KEEP THE NOISE DOWN Don't be disturbed by loud appliances while you're eating, take advice from Poppy Szkiler, founder and MD of Quiet Mark (quietmark.com) Many manufacturers focus on performance features; the level of noise a machine makes may be a lesser priority. But Quiet Mark appliances have third-party independent verification that the awarded products are technically approved to be among the quietest available. Sound is measured in decibels [dB), which is a logarithmic measurement of the effective pressure of a sound relative to a reference value. Every 3dB increase equates to a perceived doubling of the noise level. Judging sound output purely as a dB rating can be misleading, as the figure needs to be considered in the context of models of the same type, and measured in a real-life environment. The Quiet Mark award enables those looking for a new appliance to see a product's relative quietness straight away. For large appliances such as fridges, washing machines, dishwashers and boilers, manufacturers must declare dB levels on their EU energy label, displayed as a sticker on the front of the product, or online. Large appliances are tested to specific legal standards, so the dB levels on the energy labels can be compared to each other. Quiet Mark's database identifies the quietest machines of a particular type, such as dishwashers, washing machines, etc. There are no such legal standards for small appliances, such as kettles, juicers and food processors. However, Quiet Mark tests these products in a kitchen facility and publishes the results. As more manufacturers begin to invest in and prioritise acoustics, low-noise performance is continuing to improve. As a rough guide, some of the quietest built-in dishwashers have a noise rating of just 39dB, which is around the same level as a quiet conversation.
Din busters! Families opt for quieter gadgets in a fight against noisy technology from juicers that are louder than planes to washing machines that make more racket than busy traffic. Consumers are trading in noisy kitchen gadgets for their quieter alternatives.
Quiet Mark is featured on You & Yours, BBC Radio 4's consumer affairs programme about 'How the Noise Abatement Society is celebrating its 60th birthday - quietly!'