What do we want out of our generators? Yes, we want a reliable power source that is primed for fuel efficiency. But for those of us who love the outdoors, we also want (relative) quiet! Major generator manufacturers have taken note of this, and altered their engineering strategies so that they can be conscious of limiting the volume output from their generators. Unfortunately, they have also taken to advertising their generator’s decibel levels in a somewhat misleading way…
You see, there is no standard, agreed-upon distance from which their decibel level will read, so the number reported really depends on how the readings are taken by the manufacturers. The standard is measurement at a distance of 7 meters. But, just as often than not, this is not followed.
Basically, you should not invest too heavily in the reported dB rating given by a generator brand, and we are providing this well-researched and unbiased guide so that you can make an informed purchase.
In general, it is commonly agreed upon that inverter generators are, usually, the quietest generators. Some of these inverter generator are certainly quieter than others, but this also requires you to consider if the wattage is similar.
Here are five examples of volume conscious generators that also excel at other aspects used to judge the quality of portable generators.
WEN 56200i Inverter Generator
The WEN 2,000 Watt Inverter Generator produces clean, quiet, and efficient energy that manages to stay free from dramatic drops and voltage spikes. This generator runs so smooth that it is completely safe to run micro appliances such as televisions, laptops, cellphones, monitors, tablets and other electronics which are typically vulnerable to the surge of powerful generators.
In terms of volume, the the 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV engine is the cream of the generator crop. This WEN generator typically operates at a delicately quiet 51 decibels when running at quarter load. Such a low volume is actually quieter than your typical conversation. In terms of appliances, it is quieter than a window air conditioner. This low volume promotes a sense of peace that is rare to be cultivated while running power on hunting excursions, camping trips, tailgating events, or even when just restoring backup power. Many companies make self-substantiated claims that their generators run at such a low volumes, but this one is actually backed by The US Department of Health and Human Services.
This generator includes an Eco-Mode and is quite slick and stylish in appearance. Not to mention, the interface is attractive, and easy to understand and use. One simple cable is all that is required to hook one of these up to another WEN generator and double your power.
Available for $450-500, this is not only the quietest 2000-Watt generator you’ll find, it is hardly without a doubt that it is also the best generator to purchase if you are on a budget. It has one USB charging part, will run for 4 hours on half-load, and comes with a two year warranty.
Smarter Tools STAP-2000iQ
The Smarter Tools AP-2000iQ is powered with an acclaimed and imported Yamaha MZ80 Engine. It also runs whisper quiet, at 51 decibels, it is akin to the average volume in a quiet suburb or that of a household conversation. If you believe that silence is golden, this generator is about as close as you are going to get. This beautifully quiet volume, as well as some remarkable fuel efficiency, are the main reasons why Yamaha used the same engine in their widely appreciated (and significantly more expensive) generators. The the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have rated the AP-2000iQ’s Yamaha MZ80 Engine with the longest emission engine life ratings that they issue. At 47 pounds, this is a remarkably lightweight generator, which enhances the machine’s portability by a lot. It is also very easy to use.
Sensitive electronics need not fear the STAP-2000iQ, as it is built to accommodate them with features like a fuel gauge, USB charging outlet, easy access oil fill door, LED indicator lights, self venting gas cap and smart throttle. For small appliances and electronics, as well as larger, outdoor appliances.
Yamaha EF2000iS Inverter Generator
This imported Yamaha product is extremely powerful, conveniently portable, and amazingly efficient. By using an innovative inverter system The Yamaha EF2000iS Gas-Powered Portable Inverter manages to produce very impressive electrical output that is cleaner than what would be produced out of the plug sockets in a common home. Thanks to its innovative inverter system, the generator is able to generate up to 2,000 watts of clean AC power. When it is set to Economy Mode, this generator has the ability to run constantly for at least 10.5 hours on a single tank of fuel. The technologies that this wildly intelligent appliance use to maximize fuel efficiency are incredible, frankly, and you don’t have to worry about connecting anything to this generator. The EF2000iS also has the ability to recharge your batteries, so it can turn into an invaluable device to keep in your vehicle; whether it be a boat or a car, in the case that you were to break down at any point. Weighing 44 pounds, it is also conveniently a convenient size and weight to bring with you wherever you go.
As an impressive and high quality import, this generator is one of the most expensive 2000-Watt generators on the market, often costing up to $1000. At 51.5 decibels, this model is one half of a single decibel louder than the two generators previously mentioned in the post, but the other benefits that this machine brings to the table are impressive enough that, if you can afford it, that half of a decibel is absolutely a non-issue, and the generator is still not too far from being completely silent… This very well could be the best 2000-Watt generator that is currently on the market. Yamaha offers a three year limited warranty on this top of the line generator.
The Westinghouse WH2000iXLT is equipped with a digital inverter with less than 3% THD, making it great for use with sensitive electronics. It is color code, which makes it easy to operate, even for somebody who has never used a generator. Westinghouse Digital Inverter Generators are one of the quietest generators on the market, and this is no accident. Specific and innovative engineering has created design features like a dual muffler, asymmetrical fans, and an impressively insulated double acoustic hood; all of these factor into creating a 52 decibel generator, which is amazingly quiet.
The Westinghouse 2000iXLT Digital Inverter Generator is a light 43 pounds, quite compact, and a sufficiently powerful solution that meets the needs of the camper, the tailgater, and the average person in need of a 2000-Watt power supply. These Inverter Generators are quite effective as a multi-purpose power source, because they produce clean energy and don’t suffer from the erratic and volatile voltage spikes and drops which accompany your common generator. It is this which allows the generator to safely and dependably power computers, tablets, cell phones, and other delicate electronic devices without substantial risk. Fuel efficiency is prioritized in the design of the machine’s function, as Westinghouse Digital Inverter Generators do not run at one consistent engine speed, but regulate and match the load being put on the generator; this makes the device’s operation become conveniently economical. A 2-Year Limited Warranty is included in the price of purchase, as well as access to a nationwide network of product-specific support professionals. Usually priced around $500, this is a nice, quiet generator for someone on a budget.
Honda EU2000i Inverter Generator
This generator runs at anywhere between 53-59 decibels, which is an infintesimally small difference, in practice, than 51. Like the Yamaha listed before, this generator has a wide following of people who claim it to be one of the best 2000-Watt generators on the market, and would be a difficult point to argue. This is a 46 pound generator than can run for about 8 hours.
The Honda EU2000i also comes equipped with a special oil alert system that is of interest; the generator has an accurate sense of when its oil levels are too low, and when this comes to pass it will automatically switch itself off. It also boasts an impressive built-in circuit protection system which is so effective that you can be confident in your lack of worrying about overloading during operation. Even at a steep $1150, this generator’s durability, intelligence, and fuel efficiency is designed to be long lasting, sustainable, and affordable. Using inverter technology, this generator has the ability to produce clean power that is not different than that of a standard household outlet.
Honda offers a 36-month warranty if the generator has been used for residential purposes, and a 12-month warranty if it has been used commercially.
We have done our best to provide you with proper options for a very quiet generator, but remember that, if it’s still not as quiet as you’d like, you can also take other courses of action. These include operating your unit from further away, if possible, and you can also block and further muffle the sound coming from your portable generator with different sound absorbing materials. If you are not in a natural setting and aren’t specifically trying to listen to the songs of the birds and the silence of the woods, you can also put on your headphones and listen to your favorite tunes.