What’s the Quietest Generator?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re using your portable generator to power your RV or if you’re using it to keep the lights and beer refrigerator going at your epic tailgate. You want your generator to provide power, and you want it to do so without making it impossible for you to hear what’s going on around you. Having a generator that makes a ton of noise is no fun. Thankfully, manufacturers have heard you and are coming out with generators that are so quiet, you barely know they’re on.

But navigating your way through all of these types of generators can be a little difficult. What size, what power rating, and what if you already have a generator and you just want some advice on how to quiet a generator down a little? We’ve got you covered. First we’ve got a slew of the quiet generator reviews for you to read, then we’ve got an in-depth guide on how to pick an ultra quiet generator and how to make yours even quieter. With our help, you’ll be wondering if you remembered to turn on your generator too.

Quiet Generator Reviews

Generac 7127 iQ3500
  • 3.5 Customer Rating
  • Generac 7127 iQ3500
  • Watts: 3000 Running/3500 Peak Starting
  • Tank Size: 2.6 gallon tank
  • Decibels: 55 decibels @ 21 feet
  • Dimensions: 23.7 x 18 x 21.7 in
  • Weight: 109.1 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 Year

Honda EU3000iS
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • Honda EU3000iS
  • Watts: 2800 Running/3000 Peak Starting
  • Tank Size: 3.4 gallon tank
  • Decibels: 49 to 57 decibels @ 21 feet
  • Dimensions: 19.9 x 18.2 x 16.9 in
  • Weight: 131 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 Year

WEN 56202i
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • WEN 56202i
  • Watts: 1700 Running/2000 Peak Starting
  • Tank Size: 1 gallon tank
  • Decibels: 51 decibels @ 21 feet
  • Dimensions: 17.3 x 11.5 x 17.7 in
  • Weight: 38.6 lbs
  • Warranty: 2-year

Westinghouse iGen2200
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • Westinghouse iGen2200
  • Watts: 1800 Running/2200 Peak Starting
  • Tank Size: 1.2 gallon tank
  • Decibels: 52 decibels @ 21 feet
  • Dimensions: 19.69 x 11.22 x 17.91 in
  • Weight: 46.3 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 Year

ETQ NI2000i
  • 4 Customer Rating
  • ETQ NI2000i
  • Watts: 1600 Running/2000 Peak Starting
  • Tank Size: 1 gallon tank
  • Decibels: 52 decibels @ 21 feet
  • Dimensions: 21.5 x 19.8 x 13 in
  • Weight: 49.2 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 Year

Westinghouse iGen4500
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • Westinghouse iGen4500
  • Watts: 3700 Running/4500 Peak Starting
  • Tank Size: 3.4 gallon tank
  • Decibels: 52 decibels @ 21 feet
  • Dimensions: 18 x 10 x 15.5 in
  • Weight: 93 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 Year

Generac 7127 iQ3500 Portable Inverter Generator

Generac 7127 iQ3500 Portable Inverter GeneratorThis generator is fairly quiet at 55 dBA, making about as much noise as your air conditioner while under load. That’s pretty amazing considering that you’re getting 3 kilowatts of running power with a 3.5 kilowatt peak starting power overage.

This generator has a run time of about 9 hours on the 2.6 gallon tank, so you know that you’ve got a full day of fun when you start it up. It also has a full set of plugs from 2 standard outlets to a locking 120 volt/30 amp plug for your RV. It even has 2 USB outlets for charging your electronics. And because this is an inverter generator, you know that the power output will have minimal harmonic distortion.

About the only drawback to this generator is its size and weight combined with no wheels or handle for moving it around. You can get a mobility kit that puts those on, but otherwise make sure you have one or two friends to help you move it into position.

This generator has a simple dial control that gives you three options: Run, Start, and Stop. To start the generator, put the dial on start, push the electric starter, then move the dial to run. Now you’re ready to get the party started.

Read Full Review: Generac 7127 iQ3500-3500 Watt Portable Inverter

Features:

  • 55 decibels @ 21 feet
  • 3000 Running Watts with 3500 Peak Starting Watts
  • Gasoline powered with 2.6 gallon tank
  • Plug Set:
    • (2) Standard Household Outlets @ 120V/20A
    • (1) L5-30R 120V/30A
    • (1) DC 12V Battery Charging Parallel Outlets
    • (2) USB Outlets @ 5V/2.1A
  • 23.7 x 18 x 21.7 inches @ 120 pounds
  • 3 Year Warranty

Honda EU3000iS Portable Inverter Generator

Honda EU3000iS Portable Inverter GeneratorThis quiet inverter generator is nearly whisper quiet at 49 decibels while at 1/4 load capacity. Even if you push it to full load, it still only peaks out at 57 dBA. That’s about the level of office conversation at its loudest and no louder than your refrigerator at its lowest. Considering you’re getting 2800 running watts and 3000 peak watts, that’s a feat of acoustic engineering.

When it comes to run times, this Honda comes with a 3.4 gallon tank and lasts anywhere from 7 hours at full load up to 20 hours at 1/4 load capacity. It also has the plugs you need to make sure everything is getting the power it needs. You have 2 standard outlets and an RV locking plug. If you need to recharge your sensitive electronics, don’t worry. This is an inverter generator, so power will be super smooth.

This is a hefty generator, weighing in at 131 pounds. But thankfully, it has a pair of solid wheels and an extendable handle so you’ll be able to get it where you want it quite easily. That will help ensure that you don’t miss out on the benefits of having a generator while camping like having lights long after the sun goes down, or a cold drink after the ice in the cooler melts.

Read Full Review: Honda EU3000iS Gas Powered, Portable Inverter

Features:

  • 49 to 57 decibels @ 21 feet
  • 2800 Running Watts with 3000 Peak Starting Watts
  • Gasoline powered with 3.4 gallon tank
  • Plug Set:
    • (2) Standard Household Outlets @ 120V/20A
    • (1) L5-30R 120V/30A
    • (1) DC 12V Battery Charging Parallel Outlets
  • 25.9 x 17.6 x 22.0 inches @ 131 pounds
  • 3 Year Warranty

WEN 56202i Portable Inverter Generator

WEN 56202i Portable Inverter GeneratorThis WEN generator produces 1700 running watts with 2000 peak starting watts while only producing 51 decibels of noise. That 51 dBA is about as loud as your normal refrigerator sounds when the compressor is running. And because it’s an inverter generator, you’re getting smooth electricity with less than 1.2 percent total harmonic distortion.

This generator has a one gallon tank, which gives you a 7 hour run time at 50 percent load capacity. Of course, as you increase the load, the run time will decrease, and as you decrease the load, you can run your generator for longer. For plugging in your devices and your appliances, there are two standard household outlets and 2 USB plugs. There is also a 12 volt car adaptor and a pair of DC parallel outlets.
This 79.7cc engine is housed in a generator that only weighs about 40 pounds. With the convenient handle on the top of the generator, it’s easy for you to pack this generator in and out of wherever you want to bring extra power.

Read Full Review: WEN 56202i Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator

Features:

  • 51 decibels @ 21 feet
  • 1700 Running Watts with 2000 Peak Starting Watts
  • Gasoline powered with 1 gallon tank
  • Plug Set:
    • (2) Standard Household Outlets @ 120V/20A
    • (1) DC 12V car adaptor
    • (1) DC 12V Battery Charging Parallel Outlets
    • (2) USB Outlets @ 5V/2.1A
  • 17.3 x 11.5 x 17.7 inches @ 38.6 pounds
  • 3 Year Warranty

Westinghouse iGen2200 Portable Inverter Generator

Westinghouse iGen2200 Portable Inverter GeneratorThis quiet Westinghouse generator produces 1800 running watts with 2200 peak watts for those higher loads. While pushing out this much power, it still only generates as much noise as your refrigerator while it’s running. The wattage this generator produces is safe for sensitive electronics because it is an inverter generator.

Run time for this Westinghouse generator gets as long as 12 hours when running from the 1.2 gallon tank. The plug set on this generator has enough outlets to get power to what you need. There are a pair of standard household outlets and a pair of USB outlets as well. If you need to charge a battery, there is a set of 12V DC parallel outlets as well. If you need more power, then these generators are able to be set up in parallel so you get nearly twice the power output.

The Westinghouse iGen2200 is incredibly portable, weighing only 47 pounds. The integrated handle on the top gives you an easy way to pack your generator in and out of wherever you are going. This generator is enclosed in an acoustic muffling case which makes this 79cc engine so quiet you’ll wonder if it’s really on.

Read Full Review: Westinghouse iGen2200 Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator

Features:

  • 52 decibels @ 21 feet
  • 1800 Running Watts with 2200 Peak Starting Watts
  • Gasoline powered with 1.2 gallon tank
  • Plug Set:
    • (2) Standard Household Outlets @ 120V/20A
    • (1) DC 12V Battery Charging Parallel Outlets
    • (2) USB Outlets @ 5V/2.1A
  • 19.69 x 11.22 x 17.91 inches @ 47 pounds
  • 3 Year Warranty

ETQ NI2000i Portable Inverter Generator

ETQ NI2000i Portable Inverter GeneratorThis is a little known manufacturer’s inverter generator that manages to only create 52 dBA of sound while generating an impressive 1600 running watts and 2000 starting watts. As a reference point, 52 dBA is roughly how loud a hair dryer is or a quiet street. Because this is an inverter generator, it is safe for sensitive electronics, so you can feel confident when you plug in your laptop.

The run time for this generator is a little on the low side, with 6 hours at 50 percent load from the one gallon tank on this generator. As you decrease the load, the run time will increase correspondingly. There are 2 household outlets to plug your devices into. There are also 2 DC 12 volt charging outlets, one with a T-outlet and the other with a set of parallel outlets.

The ETQ generator weighs in at just over 49 pounds and has a handle set into the top. That means you can carry this generator where you need it. This generator is fully EPA compliant and is also CARB compliant if you’re using this generator in California.

Read Full Review: ETQ NI2000i Tough Quality 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator

Features:

  • 52 decibels @ 21 feet
  • 1600 Running Watts with 2000 Peak Starting Watts
  • Gasoline powered with 1 gallon tank
  • Plug Set:
    • (2) Standard Household Outlets @ 120V/20A
    • (1) DC 12V Battery Charging Parallel Outlets
    • (2) DC 12V/8A Battery Charging T-outlet
  • 23.7 x 18 x 21.7 inches @ 109.1 pounds
  • 1 Year Warranty

Westinghouse iGen4500 Portable Inverter Generator

Westinghouse iGen4500 Portable Inverter GeneratorThis remarkable generator has a relatively large output with 3700 running watts and 4500 peak starting watts. But despite that immense power output, it still only has a noise level that is comparable to your refrigerator. 52 dBA is not a lot of noise from a generator with this much power. That makes this an ideal portable generator for home use.

When it comes to run time, this generator does not disappoint. It has a 3.4 gallon tank that gives you up to 18 hours of run time on a single tank of gas. For plugs, this generator is RV ready with a TT-30R 120 volt @ 30 amp outlet so you can plug your RV in and power everything seamlessly. There are also two household outlets and 2 USB outlets for charging your electronics. And because this is an inverter generator, the AC power is provided with less than three percent total harmonic distortion.

This generator is only 48 pounds, but still has a pair of solid wheels and a telescoping handle that lets you pull or push the generator wherever you want it to go. And if you don’t want to use the wheels, there are a pair of handles set into the top so you can carry it as well.

One additional nice feature is that this generator has a remote starter from a key fob that lets you get things going without leaving your tent or your home. It also has the traditional electric start and a backup pull cord as well.

Read Full Review: Westinghouse iGen4500 Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator

Features:

  • 52 decibels @ 21 feet
  • 3700 Running Watts with 4500 Peak Starting Watts
  • Gasoline powered with 3.4 gallon tank
  • Plug Set:
    • (2) Standard Household Outlets @ 120V/20A
    • (1) TT-30R 120V/30A
    • (1) DC 12V Battery Charging Parallel Outlets
    • (2) USB Outlets @ 5V/2.1A
  • 18 x 10 x 15.5 inches @ 48 pounds
  • 3 Year Warranty

WEN 56380i Portable Inverter Generator

WEN 56380i Portable Inverter GeneratorThis WEN generator also excels at power output while maintaining a moderately quiet noise profile. This gasoline powered engine gives you 3400 running watts with 3800 peak starting watts. The noise generated peaks out at 57 dBA, which is about as loud as an air conditioner. It is still quiet and not disruptive to your conversations as long as you’re not right next to it.

The runtime on this 212cc engine lasts to about 8.5 hours at 50 percent load on a full 2.2 gallon tank of gas. When it comes to the plug set, you get a huge number of options. Of course you get a pair of standard household outlets at 120 volts with 20 amps. Added on to that, you have a pair of DC 12 volt options, 2 USB outlets, and an RV plug. With as much power as this generator produces, you’ll have no trouble powering your entire RV from this generator.

All of those features and power does come at a price, and that means this generator is a little heavy at 111 pounds. However, it has built in wheels and a foldable handle, so you won’t have any trouble maneuvering it where you want it. Also, as an inverter generator, the electricity it produces has a total harmonic distortion of less than 1.2 percent from a true sine wave, so all of your sensitive and delicate electronics are safe.

An onboard digital meter allows you to track multiple stats, from voltage, runtime, frequency, and fuel efficiency. There’s also an eco-mode switch which activates auto-throttling, allowing your generator to slow down when there’s not as much demand. It has an electric start as well with one button starting, so you get power when you want it.

Read Full Review: WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter Generator

Features:

  • 57 decibels @ 23 feet
  • 3400 Running Watts with 3800 Peak Starting Watts
  • Gasoline powered with 2.2 gallon tank
  • Plug Set:
    • (2) Standard Household Outlets @ 120V/20A
    • (1) TT-30R 120V/30A
    • (1) DC 12V Battery Charging Parallel Outlets
    • (1) DC 12V Car Adaptor Outlet
    • (2) USB Outlets @ 5V/2.1A
  • 23.2 x 18 x 20.1 inches @ 111 pounds
  • 2 Year Warranty

Best Quiet Generator Buying Guide

Quiet GeneratorThe Basics of Generators and Noise

Everything makes noise, from someone clapping their hands to an airplane roaring by overhead. Sound is caused by energy waves that travel through the air, causing micro-fluctuations in air pressure. When those changes hit our ear drums, they cause vibrations that our brains interpret as sound.

When measuring sound, there are two measurements: frequency and amplitude. Frequency has to do with the pitch of the sound, from deep throbbing bass to an opera singer hitting that high C note. Frequency is measured in Hertz; the lower the Hertz, the lower the frequency.

The other measurement, amplitude, is a measure of the force of the sound wave, or in layman’s terms, how loud it is. That is measured in decibels, shortened to dB or dBA, depending on how it is being measured. dB is the pure measure of the loudness of a sound. dBA is that same measure but adjusted for human hearing. So, dBA can actually be lower than dB at lower frequencies. But for generators, because they operate at lower frequencies, you want to know the dBA, or how loud it’s going to actually sound to you.

So How Loud is Too Loud?

Quiet GeneratorIt’s all well and good to say that something has a sound level of 54 dBA, but what does that really mean? How loud is that really? How loud is a 50 decibel sound compared to a 20 decibel sound? A lot louder, it turns out.

Decibels are a logarithmic scaled measurement by a power of 10. What this means is that when you increase the number of decibels by 10, it becomes 10 times as powerful. So a 10 decibel sound is 10 times as loud as a one decibel sound, and that makes sense. But a 20 decibel sound is ten times the power of a ten decibel sound, or 100 times as strong as a 1 decibel sound.

So for generator decibel comparisons, look at it this way. A 54 decibel generator is actually ten times as loud as a 44 decibel generator. So if you look at the decibel ratings of different generators and think that just because one is 44 and the other is 50, that the 50 decibel isn’t that much louder. That’s not really true; it’s actually about 4 times as loud. So if you’re looking for a low noise generator, pay attention to even seemingly small number changes.

Here’s a chart to give you an idea of how loud sounds are up to 65 decibels in real world examples:

dBA level Example Normal Appliance Levels
0 The lowest sound that is audible
10 A clock or wristwatch ticking
20 Blowing Leaves
30 Whispers
40 Light Rain Laptop or Desktop
50 Office conversation Refrigerator running
60 Normal conversation Air conditioner running

Decibel ratings of generators

Quiet GeneratorMost generators are going to have decibel ratings that run from 45 to 60, at least in the portable silent generator range. But just remember that each 10 decibel increase is a multiple of ten in the loudness. So a 60 decibel generator is nearly 40 times as loud as a 45 decibel generator.

How quiet can you go?

Theoretically, if you were to completely conceal the generator and put enough sound insulation in, you could get your generator to become a ultra quiet generator and not sound any louder than blowing leaves or a barely audible whisper. But that would take a lot of work.

In reality, as you increase the power output and the size of the motor, you’re going to increase the loudness of the generator. For a typical 3 kilowatt generator, getting to 54-58 decibels while under load is an achievement in sound design.

Are Inverter Generators Quieter?

Inverter generators do tend to be quieter than an equivalently powerful standard generator, but that’s because inverter generators are so much more efficient. And because they are more efficient, they can use a smaller engine to deliver the same amount of AC wattage.

And as we said before, the larger the engine, the louder it will be; so conversely, a smaller engine will be quieter too. Some inverter generators are also designed to be quieter, with sound dampening materials incorporated into the frame. Some even have specially designed housings that further quiets the normal noise of a generator motor. Most quiet generators are inverter generators.

Additionally, an inverter generator’s ability to flex with the load requirement helps to make them low decibel generators. That means that they aren’t running at full speed all the time; if you only are asking them for 1/4 of the load, their internal throttle control will hold them to that lower speed. And that lower speed means a lot less noise, making for some of the best quiet generators on the market.

Quiet GeneratorWhat Makes Generators Loud?

So when it comes to generators, you might wonder what makes one generator noisier than another and how you get a small quiet generator. It really comes down to six areas of design. Let’s walk through each of them so you can keep them in mind when you go shopping for your own quiet portable generator for your next backyard barbecue.

1. Engine size

Face it, a larger engine means more noise. That’s due to several factors, one of which is a larger piston means more fuel is used during each cycle, which means a larger explosion, which equals more noise. Then you have to consider that a larger engine also means more parts, which equals more vibration, which leads to more noise.

2. Lack of Throttle Control

Throttle control has led to generators being quieter. That’s because with throttle control, a generator doesn’t have to be running at 100 percent load all of the time. The throttle control lets them reduce their speed and output to meet demand. So, it’s not because they are necessarily quieter when running at full speed, but because with a throttle control, they don’t have to run at full speed all the time. And when they don’t run at full speed, the engine noise decreases dramatically.

3. More power generally means more noise

When you get a generator that’s capable of putting out 14 kilowatts compared to one that can only muster 3 kilowatts, what’s the first thing you notice about the two? You’ll notice that the lower powered generator is a lot smaller than the beefy one. Remember what we said about engine size versus noise output. So, in general, the more power a generator produces, the larger the engine size, and the noisier

4. Fuel type

Different fuel types are going to contribute to the noise levels in different ways. That’s because of the differing levels of combustion efficiency. Diesel combustion is extremely noisy because of blow down event when the exhaust valve opens during the combustion cycle. That’s because diesel requires an extremely high compression compared to a standard gasoline engine. And because propane generates less pressure during the exhaust cycle (as does natural gas), they are also much quieter, even more quiet than gasoline engines. But you do trade off power; propane generates roughly 10% fewer watts than gasoline does in an equivalent engine.

5. Generator Type

You will notice that if you get an inverter generator, it will be a lot quieter than a normal generator. That’s because the efficiency of the inverter generator is going to allow it to be much smaller while producing the same levels of AC wattage. That’s mainly due to the efficiency of the capacitors and design to reduce harmonic distortion in the inverter generator. Again, with more efficient design comes a smaller engine, which leads to a quieter generator.

6. Soundproof Design

Some generators are designed from the ground up to be quieter. Whether it’s by incorporating vibration dampening materials in the frame, redesigning the exhaust, or enclosing everything inside a sound dampening case, a well-designed generator will be much quieter. With the right design elements, you can increase your engine size and still maintain the same dBA output as a less well designed smaller generator.

Quiet GeneratorHow to Choose a Super Quiet Generator in 4 Steps

If you want to boil it down to basics and just look for a generator that is going to be much quieter without having to do much thought, there are four basic things you should look for. In order, they are the following:

• Generator vs inverter Generator

Get the inverter generator. It’s going to be a little more expensive, but it’s going to be more efficient and it’s going to be much quieter than a standard generator will be. Part of this is due to the engine being smaller, and part of it has to do with design. But primarily, just remember. If you want quieter, choose an inverter generator compared to a non-inverter generator.

• Fuel Type

The fuel that your generator burns is going to have a profound effect on how noisy it is. Always remember that in order of noisiest to quietest, it is diesel, then gasoline, then propane and natural gas. So if you want the quietest portable generator out there, you should choose a propane burning model. Now keep in mind that propane is about 10% less powerful than an equivalently sized gasoline generator. So you have to decide if the trade-off of noise vs. power is worth it.

• Wattage

If you’re going to use your generator for your average tailgate party or on a camping trip, stick to a model that generates about 3 kilowatts. That’s because the less powerful the generator, the quieter it will be. So figure out what you plan on powering up with your generator, total up the wattage requirements, and look for a generator in that range.

• Automatic Throttling

If noise is a concern, automatic throttling is a must. Essentially, this lets the generator’s engine run at lower speeds when the demand is lower. So if you only have a string of lights and your ice-maker plugged in, your generator will be running low and slow. As you increase the load, your generator will step up the power and it will get a little noisier.

How to Make a Generator More Quiet

So what if you already have a generator? How can you go about making that thunderous beast run more quietly? There are ways. Here are nine ways you can make that rumbling generator calm down and stop shattering windows and eardrums every time you turn it on.

• Build An Enclosure to the Generator

Sound is carried by air and is mostly line of sight and directional. If you build a solid fence around your generator and direct the sound upward, your ears will start to thank you. You will get some sound coming out, but with a good solid barrier between you and the generator, you’ll reduce that dramatically.

Keep in mind that the enclosure doesn’t have to go all the way around the generator either. A two or three sided enclosure with the open side faced away from you will make the generator seem much quieter as well. It’s all about redirecting those sound waves where they won’t hit you. If you don’t surround it, you won’t get an ultra quiet generator, but it will be quieter.

Make sure if you do build an enclosure that you have a place for the generator to vent. Otherwise, it will overheat and that will cause an entirely different set of problems for you.

• Insulate the enclosure

How to quiet a generator further? If you really want to up your game, then once you build the enclosure, add in some sound insulation. This can be as simple as taking a bunch of egg cartons (the dimply side) and stapling them to the wooden plywood barrier you have. The shape of the egg holes muffles incoming sound waves by scattering the sound waves, breaking them up and reducing echoing.

Other insulation materials are EVA foam like those used on foam floor mats, felt, or even bubble wrap. These can all prove to be good sound insulators, allowing you to hear yourself think as the generator hums away more quietly out of sight.

• Exhaust Pipe Positioning

The noisiest part of a generator isn’t the engine per se. It’s actually the exhaust as the high pressure of the cylinder is released into the comparably low pressure surroundings. That’s why generators sometimes have that rhythmic chuffing sound. That’s the sound of the cylinder firing.

So if the exhaust is the number one problem, then look at where your exhaust is pointed. If it’s horizontal and pointed toward you, then you’re getting all the noise of the exhaust right in your space. Take the exhaust pipe and point it upwards or turn the generator so the exhaust is away from you. You’ll notice the difference right away.

• Extend the distance of Generator

Quiet GeneratorThe noisiness of a generator is tested at 7 yards, or 21 feet. If you get closer than that to the generator, then you’re going to notice it gets louder. But on the other hand, if you move it farther away, then you’re going to notice it gets quieter. So, rather than putting the generator right next to the main conversation area at your next gathering, tuck it in the corner of your yard. And don’t forget the insulated sound barrier or enclosure as well.

• Upgrade to An Excellent Exhaust

If you don’t like how your current exhaust system on your generator is working, upgrade it. The exhaust system consists of a long pipe to help scatter some of the sound and a muffler component. Upgrade the entire thing to significantly reduce your generator noise. You can even use an entire motorcycle exhaust system if you like.

• Mufflers

Most generators come with mufflers installed. However, sometimes those mufflers aren’t quite up to snuff and you can do better. You can get aftermarket mufflers for your generator that will further reduce the exhaust noise. If you can’t find one and you’re willing to pay a little extra, consider getting a motorcycle muffler. It won’t look that different, and it will quiet your generator down a lot.

• Water Bucket Trick

Because a lot of the noise from an engine comes from the exhaust, you can use a bucket of water to act as an impromptu muffler. Take a rubber hose and attach it to your generator’s exhaust pipe. Place the other end into a bucket of water. That’s it. The water will absorb a lot of sound waves coming from the exhaust.

There is one other thing you should do to prevent drawback from pulling water into the engine through the exhaust. You have to equalize the pressure in the exhaust hose you installed. Cut a small hole about the size of a straw’s diameter right by where you attach it to your exhaust pipe. That will prevent any water from being sucked back into the engine.

• Sound Deflectors

You can get specially designed acoustic baffles that are meant to point noise to a certain spot. Usually these are used in home theatres to create a sweet spot for surround sound. However, if you can use them to point sound to a specific location, you can then use them to point sound away from a location. It’s not the most effective way to soundproof your generator, but it will make it seem quieter as long as you’re not in the area the deflectors are pointing to.

• Anti-Vibration Mat

Aside from the exhaust, the other source of noise from your generator is going to come from vibrations. Get a vibration-reducing mat or even one that absorbs vibrations and you’re going to reduce the noise output significantly. You can find large rubber mats that are specially designed for this in most hardware stores.

If you’re looking to reduce the sound noise from your existing generator, don’t just use one or two of these methods. Use as many as you can. Combine a rubber mat with an insulated enclosure and the water bucket trick. Remember that if you lower the decibel output of your generator by 10, it’s actually making one-tenth of the noise it was before. It might not be the most quiet run portable generator, but it’ll be a lot quieter than it was.

Quiet Generator Comparison Chart

GeneratorWattsTank SizeDecibelsRating
Generac 7127 iQ35003000 Running/3500 Peak Starting2.6 gallon tank55 decibels @ 21 feet7
Honda EU3000iS2800 Running/3000 Peak Starting3.4 gallon tank49 to 57 decibels @ 21 feet9
WEN 56202i1700 Running/2000 Peak Starting 1 gallon tank51 decibels @ 21 feet9
Westinghouse iGen22001800 Running/2200 Peak Starting1.2 gallon tank52 decibels @ 21 feet9
ETQ NI2000i1600 Running/2000 Peak Starting1 gallon tank52 decibels @ 21 feet8
Westinghouse iGen45003700 Running/4500 Peak Starting3.4 gallon tank52 decibels @ 21 feet9
WEN 56380i 3400 Running/ 3800 Peak Starting2.2 gallon tank57 decibels @ 23 feet9

Conclusion

As more people demand quieter generators, you’re going to find manufacturers investing money into researching how to fulfill that demand. Until the day comes when they finally perfect at 10 decibel 12 kilowatt generator, we’re here to help you find the quiet run portable generators out there. Hopefully, with our list of the best quiet portable generators, you’ve found something that suits you.

If not, or if you’d like to read some absolutely zero decibel solar powered generator reviews, we have you covered. With our help, we’ll make sure you have all the tools to find the quietest generator you can that will work for your next party or get together. If you’d like to read up on other generators, including the best dual fuel generators around, take a look at the buying guides here.