More and more, consumers are interested in finding appliances with quiet operation. Noisy refrigerators, dishwashers, and laundry appliances can be especially intrusive in an apartment and homes with open floor plans. If you have a second-floor laundry room or laundry closet, a quiet washing machine might be crucial for your sanity!
Normal sounds in new washing machines include clicking and humming, gurgling or running water sounds as the washer fills and drains, and the sound of the basket spinning up and down in short or long bursts. One of the major factors tied to noise reduction is vibration reduction - the two go hand in hand! Although it's unlikely that you'll find decibel levels for most washing machines (unlike with dishwashers, where there is plenty of competition to be the quietest dishwasher), there are several key features you can look for from different brands that will help you find quiet washing machine models.
Noise and Vibration Reduction Technologies - Brand Overviews
Several brands offer washers with specific noise-reduction and vibration-reduction features - of course, they all have catchy names that can be hard to keep straight, so we'll go over all of the options here for your reference! LG and Samsung are at the top of their game for full-sized quiet washing machine models, while Bosch and Electrolux have some amazing options in small and compact washers.
In general, most front load washers incorporate counterbalance ball bearings in the drum, but additional features to look for include direct drive motors, dampers, and sound dampening panels.
This appliance manufacturer offers a couple of great technologies available in portable, top load, and front load washer models: LoDecibel Quiet Operation and the TrueBalance Anti-Vibration system. You can find LoDecibel technology on a variety of LG products, including some of their refrigerators. When it comes to washing machines, LG combines a direct drive motor with several great noise-dampening features.
The TrueBalance system combines a vibration sensor, ball balancers, and a two-stage damper. The ball balancers are common in front loaders, and act as a counterweight to the load of clothes as the washer spins. Vibration sensors detect excessive vibration so that the washer can adjust its spin speeds. The damper system features three two-stage dampers that reduce side-to-side, forward-and-back, and up-and-down motion (even at low levels of vibration) and help prevent vibration from being transferred to the floor.
The direct drive motor reduces vibration because it eliminates belts and pulleys. The motor and drum are mounted on the same shaft, so there is only one center of rotation. Combining these moving parts means your washer's motor isn't working against the wash basket.
We reviewed the largest washing machine on the market, which is made by LG and includes these great sound reduction features!
Samsung offers VRT (Vibration Reduction Technology) and recently added VRT Plus to its lineup, which makes its washers 40% quieter than the standard VRT from Samsung. When Samsung came out with its first washer with VRT in 2007, it claimed that it was the quietest washer ever during the spin cycle. The VRT Plus system shows that they have continued to innovate!
The VRT Plus system incorporates counterbalancing ball bearings and a direct drive inverter motor. Like the LG system, two-stage dampers reduce drum movement and vibration transfer while spinning. With VRT Plus, a vibration sensor detects odd vibrations caused by an unbalanced load. The sensor transmits a signal to a digital sensor processor, and this then adjusts the motor to reduce the vibration, "calming" the washer drum.
One of Samsung's VRT Plus models is in our review of the best front load washers of the year - check it out!
Electrolux is a great option for smaller washers and compact washers in the front load style. They claim "no other washer has less vibration" and their Perfect Balance system is inspired by the same technology used to stabilize skyscrapers. Combined with the Luxury Quiet sound package, this brand offers some great choices for quiet washing machine models.
Electrolux washers also come with a Second Floor Guarantee. Basically, if there is washer movement in excess of one inch despite the washer being leveled, installed according to local approved building codes, and run a minimum of 10 cycles, you can return the model - talk with your local appliance salesperson to get all of the details!
Check out our Electrolux front load washer review for an example of a Luxury Quiet Electrolux model (pictured below)!
Bosch is known for offering the quietest dishwasher models, and they've made headway in creating quiet washing machine models as well! They're also one of the few appliance manufacturers that consistently lists decibel levels for various appliances, even their refrigerators!
The EcoSilence Drive washing machine is Bosch's ultra-quiet option. This direct drive motor is brushless, using magnets instead to turn the drum. This results in a quieter, faster, and more efficient washer: there is less energy wasted due to friction, and this decrease in friction also results in less wear and tear. Some EcoSilence Bosch washers include a 10-year warranty on the motor!
Anti-vibration panels are also built into the sides of these washers, improving stability and absorbing the vibration transmitted from the movement of the drum. Compare the Bosch EcoSilence compact washer vs an Electrolux Luxury Quiet compact washer in our compact washer review!
Whirlpool offers several levels of sound packages that incorporate sound-absorbing material around a compact motor and the wash drum or wash basket. The levels include Quiet Wash, Quiet Wash Plus, and Quiet Wash Ultra. There is limited information available on how exactly these levels differ, so check out videos of washers with these sound packages in operation if you can, or ask an experienced salesperson!
We hope this information will help you find the quiet washing machine you need! Worth mentioning: sometimes different manufacturers will compete with other brands in categories like quiet operation, or start offering quieter washer technology without giving it an official name. For example, Speed Queen's top load washers, as of 2018, operate at 43 decibels during agitation thanks to an inverter drive motor with a pulley system to move the wash basket powerfully yet quietly.
In general, look for a direct drive motor - these washers tend to have quieter operation while being more efficient and durable. Remember that leveling your washer is crucial to getting the best performance and least vibration! Another tip for finding out how quiet a washing machine is before buying is to look up the model number online and see if there are any videos of it in operation - assuming the machine is new and well-balanced.
Have you found a quiet washing machine? Does it feature any of the technologies we wrote about? Leave us a comment below - We'd love to hear from you!
Editor's Note: This blog was originally written in March of 2019 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy as of the publication date noted above.