Introduction: Why do you need a quiet generator?
The power grid has one distinct advantage over the generator i.e. you are assured of ”silent power”. You need a quiet generator to enhance your comfort. A quiet generator also has health benefits. Being exposed to noise for a prolonged time can cause headaches. In severe cases, it can lead to hearing impairments. Generator noise can also cause legal problems. Many areas have noise regulations that everyone must adhere to. Even camping grounds have noise regulations today, so it is important to invest in a quiet generator. As a result, you are not quite there when you decide to go off the grid or buy a regular generator. You need to think about generator noise reduction.
Almost everyone who decides to go off the power grid finds themselves with generator noise problems. This usually happens if you don’t take the time to find the quietest generators in the market. Choosing the best generator for you can be a daunting task since there are very many factors to consider including generator noise. If you don’t take the time to identify low-noise generators, you have to look for ways of making your generator quiet.
This guide explores both options. If you haven’t bought a generator already, we have discussed the quietest generators in the market today. If you have already bought a generator, but you want to reduce the noise, no problem. We’ve got you covered to. Let’s take one step back and understand why you need a generator in the first place.
Top benefits of buying a generator
- Backup power source: Generators come in handy as backup power sources. You need a generator to provide you with electricity when you are cut off the grid. Power blackouts may be rare, but they have dire consequences. Since all households and businesses rely heavily on electricity, it is important to have backup power in case of a power blackout which can be caused by many things i.e. accidents such as fires as well as natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.
- Power source for recreational activities: Electricity comes in handy during recreational activities like camping and hunting. Unfortunately, most camping/hunting sites aren’t connected to the grid. You need electricity to power your electronics, lighting, gadgets, etc. when camping/hunting to make your experience more enjoyable. A generator comes in handy in such instances.
- Lower carbon footprint: Some generators today are more energy efficient. If you care about pollution, energy conservation, etc., you can make your contribution by buying an energy efficient generator i.e. a solar generator that uses clean energy sources and produces zero emissions. Inverter generators are also more energy efficient than conventional generators.
- Cheaper: Energy efficient generators are cheaper in the long run compared to being connected to the power grid. If you are keen on lowering your electricity bill, in the long run, you should really consider investing in an energy efficient generator.
How is generator noise measured? Understanding generator noise levels
To understand generator noise reduction in-depth, you must understand how noise is measured. Generator noise is measured like standard noise i.e. in decibel (dBA). A decibel is a unit measure of the intensity of sound. Our ears are incredibly sensitive to sound. The ears can distinguish a wide range of sounds from the most silent to the loudest. To put noise measurement into perspective, an explosion is over a billion times louder than the most silent/quietest audible sound. The quietest audible sound nearest to silence registers as 0 dBA.
When talking about generator noise, it’s important to note that noise measurements are made when the generator is approximately 7 meters away. Generators whose noise measurements are taken from a different distance have to state the same. This explains the difference in noise measurements from one generator to another. It’s, therefore, important for you to ascertain the distance from which the generator noise is measured before considering generator noise reduction.
To understand generator noise levels in-depth, it’s important to consider the noise levels of everyday sounds.
- A quiet home conversation produces 50dBA noise.
- A typical restaurant conversation produces 60dBA noise.
- A car going at 65 mph produces 77dBA noise when the noise is measured 25 feet away.
- A typical vacuum cleaner produces 70 dBA noise
- A central air conditioning unit produces 68 dBA noise when the noise is measured 20 feet away.
A 10 dBA increase translates to double the noise. In essence, 80dBA is twice as loud as 70dBA.
The latest generators today produce noise levels that range between 60dBA and below. This noise level is in compliance with acceptable standards in residential areas. The noise level is also ideal for comfortable generator use. A generator that produces 60 dBA of noise and below is perfect for use is almost all applications you can think off including those requiring very low noise levels. Considering you can always place your generator further to reduce noise levels or adapt other remedies, today’s silent generators are perfect.
Factors affecting generator noise levels
Generator noise levels vary depending on many factors. There’s no single generator with a fixed noise level. A generator can be louder or more silent than expected. Before looking at generator noise reduction tactics/techniques, it’s important to understand what makes a generator louder or quieter!
1. Energy levels
Generator noise levels are affected by many things the most notable being energy levels. Generators with higher energy levels tend to produce more noise compared to generators with lower energy levels. In simpler terms, a 3000-watt generator will be louder than a similar 2000-watt generator. Although it is possible to find quieter generators with higher energy levels due to differences in; brand, technology, etc., generators with higher energy levels are generally louder. For this reason, you need to consider choosing a generator which produces just enough power if you are keen on getting the best noise levels. Choosing a generator that produces more power than you need can result in unnecessary noise.
You also need to consider the starting and running watts when you want to understand noise levels in relation to generator energy levels. Generators tend to be noisier when starting because they require more power/produce more power when starting. You should pay more attention to the energy levels when a generator is operational (running) since this is the actual noise level in the long-term.
2. Generator placement
Generator noise levels are also dictated by where you place your generator. A generator that is placed near you will obviously be louder than one that is placed far away from you. Generator noise is also bound to increase if a generator is placed in an area that amplifies noise i.e. an enclosed space. Generators also tend to produce more noise when they are placed on shaky platforms or any other type of platforms that amplify vibrations.
3. Generator technology
The quietest generators feature inverter technology. Inverter generators are quieter compared to conventional generators because of a number of reasons. First and foremost, inverter generators produce 300+ dine waves for every engine rotation. The 3-phase AC power produced is converted to DC before being inverted to AC power resulting in more consistent and cleaner power. In simpler terms, inverter generators eliminate fluctuations and surges which account for a lot of generator noise. Inverter generators also tend to have smaller engines allowing them to have a more compact design. Furthermore, inverters are made using insulated sound dampening materials which absorb a lot of noise.
Inverter generators also feature other sound dampening technologies such as noise mufflers, eco-modes that reduce generator noise depending on the power demand.
A generator which has been soundproofed is bound to be quieter than a generator which doesn’t feature any soundproofing features such as rubber feet and a sound proof casing that reduce vibration noise.
Generator noise reduction: How to quiet a generator
If you have already bought a generator but you aren’t happy with the noise levels, you can take some measures to make the generator quieter. Below are some of the best ways of making your generator quieter.
Top generator noise reduction tips
1. Increase the distance between you and your generator
This is the simplest but most commonly overlooked remedy for generator noise reduction. You can reduce the amount of noise your generator produces by simply placing your generator further away from you. If you are concerned about your generator becoming a nuisance to others i.e. your neighbours, you can simply place the generator further away from them. Generator placement is such an important factor in generator noise reduction since it has a significant effect on noise levels. Typically, doubling the distance between you and your generator will reduce the noise levels by approximately 6dBA. This remedy is perfect when you have enough space i.e. in camping or hunting applications. You can also use this tip when you have enough space in your residence.
2. Install acoustic barriers (such as walls, enclosures, etc.) and insulation
Acoustic barriers can also reduce the amount of noise your generator produces significantly. Acoustic barriers come in handy in generator noise reduction because they limit noise transmission. A wall, fence or any other type of enclosure is bound to reflect sound waves reducing generator noise significantly. This remedy comes in handy when you don’t have the luxury of space. You can construct solid walls to limit noise to a very short distance. A standard generator canopy can reduce generator noise by approximately 10dBA. A perfectly constructed acoustic barrier can have a bigger impact. It is possible to reduce noise further by adding an acoustic fence.
Warning: You should be aware of the risks associated with operating generators in enclosed areas. Generators among other machines with internal combustion engines shouldn’t be operated in enclosed areas unless there are provisions for adequate ventilation. Generators produce CO (Carbon monoxide) gas which can cause death when inhaled for a prolonged time.
To reduce noise as well as reverberation within the generator enclosure, you will need to add acoustic insulation. Acoustic insulation involves lining surfaces with sound absorbing materials. You can use acoustic wall panels as well as ceiling tiles. Wall panels (made using perforated steel) are the best choice for industrial applications. However, you can always use other materials.
3. Install anti-vibration mounts
Another great generator noise reduction technique is; installing anti-vibration mounts. This tip is perfect when you want to reduce noise at the source. Installing anti-vibration mounts below the generator isolates vibration reducing noise transmission significantly. There are many options when it comes to installing anti-vibration mounts. You can use rubber mounts, dampers and/or spring mounts. Your choice should be guided by your preferred noise level. You can use this remedy alongside other remedies. For instance, you can fit flexible joints (between the generator) and other connecting systems to reduce noise transmission to nearby structures.
4. Install attenuators
Attenuators are devices which allow a lot of air to pass through while limiting noise transmission in the process. Attenuators are perfect for large generator installations. The devices can also come in handy for typical applications. Attenuators work by forcing air between splitters which absorbs sound while reducing wavelength at the same time. A good attenuation system can reduce generator noise between 48 and 85dBA @ 1m. To enjoy maximum generator noise reduction, consider installing a large attenuator.
Other effective tips
5. Don’t place your generator on top of a wooden floor
Wooden floors are known to increase generator noise so, avoid placing your generator on a wooden floor at all costs. Wooden floors act as resonators amplifying sound immensely. If you have to place your generator on a wooden floor, consider adding anti-vibration mounts first.
6. Make sure your generator’s exhaust is facing away from your home
This is another effective generator noise reduction tip to consider. Your generator’s exhaust is a source for majority of the noise produced by your generator. Turning your generator exhaust around is, therefore and effective generator noise reduction tip.
7. Don’t overload your generator
As mentioned above, generator noise increases as the output increases. You are therefore bound to reduce generator noise if you use your generator as required. Every generator comes with starting and running wattage information. To avoid overloading your generator, stick to the running wattage. You shouldn’t power everything at once if your generator has a low running wattage. Alternatively, you should focus on buying a generator that has an ideal running wattage. This simply means that you need to calculate your power needs before you buy your generator.
8. Maintain your generator accordingly
Like any other machines, generators need oil checks. Movable parts also need to be checked and serviced or replaced periodically. Generators which are poorly maintained tend to have the highest noise levels. It is, therefore, important to service your generator as required to avoid unnecessary noise.
The above generator noise reduction tips are perfect when you have already bought a generator. By using any one or more of the above remedies, you can reduce generator noise substantially. You can turn a typical noisy standby generator into a quiet generator by placing it further away in an enclosed barrier. Installing anti-vibration mounts and an attenuator will also reduce noise further. You can consider may other remedies.
However, if you haven’t bought a generator already, you are better-off buying a silent generator. This is by far the best generator noise reduction advice. Quiet generators are specifically made with noise reduction in mind. It is much cheaper to buy a quiet generator than considering all the above tips to reduce the amount of noise your generator produces. It also takes less effort and time. Furthermore, quiet generators have many other benefits besides being quiet. For instance, they are engineered to offer better fuel efficiency. Quiet generators are also safer, more portable and durable than typical generators.
Buying a generator: How to choose a quiet generator
Instead of taking all the generator noise reduction measures above to quiet a loud generator, isn’t it better to buy a quiet generator? It may cost you more to quiet a generator if you consider implementing most of the above remedies. In such cases, it is better to buy a new quiet generator. In case you don’t know where to start, here’s what you need to know.
1. Calculate your power needs
Before you buy any generator, let alone a quiet generator, you need to calculate your power needs. Although most quiet generators have a low power output, there are quiet generators which produce adequate power for most applications you can think off. Furthermore, most quiet generators today come with parallel operation capability which simply means it is possible to double the power output by connecting two identical generators together. Getting a powerful, quiet generator shouldn’t, therefore, be a problem. You should focus more on calculating how much power you need. You can start by stating your reason/s for buying a generator. If you want a quiet generator to provide alternative power during a blackout, a standard quiet generator will be ideal for you i.e. a generator that produces 2000 watts.
If you want to power all appliances and lighting in your house, you will need to add the total wattage of all your appliances and electronics and choose a generator that produces enough power to power all those appliances and electronics. It is, however, advisable to consider those appliances and electronics which are a priority to you at any given time since most appliances and electronics are used at different times.
2. Consider your ideal features
Quiet generators come with a variety of features depending on factors such a brands, so it’s important crucial for you to have a clear understanding of what your ideal quiet generator looks like. Since generator noise reduction is of huge concern, you should go for quiet generators with the lowest noise levels. From the above info., you shouldn’t have a problem identifying a generator that produces ideal noise levels. It is also critical to consider the size, weight, safety features and high-tech features of your ideal quiet generator. Most people want portable generators which are easy to carry from one place to another. If that sounds like you, consider a generator which is small in size and lightweight. The generator should also have comfortable carrying handles. In regards to safety, you want a generator that has a low-oil warning to prevent overheating. Other safety features to consider include; a spark arrestor, CARB compliance, CO detector, strong/insulated casing, etc. In regards to high-tech features, you need a generator that has automatic start/stop. An LCD screen will also come in handy by displaying all important generator metrics in one place. The best types of quiet generators to buy in regards to features are inverter generators.
3. Consider your budget
The best quiet generator for you is one that fits your budget. Quiet generators come in all price ranges. However, they tend to be affordable. Your chances of affording an inverter generator are very high if you are serious about buying one. Nevertheless, you need to determine how much you are willing to spend beforehand. You shouldn’t compromise for factors such as noise level and safety features in this case.
4. Generator brand
When buying any generator, consider reputable generator brands only because such brands have been tested and proven. Reputable generator brands give accurate noise level information so generator noise reduction shouldn’t be a problem. You are also bound to get a good warranty and unmatched durability if you consider reputable generator brands only. Brands such as Yamaha, Goal Zero, Honda, Briggs & Stratton, Champion Power Equipment, WEN, and Generac are well-known generator brands. You should consider such brands if you are interested in the highest generator quality standards.
Quietest generators in the market today: Best silent generators
Are you looking to buy the best silent generator in the market today but you don’t know where to start?
There are very many quiet generators on sale today. This makes it extremely confusing for many people when it comes to selecting the best of the best quiet generators. Luckily for you, we have gone through the trouble of selecting the 5 best quiet generators for you. The generators discussed below have been tested and proven to be the best. Most importantly, they have amazingly low sound levels and high tech features. The generators are also reasonably priced and safe for use. Once you buy any one of these generators, you don’t have to think about generator noise reduction.
1. Champion Power Equipment 75537i (Noise level: 58dBA)
The Champion Power Equipment 75537i is among the best quiet generators in the market today. This generator produces just 58dBA of noise at 23 feet. This noise level is amazingly low for a generator that has a 3,100 watt output. The Champion Power Equipment 75537i is capable of lower noise levels with features such as remote startup at 80 feet. You can place the Champion Power Equipment 75537i 80 feet away from you and still be able to operate the generator perfectly. Furthermore, the Champion Power Equipment, 75537i is an inverter generator with many other amazing features and capabilities. For instance, the generator can run for 8 hours nonstop at 25% load. The generator also comes with numerous ports that boost functionality. The Champion Power Equipment 75537i can power all kinds of appliances and electronics.
The generator is also safe to use thanks to features such as; a low-oil level sensors, spark arrestor and overload protection. The generator is also CARB and EPA compliant/certified. The generator is also portable and comes with a two year warranty. Everything about this generator stands out. The noise levels are perfect. You don’t need to think about generator noise reduction or any other generator issues once you buy the Champion Power Equipment 75537i. Click below for more pricing and more information.
2. Honda EU2000i (Noise level: 59 dBA)
The Honda EU2000i also comes highly recommended if generator noise reduction is of utmost importance to you. This generator produces just 59 dBA and noise levels can go as low as 53 dBA during normal operation. This inverter generator can produce even less noise if the generator noise reduction remedies discussed above are implemented. The Honda EU2000i also comes highly recommended.
Besides being very quiet, the Honda EU2000i comes with many other benefits of inverter generators. For instance, the generator is also fuel efficient. The average running time of the Honda EU2000i is 8.1 hours at average load on less than a gallon of gas (0.95 gallons). The generator also produces enough power (2000 watts) for all typical powering applications.
The Honda EU2000i is also portable. The generator weighs just 46 pounds and comes with portable accessories such as a handi-cart. The parallel operation capability and 3-year warranty also stands out. Click here to discover more on why the Honda EU2000i is among the best quiet generators on sale today.
3. Briggs & Stratton P3000 (Noise level: 59 dBA)
This 3,000W inverter generator also stands out as one of the best quiet generators available today. Once you buy the Briggs & Stratton P3000, you don’t have to worry about generator noise reduction ever. The generator is a perfect combination of power and silence. The Briggs & Stratton P3000 noise level is equal to and sometimes lower than normal conversation noise. With perfect placement at average load, the Briggs & Stratton P3000 runs in complete silence.
Besides being unmatched in terms of silence, the Briggs & Stratton P3000 is also in a class of its own in regards to technology. The P3000 has a computer-controlled engine which adjusts running speeds automatically to boost fuel efficiency as well as reduce noise levels further. The generator’s inverter technology also allows production of safe and consistent power. The Briggs & Stratton P3000 also has an impressive runtime of 10 hours on a full tank of gas (1.5 gallons only).
The generator is also portable with features like wheels and a twin luggage-style handle. The Briggs & Stratton P3000 has everything you would need in the best quiet generator and more! Click below for more info and pricing.
4. The Yamaha EF2000iS (Noise level: 51dBA)
At just 51 dBA, the Yamaha EF2000iS can easily qualify as the quietest inverter generator today. This generator features amazing noise reduction features such as a super-quiet muffler and inverter system featuring pulse width modulation control. The manufacturer has also gone further and installed rubber feet to get rid of vibrations. The Yamaha EF2000iS can also be quieter when placed perfectly according to generator placement guidelines discussed above.
If generator noise reduction is of utmost importance to you, the Yamaha EF2000iS comes highly recommended. This generator produces 1600 running watts which is adequate for all standard powering applications. Furthermore, the Yamaha EF2000iS weighs just 44 pounds and measures 19.3 by 11 by 17.9 inches only.
The generator has been designed with everything in mind from silence and portability to efficiency and safety. The Yamaha EF2000iS runs for 10.5 hours on a full tank of gas. The generator also comes with amazing safety features such as a spark arrestor, low-oil warning light and overload protection. The generator is also CARB and EPA compliant. Furthermore, you get a 3-year warranty when you buy this generator. For more on what customers are saying, click below.
5. WEN 56200i (Noise level: 51dBA)
The WEN 56200i is quieter than a window air conditioner. According to many customer reviews, the generator is quieter than a normal conversation. This 1600 watt generator is perfect when you have typical powering needs and noise is of utmost importance. The WEN 56200i doesn’t cause any noise disturbance whatsoever when placed a reasonably distance away.
Besides operating quietly, the WEN 56200i also produces power that is unmatched in regards to safety and consistency. The WEN 56200i produces power with a harmonic distortion of 0.3 to 1.2%. This makes the generator perfect for powering sensitive electronics. The generator is also fuel efficient. One gallon of gas can run the generator for 6 hours nonstop.
The WEN 56200i is also portable and multipurpose. The generator has a pull cord and a carrying handle. The generator also has also has numerous ports (including USB ports), 3-prong ports and parallel connection ports to boost output. The generator also has safety features such as low-oil shutdown and overload protection. For more information on why you should buy the WEN 56200i, click here.
There are many generator noise reduction techniques/tips to consider from placing your generator further away from you to installing attenuators, anti-vibration mounts and acoustic barriers. You should also avoid overloading your generator as well as placing your generator on wooden platforms as this is bound to increase noise levels. You should also service your generator regularly to ensure it operates perfectly at all times. There are many other generator noise reduction techniques/tips to consider, however, the techniques/tips discussed above are adequate.
It is however better to invest in a new quiet generator. If your current generator is old and noisy and you don’t want to implement the above generator noise reduction tips, you can consider buying a generator that is already quiet. Attempting to quiet a loud generator can be a daunting task that may not be appealing to many. Furthermore, quiet generators are affordable. If you don’t mind getting yourself a new generator, consider buying any of the quiet generators discussed above. The generators have amazingly low noise levels already so you don’t need to consider any generator noise reduction remedies if you don’t want to.