Loudest & Quietest Fire Alarms You Have Heard

What are the loudest and quietest fire alarms you have heard? For me…


[]Simplex 2901-9833 + 2903

]Federal Signal 450D + VALS

[]Gentex Commander 2 & 3 (Mechanical Tone)


]Wheelock Chime/Strobes

[]System Sensor MASS

]Gentex GMS & GOS

Loudest: Standard/Federal 30A’s in my elementary school’s original system. The Faraday/Pyrotronics electrmechanical horns (the ones with the MTL-style strobe) at Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC are a close second.

Quietest: Simplex speaker/strobes in my college dorms. If I ever hear the chime/strobes at the library where I work, I’m guessing they may claim the title. For horns, I’d also have to go with the MASS.


Quietest: SpectrAlert Advance Chime/strobe


Space Age Electronics 2DCD horns on AV32 light plates - They were so loud I swear that they made the computers in the room strobe vertically and flicker.

Simplex 4051 horns on 4050-80 light plates - Not as loud as the 2DCDs but still you wouldn’t want to listen to them too long.

Wheelock AS - I could hear one on the other side of the school from where the horn is mounted on the exterior of another building on campus.


Edwards 892-2B - They probably just sounded as loud as a microwave going off after it was done cooking food in the microwave.

Gentex SHG - My 1st grade mind thought that it was some kind of whistle for a few seconds when I heard it go off in that art class.

SpectrAlert Classic - It almost couldn’t be heard among the loud talking in the lecture hall where it was and I thought it was just some beep from somewhere else before I knew what it was.


  1. Wheelock MT/AS - Were used as outdoor signals at my high school; could be heard clearly from over 300 feet away
  2. Faraday 5920 - uses the same mechanism as the 2901-9846
  3. Simplex 2901-9806

  4. Gentex Commander2 (chime)
  5. Edwards pre-Integrity speaker/strobes from a local hospital, playing hi-lo-hi tone
  6. Simplex 2901-9838 - some are quite loud, whereas others can be stood next to without any discomfort

    I don’t have any experience with AC horns or chimes (besides my Commander2), so most of these aren’t too extreme.

Loudest: Simplex 4040 horns (at my high school)

Older Federal Signal explosion-proof horns (at my middle school)

Simplex 4051+4050-80 horn/lights (at the school I went to for kindergarten)

System Sensor SpectrAlert Advance horn/strobes (at the Walmart I used to work at, along with at my college)

Wheelock AS horn/strobes (at the local baseball stadium I also work for)

Quietest: EST Genesis speaker/strobes

Simplex TrueAlert speaker/strobes



Gentex GX-90s: The worst offenders– I’ve never liked high pitched alarms, especially loud ones. It gives you this weird feeling in your ears and you hear it after you’ve gotten out of the building.

Simplex TrueAlerts when I was under 10 years: God, I was scared of these alarms. Practically the entire student body hated these things. When it went off, not only when I yelp, everyone screams.

Simplex 4903-9219s: These things were in every classroom during Elementary School and I remember someone saying way back "why are these ones (TrueAlerts) louder than those things (9219s). They were less loud than all of these though.



Wheelock ZNS or Siemens ZH: Even though these are in all the classrooms except for some near the Learning Centers (essentially chill outs/libraries), I really do not care about them. They’re all in sync so that’s a bonus.

Simplex TrueAlerts now: I go to a lot of parties with friends and it’s reduced how loud things can be since I’m used to it, because of that, I don’t mind these alarms. Now if I were to hear an Advance (which I have but it was from a farther away building, so it was really quiet), that would still be louder.

Simplex 9846s: Yes, these were said to be 100 decibels (in reality there in a range of like, 90), but just like TrueAlerts it doesn’t immediately kill me.

System Sensor MASS: I heard this at Chicago, but I don’t think it was used as an actual fire alarm. It was a remote horn since I saw the sounder but not a strobe.

I’m sort of shocked that anybody would think that 9846s are actually QUIET when I consider them the louder versions of the 9838.

I’ve never heard 9838s but they would definitely go lower than the 9846s on a scale chart. I just think they’re quieter than the other alarms I’ve heard.

Yeah, the 9846’s in the science wing of my high school are deafening.

From my experience, 9838’s do seem rather quiet as far as DC mechanical horns go. I’d imagine the 9846 is pretty substantially louder. Can either of them have their volume adjusted?

Loudest: MTs set to High Volume Horn. Or Advance.

Quietest: SpectrAlert Classic Chime/Strobe

Loudest in my school: Faraday Horn Strobe

Medium: Wheelock Exceeder

Quietest: Simplex TrueAlert

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