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 a number of generators on the market that are remarkably quiet. After some testing and research, I’ve compiled a list of the 10 quietest portable generators.
|Picture||Generator||Rated Wattage||Noise Level (1/4 load)||Product Weight||Estimated Runtime @ 500W load|
|Honda EU2200i||1600W Rated||53 dB||45.6 lbs||9.6 Hours||WEN 56125i||1600W Rated||51 dB||48 lbs||9.6 Hours|
|Champion Digital Hybrid||3500W Rated||64 dB||81 lbs||31.5 Hours|
|Generac IQ2000||1600W Rated||53 dB||46.2 lbs||9.12 Hours|
|Atima AY2000i||1600W Rated||52 dB||47.41 lbs||8 Hours|
|Yamaha EF2000iSv2||1600W Rated||51.5 dB||44.1 lbs||8 Hours|
|Energizer eZV2200||2000W Rated||59 dB||77 lbs||8 Hours|
|Briggs & Stratton P2200||1700W Rated||59 dB||54.6 lbs||6.8 Hours|
|Westinghouse iGen1200||1000W Rated||58 dB||35 lbs||7.2 Hours|
|Energizer EV3200||2800W||52 dB||96 lbs||21 Hours|
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 things like 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 a number of different features. There’s an option for every need.
Honda EU2200I Super Quiet Portable 2000 Watt - #1 Bestseller for a Reason
Honda’s EU2000I is the #1 Bestseller on Amazon in its category. It’s also extremely well-reviewed by fans. The red and black generator is quite compact and lightweight, and it has a convenient carry handle.
The Honda EU2000I isn’t the quietest generator on the market, but it comes pretty close. At a quarter load, the 53 decibels of sound are produced by this generator is about the equivalent 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 you have other people near you. It’s great for camping and tailgating.
It is an inverter, so it’s safe for more sensitive electronics.
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.
WEN 56125i 2000-Watt Portable Inverter - The Quietest Generator
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 56200i’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.
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 2000-watt generators, this one offers twice that, at 4000-watts.
It also has a bigger 2.9-gallon fuel tank and an incredibly long runtime. The hybrid design and the Economy Mode add to the fuel efficiency.
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 really frustrating to not have it.
It’s nice to be able to glance at this and just 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.
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.
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 2000W, 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.
Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Portable Inverter - A Cool Design and Hot Performance
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 the 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.
There is a fuel gauge to help you keep an eye on how much power you’ve got left before you need to refill.
This is one of the quietest types of generators because of the muffler and spark arrestor.
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 2000-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, and this larger capacity means it has a decent runtime even when you’re not using the eco-mode option.
The inverter keeps sensitive electronics safe.
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.
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.
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.
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 1000-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 has a proven track record for consistent performance.
As long as you don’t need a ton of power, this generator should serve you well.
Energizer eZV3200 Generator - Pricy 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.
This adds a lot to the convenience and ease of use factor.
This generator is quite heavy at 96 pounds, but it has a built-in handle and wheel kit, making it one of the easiest generator to transport despite the weight.
Buying Guide for Quiet Portable Generators
Power outages can happen anywhere and at any time which is why it is so important always to be prepared. 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?
So, how loud is a quiet generator? A quiet generator will typically operate between 50-65 dBA or even lower. To give you a better idea of how quiet this is, that number is quieter than the noise produced by a running refrigerator or an air conditioner. Also, 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, where sound and heat are generated. For this reason, it needs some kind of cooling system for it to stabilize as well. Some generators can have either an air-cooled engine or liquid-cooled engine.
Other sources of the noise can be found 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. This is another way to counteract the higher noise levels produced by your generator. It helps with both sound absorption and deflection. However, you need to also make sure there is enough airflow, so the generator doesn’t overheat. Enclosures have been found to 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.
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.
A constant loud noise can disrupt your enjoyment of whatever you’re doing, and it can turn you into that annoying neighbor that you don’t want to be.
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 10 are the quietest ones available on the market today (I only reviewed the reliable ones here). We hope these 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 as well.
Generators: Frequently Asked Questions
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 have been competing to continually make their generators quieter.
That means that the quietest generator on the market may well change within a few years. However, there’s only so quiet they can get. A generator will never be completely silent.
There are a number of portable generators that have a noise rating of 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 which offers more fuel capacity and efficiency, but this mode also typically will result in the quietest operation.
How much wattage you need depends entirely on what you’re going to be using the generator for.
Everything you plugin will require a different number of running watts.
A cell phone charger, for example, only needs about 10 running watts.
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.
This will essentially double your available wattage.
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.
Of the quiet portable generators, the Champion Digital Hybrid offers the most power by far, with a rated wattage of 3500 watts.
This model also offers the longest runtime.
If you plan on powering several things and 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 potentially double that power.
However, the high power rating comes with a con of being 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.
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 are varied.
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.
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 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.
Because of this fact about how sound intensity is measured, moving up even a few numbers on the decibel-scale means a fairly significant jump in sound.
For this reason, if keeping your noise to an absolute minimum is key for you, you should pay close attention to the decibel rating for any generator you are considering.
A generator can and should last a long time. The key to longevity is maintenance.
It’s helpful to think of a generator like a car. You need to perform regular maintenance like oil changes to keep your car on the road, and your generator needs that same kind of attention.
It’s important to read the manual and follow the maintenance instructions carefully. This includes things like changing the oil and filters.
Many of the most common problems people have with generators are caused by not taking proper care of them.
A generator is an investment. In addition to the initial cost, you need to invest energy and attention over time. When you do, you’ll be able to count on consistent performance for a very long time.