. The upright also has a reclining function that makes it easy to clean underneath the furniture and low-hanging obstacle. For a commercial upright cleaner, the Hoover HushTone 15+ is incredibly light weight weighing a mere 18.5 lbs. And heads up for their newest addition, the cordless HushTone CH95413, which produces only 65 dB (in HUSH mode). Check it out here.
Electrolux Sanitaire Quiet Clean 2 Motor
Sanitaire Quiet Clean 2 by Electrolux delivers impressive suction performance along with a super-low noise output of just 67 dB. The unit comes fitted with a True HEPA filter and has an extra-wide cleaning path of 13 inches. The Sanitaire also boasts an amazing reach with 40-foot long detachable power cable. This particular unit has 2 motors, one of which powers the suction while the other rotates the brushroll. Its dual-motor setup sends down enough power to pick up dust and debris from high-pile carpets. The unit sits on top of special ball bearing wheels that make it very easy to navigate it over both carpeted and hardwood surfaces. The only real downside of this product is its weight. Overall, the Sanitaire Quiet Clean is a competent upright cleaner for thick carpets that also happens to be super quiet. And what’s even better, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
With a decibel reading of 72 to 75 dB, the new unit is now holding the title of being one of the quietest Shark vacuum cleaners in the market. By comparison, Dyson’s Ball 2 and Miele’s Dynamic U1 make about 80 dB. The Shark APEX is a bagless unit that comes with an incredibly long 30-foot power cable. The APEX also come with Shark’s Anti-Allergen Seal technology that keeps microscopic dust particles and allergens trapped inside. It features washable HEPA filter, which drastically cuts down the maintenance cost. This model, like all Sharks from the last couple of years, has swivel steering and LED lights, which allows you to clean the tight, dark corners of your home. Read more about the APEX directly on Amazon.
Top 3 Quietest Cordless Vacuum Cleaners
Cordless vacuums usually ditch the few extra layers of insulation in a bid to keep things light and compact. One may think this means they are louder than their counterparts. However, many of them have weaker motors, which means they will also output less noise. Thus, the truth is somewhere in between:
|Product||Noise level (dB)||Suction power (AW)|
|Dyson V8||67 dB||115 AW|
|Electrolux Ergorapido||70 dB||100 AW|
|Eureka 96H Quick-Up||70 dB||30 AW|
Dyson V8 Absolute
When compared to the Dyson V6, the V8 is significantly quieter. On normal setting, the V8 generates a noise output of 67 dB. That’s an impressive 7 dB quieter than the Dyson V6. Apart from that, the V8 is also a more potent cleaning machine. It has a powerful suction and a carpet cleaning motor head that delivers a deep clean. The V8 Absolute comes with a soft roller head that picks up dirt from hardwood floors and other delicate hard surfaces. It also features HEPA filtration and an easy dust ejection system to clean the dust tank. Although it is more than a year old, it’s still the best rated cordless on the market.
Electrolux Ergorapido Petcare
The Electrolux Ergorapido Petcare has two suction settings. On the lowest setting, the Ergorapido generates a noise output that ranges from 65 to 70 dB. However, on the highest setting, the noise level goes up to 75 dB. When compared to the likes of Dirt Devil Accucharge which generates 82.5 dB of noise, the Electrolux Ergorapido is significantly stealthier. Apart from being quiet, the Ergorapido Petcare also comes with a long list of usability features. The unit has a wall-mountable charging dock that makes charging and storing the cleaner an absolute breeze. This Electrolux, like all the other from its series, comes with a special cleaner head fitted with LED headlamps that allows you to clean dark areas and corners with much ease. You can seamlessly convert it to a handheld without having to turn the power off. Here’s a great price for this Electrolux.
Eureka 96H Quick-Up
The Eureka 96H generates 70 dB of noise on normal setting. This means it’s half as loud as Bissell Bolt or Hoover Corded Cyclonic, both of which have noise outputs exceeding the 80 dB mark. Although an old model, Eureka Quick-Up is a competent cleaning unit. Weighing a mere 4 lbs, this bagless unit delivers a cordless cleaning time of 12 minutes on the maximum setting. The Eureka 96H also comes with rotating brushroll, which makes it great for cleaning low to medium-pile carpets and pickup pet hair from upholstery and sofas. You also get the option to turn off the brushroll when cleaning delicate laminate or hardwood flooring. What’s best about this model, it is really cheap.
Top 3 Quietest Canister Vacuum Cleaners
Even after being fitted with more powerful motors, canister vacuum cleaners are significantly quieter than upright cleaners thanks to their superior design. It turns out that it’s easier and more efficient to place parts inside a canister. Following are my top 3 picks for the quietest canister vacuum cleaners available today:
|Product||Noise level (dB)||Suction power (AW)|
|Miele C3||60 dB||200 AW|
|Numatic Henry||60 dB||180 AW|
|Hoover Quiet Force||68 dB||150 AW|
Miele has always been known for making well-insulated units that generate significantly lesser noise than most vacuum cleaners. The Miele C3 line is the pinnacle of that heritage. Any C3 model generates a whispering 60 dB of noise at its minimum power setting, and 68 dB at its maximum. These canisters come with 6 stage suction settings. The Miele is also incredibly lightweight weighing just 12 lbs. The C3 Marin e.g. comes with a combination floor tool that seamlessly adjusts when you switch from carpet to hard floor. Adding to its usability factor, the Miele comes with a long list of accessories and has an impressive cleaning radius of 36 feet. Regarding the financial part, I can help with an occasional discount.
The Numatic Henry HVX200 lives up to its reputation by being incredibly quiet while delivering impressive cleaning performance. Numatic Henry are vacuum cleaners with a noise output of just 60 dB. It comes with a HEPA filtration system and variable suction settings. The Numatic sits on top of 4 giant rubberized wheels which not only makes it safe for hardwood flooring but also highly maneuverable. The Henry vacuum has what it takes to be your home’s primary cleaner as it efficiently cleans both low-pile carpeting and hard flooring. The only real downside of this unit is it price, but occasionally you can get a good deal.
Hoover Quiet Force
Setting aside the fact that it’s an ultra-quiet unit, the Hoover Quiet Force is one of the best Hoover canister cleaners you can buy. It offers great filtration performance and has a convenient bagged design. The fitted HEPA filters are completely washable, which eliminates the cost of buying replacement filters. The Quiet Force also comes with a whopping dust tank that makes it perfectly suited for large homes and for families with multiple pets. It delivers a noise output of just 68 dB during normal operation (72 dB on the highest setting). Find here more thoughts on this Hoover.
Top 3 Quietest Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Fitted with much smaller motors robot vacuums are generally significantly quieter than regular vacuum cleaners. Following are my top 3 picks of the quietest robot vacuum cleaners of 2018.
|Product||Noise level (dB)||Suction power (AW)|
|Xiaomi RoboRock Robot Vacuum 2||53 dB||2000 Pa|
|Deebot N79||55 dB||800 Pa|
|iRobot Roomba 690||60 dB||800 Pa|
Xiaomi RoboRock Robot Vacuum II
Armed with ninja-like stealth suction (on first power setting) the RoboRock from Xiaomi is a powerful yet quiet unit. It generates a surprisingly quiet 53 dB of noise during operation. For reference, that’s more than 10 decibels less than the quietest canister vacuum cleaner available in the market. Also, if you’re willing to get a powerful more noisy clean, the RoboRock delivers a peak suction power of 2000 Pa, which is good enough to clean everything from hardwood floors to low-pile carpeting. The model comes with a large dust tank and has both dusting and mopping capability. The Xiaomi is fitted with a 5200 mAh battery that delivers a runtime of almost 2 hours. It also comes with anti-collision sensors and multiple cleaning modes. Overall, the second version of the Xiaomi robovac is one of the greatest robot vacuums I’ve tested. And it’s not that expensive either.
While not as quiet as the RoboRock, the Deebot N79 definitely deserves a mention on our list of best quiet vacuums of 2018. The N79 is an affordable robot vacuum that generates a sound output of 55 db. The bot has 3 cleaning modes, Edge, Spot, and Auto. It also comes fitted with a motion technology that allows it to optimize its routes to cover the entire floor. The bot has 2 side brushes that drag in dirt and dust from the corners and directs them towards the suction port. The N79 comes with a remote control that allows you to change the cleaning modes and schedule cleaning sessions. The Deebot is an extremely quiet machine that’s a great choice for cleaning small apartments with hard flooring. Currently, the N79 is one of the best-selling automated cleaning machines.
iRobot Roomba 690
If you want to buy a entry-level Roomba that delivers efficient cleaning performance while generating less noise then the 690 is a solid pick. The Roomba 690 has a noise output of 60 dB. Powered by iRobot’s iAdapt technology, the Roomba navigates around obstacles much more efficiently than conventional dumb robot vacuums. The 690 can be commanded via smartphone, and the iRobot apps are constantly improving. The iRobot Roomba 690 is a great choice for small to medium sized homes with pets, given it’s competitive price.
While noise output can be annoying, it’s certainly not the only parameter to lookout for when buying a vacuum cleaner. Make sure you also check the other specs before buying a new product. If I had to name my favorite among canisters, then the Numatic Henry is the overall winner, that’s not only super-silent but is also fully capable of cleaning carpets, hard floors, and upholstery. As for robot vacuums, you can’t go wrong with the RoboRock. What’s your take on this?
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