Shhh! The quietest household appliances for your home

Fed up of the kettle disturbing you on a lazy weekend morning?

We are more aware than ever before of the impact of pollution on our health.

There is plenty of research at our fingertips to show how bad air pollution can be for our lungs and how water pollution is having an impact on our overall health. And there are plenty of appliances that can help us deal with both – air purifiers to filter out the pollutants in our homes, for example.

But what about noise pollution? Wearables such as the Apple Watch have begun alerting us to the possibility of hearing damage when our ears are exposed to high decibel levels over time. But that’s not the only issue. Research into noise pollution has attributed a variety of negative health effects to it, from sleep disturbance and stress to higher blood pressure and disimproved cardiovascular health.

While much of the research concentrates on the impact of traffic noise and other loud environmental noise, have you considered the negative impact of your household appliances on your health?

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Noisy appliances can help contribute to the general cacophony of home life. Take a look around your kitchen and count up the number of appliances. From ovens and kettles to coffeemakers and air fryers, there are a growing number of appliances that are increasingly viewed as essential for modern life. And as a result, our homes are noisy.

Many of us may came to this realisation during Covid-19 lockdowns. At a time when most people were working and learning from home, the background noise we previously ignored suddenly became the focal point for our frustrations.

Think about it: the vacuum cleaner going while the coffee maker is working in the background, and the dishwasher running to deal with the morning dishes. The noise from the spinning washing machine will add to the general din, while the fridge freezer will be working constantly in the background.

The average person might find the growing noise level difficult to handle. And if you are neurodiverse, the type of noise generated by the appliances can present even more of a challenge.

A good place to start is with Quiet Mark, an independent global certification programme, that uses scientific testing and assessment to find the quietest appliances for your home

There are appliances out there that are trying to take it down a notch, working quietly in the background without making their presence felt. How to find these appliances though is another question. Measuring decibel levels is one way, but it is crude. The constant hum at 60dB is more tolerable for some people than a clattering noise that reaches 50dB.

And there is also the room in which the appliance is intended for use to take into account. Appliances designed to work in the livingroom tend to be quieter than those designed for use in the kitchen, for example. And what may be quiet in one home with carpet and insulated, wallpapered walls, may be unbearably noisy in a tiled room with painted walls, bouncing sound around.

A good place to start is with Quiet Mark, an independent global certification programme, that uses scientific testing and assessment to find the quietest appliances for your home, from laundry and cooking to bedrooms and air purifying. The programme awards the coveted rating to the appliances that meet its standards for a quiet home, working with manufacturers and retailers worldwide.

So what options are out there?

Quiet kitchen

Can any Irish household manage without a kettle? If you don’t have a hot water tap, then a kettle is essential.

But they can also be noisy.

The Dualit Classic kettle is not only quiet, with its Whisper Boil technology, but it will work quickly and, according to Dualit, is fully repairable. It costs €160-€185 from various retailers around Ireland.

A cheaper option – but one that doesn’t have the Quiet Mark seal of approval – is the Russell Hobbs Buckingham Quiet Boil Kettle. It says it is up to 75 per cent quieter than a standard kettle and retails for about €50.

Consumer tester Which has identified the Russell Hobbs Essentials 21440 as being one of the “least offensive” models on the market. It comes in at a relatively unobtrusive 78.8dB and will cost less than €20.

Conversely, it says that the Russell Hobbs Glass Line 20780 is “one of the loudest kettles” it has come across (about €50).

If coffee is more your drink of choice, Philips LatteGo machines have also been deemed quiet enough for a space in your quieter kitchen.

Air fryers have become the new must-have in the kitchen, saving your energy bills while also serving up tasty food. The downside? They can be noisier than ideal.

But one option that has the Quiet Mark seal of approval is the Instant Vortex Slim 5.7L Air Fryer. Not only does it work quietly, but it also takes up less counter space while still cooking enough for six people. And at under €100, it won’t cost the earth.

Quiet washing

Tumble dryers are generally noisy, but Fischer & Paykel’s DH9060FS1 9kg tumble dryer not only has the Quiet Mark certification, but also uses heat pump technology, so it is extremely energy efficient. It has achieved the A+++ rating, so it costs less to run than your average condenser dryer.

The downside is that you’ll pay significantly more for it. At almost €1,500, it isn’t a budget option.

Neither is the other option, the Miele TWH780 WP EcoSpeed 9kg Heat Pump Tumble Dryer. You can expect to pay more than €1,000 for this.

It’s a similar story for the washing machine, which is also a Fischer & Paykel device. The WH1260F2 comes at a cool €1,400 for a 12KG machine and it is hard to come by.

If you are looking for a quieter machine for a cheaper price, look at both the washing and spinning dB ratings. Keep your machine serviced to ensure it stays in good working order; mechanical problems can cause your machine’s noise level to creep up over time.

Which has identified the Hoover HBWM814TAHC as being “noticeably quieter” than other options. It retails for about €500.

Quiet cleaning

It is difficult to find a vacuum cleaner that has a Quiet Mark certification. Generally, the stronger the suction power, the noisier the machine. But there are options. Cordless vacuums are generally quieter than their traditional plug-in counterparts, and robot cleaners are quieter again – although you may sacrifice in suction on the latter.

The Miele Complete C3 Silence EcoLine (about €280) lives up to its name, with Which noting that it has a noise rating of 62dB – and still offers good cleaning power.

Other options include the Hoover Telios TX50PET at 64dB, or the Siemens VSZ7442S, which has a noise level of 67dB.

What are the best appliances for a quiet home?

Vacuum cleaner

Miele Complete C3 Silence EcoLine (about €280)

Kettle

Dualit Classic kettle (about €160)

Kettle

Russell Hobbs Essentials (less than €20)

Washing machine

Fischer & Paykel WH1260F2 (€1,400)

Hoover HBWM814TAHC (about €500)

Air fryer

Instant Vortex Slim 5.7L Air Fryer