Kitchen appliances are some of the noisiest devices in our homes. Luckily, many of those appliances have quiet counterparts — but what about the noisiest one among them? Today, we’re on the hunt for the best quiet dishwashers on the market.
In the grand scheme of things, most dishwashers produce an unreasonable amount of noise. Even if you get a quiet model, you’ll likely still have to put up with some sound leakage. However, it’ll certainly be better than dealing with a regular dishwasher that doesn’t have any features that enable quiet performance. With that in mind, let’s establish a baseline: how loud are dishwashers normally?
What Is the Decibel Level of a Quiet Dishwasher?
Companies that pride themselves on quiet products will often include a decibel measurement in their product descriptions. So what’s the number you want to see in a quiet dishwasher? To make a long answer short, anything below 40 decibels should do it. However, things aren’t always as simple as that.
To understand how to approach decibel level ratings, you’ll need to know how loud certain sounds are on this scale. Let’s take vacuum cleaners as an example — normally, these devices produce about 80 decibels of noise. That’s about the same volume of sound we might hear coming from some lawnmowers. Needless to say, constant exposure to that level of noise can cause lasting hearing damage.
Luckily, most commercial dishwashers don’t come anywhere near that mark. Most of them only make 60 decibels of sound. But even if yours is closer to 70 decibels, that would make it two times quieter than the average vacuum cleaner. After all, an increase of ten decibels doubles the volume of sound in our perception.
Notably, many companies use dBA (A-weighted decibels) levels rather than regular decibels (dB). A-weighted decibels are units that take into account the way we experience sound. So seeing a dBA level rating should make it easier to compare how loud the dishwasher is to other appliances you’re used to hearing.
At this point, you’d think that you’d be able to find the quietest dishwasher on the market without further assistance. But here’s why you may be wrong. Basically, you need to consider the question of who is testing these noise levels and how.
At this point, there’s no official method of measuring the volume of sound these products make. What’s more, most companies do their own testing, so there’s no shortage of inconsistencies. Even though many include decibel levels in product descriptions, they don’t always state the distance between the sound level meter and the appliance.
A loud dishwasher would sound quieter if we measured the volume of noise from a few yards away as opposed to a foot away. Therefore, two machines that have the same decibel level on paper might perform differently in person.
Additionally, many of the odd sounds you might hear coming from your dishwasher aren’t caused by the design of the machine. If you happen to hear repetitive thumping or grinding noises, user errors and plumbing issues will be the more likely culprits. But don’t worry, we’ll talk about how you can avoid those pitfalls later on.
5 Best Quiet Dishwashers
Now that you know what to expect out of a quiet dishwasher, let’s see some examples. The products I’ve found mostly come from established and trustworthy manufacturers. No matter which machine you chose, you’ll get the quality build and quiet performance you’re looking for. So feel free to take your pick based on the dimensions and special features I’m about to describe.
1. Whirlpool WDF550SAHS With Quiet Partner Sound Package
Even though Whirlpool makes plenty of dishwashers that are quieter and more complicated than this one, I wanted to start this list off with a simpler option. The WDF550SAHS model will take up 24 inches of floor space, sliding comfortably under your countertop — as long as it doesn’t fall below 32.5 inches.
Both the interior and the exterior of the machine are made of stainless steel, which should muffle the sound of running water. You can expect this dishwasher to be about as loud as a moderate rainfall with a volume of about 51 dBA.
The only part of the door that isn’t made of stainless steel is the control panel, which has a glass overlay. Thankfully, the settings above the handle are all fairly standard despite their futuristic design. You’ll have access to several wash programs, as well as drying and delay cycle options.
Interestingly, the appliance will also remember whichever settings you use thanks to the cycle memory feature. Its internal sensors will also suggest which settings you should use. Speaking of the internal structure, you’ll be able to adjust it by manually shifting the top rack. What’s more, you’ll also find a removable silverware basket on the bottom rack.
- A 32.5 inches tall built-in model with a 24-inch base
- Stainless steel interior and exterior
- Sensor cycle and memory features
- 51 decibels
2. Maytag QuietSeries MDB8959SKZ
Due to the lack of a visible control panel, some might find the next few dishwasher models on this list a bit disconcerting. But they are the future! The fingerprint-resistant stainless steel exterior of this model is disrupted only by a recessed plastic-coated handle. When you open the door, you’ll find all the settings along the top edge.
This particular Maytag appliance is famous for the integration of the company’s Dual Power Filtration technology. Namely, rather than pre-washing your dishes, the machine combines microfiltration with a stainless steel chopper to eliminate any remnants of food. Between that and the PowerBlast cycle option, as well as the Steam Sanitizing feature, your dishes are bound to come out looking brand new.
There are five wash cycles in total as well as several other options to choose from, including delay and drying programs. Even if you let the appliance run an automatic program, the built-in sensors will adjust the temperature as needed. The machine also has leak detection preventing it from working if there is excess water on the ground below it.
The stainless steel interior of the appliance has two main racks as usual. However, instead of the traditional silverware basket, this unit has another rack near the top that’s just for cutlery.
- A 33.5 inches tall built-in model with a 24-inch square base
- Stainless steel interior, partially plastic exterior
- PowerBlack cycle and Dual Power Filtration
- 47 decibels
3. Bosch 800 Series SHPM98W75N
This Bosch 800 Series model only produces about 40 decibels of noise during operation — but that’s not even its most interesting feature. Instead, that honor goes to its CrystalDry technology. Namely, the appliance uses zeolite to hasten the drying time of its contents, including plastics that are generally difficult to dry. Moreover, the mineral also helps the stainless steel interior of the machine remain spotless.
Speaking of the interior, you’ll find several adjustable and removable racks inside. The top rack can be moved if you need to put taller items on the lower one. There’s also a third rack for silverware that’s deep enough to store ladles as well.
Overall, the machine is a fairly standard built-in model, coming in at just below 34 inches. It should fit into a 24-inch square slot. The front side has a smooth design with only a recessed door handle near the top. Once again, the control panel is stashed along the top side of the door.
If you’re dealing with items that need to be extra clean — like baby bottles, the sanitize option will increase the temperature of the final rinse in an effort to eliminate bacteria. There’s also a half load setting, a delayed wash cycle feature, and several other functions you can try.
When you’re done making the selections, simply close the door and let the machine do its thing. A red light will be projected onto the floor in front of the appliance while the wash cycle is running. So the impressively quiet performance won’t affect your ability to gauge when your load is done.
- A 34 inches tall built-in model with a 24-inch base
- Stainless steel interior and exterior
- CrystalDry feature
- 40 decibels
4. Samsung DW80E9950UT
Samsung’s DW80E9950UT dishwasher is yet another whisper-quiet model with an attractive, clean design. Once again, you have a recessed handle with controls hidden along the top side of the door. However, this model also lets you see the remaining time on the wash cycle clock on the front display.
The only part of the unit that will be visible once you install it under your counter is the door, so the sleek design is really important. The exterior metal comes in three colors — the standard grey, black, and a brownish “Tuscan” shade. So you’ll be able to match your appliance to your kitchen counters! Best of all, the finish of the steel is fingerprint-resistant so you won’t have to clean it too often.
The inside of the machine is also made of stainless steel, which helps it operate at a quiet 39 dBA. Instead of having rotating spray arms, this dishwasher uses AquaBlast jets, Samsung’s linear wash system that ensures full corner coverage. Like the previous model, this one has three racks — the top one is reserved for silverware. The door of the machine will open automatically when the wash cycle is done, but you’ll also be able to monitor its progress and even adjust the settings from your phone.
There are seven wash programs in total, including the self-cleaning option. On top of that, you can also engage the zone or speed boosting settings, delay the start of a wash cycle, or finish with a sanitizing rinse.
- A 34 inches tall built-in model with a 24-inch square base
- Stainless steel interior and exterior
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- 39 decibels
5. Magic Chef Countertop Portable Dishwasher
Lastly, I wanted to mention a dishwasher you could use even if you don’t have room to spare. The 6-place setting countertop model from Magic Chef is just about 22 inches wide, 17 inches tall, and 20 inches deep. Weighing in at around 45 pounds, most kitchen cabinets should be able to support it. The unit is incredibly easy to install even without the help of a professional.
The controls at the top of the door might take some getting used to, though, since they’re only represented by symbols. Still, you’ll figure them out with the help of the manual. And once you run your first cycle, you’ll be shocked at how quiet this model is!
Despite the seemingly diminutive size of the appliance, you’ll have plenty of space for all sorts of dishes and glasses in the spacious stainless steel tub. There are only one rack and spinning spray arm, so you won’t be able to adjust much about the interior. Even so, you’ll still have a removable silverware basket, at least, so if you ever want to wash a larger pot, you can just remove that.
- A 17 inches tall, 22 inches wide, 20 inches deep countertop model
- Stainless steel interior, plastic exterior
- Easy self-installation
- 52 decibels
Features to Look For When Shopping for Quiet Dishwashers
Since we’ve already discussed the decibel levels you should be looking for, let’s talk about some of the other features your new dishwasher should have. First, you should think about how the new appliance will fit into your kitchen.
Built-in or Stand-Alone Model
When looking for a dishwasher of a standard size, you’ll find that most models fall into one of two categories. Some are meant to be installed under your kitchen counter, surrounded by cabinets, while others are freestanding. If you’re looking to save space, you could get a compact or even countertop model.
As you might have noticed, the difference in these types of dishwashers is in their dimensions. Narrower built-in units usually have a 24-inch square base. However, if you need a greater internal capacity, you’ll want to look for dishwashers that are 30–42 inches wide instead.
On the other hand, if you have a smaller kitchen, compact dishwashers only take up 18 by 22–25 inches of floor space. The height of these appliances usually matches that of other dishwashers, at 35 inches tall. However, if you don’t have any space on your kitchen floor, you could get a countertop unit. Those are usually between 16 and 22 inches high and wide.
Obviously, the external dimensions of a dishwasher will be an important factor in your final decision. But remember, the appliance will be significantly smaller on the inside. That’s why you’ll need to consider internal specifications as well as external dimensions when choosing your dishwasher.
Most importantly, the size of your machine also determines its internal capacity. Generally, that is represented by the number of items you could place on the racks inside the machine. For example, while a wide or full-sized model might fit up to 150 items, a narrow one would only fit up to a hundred. Depending on the types of things you’re loading, you could fit between 40 and 60 items into a compact appliance.
But of course, the capacity of a dishwasher isn’t the only internal spec you should keep in mind. The amount of flexibility you’ll get from things like removable silverware baskets and racks is another important factor. These are things most people don’t really think about when they’re shopping but are always grateful for later on.
Lastly, if you’re looking for a quiet dishwasher, limit yourself to models with stainless steel tubs. Sure, machines with plastic interiors are cheaper while still being durable and easy to clean. However, stainless steel is notably better at muffling the sound of running water than plastic. As a bonus, the material is also odor- and stain-resistant.
Control and Wash Options
If you’re buying a new appliance, you want to be able to use it. So when choosing your new dishwasher, try to get one that has controls and settings you recognize. With that in mind, let’s talk about the most common settings you might find.
Firstly, you might want to think about the placement of the control panel. Some dishwashers have the controls on the front while others have them on top. There are even some models that have controls hidden under recessed door handles.
When it comes to washing cycles, you’ll find that things are pretty standard across the board. Most dishwashers will let you delay the start time of the cycle, as well as initiate a rinse cycle without washing the load outright. Additionally, you’ll be able to choose between several wash programs including a quick mode and a sanitizing option.
Some models also have a steam clean feature and bottle jets that target certain areas of the rack. Usually, though, machines will only have one kind of water movement. Traditional dishwashers have a rotary spray, but some of the newer models use linear washing or high-pressure jets to clean the contents.
Depending on the manufacturer, your appliance may also have a built-in water heater and softener. These features often go hand in hand with various water and temperature sensors that are now built into the dishwashers. If you want to be fancy about it, you could get a smart dishwasher, which would allow you to use those sensors to save water and energy.
How to Make the Dishwasher You Have Quieter
As I have briefly mentioned before, even the quietest dishwashers may produce noise in the right — or rather, wrong — circumstances. Usually, those sounds are the result of user error or plumbing issues. Having one loosened valve could make your dishwasher produce noise even when it’s off! So how can you keep your new appliance running smoothly and quietly?
Load It Properly
Loading your dishwasher properly is the most important thing you can do to ensure a quiet wash cycle. Simply put all your plates, mugs, and cutlery in the correct slots on the racks. When you’re done loading the dishwasher, make sure the arms inside can rotate freely without bumping into anything.
Taking the time to put everything in its place will make it less likely that anything will get dislodged during the wash cycle. If nothing else, it’ll prevent the spinning spray arms from hitting and potentially chipping plates that are sticking out. That alone is responsible for the majority of the noise people tend to hear coming from their dishwashers.
Insulate the Dishwasher
Built-in dishwashers are usually installed with a thin layer of insulation covering four sides of the machine. However, that material isn’t as effective as you need it to be. Installing more substantial dishwasher insulation should muffle the noise and prevent the machine from vibrating against the surrounding kitchen cabinets.
Luckily, I’ve already talked about the best products you can use to replace that insulation in a previous article. The installation process may be a bit tricky but most people should be able to manage it. Still, if you don’t want to mess with electricity and plumbing alone, you could leave this step to the professionals.
Cover the Front Side
If the internal walls of your dishwashers are plastic, you may still hear sounds coming through the door of the appliance. If you really want to muffle that noise as well, I recommend covering the front of the machine. There are several ways to go about doing that:
- Close off the dishwasher with a wooden panel or door (making sure you can still get the machine out if you need to)
- Trimming a soundproof blanket to fit perfectly over the machine and attaching it with a hook and loop tape
- Using a small curtain panel (you could sew a large pocket on the back side if you want to thicken the cover with a sheet of MLV)
In fact, if you don’t want to bother getting blanket insulation, you could just wrap soundproof blankets around your appliance and call it a day. Either way, at this point, five of your six sides should be padded.
Put in Anti-Vibration Pads
Thick dishwasher insulation is great for stopping the transfer of vibrations to the surrounding cabinets. However, your appliance will still be able to shake the ground. Some machines even manage to march clear across the floor (though most are screwed into place to prevent that). In any case, you could reduce unwanted impact noise by putting anti-vibration pads under the feet of the appliance.
If you’re going to replace the insulation around the dishwasher, you could use the opportunity to put in your anti-vibration pads. Before you slide the machine back into place, put two rubber pads into the dishwasher slot. Roll or slide the machine back, making sure that the wheels or back feet end up on the pads you’ve set up. The front feet will probably be lifted so you could slide two more pads in before lowering them.
Soundproof the Kitchen
If you don’t want to bother extracting your built-in machine or adding on layers of insulation to it, you could always just soundproof the kitchen. Of course, that would only work if you didn’t live in an open-plan space. Still, if the room has doors, it should be able to keep any sounds coming from your dishwasher from bothering the rest of the household.
Making the Most Of Your Quiet Dishwasher
Now that you have a quiet dishwasher, you won’t have to limit yourself to scheduling wash cycles when you’re away from home or sleeping. Even if you don’t implement the soundproofing tips I’ve mentioned above, you’ll hardly be able to hear it! But once you eliminate the noisiest kitchen appliance, the ones you used to consider quiet will probably become louder to your ears.
So let this be the beginning of your quest to replace all your kitchen tools with quieter models. Fortunately, even the loudest appliances, like coffee grinders, have silent counterparts. And the same goes for things like electric kettles and microwave ovens. After replacing all those loud and outdated appliances, you’ll love spending time in your kitchen!