One of the biggest considerations when choosing a vacuum for a facility, along with effectiveness, is decibel level. In an average office, the noise level is around 64 decibels. For day cleaning or in settings where building occupants are around during vacuuming, vacuums should operate at that level or less. Most low-decibel upright vacuums operate at around 70 decibels, while backpacks and canisters are as low as 50.

It reasons that vacuums with more powerful motors — which are attractive from a cleaning efficacy standpoint — are louder. Dual motor vacuums in particular deliver great suction performance compared to single-motor units, but they can also produce more noise.

Because of the trend toward day cleaning and noise level reduction, some vacuums have adapted to feature multiple power modes. Low or quiet modes might use 351 watts/5 amps and produce 50 decibels of sound, whereas high power modes use 966 watts/8.6 amps and produce 60 or 70 decibels.