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Buyers Guide & Information

Best Quiet Generators Reviewed

These are the top-rated models that provide great power without making much noise!

by JohnL

Buyers Guide & Information

Best Quiet Generators Reviewed

These are the top-rated models that provide great power without making much noise!

by JohnL

by JohnL

It can be so nice to plug in your phone at your campsite after a long day of hiking, or for bringing along your coffee pot from home for that freshly-brewed bliss that you've grown so accustomed to.

If you're in the market for a portable generator, the idea is to treat your campsite neighbors with some charging time or a cup of joe, not anger them with your portable noise-maker. In this guide, we've reviewed the quietest generators on the market for your next campout, tailgate, RV adventure, or simple power outage.

Image

Product

Engine Type

Noise Level

Check Price

Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt 120-Volt Super Quiet...

Honda EU2200i

Gasoline

48 dB at ¼ load

Westinghouse iGen2500 Super Quiet Portable...

Westinghouse iGen2500

Gasoline

52 dB

Honda Eu7000is Inverter Generator with Electronic...

Honda Eu7000is

Gasoline

52-58 dB

Atima AY2000i Portable Inverter Generator 2000...

Atima AY2000i

Gasoline

51.5-58 dB

Rainier R2200i Super Quiet Portable Power Station...

Rainier R2200i

Gasoline

52 dB

WEN 56225i Super Quiet 2250-Watt Portable Inverter...

WEN 56225i

Gasoline

53 dB

Champion 2000-Watt Stackable

Champion 2000-Watt Stackable

Gasoline

53 dB

Briggs & Stratton P3000 PowerSmart Series Inverter...

Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000

Gasoline

58 dB

Advantages of Owning Low Noise Generators

For this guide, we consider a quiet generator to be one that produces sound at 58 dB or below. This is about the level of a standard conversation, and you should easily be able to talk to someone while standing next to your generator.

The benefits of owning a quiet generator are pretty obvious; with the primary advantage being you won't upset your neighbors, or give yourself a headache.  I would recommend one of these generators to anyone who is planning on being in close quarters with other people (such as a tailgate party, camping at a state park, or the beach). They are also great if you plan to use them overnight while you sleep; for example, by powering a fan. 


How To Find a High-Quality Quiet Generator

Generator Size vs. Power Needs

Each generator can handle a specific number of watts, which we’ve covered in the specifications for each model in our list. You want to make sure you have the appropriate wattage for what your power needs are. For example, a 2200 watt portable generator will allow you to power one home appliance (fridge, window AC) or several small accessories (phone chargers, etc.) at a time. This article from Honda can help you estimate your power needs and determine the best sized generator for your intent.

Noise Level

The noise level of generators is measured in decibels (dB), and the higher the number of decibels, the louder you can expect your generator to be. To find a quiet generator, we recommend finding a unit that is 58 dB or lower. This sound is comparable to that of a central AC system or running refrigerator.

Fuel Efficiency/Runtime

When purchasing a generator, you will want to make sure that you find a unit that is as fuel-efficient as possible, especially if you'll be going camping off-grid and will have a limited supply of fuel. We've detailed the runtime of each model, but please beware that runtime will vary greatly depending on if you're running the generator at max output. For example, our top choice for quiet generator, the Honda EU2200i, can run for about 8 hours when at ¼ load, but will only last for about 3 at max capacity.

Power Output

The power output for a generator is measured in watts, and the higher the wattage, the more you can expect the generator to power. To make sure that you don’t overload your generator, use this handy chart from Absolute Generators to see approximately how many watts average household items and power tools use.

Portability

For many, portability is vital when it comes to generator use. As a rule of thumb, the smaller a generator is, the easier it is to travel with. The caveat, of course, is that these smaller generators also have smaller fuel tanks and need to be refueled more often. If you’re planning to use your generator for camping or tailgating, consider purchasing a handheld generator with a tank capacity of about 1 gallon. If you’re planning to use your generator more around your home for projects or backup electricity, consider something larger like the Honda EU7000, which is still portable enough to wheel over to your neighbor's house, but too big for loading in your car.

Build Quality & Durability

Naturally, you will want to purchase a product that is built to last, and it is our mission to help you achieve that goal. When it comes to the build quality and durability of portable generators, the important thing to know is that these generators are not made to withstand the elements like permanently placed generators. They must stay as dry as possible to work, and may never be run in an enclosed space due to carbon monoxide release. If you will be using your generator in a damp location, consider propping it up on bricks and using an appropriate tarp over the top of it.

Price & Warranty

When shopping around for a portable generator, you'll quickly see that the price is usually directly in line with how much power output the unit has. Portable generators can range from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand, so it is critical that you first decide your power needs and the type of generator you want. In terms of the warranty, we recommend looking for a generator that has at least a 2-year warranty for your peace of mind.


8 Best Quiet Generators Reviewed

1. Honda EU2200i

Best Quiet Generator for Camping

Engine Type

Gasoline

Noise Level

48 dB at ¼ load

Fuel Tank Capacity

0.95 gallons

Starting & Running Watts

2200 Watts / 1800 Watts

Weight

46.5 lbs.

Warranty

Yes, 3 Year Warranty

When it comes to whisper quiet generators, Honda is a brand name that you can trust, as they are consistently working to improve the quality and integrity of their products. The model we review here, the EU2200i, is an upgraded version of Honda’s EU2000i. The real kicker is that this superior model won’t cost you more.

Honda remarks, “Zero compromises. The EU2200i is all about more, except when it comes to weight or noise.”

At just under 47 lbs., the EU2200i is exceptionally portable. It's compact design and sturdy carrying handle are just two reasons we've named this product the best quiet generator for camping. Because let's face it – even going off-grid, it's challenging for us to not want at least a little bit of power.

When running at ¼ load, this quiet generator produces a mere 48 dB sound. For comparison, that’s quieter than your running refrigerator at home – you certainly won’t need to worry about waking your neighbors.                                                                                   

This generator is ideal for charging your phone, running a box fan, or powering your coffee pot in the morning. It’s not intended for heavy use, so tell your teenage son to leave his video games at home during your next campout.

With its 0.95 gallon tank, you can expect about 3.2 hours of runtime when used at max capacity. When using only ¼ load, users have noted that it can last up to 8 hours. If red is not your style, Amazon also offers this model in camo.

Pros

  • Extremely portable design
  • Whisper quiet at 48 dB
  • Comes with Honda's 3-year warranty
  • Trusted brand

Cons

  • Expensive for a portable generator
  • The fuel-switch went through a recall and needed to be replaced. Buyer beware on older versions of this model.

2. Westinghouse iGen2500

Best Quiet Caravan Generator

Engine Type

Gasoline

Noise Level

52 dB

Fuel Tank Capacity

1 Gallon

Starting & Running Watts

2500 Watts / 2200 Watts

Weight

48 lbs.

Warranty

Yes, 3 Year Warranty / Lifetime Technical Support

 When it comes to your next tailgate party or road trip, you can rely on the Westinghouse iGen2500 to power your devices on the go, whether it be a Crock-Pot to keep your famous chili warm or a laptop to play your favorite tunes.

We've rated the iGen2500 as the best quiet caravan generator because, at just 52 dB, you and your guests will hardly know it's there; the only thing you'll need to shout over is the kids bickering over who gets the last hot dog. 

One of the nicest perks of this Westinghouse generator is that you have the ability to link two together for double the power (although the Westinghouse Inverter Parallel Cord is sold separately).

This is a great option if you require portability and increased power simultaneously, because it’ll save your back from lugging larger machines, like the iGen4500. On the Westinghouse website, over 900 5-star reviews speak for themselves.

User Damon was especially happy with his experience with Westinghouse customer service. “When the generator arrived it started great and generated electricity as expected, but one of the LED indicators was not working. I called Westinghouse and they were very responsive. They immediately sent me a new generator and also sent me a shipping label to ship the other one back. I am impressed with the performance of this generator...and it was only 40% of the cost of Honda!”

Pros

  • Can be linked with more than one with the Westinghouse Inverter Parallel Cord
  • Less expensive than comparable models
  • Includes several safety features, including low-oil shutoff
  • Can run for 10 hours

Cons

  • Some items seem to burn through the fuel faster than others
  • Needs new oil relatively frequently

3. Honda Eu7000is

Best Quiet Home Generator

Engine Type

Gasoline

Noise Level

52-58 dB

Fuel Tank Capacity

5.1 Gallons

Starting & Running Watts

7000 Watts / 5500 Watts

Weight

261 lbs.

Warranty

Yes, 3 Year Warranty

Honda is a pretty exceptional brand when it comes to super quiet generators, and the EU7000 is the second Honda product on our list – this time as the best quiet home generator. When a storm or natural disaster has left your home without power, it can be such a relief to restore electricity to your refrigerator and other essential household items.

But sometimes generators can create so much noise that the headache we get from keeping our food cold just isn't worth it. With the EU7000, noise is not an issue, because this home generator runs at about 52-58 dB (or about the same as a standard conversation).

At 261 lbs., you won't want to be moving this generator around too often. It does come standard with convenient fold-out handles and a wheel kit, though. So, if you have to load it up and take it across town to help a friend, it shouldn't be too much of a hassle, as long as you have a suitable trailer and ramp.

It should be noted that Honda does not intend for this generator to be used with your home’s air conditioning. It will power a window unit, sure, but your central cooling needs will have to wait until power is restored to your home.

Pros

  • 5.1-gallon tank can run 6-18 hours, depending on load size
  • Can be professionally re-tooled to a propane tank
  • Electronic fuel injection for better fuel efficiency and less maintenance for you

Cons

  • Heavy at 261 lbs.

4. Atima AY2000i

Top Portable Model

Engine Type

Gasoline

Noise Level

51.5-58 dB

Fuel Tank Capacity

1 Gallon

Starting & Running Watts

2000 Watts

Weight

50.7 lbs.

Warranty

Yes – 2 Year Warranty

When searching through quiet portable generator reviews, it was no surprise when the Atima AY2000i kept coming up as a top choice for the best portable quiet generator.

According to the company, “ATIMA is a leading designer and manufacturer of portable inverter generators. ATIMA generators give you the power you need to meet all of your energy needs. Whether recreational or professional, ATIMA will be there.”

Topping out at about 58 dB, you can expect this portable generator to be about as loud as a box fan; you should have no problem having a conversation right next to it. A Yamaha motor powers it, and the company markets the AY2000i as “45% more compact and 30% lighter than a standard portable generator.” With the ergonomic handle, you’ll have no problem bringing this generator along for your next tailgate or camping trip. At ¼ load, the generator can run for over 10 hours.

Although great for small appliances like blenders, coffee makers, and portable radios, some users have complained that the Atima AY2000i cannot keep up with their RV’s AC or larger appliances. If that if your goal, I recommend purchasing two of these units and hooking them up parallelly.

Pros

  • Compact design is easy to carry
  • Yamaha motor comes standard
  • Can run over 10 hours at ¼ load
  • Priced competitively

Cons

  • May not be able to handle larger appliances like RV AC

5. Rainier R2200i

Best For Tailgating

Engine Type

Gasoline

Noise Level

52 dB

Fuel Tank Capacity

1.3 Gallons

Starting & Running Watts

2200 Watts / 1800 Watts

Weight

44 lbs.

Warranty

Yes – 3 Year Warranty

Be the hero of your next tailgate party when you bring along the Rainier R2200i, which we’ve named the best quiet tailgate generator. Whether you're firing up the Crock-Pot or blasting out the latest tunes, the R2200i has got you covered. At just over 44 pounds, this product is a breeze to pack along and works great at supplying power to even your most sensitive electronics.

One of my favorite features of the R2200i is the helpful LED indicator lights that show you when the generator is output ready, has low oil, or has overloaded. As a reminder, please only plug in your devices after the generator is up and running, to prevent overload on start-up.

The noise rating for this model is 52 dB, but it should be noted that this sound was measured at almost 22 feet away. If you need to have it right next to you at your next tailgate, we recommend bringing some sort of sound buffer for added dampening. Rainier products are exclusively sold on Amazon, so you won't find them in your average big-box store. If you're looking for a home back-up generator, then check out the Rainier R12000DF, which uses dual fuel.

Pros

  • Easy to transport and carry along with ergonomic design
  • Helpful LED indicator lights
  • Up to 13 hours runtime on 1.3-gallon tank
  • Can be used as an emergency backup to your sump pump, fridge, or freezer (when used separately)

Cons

  • Oil changes can be challenging and messy

6. WEN 56225i

Best Quiet Generator for RV

Engine Type

Gasoline

Noise Level

53 dB

Fuel Tank Capacity

1 Gallon

Starting & Running Watts

2500 Watts / 1800 Watts

Weight

48.5 lbs.

Warranty

Yes – 2 Year Warranty

The WEN 56225i is a favorite among RV enthusiasts, primarily because two of these portable units can be run parallel to almost completely power your campsite. We've labeled it the best quiet generator for RV because it runs at just 53 dB when powered at ¼ load, meaning you'll be able to get some shut-eye while it is running (and perhaps more importantly, so will your neighbors).

At 1800 running watts, this unit is ideal for running your RV's air conditioner and a small microwave – essentials of life on wheels. Its portability will also come in handy when your home is without power due to a storm.

One Florida resident shares that, “Over the years I've owned several generators... none as quiet or as portable as this Wen 56225i. It’s easy to start and has a gas shut-off feature that drains the carburetor before shutting off. This prevents sludge from clogging the carburetor during storage... arguably a portable generator's most common cause of failure. It will easily power a 5000 BTU air conditioner, run my well and keep a small refrigerator cold.”

Some users have mentioned that this generator is taller than other portable generators. It does have a 19" height that does make it a little more challenging to store onboard your RV, but in my opinion, the height does make it easier to carry. A 2-year warranty backs this product, and many customers have expressed that Wen customer service is top-notch in troubleshooting.

Pros

  • Only 53 dB when running at ¼ load
  • Easy to maneuver with portable handle design
  • Starts fast – usually the first or second pull
  • Cheaper than brand-name models

Cons

  • Taller than other portable generators, making it more difficult to store
  • Some users say that you will hit a power surge at just 1600 watts

7. Champion 2000-Watt Stackable

Champion 2000-Watt Stackable

Champion 2000-Watt Stackable

Quietest 2000 Watt Generator

Engine Type

Gasoline

Noise Level

53 dB

Fuel Tank Capacity

1 Gallon

Starting & Running Watts

2000 Watts / 1700 Watts

Weight

48.5 lbs.

Warranty

Yes – 3 Year Warranty

When it comes to the best 2000 watt quiet generator, look no further than the Champion 2000-Watt Stackable. Yes, you read that correctly. The unique and innovative design of this US-made portable generator allows you to stack two generators together, making for an even smaller footprint at your next gathering.

Out of the box, this quiet Champion generator comes with your first bottle of engine oil, so the only thing you need is your gasoline to get started. The rugged design makes this unit ideal for using at your outdoor worksite, for camping or tailgating. Running at just 53 dB at 23 feet, you’ll probably wonder if it’s even running at all.

The generator features two 120V outlets and a 12V DC outlet. The parallel kit also comes with a 30A RV outlet. When used at a ¼ load, the generator can perform solidly for up to 9 hours on a single tank of gas.

It should be noted that the folks at Champion do not recommend this model for the following: home air conditioning, furnace, stoves, or sump pumps. For these items, I recommend looking at the Champion Digital Hybrid Series. To see this Champion inverter generator in action, watch this video from the company.

Pros

  • Unique stackable design
  • Parallel kit comes with hookup for RV
  • Made in the USA
  • Comes with your first bottle of engine oil

Cons

  • Running for than 1000 watts will make the noise increase significantly

8. Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000

Best 3000 Watt Quiet Generator

Engine Type

Gasoline

Noise Level

58 dB

Fuel Tank Capacity

1.5 Gallons

Starting & Running Watts

3000 Watts / 2600 Watts

Weight

54.6 lbs.

Warranty

Yes – 2 Year Warranty

The title for best 3000 watt quiet generator has to go to the Briggs & Stratton P3000, which produces an impressive 2600 watts running power within a generator that is less than 55 lbs. It’s also easily the most portable generator on our list.

In addition to it’s carrying handle, this model also features a telescoping pull-handle and 6” Never-Go-Flat wheels. The P3000 has the power to run all of your essentials during your next power outage or camping trip, with the unit featuring four 120V outlets, one DC outlet, one USB outlet, and a parallel port.

In addition to being easy to use, the P300 by Briggs and Stratton is also easy to maintain. An LCD screen on the face of the unit will show you maintenance reminders such as when its time for oil, air filter, or spark plug changes. It will also give you a readout of how much power you're currently using and total working hours.

In his 5-star review, user DallasNeal tells us, “We used this beauty for 4 days straight after hurricane Irma. Ran our side by side fridge and a 12,000 BTU portable A/C unit at the same time. [We] also use it to power our travel trailer's 15,000 BTU A/C and the fridge. Other campers and home neighbors have commented on how quietly it runs. When it's loaded it up, it is noisy. Running 1,500 watts or so it just purrs along.”

Pros

  • Telescoping handle and wheels included
  • Helpful LCD screen gives maintenance reminders and activity notifications
  • Includes four 120V outlets, one DC outlet, and one USB port
  • Can hold a full 1.5 gallons of fuel

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than comparable models

Standard vs Inverter Generators

A standard conventional generator is what you would purchase if you were looking to back-up the power in your home during a power outage. These larger units have more power, but they aren't as portable as inverter generators.

Inverter generators, according to Consumer Reports, “electronically throttles the engine up and down to meet demand instead of running full tilt all the time. The resulting improvement in efficiency means that you won’t have to fill up the gas tank as often. Inverter generators also produce lower emissions and are generally very quiet.”

This article from Tractor Supply goes into more detail regarding the differences between these two generator types. 


Setting Up a Quiet Generator

The most important thing to remember when setting up your generator is that it must not be used in an enclosed space. Portable generators have to be ventilated outdoors so that there is space for the carbon monoxide to go.

Each generator will work a little bit differently, and we always recommend reading your user manual completely before starting. Here are a few tips for setting up a quiet generator:

  1. 1
    Set up your generator on a solid surface, and make sure that nothing is already plugged into it before starting it up.
  2. 2
    Make sure the generator is not too close to other objects, especially tents.
  3. 3
    Check that the fuel and oil levels are adequate for starting your generator.
  4. 4
    Start the generator.
  5. 5
    Plug in your devices and watch carefully to make sure you do not overload the generator.

Tips for Reducing Generator Noise

The easiest way to reduce generator noise is to pay attention to the dB levels of the generators you're looking at and purchase a quieter model. If you're already in a bind with a noisy generator, here are a few tips on how to make your generator as quiet as a cricket:

  • Add padding beneath the generator to reduce vibrations.
  • Make sure that all screws and bolts are secured tightly with each use.
  • Create a sound wall in front of your generator using cinder blocks.
  • Make a quiet generator muffler, as seen in this YouTube video:

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of maintenance is needed for quiet generators?
All of the generators on our list will slightly vary in the maintenance that they need, and we recommend thoroughly reading your user’s manual. In general, though, generators require regular fuel cleaning (always store away empty, if possible), oil changes, and filter changes.
What safety steps should one take when running a generator?
When it comes to generator safety, there are three critical rules, which are pictured here in this infographic from Consumer Reports. In addition, we always recommend turning on the generator before you plug any of your appliances into it, and allowing your generator to completely cool before you refuel it.
generator infographic

image source: consumerreports.org

How long do quiet generators last?
On average, a generator is built to last at least 5 years. With excellent care, your generator can easily last you a decade or more. We recommend purchasing a generator with a solid warranty for extra peace of mind.
How much does a quiet generator cost?
Depending on your power needs, the best quiet generators can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Products with more extended warranties are often more expensive, but we would recommend them over inferior products every time.
Are these generators expensive to run?
Yes, generators can be expensive to run, which is the primary reason that we use them sparingly when the power goes out, or we're off-grid. The actual cost will vary depending on your fuel source and the going rate of that fuel. In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $52 to over $200 for a full day’s worth of running.
Can I use a muffler on a generator to further reduce noise?
Yes, it is possible to use a muffler on your generator to further reduce noise. Since we focus on quiet generators in this article, and most of the products we look at are already at or under the decibel level of a running refrigerator, we find that the effort to further reduce noise is not worth it. Using a muffler will using decrease the noise level by about 10 dB.

Conclusion

Some people pass on buying a generator altogether because they think that the noise isn’t worth it. That doesn’t have to be the case, as you can see in our guide to super quiet portable generators. When it comes to the cream of the crop, we can’t recommend the Honda EU2200i enough. Honda has gone above and beyond with improving this product, and the outcome shows.

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