The generator is one of humankind’s greatest invention. Most institutions such as hospitals/malls/homes and others have backup generators that kick into action when the power cuts out.
Campers (like my family and me) have portable generators that come in handy while out in the woods. From powering low wattage lights, keeping thing cool and fresh in the refrigerator to charging our accessories.
Generators both stationary and portable come in handy during emergencies and continue helping save lives when they power on to provide much-needed electricity. Generators are excellent and necessary; however, like anything else, they have the good and the bad.
Most generators are known to produce loud noises when powered on. The bigger the generator, the louder it is. Other than causing noise pollution, the sound produced by some generators can drive you stark raving mad!
Portable generators are suitable for outdoor activities such as camping, but, they can be quite annoying to you and your neighbours when they continue making noise all night long. After all, you wanted some peace and serenity that’s why you went camping.
Studies continue proving that noise that drives you nuts leads to ailments such as irritability, the risk of suffering from heart attacks and lack of sleep. You want to avoid such at all costs and one way by doing so is by getting a quiet generator.
Here comes the trickiest part: selecting a quiet generator that is between 47 to 76 decibels.
Before you rush to buy a generator below 76 decibels, remember that the amount of noise produced by a generator is dependent on its mechanism and the conditions you will be subjecting it to.
Don’t get confused now, for you’re in luck. I was in such a dilemma a while back and took it upon myself to find the best quiet generators worth my money. Below is a list of some of the best generators that I came across during my research.
Make sure to go through each one of them to discover which will suit your needs best. Before deciding on which to get, read through The Buyer’s Guide at the bottom of the page to refresh your generator knowledge and be more informed as you make your decision.
Generac 6866 iQ2000 Super Quiet 1600 Running Watts/2000 Starting Watts Gas Powered Inverter Generator – CARB Compliant
The 46.2 pounds iQ200 generator is not only quiet but portable. It’s compact and will fit perfectly well in your RV, camper, ATV, trunk, or your boat.
Whether you are going to a job site or for recreational activities, this lightweight generator should fit well with your other tools/equipment. The official site declares the iQ2000 an ideal quiet generator for the following events:
- Ice fishing
- DIY projects
- RV Travel
The generator produces 2000 starting watts or a maximum of 1600 running watts. It generates enough power to charge and power a collection of devices within the output range.
The generator comes with 3 mode types including; Economy, Standard, and Turbo. The economy mode makes it simpler to minimize the noises produced when powering low demanding loads.
Turbo mode makes it run on full power for equipment/devices requiring high power; the standard pattern is the middle ground that powers devices that are at that range.
For power, the iQ2000 comes with a start, run and stop functions fused into a single dial. Merely move the dial to point the function you wish to have the generator on.
The generator comes with a run-time display. It indicates the amount of run time left at a specific load, alerting you on the time you need to refuel.
It’s incorporated with a parallel operation mode and accessories that make it easier to connect to another iQ2000 to run identical appliances such as an air conditioner and a dishwasher.
It comes with automatic indicator lights that light up when the generator runs low on oil or fuel. The lights also alert you should it detect a possibility of overheating or overloading.
One user that owns this unit give it five stars for helping him and family through hurricane Irma. It powered the TV, a large refrigerator, 4 box fans, charged phones among other things.
It only consumed 7 gallons of fuel for the three full days he powered his home. The noise was minimal and negligible. However, another user gave it 2 stars for what he said that it loses power on eco mode.
A majority of the people who own the iQ2000 generators seem to love how it works both at home and the outdoors. I believe it’s worth a try. You can get one here.
WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator, CARB Compliant
The Wen 56200i is dubbed as one of the quietest generators. The silent generator pumps out clean energy at 2000 watts surge and 1600 watts without any voltage fluctuations.
It comes with a 4-stroke 79.7cc engine that emits only 51 decibels at 25% load capacity operation. It emits only 55 decibels when being used at 75% load capacity. Thanks to its silent operation, you can use this generator for hunting or camping.
The generator is fitted with a USB port alongside other outlets that you can use to charge/power up various devices. The 48-pound lightweight generator is portable and compact.
The WEN 56200i generator is gas-powered and comes with an eco-mode too. A single gallon powers upwards of 4 hours runtime at full capacity, it can also give you 6 hours when operating at 50% capacity.
The eco-mode makes the motor automatically adjust fuel consumption when you plug-in and plug-out devices, thus regulating fuel consumption.
For additional energy, the generator comes equipped with a WEN parallel connection kit to connect a similar generator to power multiple appliances. The unit comes with automatic shutdown and low oil indicator that kick into gear when the unit is low on fuel.
People love this unit thanks to the power panels installed. It comes with 5 volts USB port to power your laptop/phone — 3-prong 120V receptacles, and 12 volts DC ports.
The only complain I saw from a user is that some units leak oil into the generator which becomes a messy affair. But the WEN 56200i generator comes with overload protection that safeguards the electronics and the entire unit from getting damaged.
For more about this unit, check it out here.
Yamaha EF2000iSv2, 1600 Running Watts/2000 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Inverter
The gas-powered Yamaha EF2000iSv2 unit produces starting 2000 watts and continuous 1600 watts. It’s built to generate clean electricity through an inverter system that protects small appliances from getting damaged.
The 44 lbs unit is portable and compact and fits in the trunk of small cars as well as your camper/boat or RV. The unit is configured with a smart throttle load feature that allows the user to adjust engine speed to match the required output.
The Yamaha unit is custom fit with a super-quiet muffler, as well as noise-absorbing glass construction that minimizes the noise when the generator is operating at full capacity. The generator also comes with vibration-isolating feet.
The unit has a Twin Tech feature that makes it easy to emit enough power to run more substantial loads. The fuel tank holds 1 gallon and something on top. When operating at full load capacity, it will run for 3 ½ hours.
Most users give it a thumbs up for running well when they use it occasionally, and the more than 9 hours they get on one tank when using it at 50%-25%. However, for users that use it frequently, they say that it starts consuming a lot of oil!
You can read more feedback and see the unit here.
Westinghouse iGen2500 Portable Inverter Generator – 2200 Rated Watts & 2500 Peak Watts – Gas Powered – CARB Compliant
Dubbed one of the best selling inverter generators, the Westinghouse iGen2500 unit is affordable, compact, lightweight, well-made and reliable. The portable noiseless generator works perfectly for the home as a backup and also for the outdoors.
It emits 2500 peak watts and 2200 running watts, positioning it as one of, if not the best in its class. It can power up induction motors and a variety of electrical devices. Users use this unit for powering AC units and refrigerators in their RVs or at home.
The iGen2500 unit produces clean inverter supplied electricity that makes managing power usage an easy task. It comes with an easy to use control panel that has 2 USB outlets and 2 standard 120V outlets.
The unit is configured with an LED display that lights up to show you the fuel level left in the tank and the current percentage load. Another digital display shows the running hours and output voltage making you aware of the time you need to service the unit.
One user states that she used it for four straight weeks for backing up her home after hurricane Maria knocked off the power grid.
Running it for 12 hrs straight every day, she used the unit to power 2 TVs, a refrigerator, 2 big fans, 8-16 watt lamps, 2 weekly laundry loads and charging phones and laptops. The quiet generator is fuel-efficient with 1-gallon usage for 12 hrs when on eco-mode.
Another user had the unit’s cord breakdown, and the replacement sent from the manufacturer didn’t do any good. Other than this mishap, most users love their iGen2500 generator units. Check out more info here.
Champion 3100-Watt RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Wireless Remote Start
The Champion 75537i generator is loved for its versatility and convenience. The portable unit is quiet making it perfect for tailgating and camping activities. The unit is also ideal for home backup.
It comes with a wireless key fob that you can use to start/stop it from 80 feet away. The unit produces 2800 running watts and starting 3100 watts through the reliable 171cc single-cylinder OHV engine. It’s enough to power essential during a power outage.
Champion 75537i comes with eco-mode which switches automatically to idle to save fuel. It comes with in-built carry handles for easy moving from one point to the next. The fully assembled generator comes with a dual-port USB adapter and a smart charger.
The unit comes with a big 1.6-gallon tank and pushes to reset circuit breakers. It’s quiet during startup and when in use. It runs reliably and comes with a lot of options synonymous with more expensive generators.
It comes with alligator clips and a 12V car adapter, and a 12V cigarette lighter adapter that charges car batteries with ease. The only complaint customers have are the wheels set in too deep, and one has to get a dolly to move it around. You can find the unit here.
Yamaha EF2000iSCH, 1600 Running Watts/2000 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Inverter
The EF200iS Yamaha generator produces 1600 running watts. It emits enough power to keep gadgets and appliances running through emergencies, even if you’re outdoors.
The unit produces 2000 starting watts; it comes in a compact and easy to carry/store size. The unit has been kitted with 13.3/16.7 amps that come alive when you hit 120V. The gas-powered generator is also one of the quietest portable power units.
The generator is also kitted with a super quiet muffler that keeps it silent emitting 51 decibels. It comes with sparks arrestors as well. A smart throttle allows the unit to run at varying speed, regulates noise production and helps in fuel savings.
The unit comes with an OHV engine that promotes efficient heat dissipation, while the in-built inverter helps the EF200iS deliver reliable, safe power. There are AC/DC outlets making it a secure household backup generator.
Most users love this generator because they can switch off the fuel line and leave the carb to try and it will not clog the injectors.
The only downside users put forth was the issue with the manual choke. It’s a bit tiring to use since you have to ensure that you set up all the switches in the correct position. You can see more features here.
Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000 PowerSmart Series Portable 3000-Watt Inverter Generator
The compact P3000 generator is 26” high and 14” wide. The hard plastic exterior is built to last. The generator comes with a set of two 8” wheels allowing for ease of movement. Weighs 84 lbs without fuel, you can carry it practically anywhere.
The kind of oil you use is determined by the temperatures you will be using your generator in. The unit produces a surge power of 3000 watts and also 2600 watts running power.
The unit runs devices and appliances on RVs, can be used as a household backup and small business to keep machines powered when there is a power surge. The unit can be attached parallel to another generator unit to up the power supply.
The 1.5-gallon fuel tank allows the unit to run for 10 hrs at 25% capacity. When it comes to noise levels, the P3000 unit is quiet emitting only 58 decibels while running on 25% capacity load. The auto-idle feature lowers the engine speed thus matching the load.
The unit comes with an LCD screen that displays the load amount, maintenance warnings and the number of hours the generator has been running — the engine switch powers on both the engines and the fuel valve.
The unit has 5 outlets comprised of; 120V, 30 amp twist-lock receptacle, USB port, 120V, 20 amp duplex, and a 12V DC receptacle.
Most users love the unit for its big fuel tank and that it’s quiet, and it comes with a collapsible carrier. Some users say after two cranks, their units started leaking fuel. Find more info here.
After a few weeks of thorough online research, visiting official sites, forums and blogs to know what kind of experience people were having with different quiet generators, I came up with this list.
I believe these to be the 7 best quiet generators worth your money. But before committing yourself to one, kindly go through the buyer’s guide below to answer some of the needs you might want to be addressed by your purchase…
Understanding Noise Levels
The whole point of getting a modern, portable generator is to find one that is quite enough. A unit that is barely heard when powered on. In this sense, it’s essential that you understand the noise levels.
Decibels is the measurement unit used to gauge noise levels. The levels of noise vary according to the size of the generator and the manufacturer; the most common generator noise levels range between 50-80 decibels (dBA).
The amount of noise produced by generators compared to other noise levels generated by everyday things or activities sounds like:
- 30 dBA- the same noise level as a quiet bedroom at night time
- 60 dBA- similar noise level produced by moderate rainfall
- 70 dBA- a level of noise generated by a powered on a hairdryer
- 75 dBA- similar noise level with roof pro 12,000
- 80 dBA- same noise level as a police whistle
What are the decibel sounds of quiet generators?
To get an almost accurate dBA level measurements, we should cluster the quiet generators into the following categories; low, mid, and high-range. Each class comes with different running watts capacity.
Low-range portable generator with 3000 running watts produce 50-70 dBA
Mid-range quiet generators with 3000 and 7000 running watts produce 20-85 dBA
High- range generators with 7000 + running watts produce 80 -110 dBA
What is the acceptable quietness of a generator?
There are a plethora of portable, quiet generators you can choose from, getting one that generates power as quietly as possible is the key. The most acceptable hum/buzzing sound from a muffled generator is 57 dBA when it’s around 10 ft-23 ft away.
What makes the noise?
The internal combustion engine is the most prominent noise producer in generators. However, more components produce noise. Most generators are fixed with a short but deafening exhaust system.
They also contain minimal damping attached to their frames which only brings down the vibration a notch. However, the vibrations remain and add to the noise levels produced.
How to make your generator quieter
There are many ways to lessen the noise coming from your generator; I will stick to three, easy and quick fixes;
You can get a rubber mat/legs that you place the generator on while in use. The mat absorbs a majority of the vibrations thus making the unit quieter.
You can either buy a generator soundproofing box or make one if you are handy and have the time. However, this will make it onerous to transport and will involve a lot of taking it out or putting it in, if you travel with the generator a lot.
Finally; you can get long extension cables to run to your home/RV and place the generator several hundred feet away.
Distance will help reduce noise. Just make sure you don’t place it closer to other people or animals that might be irritated by the noise.
What are the characteristics of a super-quiet generator?
- It comes with smart throttle control to reduce the noise
- The noise produced varies according to the power output
- The size of the engine matters, the smaller it is, the lesser the sound produced
Conventional vs. Inverter Generators
Conventional: They are the traditional mechanical generators manufactured to produce AC power. They’re much more affordable than inverter generators; however, they are noisier and run on two speeds only (On/OFF).
They extend run times, but run on a constant 3,600 RPMS, regardless of the little amount of power needed. They consume a lot of fuel and oil to keep them running.
Inverter: Also known as i-generators, they generate DC power first and later convert the same to AC. The mechanism (DC/AC) conversion generates on-demand electricity.
The unit used to house the electric power components is much smaller, lighter thus propelling a quieter and more efficient operation.
Although they fetch 3-5 times more than traditional generators, inverters have surge protecting GCFIs that ensure the electricity produced is stable.
Fuel efficiency/Run time
A majority of portable generators run on gasoline. Inverter generators have an eco mode that saves fuel consumption. A tank of fuel that is between 1-2 gallons can run a generator between 8-10 hours depending on the load amount.
Quality of power produced
Inverters produce clean energy, they also come with a variable load feature that controls the engine speed to match up the electric load.
A full engine speed powers up a full load, half-motor speed generates 50% demand load, while a slightly above idle speed makes 10% load speed.
Maximum power output
The maximum power output is derived from the amount of power produced by a generator running for 12-24 hrs non-stop. For most portable generators, the rated power generated is usually 90% at the maximum.
What is the best price?
The type of generator you opt to purchase determines the price you will pay. Small, portable generators start from $300 going upwards.
Portable, inverter generators fetch a bit more and start from $800- $1000s depending on the size, quality, build and manufacturer.
Choosing a generator size
Small portable 2000 watts to 4000 watts: this kind of a generator produces enough power to run a single electric stove element, power a few light bulbs and a 650 watts to 1000 watts microwave.
The unit can also power up a 500 watts deep freezer, thus making it an ideal travel/camping equipment.
Mid-sized portable and small stationary 5000 watts to 8500 watts: the generator between the wattage points can power a plethora of appliances that run on conventional electricity.
The electric power produced is enough for 120V load upwards to 50 amps. Your heat and lighting will be on throughout, and your refrigerator will continue freezing and cooling your food.
Large portable 10,000 watts: the amount of power produced will efficiently run large appliances.
The generator is common on job sites as it powers a wide variety of tools. Recently, most food trucks and RVs have started using such generators to keep electricity flowing throughout and powering all their kitchen appliances and accessories.
Large stationary 10,000 watts to 15,000 watts: the power produced is enough to run a semi-busy fast food restaurant. It can power multiple fryers, sizeable coffee makers, toaster, hot plates, etc.
The power is enough to run a small bank that relies on technology and enough power to keep your home appliances and electronic gadgets (all of them) powered for weeks.
There you have it, my broken down a list of 7 best quiet generators worth your money. I believe now you’re more enlightened and will make a better decision before purchasing a portable generator.
I like all, but I settled for one to replace the old Honda unit that has been serving me and mine well on our annual and semi-annual camping trips. Care to have a guess which one?