Quietest Generators: 10 Small and Super Silent Portable Options

Last Updated on September 28, 2020 by Scott

quietest generator

In this post, you will get an in-depth guide and review of the ten quietest portable generators I found in my research. I have written over 70+ posts for GeneratorGrid, but this is my most exhaustive.

TLDR: My top pick for being very quiet, small, light and yet still puts out plenty of power (2200W!) is the: Honda EU2200i 

This the is one gas generator I bring on my boondocking RV camping trips around Oregon.

A portable generator can improve your life. It’s a great tool to have for camping and RV use, for tailgating, and for working at job sites.

But there’s one huge problem with generators. They’re noisy!

But noise is just the price one has to pay with a generator…or is it?

There are several generators on the market that are remarkably quiet. After extensive testing and research, I’ve compiled these 10 super quiet portable generators.

GeneratorRated WattsdB Level @ 1/4 loadRuntime @ 500WWeightCheck Price
Honda EU2200I quietest generator 1800W 53 dB 8.1 Hours 45.6 lbs Check Price
WEN 56203i 1700W 51 dB 9.6 Hours 48 lbs Check Price
Champion 4000-Watt 3500W 64 dB 31.5 Hours 81 lbs Check Price
Generac iQ2000 1600W 53 dB 9.12 Hours 46.2 lbs Check Price
Atima AY2000i 2000 1600W 52 dB 8 Hours 47.41 lbs Check Price
Yamaha EF2000iSv2 1600W 51.5 dB 8 Hours 44.1 lbs Check Price
Energizer eZV2200 2000W 59 dB 8 Hours 77 lbs Check Price
Briggs & Stratton P2200 1700W 59 dB 6.8 Hours 54.6 lbs Check Price
Westinghouse iGen1200 1000W 58 dB 7.2 Hours 35 lbs Check Price
Energizer eZV3200 2800W 52 dB 21 Hours 96 lbs Check Price

When using a generator around other people, the noise factor can be a huge problem.

Nobody wants to be that neighbor with the loud and annoying generator that ruins everyone else’s day or keeps them up at night. Luckily, there is a solution.

These super quiet generators are perfect for camping and tailgating, and they won’t upset your neighbors.

In fact, these generators are all quiet enough for nighttime use. This list includes the quietest generators at a range of price points and with an array of features. There’s an option for every need.

What are the best quiet generators in September 2020?

1. The Best Quietest Generator is the Honda EU2200I

Honda’s EU2200I is the next-generation of the beloved EU2000i, the #1 bestselling generator of all time on Amazon.

It’s extremely well-reviewed by fans. The red and black generator is compact and lightweight, and it has a convenient sturdy carry handle. I can easily pick up the EU2200i with one hand and carry it short distances.

This was the very first gas generator I ever purchased, and I loved how easy to use it was on my first two-week trip in my teardrop trailer. It ran very quietly, especially in eco-mode. I didn’t feel bad running right next to a trail with quite a bit of foot traffic because it just wasn’t that loud of noise when running.

At a quarter load, the 53 decibels of sound produced by the Honda EU2220i are about the noise level of quiet conversation at home.

It doesn’t even come close to the typical volume of a television. In other words, this generator is quiet enough that you can use it in settings where other people are near you. It’s great for camping and tailgating and very popular with the RV and trailer crowd. When I was at a park with a lake in Portland this summer, I saw a EU2200i that was being used by a hobby electric boat club to power their high-power electric batteries in their speed boats!

The Honda EU220I is an inverter generator, so it’s safe for more sensitive electronics.

super quiet on my camping trip
The EU2200i was super quiet on my camping trip around Oregon in 2020.

A long runtime is another big pro for this generator. It has a 1-gallon gas tank and excellent fuel efficiency.

The operation of this generator is quite user-friendly. It’s easy to start up with the pull cable, and the gas tank is easy to access and fill.

One big downside is that there is no fuel indicator to let you know how close you are to empty. You’ll notice the sound from the generator starts to change once the gas is getting low. When it is nearly out, it will start to sputter and then the generator will shut off.

Pros

Pros
  • 3-year warranty
  • Compact & relatively lightweight
  • Fuel-efficiency (long runtime)
  • Inverter
  • Reliable Honda Engine performance
  • Handles surge loads well
  • Parallel-ready
  • Great Reviews

Cons

Cons
  • No External fuel indicator
  • Expensive
Sale
Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt 120-Volt Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator
  • This popular model can operate a wide variety of appliances, making it perfect for portable use at home, camping, on the job site, or much more. Reliable Power is now at your fingertips with Honda's Inverted Generators.
  • So quiet, your neighbors will thank you. The EU2200i operates at 48 to 57 dBA, which is less noise than a normal conversation. This makes it ideal for camping, supplemental RV power and any other activity that requires quiet operation.
  • Add a second EU2200i for additional power. Two identical models can be paralleled with an optional cable or cord for up to 4400 watts of power, or time-consuming applications.

IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
This generator has risen to the top because of its high-quality construction and consistently excellent performance.

Check Price on Amazon

2. Cheapest Quiet Generator: WEN 56203i 2000-Watt Portable Inverter

This is the current winner in the battle for the quietest generator.

At a 1/4-load it only measures at 51 dB, about the same as a quiet conversation inside a home. The noise level ramps up as you use a bigger load, but it remains extremely quiet overall.

This generator is fairly lightweight, but its design isn’t quite as compact as some other generator models. However, it does have a handle for easy carry.

The WEN 56203i’s inverter works to minimize spikes and drops in pursuit of clean energy similar to a pure sine wave.

This makes it perfectly safe to plug your laptop or phone in to charge without having to worry about damage.

Fuel efficiency is another positive for this generator with a long runtime and an eco-mode that automatically adjusts fuel consumption depending on factors like load and setting.

Yellow wen generator

Pros

Pros
  • 2-year warranty
  • Extremely quiet
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Good gas efficiency
  • Inverter
  • Parallel-ready
  • CARB compliant

Cons

Cons
  • Bulky
  • Expensive per watt capacity
  • No fuel indicator
WEN 56203i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator w/Fuel Shut Off, CARB Compliant, Ultra Lightweight
  • Ultralight body weighs in at a mere 39 pounds for easy transport and storage
  • Extremely quiet operation comparable to the sound of a normal conversation according to the US Department of Health and Human Services
  • Produces 2000 surge watts and 1700 rated watts of clean power for safe charging of sensitive electronics (phones, tablets, televisions, computers, etc.)

IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
The WEN 56203i is the absolute quietest generator on the market, so it’s worth looking at if noise is your top concern.

Check Price on Amazon

3. Champion Power Equipment 4000W Digital Hybrid – A Bit Loud But More Powerful

This is by far the loudest generator on the list.

That said, it only measures about as loud as a garbage disposal when tested at a 1/4-load level. (64 dBA noise level). In addition to being a bit louder, this generator is also a bit bigger.

Weighing in at 81 pounds, it’s not as easy to transport this generator as some other generator models.

There’s no easy-carry handle, but there are two side handles that make it easy enough for two people to carry.

Despite the size and noise downsides, there is one huge advantage to this generator: it’s powerful.

Unlike the other 2,000-watt generators, this one offers twice that, at 4,000 watts.

It also has a bigger 2.9-gallon fuel tank and an incredibly long runtime. The hybrid design and Economy Mode add to the fuel efficiency.

Champion digital hybrid inverter in a room

Pros

Pros
  • 3-year limited warranty plus free lifetime technical support
  • Inverter
  • RV ready
  • CARB compliant
  • Trusted brand in this space, a pleasure to work with

Cons

Cons
  • Larger and heavier than other models here
  • Noisier, but not by much considering the extra watts
Sale
Champion 4000-Watt RV Ready DH Series Open Frame Inverter with Quiet Technology
  • Advanced Open Frame Inverter Design: 50% quieter and 20% lighter than a traditional Champion 3500-watt generator, plus our Economy Mode feature saves fuel and extends engine life
  • Quiet Technology and Extended Run Time: 64 dBA is great for RVs, tailgating, your next project or home backup, with 4000 starting watts and 3500 running watts for up to 17 hours run time on gasoline
  • Clean electricity for sensitive electronics: RV Ready with a 120V 30A RV, plus two 120V 20A household outlets with clean power (less than 3% THD) and 12V DC outlet with dual USB adapter

IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
The Champion Power Equipment generator is heavy and noisy, but it has a ton of power and will get the job done consistently and reliably.

Check Price on Amazon

4. Generac iQ2000 Super Quiet Inverter Generator – Real-time Data Display

Some of the quietest portable generators have a big flaw in that they don’t display any helpful information.

The Generac iQ2000 solves that problem by displaying helpful data like remaining runtime, current wattage used, and the amount of fuel remaining.

In today’s data-reliant world, we expect this kind of information, and it can be frustrating not to have it.

It’s nice to be able to glance at this and see how much gas you have left and an estimate of the amount of runtime remaining.

In addition to displaying this relevant data, the iQ2000 also has a lot of the basics to offer. It’s quite quiet, it has a decently long runtime, and the inverter means that your electronics are safe.

It is quite user-friendly and keeps things simple with three modes: Economy, Standard, and Turbo. This is rated for 1600 watts, but if you need more power, it is parallel-ready with this parallel kit from Generac.

Generac IQ2000 generator on a noise test stand

Pros

Pros
  • 3-year limited warranty
  • Display of helpful and relevant information
  • Parallel kit available
  • Low noise level
  • CARB compliant
  • Inverter

Cons

Cons
  • Some customers reported fuel leakage problems
Generac 6866 iQ2000 Super Quiet 1600 Running Watts/2000 Starting Watts Gas Powered Inverter Generator - CARB Compliant
  • AC Rated Output(Running/Starting): 1600/2000 Watts; AC Rated Voltage: 120V
  • PowerDial integrates start/run/stop functions into 1 easy-to-use dial
  • PowerBar monitors and displays wattage used; Electronic Fuel Gauge displays remaining fuel; Runtime Display show how much time is left before refueling

IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
The Generac iQ2000 stands out for displaying relevant and helpful information that all generators should display (like low oil indicator). The USB port and data display alone makes this quiet generator worth looking at.

Check Price on Amazon

5. Atima AY2000i 2000 Watt Small Portable Inverter Generator – Attractive and Ergonomic

This is another lightweight, portable and small generator that is compact and easy to carry, thanks to an ergonomic handle.

The Atima AY2000i is powered by a Yamaha engine, known for being high-quality and consistent performers.

The operation of this generator is pretty simple and straightforward. It’s parallel-ready if you need more power.

With a decibel rating of only 52 dB at a 1/4-load, this is a super quiet generator. Like with all generators, the noise level will increase with a heavier load, but it remains quieter than a lot of other generators.

The AY2000i has a 1-gallon gas tank, a maximum output of 2,000W, and a decent runtime.

Finally, aesthetics are probably the least important factor when buying a generator, but Atima raises the bar.

They bring the legendary Japanese design sensibility, making for a sleek and simple machine that is about as beautiful as a portable generator can be.

Atima portable generator with camo colors
Also Exists in “Camo” Version (Click Here to Check this version on Amazon)

Pros

Pros
  • Compact and relatively lightweight
  • Trustworthy Yamaha engine
  • Beautiful design
  • Extra maintenance tools included

Cons

Cons
  • No warranty
  • No fuel indicator
  • Not as many reviews
Atima AY2000i Portable Inverter Generator 2000 Watt - Small Quiet Gas Powered Yamaha Engine for Outdoor RV Camping or Home Use
  • GENUINE YAMAHA ENGINE - For decades, Yamaha has produced the best engines in the world, known for high performance and low maintenance requirements over many years of continual heavy use. These engines are the top of the line, and Atima is proud to carry them in our award-winning AY2000i.
  • FITS YOUR DEMANDING LIFESTYLE - AY2000I can power the following accessories: blender, coffee maker, computer, incandescent lights, portable fan, TV/DVD, RV, AC, slow cooker, two-way radio, garage door opener, hair dryer, standard microwave oven, Energy Star refrigerators or freezers. It is perfect for camping or home use.
  • PARALLEL READY - All outlets are parallel ready and all-in-one, so you can connect with any model in the Atima family to increase your available power.

IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
On paper, the Atima AY2000i offers everything that the Honda EU2000I does but at a not insignificant discount. It also has a more attractive design.
Click here to read my full review of the AY2000I

Check Price on Amazon

Yamaha EF2000iSv2, 1600 Running Watts/2000 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Inverter,Blue
Rated Wattage
1600W Rated
Noise Level (1/4 load)
51.5 dB
Product Weight
44.1 lbs
Estimated Runtime @ 500W load
8 Hours
Power Solutions PSC2200 Inverter Generator, 2200-Watt
Rated Wattage
2000W Rated
Noise Level (1/4 load)
59 dB
Product Weight
77 lbs
Estimated Runtime @ 500W load
8 Hours
Briggs & Stratton P2200 Power Smart Series Inverter Generator with Quiet Power Technology and Parallel Capability, 2200 Starting Watts 1700 Running Watts
Rated Wattage
1700W Rated
Noise Level (1/4 load)
59 dB
Product Weight
54.6 lbs
Estimated Runtime @ 500W load
6.8 Hours
Westinghouse iGen1200 Portable Inverter Generator 1000 Rated 1200 Peak Watts, Gas Powered, CARB Compliant
Rated Wattage
1000W Rated
Noise Level (1/4 load)
58 dB
Product Weight
35 lbs
Estimated Runtime @ 500W load
7.2 Hours
Energizer eZV3200, 2800W Running Quiet Portable Gas Powered Inverter Generator w Electric/Remote Start, CARB
Rated Wattage
2800W
Noise Level (1/4 load)
52 dB
Product Weight
96 lbs
Estimated Runtime @ 500W load
21 Hours

6. Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Portable Inverter – A Cool Design and Hot Performance

In a competition with the Atima AY2000i for coolest-looking design, the Yamaha EF2000iSv2 might take home the prize.

This generator has a cool, retro-inspired design that is just nice to look at.

If you’re looking for a generator that will look great for your camping or tailgating setup, this one is worth checking out. The design is quite compact, and the generator is one of the lightest out there.

The carry handle plus the size and lightweight design make this one of the easiest generators to transport, so portability ranks high on the list with this one.

It has a 1.1-gallon fuel capacity and good fuel-efficiency thanks to the smart throttle that adjusts depending on load.

The fuel gauge helps you keep an eye on how much power you’ve got left before you need to refill.

yamaha ef2000ISV2 inverter next to the retail box

This is one of the quietest types of generators because of the muffler and spark arrestor.

Pros

Pros
  • 3-year warranty from Yamaha
  • Quiet operation thanks to muffler
  • Fuel gauge
  • Attractive, retro-inspired design
  • CARB compliant

Cons

Cons
  • High price
  • Doesn’t do as well at high altitude
Yamaha EF2000iSv2, 1600 Running Watts/2000 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Inverter,Blue
  • 1600 watt rated AC output, 2000 watt maximum AC output, 13.3/16.7 amps @ 120V
  • Super-quiet muffler with USFS-approved spark arrestor - 51.5 dBA at 1/4 load
  • Smart Throttle varies engine speed based on load - improves fuel economy and reduces noise

IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
This is a great-looking and super quiet portable generator in a compact and lightweight package. The operation is easy, and the performance is consistent and reliable, making this generator a solid investment.

Check Price on Amazon

7. Energizer eZV2200 -A Budget Option With More Power

This Energizer Portable generator has a pretty low price tag, and it also offers decent power with a 2,000-watt rating.

It’s a bit louder than some other generators, but at a 100% load, it only hits 57 dB, so it’s still really quiet.

It has pretty good fuel efficiency (perfect for power outage backup use), and this can be maximized by using the eco-mode.

The eco-mode throttle automatically makes adjustments to increase your runtime and make the best use of your fuel.

It has a 1.85-gallon fuel tank, giving it a decent runtime even when you’re not using the eco-mode option.

The inverter keeps sensitive electronics safe.

Two energizer portable generators next to each other

This generator is pretty bulky, and it weighs in at 77 pounds.

Additionally, it lacks a good carrying handle for convenient transport. There are handles on each side, but this won’t be ideal for some people.

You can purchase this dedicated wheel kit separately to make transport easier.

Pros

Pros
  • 2-year warranty
  • Inverter
  • Decent gas runtime
  • Larger capacity
  • CARB compliant

Cons

Cons
  • Large and heavy
  • Lacks a fuel gauge
  • Difficult to transport
  • Wheel kit must be purchased separately
  • Less silent than other options

IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
You can’t beat the price, and it has decent performance, but the Energizer eZV2200 has a few big downsides.

Check Price on Amazon

8. Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 PowerSmart Series 2200-Watt Inverter – Affordable Price and Good Power

Despite being quite a bit cheaper than many models, this 2200-watt generator from Briggs & Stratton offers more power than many of the other options.

It’s not completely noiseless, and it doesn’t have the highest power rating of any generator on this list, but it’s rated for 1700 watts which is a decent bump above the typical 1600-watt rating.

In addition to offering a bit more power and a good price, the P2200 is pretty quiet and has decent fuel efficiency. It’s not quite fuel efficient enough to meet California’s tight emissions standards, but it will run for close to seven hours when running a 500-watt load.

The computer-controlled engine continually modulates based on load and other factors.

An inverter keeps your sensitive electronics safe, and the parallel connector port means you have the option to double your power.

This generator is fairly compact and lightweight, and the H-shaped handle makes it easy for one or two people to carry.

man plugging a briggs & stratton generator

Briggs & Stratton has earned the designation of being an Amazon’s choice product, probably because this generator offers a lot in terms of quiet operations but comes in at a more affordable price point.

Pros

Pros
  • Relatively lightweight and compact
  • Affordable
  • 2-year warranty
  • Reliable engine maker

Cons

Cons
  • Not as inaudible as it could be
  • Missing fuel indicator
  • Less than average efficiency
Briggs & Stratton P2200 Power Smart Series Inverter Generator with Quiet Power Technology and Parallel Capability, 2200 Starting Watts 1700 Running Watts
  • Quiet and fuel efficient 111 cc OHV engine produces 2,200 starting watts and 1700 running watts
  • USB port allows charging of portable electronics in order to stay connected. Muffler : Super Lo-tone. Start type: Recoil
  • Produces less than 3% total harmonic distortion making it safe for laptop computers, TVs and game systems

IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
This is a decent portable generator that offers a bit more power that is more affordable than many similar muffled options.

Check Price on Amazon

9. Westinghouse iGen1200 – The Cheapest Option on This List

This is the cheapest available portable, quiet generator, but that budget price comes with a few big downsides.

It offers the least amount of power, for one thing, with only a 1,000-watt rating.

It also comes in as one of the more audible options, with a rating of 58 dB at a 1/4-load, despite having a double-insulated acoustic enclosure and using mufflers.

In addition to the price, another advantage of this generator is its weight. At only 35 pounds, it’s the lightest option.

It also has a nice carry handle, so it’s incredibly easy to transport.

If you don’t mind the cons, this budget generator does have incredible reviews and a proven track record for consistent performance.

As long as you don’t need a ton of power, this generator should serve you well.

Pros

Pros
  • 3-year warranty and lifetime technical support
  • Inverter
  • Parallel-capable (dual engine)
  • Very affordable

Cons

Cons
  • Less power
  • A bit more noise
Westinghouse iGen1200 Portable Inverter Generator 1000 Rated 1200 Peak Watts, Gas Powered, CARB Compliant
  • 1000 Rated Watts and 1200 Peak Watts at Less Than 3% THD – Weighs Only 33 Lbs. – Gas Powered – Two 120V 20 Amp Outlets
  • Great Choice for Home Use as an Emergency Backup in a Power Outage – Strong Enough to Run Most Home Essentials
  • Extremely Quiet, Extremely Fuel Efficient: As Low as 52 dBA Noise Output and Up to 9 Hours of Run Time on a 0. 8 Gallon Gas Tank – Features “Economy Mode” for Maximum Fuel Efficiency

Verdict
The budget Westinghouse iGen1200 has some cons but the low cost and the strong performance make up for it, as long as you don’t need a ton of power.

Check Price on Amazon

10. Energizer eZV3200 Generator – Pricey but High-Powered and Convenient

Like with the Champion Digital Hybrid, the Energizer eZV3200 offers a lot of power but has the not-insignificant drawback of being large and heavy.

It’s not the quietest generator on the market, but for a generator of this size and with this powerful capability, it is remarkably quiet.

It is rated for 2800 watts. It has a large fuel tank that holds close to 2 gallons, and it has great fuel efficiency for an extra-long run-time.

This is maximized even further when you use the eco-mode. Something that makes this powerful generator unique is the remote start capability.

Most generators start with a pull cable, but this generator can be started from a distance of up to 100 feet using a remote, adding a lot of convenience and ease of use.

This generator is quite heavy at 96 pounds, but it has a built-in handle and wheel kit, making it one of the easiest generators to transport despite the weight.

unscrewing an energizet generator's front panel

Pros

Pros
  • Easy transport with wheels and handle
  • Powerful
  • Large capacity
  • Convenient remote start

Cons

Cons
  • Large and heavy
  • Not parallel-capable
Energizer eZV3200, 2800W Running Quiet Portable Gas Powered Inverter Generator w Electric/Remote Start, CARB
  • Remote start. Start and shutdown your portable generator at your convenience from afar while camping, tailgating and working
  • Large fuel capacity. A large 7.4L tank with a gravity-fed fuel system requires no priming and is easy for anyone to start
  • Quiet running volume. An extremely quiet generator at only 60 dBA running at 100% load. The sound level of a conversation

Verdict
The Energizer eZV3200 is not cheap, but it offers a lot of power and some incredibly convenient features, especially the remote start and the transport wheels.

Check Price on Amazon

Buying Guide for Quiet Portable Generators

Power outages can happen anywhere and at any time, which is why it is so important to prepare. If you are not new to the world of generators, then you know how loud and intrusive they can often be. For this reason, more people are choosing quiet and portable generators for the lesser noise as well as convenience of transportation. But what else should you consider when choosing this kind of generator?

Noise Level

So, how loud is a quiet generator? A quiet generator will typically operate between 50-65 dBA or lower. That number is quieter than the noise produced by a running refrigerator or an air conditioner. The further away you place the generator, the less noise you hear as well.

Source of the Noise

The noise comes from the generator’s motor, from where sound and heat emanate. For this reason, it needs a cooling system for it to stabilize as well. Some generators have either an air-cooled engine or liquid-cooled engine.

Other sources of noise come from the combustion and mechanics of the generator, the fluctuations in the alternator windings, other vibrating engine components, and the engine block and exhaust system of the generator.

Keeping Your Generator Quiet

Even with loud generators, there are things you can do to help dampen the noise a bit, so it isn’t as irritating.

Extended Distance. Increase the distance between your home and the generator. The sound waves will then spread out over a longer distance, which can significantly lower the noise levels that it produces.

Positioning. How you position your generator can also affect the noise level it produces. Make sure it is placed on a level surface so that there are fewer vibrations to the motor. To do this, you can use leveling feet.

Enclosures. Enclosures are another way to counteract the higher noise levels produced by your generator. It helps with both sound absorption and deflection. However, you need also to make sure there is enough airflow, so the generator doesn’t overheat. Enclosures can reduce noise levels up to 10 decibels of sound. You can also insulate the enclosure with sound-absorbing foam, rubber waffle pads, acoustic barriers, or other sound-absorbing materials.

Final Thoughts

A generator can make your life better.

By providing you with a reliable power source wherever you are, a portable generator means you don’t have to worry about powering your tools or charging your devices.

It can improve the experience of any camping trip or the productivity of a job site in a remote location, and it can provide peace of mind in case of a natural disaster.

However, a noisy generator can make your life worse.

Constant loud noise can disrupt your enjoyment of whatever you’re doing. It can turn you into that annoying neighbor--and you don’t want to be that neighbor.

The best way to get a lot out of a generator without the major annoyance of excessive noise is to go with a whisper-quiet portable model.

These ten generators are the quietest ones available on the market today (I only reviewed the reliable ones here). We hope the generator reviews above have helped you narrow down your choices for the best generator for camping, your home, job site, or wherever you may need it.

Do you own a generator? Is your favorite missing from the list?

Let us know in the comments. Feel free to ask any questions you might have about generators.

Quiet Generators: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the absolute quietest portable generator on the market?

Right now, the absolute quietest portable generator on the market is the WEN 56125i.

It has a noise rating of 51 dB when operated at a 1/4-load. The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is right behind, with a noise rating of 51.5 dB.

Happily, the various makers of generators are continually competing to make their generators quieter.

That means that the quietest generator on the market may well change within a few years. However, they can only get so quiet. A generator will never be completely silent.

There are a number of portable generators with noise ratings below 60 dB. For reference, 60 dB is about the same noise level as restaurant chatter or office noise.

It’s important to note, though, that the dB levels of the generators at a 1/4-load does not tell you how loud the generator can potentially be. The noise level of any generator will increase as you add load.

As the wattage goes up, so does the noise.

Many generators have an eco-mode, like the Honda EU2200i, which offers more fuel capacity and efficiency, but this mode also typically will result in the quietest operation.

How much wattage do I really need?

How much wattage you need depends entirely on what you’re going to be using the generator for.

Everything you plug in will require a different number of running watts.

A cell phone charger, for example, only needs about 10 running watts. You should just use a solar generator for that watt-level. A microwave oven, on the other hand, will need around 750 watts.

To determine how much wattage you need in a generator, just add together the wattage of the things you expect to simultaneously plug into the generator.

Honda has a calculator to help you determine what wattage you should be looking for in your portable generator.

One way to maximize your power with portable generators is by hooking two generators together. Some of these quiet generators are parallel-capable and are ready to do this, essentially doubling your available wattage.

What is a cheap generator that isn’t too noisy?

The Westinghouse iGen1200 is the cheapest generator that stays relatively quiet.

It’s not the quietest portable generator available, but for the price point, it isn’t overly noisy. It doesn’t offer the most power, though.

If you need a bit more power, the Energizer eZV2200 is also pretty affordable and relatively quiet.

Which “quiet” inverter offers the most power?

Of the quiet portable generators, the Champion Digital Hybrid offers the most power by far, with a rated wattage of 3,500 watts.

This model also offers the longest runtime.

If you plan on powering several things at once and need a consistently large amount of power, the Champion generator is the best option for you.

It’s also parallel-ready so you could add another and potentially double that power.

However, the high power rating comes with a con: it’s the loudest of the quiet portable generators. At a 1/4-load, it has a noise rating of 64 decibels. While that’s definitely louder than other options, it’s still quieter than a typical garbage disposal.

If planning to consistently operate at a 100% load, though, and especially if you plan to run two generators in parallel, just be prepared for quite a bit of noise.

Can a muffler reduce generator noise?

A muffler makes a huge reduction in noise on vehicles, but can you use them elsewhere?

Yes, adding a muffler to your generator can possibly help reduce the noise level.

There are some mufflers available for purchase, but results vary.

It might not end up reducing your sound all that much. Another DIY option is to build an enclosure around your generator to dampen the sound.

Some generators recognize the value of a muffler and actually build it right into the design. The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is a great example of this. The muffler in this generator is what makes it so quiet.

Which quiet generator is best for an RV or camping?

There are a few important factors to consider when buying a generator for use in an RV.

It needs to be powerful enough. It needs to be quiet so as not to disturb others who might be parked or camping nearby.

Ideally, the RV generator will be RV-compliant, meaning it has a 120V 30A RV outlet built right in.

For these reasons, the Champion Power Equipment 100302 is a great option for a quiet RV generator, even though it is a bit louder than some other generator models for recreation vehicles.

Some generators don’t have this outlet built-in, but you can use an adapter.

For a camping trip where you’ll be close to other campers, you’ll probably want to use one of the very quietest generators, like the WEN 56125ior the Yamaha EF2000iSv2.

How is generator sound measured?

For our purposes, the quietness of the generators was measured at around 20 feet away.

The sound was measured with a tool called a Sound level meter.

A decibel (dB) is a unit that measures the intensity of a sound. The decibel scale is logarithmic, meaning it goes up in powers of ten.

This means that a jump from 60 dB to 70 dB means a sound that is ten times as loud. Therefore, moving up even a few numbers on the decibel-scale means a fairly significant jump in sound.

For this reason, if keeping noise to an absolute minimum is key for you, pay close attention to the decibel rating for any generator you are considering.

Top 10 Best Quiet Portable Generators

Honda EU2200i

1049.00
9

Noise

8.0/10

Reliability

10.0/10

Ease of Use

10.0/10

Value

8.0/10

Last update on 2020-09-30 Affiliate links & images from Amazon Product Advertising API

12 comments

  1. Thank you very much for giving us good advice, especially about the break-in of generators. My father did the same as you even when breaking in a new mower. He took the time to run it, change the oil, run it some more with a load, then change the oil and start using it. And, we had mowers that lasted until we wore out the other parts of the mower while the engine continued to outlive the all of the other neighbors’ mowers.

  2. I have a Northern Tool Power Horse inverter 2000 watt generator. It weighs 45 lbs and operates at 53 decibels which is comperable to a 2000watt Honda. It costs half the price of a Honda. Test one out and see how you would rate one. They come with the cable to link two together which is optional with Honda.

  3. We have a 4 year old Hyundai 2000 that runs very fairly quiet and efficiently. Do not get any complaints when we use it. It is very similar in design and noise level to the Yamaha, but was much less expensive than Honda and availsble at, believe it or not Wal-mart.

  4. I own the Honda 7000is and for it’s size a low 52 to a high 58dB noise level you can’t get it any better.

  5. As a Boondocker for 8 years now I have heard and seen them all…The ONLY problem rating the Chinese generators at 1/4 rpm and what looks like its quiet is that at full power which most people run them they are NOT quiet at all. Especially the really cheap generators that’s when the cheap eng components show why they are CHEAP piston slap rattling and exhaust fumes come into play.the term you get what you pay for comes to mind…Something to think about

    1. Hi Gary, you would simply plug your 120V shore plug straight to your generator and let the converter manage charging batteries. You may need an adapter if your generator does not have any 30amp RV socket though.

  6. I have the Yamaha. Use it everyday.
    Been using it since Irma and Maria kicked our butts. I have literally 1000’s of hours on this little beast. I change the oil and either clean the spark plug or put a new one in every weekend. Spark arrestor once a month. If you take care or it it’ll take care of you. I would definitely recommend this generator.

  7. Are these generators grounded? Is it safe to use them on appliances? My concern is that if they do not provide a ground, my body becomes the ground connection when I touch them….which could be deadly!
    Thank you.

  8. Hi
    I am looking to run a candy floss machine and slush puppy off a generator and 30 litre water urn which is the best and quietest or would you recommend individual generators for each item
    Carol

  9. Hello, Matt.

    Thanks for putting this together. I appreciate an SME on this.

    I live in a quiet-required community so sound level is a high priority. The Energizer eZV3200 looks very good but is it really quieter than the Honda?

    I’m wondering if surrounding (not burying) it in sandbags might cut down the noise, and perhaps I could find a muffler.

    With PG&E shutting California down every couple of weeks, a big gas tank is essential. Too bad there’s not a way to daisy-chain tanks without creating a fire hazard.

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