Sound Level Information

What to expect from a Portable Air Conditioner

We are providing sound level information to help you understand the expected level of sound from a portable air conditioner. Within a hose type portable air conditioner there is a compressor that is similar to that of your refrigerator only larger, plus 2 fan motors. One fan motor discharges the wasted heat out through the hose and the other fan blows the cooled air into the room. All portable air conditioning systems make a sound and that is a busy sound and therefore our experience there is no such thing as a really quiet portable air conditioner that uses a hose to discharge the air. However, when in use, particularly in a bedroom you will find that quite often the sound from a portable air conditioner can actually help you sleep as it masks out all other sounds.

On a split portable air conditioner the external unit often houses the compressor and a condenser fan motor. This means that the indoor unit is much quieter and lighter in weight Some split type portables have just the condenser fan motor in the outside unit while the compressor remains within the inside unit. This type of system may be quieter internally but this rather depends on the type and capacity of the system.

Silent Mode on Portable Air Conditioners

If you see a portable air conditioner advertised as having a "silent mode" then that can only occur when the unit is switched off.

Before Purchasing Consider Two Things

Firstly will sound levels bother you if you use it in a bedroom. If they do then you may wish to use a portable air conditioner during the evening to reduce heat and  humidity and then switch the unit off before you go to sleep. However for many people being more comfortable outweighs the sound of the unit and given a few days you may get used to.

Secondly consider the location of the unit and the length of hose supplied to ensure that you have no difficulties in reaching a window to vent the exhausted heat. The exhaust hoses are generally to 2m in length depending on make and model and the diameter of the hose can be 100 to 125mm. Most portable air conditioners come with an oval flattened adapter that fixes to the end of the hose and you just need to just protrude the outlet out of the window so our advice is measure carefully as generally the exhaust hoses can not be extended. Some portable air conditioners also come with a wall adapter. You have to cut a circular hole through the wall and insert the wall adapter. The end of the exhaust hose fits into the adapter. When you are not using the air conditioner there is a flap on the wall adapter that seals the adapter hole.

Sound levels 


190 dBA

Heavy weapons, 10 m behind the weapon (maximum level)

180 dBA

Toy pistol fired close to ear (maximum level)

170 dBA

Slap on the ear, fire cracker explodes on shoulder, small arms
at a distance of 50 cm (maximum level)

160 dBA

Hammer stroke on brass tubing or steel plate at 1 m distance,
airbag deployment very close at a distance of 30 cm (maximum level)

150 dBA

Hammer stroke in a smithy at 5 m distance (maximum level)

130 dBA

Loud hand clapping at 1 m distance (maximum level)

120 dBA

Whistle at 1 m distance, test run of a jet at 15 m distance


Threshold of pain, above this fast-acting hearing damage in short action is possible

115 dBA

Take-off sound of planes at 10 m distance

110 dBA

Siren at 10 m distance, frequent sound level in discotheques and close
to loudspeakers at rock concerts, violin close to the ear of an orchestra
musicians (maximum level)

105 dBA

Chain saw at 1 m distance, banging car door at 1 m distance (maximum level),
racing car at 40 m distance, possible level with music head phones

100 dBA

Frequent level with music via head phones, jack hammer at 10 m distance

95 dBA

Loud crying, hand circular saw at 1 m distance

90 dBA

Angle grinder outside at 1 m distance


Over a duration of 40 hours a week hearing damage is possible

85 dBA

2-stroke chain-saw at 10 m distance, loud WC flush at 1 m distance

80 dBA

Very loud traffic noise of passing lorries at 7.5 m distance,
high traffic on an expressway at 25 m distance

75 dBA

Passing car at 7.5 m distance, un-silenced wood shredder at 10 m distance

70 dBA

Level close to a main road by day, quiet hair dryer at 1 m distance to ear

65 dBA

Bad risk of heart circulation disease at constant impact

60 dBA

Noisy lawn mower at 10 m distance

Normal sound range for a portable air conditioner

55 dBA

Low volume of radio or TV at 1 m distance, noisy vacuum cleaner at
10 m distance

50 dBA

Refrigerator at 1 m distance, bird twitter outside at 15 m distance

45 dBA

Noise of normal living; talking, or radio in the background


40 dBA

Distraction when learning or concentration possible

35 dBA

Very quiet room fan at low speed at 1 m distance

25 dBA

Sound of breathing at 1 m distance

0 dBA

Auditory threshold


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