Last updated: February 21, 2023.
See the quietest air conditioner on the market, along with the quietest window, portable and wall ACs. We also reveal the quietest AC type, in this, the most authoritative AC noise level study.
We have compiled the data and test results of over 1,323 ACs to deliver these insights.
The purpose of this study is to deliver noise level context, and benchmarks across window, wall, and portable air conditioner types.
This will help those seeking quiet air conditioners to make more informed decisions.
The noise level of the most energy efficient ACs will also be linked to as a resource to help readers stay cool in the most peaceful, and cost effective manner.
- The decibel ratings of typical ACs range from 33 dB to 69 dB;
- The average AC noise level is 56.08 dB (56 dB is most common rating);
- Portable ACs have the lowest average decibel ratings, but window ACs can deliver the quietest cooling;
- Window ACs offer the widest range of noise level options, due to their wider power range, which increases their overall average dB rating;
- The quietest air conditioner is a 33 dB window AC; and
- The quietest window AC with heat functionality has a decibel rating of 49 dB; and
- The quietest portable AC and wall AC come in at 44 dB and 52 dB, respectively.
Continue reading to get a breakdown of decibel ratings by AC type.
For dedicated insights on each, the following separate articles have been created:
- Quietest Window Air Conditioner [11 Noise Reducing Tips];
- Are Portable Air Conditioners Quiet? [13 Noise Reducing Tips]; and
- Quietest Wall AC Revealed [Key Noise Level Study Results].
- Air conditioner decibel ratings
- Quiet air conditioners
- Quiet window air conditioners
- Quiet portable air conditioners
- Quiet wall air conditioners
- What are the quietest air conditioners?
- Who makes the quietest air conditioner?
- What is a good decibel level for an air conditioner?
- Is 60 decibels loud for an air conditioner?
- Are portable air conditioners quieter than window units?
- Who makes the quietest portable air conditioner?
- Are window air conditioners quiet?
- Are portable air conditioners quiet?
- Don’t miss…
Air conditioner decibel ratings
Air conditioner decibel ratings (also referred to as noise levels) range from 33 dB to 69 dB, with 56.08 dB being the average.
The most common decibel rating is 56 dB.
The table below summarizes, by air conditioner type, the decibel ratings of over 1,323 ACs.
|AC type||Quietest||Average||Most common||Loudest|
|Window air conditioners||33 dB (49 dB with heat)||56.4 dB||56 dB||67 dB|
|Portable air conditioners||44 dB||54.6 dB||56 dB||64 dB|
|Wall air conditioners||52 dB||59.7 dB||61 dB||69 dB|
|All air conditioners||33 dB||56.08 dB||56 dB||69 dB|
Window air conditioners offer the widest range of decibel rating options. And they offer the quietest cooling options.
However, portable ACs have the lowest average decibel rating.
This is primarily due to window ACs catering to larger rooms, which requires more power, ultimately correlating to an increase in noise levels.
Wall ACs are typically louder than both portable and window air conditioners.
Next, let’s set some benchmarks for what is considered “Quiet” when it comes to all ACs, and then briefly delve deeper for each type.
Quiet air conditioners
Quiet air conditioners have noise levels that are less than average, which is 56.08 dB or quieter.
This benchmark of “below average” captures noise levels as low as a whisper to as high as a typical refrigerator.
But the term “quiet” is subjective.
Some might consider 56 dB to be loud, especially at night when trying to sleep.
The type of air conditioner, its settings, surroundings, and cooling capacity, among other factors, impact AC noise levels.
To make it into ENERGY STAR’s “Low Noise” category, the performance requirement is 45 dB or less. Relatively few units achieve this level of quietness.
You’ll find standout performers by type, below, along with links to more detailed resources (including how to reduce noise levels).
But, now, let’s take a look at the quietest air conditioner overall.
Quietest air conditioner
The quietest air conditioner is the Danby – DAC080B6IWDB-6 AC, which has a noise level rating of just 33 dB (equivalent to a whisper).
This is the quietest AC identified in our study of over 1,323 ACs.
This exceptionally quiet unit is an 8000 BTU window air conditioner.
All portable and wall ACs, and all other window ACs, are louder than this unit.
Next, let’s delve deeper into each air conditioner type, starting with window ACs.
Quiet window air conditioners
Quiet window air conditioners have decibel ratings less than 56.4 dB (the average for window units).
The window AC category has the highest number of quiet AC options.
Their cooling capacity ranges from 8000 BTU to a whopping 22000 BTU.
I’ve listed the specific units and noise levels of the most energy efficient quiet window air conditioners, here – 14 of which are quieter than the most silent portable and wall ACs.
But which is the quietest window air conditioner that has heating functionality?
Quietest window air conditioner
The quietest window air conditioner is the quietest AC overall – the 33 dB Danby – DAC080B6IWDB-6.
However, the quietest window air conditioner with heat is the 49 dB LG – LW8021HRSM.
This unit falls within the below-average “quiet” category, but just outside of the “Low Noise” category.
For more detailed insights into window AC noise levels, check out the dedicated article: Quietest Window Air Conditioners.
Next, let’s take a look at portable units.
Quiet portable air conditioners
Quiet portable air conditioners have a noise level of 51 dB or less, while the below-average decibel rating is <54.6 dB.
Just 9.26% of portable ACs achieve a noise rating of 51 dB or lower.
It’s worth highlighting the solid noise level performance of the most energy efficient portable air conditioner, which comes in at 52 dB.
Related: Noise levels of the most energy efficient portable air conditioners.
Despite their quieter than average decibel ratings, few portable ACs could fall within the ENERGY STAR “Low Noise” category if considered for entry.
However, the quietest portable AC could as it just makes it under the 45 dB noise limit.
Quietest portable air conditioner
The quietest portable air conditioner is the 44 dB LG – LP1419IVSM.
This is the quietest portable AC identified in our study of over 1,323 air conditioners.
With a cooling capacity of 14000 BTU, this most noiseless portable air conditioner can cool areas up to 500 sq. ft.
Get more details on this unit in our dedicated article under the section titled “Quietest portable air conditioner” or check out the unit directly, here.
Our final category in the study is wall ACs, so let’s check out what’s considered quiet in this category next.
Quiet wall air conditioners
Quiet wall air conditioners are 56 dB or less, with the below-average decibel rating being <59.7 dB.
Quiet wall ACs have cooling capacities of up to 9800 BTU, with 8000 BTU being the most common.
Wall air conditioners are typically louder than their window and portable counterparts.
We’ve seen the quietest window and portable ACs, so which is the quietest wall air conditioner?
Let’s take a look.
Quietest wall air conditioner
The quietest wall air conditioner is the 52 dB Impecca – ITAC08-KS21.
This 8000 BTU through-the-wall air conditioner boasts an energy efficiency ratio of 10.6.
Get more detail on the noise levels of the most energy efficient wall ACs, here.
Now that we’ve covered the quietest ACs by type, let’s briefly answer some frequently asked questions that were identified during this study.
What are the quietest air conditioners?
The quietest air conditioners are window ACs, followed by portable ACs and then through-the-wall ACs.
This is based on lowest possible noise level within our study of over 1,323 window, portable, and wall ACs.
The quietest window AC has a decibel rating of 33 dB, while portable and wall units come in as quiet as 44 dB and 52 dB, respectively.
However, the results are different when looking at the averages for each AC type.
Portable air conditioners have the quietest average noise level at 54.6 dB, followed by window ACs at 56.4 dB, and then wall ACs at 59.7 dB.
The vast array of window ACs, which can cool larger areas than portable units, results in a higher average noise level.
There are considerably more options available when choosing a quiet window AC, compared to portable and wall units.
Who makes the quietest air conditioner?
The quietest air conditioner is made by Danby.
The specific unit is the 33 dB, 8000 BTU, Danby – DAC080B6IWDB-6.
Danby also makes the second quietest air conditioner, which has a decibel rating of 36 dB.
The third and fourth quietest air conditioners are made by GE.
Frigidaire follows closely behind.
For more details, check out this Low Noise Window Air Conditioners table. Most of the models listed here are quieter than the quietest portable and wall units.
However, it’s worth noting that, at 49 dB, the quietest window air conditioner with heat is made by LG. The specific model is the LG – LW8021HRSM.
What is a good decibel level for an air conditioner?
A good decibel level for an air conditioner is 56 dB or less.
This is slightly below the average AC decibel level of 56.06 dB.
A sound level of this rating is equivalent to a refrigerator. However, if you value silence even more, there are options that can be as quiet as a whisper.
The quietest air conditioners are listed above, by type.
Is 60 decibels loud for an air conditioner?
60 decibels is loud for an air conditioner.
This is nearly 4 decibels above the average.
Each 10 point increase in decibel levels is perceived to be twice as loud, according to the Hearing Health Foundation.
So a 4 point increase is quite substantial.
To add more perspective, the quietest air conditioner has a 33 dB rating – 27 points less.
That means that a 60 dB air conditioner is nearly 4 times louder than the quietest AC.
Are portable air conditioners quieter than window units?
Portable air conditioners are quieter than window units, on average. But window air conditioners offer quieter cooling potential.
Many quiet window air conditioners produce less noise than the quietest portable unit.
However, due to window ACs having a wider power range (they can cool larger areas), their average noise level increases. This is because there’s a correlation between noise level and power.
So, on average, portable air conditioners are quieter than window units, but window ACs can deliver quieter cooling.
Who makes the quietest portable air conditioner?
The quietest portable air conditioner is made by LG.
The LG – LP1419IVSM comes in at just 44 dB – quieter than all other portable ACs in our study of over 1,323 air conditioners.
LG also makes some of the quietest window and through-the-wall air conditioners.
Are window air conditioners quiet?
Window air conditioners can be as quiet as a whisper to as loud as a normal conversation (from 33 dB to 67 dB, typically).
Window ACs offer the quietest cooling capabilities. But, because of their substantial power range, they also offer some of the loudest options.
This variety of options is a good thing as it increases choice, which, in turn, enables users to meet their own needs more effectively.
Portable and wall ACs don’t have a power and noise range as substantial as window ACs.
And there are ways to make a window air conditioner even quieter.
Check out: How to quiet a noisy window air conditioner for 11 noise reducing tips.
Are portable air conditioners quiet?
Portable air conditioners are not quiet, but they do have the lowest average decibel rating compared to window and wall ACs.
Portable ACs produce noise levels that range from 44 dB to 64 dB (54.6 dB is the average, and 56 dB is the most common).
Similar to window units, portable air conditioners can be as quiet as a whisper to as loud as a normal conversation.
However, their whisper isn’t as low as the quietest window AC’s.
For more details, check out: Are Portable Air Conditioners Quiet? [13 Noise Reducing Tips].
We’ve covered the most popular types of air conditioners, from quiet window ACs to the quietest portable and wall ACs.
But what about heat pumps (incl. mini split units)?
Don’t miss these related efficiency studies: Highest SEER Heat Pump, and Heat Pump With The Highest HSPF.
And if you’re looking to make significant savings on your energy bills and carbon footprint, get this 6 Quick Wins Cheat Sheet:
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James, Eco Cost Savings co-founder and Editor-in-Chief, is also our experienced in-house energy management and sustainability expert, and manager of our network of sustainability consultants.
Before his journey into sustainability, James studied engineering. Additionally, he has experience in HVAC installation, and data analysis. A self-proclaimed practical environmentalist, and avid penny pincher, James established Eco Cost Savings to share his and his colleague’s expertise with the aim of helping to reduce energy bills and carbon footprints at scale.