The chances are at some point in your life you’ve bought a ‘noisy’ product, that is something that is noticeably loud when you use it, possibly so much so that you might wonder if it could actually damage your hearing. This could be anything from a motorcycle engine to a food processor or blender.
If you’re in the market for a lawn mower, strimmer, or any other type of power tool you’ll be faced with the same question. You’ll most likely find that the manufacturers of these products state a noise ‘decibel’ level in the specification, but just what does this figure mean? Well the easiest way to put a decibel level into perspective is to put it into context, some commonly found products and their decibel levels:
Cat Meow/Human Conversation 45dB-65dB
Electric Lawn Mower – 70dB
Car driving at 65 mph – 75db
Blender – 88dB
Petrol Lawn Mower – 96dB
Now, in terms of the physical effect noise levels have, anything between 0-90dB is audible to humans, but not usually damaging. It’s when you go above 90dB that wearing ear plugs or ear defenders becomes a good idea, especially if you are exposed to the sound for any length of time, as you would be in the case of a petrol lawn mower. When you go above 125dB sound becomes so loud it is painful to listen to, but to be honest you’re unlikely to hear this unless you stand next to a rocket taking off!
From the point of view of buying tools the greatest distinction is, unsurprisingly, between electrical and petrol powered equipment. As a rule of thumb you should expect to use ear protection with petrol powered tools, and you’ll probably be more restricted on when you can use them for the sake of keeping your neighbours happy.