electric motor noise-- just for safety? and where can I find proof of this?
September 12, 2011 12:23 PM   Subscribe

I have heard that the electric motor in a household blender continues to be noisy, even though the technology for a quieter one exist, is due to some sort of safety standard. I searched everywhere I can, but couldn't find any literature/ actual protocol to back this up. Does the hive mind have an inkling as to where I could find legit, cite-able sources for this?
posted by atetrachordofthree to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd suggest legal research on products liability cases. Look for case law where a motor was too quiet, leading to an injury which occurred because the plaintiff was unaware that the motor was running. An attorney working for a blender manufacturer could infer from such a case that if the blender's motor is too quiet, his client could get sued.
posted by angab at 12:35 PM on September 12, 2011

Here's some info on "artificial sounds" which might be relevant.
posted by illenion at 12:42 PM on September 12, 2011

As you search, keep in mind that other dangerous kitchen devices -- well, specifically, food processors -- have quiet motors despite offering similar potential for causing user harm.

My understanding is that use of loud motors really comes down to cost savings when it comes to devices like this, more than any kind of safety standard, when considering this sort of device. However, if you keep looking, you might have more luck finding an actual documented safety standard for motors used in table saws. Such devices are (to my knowledge) more tightly regulated (for having guards in place, safety stops, etc.) so you might have an easier time finding the kind of language used for legal reasons, after which you can apply that language to your blender search.
posted by davejay at 12:45 PM on September 12, 2011

UL is the standards body for appliance safety (in the US, at least). I'm not aware of any standards applying to noise levels, however.
posted by rocket88 at 12:45 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

I find this incredibly difficult to believe since garbage disposal motors are nearly silent, and the litigation risk/safety concerns would be at least as severe.

On Preview: what davejay said.
posted by JMOZ at 12:46 PM on September 12, 2011

Which? looked at a new blender with patented noise-reduction technology and concluded it may have had to sacrifice some speed and blending power to reduce the decibel level.

The only thing I can imagine, although I'm no appliance engineer, is that the requirements for countertop appliances with regard to electric shock may dictate certain necessary materials or other design features that tend to be noisy, or otherwise somehow incompatible with more robust motor designs.

But basically, it's a little electric motor that's got to go very fast.
posted by dhartung at 12:54 PM on September 12, 2011

Have you ever made a smoothie with ice cubes? Trust me, the motor in that situation is not the noisiest part of the operation.

Blenders are optimized for power, because nothing dissatisfies customers more than not being able to blend their favorite drink. The noise, which doesn't last all that long anyway, is tolerable as long as the blender does its job.
posted by tommasz at 1:40 PM on September 12, 2011

I heard that consumers expect the motor to be loud, and when presented with a quiet blender they perceive it as being less powerful.
posted by thylacine at 2:39 PM on September 12, 2011

I'm not sure that a usable 'quiet' motor exists for countertop appliances like blenders. Pretty much all of them are going to use universal motors due to size/weight issues (best link I have). Any universal motor is going to have plenty of noise from the brushes and commutator and will have plenty of gear noise in a blender as well (see here for the universal motor wiki and more details).

My experience is power tools and not kitchens but the difference in starting up my routers (universal motor) vs table saw (induction motor) is huge; with no load the table saw is fine, the routers are shout-over-them loud. If there are quiet blenders out there I'd bet most of the difference is in the case and gearing and not in the motor.

Either way as tommasz says the motor won't matter when you drop in the first ice cube.
posted by N-stoff at 2:50 PM on September 12, 2011

thylacine, that's a point for consumers, but think of businesses that use blenders and don't want to expose their employees and customers to that noise. You can bet that if there was a quiet, powerful blender, Starbucks would've bought them up by now. As it is, they go to various lengths to shield the noise, with limited results.

A company doesn't need warning labels-- it just needs to prove that every employee, including the defendant, was trained explicitly to not put their hand in the blender ever.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:33 PM on September 12, 2011

atetrachordofthree posted "I have heard that the electric motor in a household blender continues to be noisy, even though the technology for a quieter one exist, is due to some sort of safety standard."

It's pretty well the cost. A small noisy universal motor is a 1/3rd of the cost of capacitor run induction motor and about half the size as well. And the cheap gears in a blender are already pretty noisy. A blender the size of a toaster oven that used a quality induction motor with a belt drive would be quiet and cost $400. Or quiet until you dropped in anything hard.

Plus universal motors are easy to run at different speeds, induction motor speed is a function of the frequency of line current so variable speed means either a multispeed transmission or a variable frequency drive.
posted by Mitheral at 3:51 PM on September 12, 2011

« Older How do I tell people I have social anxiety?   |   What would you recommend as a good HDD/DVD video... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.