Is the Competition Really That Loud?

An advertising campaign by LG pasted on the Skytrain platforms touts their new beltless washing machine.  The key benefit: it is significantly quieter than the competition.  As you can see, the LG Inverter DD operates at only 50 decibels whereas the competition’s belt-driven washers operate at horrifying 58 decibels.


The problem is, the graphics they use to illustrate these relative levels of sound are very misleading.  Here are some average decibel levels for various types of activity,

10 dB – Normal breathing
30 dB – Whisper
40 dB – Stream, refrigerator humming
50-65 dB – Normal conversation
60-65 dB – Laughter
70 dB – Vacuum cleaner, hair dryer
75 dB – Dishwasher, washing machine
80 dB – Garbage disposal, city traffic
85-90 dB – Lawnmower
100 dB – Train, garbage truck
110 dB – Jackhammer, power saw
120 dB – Thunderclap

Not sure what LG is exactly depicting in the 58 dB picture – looks like road work to me – but it seems pretty clear that 58 dB isn’t nearly as loud as road work would be.  And the 50 dB picture – someone sitting in a library – probably isn’t accurate, either.  A library would probably be closer to 35-40 dB.

Note that prolonged exposure to any noise about 90 dB can cause gradual hearing loss.


0 thoughts on “Is the Competition Really That Loud?

  1. @dynamiqvision – I think the mushroom cloud is actually a bit louder, maybe 60 dB instead of 58!@ElusiveWords – and still others take the truth, pitch it out the window, and then in its place put a pretzel.@iStephanieMarie – Well, may I suggest a beltless washer?  They are as quiet as a library, or at least so it seems!  =)@CurryPuffy – Advertising in the Big Mango is… very creative, shall we say?@Jillycarmel – Yours is just slightly quieter than an Abhrams Tank?@ZenPaper – Oh, no, Evan!  I never thought you’d become cynical…  =(

  2. I dont even want to know what my DISHWASHER operates at…lol this new one that Pat got me for Christmas is the loudest thing ever!!! And as far as prolonged exposure to loud noises causing hearing loss…you should see what 30 years exposure to Artillery Fire has done to my husbands hearing!!! ( Or maybe that is just his excuse for ignoring me!!!)Have a fabulous weekendRuth Ann

  3. @Wangium – Oh, what a sweet thought… laughter!  See, you are sentimental after all!  That’s one of those “desert island” questions: If you could be any decibel range, what would it be?@Redlegsix – What’s that they say?  Something like, turning town the volume on the hearing aid is a recipe for a long and happy marriage.@Rm2046 – As long as the washing machine doesn’t make the harsh “Shhh!!!” sound like a librarian, they’d probably come out okay.@Dezinerdreams – In some ways it is insignificant but in some ways it is worse because it is kind of subtle.  You don’t realize that the decibel levels are actually very close and don’t know that the pictures don’t correspond to the decible levels shown, but you do subconsciously associate beltless washers with the quiet of a library and other washers with construction noise.  It is so subtle that you aren’t even aware of the manipulation, but subsequently add it to your mental calculator when shopping for a washer.

  4. Oh! Everyone is missing the point – decibel measurements are logarithmic. An increase of 5 decibels is a significant increase! If 5 dB = 1 inch, 10 =2″, 15=4″, 20=8″, 25=16″, 30=32″, 35=64″, 40=128″, 45=256″, 50=512″, 55=1024″… So the difference between 50dB and 58dB is HUGE!  Just listing conversation at 50-65 dB is lumping talking to your spouse at the dinner table with talking to your best friend at a football game (when your team scores) – just not the same. Same with laughing – giggling at a joke and roaring at a comedy club…

  5. @murisopsis –  I understand that the scale escalates logarithmically, but the pictures don’t accurately reflect that difference. 50 dB is louder than a library and 58 dB is quieter than street construction. 50-58 dB falls within the range of normal conversation and while there is variance in that volume, it doesn’t compare with the range of a library to a construction site.@ZSA_MD –  A global truth!@minhaners –  Add that to the long list of letters I want to write but never get around to.

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