People are seeking out the quietest portable generators now, more than ever. With power shortages occurring in the USA more often than they used to (much more than any other developed country, thanks to outdated grids, and lack of maintenance and upgrades), you’ll already be aware of the usefulness of a portable generator, and maybe even have yourself one or two, but after realizing the racket that can come from one of these things, you might be thinking its time for an upgrade to a quieter model.
What is the Quietest Portable Generator in 2020?
Thankfully, there are a few tried and tested super quiet portable generators on the market and we’ve listed the top eight options below so you can finally stop worrying about disturbing the neighbors. When it comes to choosing your generator, start by thinking about how many devices or appliances will need to be powered by it. For simple things like lights, charging devices, and keeping the refrigerator on—all while keeping as quiet as possible—a smaller generator like the Champion Power Equipment 100692 will do just fine, but if you want to operate heavy-duty tools or machinery—or even your whole house—you might want to go for a bigger model like the Pulsar G12KBN-SG with 12,000 peak watts. We’ve selected a variety of the best quiet portable generators for every need, fuel-type, and budget, so you can choose the best one for you.
1. The Quietest Portable Generator 2020—Honda
Anyone who knows anything about generators knows that Honda makes one of the quietest—if not the quietest—portable generators around. The Honda EU2200iTAG 2,200-watt ultra-quiet portable generator has a ton of rave reviews, with competitors trying to match its efficiency and low noise level. Just a few of the many reviews for this 120-volt inverter generator, with CO-minder, note, “Easy to start and really quiet,” “Promises ‘Super Quiet’ and it is,” and “quiet enough to have a conversation without raising your voice [when] standing on the exhaust side while [it’s] running.”
BUY NOW: $1,099, Amazon
2. Best-Rated Quiet Portable Generator—Westinghouse
The Westinghouse iGen2200 portable inverter is another highly-rated super quiet generator, but with a great price point too. It runs at 2,200 peak watts, is powered by gas, and is also CARB-compliant. One of the 1,600+ reviews reads, “I use it daily for 12 hours powering [a refrigerator, two TVs, a Blu-ray DVD, eight 16-watt lamps, two big fans, a coffee brewer, charging my cell phones, tablets, and laptop, washing two loads per week. It’s] very quiet and fuel-efficient giving an average of 12 hours per gallon of gas in eco mode.” It also comes in a cool camo design, if you want your generator to look a bit snazzier.
BUY NOW: $497, Amazon
3. Best Affordable Quiet Portable Generator—A-iPower
It might not be a Honda or a Generac, but for an economical quiet portable generator that’ll get the job done without bursting your eardrums, the A-iPower SUA2000iV fits the bill. With 2,000 watts, and weighing just 50lbs, this generator with extended run-time technology is great for camping and traveling, and, at only 58 decibels, you’ll be able to hold a conversation without having to shout over your generator. “Super quiet and efficient,” reported one happy customer. “I was a bit worried because of how cheap it was but I’m definitely not disappointed!”
BUY NOW: $386, Amazon
4. Best Small Quiet Portable Generator for Camping—WEN
After specifically searching for the best quiet generators for camping, the WEN 56203i 2,000-watt portable inverter generator came up trumps. “Took this on a camping trip,” reads one of its many camping-related reviews, “and everyone who passed by our campsite commented on how quiet [it] was compared to others. [It] didn’t use up much gas either.” It only weighs 39lbs and is strong enough to power all your camping basics. If you want a slightly more powerful version, for only $20 more, you can get the WEN 2,350-watt model.
BUY NOW: $422.75, Amazon
5. Best Quiet Portable Generator for RV—Briggs & Stratton
The Briggs & Stratton P4500 Power Smart Series inverter generator has been tried and tested by many RV owners to critical acclaim. With its electric start, CO guard, and super-quiet operation, it’s an ideal generator to power all your RV necessities. “I have had zero problems with this generator,” wrote one fan. “[It] starts beautifully and powers my RV air conditioner and microwave flawlessly.” In relation to functionality and ease of use, another user explained, “I bought two of these to run in parallel to power my RV trailer… Easy setup; just add oil and gas. Both units fired up on the first pull and ran smoothly and quietly… They powered all the normal things I would run at the same time, including the A/C… This is a great setup for anyone using them to power an RV.”
BUY NOW: $850.77 (Was $1,002.09), Amazon
6. Best Quiet Portable Gas Generator—Generac
Generac is the top name when it comes to generators and its iQ3500 portable inverter generator with 3,500 watts lives up to its name—and then some. The crowd is divided on whether it’s “quieter than a Honda” as mentioned in the product title on Amazon, but just the fact that this is even up for debate—considering that Honda is touted as having the quietest generators around—is a very good sign. Many reviewers have commented on its fuel efficiency; one of the 1,130+ reviews reads, “This unit is so quiet and so much more gas efficient than my old unit,” and another, “It is very very quiet… I put a gallon of gas in it this morning and it’s been running [for] over 11 hours.”
BUY NOW: $999.99 (Was $1,152.09), Amazon
7. Best Quietest Portable Generator for Home Use—Pulsar
For whole-house use, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better quiet portable generator than this Pulsar G12KBN-SG model. A heavy-duty dual fuel machine with 12,000 peak watts, that’s transfer switch and RV ready, this machine can power almost anything you plug into it. It gives you the option of using either gasoline or propane to power it up, boasts a large fuel tank, an electric push start, and even though it’s rather large in size, the handy wheels make transporting it easy. One happy reviewer wrote, “Had it hooked up to run my whole house; [it] works great and doesn’t struggle to run the A/C. Very happy.”
BUY NOW: $999.99 (Was $1,299), Amazon
8. Best Lightweight Quiet Portable Gas Generator—Champion
If you expect to be lugging your generator around a bit, you’ll need a lighter model to save you some backache. The Champion Power Equipment 100692 2,000-watt model is not only light in weight, but also lighter on your pocket too compared to some other models which aren’t half as quiet. “I love this generator,” raved one happy shopper. “Light, portable, and quiet. I use it to power an RV. Works great,” and another reviewer added, “Our motorhome has a built-in generator, but this inverter is so small and light, we’re going to take this with us as well.”
BUY NOW: $429, Amazon
In this post, you will get an in-depth guide and review of the ten quietest portable generators I found in my research. I have written over 70+ posts for GeneratorGrid, but this is my most exhaustive.
TLDR: My top pick for being very quiet, small, light and yet still puts out plenty of power (2200W!) is the: Honda EU2200i
This the is one gas generator I bring on my boondocking RV camping trips around Oregon. If you want a truly silent generator, the battery powered EcoFlow Delta 1300 is my top pick for a very silent high powered solar generator.
A portable generator can improve your life. It’s a great tool to have for camping and RV use, for tailgating, and for working at job sites.
But there’s one huge problem with generators. They’re noisy!
But noise is just the price one has to pay with a generator…or is it?
There are several generators on the market that are remarkably quiet. After extensive testing and research, I’ve compiled these 10 super quiet portable generators.
Table of Contents [show]
|Generator||Rated Watts||dB Level @ 1/4 load||Runtime @ 500W||Weight||Check Price|
|Honda EU2200I||1800W||53 dB||8.1 Hours||45.6 lbs||Check Price|
|WEN 56203i||1700W||51 dB||9.6 Hours||48 lbs||Check Price|
|Champion 4000-Watt||3500W||64 dB||31.5 Hours||81 lbs||Check Price|
|Generac iQ2000||1600W||53 dB||9.12 Hours||46.2 lbs||Check Price|
|Jackery 1000||1000W||42 dB||2 Hours||22.04 lbs||Check Price|
|Yamaha EF2000iSv2||1600W||51.5 dB||8 Hours||44.1 lbs||Check Price|
|EcoFlow Delta 1300||1800W||42 dB||2.2 Hours||30.9 lbs||Check Price|
|Briggs & Stratton P2200||1700W||59 dB||6.8 Hours||54.6 lbs||Check Price|
|Westinghouse iGen1200||1000W||58 dB||7.2 Hours||35 lbs||Check Price|
|Energizer eZV3200||2800W||52 dB||21 Hours||96 lbs||Check Price|
When using a generator around other people, the noise factor can be a huge problem.
Nobody wants to be that neighbor with the loud and annoying generator that ruins everyone else’s day or keeps them up at night. Luckily, there is a solution.
These super quiet generators are perfect for camping and tailgating, and they won’t upset your neighbors.
In fact, these generators are all quiet enough for nighttime use. This list includes the quietest generators at a range of price points and with an array of features. There’s an option for every need.
What are the best quiet generators in January 2021?
1. The Best Quietest Generator is the Honda EU2200I
Honda’s EU2200I is the next-generation of the beloved EU2000i, the #1 bestselling generator of all time on Amazon.
It’s extremely well-reviewed by fans. The red and black generator is compact and lightweight, and it has a convenient sturdy carry handle. I can easily pick up the EU2200i with one hand and carry it short distances.
This was the very first gas generator I ever purchased, and I loved how easy to use it was on my first two-week trip in my teardrop trailer. It ran very quietly, especially in eco-mode. I didn’t feel bad running right next to a trail with quite a bit of foot traffic because it just wasn’t that loud of noise when running.
At a quarter load, the 53 decibels of sound produced by the Honda EU2220i are about the noise level of quiet conversation at home.
It doesn’t even come close to the typical volume of a television. In other words, this generator is quiet enough that you can use it in settings where other people are near you. It’s great for camping and tailgating and very popular with the RV and trailer crowd. When I was at a park with a lake in Portland this summer, I saw a EU2200i that was being used by a hobby electric boat club to power their high-power electric batteries in their speed boats!
The Honda EU220I is an inverter generator, so it’s safe for more sensitive electronics.
A long runtime is another big pro for this generator. It has a 1-gallon gas tank and excellent fuel efficiency.
The operation of this generator is quite user-friendly. It’s easy to start up with the pull cable, and the gas tank is easy to access and fill.
One big downside is that there is no fuel indicator to let you know how close you are to empty. You’ll notice the sound from the generator starts to change once the gas is getting low. When it is nearly out, it will start to sputter and then the generator will shut off.
- 3-year warranty
- Compact & relatively lightweight
- Fuel-efficiency (long runtime)
- Reliable Honda Engine performance
- Handles surge loads well
- Great Reviews
- No External fuel indicator
- This popular model can operate a wide variety of appliances, making it perfect for portable use at home, camping, on the job site, or much more. Reliable Power is now at your fingertips with Honda’s Inverted Generators.
- So quiet, your neighbors will thank you. The EU2200i operates at 48 to 57 dBA, which is less noise than a normal conversation. This makes it ideal for camping, supplemental RV power and any other activity that requires quiet operation.
- Add a second EU2200i for additional power. Two identical models can be paralleled with an optional cable or cord for up to 4400 watts of power, or time-consuming applications.
IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
This generator has risen to the top because of its high-quality construction and consistently excellent performance.
2. Cheapest Quiet Generator: WEN 56203i 2000-Watt Portable Inverter
This is the current winner in the battle for the quietest generator.
At a 1/4-load it only measures at 51 dB, about the same as a quiet conversation inside a home. The noise level ramps up as you use a bigger load, but it remains extremely quiet overall.
This generator is fairly lightweight, but its design isn’t quite as compact as some other generator models. However, it does have a handle for easy carry.
The WEN 56203i’s inverter works to minimize spikes and drops in pursuit of clean energy similar to a pure sine wave.
This makes it perfectly safe to plug your laptop or phone in to charge without having to worry about damage.
Fuel efficiency is another positive for this generator with a long runtime and an eco-mode that automatically adjusts fuel consumption depending on factors like load and setting.
- 2-year warranty
- Extremely quiet
- Relatively lightweight
- Good gas efficiency
- CARB compliant
- Expensive per watt capacity
- No fuel indicator
- Ultralight body weighs in at a mere 39 pounds for easy transport and storage
- Extremely quiet operation comparable to the sound of a normal conversation according to the US Department of Health and Human Services
- Produces 2000 surge watts and 1700 rated watts of clean power for safe charging of sensitive electronics (phones, tablets, televisions, computers, etc.)
IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
The WEN 56203i is the absolute quietest generator on the market, so it’s worth looking at if noise is your top concern.
3. Champion Power Equipment 4000W Digital Hybrid – A Bit Loud But More Powerful
This is by far the loudest generator on the list.
That said, it only measures about as loud as a garbage disposal when tested at a 1/4-load level. (64 dBA noise level). In addition to being a bit louder, this generator is also a bit bigger.
Weighing in at 81 pounds, it’s not as easy to transport this generator as some other generator models.
There’s no easy-carry handle, but there are two side handles that make it easy enough for two people to carry.
Despite the size and noise downsides, there is one huge advantage to this generator: it’s powerful.
Unlike the other 2,000-watt generators, this one offers twice that, at 4,000 watts.
It also has a bigger 2.9-gallon fuel tank and an incredibly long runtime. The hybrid design and Economy Mode add to the fuel efficiency.
- 3-year limited warranty plus free lifetime technical support
- RV ready
- CARB compliant
- Trusted brand in this space, a pleasure to work with
- Larger and heavier than other models here
- Noisier, but not by much considering the extra watts
- Advanced Open Frame Inverter Design: 50% quieter and 20% lighter than a traditional Champion 3500-watt generator, plus our Economy Mode feature saves fuel and extends engine life
- Quiet Technology and Extended Run Time: 64 dBA is great for RVs, tailgating, your next project or home backup, with 4000 starting watts and 3500 running watts for up to 17 hours run time on gasoline
- Clean electricity for sensitive electronics: RV Ready with a 120V 30A RV, plus two 120V 20A household outlets with clean power (less than 3% THD) and 12V DC outlet with dual USB adapter
IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
The Champion Power Equipment generator is heavy and noisy, but it has a ton of power and will get the job done consistently and reliably.
4. Generac iQ2000 Super Quiet Inverter Generator – Real-time Data Display
Some of the quietest portable generators have a big flaw in that they don’t display any helpful information.
The Generac iQ2000 solves that problem by displaying helpful data like remaining runtime, current wattage used, and the amount of fuel remaining.
In today’s data-reliant world, we expect this kind of information, and it can be frustrating not to have it.
It’s nice to be able to glance at this and see how much gas you have left and an estimate of the amount of runtime remaining.
In addition to displaying this relevant data, the iQ2000 also has a lot of the basics to offer. It’s quite quiet, it has a decently long runtime, and the inverter means that your electronics are safe.
It is quite user-friendly and keeps things simple with three modes: Economy, Standard, and Turbo. This is rated for 1600 watts, but if you need more power, it is parallel-ready with this parallel kit from Generac.
- 3-year limited warranty
- Display of helpful and relevant information
- Parallel kit available
- Low noise level
- CARB compliant
- Some customers reported fuel leakage problems
- AC Rated Output(Running/Starting): 1600/2000 Watts; AC Rated Voltage: 120V
- PowerDial integrates start/run/stop functions into 1 easy-to-use dial
- PowerBar monitors and displays wattage used; Electronic Fuel Gauge displays remaining fuel; Runtime Display show how much time is left before refueling
IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
The Generac iQ2000 stands out for displaying relevant and helpful information that all generators should display (like low oil indicator). The USB port and data display alone makes this quiet generator worth looking at.
5. Jackery Explorer 1000
Another of my favorite battery powered generators, the Jackery 1000 is even quieter than the Ecoflow Delta 1300, but doesn’t have quite the power or capacity. It also chargest much slower. But the Jackery 1000 is a great ergonomic quiet solar generator. You will love the rounded top handle, which makes it easy to move the Jackery 1000 around with just one hand.
- Compact and relatively lightweight
- Beautiful design
- Virtually silent operation
- Limited capacity vs gas generators
- Founded in California in 2012, Jackery specializes in providing outdoor green power solutions for explorers. Jackery portable power station, power outdoors.
- With a higher 1000W wattage and larger 1002Wh capacity, the Jackery Explorer 1000 features 3 standard PURE SINE WAVE AC outlets, which provide extra capacity to power more AC appliances simultaneously. Note that the total rated wattage should be under 1000w (surge 2000w). 2*USB-C and 1*Quick Charge 3.0 port can charge all your small digital devices like tablets and phones effectively.
- Power your outdoor recreation time from this instant solar generator. Designed for: (1) RV-ers: With no extra setup, powers your mini space heaters, cooling fans, mini-fridges, portable ovens and coffee makers, etc. (2) Outdoor parties: Power blenders, pellet smokers, small household ice shavers, and TVs to extend your grilling and game time. (3) Home backup power: Support emergency appliances such as refrigerators, CPAP/Bi-PAP, computers, radios, and phones to help keep your life as normal.
IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
The Jackery 1000 is the largest nearly dead silent solar generator on the market. If you need to power appliances under 1,000 watts for a limited time quietly, it’s a great pick.
6. Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Portable Inverter – A Cool Design and Hot Performance
In a competition with the Atima AY2000i for coolest-looking design, the Yamaha EF2000iSv2 might take home the prize.
This generator has a cool, retro-inspired design that is just nice to look at.
If you’re looking for a generator that will look great for your camping or tailgating setup, this one is worth checking out. The design is quite compact, and the generator is one of the lightest out there.
The carry handle plus the size and lightweight design make this one of the easiest generators to transport, so portability ranks high on the list with this one.
It has a 1.1-gallon fuel capacity and good fuel-efficiency thanks to the smart throttle that adjusts depending on load.
The fuel gauge helps you keep an eye on how much power you’ve got left before you need to refill.
This is one of the quietest types of generators because of the muffler and spark arrestor.
- 3-year warranty from Yamaha
- Quiet operation thanks to muffler
- Fuel gauge
- Attractive, retro-inspired design
- CARB compliant
- High price
- Doesn’t do as well at high altitude
- 1600 watt rated AC output, 2000 watt maximum AC output, 13.3/16.7 amps @ 120V
- Super-quiet muffler with USFS-approved spark arrestor – 51.5 dBA at 1/4 load
- Smart Throttle varies engine speed based on load – improves fuel economy and reduces noise
IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
This is a great-looking and super quiet portable generator in a compact and lightweight package. The operation is easy, and the performance is consistent and reliable, making this generator a solid investment.
7. EcoFlow Delta 1300
If you really want a silent, less traditional generator, consider the li-ion battery pack from EcoFlow: The Delta 1300. I have this battery generator, and it is an incredible piece of technology. Sure, your runtime will be only an hour or so if you are pulling 1000-watts, but it will be virtually silent. If you just need to run a CPAP or a few smaller appliances for a short time during a night camping trip, this generator is for you.
- Nearly silent operation
- Lightwieght vs gas options
- Limited runtime
- Not easy to refuel
- 【6x 1800W AC OUTLETS & 1260Wh CAPACITY】Equipped with large invertor load, which can power most home appliances and heavy duty DIY tools under 1800W (3300W Surge, PURE SINE WAVE) : like TV, Fridge, Coffee Machine, Microwave Oven, CPAP, Drill and Saw. With 1260Wh capacity, EFDELTA can be truly a backup generator that keeps the lights, fridges running for hours.
- 【RECHARGE FROM 0% TO 80% WITHIN 1 HOUR】EFDELTA can be recharged from 0% to 80% in 1 hour and to 100% in 1.6 hours. X-STREAM TECHNOLOGY: ECOFLOW patented X-Stream Technology empowers EFDELTA recharged at 10 times the speed of most portable power stations in the market with just a standard AC cable. (NO HEAVY, BULKY ADAPTOR or BRICK).
- 【FASTEST RECHARGE BY SOLAR AND CAR】EFDELTA MPPT Controller guarantees faster recharge rate of solar and the wider compatibility with EcoFlow solar panel: Open Circuit voltage(OCV): 10-65V/ 10A max, 400W Max Input. (MC4 to XT60 Solar Cable Included). SOLAR RECHARGE TIME: EFDELTA can be fully recharged by solar panel in about 4 Hours . CAR RECHARGE TIME: it can be fully charged through a 12/24V car port in 10-12 HOURS.
IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
Not your traditional gas generator, but if you really need a quiet generator and not a long runtime, the EcoFlow Delta 1300 is as quiet as it gets.
8. Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 PowerSmart Series 2200-Watt Inverter – Affordable Price and Good Power
Despite being quite a bit cheaper than many models, this 2200-watt generator from Briggs & Stratton offers more power than many of the other options.
It’s not completely noiseless, and it doesn’t have the highest power rating of any generator on this list, but it’s rated for 1700 watts which is a decent bump above the typical 1600-watt rating.
In addition to offering a bit more power and a good price, the P2200 is pretty quiet and has decent fuel efficiency. It’s not quite fuel efficient enough to meet California’s tight emissions standards, but it will run for close to seven hours when running a 500-watt load.
The computer-controlled engine continually modulates based on load and other factors.
An inverter keeps your sensitive electronics safe, and the parallel connector port means you have the option to double your power.
This generator is fairly compact and lightweight, and the H-shaped handle makes it easy for one or two people to carry.
Briggs & Stratton has earned the designation of being an Amazon’s choice product, probably because this generator offers a lot in terms of quiet operations but comes in at a more affordable price point.
- Relatively lightweight and compact
- 2-year warranty
- Reliable engine maker
- Not as inaudible as it could be
- Missing fuel indicator
- Less than average efficiency
- Quiet and fuel efficient 111 cc OHV engine produces 2,200 starting watts and 1700 running watts
- USB port allows charging of portable electronics in order to stay connected. Muffler : Super Lo-tone. Start type: Recoil
- Produces less than 3% total harmonic distortion making it safe for laptop computers, TVs and game systems
IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
This is a decent portable generator that offers a bit more power that is more affordable than many similar muffled options.
9. Westinghouse iGen1200 – The Cheapest Option on This List
This is the cheapest available portable, quiet generator, but that budget price comes with a few big downsides.
It offers the least amount of power, for one thing, with only a 1,000-watt rating.
It also comes in as one of the more audible options, with a rating of 58 dB at a 1/4-load, despite having a double-insulated acoustic enclosure and using mufflers.
In addition to the price, another advantage of this generator is its weight. At only 35 pounds, it’s the lightest option.
It also has a nice carry handle, so it’s incredibly easy to transport.
If you don’t mind the cons, this budget generator does have incredible reviews and a proven track record for consistent performance.
As long as you don’t need a ton of power, this generator should serve you well.
- 3-year warranty and lifetime technical support
- Parallel-capable (dual engine)
- Very affordable
- Less power
- A bit more noise
- 1000 Rated Watts and 1200 Peak Watts at Less Than 3% THD – Weighs Only 33 Lbs. – Gas Powered – Two 120V 20 Amp Outlets
- Great Choice for Home Use as an Emergency Backup in a Power Outage – Strong Enough to Run Most Home Essentials
- Extremely Quiet, Extremely Fuel Efficient: As Low as 52 dBA Noise Output and Up to 9 Hours of Run Time on a 0. 8 Gallon Gas Tank – Features “Economy Mode” for Maximum Fuel Efficiency
The budget Westinghouse iGen1200 has some cons but the low cost and the strong performance make up for it, as long as you don’t need a ton of power.
10. Energizer eZV3200 Generator – Pricey but High-Powered and Convenient
Like with the Champion Digital Hybrid, the Energizer eZV3200 offers a lot of power but has the not-insignificant drawback of being large and heavy.
It’s not the quietest generator on the market, but for a generator of this size and with this powerful capability, it is remarkably quiet.
It is rated for 2800 watts. It has a large fuel tank that holds close to 2 gallons, and it has great fuel efficiency for an extra-long run-time.
This is maximized even further when you use the eco-mode. Something that makes this powerful generator unique is the remote start capability.
Most generators start with a pull cable, but this generator can be started from a distance of up to 100 feet using a remote, adding a lot of convenience and ease of use.
This generator is quite heavy at 96 pounds, but it has a built-in handle and wheel kit, making it one of the easiest generators to transport despite the weight.
- Easy transport with wheels and handle
- Large capacity
- Convenient remote start
- Large and heavy
- Not parallel-capable
- Remote start. Start and shutdown your portable generator at your convenience from afar while camping, tailgating and working
- Large fuel capacity. A large 7.4L tank with a gravity-fed fuel system requires no priming and is easy for anyone to start
- Quiet running volume. An extremely quiet generator at only 60 dBA running at 100% load. The sound level of a conversation
The Energizer eZV3200 is not cheap, but it offers a lot of power and some incredibly convenient features, especially the remote start and the transport wheels.
Buying Guide for Quiet Portable Generators
Power outages can happen anywhere and at any time, which is why it is so important to prepare. If you are not new to the world of generators, then you know how loud and intrusive they can often be. For this reason, more people are choosing quiet and portable generators for the lesser noise as well as convenience of transportation. But what else should you consider when choosing this kind of generator?
So, how loud is a quiet generator? A quiet generator will typically operate between 50-65 dBA or lower. That number is quieter than the noise produced by a running refrigerator or an air conditioner. The further away you place the generator, the less noise you hear as well.
Source of the Noise
The noise comes from the generator’s motor, from where sound and heat emanate. For this reason, it needs a cooling system for it to stabilize as well. Some generators have either an air-cooled engine or liquid-cooled engine.
Other sources of noise come from the combustion and mechanics of the generator, the fluctuations in the alternator windings, other vibrating engine components, and the engine block and exhaust system of the generator.
Keeping Your Generator Quiet
Even with loud generators, there are things you can do to help dampen the noise a bit, so it isn’t as irritating.
Extended Distance. Increase the distance between your home and the generator. The sound waves will then spread out over a longer distance, which can significantly lower the noise levels that it produces.
Positioning. How you position your generator can also affect the noise level it produces. Make sure it is placed on a level surface so that there are fewer vibrations to the motor. To do this, you can use leveling feet.
Enclosures. Enclosures are another way to counteract the higher noise levels produced by your generator. It helps with both sound absorption and deflection. However, you need also to make sure there is enough airflow, so the generator doesn’t overheat. Enclosures can reduce noise levels up to 10 decibels of sound. You can also insulate the enclosure with sound-absorbing foam, rubber waffle pads, acoustic barriers, or other sound-absorbing materials.
A generator can make your life better.
By providing you with a reliable power source wherever you are, a portable generator means you don’t have to worry about powering your tools or charging your devices.
It can improve the experience of any camping trip or the productivity of a job site in a remote location, and it can provide peace of mind in case of a natural disaster.
However, a noisy generator can make your life worse.
Constant loud noise can disrupt your enjoyment of whatever you’re doing. It can turn you into that annoying neighbor–and you don’t want to be that neighbor.
The best way to get a lot out of a generator without the major annoyance of excessive noise is to go with a whisper-quiet portable model.
These ten generators are the quietest ones available on the market today (I only reviewed the reliable ones here). We hope the generator reviews above have helped you narrow down your choices for the best generator for camping, your home, job site, or wherever you may need it.
Do you own a generator? Is your favorite missing from the list?
Let us know in the comments. Feel free to ask any questions you might have about generators.
Quiet Generators: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the absolute quietest portable generator on the market?
Right now, the absolute quietest portable gas generator on the market is the Honda EU2200i.
It has a noise rating of 51 dB when operated at a 1/4-load. The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is right behind, with a noise rating of 51.5 dB.
Happily, the various makers of generators are continually competing to make their generators quieter.
That means that the quietest generator on the market may well change within a few years. However, they can only get so quiet. A generator will never be completely silent.
There are a number of portable generators with noise ratings below 60 dB. For reference, 60 dB is about the same noise level as restaurant chatter or office noise.
It’s important to note, though, that the dB levels of the generators at a 1/4-load does not tell you how loud the generator can potentially be. The noise level of any generator will increase as you add load.
As the wattage goes up, so does the noise.
Many generators have an eco-mode, like the Honda EU2200i, which offers more fuel capacity and efficiency, but this mode also typically will result in the quietest operation.
How much wattage do I really need?
How much wattage you need depends entirely on what you’re going to be using the generator for.
Everything you plug in will require a different number of running watts.
A cell phone charger, for example, only needs about 10 running watts. You should just use a solar generator for that watt-level. A microwave oven, on the other hand, will need around 750 watts.
To determine how much wattage you need in a generator, just add together the wattage of the things you expect to simultaneously plug into the generator.
Honda has a calculator to help you determine what wattage you should be looking for in your portable generator.
One way to maximize your power with portable generators is by hooking two generators together. Some of these quiet generators are parallel-capable and are ready to do this, essentially doubling your available wattage.
What is a cheap generator that isn’t too noisy?
The Westinghouse iGen1200 is the cheapest generator that stays relatively quiet.
It’s not the quietest portable generator available, but for the price point, it isn’t overly noisy. It doesn’t offer the most power, though.
If you need a bit more power, the Energizer eZV2200 is also pretty affordable and relatively quiet.
Which “quiet” inverter offers the most power?
Of the quiet portable generators, the Champion Digital Hybrid offers the most power by far, with a rated wattage of 3,500 watts.
This model also offers the longest runtime.
If you plan on powering several things at once and need a consistently large amount of power, the Champion generator is the best option for you.
It’s also parallel-ready so you could add another and potentially double that power.
However, the high power rating comes with a con: it’s the loudest of the quiet portable generators. At a 1/4-load, it has a noise rating of 64 decibels. While that’s definitely louder than other options, it’s still quieter than a typical garbage disposal.
If planning to consistently operate at a 100% load, though, and especially if you plan to run two generators in parallel, just be prepared for quite a bit of noise.
Can a muffler reduce generator noise?
A muffler makes a huge reduction in noise on vehicles, but can you use them elsewhere?
Yes, adding a muffler to your generator can possibly help reduce the noise level.
There are some mufflers available for purchase, but results vary.
It might not end up reducing your sound all that much. Another DIY option is to build an enclosure around your generator to dampen the sound.
Some generators recognize the value of a muffler and actually build it right into the design. The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is a great example of this. The muffler in this generator is what makes it so quiet.
Which quiet generator is best for an RV or camping?
There are a few important factors to consider when buying a generator for use in an RV.
It needs to be powerful enough. It needs to be quiet so as not to disturb others who might be parked or camping nearby.
Ideally, the RV generator will be RV-compliant, meaning it has a 120V 30A RV outlet built right in.
For these reasons, the Champion Power Equipment 100302 is a great option for a quiet RV generator, even though it is a bit louder than some other generator models for recreation vehicles.
Some generators don’t have this outlet built-in, but you can use an adapter.
How is generator sound measured?
For our purposes, the quietness of the generators was measured at around 20 feet away.
The sound was measured with a tool called a Sound level meter.
A decibel (dB) is a unit that measures the intensity of a sound. The decibel scale is logarithmic, meaning it goes up in powers of ten.
This means that a jump from 60 dB to 70 dB means a sound that is ten times as loud. Therefore, moving up even a few numbers on the decibel-scale means a fairly significant jump in sound.
For this reason, if keeping noise to an absolute minimum is key for you, pay close attention to the decibel rating for any generator you are considering.