So you are one of those people looking for the quietest generator for camping, RV, emergency home use or perhaps an outdoor event.
There are plenty of models to choose from but… which one is actually the quietest portable generator on the market?
In the following buyer’s guide, I explain everything you need to know before buying one. I also introduce the 10 recommended silent units and briefly review each of them.
The Quietest Generators – Top 10
|Generator||Noise Level |
|Running / Starting Watts||Weight||Price|
|Yamaha EF2000iSv2||51.5 dB||1600 W / 2000 W||44.1 lbs||Check Price on Amazon|
|WEN 56200i||51 dB||1600 W / 2000 W||48 lbs||Check Price on Amazon|
|Honda EU3000iS||49 dB||2800 W / 3000 W||130 lbs||Check Price on Amazon|
|Westinghouse iGen 1200||52 dB||1000 W / 1200 W||35 lbs||Check Price on Amazon|
|Champion 7553i||58 dB||2800 W / 3100 W||94.8 lbs||Check Price on Amazon|
|Westinghouse WH2000iXLT||52 dB||1800 W / 2200 W||43 lbs||Check Price on Amazon|
|Yamaha EF2400iSHC||53 dB||2000 W / 2400 W||75 lbs||Check Price on Amazon|
|Generac 6866 iQ2000||68 dB||1600 W / 2000 W||46.2 lbs||Check Price on Amazon|
|Honda EU2200i||49 dB||1800 W / 2200 W||40 lbs||Check Price on Amazon|
|Smarter Tools STAP-2000iQ||51 dB||1600 W / 2000 W||47 lbs||Check Price on Amazon|
Quiet Generators Reviewed
1. Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Inverter Generator
It operates at 1600 watt rated AC output with 2000-watt maximum AC output.
The noise level is only 51.5 decibels at 25% load which makes it a really quiet generator.
This is one of the silent generators that use an inverter technology (not sure what an inverter generator is? I’ve explained it in details in my article about inverter generators).
The EF2000iS is not only a very quiet generator but also fuel-efficient. It 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 the amount of gas it burns.
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 an automatic decompression system that makes starting it easy.
The only real issue I have with this generator is its high price tag. But as they say – you get what you pay for and this generator does not disappoint.
I have written an in-depth review of Yamaha EF2000iSv2 which you can read here. I have also explained there why it is currently MUCH BETTER choice than Honda EU2200i!
2. WEN 56200i 2000 Watt Inverter Generator
WEN 56200i is one of the top rated inverter generators currently on sale. It operates very quietly and is similar to an everyday conversation. It makes clean energy that is free of voltage drops and spikes. It emits much less noise than conventional generators and also ranks high among other inverters on this matter.
This unit generates 1600 running watts of power and 2000 surge watts.
The 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV engine functions at a very quiet 51 decibels at a 25 % load. This is quieter than a window air conditioner or a normal conversation between two people. This makes it a good choice for situations when you clearly want to keep your generator as quiet as possible such as tailgating, camping or hunting.
The design makes this quiet generator very light to carry too.
The efficient one-gallon tank can run for up to 6 hours at 50 % load.
WEN 56200i comes equipped with one 5v USB port, one 12V DC receptacle and two three-prong 120V receptacles.
The eco-mode throttle allows the generator’s motor to adjust automatically its fuel consumption.
This prevents the unnecessary usage of gasoline.
This generator comes with a 2-year warranty that is backed by a nationwide network of expert service specialists and a friendly consumer helpline.
3. Honda EU3000iS
Most of the quietest inverter generators on the market have one major shortcoming – they are usually rated at between 1600 and 2000 running watts. While this is enough to power one single major appliance or a few portable electronics for camping, this is certainly not enough to run an RV air conditioner and anything else on top of that.
That’s where Honda EU3000iS comes into play with its 2800 running watts. As for now, it is one of the most powerful inverters you can find. You could easily run a 15,000 BTU AC with it and still have enough spare wattage to power a few more portable gadgets.
Honda EU3000iS is also a remarkably quiet generator. At 25% load, its noise level does not exceed 50 dB. Even at 50% load, the noise level is around 58 dB which is still quieter than two people having a lively chat. This generator is therefore fully approved to be used at most of the RV campsites (which usually only permit the generators running below 65 decibels).
Just as I have described in my detailed review of Honda EU3000iS, the downside of this generator is that it is quite bulky and heavy. In order to make moving it around less gruesome, you need to purchase the dedicated frame and a wheelset separately. At this price level, I really believe Honda should have included those accessories in the kit.
On the plus side, just like other Honda inverters, EU3000iS comes equipped with the parallel capability. This means you can connect two EU3000iS together and double your total output up to the whopping 5600 watts.
To sum up, EU3000iS is one of the sturdiest and quietest generators money can buy. I particularly recommend it for the RV enthusiasts. However, those who need a reliable backup power source will also like this inverter generator.
4. Westinghouse iGen1200
Westinghouse IGen1200 is currently the smallest portable generator Westinghouse has got on offer. Weighing only 35 lbs it is a really awesome choice for the campers.
It produces only 52 dB at 25% load. This makes it one of the quietest generators on the market.
Depending on the load it can run up to 10 hours on a single refueling.
A great thing about iGen2000 is that it’s compatible with another Westinghouse inverter mentioned in this guide – WH2000iXLT. You can connect them together to increase the total wattage using the dedicated parallel cord sold separately by the manufacturer.
One final strong point is the price. For example, Amazon is currently selling this generator for more than twice as cheap as Honda EU2200i (last updated: 2nd of July 2019). A true bargain if you ask me.
Overall, it’s a really lovely lightweight quiet inverter generator. Comes highly recommended for campers and anyone else looking for a small portable generator.
5. Champion Power Equipment 75531i
3100 starting watts is indeed a quite impressive offering for an inverter. This generator does a good job in filling the market gap between the typical inverters (which lack sufficient wattage to power larger appliances) and conventional portable generators (which are bulkier and certainly noisier).
Bear in mind though that 7553i owes the increased performance to its larger and heavier engine. You won’t find it as easy to carry from one place to another as 2000 watt inverters.
The only minor downside is that this is not an optimal solution for the muddy terrain. Since there is little space between the wheels and the body of the generator, debris can easily get trapped in between. However, this is not a major nuisance.
What I 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 not in use.
While it is overall a relatively quiet unit, it can become much louder at heavier loads. That’s where this particular portable inverter generator loses to some of its competitors such as Yamaha EF2400iSHC.
Overall this is a highly rated unit. This model runs relatively quiet 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 heavier loads, the noise levels are still perfectly acceptable. It is still one of the quietest portable generators.
If you are interested to learn more about this generator, check out my detailed review article of Champion 75531i. You will also find out there why I especially recommend it for the RV owners.
6. Westinghouse WH2000iXLT
It has an economy mode and a reset for AC overload.
The generator has touchpoints for the user that are color-coded. It’s a nice design feature which makes it super easy to operate even if it is the first generator you’ve ever used.
It also has an automatic low oil shutdown that stops the generator when the oil is low to prevent damage.
You can use it with sensitive electronics because it has less than 3 % total harmonic distortion or THD. This very quiet generator has run time at 25% load of 22 hours and a run time at 50% load of 13 hours.
It is easy to carry and offers efficient, clean power for all of your recreational needs. If you are curious to learn more about this generator, I wrote this detailed review to tell you a bit more about it.
7. Yamaha EF2400ISHC
This quiet generator comes with a fuel consumption management system that regulates the speed of the engine to exactly match the load.
It automatically prevents low oil engine damage, thereby preventing expensive repairs and reducing downtime.
This unit offers easy portability, quiet operation, increased reliability, and improved efficiency. It will operate most 13,500 BTU convection/microwave ovens, RV air conditioners and the largest blow dryer.
This model has an aluminium die-cast frame joined with other weight saving measures and an aluminium TCI rotor
Weighting 75 lbs, it is certainly not the lightest inverter you can get. However, it is still light enough to carry it around without major struggles.
8. Generac 6866 iQ2000
While I’ve been under impression that this big American manufacturer has not invested much in adopting the new technologies in their generators, IQ2000 cleanly contradicts this. It is certainly a nice hi-tech offering.
It is indeed quiet and clean.
While it’s not the quietest portable on the market, it is still relatively noiseless.
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.
It’s also easy to start, usually requiring only one firm yank to get the engine purring.
This quiet 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 tailgating parties but it can also work as a home back-up.
This is because it’s easy to store and can be pulled out for personal use or in case of emergencies.
9. Honda EU2200I Inverter Generator
It maintains the same features which made its predecessor a desired choice such as high-quality Honda engine. The main improvement is the higher running wattage – increased from 1600 to 1800W.
It is one of the most popular inverter generators on the market and could be easily classified as one of the best models available.
However, in March 2019 more than 200,000 EU2200i had to be recalled by Honda due to the potentially hazardous fuel leakage. At the time of writing (July 2019) this issue has apparently been fully resolved and EU2200i is back on the market.
The noise levels and the price remain the same as in the case of EU2000i, which is a really great thing. In my humble opinion, it is one of the best and quietest inverter generators on the market.
The noise level is only 49 decibels at 25 % load. This means the amount of noise this generator emits during normal operation is comparable to a lively conversation involving a few people.
EU2200I has got a powerful Honda GXR12o engine that has a 0.95-gallon petroleum tank capacity. Depending on the load it can run for up to 9 hours on one tank of fuel.
This super quiet inverter generator 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 very quiet generator is a pull start type that is easy to use and maintain.
In the following video you can see how Honda EU2000I performs against its main competitor – Yamaha EF2000iS. Honda EU2200I is exactly as quiet as EU2000I but provides more wattage than each of the generators in this clip.
10. Smarter Tools STAP-2000iQ
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 running watts.
The generator is equipped with the original Yamaha engine. This is one of the most trusted inverter generator engines on the market and you can rest assured it’s gonna last for long.
It is easy to use and lightweight. It has a lot of handy little features such as a self-venting gas cap, LED indicator lights, easy access oil fill door, USB charging outlet, and a fuel gauge.
Why Noise Level Produced by a Generator Should Be Your Priority?
Mind the noise regulations
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.
Many campsites and RV parks are even more strict about the noise. The general rule for most of them is that the generators operating above 65 dB are not permitted.
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 portable power supply that will run at night, a noisy generator can make sleeping very difficult. If you chose a quiet generator in the range of 50 decibels, then depending on its location, you may avoid having to listen to its constant noise.
Going camping? Get a super quiet generator 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 the trouble (and a few $) and get a fuel-efficient quiet generator
Another factor is 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. Fortunately, the quietest generators such as Honda EU2200i implement advanced technologies which make them adjust their fuel consumption to the actual needs. In this scenario, you won’t have to worry too much about wasting gas.
How To Find The Right Quiet Generator which Does Not Make Too Much Noise?
Prior to purchasing a 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 a quiet 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 a smaller quiet generator 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 homeowners 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 small quiet generators are specially designed to operate RV electrical devices and the equipment you use in an RV. A portable inverter generator is the best choice for this purpose as the portable inverter technology makes them particularly silent, simple to transport and easy to use.
- PTO – Power 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 alongside other appliances at the same time.
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 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 a quiet 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.
How are Decibels Calculated?
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 decibels is 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 100 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. Some of the models advertised as the quietest portable generators can actually be much noisier at higher loads.
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 when buying a quiet generator
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?
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 quiet generator. This is also another point at which you should calculate again how much wattage you really need. In most of the cases the more you need, the higher the price tag.
Frequently Asked Questions
Use our handy calculator to figure out how much wattage you need.
IMPORTANT: make sure you compare both starting and running watts! Starting watts (also called “surge watts) determine how much energy a device consumes immediately after you turn it on. For many devices such as eg. microwave ovens, those two figures are exactly the same. Others, however, can have drastic differences.
For example, a typical 10,000 BTU air conditioner will require approx. 2200 starting watts and 1500 running watts. This means you can safely use a quiet portable generator like Honda EU2200i or Wen 56200i to power it.
However, you won’t be able to power anything else.
In all cases – check your application’s exact wattage as these may vary between manufacturers. You can usually find this information printed on the device tag.
Most of the really quiet generators have the maximum running wattage of no more than 4000 watts which is definitely not enough to provide electricity for the whole house.
Having said that, Westinghouse WGen7500 runs at 7500 watts and is still reasonably quiet (especially if you put it in an enclosure). It is probably as close as it gets to be a viable portable emergency power supply for a household.
However, the most important question you should ask yourself is – do you really need all your household appliances to work in the event of let’s say a hurricane? Or perhaps just a few crucial ones such as refrigerators or medical equipment?
For the purpose of powering only the most important devices the quiet inverter generators mentioned in this guide will do their job just fine. Champion 7553i is one such generator. It has 3100 running watts which is enough to power a refrigerator, a set of lights and a furnace fan.
The single most consuming appliance will be probably your air conditioner.
Then it is the refrigerator you certainly want to be powered on at all times.
None of the small quiet generators will allow you to run these two simultaneously, let alone other devices. Therefore you need to be smart how you distribute your power.
In fact, some generators mentioned in this guide such as Yamaha EF2000iSv2 already have built-in mufflers so there is no need to purchase one separately.
Not all types of small quiet generators will also work well with the external mufflers. You should check it before buying one whether it will support an external muffler.
Having said that I honestly think that a better one size fits all solution is to get a dedicated enclosure. This is the most efficient way to quiet down a generator.
If you’re more into DIY and want to save yourself a few bucks you can definitely build an enclosure yourself.
However, most of the federal campgrounds stick to a general rule that generators below 59 decibels are allowed to operate during the so-called “non-quiet” times (which is usually before 10 PM).
You can also consider getting a portable solar generator. Those generators are noiseless and powerful enough to provide electricity for smaller electronics such as laptops, cameras, phones, and camping lights.
In any case – check the individual rules of each campground and make sure you do whatever you can to minimize the disruption caused to your neighbors!
I would say WEN 56200i is the best low-cost alternative. It is super quiet, well built and much cheaper than Honda’s inverters.
This is one of the quietest generators on sale and the one I would personally buy if I didn’t want to go for a Honda. The fact that this is a generator made by a Chinese company shouldn’t deter you.
Although WEN lacks the reputation of Yamaha or Honda, it is an already well-established name in the industry.
Just check out the hundreds of 5-star reviews left by Amazon customers if you don’t believe me.
They make quality tools and electric devices for a fraction of the price of their American or Japanese competitors. Their generators are no exception.
However, in the case of modern inverter generators, this is not really a necessity.
Hundreds of people use them without grounding and so can you.
In fact, some of the more expensive models from manufacturers like Yamaha are also assembled in Chinese factories.
100% made in China generators usually have the engines which are either made under Honda’s or Yamaha’s license.
One such example is Smarter Tools 2000iQ.
Therefore what you get is basically the same kind of hardware but with the lesser price tag and probably a few minor elements of lower quality (eg. plastic finishing here and there instead of iron coating etc.).
First, some units are more fuel-efficient and others. This basically means that they consume less gas allowing them to last longer on a single refuel.
They achieve it thanks to various hi-tech solutions which adjust the engine work according to the current electricity consumption. Honda EU2200i is an example of one such quiet portable generator which does it.
Second, it depends on how many devices you plug into a generator.
Most of the manufacturers advertise the run time of a generator at 25% load. However, if you decide to plug in an appliance which consumes nearly all available running wattage, the generator will be running at almost 100% load and consume much more fuel.
To give you rough estimates – on average you can expect a typical inverter generator to last for 6-8 hours.
Even though modern inverter generators produce the so-called “clean energy”, this does not mean they are clean enough to run in your room.
Clean energy only refers to the Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) produced by them and how does it affect the safety of sensitive electronics such as laptops. This has nothing to do with how do they affect human lungs. They still use the exact same fossil fuels such as gasoline or diesel and produce the potentially toxic fumes.
While these are not a major cause for concern outside, they can be poisonous when used indoors.
If for whatever reason you need a generator to be used indoors, go for the portable solar generators. Those are 100% clean.