Last Updated on June 15, 2023 by Rod Olivares
In this post, you will get an in-depth guide and review of ten quiet portable generators. I have purchased and tested 4 of these personally and I have written over 70+ posts about generators. This is my most exhaustive.
TLDR: My premium pick for being very quiet, reliable and not too heavy is the: Honda EU2200i. It also will hold its value well over time.
The Honda is the quiet portable generator I bring on my boondocking RV camping trips around Oregon. If you want a truly silent generator, the battery powered EcoFlow Delta 1300 is my top pick for a very silent high powered solar generator.
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.
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, portable inverter generators?
1. Honda EU2200I
Honda’s EU2200I is the next-generation of the beloved EU2000i, the #1 bestselling generator of all time on Amazon.
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.
Check out my real world test I did out in rural Oregon of the Db level:
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.
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.
- 3-year warranty
- Compact & relatively lightweight
- Fuel-efficiency (long runtime)
- Reliable Honda Engine performance
- Handles surge loads well
- Great Reviews
- No External fuel indicator
IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
This generator has risen to the top because of its high-quality construction and consistently excellent performance.
More real world pics of my EU22200i:
2. 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 very light and easy to carry around. It feels cheaper than the Honda, because, well, it is! It has more of a plastic feel and vibrates more than my more expensive favorite pick. But, for around $700 less, it can be worth it if you just need a cheap, quiet 2,000 (1,700 sustained) watt pick.
Wen 56203i vs Honda 2200i
I took both my favorite quiet generators out to a field in Oregon to test how loud they sounded side by side:
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.
- 2-year warranty
- Extremely quiet
- Relatively lightweight
- Good gas efficiency
- CARB compliant
- Expensive per watt capacity
- No fuel indicator
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.
The Generac GP3500iO, powered by a 212cc gasoline-powered OHV 4-stroke engine, has an operating wattage of 3000W and a peak wattage of 3500W with a 120V output. You can use a typical pull-start technique to start the inverter generator. Generac’s PowerDial, an easy-to-use dial with three operating settings, is included. You can spend 10 hours on this generator, and it performs well, efficiently powering your camper and air conditioner.
I have a 7800 Watt generator that is significantly noisier and produces really dirty electricity. I had no idea what clean power was until some of my equipment began to fail. So I deliberately wanted an inverter generator for this purchase, and wow, is there a difference. I’m now confident in using this generator to power TVs, PCs, and freezers. My old 7800 weighed well over 200 pounds, and neither of us could lift it.
This generator is significantly quieter, lighter, and produces cleaner electricity. I looked at numerous generators, and one thing remained constant: a reputable brand with a high dependability rating within our budget. I wanted something that I could mount on a cart in our outside shed, where I’ll be able to operate it with the doors open. It only took three pulls of the trigger to get it started right out of the box, and it ran extremely smoothly. We can now operate a portable heat/AC unit in addition to our conventional refrigerator and freezer if necessary.
The device’s safety features include overload protection (circuit breaker) and an automated low oil shut-off, allowing you to operate it confidently. Several light indications tell when the generator is ready when overloaded and when the oil levels are low.
- Good warranty and support at a reasonable price
- Lightweight and very transportable
- You can use it as a commercial generator
- PowerDial technology included
- The power is shared between two circuits
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.
4. Sportsman GEN2000
The Sportsman GEN2000 is a small, lightweight, portable generator ideal for camping and tailgating lovers or amateur DIY enthusiasts. The device has an automatic low oil shut-off and an overload safeguard (circuit breaker) for added security, enabling you to use it with confidence.
A tool kit was provided in the GEN2000’s packaging, in addition to the standard set of paperwork and owner’s manual to get it run.
Run times are significant, but since they are dependent on fuel capacity, they should be evaluated with the device’s fuel consumption. This generator looked among the most fuel-efficient wattages, with an estimated gasoline consumption of 0.13 GPH (gallon per hour) at 50% load.
It seemed to have a rated power of 1000 watts rather than the stated 1400 watts. However, the fuel consumption test results are close to the supplier’s claims. After applying a load of roughly 500 watts, the governor took about 30 seconds to stabilize. Other load levels did not show this instability, and there is no heat barrier between the muffler and the alternator or fuel tank. In conclusion, for roughly $250, this small portable generator is a fantastic investment!
- Starting is a breeze
- On just 1.2 gallons, run for 9 hours at 50% load
- It continues to operate smoothly and for an extended period
- Oil filling is simple
- It comes with a one-year warranty
- Low oil shuts off the equipment, saving it from being destroyed.
- Generates some noise, although not too loud, at about 65 decibels
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.
5. DuroMax XP2300iH
The DuroMax XP2300iH’s dual-fuel technology allows for a 120V output and gives excellent power and adaptability. The gadget has a running wattage of 1800W and a starting wattage of 2300W when fuelled by gasoline. It produces 1700 rated watts and 2150 starting watts when driven by propane. The device is also parallel capable (parallel kit provided), connecting to a compatible machine for increased power.
The inverter generator has a traditional pull-start mechanism and has a noise rating of 52 dBA (only slightly louder than a quiet suburb). Because the DuroMax XP2300iH is an inverter generator, It looks more aesthetically pleasing than a traditional open-frame device.
Because this generator is just 50.6 lbs, it can accompany you and your power demands everywhere you go. Once it is on the ground, its two wheels and telescopic handle will enable you to relocate it quickly.
The XP2300iH‘s control panel has a digital data center that displays its condition and activities, including lifespan run hours, voltage, fuel level, power output, and frequency. In addition to this information, the light indications tell if the generator is ready, overloaded and if the oil levels are low.
I thought one of the best security features is its automatic low oil shut-off and overload protection (circuit breaker).
You can have this all-around, put it in the bucket of your tractor, and have electricity everywhere you go. You can also use it to back up the electrical grid, keep the refrigerator running, charge phones, or power gadgets efficiently.
- The pricing is within the anticipated range
- Parallel kit provided
- USB Type-C port
- Inverter with two fuel sources
- Quiet at 52 decibel
- Efficient use of fuel
- There is no electric start
IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
Not your traditional gas generator, but if you really need a quiet generator and not a long runtime, the EcoFlow Delta 1300 is as quiet as it gets.
6. Westinghouse iGen2200
The iGen2200 starts effortlessly with a cable pull and a simple turn of a knob. Thanks to the user-friendly control panel, you can easily browse various options and functions of each button, knob, and outlet. It is the perfect choice for even the most inexperienced generator user.
There are three settings on the power control knob: off, run, and choke, enabling you to choose the perfect setting rapidly. These lights indicate low oil, overload, and output readiness. A switch for efficiency mode is located underneath these lights. The generator may operate efficiently to get the most out of its fuel.
This generator also has two 5V DC USB connections for charging mobile phones and other modern devices. The plugs may be covered with an attached plastic cover when not in use.
Westinghouse iGen2200 is known to be extremely quiet, making it an excellent choice for people searching for a generator to operate in an area with noisy neighbors. Westinghouse has added an Efficiency Mode to save even more fuel. The engine RPM is adjusted to the current load requirements in this efficiency mode.
Generally, it looks like this generator is perfect because of its lightweight frame and low working volume. Generators are notoriously loud, but this one is among the quietest on the market, capable of getting you through a power outage without bothering your neighbors.
This inverter generator has the Westinghouse brand all on it, so you know it’ll be a top-notch product.
- Perfect for delicate gadgets including tablets, phones, laptops, and TVs
- Very quiet, operating at 52 decibels
- It may be used in tandem with other similar units to increase power
- The setup is quite simple
- Design is light and small, making it extremely simple to transport.
- No electric start
- No fuel gauge
IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
The Jackery 1000 is the largest nearly dead silent solar generator on the market. If you need to power appliances under 1,000 watts for a limited time quietly, it’s a great pick.
7. Champion Power Equipment 4000W Digital Hybrid
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.
- 3-year limited warranty plus free lifetime technical support
- RV ready
- CARB compliant
- Trusted brand in this space, a pleasure to work with
- Larger and heavier than other models here
- Noisier, but not by much considering the extra watts
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.
8. Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 PowerSmart Series 2200-Watt Inverter
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.
- Relatively lightweight and compact
- 2-year warranty
- Reliable engine maker
- Not as inaudible as it could be
- Missing fuel indicator
- Less than average efficiency
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.
9. Westinghouse WH2200iXLT
The Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Digital Inverter Generator is known for being one of the most dependable domestic generators ever made. It can easily power your whole house during a power outage, including your refrigerator, television, computer, lights, fans, phones, and more. This variant is also ideal for leisure vacations such as RVing, camping, and tailgating.
The Westinghouse WH2200iXLT is a more attractive generator than a traditional open frame generator. The generator features a modern design that makes it ideal for producing electricity for fun.
The WH2200iXLT is a lightweight portable generator, weighing just 43 pounds. Only one person can easily transport the generator, allowing it to be enjoyed on the go. Its handle (formed into the case) makes it easy to carry, adding to its convenience.
If you’re deciding between the 1000 and the 2000 model, spend the additional money on this one and you will be satisfied. It’s quicker to get going, can do bigger chores, and keeps the campsite noise under control.
- A number of extras are included
- Parallelism is possible
- Quiet because of its strength (52 dBA)
- It saves you money on gas
- The lack of a data center
- There is no electric start
The budget Westinghouse WH2200iXLT has some cons but the low cost and light weight make up for it, as long as you don’t need over 1,800 running Watts.
10. A-iPower 2300-Watt Inverter Generator
The SUA2300i from A-iPower is a revolutionary new small device with just enough power. It has a starting power of 2,300 watts and an operating power of 1,800 watts, which is more than enough for a portable device. This little model is powered by a 4-cycle OHV 79cc engine, making it suited for a variety of indoor and outdoor uses. This 2300-watt inverter generator can provide power for a camping vacation, a concert, or your RV.
Aside from the A-outstanding iPower’s inverter technology, the SUA2300i also has a parallel capability, allowing it to output almost double the power using parallel connections. It also offers a multi-switch capability that combines the START, RUN, and STOP for a more simple and straightforward startup procedure. It also comes with a built-in mobility kit that has a telescoping handle and flush wheels for optimal portability.
Before starting the engine, make sure all electrical items are disconnected from the outlets. Make sure the generator is on a flat surface and that it is well-ventilated. Before starting the engine, turn off the economy throttle switch. Turn the air vent knob to the ON position while holding the gasoline tank cover to prevent movement. Before pulling the recoil starter, set the multi-switch to START and grab the carrying handle. I’ve had various low-cost Honda clones before, but this is by far the best. I really like the gauges—fuel, power level, and so on—but particularly the gasoline gauge.
- Multi-switch capabilities
- Inverter technology that is both clean and efficient
- Recoil starts with a simple pull
- Mobility kit built-in
- Parallelism is possible
- A full break-in is required
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?
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.
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 gas generator on the market is the Honda EU2200i.
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 with your 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.
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.
Last update on 2023-09-20 Affiliate links & images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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