The quietest dishwashers and kitchen appliances

Top-performing appliances that won't drown out the party

Published: October 28, 2014 05:45 PM
Photo courtesy of Whirlpool

No matter how inviting you make your living room, it’s inevitable that guests congregate in the kitchen when you entertain. Knowing that, it makes sense to buy the quietest appliances you can. Noise is one of the things Consumer Reports measures when it tests refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves, wine chillers, and a bevy of small appliances. Here are some  top-performing appliances from our tests that won’t kill a conversation.

Usually you can wait to run the dishwasher until everyone has left the kitchen. But you may not have that luxury if you need to do several consecutive loads of dishes. And because many of today’s energy-saving dishwashers have longer cycles, you’ll want one you don’t have to shout over. Our top picks with the best scores for noise are the Kenmore Elite 12793, $1,050, Kenmore Elite 12783, $1,000, KitchenAid KDFE454CSS, $1,500, and the Thermador Topaz Series DWHD640JFM, $1,500.

Kenmore 7160[3]

Normally, you don’t think of a refrigerator as being noisy as it purrs along day-after-day. But in our refrigerator tests, some were noisy enough to put a chill on the conversation. The quietest models tended to be bottom-freezer and side-by-side models. Here are the quietest of each configuration.

Wine chillers
Wine chillers are often placed in the kitchen or in a nearby bar so you’ll appreciate one that’s quiet and keeps its cool. Two in our tests were super quiet including the GE Profile PCR06WAT[SS], $1,400, undercounter wine chiller, and the Frigidaire FFWC42F5LS, $400, freestanding wine chiller.

GE Profile PVM9215SFSS

Microwaves can make a racket but fortunately the noise comes in bursts as you cook and isn’t sustained. In our tests of over-the-range microwaves, three out of four picks got excellent scores for noise including two models from GE and the LG LMH2235ST,  $450. But note the exhaust fans can be noisy. None of our countertop microwaves get top marks for noise but two large models, the LG LCRT2010[ST], $200, and the GE Profile JES2251SJ[SS], $280, were very good. So quiet enough.

Ranges and wall ovens
Cooking equipment is typically quiet so we don’t test ranges and wall ovens for noise. But keep in mind that if you have a convection oven, the fan tends to be noisy so you may not want to use that feature when company is gathered around the kitchen island.

Self-defrosting freezers tend to be noisier than models with manual defrost. In our freezer tests, we found two upright and three chest freezers that earned excellent scores for noise including the upright Frigidaire FFU17M7H[W], $600 and a CR Best Buy, and the Frigidaire Gallery FGCH25M8L[W] chest freezer, $700. Of course, if you keep your freezer in the basement or garage you won’t give a hoot about the noise.

Breville Hemisphere Control BBL605XL

Garbage disposals
Admittedly, garbage disposals are noisy but fortunately you run them infrequently and only for a short time. But even while grinding bones and other table scraps in our tests, we found two models that scored very well for noise and performance including the KitchenAid Superba KCDS075T, $250, and the InSinkErator Evolution Excel, $350. Both are continuous-feed models.

Making frozen drinks for your party? We found three blenders that do so without a lot of commotion. All three got very good scores for noise including the Ninja Master Prep Professional QB1004, $60, the Breville Hemisphere Control BBL605XL, $200, and the Waring Xtreme MX1000R, $350. Still, if you’re making a series of frozen drinks, you may want to set up the bar away from the activity.

Cuisinart DLC-2011CHB Prep 11 Plus
Photo: Manufacturer

Food processors
Food processors are handy kitchen helpers but also tend to be noisy. None got top marks for quietness in our tests but five of our six top picks were very good on that score including the top-rated Breville BFP800XL/A, $400, the Cuisinart DLC-2011CHB Prep 11 Plus, $180, and three other Cuisinarts that range in price from $170 to $300. But to make it easier on the ears of your guests, you may want to do your food prep work ahead of time and then stash the food processor.

Similarly, you may want to use your mixer before guests arrive to free up counter space and stifle the noise. In our tests of stand mixers, only the Hamilton Beach Eclectrics 6322[1], $180, earned excellent scores for noise. None of the hand mixers were that quiet but the KitchenAid Architect KHM7210 7-speed hand mixer, $80, got very good scores for noise—quiet enough to whip up a batch of whipped cream for an elegant dessert.

—Mary H.J. Farrell (@mhjfarrell on Twitter)

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