Quiet Generator Guide

championTHE best quiet generator is one that will deliver clean electricity power to your electronics, but won’t sound like a construction zone.   And yes, we’ve all had that experience before. Remember that last time when you were camping?  Remember, how you woke up to beautiful sounds of birds chirping in the morning air, only to be ruined by a loud constant chainsaw like sound from the RV in the adjacent site?  Yeah, don’t be that guy.

campingI get it.  When we’re out camping in the woods, we need a reliable means to power our life’s necessities.  Our cell phones need to be charged, we need air conditioning, we need to watch our favorite game on the LCD TV.  After all, we are creatures of comfort, right?   But that doesn’t mean we have to ruin the camping experience for others by being inconsiderate with the portable generators that we use.

In fact, today’s quietest generators are more advanced than ever before, with new technologies, these quiet generators also known as inverter generators enable whisper like hums during operation.  Inverter generators also provide clean AC power electricity that conventional generators often times don’t – this is important when powering sensitive electronics like your cellphone or your laptop.


Differences between a Conventional Generator and a Quiet Generator

There are two types of portable generator, the conventional generator and the inverter generator.  Both generators basically have two main components: an engine and an alternator.  The key difference between the two generators are how the engine and alternator are combined.


Conventional GeneratorInverter Generator
In the conventional generator, the engine and the alternator are two separate units that are coupled together.  The engine has to run at constant full speed (3600 RPM) to produce AC power, regardless of the load (or application you are using the generator for).  What this does is it causes the generator to consume more fuel and generate a lot of noise.   Imagine having your vehicle in park with the engine on, and image stepping on the gas pedal.  This is what the conventional generator is doing.
In the inverter generator, the engine and the alternator are two combined units.  This allows the quiet generator to be lightweight and compact when compared to the conventional generator.  In addition, the inverter generator has a digital electronic circuitry which throttles the engine speed whenever a different load is applied to the generator.  Say you are using a hair dryer (which draws a significant amount of power), the engine will spool up faster compared to when you are charging a cell phone.  This power on demand enables the generator to be more fuel efficient and less noise prone.  The generator also supplies clean AC power, so you can feel reassured when you power your sensitive electronics.

The electricity produced by the conventional generator is not as clean as the electricity you would get if you had plugged your appliance into an outlet in your home.  As a rule of thumb, it’s NOT RECOMMENDED to plug in any power sensitive electronics  like your laptop into a conventional generator.  When reliably powering sensitive electronics, use an inverter generator.

How loud is a portable generator?

In order to appreciate how quiet inverter generators are, we’ve put together a table listing the various magnitude of sounds and how that generator compares on that list.  Typically, generator manufacturers will provide a single number or a range of numbers for noise level, labelled in (decibel) dBA.   You’ll see noise level numbers like 59dBA or 53-59dBA.  When a range is provided, the manufacturer lists the noise level between the ¼ rated load and the full load (when the power output is at max).  Always be sure to evaluate at the highest noise level, that’s when the load is completely full.  Most popular 1000-2000W inverter generators will be no louder than a normal conversation at full load.

Sound Level (dBa)
Leaves Rustling20 dBaWhisper Quiet
Computer40 dBaVery Quiet
Inverter Generator55 dBaQuiet
Conversation60 dBaQuiet
Conventional Generator69 dBaModerate
Vacuum Cleaner70 dBaModerate
Alarm Clock80 dBaLoud
Lawn Mower90 dBaLouder
Motorcycle100 dBaVery Loud
Rock Concert110 dBaExtremely Loud

How much generator power do I need?

To understand how much power you need, you first need to understand the power ratings on the quiet generator.  Power output is provided by a Wattage rating and are specified in two output levels : Maximum power and Rated power.    Maximum power is the power at 100% output, this max power is usually available for 30 minutes or so.  The rated power is the power at 90% output, which is the output power that’s available over a long duration (under normal usage).

Inverter generators are typically classified under three categories: 1000W, 2000W, and 3000W+.

For light power usage, the 1000W quiet generators are able to power TVs, computers, small electronics including lights and fans.

For larger models, the 2000W quiet generators are ideal for coffee pots, microwave oven, hair dryers, and heaters.

For even larger models, the 3000W quiet generators will power almost everything, simultaneously, including your A/C unit.

Keep in mind however, to calculate the power capability you would need at under any one time, simply add up the wattages of each appliance or device  that you would use simultaneously.

It’s also important to note when calculating this, you’ll need to factor in that certain electronics will require significant power draw during the turn on period.  So the wattage when the appliance is first turned on is much higher than the wattage required to run the appliance.  Click here for a list of common electronic devices people often bring when camping, rving, or tailgating.

 Recommended Quiet Generators

Notable brands such as Honda and Yamaha are certain to be reliable products.  They have standard warranties and are the trusted names in the industry.  Other brands such as Hyundai, Genarac, Champion Power also have great ratings and reviews as well.

Noise Level
1000W55dBA30 lbs
2000W55dBA55 lbs
2200W65dBA50 lbs
3100W58dBA80 lbs
6300W65dBA200 lbs
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