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Vacuums are some of the loudest, most obnoxious appliances in the average home. We measured Roomba noise levels and compared them to upright vacuums and other common noise levels. In this article, you’ll find out how loud Roombas really are.
How Loud Is a Roomba in Decibels (dBa)?
Roombas’ volume ranges from 48–76 Decibels when measured at ear height directly above the vacuum. Newer Roombas are quieter than older ones, with most remaining below 55 Decibels while cleaning.
hardwood floor (dBa)
|Noise on |
|Noise while using |
self-emptying bin (dBa)
|Roomba 600 series||71||67||–|
|Roomba 700 series||70||66||–|
|Roomba 800 series||71||66||–|
|Roomba 900 series||70||67||–|
If your Roomba has a self-emptying bin, you will have to deal with a substantially louder sound (70–76 dBa) while it is dropping off its dirt. Fortunately, that only takes about 15 seconds.
Compare those volumes to common volume levels we encounter in everyday life:
- Whispering: 25 dBa
- Refrigerator: 30–50 dBa
- Normal conversation: 60 dBa
- Washing machine: 70 dBa
- Air Conditioner: 70–80 dBa
- City traffic: 85 dBa
Since conversations occur around 60 dBa, it’s difficult to talk with people near appliances that operate at or above that volume. That’s why most indoor appliances run at lower volumes. However, machines that aren’t constantly running (dishwashers, clothes washers, vacuums) often operate above 60 dBa.
Prolonged exposure (more than 24 hours) to volumes of 70 dBa or higher can cause hearing loss, but that is not generally an issue for vacuums. Since your vacuum operates only for 1–2 hours at a time, it would take volumes closer to 120 dBa to cause any long-term hearing problems.
I took this test to the extreme and let the Decibel meter take a ride right on top of a Roomba i7 on a hardwood floor. Even at that short distance, the volume was only 70 dBa.
Is Roomba Louder Than Upright Vacuums?
Most upright vacuums operate at around 70–90 dBa. I grabbed a few examples from popular upright vacuum models for comparison:
The Shark Rocket and other ultra-quiet upright vacuums are as loud as older Roomba models. Most upright vacuums, though, are louder than even the loudest Roomba.
When you compare to newer Roombas, the contrast is even starker—the Roomba i7, j7, and s9 are 20–40 dBa quieter than most upright vacuums. That’s the difference between a whisper and a normal conversation!
And don’t forget that these measurements were all taken at ear height above the vacuum. With an upright vacuum, that’s where you’ll be the entire time it’s running. With a Roomba, though, you can be across the room or even away from home while it’s running.
Can Your Neighbors Hear Your Roomba?
In an apartment with relatively thin walls, your neighbors will probably hear your Roomba. That’s especially true if you have hardwood floors and downstairs neighbors.
Then again, if those neighbors can hear your Roomba, they’ll definitely hear your regular vacuum, too. If anything, your Roomba will sound quieter. The one possible exception is when Roomba bumps into floorboards or furniture.
Generally, residential areas with noise restrictions will allow anything up to 55–60 dBa. Newer Roombas should be fine even during the hours when restrictions are in place, but older Roombas may have to run during daytime hours when the restrictions aren’t in place.
Of course, you should check your local restrictions against the data we provided above, just in case.
Can You Quiet Your Roomba?
You can’t make your Roomba quieter than the base levels we discussed above. However, proper cleaning and maintenance will ensure that your Roomba doesn’t get louder over time.
I’ve described most of my Roomba maintenance tips elsewhere, but there are a few specific ones that are important here.
- Clean the Roomba side brush weekly and replace it every nine months.
- Clean the Roomba extractor brushes weekly and replace them every 12–18 months.
- Clean the Roomba filter weekly and replace it every four months.
In particular, the brushes get lots of hair wrapped around them, which can cause the Roomba motor to struggle. If you have a pet, you may need to check Roomba daily and detangle any hair that has built up.
How Loud are Other Robot Vacuums?
Most Robot vacuums operate at 50–80 dBa. The newer Roombas are amongst the quietest, although some of the older Coredy robot vacuums were as quiet as 48 dBa.
The Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra, one of the more popular Roomba alternatives, has a sound level of 52–58 dBa on hardwood floors. That’s in the same range as the newer Roomba models.
Budget robot vacuums are often louder than their premium counterparts. The Eufy RoboVac 11S Max is one of the quietest budget options I’ve found, operating at about 60 dBa on both carpet and hardwood.
Roombas are worth buying if you want a quiet, convenient cleaning experience. They’re more expensive than low-end upright vacuums, but the price of a Roomba is well within the range of comparably high-rated vacuums. And the convenience is hard to beat.
Multi-floor homeowners never have to be on the same floor when Roomba is running. That’s completely safe since Roombas can clean multiple floors, and their cliff sensors won’t let Roombas fall down stairs. You can start Roomba in the app or using Alexa’s Roomba voice controls, so you can always guarantee that Roomba only runs when you aren’t around to hear it.