The best quiet portable generators run on a lower decibel level than an average conversation. They use engines with fewer vibration sounds, have internal soundproofing insulation, and many other features.
In this guide, we are focusing on generators in the 2000W and 3000W range. They deliver enough power to keep your essential appliances running during blackouts or charge your equipment in camping adventures. Besides, they carry the best features to run quietly. So rest assured, we will cover everything in this post.
Best & Quietest Generators
Fuel Capacity: 1.0 gal
Run Time @ 25% Load:
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Weight: 44 lbs
Run Time @ 25% Load:
Fuel Capacity: 1.06 gal
Noise Level @ 25% Load:
Weight: 39 lbs
Fuel Capacity: 1.1 gal
Run Time @ 25% Load:
Noise Level @ 25% Load:
Weight: 39.5 lbs
Fuel Capacity: 2.6 gal
Run Time @ 25% Load:
Noise Level @ 25% Load:
Weight: 109 lbs
Fuel Capacity: 1.14 gal
Run Time @ 25% Load:
Noise Level @ 25% Load:
Weight: 46 lbs
Briggs & Stratton P2400
Fuel Capacity: 1.0 gal
Run Time @ 25% Load:
Noise Level @ 25% Load:
Weight: 50 lbs
1. Honda EU2200i: Is This the Best Quiet Generator?
The Honda EU2200i is a silent powerhouse that provides reliable, high-performance action across the board. It can efficiently run your laptop, microwave, and refrigerator during an outage. It’s also capable of powering the average 13,500 BTU air conditioner.
This quiet generator employs a 121cc Honda engine that produces up to 2200 watts of running power. It delivers clean and safe energy for sensitive electronics and appliances. In addition to the Eco-Throttle system, that also ensures efficient fuel consumption.
Besides, it manages to keep the noise level during operation to a minimum. Experts claim this is possibly the quietest portable generator ever made, even quieter than the Honda EU2200i. It is suitable for home, work, camping, and any other activity that requires quiet power.
With a straightforward design, it’s user-friendly with an easy access door for oil changes. Also, it’s backed by a three-year warranty for residential and commercial uses.
You may want to read our dedicated article about Honda EU2200i
- Depending on the electrical load, it yields a noise level of only 50 to 57 decibels.
- A large fuel tank capacity of 3.4 gallons delivers between 7 to 20 hours of running time.
- It has a key-switch electric start and also has a pull rope start.
- A CO-Minder safety feature automatically shuts the generator down if high levels of carbon monoxide are detected.
- It’s parallel capable, allowing you to connect it to another unit to increase the power output.
- It weighs slightly over 130 pounds, with no wheels. Moving it around is a challenge. However, there’s a wheel kit that you can purchase separately.
- At this price point, it should have an hour-meter. It only has a fuel gauge.
2. WEN 56235i
The WEN 56235i is an ultralight, ultra-quiet power source and probably the best quiet generator money can get. It has a 79cc four-stroke engine that delivers a starting wattage of 2350W and running wattage of 1900W.
It produces clean and reliable power that is safe to use with sensitive electronic equipment such as smartphones, televisions, computers, and mobile devices. The design is perfect for someone on the move that values mobility and convenience.
The output delivery is optimized by the eco-mode switch that automatically adjusts the engine speed to match the electrical requirements. As a result, the inverter generator consumes less gasoline and runs for longer. This makes it fuel-efficient with a long-running time, perfect for overnight power purposes.
It also has an improved oil sprout that drains the excess oil efficiently. Additionally, it’s EPA III and CARB compliant, meaning fewer carbon emissions and usability across all 50 states.
- Super quiet, it produces only 51 decibels on a quarter load.
- It weighs only 39 pounds, making it easy to grab and carry around.
- It uses the 1-gallon fuel tank capacity to provide up to 10.5 hours of runtime.
- Fuel shut-off feature for limited maintenance and prolonged longevity. It allows the engine to use up the remaining fuel before automatically shutting down.
- Using the parallel connection kit (purchased separately), you can pair it with another unit to share wattage. The parallel kit is capable of handling up to 50 amps.
- It lacks a fuel gauge and hour-meter to help monitor the generator usage.
- The oil change intervals on this inverter generator are every 25 hours, which some users may find limiting.
3. Champion Power Equipment 100692
The Champion 100692 is among the best and quietest generators out there. It features a reliable 79cc 4-stroke variable speed engine that delivers 2000 starting watts and 1700 running watts.
It’s one of the finest small quiet generators that is as versatile as compact. In addition, it’s an exceptionally quiet generator to run, perfect for camping and tailgating weekends. It also has an economy mode switch that saves fuel, provides low noise power, and extends the engine’s longevity.
The power output is not enough to power an air conditioner. But it is enough to power various electronic equipment and appliances on a camping trip. It generates quiet and clean power for charging smartphones, tablets, laptops, and more.
It comes in a user-friendly design with a recoil start, pulling with little effort and starting quickly. Moreover, it’s equipped with Cold Start technology for a smooth start in cold weather. There is also a dual fuel version available with the same features.
- It is rated at 53 decibels when using a quarter of the electrical load.
- At quarter load, this little power box can last up to 11.5 hours on a little over one gallon.
- It weighs just 39.5 pounds and has a built-in carrying handle.
- Parallel ready, which enables you to nearly double the power output.
- Fuel shut-off switch, a handy feature that allows the inverter generator to run dry before storage.
- It lacks a gas gauge.
- Surge capacity is low. As a result, this portable inverter generator may not be ideal for emergency home backup power due to the high wattage appliances you may have.
4. Generac iQ3500: Is this the Best Quiet Generator?
The Generac iQ3500 is a very quiet generator for its wattage class. It puts out 3500 surge watts and 3000 running watts. It utilizes a powerful 212cc OHV engine, giving you enough power to run a 15,000 BTU RV air conditioner.
We like this inverter generator for its chock-full of convenient features. The raw power is complemented by the fuel-efficient Power Rush technology mode that reduces fuel consumption. Together with the sound-dampening enclosed design, it also limits the decibel level significantly. These features combined make it an excellent generator for RV, camping, tailgating, and other quiet portable power needs.
This gas quiet generator has much to offer. It is very easy to use with one simple power dial to start, run, and stop. It’s RV ready, it has multiple power outlets like dual household receptacles, dual USB ports, and one 30 amp twist lock outlet. Additionally, it’s supported by a 3-year limited warranty.
- A digital LCD display allows you to monitor the wattage output, gas level, remaining runtime and adjust the electrical output accordingly.
- The 2.6-gallon gas tank capacity yields up to 14 hours of runtime on quarter load and 9 hours on half load.
- It works with an electric start and has a recoil starter as a backup.
- Various power connections, including household outlets, an RV outlet, and a USB port.
- It has a parallel function that enables it to be connected with another unit to increase the electrical output.
- The dry weight is around 109 pounds. It’s heavy and does not come with wheels. However, it has two handles that make it easier to transport.
- Changing the oil on this unit requires you to remove the back cover completely. Easy but not very practical.
5. Westinghouse iGen2200
The Westinghouse iGen2200 features a three-horsepower engine with a starting output of 2200 watts and a running output of 1800 watts. Equipped with a fuel efficiency mode switch enables it to adjust the engine speed based on the required load. This means less noise, less fuel consumption, and longer runtime.
It offers a solid design and various safety features compared to other models. It utilizes asymmetrical fans, dual quiet mufflers, and a double-insulated enclosure. These features effectively keep the engine cool, increase its durability, provide the necessary power, and also limit the noise level during operation.
This fuel-efficient generator creates clean power that doesn’t suffer from electrical instability. It is easy to use with overload prevention and covered outlets.
Moreover, it’s EPA, CSA, and CARB compliant with low emissions. Excellent customer support is also one of this generator’s best features. With nationwide customer service and a 3-year limited warranty.
- Cost-effective and easy to use.
- Extremely stingy fuel consumption with a full tank of just 1.2 gallons runs up to 12 hours at quarter load.
- Very quiet operation. At a distance of 23 feet, it is rated at 52 decibels.
- It’s easy to carry around at only 46 pounds.
- Parallel capable with most iGen portable generator series using a separate accessory.
- No gas gauge or hour-meter.
- Changing the engine oil without making a mess is somewhat challenging.
6. Briggs & Stratton P2400
The Briggs and Stratton P2400 is the newest and one of the quietest models in the PowerSmart series. It offers 2400 starting watts and 1800 running watts. It produces clean and safe energy for powering various portable electronic devices.
What we like about this generator are the extended runtime and fuel efficiency. It features an auto-idle control switch which is a fuel consumption management system. This allows it to cut back on the amount of gas it burns while also providing quiet power generation.
It’s also managed by Quiet Power technology that further reduces the noise rating. At a distance of 23 feet, the sound measures 58 decibels. So while it’s not the quietest generator on our list, it’s still relatively noiseless.
That said, we find a thick protective shell when we open the side panel. It dispels heat efficiently while protecting the internal components. The control panel is also convenient with two 120V 20A household outlets and two 5V USB ports.
You may also be interested in checking the Briggs & Stratton P2200
- It runs for 8 hours at a quarter load on a full tank of just one gallon.
- It weighs 50 pounds and has a practical twin-handle design that allows one or two people to carry it conveniently.
- CO-Guard detection feature automatically shuts down the generator when unsafe levels of carbon monoxide accumulate.
- The automatic low oil shutdown turns the inverter generator off if the oil level is too low.
- It allows you to boost the power capacity by linking it with another unit using the optional connector kit.
- It may require more than just three pulls to start.
- There is no hour-meter and fuel-meter. It leaves you guessing the remaining runtime and gas left in the tank.
7. Yamaha EF2000iSv2
The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is a compact, fuel-efficient, quiet inverter generator that is capable of running a wide range of appliances with a steady output. It delivers a starting wattage of 2000W and a running wattage of 1600W.
It comes packed with industry-defining features. It’s easy to start, has overload circuit breakers, a low-oil sensor, and a fuel meter. The Smart Throttle feature also varies the engine speed based on the required load. It helps improve fuel efficiency and reduce noise output.
It’s one of the most popular inverter generators that produce sine wave power which is safe to use with sensitive electronics. In addition, it has a compact design with a built-in suitcase-style handle.
In fact, Yamaha delivers the longest engine durability ratings released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). This quiet portable inverter generator meets all the standards at every turn. Plus, it’s supported by a three-year warranty.
Read our in-depth article on the Yamaha EF2000iSv2
- Whisper quiet, producing 51.5 decibels at quarter load and only 61 decibels at full capacity.
- It gives over 10 hours of runtime at quarter load.
- A parallel capability option allows you to get twice the power supply by connecting it to another unit.
- Weighing only 44 pounds, it’s lightweight and has a comfortable grip handle.
- Independent gasoline petcock lets you drain the carburetor of lingering fuel before storage. It helps prevent stale fuel problems.
- While being a bit on the expensive side compared to similarly specced models. Unfortunately, we find the gas tank knob is made of plastic, it’s flimsy and thin.
- No hour-meter to help keep track of the maintenance intervals.
8. Champion Power Equipment 200987
As a bonus, the Champion Power Equipment 200987 is for anyone looking to have more power capability and a low noise level. This quiet portable generator has 4500 starting watts and 3500 running watts and has everything included in the box to get you started.
It’s suitable for backup power to keep your household appliances running during power outages. It’s also perfect for camping trips, RV life, and outdoor portable power.
The economy mode manages the clean power supply for improved fuel efficiency, increased reliability, and stable power. The noise level is 61 decibels which is still relatively quiet for a generator that manages heavier loads.
Additionally, the control panel gives access to multiple power outlets. We also like that there are no tools required for opening the oil cover when draining or adding oil. It’s also EPA and CARB compliant. Comes with a three-year warranty and free lifetime technical support.
Read our in-depth article on the Champion 200987
- Three ways to start, a wireless remote start to run your generator from up to 80 feet away. Plus, push-button electric start and backup manual recoil.
- A gas tank of just 2.3 gallons provides over 14 hours of runtime at quarter load.
- A power-meter to keep track of the operating hours, voltage, frequency, and fuel level.
- It includes two household outlets, an RV outlet, a 12V DC outlet for battery charging with a dual USB adapter.
- Parallel capability option for more power demands.
- It weighs 101 pounds, which is heavy. For easy mobility, it has two back tires and a collapsible handle. It’s easy to roll around, but it’s a two-person job to lift it.
- The brightness of the IntelliGauge is limited. Particularly difficult to read in bright daylight.
What is the Quietest Generator?
Understanding the reasons behind quietly generating electricity will allow you to choose the best and quietest portable generator that best fits your needs.
Our best quiet portable generator selection includes some of the best ones. Besides, a large aftermarket exists in advanced noise reduction solutions to achieve the most quiet running generators.
How to Compare the Decibel Levels?
Noise is any undesired sound that is considered annoying, loud, or disruptive to hearing. The sound pressure level is expressed in decibels, dB, or dBA, which measures the intensity of a sound. The higher the dBA of a generator, the louder it is.
For comparison, 0 decibels is the quietest sound that a healthy human ear can hear. Calm breathing is 10 decibels; a whisper conversation is 30 decibels; a normal conversation is 60 decibels. While a vacuum cleaner is 80 decibels and a power saw is 100 decibels.
Over 140 decibels cause pain in the eardrums and might cause hearing damage. So the difference between 0 dB and 140 dB is far more than just numbers.
How to Measure the Sound Level of a Generator?
Sound measurement is a variable metric based on how distant you are from the source of the noise. The standard distance stated by the industry for all generators is 23 feet (7 meters) unless otherwise stated.
When testing portable generators, be sure to measure the noise level from the same distance. As the distance doubles, the sound intensity level will decrease by 6 dB. For example, 65 dBA at 23 feet away will be 59 dBA at 46 feet.
What are the Generator Noise Level Regulations?
There are no universal standards for the amount of permissible noise for generators. Rather, each application and environment in which you are using the generator is different. Therefore, make sure to check the acceptable noise limits in your city or county.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies the acceptable noise levels for different areas. For instance, indoor residential areas, schools, and hospitals are identified with levels of 45 dB. On the other hand, outdoor residential areas, playgrounds, and other outdoor areas where people spend varying amounts of time are identified with levels of 55 dB. Whereas the level of 70 dB is identified for all areas.
Occasional exposure to higher noise levels of 70 dB is moderated with a sufficient amount of moderately quiet time during a 24 hour period. Therefore, prevent any measurable hearing loss over a lifetime.
These guidelines aim to protect our well-being from the environmental noise that can interfere with our daily activities, including conversing, sleeping, working, or any other recreational activity.
Audio disturbance in national parks, RV parks, and camping sites is also important. Usually, each place has its own rules regarding the decibel levels of generators. According to the National Park Service (NPS), operating any motorized equipment or machinery (ex. generators) should not exceed 60 dBA when measured from a distance of 50 feet. If you are not close to your neighbors, then you might not have those restraints.
What is a Good Decibel Level for a Generator?
In general, portable quiet generators should have a decibel rating between 50 to 65 dB. This range is the utmost acceptable generator noise level. And if the only difference between two generators is only 3 decibels, don’t think of them lightly. Because, in reality, it will make a big difference. In fact, for every 10-decibel increase in your generator sound level, the noise is doubled. So a generator rated at 70 dB is roughly twice as loud as a generator rated at 60 dB.
Some manufacturers are famous for their super quiet generator engines with very low decibel levels. Such as the Honda EU2200i, which is rated at 57 dB when running flat out..
To get an absolute noiseless generator, make sure to check the fume-free, silent generator list of the best solar generators.
Standards of the Best Quiet Generators
A generator’s quiet technology depends on many factors. For example, the engine’s size, the quality of the muffler, and whether the motor has an enclosure. These are all major factors that would directly impact a generator’s loudness or quietness. Not to mention the quality of the engine. Cheap air-cooled generators are usually not quiet. Quiet generators for whole-house tend to have water-cooled engines. Here is what to consider before purchasing a quiet portable generator.
Sound Varies According to the Power Output
One of the main factors affecting a generator’s sound is the size of the engine. Sometimes you may find yourself compromising the power output in order to get a very quiet generator. However, considering the applications you will be powering, you can get a whisper-quiet generator within the suitable power range.
More power usually means higher decibel levels, as high as 110 decibels. Sometimes this is going to differ depending on the model of the portable generator. If a couple of inverter generators have the same power output but vary in the noise rating, this could lead to a better engine. All other things being equal a 10,000 watt unit will be noisier than say a 3,500 watt model.
However, more power will always result in a louder generator. For example, a 2000-watt generator will be less noisy than a 3000-watt generator. Likewise, the decibel level will also always change according to the load required at a time.
Significance of Inverter Technology
Inverter generators tend to be significantly quieter than regular generators. This is because the efficiency in which they produce electrical current allows them to have smaller engines, which accordingly reduces the noise levels.
Besides, the body casing of portable generators is another major contributor. Quiet inverter generators are constructed out of insulated, sound dampening materials that absorb the noise vibration produced by the generator. Thus, a portable inverter generator is a solid 10 to 20 decibels quieter than the average conventional generator.
Other silenced generators are available with an enclosed acoustic housing that dampens the sound produced. In this case, the noise is less than an open frame generator. However, inverter generators stand out as the best quiet generators on the market today. Other inverter generators’ attributes are their ability to produce stable power for sensitive electronics and good fuel efficiency.
To learn more about the significance of inverter technology, check our article that explains the difference between inverters and generators.
Throttle Control of Quiet Portable Generators
The smart throttle is one of the best features in the top-rated quietest generators. Conventional portable generators run at a constant RPM speed regardless of the load. This makes them not only louder but also less fuel-efficient. The engine’s ability to run at different output levels will remarkably reduce the operating volume. Most inverter generators utilize a throttling system, a fuel economy mode. Hence, they are super quiet and have better fuel efficiency.
With the fuel economy mode, the portable inverter generator automatically varies the engine speed to optimally run the required load. It makes sense that the generator is loudest when it’s running at full load. So, when the output level decreases, you get a generator with an engine that runs quieter.
Factors Impacting the Noise Level of Generators
Apart from the generator’s size, the engine’s noise depends on several factors. For instance, the air density around portable generators. In addition, the ambient surroundings can affect the sound rating produced by two identical generators. Furthermore, the exhaust significantly contributes to a generator’s overall noise level. Not to mention the cooling fans, which, apart from cooling the system, are also responsible for altering the quietness of a generator during operation. The sound of a cooling fan varies depending on the operating speed and the fan blade design.
However, the sound level of a quiet non-inverter generator is altered due to some other extra factors. Such as the alternator, which has another internal fan that adds to the total noise level. In addition, the current instability of the alternators produces some mechanical noises with changes in load. Also, the structure of these conventional generators gives more space for mechanical vibrations. Due to the friction of various parts and components of the generator, it creates extra mechanical noise.
How to Make Your Generator More Quiet?
Choosing the best portable generator is essential in many cases, because a noisy generator is hard to ignore. You want the best quiet generator within the available budget. First, however, it is essential to understand how noise can spread and how to control it. Below are some of the most effective ways to make your generator quieter:
- Extend the Distance: Increase the distance of the generator from your activity area. And invest in long extension cords (outdoor rated) and positioning the generator further away.
- Proper Positioning: Using the leveling rubber feet, stabilize your portable generator to the desired position. While doing this, ensure to point the generator’s exhaust away from your home, campsite, or your neighbors.
- Upgrade the Exhaust: A standard generator silencer should significantly affect the operating sound. Not to mention, long exhaust piping alone provides an additional level of noise reduction. You can also use a car or motorcycle muffler.
- Move the Exhaust Pipe Vertically: Adjusting the exhaust pipes to point vertically will allow the sound waves to be directed towards up rather than towards occupied areas.
- Build an Enclosure: Placing the generator in an enclosure will help absorb and deflect the noise. However, you don’t simply put it in an enclosed box. Instead, ensure the generator gets air to burn, enough airflow to stay cool, and can freely get rid of its exhaust.
- Insulate the Enclosure: If an enclosure alone doesn’t do the trick, then insulate it. For example, you can use rubber waffle pads, sound-absorbing foam, and dampers. Placing the generator on sound-absorbing materials or installing acoustic barriers can considerably dampen the noise.
If all the above steps didn’t reduce the noise level to a minimal level, then consider upgrading to one of the best quiet generators.
Today, manufacturers are taking significant steps towards the science of noise reduction of generators. They are controlled by the desire of the consumers to have a more quiet environment. With the growing demand, we tested and compared many quieter generators. In an attempt to find the most quiet generator out there.
With our guide, finding the best and quietest generator that best fits your needs should be an easy job. In addition to the aftermarket strategies towards having a generator that runs quietly.
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