In need of a quiet upright vacuum
December 17, 2017 1:28 AM   Subscribe

As you might have figured out from the title, I'm in the market for a new upright vacuum cleaner. The quieter, the better. I'm tired of how loud and jarring my vacuum is. Most vacuum cleaner reviews don't mention noise levels so I'm having a hard time narrowing it down.
posted by cokelessrome to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have an upright, but I have a Meile canister and it's pretty great. It's very powerful, but so quiet my animals don't even try to get away from it. You can carry on a conversation at a low volume.
posted by bongo_x at 1:36 AM on December 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

I have Miele “Art” upright that’s very quiet, but I think the model was discontinued. It’s not a full-featured vac anyhow (small bags and no rotating brush) but I can at least recommend the brand.
posted by jon1270 at 2:35 AM on December 17, 2017

The EU labelling system for vacuum cleaners includes a decibel level. When I was buying a new vacuum a year or two ago, I went to the website of my local appliance shop, and started with the cheapest model on show, until I got to one that had
-low energy consumption
-low dust re-emission
-good on carpets
-low decibel level.
I don't think they have the one I bought at the moment, but for example the AEG silent-bagless one they have at the moment is rated at 72dB , while the much cheaper Zanussi ZAN7860UKEL is 78 dB and the Hoover VE11001 88 dB
posted by Azara at 3:12 AM on December 17, 2017

Slightly off topic, but have you considered a carpet sweeper?

We had one at work for a while and used it while the vacuum cleaner was broken (again and again) and while it doesn't do a deep clean, it might work for day to day carpet cleaning. Since it is entirely mechanical, it makes essentially zero noise.
posted by sciencegeek at 5:19 AM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Or, earplugs? I recently learned that there are such things as hi-fidelity earplugs (Vibes is one brand) that reduce decibel level while preserving sound quality, and while not dirt-cheap ($15-25), they’re definitely cheaper than a vacuum, and reusable. If nothing else, it could be a viable interim solution while you look for a suitable replacement vac.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:55 AM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't have an upright, but I have a Meile canister and it's pretty great. It's very powerful, but so quiet my animals don't even try to get away from it. You can carry on a conversation at a low volume.

I have one of these also, and it is amazing how quiet it is compared to previous vacuums I have owned.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:22 AM on December 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Plus Miele vacs are pretty great vacuums in addition to being quiet.
posted by Bee'sWing at 10:22 AM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I always wore real hearing protection while vacuuming. In hindsight, I should also have been wearing PM 2.5 respiratory protection, because the dust that escapes the filter is the finest and the most dangerous of all.

You're looking for at least 28 dB of attenuation in your hearing protection. Foam earplugs are very effective (3M OCS1137 Classic Earplugs are good for 29 dB, and many are much better), and really cheap.
posted by the Real Dan at 11:11 AM on December 17, 2017

Also not an upright but I have one of the cheaper Chinese made Mieles and it's lower/ medium settings are shockingly quiet.
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:18 PM on December 17, 2017

You can wear earplugs when vacuuming- I do! (Blowdrying hair, too)
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:29 PM on December 17, 2017

We got a high-end Hoover ($400?) which is not quiet in any way, but is much less loud and harsh sounding than other vacuums. It has an almost pleasing bass rumble rather than the shriek of even smaller stick vacuums. This was 15 years ago, so I can't recommend a specific model, but it had a HEPA filter and a motorized assist. FWIW, though, Consumer Reports says that the only vacuums with a "Good" rating for noise are Mieles.
posted by wnissen at 10:01 PM on December 17, 2017

Best answer: We recently bought a Shark Navigator Lift Away on the Wirecutter's recommendation (tho we got the NV680UKT rather than the NV352, but TBH I think they're much of a muchness) and, while it's definitely not silent, it's also not unacceptably loud. It's also seriously seriously amazing, and very thoughtfully designed - eg, it has these surprisingly useful little headlights that are great for spotting crud, and the lift away function (where you can detach the motor unit so you can slip the head under furniture) is legitimately useful. It might be worth a test vacuum if there's a retailer near you?
posted by nerdfish at 3:44 AM on December 18, 2017

Response by poster: Thank you, Nerdfish! The Shark is exactly what I was looking for. I bought one and it did not disappoint!
posted by cokelessrome at 8:22 PM on December 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

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