Why Are Power Tools So Loud? (Explained)

It’s no secret that power tools can be noisy and frustrating for anyone near them. There are many ways to reduce the noise, but it’s important to know what’s causing the problem so you can find the solution. A loud power tool could be a sign of mechanical failure, but many of them have normal, expectedly high-volume motors.

Power tools are so loud because they have noisy fans that keep them from overheating and metal gears that rotate and make the motor sound louder. Dull drill bits, unlubricated gears, failing motors, and higher RPMs will make a power tool sound much louder than it should.

Why Are Power Tools So Loud?

In this post, you’ll discover several reasons why your power tools are loud, how loud they can get, and tips to make them quieter. We’ll also talk about whether or not switching to cordless tools will reduce the volume.

What Makes Power Tools So Loud?

There are many explanations for loud power tools; Some of them are expected, while others can be a sign of misuse or wear and tear.

Keep in mind that earmuffs protect your ears, but they don’t keep your neighbors from getting annoyed!

Excessively noisy tools can be a sign that it’s time to repair or replace them.

Here’s a list of the most common reasons:

  • Noisy gears can cause a lot of sounds. According to How Stuff Works, a lot of the noise coming from your power tools lies in the gear train. Several gears spin around each other, making a loud grinding noise. These mechanisms cause vibrations and provide power and direction for the tool.
  • Power tools have loud cooling fans. All tools need to cool down because metal-on-metal friction creates heat. If they didn’t have fans, your tools would become too hot to touch, and their motors would get ruined in a few minutes. High-end tools often have quieter fans than low-end ones.
  • Lack of lubrication can make the internal components grind and screech. Much like internal cooling fans, lubricants are added to prevent overheating. Lubrication is found wherever moving parts touch each other. The gears should be pre-lubricated since they’ll wear down without it. This process causes grinding sounds.
  • Dull bits cause unnecessary loudness. If the bits are worn down, they’ll vibrate much more than they should. Drill bits don’t last forever, so it might be time to replace them. The metal used to make the bits determines how long they last. Cheap aluminum chips, vibrates, and dulls quickly.
  • If the motor is failing or running at high RPMs, it’ll be noisier than usual. The more power it produces, the louder the tool will be. High RPMs cause everything to work faster, including the fan. Failing motors can overheat, grind, and make all sorts of unpleasant noises.

Do you want to know how loud your tools can get and whether or not it’s dangerous? Read on.

How Loud Is a Power Tool?

Many power tools are loud enough to damage your hearing, especially after prolonged exposure or close proximity.

If you’re concerned about losing your hearing or causing ear problems, I suggest wearing earmuffs or earplugs.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the noise you can expect:

Power ToolNoise Output
Circular Saw101 decibels
Hand Drill99 decibels
Table Saw93 decibels
Belt Sander94 decibels
Chain Saw109 decibels
Router95 decibels
Hammer Drill114 decibels

(Source: My Discount Tools)

Long-term exposure to anything over 90 decibels can slowly cause hearing loss, whereas noises over 100 decibels can cause irreversible damage within 15 minutes.

In other words, protect yourself with ear covers, even if you don’t think you’ll be using the tools for too long.

The good news is there are a couple of ways you can reduce the noise coming out of your power tools.

In the next section, I’ll cover everything you should do to keep your power tools from getting too loud.

How to Make Power Tools Less Noisy

Whether you’re worried about annoying people around you or damaging your hearing, there’s a handful of tricks you can implement to reduce your power tools’ noise levels.

The primary factors that increase their sound output are vibrations, metal-on-metal friction, and overheating.

Controlling these variables will make the volume much more manageable.

So, what can you do?

  1. Clamp the project you’re working on to limit excess vibrations. Secure the material to a solid surface if you can. An unclamped board will bounce around, cause the tool to work harder and the material to produce a loud sound. Unfortunately, you can’t secure walls, floors, and other immovable objects.
  2. Get a new bit set that’s not dull or made of low-end materials. It might be tempting to grab the cheapest bits to save money, but they’ll get dull and bounce around. High-quality drill bits are sharp and durable, making them last much longer, drill more precisely, and cause less noise.
  3. Clean your power tools regularly to stop the fan from overheating. Check the vents to ensure nothing’s blocking them. Dust, wood chips, metal shavings, and other debris can cover the fan vents, making them work harder. Use compressed air to clear anything you can’t reach with a soft cloth.
  4. If possible, lubricate the tools’ gears (some can’t be opened; See the manufacturer’s guidelines). Not all tools can be opened, so check if you’re allowed to. If it’s an enclosed case without screws, you might have to settle for the sound. Fortunately, enclosed gearboxes are often very well lubricated and don’t require replacements for a long time.

Are Cordless Tools Quieter?

Switching to battery-powered tools is a common fix for those who don’t want to deal with noisy corded power tools.

There’s usually a trade-off between sound output and power, but high-quality tools make the difference nearly negligible.

Let’s jump into a list of reasons cordless tools are usually quieter than their corded counterparts.

  • Many cordless tools don’t pack as much power. Gizmo Plans claims many battery-operated power tools are quiet because they don’t have as many RPMs. With fewer RPMs, you won’t be able to take on the most challenging jobs. However, this might not be an issue for your tools or needs.
  • Gearboxes aren’t put under as much pressure as a corded power tool. Less power equates to fewer friction cracks, less grinding, and much less wear and tear. Some cordless gearboxes are designed to handle the stress, while others are made to be a bit quieter by being covered in lubricant.
  • Old-school corded drills don’t have modern cordless technology. You might be wondering why your decades-old tools are noisier than battery ones. Many years ago, power tools weren’t made to be quiet. The sound they produced was loud, and there’s not much that can be done to combat this issue not found in corded models.

If you want a quiet cordless power tool, you’ll have to get a high-end setup. Low-quality cordless tools won’t produce a lot of noise, but they’ll lack power.

The gearboxes are weaker, and you’ll have to get a replacement in a couple of years.


Now that you know why power tools are so loud, you can follow our suggestions to keep them quiet.

Whenever a motor is running with cooling fans, there’s going to be a bit of sound.

While there’s not much you can do to make your tools silent, they can be repaired or modified to make the sound bearable.

Remember, cordless tools can be a bit quieter than corded ones, but they typically don’t pack the same power.

Thanks for reading! Cheers, tools owners!

Hi there! My name is Jack and I write for ToolsOwner. I have a passion for everything related to tools and DIY projects around the house. You often find me in my workshop working on new projects.