Is there even such a thing?
The Importance of the Range Hood
There are some things you need to know about dB levels and extractor fans. Here’s the thing – if you don’t pay attention to an extractor fans noise level when purchasing it, you will be tempted to turn it off too soon (or not turn it on at all), which kind of defeats its purpose. You might not think that is a big deal but picture this.
You spend big, your extractor fan is too loud, and you leave it off when cooking. The result is unpleasant cooking odors hanging around for days, sticking to your clothes, and even lingering in your living space. Then, there’s the extra surface cleaning you have to do because oil and grease settle on your counters. It’s too warm and you find yourself darting out of the kitchen to escape the heat. All because you bought without looking into the dB levels.
dB Numbers & Sones
A dB number is simply the decibel rate. This is the measure used to determine how much noise a range hood uses. That’s the key. You may also be on the lookout for the Sone number, which you can easily convert using this guide.
- Noise is measured and expressed using three levels:
- Noise is captured from around three feet from the range hood.
- Noise is reduced significantly when testing from an increased distance.
Typically, a normal conversation runs at around 60 dB (around 9 Sones), which means that anything about that would be considered a nuisance, and anything below would be considered quiet for a range hood. If a range hood is producing more than 70 dB (around 19 Sones), it’s safe to say you should not purchase it if you’re on the lookout for a quiet range hood. 85 dB (or 53 Sones) would be a noisy restaurant, just to help put the noise levels into context.
Since your conversation typically runs around 60 dB (9 Sones), it’s safe to say you don’t want a range hood that exceeds this noise level. Just think about how frustrating it is to have a conversation while another conversation is happening just a few feet away. It’s one of the more annoying aspects of eating out or parties so, you don’t want a range hood that is essentially creating the same level of noise as another conversation. That’s the point at which it becomes a nuisance and can impact on your enjoyment. Imagine standing at your range, trying to have a conversation, and being unable to hear what someone is saying to you just a few feet away. That’s what you’re up against, not to mention the sounds of pots and pans clinking and clanging on your stovetop.
You have to consider what noise level you can stand for an extended period of time and how important it is for you to multitask while you cook. If it’s normal to catch up with your family as you get dinner ready, then you’re doing to want as low a dB number as you can find. At over 60 dB you will need to walk as far as ten feet away before you can be heard by others and vice versa.
Finally, you will need to consider where your dining table is located. If you dine in the kitchen, the range hood running in the background as you eat is going to drown everything out. You will find yourself frustrated by the need to shout just to be heard.
To sum up the thoughts above, the answer to the question (are there quiet range hoods?) is yes. The key to finding a quiet range hood is to pay attention to the dB levels. Just bear this in mind -how often will you use it at the maximum level and how sensitive are you to noise? Can you cope with the boost function for 10 minute periods? What is the minimum level you can cope with?