Due to frequent power outages in the USA, more people are seeking generators for their homes. Generators are also a top need for running power tools at job sites and providing necessary and affordable energy for camping and RVing. But it’s a fact that no one likes loud generators, and there is a reason for it. A noisy generator disturbs your sleep, neighbors, and your camping spree. As a result, quiet generators are much in demand. You may also have a quiet generator at your home but not as quiet as you want, and think of upgrading to a quieter one.
You can now find plenty of quiet generators in the market, and there are some generators that customers rely on blindly for their quietest power output. Although finding one generator that can fulfill all requirements is difficult, you can check out the quietest generators with variable capabilities to fit your needs.
Read the guide given below to find the quiet generators and learn the way to select the quietest generators:
Table of Contents
What To Look for When Choosing a Quiet Generator?
As a general rule, a generator that produces more than 80 dB of noise is considered a â€œloud generator, â€œand a generator that produces less than 60 dB of noise is considered a “quiet generator.” The quietest generators are usually known as inverter generators, with more consistent and efficient power delivery than traditional generators.
- Furthermore, many cities and homeowners associations (HOA) do not allow generators with more than 75 dB of sound. And if you run any generator above 75 dB, you may have to give a fine.
- Generally, for camping sites, you should not run a generator that produces more than 65 dB of sound.
The above-given rules are the ones people generally follow while looking for a quiet generator. They open the specifications for the generators, compare the noise levels of the top-picked generators and find out the one that produces the least amount of sound. This is an important specification to look for while buying a quiet generator, but in practical, you need to look for many other specifications.
For example, in addition to DBS, wattage is also important. A 3000W generator will be quieter than a 10,000W generator. Furthermore, starting and running wattage, tank capacity, and running time of the generator are also important factors to consider. Also, you need to think about the settings for which you need a generator. Let’s have a look at these specifications one by one:
Quietness Of Generator
On the specification list, you will see the noise level of the generator mentioned as:
Noise levels: 68-74 dB
Just reading noise level numbers won’t give you an idea of how loud or quiet a generator is. You need to understand what noise level a generator is producing. To understand this, read the given details to figure out how loud your generator is.
Operating your generator at Â¼ (25%) of load will produce the first decibel level (lower sound limit) of noise. So, a 3000W generator will produce 750W power. However, as a generator is usually operated above Â¼ load, it produces more noise. A generator makes a second-decibel level (higher sound limit) when operating at full load (100%).
Here is the categorization of generators with different noise levels:
- Quiet Generators: 50-60 dB
- Quieter-Than-Average Generators: 60-70 dB
- Average Noise Generators: 70-80 dB
- Loud Generators: 80-90 dB or above 90 dB
Breathing produces 10 dB of noise; whispering produces about 30 dB of noise, and refrigerators make 50 dB noise level. So, practically, as we consider a quiet generator is the one with below 60 dB noise level, it would be similar to the noise level of the refrigerator.
On the other hand, a loud generator produces above 75 dB noise; its noise level would be like a truck(80dB) or hairdryer (90 dB).
Wattage Of Generator
Since you are looking for a generator to overcome power outages or go camping, you will look for a generator with enough power to do these tasks. For whole-house power outage, you need a generator with 10,000+ running wattages, and for camping and RVs, you need a 2000-3000W running generator (quiet generator).
So, a small wattage generator will definitely be quieter than a generator running the whole house.
But the question is, how can you differentiate the noise level of two generators with different wattages? Or how would you know which generator is the quietest?
For this purpose, you need to consider the â€œWatts Per dBâ€ ratio. This will explain how many running watts a generator produces per 1 dB. And thatâ€™s how you can estimate which generator is quieter.
Watts Per decibel Ratio = Running Wattage (W) Ã· Noise Levels (dB)
If a generator has 2800W running watt and 49 dB noise level, its Watts per dB ratio will be 58W per dB. This means it will produce 58W per dB.
If a generator has 10,500W running wattage and 74 dB noise level, its Watts per dB ratio will be 135W per dB. This means it will produce 135W per dB. A higher Watts per dB ratio shows that it will produce more wattage per dB.
So, even if a 10,500W generator produces 74dB noise, its 135W per dB shows that it is a quiet generator.
Tank Capacity and Fuel Type
A good generator also needs to have enough tank capacity (gasoline or propane) to run at least for 10 hours. Quiet generators are inverter generators that use gasoline as a fuel source. They may run on gasoline or propane, or both. Dual generators have the advantage of choosing fuel based on your needs. An inverter generator has a tank capacity ranging anywhere from 2-10-gallons. The larger the fuel tank capacity, the longer it will provide gasoline-based power.
Generally, gasoline generators have a 36% longer running time. Itâ€™s because the energy density of gasoline is 36% higher than liquid propane energy density. So, the most energy-efficient and quiet generators are inverter gasoline generators.
Weight And Size of Generator
Weight and size are also important factors to consider. Small-sized generators are inverter generators with 40-50 pounds weight that can be easily top-handled or side-handled.
On the other hand, heavy generators weigh up to 100 pounds and have a wheel kit to add portability.
Whatever your preference is, both types of constructions can be brought to the campsite, kept in the garage or placed in the car.
When looking for the quietest generator, an additional electric start feature adds to the user experience. Instead of a pull-cord to start the generator, the modern generator has an electric start that is easy to handle. Electric start can be in the form of a switch, remote control, or push button.
It is convenient to power multiple devices with multiple outlets as the electrical load can be distributed. Quiet generators have multiple outlets, including RV outlets and USB outlets.
Usually, a quiet generator with at least two household electrical outlets is suggested for evenly and efficiently spreading the electrical load.
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The 5 Best Quietest Generators
- The Quietest Inverter Generator: Honda EU3000IS
- Best Small and Quiet Generator for Camping: WEN 56203i
- Best Quiet Gas Generator: Generac 7127 iQ3500
- Quiet and Whole House Generator: DuroMax XP13000EH
- Quiet Portable Generator: Westinghouse WH2000iXLT
The Quietest Inverter Generator: Honda EU3000IS
- Noise Levels: 49 dB
- Running Watts: 2,800 W
- Starting Watts: 3,000 W
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.4 gallons
- Maximum Running Time: 20 hours
- Weight: 131 lb
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 27x26x21 inches
It has been years since the Honda EU3000S became the quietest generator available on the market. As Honda is already known for making quiet generators, EU3000IS is amongst their top-notch quietest models.
It has starting wattage of 3000W and running wattage of 2800W. It produces less than 50 dB of noise level at 25% load. At 100% load, it has 58 dB of the noise level.
The reason behind Hondaâ€™s quietest generators is their advanced patented Eco ThrottleÂ® System inverter technology. With its throttling technology, the inverter generator precisely adjusts the power output with demand. This technology is also why this model is the most energy-efficient and quiet generator.
If we look at its running time, it has a maximum running time of 20 hours with a 3.4-gallon tank. And that is a pretty impressive running time.
With so many perks, there is also a drawback to this model. It costs more than usual. It costs more than $3000.
In short, Honda EU3000IS is the quietest generator due to its advanced Eco throttle inverter technology and has less than 50 dB noise level. Its extremely energy-efficient technology will serve you for more than 10 years.
- Quietest generator (49 dB at 25% load)
- Long-running time (up to 20 hours) on 3.4-gallon tank capacity
- Employing Eco throttle inverter technology (adjust power load to power demand)
- Energy-efficient gas generator
- It’s costly
- 131 lb. is a bit heavy for camping
Best Small and Quiet Generator for Camping: WEN 56203i
- Noise Levels: 51 dB
- Running Watts: 1,700 W
- Starting Watts: 2,000 W
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 1 gallon
- Maximum Running Time: 10.8 hours
- Weight: 39 lbs.
- Dimensions (LxWxH): â€Ž17.3×11.5×17.7 inches
In search of the best quiet and small generators for camping, WEN 562023i wins the game. It promises to offer high power with a low noise level in a compact portable construction. Itâ€™s also safe for electronic devices vulnerable to overloading, such as laptops, tablets, and cellphones. As it only weighs 39 lbs., it is pretty easy to take it anywhere for camping and RVing and can fulfill all basic power needs for camping.
Its 51 dB makes it as quiet as a window AC unit or average conversation noise.
However, it will not be a good option for camping if you have planned some powerful energy-taking activities that will require a more powerful version of a portable generator.
WEN 562023i is also incorporated with Eco-mode throttle to save gasoline and adjust power demand with power output. Its 1-gallon fuel tank capacity helps offer five hours of power at half load.
The incorporated low-oil and low fuel settings will switch the generator to shut-off mode for safety, and indicator lights will keep you updated regarding main parameters. You can also link two WEN generators via a separate connection kit and use the combined wattage of both generators. It comes with two 120V receptacles and two 5V USB ports.
As its tank capacity is low, you need to change the oil regularly every 25 hours. If you need to let it sit for some time, you must remove the gasoline.
A drawback of this generator is it automatically closes the fuel line when you shut it off. This lets the fuel trapped in the carburetor if there is any circulating fuel left.
- CARB and EPA III compliant
- Five-hour running time at half load
- It runs at only 51 dB
- Eco-mode to adjust fuel requirement
- Parallel connection available
- Two-year warranty
- Low fuel tank capacity requires regular refueling
- Fuel draining problem
Best Quiet Gas Generator: Generac 7127 iQ3500
- Noise Levels: 44 dB
- Running Watts: 3,000 W
- Starting Watts: 3,500 W
- Tank Capacity: 2.6 gallons
- Max. Run Time: 14.1 hours
- Dimensions (LxWxH): â€Ž 23.7 x 18 x 21.7 inches
- Weight: 109.1 lbs.
Generac is amongst the top-notch generators producing brands, and this Generac 7127 iQ3500 portable inverter generator lives up to the company’s name.
It’s an ideal option for those who love traveling from place to place. However, this doesn’t mean you canâ€™t use it for domestic activities. It is perfect for home, job, camping, and outdoor events. Its silent motor works at 44 dB, and hardly anyone will notice a generator running nearby.
Its digital smart LCD is easy to use and understand and displays engine hour meter, low-oil indicator, fuel level, generator run time, and wattage output. To start it off, you must push the red button or pull the cord. Its electric start helps you choose between 2 engine speeds as per your requirements for fuel consumption and noise.
Its POWERRUSH advanced technology provides 50% more starting power to run more devices immediately after starting.
2.6-gallon fuel tank capacity makes it possible to run for an extended period without needing to refuel. Its digital screen will also show the remaining fuel level and notify you when it is low.
With 3500W starting watts, 3000W running watts, and 109 lbs. weight, its price is very small for its performance and usefulness.
- Two engine speeds
- LCD Screen
- Quiet (44 dB)
- POWERRUSH advanced technology provides 50% more starting power
- 2.6-gallon fuel tank capacity
- Quite heavy
Quiet and Whole House Generator: DuroMax XP13000EH
- Noise Levels: 74 dB
- Running Watts: 10,500 W
- Starting Watts: 13,000 W
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 8.3 gallons
- Running Time: 16 hours
- Weight: 234 lbsMax.
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 30x29x26 inches
DuroMax XP13000EH is a complete powerhouse to light up a whole big house in hours of power outages. It has starting wattage of 13,000W and a running wattage of 10,500W, which is enough to run an entire set of electric appliances in a big house. So, you are free to run even a 5-ton air conditioner with it.
If we look at its noise level, 74dBs at 25% load is quite noisy. It is very noisy if we compare it with smaller generators with below 5000W running wattage units.
However, if we look at its power delivery, there would be no generator out there that can light up a whole big house and yet have no noise. Keeping this in view, DuroMax XP13000EH is the quietest possible generator. Its watts per dB ratio (135W) also shows that it is amongst the most silent generators.
Another spec is its dual-fuel capacity. So, you can either use gasoline or liquid propane as per your preference. A big 8.3-gallon tank, when fueled with gasoline, will work up to 16 hours.
Considering its specifications, especially 13,000W, the $1500 price is very reasonable. It’s a budget-friendly generator with a somewhat quiet noise level based on its power output.
- High watt per dB ratio(135dB)
- 8.3-gallon dual fuel tank
- 16 hours of running time
- Can power maximum devices at your home
- 74 dB is quite low for a generator with 13,000 starting watts
- 74 dB is low for big power output but still not low for ears
- It is quite heavy and weighs around 234 lbs.
- Its size is quite big and requires some extra space
Quiet Portable Generator: Westinghouse WH2000iXLT
- Noise Levels: 52 dB at 25% load and 59dB at 50% load
- Running Watts: 1800 W
- Starting Watts: 2200 W
- Tank Capacity: 1.3 gallons
- Max. Run Time: 22 hours at 25% load and 13 hours at 50% load
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 20.3 x 12.5 x 17.8 inches
- Weight: 43 lbs
Westinghouse WH2000iXLT is a quiet portable generator that has Westinghouse 4 stroke 79cc OHV engine. It has a wattage of 2000W provided by most portable generators of similar size.
It is also a fuel-efficient generator. With its economic mode, it keeps the consumption level at a minimum.
Additionally, its control panel has user-friendly color-coded touchpoints that make its operation super easy even if you use it for the first time.
Its automatic low oil shutdown sensor stops the generator to prevent damage. With less than 3% total harmonic distortion (THD), you can also use it for sensitive electronics.
Its running time is 22 hours at 25% load and 13 hours at 50% load. Its efficient energy can power up your camping site and all appliances used at the camping site.
- Quiet operation at 52dB
- Easy to carry 43 lbs. weight
- 15 hours running time at 50% load
- The economy mode makes it energy efficient
- Automatic low oil shutdown mechanism
- 2-year warranty
- No fuel gauge
Can You Get a Completely Quiet Generator?
You cannot get a completely quiet generator. Every generator will produce some noise, but the level of noise a generator produces decides whether it can be considered quiet or not.
Furthermore, a quiet sound for one person might not be quiet for another. So, a generator listed quiet, will not be the same for everyone.
How To Lower a Generatorâ€™s Noise?
If you have an inverter generator, it will already have a lower noise level than a standard generator, but if you still consider it loud, you can try some methods.
You can insulate a generator, keep the generator away from where you will be staying, or cover it with a permanent or semi-permanent fixture.
Are Portable Generators Suitable For Indoor Use?
No, it is not recommended to use portable generators indoors.
Although portable/inverter generators produce clean energy, it doesn’t mean they can be used indoors. They are poisonous and can affect the human lungs.
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Although no such generator is truly silent, modern-day technology has made it possible to achieve a very low noise level for generators delivering huge power.
We hope you find this review helpful in choosing the best quietest generator on the market. We have listed quiet generators for every need, whether you need a quiet generator for domestic use, job site, or camping. These generators are efficient enough to power your sensitive electronic devices or large appliances.
So, make your choice today and enjoy the noise-free power output.