Simple Sones To dB Calculator (With 0.3, 1.5, 3.0 Sone Examples)

Loudness is measured in decibels, right? Most of us are familiar with decibels (dB) when describing how loud something is. That’s why we might be surprised when we see noise levels expressed in ‘Sones’. We have prepared a Sones to dB calculator to help you out.

To convert Sones to dB, we use the following equation:

dB = 33.2×log10(Sones) + 28

Don’t worry; you won’t have to use it. We have designed a Sones to dB calculator (found below) that automatically converts any amount of Sones to decibels. That may come in handy when you’re figuring out what does Sones means for fans.

Example: A bathroom exhaust fan has noise levels of 1 Sone. How many decibels is 1 Sone? 1 Sone is equal to 28 dB.

Further on, you will also find a calculated Sones to dB chart for 0.1 to 20 Sones. On top of that, we have solved 3 examples of how to convert Sones to dB, namely:

  • 0.3 Sones to dB (Example 1).
  • 1.5 Sones to dB (Example 2).
  • 3.0 Sones to dB (Example 3).

Before we look at the Sones to dB calculator, chart, and the examples, let’s explain what Sones actually are, where they come from, and why we don’t just use decibels for measuring sound:

What Are Sones? How Sones Compare To Decibels?

Decibels are our standard unit of measuring sound. Technically, a decibel is a relative unit equal to one-tenth of a bel. Decibels, however, are a bit hard to imagine.

In 1936, American psychologist Stanley Smith Stevens proposed a new unit – Sones – when studying psychoacoustic. Sones are basically loudness units that express the perceived loudness of sounds; how loud we perceive some noise.

Here are loudness intensities of 1 to 10 Sones sounds:

  • 1 Sone is a sound of an average refrigerator.
  • 2 Sones is a sound of a quiet office.
  • 3 Sones is a sound TV makes when set at a comfortable volume.
  • 4 Sones is how loud normal talking is.
  • 5 Sones is basically a louder conversation.
  • 6 Sones is equivalent to a sound in a quiet restaurant.
  • 7 Sones is a sound we hear on a quiet traffic street.
  • 8 Sones is a sound we hear on an average loud traffic street.
  • 9-10 Sones is the loudness of a busy traffic street.

Now, Sones are not as popular a unit of loudness as decibels. Nonetheless, the loudness of some HVAC products like fans is customarily measured in Sones. A lot of people ask us ‘What are Sones in fans?’, for example.

We explain to them that Sones are a unit of loudness and they can be converted to decibels. Here is the mathematical formula we use to convert Sones to dB:

dB = 33.2×log10(Sones) + 28

Sones to dB equation is not the easiest to use. To help everybody out, we have designed a calculator that uses this Sones to dB formula to calculate dB from Sones. Here’s the calculator:

Sones To dB Calculator (Insert Sones, Get dB)

You can try this example: Check how many dB is 0.5 Sones.

Use the slider and slide it to 0.5. You will get the result: 18.005804143955825 dB. That means that 0.5 Sones is equal to 18 dB.

You can use this Sones to decibels calculator to convert any number of Sones to dB. To help you out, we have calculated some of the most common Sones in fans and converted them into dB. Here are the results, summarized in a chart:

Sones To dB Chart

Sones Decibels (dB):
0.1 Sone -5.20 dB
0.2 Sone 4.79 dB
0.3 Sone 10.64 dB
0.4 Sone 14.79 dB
0.45 Sone 16.49 dB
0.5 Sone 18.00 dB
0.6 Sone 20.63 dB
0.7 Sone 22.86 dB
0.8 Sone 24.78 dB
0.9 Sone 26.48 dB
1 Sone 28.00 dB
1.1 Sones 29.37 dB
1.2 Sones 30.63 dB
1.3 Sones 31.78 dB
1.4 Sones 32.85 dB
1.5 Sones 33.85 dB
1.6 Sones 34.78 dB
1.7 Sones 35.65 dB
1.8 Sones 36.48 dB
1.9 Sones 37.25 dB
2 Sones 37.99 dB
2.1 Sones 38.70 dB
2.2 Sones 39.37 dB
2.3 Sones 40.01 dB
2.4 Sones 40.62 dB
2.5 Sones 41.21 dB
2.6 Sones 41.78 dB
2.7 Sones 42.32 dB
2.8 Sones 42.85 dB
2.9 Sones 43.35 dB
3 Sones 43.84 dB
3.5 Sones 46.06 dB
4 Sones 47.99 dB
4.5 Sones 49.69 dB
5 Sones 51.21 dB
6 Sones 53.83 dB
7 Sones 56.06 dB
8 Sones 57.98 dB
9 Sones 59.68 dB
10 Sones 61.20 dB
11 Sones 62.57 dB
12 Sones 63.83 dB
13 Sones 64.98 dB
14 Sones 66.05 dB
15 Sones 67.05 dB
16 Sones 67.98 dB
17 Sones 68.85 dB
18 Sones 69.68 dB
19 Sones 70.45 dB
20 Sones 71.19 dB

Let’s solve 3 examples to illustrate how Sone to dB conversion works:

0.3 Sone To dB (Example 1)

Some of the quietest fans run at only 0.3 Sone noise levels. How much is 0.3 Sone in decibels?

We use the Sone to dB equation:

dB = 33.2×log10(Sones) + 28

We simply insert 0.3 where the ‘Sones’ are and use a handheld calculator to get the result:

dB (0.3 Sone) = 33.2×log10(0.3) + 28 = 10.64 dB

This means that 0.3 Sone is equal to 10.64 dB. Our ears won’t even be able to hear such a low sound.

1.5 Sone To dB (Example 2)

Let’s say we have a bathroom exhaust fan that runs at 1.5 Sones. We would like to answer how many dB is 1.5 Sones. To calculate that, we just use the Sone to dB formula and repeat the procedure like this:

dB (1.5 Sones) = 33.2×log10(1.5) + 28 = 33.85 dB

We have our answer:

1.5 Sones is equal to 33.85 dB.

3 Sones To dB (Example 3)

You can use this same procedure to convert Sones to dB for any number of Sones. To illustrate this even further, let’s calculate how many dB is 3 Sones equal to:

dB (3 Sones) = 33.2×log10(3) + 28 = 43.84 dB

Here you have it:

3 Sones is equal to 43.74 dB. This is a sound we can hear quite easily.

We have used the Sones to dB conversion in our article about the best bathroom exhaust fans (you can check it out here). You will see how you can compare fans spec-by-spec, including noise levels comparison.

We hope this helps. If you have any questions or would like us to help you with this conversion, you can use the comments below and we’ll try to solve it together.

Thank you.

5 thoughts on “Simple Sones To dB Calculator (With 0.3, 1.5, 3.0 Sone Examples)”

  1. Sound level (dB) decreases as the distance from the sound source increases so any measurement of sound level is meaningless unless you specify the distance at which the measurement was taken.

    • Hi there, that’s completely true. With things like bathroom exhaust fans, for example, they have a standardized measurement process (with the same distance between the fan and noise measurement device). That’s how you can adequately compare which fans are the quietest.

  2. This is helpful. Thank you for the detail. Exactly what I was searching for. I would be awesome to have sound clip comparisons.

    • Having sound clips wouldn’t work since you could have your speaker volume set higher than the next person.

      I believe that all testing of sound levels for health reasons is done using the dBA (A weighted scale). Most sound level meters have other weighting scales as well, so the dBA term should be used.


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