Sound Level Meter Standards

Sound Meter Standards – A Quick Guide

If you’re new to sound measurement then you will no doubt find an abundance of different sound meter standards online all claiming to be the current and most up to date. Unfortunately many of these posts are long out-dated and as a result a little inaccurate. To combat this, we have put together this small table below that will hopefully provide you with some clarity to the current standards in use. The main thing you should be aware of is that the most recent standards for sound level meters are BS EN 61672:2013 or IEC 61672:2013 and these have superseded most previous standards. For personal sound exposure meters such as dosemeters, BS EN 61252:1997 or IEC 61252:1993 are the most recent standards.

This information was correct as of 2017. We aim to keep this information as up-to-date as possible so if you find any information inaccurate please contact our development team on

Sound Level Meter Standards
IEC Standard British Standard Purpose Status Superseded by
IEC 61672:2013 BS EN 61672:2013 Electroacoustics. Sound level meters. Current
IEC 61672:2002 BS EN 61672:2003 Electroacoustics. Sound level meters. Revised IEC 61672:2013
IEC 60804:2000 BS EN 60804:2001 Integrating-averaging sound level meters Withdrawn IEC 61672:2002
IEC 60651:1979 BS EN 60651:1994 Specification for sound level meters Withdrawn IEC 61672:2002
Personal Exposure Meter Standards (Noise Dosemeters)
IEC 61252:1993 BS EN 61652:1997 Specification for personal exposure Current

IEC 61272:2003 onwards divide instruments performance into Class 1 and Class 2 classifications. IEC 60804 & 60651 divide instruments into Type 0 through to Type 3.

If you would like to know more about this check out our article on the The Difference between Type and Class for Sound Meters.

IEC 61672:2013 Explained

IEC 61672:2013 is published in 3 segments. Each segments affects sound meters in slightly different ways and together they detail the performance requirements and testing methods of instruments claiming to conform to the standard.

Part 1 – Specifications

Part 1 is the most important to most users. This section gives electroacoustical performance specification for three types of sound measuring instruments.

  1. A conventional sound level meter: Measuring exponential time-weighted sound level
  2. An integrating-averaging sound level meter: Measuring time-average sound level
  3. An integrating sound level meter that measure sound exposure level.

Note: Instruments are available that measure 1 or all three types of measurement

In addition to the type of meter, the standard also lists two performance categories (Class 1 and Class 2). Typically speaking, both classes of sound level meter have the the same design goals and only different in the level of accuracy (tolerance).

Part 2/3 – Pattern Evaluation Tests & Testing

Parts 2 and 3 describe the methods of checking conformance to the IEC-61672:2013 for all types and classes of instrument. The procedures are described in detail with the goal of ensuring all laboratories are consistent in their testing.

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