Air conditioner noise ratings help consumers avoid choosing units that are uncomfortably loud. Noise ratings are also important because they indicate the of level noise each unit makes in relation to a standard noise decibel scale. Typically, air conditioning units emit low, medium or high levels of noise.
Air conditioner noise ratings are usually listed by number of decibels or dBA. The lower the decibel number, the lower the noise level. Therefore, consumers looking for a quiet air conditioning unit want units with noise levels ranging between 47 and 52 dBA. The quietest air conditioners are on par with refrigerators when it comes to noise.
The location of an air conditioning unit also plays a role in how much noise is tolerable for the human ear. A medium-noisy air conditioner falls into the 52 to 57 dBA range. This level of noise remains well within the range of typical household noise. Although this medium range is not whisper quiet, it does not overpower other room sounds. The noisiest air conditioners rate between 57 and 63 dBA. These units, on the low end, are as noisy as a clothes dryer. On the high end, they are as noisy as a vacuum cleaner.