Is There Such a Thing as a Quiet Generator?

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A man turning on his quiet, portable gas powered generator for his RV.

If you need power in a location where it’s not available, you want a quiet generator. While solar power and batteries can be a better option, you might not be in the situation to afford or want a full system like that.

On the other hand, the droning noise of an obnoxiously loud generator can be annoying and completely ruin the atmosphere. But is there really such a thing as a quiet generator? Let’s take a look.

What Would Classify a Quiet Generator?

You measure sound in decibels (dB). Most generator users consider anything that runs less than 60 dB a “quiet generator.” Keep in mind that most people don’t walk around with a decibel meter to measure how loud a generator is running.

So, just because the box states a generator is quiet doesn’t mean your neighbor would agree.

You should also be mindful that cities and homeowners’ associations often have noise ordinances. This typically requires that individuals keep their volume below a certain level between certain hours.

Get to know the local rules for running your generator and avoid being a nuisance. Being a nuisance can quickly turn a good neighbor into an enemy.

Keep in Mind: Do you prefer a quiet atmosphere when RVing? Check out our favorite quiet RV air conditioner.

What Are Decibels? 

If you read the actual definition of the word decibel, it can give you a headache. A decibel is a way of measuring the intensity or volume of a sound or noise; the higher the number, the louder the noise. 

A vacuum or hairdryer is typically around 70 dB, heavy city traffic is approximately 85 dB, and a jet taking off is 140 dB. Extended exposure to 85 dB can cause permanent damage and hearing loss.

Pro Tip: Do you know what size you need for your generator? Let us help. Check out this article to see what size generator you need.

A couple working in front of their rv, with their quiet generator outside to be installed.

What Brand Generator is the Quietest?

Some generators are quieter than others. If you have to pick a generator, getting a quiet one is worth the investment. Here are some of the best brands with a reputation for being the quietest.

Honda

Honda EU3000IS1AN 3000-Watt 120-Volt Inverter Generator with CO-MINDER - 49-State
  • 3000 Watts (25 Amp) of Honda Inverter 120V AC Power
  • Convenient electric starting (battery included) with recoil back-up

Honda is a well-respected brand and a popular option for a quiet generator. They make a variety of inverter generators that range from 1000 watts to 7000 watts.

Typically, the larger generators not only create more power but also more noise. However,  Honda’s 7000-watt inverter generator runs at 52 dB at a quarter load and 58 dB at the rated load.

Honda has been able to dial in their generators and create some of the quietest models that can last upwards of 20 hours on a tank of gas. They’re not the cheapest, but you’ll likely have no regrets with any of the Honda generators if you can afford them.

WEN

WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter Generator with Fuel Shut-Off
  • Dimensions: 23.2" L x 18" W x 20.1" H | Weight: 99.2 lb
  • EPA III and CARB Compliant

In WEN’s lineup of inverter generators, you can find six different models ranging from 2000 watts to 4000 watts. Their 2000-watt models run quieter than Honda, but Honda wins out once you get above 2250 watts. They have a variety of plug-ins and charging receptacles to help keep power to all of your electronics.

i-APower

A-iPower SUA2000iV 2000 Watt Portable Inverter Generator Gas Powered, Small with Super Quiet Operation for Home, RV, or Emergency
  • Produces 2,000 starting watts with 1,600 running watts of clean and safe power for sensitive electronics such as phones,...
  • Complete with A-iPower’s “Low idle” technology for an extended run time of 4 hours at 100% load and 7 hours at 50%...

The i-APower is a 2000-watt portable generator that is lightweight and loved by many. It purrs while it runs at 52 dB and has a 30-amp connection, 120-volt connection, and two 5-volt USB charging ports. At just 48 lbs, you can carry this thing with you just about anywhere you could want to have power.

What is the Quietest Generator for Camping?

If you plan to take your RV camping, it’s hard to consider anything other than Honda’s 3000W EU3000IS. It can run up to 20 hours on the 3.4-gallon fuel tank. It can also power your RV’s furnace, fridge, microwave, TV, and your RV’s air conditioner.

What campers love the most is it can provide all of that power and still only run between 49 dB and 58 dB. You can stay comfortable and not have a noisy generator ruining your camping experience. If you can afford the price tag, this quiet generator can radically transform your camping experience.

Honda EU3000IS1AN 3000-Watt 120-Volt Inverter Generator with CO-MINDER - 49-State
  • 3000 Watts (25 Amp) of Honda Inverter 120V AC Power
  • Convenient electric starting (battery included) with recoil back-up

Tips for Quieting Your Current Generator 

If you have to deal with a noisy generator, you can do a few things to make it a bit more tolerable. Let’s see if these tips can quiet your camping experience.

Move It Further Away 

One of the easiest ways to quiet your current generator is to change its placement. Moving it behind a structure or on the other side of your RV can help reduce the volume. It’s also a great opportunity to use your long extension cords.

The farther away you can place it, the better. However, don’t forget that your neighbors don’t want to hear your generator any more than you do. Don’t make it more of a problem for them by moving it farther away from you.

RV parked outside during the sun set, using a quiet generator to maintain a quiet atmosphere.

Build a Muffle Box

A muffle box can significantly reduce the decibel level of your generator. It will cover your generator and muffle the sound.

A well-built muffle box can drop the noise level from 85 dB/90 dB to 48 dB/56 dB.

However, you’ll want to make sure your muffle box allows your generator to breathe and doesn’t make it difficult to fill up your fuel tank.

Use Sound Deflectors 

If you haven’t been able to build a muffle box, you can use some pieces of plywood or drywall to deflect the sounds.

Propping up the deflectors against your generation can massively reduce the decibels at your campsite.

The deflectors will deflect the sound down and let the ground absorb it or in a direction away from your campsite. 

Place Your Generator on an Anti-Vibration Mat

You may not find a level spot to set your generator. This can create rather annoying and very loud vibrations.

However, the rubber anti-vibration mat will absorb the vibration and quiet your campsite.

If you’re tired of hearing the vibrations from your generator, this is a relatively cost-effective option to consider.

If You Need a Generator, Get a Quiet One

A generator can significantly enhance our camping adventures. However, a noisy generator will quickly dampen them and have you yearning for peace and quiet. Some high-quality quiet generators make it very easy for you to have power no matter where your adventures take you. 

Where would you take your quiet generator camping?

Last update on 2022-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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  1. Why didn’t you include the built in Onan generator in your comparison? I have an Onan 5500 has generator in my fifth wheel toy hauler. I haven’t had to use it much, only ran it for 30 minutes last month to exercise it, but it seemed pretty quiet.

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