Top 10 Quiet Portable Generators | November 2018

So you are one of those people looking for a quiet generator for camping, RV, emergency home use or perhaps an outdoor event.

There are plenty of models available for sale but… which one is the quietest portable generator on the market?

In the following buying guide we explain everything you need to know before buying a whisper quiet generator. We also introduce some of the quietest models and briefly review each of them.

The following comparison chart lists what we have found to be the top 10 quiet generators currently being on sale in America:

Generator Operational Noise Level (dB) Wattage Price Our Review
WEN 56200i quiet generator WEN 56200i 51 1600 Check the Current Price Click to Read
Powerstroke PS902500D quiet portable generator Smarter Tools STAP-2000iQ 51 1600 Check the Current Price Click to Read
Yamaha 2000w quietest portable generator Yamaha EF2000iS 51.5 2000 Check the Current Price Click to Read
Westinghouse WH2000iXLT quiet portable generator Westinghouse WH2000iXLT 52 1800 Check the Current Price Click to Read
Yamaha EF2400iSHC quiet generator Yamaha EF2400iSHC 53 2000 Check the Current Price Click to Read
Champion 75531i silent generator Champion 7553i 58 2800 Check the Current Price Click to Read
Honda EU2000i quiet generator Honda EU2000i 59 2000 Check the Current Price Click to Read
WEN 56180 quiet generator WEN 56180 63 1500 Check the Current Price Click to Read
Generac 6866 iQ2000 quiet generator Generac 6866 iQ2000 68 1600 Check the Current Price Click to Read
Westinghouse WH7500 generator Westinghouse WGen7500 71 7500 Check the Current Price Click to Read

Why Should You Buy a Quiet Generator?

One of the major nuisances associated with generators is obviously the noise they make. However there are other factors that you might find important too such as:

  • portability of the unit
  • environmental friendliness
  • fuel efficiency
  • cost per watt produced of the unit

noise regulations

Mind the noise regulations

The next reason is that your HOA or city may have an ordinance for the noise limit that a piece of equipment or anything can emit on your property. As a general rule the limit is 75 decibels. Anything above that level may get you a warning or a fine. Prolonged noise at a level higher than 75 decibels can also be a major nuisance for you and everyone around.

If you are not in close proximity to your neighbors, then you might not have those restraints. It may be simply about keeping your home comfortable so that you can rest at night. However if you are in need of a power supply that will run at night, a noisy generator can make sleeping very difficult. If you chose a silent device in the range of 50 decibels, then depending on its location, you may avoid having listening to its constant noise.

Going camping? Get a really quiet model and enjoy the great outdoors

Camping is another reason to get a small quiet generator. It can provide the anonymity and the peace and tranquility you desire so much when in the wild. Nothing takes the fun out a camping trip more than having to yell to be heard. Running a loud generator in the middle of a nice forest camp is also just plain rude, isn’t it?

Save yourself a trouble (and a few $) and get a fuel efficient model

Another factor is the fuel efficiency. If a generator consumes a lot of fuel, you may want to consider another unit. Otherwise you will waste a lot of money and energy packing additional gas.


How To Find The Right Model For Your Needs?

Prior to purchasing a quiet portable generator, think about what kind of setting you are going to use it for. This will also determine how silent a generator really has to be. In some cases you might realize that you can get a slightly louder model but get much more wattage power. In other circumstances you will have to accept less wattage in exchange for lower noise levels.

Example: a person who is looking for an inverter generator to power a large sized outdoor stall will probably tolerate higher noise levels in exchange for more disposable power available.

On the other hand a busker performing on their electric guitar will clearly steer towards the smaller quieter models which won’t hinder his performance with their noise. In such case even purchasing a solar generator can be a viable option.

Conversely, higher decibel levels won’t be such a major concern in the busy construction site environment. But then the exact same generators can prove a real nuisance for small home owners or when used during a camping trip.

Where are you going to use your generator?

Generators serve a lot of various purposes. We can categorize them according to application or utilization. Companies use words like towable, standby, RV, PTO and recreational to explain different classes of generators.

  • Towable – These powerful generators are usually utilized for events that are held outdoors where a lot of electricity is needed. These include construction sites, concert venues and carnivals. These generators often run on diesel fuel and are installed on a trailer that is capable of towing.
  • Standby – created to supply reserve power for houses in times when your regular electric power resource is not working.
  • RV – plenty of silent generators are especially designed to operate RV electrical devices and the equipment you use in an RV.
  • PTOPower Take Off (PTO) generators work on farms where the tractor is the main resource for the device’s drive. The engine on the tractor turns a rod that is linked to a PTO generator to produce electricity.
  • Recreational – used by those that are involved in recreation activities, campers, tailgaters, and RVers too. You will find many of them relatively easy to carry around and small. However, the bigger and bulkier types also exist. These can operate more energy consuming devices such as the air conditioner on a RV alongside other appliances at the same time.
silent generator for camping

Image source: yamahamotorsports.com

Power vs Noise Level – What Is Your Priority?

The next thing you need to do is determine wattage needs. Decide how much electricity you need to operate the items that are necessary. You can use a simple calculator such as the one here. You will also need to purchase a transfer switch to power the circuits in your house.

Next you need to make a decision on whether you want it to be portable or standby. Your budget, power needs and convenience will all play a big role in choosing the generator that will meet your needs. Design and easiness of use – is it sturdy and reliable? Other things to consider may include how simple is it to operate and maintain the generator.

The decibel scale 101

One of the best questions to ask is how much noise does it make? Noise volume is communicated in decibels (db). The decibel is the unit used to measure the intensity of a sound. Zero db are the quietest sound that a healthy human ear can hear. Everything from there increases in three decibels, which represents a doubling of acoustic power or sound intensity. The ear has the extraordinary capability to manage a vast scope of sound levels. A logarithmic scale is used to communicate levels of sound in a meaningful way that is more convenient. We call it the decibel scale.

The comparative loudness that is observed is a biased psychological occurrence that cannot be objectively gauged. Most of us identify one sound to be twice as noisy as another one when they are only about ten decibels apart. For example, a 60db AC will sound twice as loud as a 50 db refrigerator. However, the 10 db difference signifies a tenfold increase in the intensity.

A 70db dishwasher will sound about four times as noisy as the 50 db refrigerator. However in terms of audio intensity, the noise it creates is one hundred times as forceful! Also, the actual level of the noise of the generators can be different from the values specified by the manufacturers, depending on the load.

Any noise that is above 85db can lead to a loss of hearing. Being exposed to eight hours of sound at ninety decibels can damage your ears. Any exposure to noises at are above 140 db will cause immediate damage and physical pain.

Other considerations

Additional considerations include services, installation, design features and price.

  • Does the generator come with a maintenance bundle or a warranty?
  • Does it include a funnel, wheels, oil and a power cord?
  • What will be the cost to have a professional conduct the installation?

You will also have to set your own budget. In any case you will have to prepare at least a few hundred dollars for a good quality model. This is also another point at which you should calculate again how much wattage you really need. Usually the more you need, the higher the price tag.


The Top 10 Quiet Generators – Our Selection

1. WEN 56200i 2000 Watt Quiet Inverter Generator

WEN 56200i operates very quietly and is similar to an everydayWEN 56200i Inverter Quiet Generator conversation. It makes clean energy that is free of voltage drops and spikes without creating all of the noise of a normal generator.

This unit generates 1600 rated watts of power and 2000 surge watts. Our 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV engine functions at a very quiet fifty-one decibels at a quarter load. This is quieter than an air conditioner for a window or a normal conversation. This regulates its intrusiveness while restoring back up power, tailgating, camping or hunting.

Invented to emulate a pure sine wave, this generator confines total harmonic distortion to below 0.3 percent at no load and below 1.2 percent at full load. This makes it safe to operate vulnerable electronics, tablets, monitors, cell phones, and laptops. The design makes the unit portable while the efficient one-gallon tank delivers over six hours of run time at a half-load.

This comes equipped with one five-volt USB port, one 12-volt DC receptacle and two three-prong 120V receptacles. This eco-mode throttle permits the generator’s motor to adjust automatically to the fuel depletion as articles are unplugged and plugged into the panel. This prevents the unnecessary usage of gasoline. This WEN product comes with a 2-year warranty that is backed by a nationwide network of expert service specialists and a friendly consumer helpline.

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2. Smarter Tools STAP-2000iQ

Smarter Tools STAP-2000iQ is a very quiet machineSmarter Tools Stap 2000iq Portable Inverter equipped with a Yamaha MZ80 engine. It has the best compliance ratings for CARB and the EPA. Sinewave technology makes this generator appropriate for running sensitive electronic devices such as a laptop computer.

It features an extra quiet muffler with a USFS approved spark arrestor that is on fifty-one decibels and it eradicates stray sparks. It can operate in conjunction with any other AP-2000iQ for 3000 sustained watts.

The Yamaha powered Smarter Tools AP-2000iQ is easy to use and lightweight. It has a lot of great features such as a self venting gas cap, LED indicator lights, easy access oil fill door, USB charging outlet and a fuel gauge. The AP-2000iQ is the perfect source of power for outdoors. Some extra features include a fuel petcock and a twelve-volt charging outlet.

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3. Yamaha EF2000iS

The Yamaha EF2000iS Gas-Powered Portable InverterYamaha EF2000iS distributes the most electrical output with no sacrifice in portability. It operates at 1600 watt rated AC output with 2000-watt maximum AC output. The noise level is only 51.5 decibels at one-quarter load.

This is one of the silent generators that operates utilizing an inverter system. It can operate for up to 10.5 hours with no refuelling. It is a very handy model that is easy to transport and easy to store.

The EF2000iS is fuel-efficient and dispels heat efficiently, allowing for optimum fuel consumption. One of its highlights is a dual coil alternator stator that reduces the speed of the engine and cuts back on fuel consumption.

It has a central, convenient control panel that permits the user to access all of the  highlights at the push of a button. It is also very easy and quick to start because of auto decompression system that makes start up easy.

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4. Westinghouse WH2000iXLT

Westinghouse WH2000iXLT offers a WestinghouseWestinghouse WH2000ixlt Whisper Silent Generator 4 stroke 79cc OHV engine. It has an economy mode and a reset for AC overload. The generator has touch points for the user that are color coded and it also has an automatic shutdown that occurs when the oil is low.

You can use it with sensitive electronics because it has less than three percent total harmonic distortion or THD. The quiet generator has run time with a 25% load of 22 hours and a run time with a 50% load of 13 hours.

This model comes with a 2 year warranty. This is one of the the quietest portable generators on the market. It is easy to carry and offers efficient, clean power for all of your recreational needs.

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5. Yamaha EF2400ISHC

Yamaha EF2400iSHC has a heightened motorYamaha EF2400ishc starting ability and an enhanced air conditioner starting capability. This generator offers power that regulates the speed of the engine to exactly match the load and provides power that is cleaner than commercial power.

It automatically prevents low oil engine damage, thereby preventing expensive repairs and reducing down time. This unit offers easy portability, quiet operation, increase reliability, and improved efficiency. It will operate most 13,500 BTU convection/microwave ovens, RV air conditioners and the largest blow dryer.

Yamaha generators have the lengthiest emission engine resilience ratings declared by the California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency. This model has an aluminium die-cast frame joined with other weight saving measures and an aluminium TCI rotor to offer a compact and powerful generator that weighs only 75 pounds.

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6. Champion Power Equipment 75531i

Champion Power Equipment 75531ichampion 75531i inverter generator with its 3100 Watt has in the recent times emerged as one of the most impressive inverter generators. If you are a big fun of a silent working environment (who isn’t?), then the Champion 3100W will provide you with just that.

Besides, if you intend to get an inverter that provides a broad range of value and is relatively affordable compared to both the Yamaha and Honda models, then you should choose Champion 75531i. Since its launch this inverter has been attracting stellar reviews from those who have had an opportunity to use it.

What we particularly like about this is generator is its good runtime and fuel efficiency. It can provide you with up to 8 hours of run time at 25% load. At the control panel is the Economy Control Switch, which will automatically lower the engine when it is not in use.

Besides, the RPM features functionally automatically according to the size of the load, and, as a result, this reduces noise and minimizes engine wear. However, when working with heavier loads, the generator can become much louder. That’s where this particular generator loses with some other quiet generators such as Yamaha EF2400iSHC.

Overall this is a highly rated unit. This model runs relatively quietly and has good runtime and fuel efficiency. It is fully EPA/CARB compliant. Though you may realize that this model will at times run loudly under some loads, the noise levels are still perfectly acceptable.

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7. Honda EU2000I

The Honda EU2000IHonda EU2000i Inverter can be used in a wide array of settings. The noise level is 59 decibels at a rated load of fifty-three decibels at one-quarter load. In other words, the amount of noise this generator emits during normal operation is comparable to a lively conversation involving a few people.

EU2000I claims a formidable Honda GX100 engine that has a 0.95-gallon petroleum tank capacity. It can function for 8.1 hours on one tank of fuel.

This quiet device is compact and small and capable of generating reliable, clean power. You can also use it in conjunction with another inverter to double the power.

Honda Oil Alerts system is in place to shield this power equipment for outdoors. When the oil gets dangerously low, the generator will turn off. It has a circuit protection mechanism preventing the circuit from overloading during operation.  This generator is a pull start type that is easy to use and maintain.

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8. WEN 56180s

WEN 56180s is a CARB and EPAWEN 56180 1800w compliant quiet generator for camping that permits operation in every state. The generator has 1500 running watts and 1800 surge watts that provide power for both recreation times and times of emergency.

It is compact and lightweight and can run for 7.5 hours at a half load of 1.45 gallons of petroleum. It includes one cigarette lighter style twelve-volt DC outlet and two AC120 volt 12.5 three-prong outlets for the wall. The engine is protected from damage by the shutdown that occurs if the oil is low. The spark arrestor allows for usage when camping in forests and national parks.

Wen 56180s offers dependable power wherever it is needed and whenever it is needed. It is a good choice for camping, emergencies and job sites. Whether power is needed for a tailgate or an outage, WEN 56180s is a reasonable choice.

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9. Generac 6866 iQ2000 Inverter Gas Generator

The Generac 6866 iQ2000 Ultra-QuietGenerac6866 may be the answer to your mobile power problems. It runs both quietly and cleanly, making it innocuous and easy to use. This makes it perfect for home use as a backup power source. Just set it up in a corner and let it do its job, giving you minimal distraction. It’s also a great way to power your electronics on camping trips, vacations, and other outdoor excursions.

This generator is indeed quiet and clean. While it’s not the quietest portable on the market, it is still relatively silent, running with high efficiency and minimal noise. It is also very easy to use. The interface is simple and straight forward. You can easily find most of the vital settings as well as the fuel level read out on the dashboard.

In addition you can easily open the engine compartment and fuel cap  This makes refueling or repairing the generator quick, easy, and relatively clean. It’s also easy to start, usually requiring only one firm yank to get the engine purring.

This portable generator is perfect for you if you’re someone on the move, who’s going to value mobility and convenience over raw power output. It’s great for outdoor events and tail-gate parties but it can also work as home back-up. This is because it’s easy to store and can be pulled out for personal use or in case of emergencies.

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10. Westinghouse WGen7500E

The Westinghouse WGen7500E is a wonderfulWestinghouse WGen7500 generator that covers these as well as other different purposes and fulfils all the criteria required to make it one of the most heavily recommended ones currently available on the market. You can rest assured that you are getting a reliable piece of equipment that will keep the power running in any setting, including RV, home or cabin using just one unit.

While much louder than the inverter generators reviewed above, Westinghouse WGen7500E is definitely the quietest in its large wattage range. Hardly any other generator with more than 7000 wattage is as silent as this model. This is due to the fact that Westinghouse WGen7500E has a special Pulse-Flo muffler that keeps the noise level minimum while using the generator. The relatively quiet running of this generator therefore makes it perfect for urban, suburban and rural settings.

In general, Westinghouse WGen7500E is a great generator for most applications, perfectly fitted for a variety of uses. Although there might be some large houses and small RVs that will not fully cooperate well with this generator, the generator will work just fine in the vast majority of settings. The engine is powerful enough to give you what you need, and it uses a small amount of fuel when you run it. However, note that for smaller scale use such as camping or a small outdoor stall, this model will be simply too large and too loud. Inverter generators will be a much better choice.

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