Quiet Actuators: Using a Decibel Chart to Choose

Need a quiet actuator? Find out how to read a decibel chart, and you can tell by the specs just how quiet it is.

In honor of Alexander Graham Bell, the term ‘decibel’ was named after him. We use the abbreviation dB to shorten the term, and it refers to the intensity of any sound. Many people know this, but do you know exactly what dB<45(A) means? If you don’t, this article will set you right.

Your ears are fantastic mechanisms. They can sometimes hear a mouse skittering across the floor, as well as a jet engine screaming hundreds of miles above you. It is important to know how loud or quiet your electric linear actuator will be when you purchase it. You may have it installed in your bedroom, and if you have bought one that operates at 60dB, you won’t want to be around when it starts to operate.

The Decibel System

The decibel system starts at zero, which is near silence. Multiply that by 10, and you now have 10 decibels.

0  Near complete silence
15  Whispering
60  Average conversation
90  Lawnmower
110  Car horn
120  Rock concert
140  Firecracker


So, this table shows us that <45(A) is quieter than the average conversation, but louder than a whisper.

The ‘A’ in the measurement refers to the sound level at 1 kHz. When your actuator operates at 1 kHz, you can expect to hear under 45dB of sound.


Electric actuators are the quietest you will find on the market. Their simple construction and electronics mean that these automation devices are able to perform with few moving parts, equating to less overall sound. Even a heavy-duty actuator will have a quiet sound, under 45dB.

In the past they didn’t need a dB rating because most automation technology was confined to industries where the sound would be drowned out by a dozen other vehicles and machines. Today, they are commonly used in home automation where we value our silence. The less noise that we can create in our lives means a more pleasurable experience in our home.

All motion devices offered by Progressive Automations rate under 45dB. We have a great selection of products for home automation that help you maintain a quiet environment. If you’re thinking about home automation, check out our product line. If you can’t find one for your project, let us know and we can custom-make one for you. We’re here to help every step of the way, from the idea stage to implementation.

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