Updated: January 6, 2021

3 Tips to Make Your Generator More Quiet

by Charles Jasper

Generators are a great addition to your emergency supplies. They are handy to have, easy to use, and provide the convenience of having electricity wherever you may need it. Some generators are even powerful enough to run your entire house in the event of a power outage.

Unfortunately, many generators are also rather loud. If your generator is powered by diesel, you may even struggle to have a conversation while standing near it. Today’s technology has improved, though, and there are now inverter generators on the market that are very quiet.

Whatever kind of generator you end up with, you may find yourself in situations that require a quieter generator. You may end up at a campsite that requires that your generator operates below a specific decibel level. Even if you are just using your generator in your own back yard, you may want to keep it quiet enough to allow for conversation or to listen to music.

Box It Up

Tips to Make Your Generator More Quiet

There is a wide range of boxes available online that will quiet your generator. Most of them are soundproof and will dampen the noise considerably. Other boxes are designed to specifically redirect the noise away from wherever you expect people to gather.

If you are someone who enjoys working with their hands, you may even want to build your own. You can design it yourself or use a schematic found online. YouTube videos are also available to assist with your build. Just be sure to leave room for the exhaust.

Pros to Boxes

  • This is an easy way that you can drop the noise level of your generator.
  • It will work with any generator. Just buy or build the right sized box for your machine
  • It can also offer shelter and protect your generator from the elements.

Cons to Boxes

  • They are bulky and add a lot to what you will need to carry around with you to keep your generator running the way you want it to. This means that they may not be the best option if the purpose of your generator is for power while you travel.
  • They must be properly ventilated. Because generators produce carbon monoxide, it is very important that their exhaust be free and clear to vent this poisonous gas. Most boxes have a specific hole build for the exhaust to escape through. You will want to be very aware of this and stay away from that area to avoid breathing noxious fumes.

The ready-to-use boxes available on the market today come in a wide range of styles and set-ups. Some boxes open along one side to allow you to move a portable generator in and out of the box that way. Other boxes open from the top and require that you lift the generator out of the box.

Tips to Make Your Generator More Quiet

Many home-built boxes are designed with the opening below the box so that the box can be lifted above the generator and then lowered around it. Some people have even limited their build to just walls that act as sound barriers to drive the noise up instead of out. These walls can be easier to transport, though they won’t reduce the noise as much as a full box does.

Ultimately, boxes are one of the easiest and most flexible options when looking at ways to quiet your generator. They can even be very stylish if you choose to build it yourself. Occasionally, someone will use a soundproofing box to turn their generator into a decorative masterpiece.

Place it with Care

Most generators come with an advertised sound level. Somewhere on the generator or in the manufacturer’s manual will be a decibel rating. Take a look at that section very carefully and you likely find and additional note that refers to the distance at which the sound was measured. For example, if your generator’s decibel rating has “10m” near it, that means that the manufacturer measured the decibel level while standing 10 meters away from the generator.

Location

If you are running your generator closer than the distance listed with the decibel rating, then you will experience a higher noise level. With this in mind, consider the location of your generator. Bringing down the volume may be as simple as using a longer extension cord that will allow you to place the generator further away.

Aim

The direction that the generator is facing can also impact the volume of sound that you experience. Most generators have a muffler and an exhaust. Use the manual provided by your manufacturer to identify those parts. If you arrange your generator so that the exhaust is pointing away from your worksite, party, or gathering, then your generator will sound quieter.

Base

What is under your generator will also impact the amount of noise that it produces. A generator placed on a hard surface, especially one that is susceptible to vibrations will make it even louder than usual. Metal, concrete, or any kind of loose base can really amp up the sound of your generator’s engine.

You can make this work for you instead of against you by choosing the right surface on which to place your generator. You can even purchase a rubber mat to put under it or add padding to the sides of it to dampen the noise. If you are choosing to add insulation, be sure that it is fireproof.

While many generators come with rubber feet, be sure that yours are still in place. If they are not, or if your generator does not have rubber feet, adding them is also a great way to ensure that the surface under the generator doesn’t add to the cacophony.

Generator Accessories

If you have owned your generator for any length of time, or even if you just did your research before buying your generator, it is likely that you discovered at least some of the seemingly infinite number of accessories available to pair with all styles of generators. You can add everything from wheels to a remote starter to your generator, and that’s good news for noise reduction.

Tips to Make Your Generator More Quiet

There is a whole category of accessories available to reduce the sound produced by the various style of generators. Some are very easy to install on just about any style of generator. Other accessories are more specifically designed to work with specific generators. A few accessories may require professional installation, so keep that in mind when considering what will work best for you.

The most common accessory that you will find to help reduce the noise produced by your generator is a new or upgraded muffler. Since the majority of sound produced is coming from the engine and the exhaust, choosing a larger muffler will allow your generator to make less noise.

You can also add to the exhaust pipe to make it easier to point toward the sky. By making the exhaust vertical, you aim more of the noise up. This prevents it from traveling out and limits how much of it we are able to hear. Some generators will come with the ability to make this adjustment, but others may require an accessory to make it possible.

Since the placement of your generator will directly impact how much of its noise you perceive, consider adding longer extension cords to your supplies. Simply moving your generator farther from camp will often bring down the volume by quite a bit. When you purchase extension cords to be used with your generator, be sure that they are rated for the same number of amps as your generator.

Summary

Generators are a great way to provide power when the lights go out or on locations that are far from public utilities. Whether you are using a lightweight portable inverter generator or a super-powerful diesel generator, there may be situations that warrant reducing the sound produced by your machine. There are many options available to help with this issue.

For some users, a baffle box that is designed to soundproof around the generator is the way to go. Those who like that idea but aren’t willing to cart around a box may find sound barrier walls to be the right choice for them. Adding rubber to the base of the generator is an easy way to reduce the noise, and simply being aware of the placement of the generator along with the direction that the exhaust is aimed can go a long way toward reducing the sound produced.

Choosing the right method to quiet your generator can be challenging, but with a little bit of consideration, you can find what works best for you. It will likely be some combination of accessories, placement, and perhaps a sound barrier or box. Once you have your generator arranged with the sound-reducing steps in place, you’ll be able to enjoy all of the convenience without the noise disturbance no matter which generator you are running.