Overview: What are low decibel generators?
The term low decibel generators is used to refer to generators which have lower noise levels than conventional generators. Low decibel generators are the quietest generators available today. The generators have special noise dampening technology and/or features. For instance, most low decibel generators are inverter generators.
Introduction to inverter generators
Inverter generators are incredibly silent since they have the latest electronic circuitry, magnets, and microprocessor. Unlike traditional generators, inverter generators can control generator motor speed accordingly. This feature alone allows inverter generators to reduce noise output significantly. Inverter generators also produce cleaner/safer power. The generators convert AC power generated initially back to DC power before converting it back to AC power. This process smoothes and stabilizes the power resulting in high-quality electricity which is safe for sensitive electronics.
Low decibel generators vs. conventional generators
Low decibel generators which are mostly inverter generators differ from conventional generators on many levels. Below is a detailed comparison of these two types of generators.
- Noise level
Low decibel generators are obviously quieter than conventional generators. It’s, however, worth noting that low decibel generators still produce noise. The generators, however, operate at 50-65dBA or less which is similar and sometimes quieter than the noise produces by a running air conditioning system or refrigerator. Conventional generators operate around the 70-100dBA noise level range which is quite noisy. See below image for more on noise levels.
- Noise dampening features
Low decibel generators are able to have low noise levels because they are built using special parts/features which contain generator vibrations and reduce noise during operation. The latest low decibel generators on sale today have improved silencers. The generators are also made of sound absorbing casings and feet to absorb vibrations as well as the noise produced during operation. Noise dampening features are part of the design of all low decibel generators. Many low decibel generator manufacturers also add these features as accessories or add-ons i.e. sound shields and sound guards. Some generator brands also come with exhaust mufflers as well as fully enclosed silencers.
- Power output
Contrary to popular belief, low decibel generators produce as much power as conventional generators. Generator noise is no longer a metric for measuring power. A few decades back, noisy generators were considered more powerful. Not anymore! There are high capacity generators that produce very little noise. There are low decibel generators that are as powerful (if not more powerful) than conventional generators. Generator manufacturers have taken advantage of the latest technology and devised ingenious ways of reducing generator noise levels immensely. Low decibel generators feature the most advanced generator engines and alternators to guarantee low noise levels without compromising on output. Furthermore, most low decibel generators on sale today come with parallel operation features which simply means; you can connect the generator to another identical generator to double the power output.
- Power quality
Besides producing as much power as conventional generators, low decibel generators produce better quality power. Conventional generators are just regular engines which have been connected to alternators. The engines run at specific speeds to produce a certain AC frequency regardless of factors like the load. The resulting output is connected directly to the load without being processed. Low decibel generators (inverter generators) process power. The generators have rectifiers which convert AC to DC power. The generators also have capacitors which smoothen electricity and inverters which convert DC power back to AC power which is incredibly clean and consistent. The power produced by low decibel generators is safe for powering/charging laptops, Smartphones, digital cameras, etc.
- Fuel efficiency
Low decibel generators do a better job regulating power. As mentioned above, the generators feature the latest technology. Low decibel generators produce power according to demand while conventional generators produce constant power even when the demand is low. For this reason, low decibel generators are more fuel efficient than conventional generators. Low decibel generators also feature fuel efficient technology such as automatic shutdown which offers even better fuel efficiency. Inverter generators are capable of consuming approximately 40-50% less fuel than conventional generators since their motors/engines don’t need to run continuously at full speed. This offers other benefits like reduced exhausted emissions.
Low decibel generators tend to be smaller in size and lighter in weight compared to conventional generators. This makes them more portable. Generator portability is a very important factor to consider when buying a generator today. You want to own a generator that can be used for multiple purposes. Bulky and heavy generators are limiting. Most conventional generators weigh over 100 pounds while most low decibel generators weigh 20 to 60 pounds. Low decibel generators also come with portability features such as wheels and carrying handles. If you are concerned about portability like most generator buyers today, a low decibel generator will be better for you.
Why do you need low decibel generators?
Noisy generators come with numerous disadvantages. If you are keen on discovering why you should ditch your noisy generator, below is a brief discussion of the main reasons.
- Anonymity: Some activities like hunting and camping can’t be done successfully using noisy generators. Conventional generators produce too much noise which can scare game during hunting. A noisy generator can also attract unwanted attention during camping. If you want your location in a campsite or in the woods to be discrete, a low decibel generator will come in handy.
- Noise regulations: You also need a quiet generator if you are worried about noise regulations. Many jurisdictions today have noise limits that must be adhered to. In most cases, noise that is above 75dBA is considered loud in most neighborhoods. To avoid being a nuisance and getting into legal problems, you should invest in a quiet generator instead of a conventional one.
- Health: Low decibel generators also come highly recommended because of health reasons. Noise levels that exceed 75dBA are capable of generating physical discomfort which can result in headaches as well as hearing problems. Noise also affects concentration and sleep quality. Low decibel generators also release fewer harmful emissions. Most low decibel generators are CARB compliant. The generators also come with advanced features like carbon monoxide (CO) detectors which warn you when CO levels increase beyond safe levels. If you are concerned about your health, consider low decibel generators only.
- Affordability: Low decibel generators are also more affordable in every sense compared to regular generators. First and foremost, the generators are more fuel efficient. Low decibel generators produce power according to demand which eliminates a lot of wastage. The generators have also benefited from the best/most advanced technology. Thanks to advanced generator technology, it costs less to build better generators. This explains why the latest/most advanced generators on sale today are cheaper than traditional generators.
Generator applications: Low decibel generators applications
You can use low decibel generators for just about any application you can think off. There are many low decibel generator types/models ideal for all kinds of applications imaginable. Silent generators are perfect for residential applications with noise regulations. The generators also come in handy in residential areas because they don’t cause noise disturbance to owners and neighbors. The generators are also perfect for hunting and camping applications which require silence as well as high-quality power. As mentioned above, low decibel generators which are mostly inverter generators produce the highest quality power ideal for charging/powering sensitive electronics.
The generators are also ideal for commercial applications. Low decibel generators are good backup sources of power for offices. The generators can operate undetected eliminating unnecessary noise distractions. The generators also work perfectly in job site applications. If you don’t want to increase the noise levels in an already noisy worksite, a low decibel generator will work perfectly for you. A low decibel generator will also work perfectly when you want to make your office or workspace environmental friendly. The latest low decibel generators in the market emit very little quantities of harmful gasses. If you are concerned about your business’s carbon footprint, look no further.
In a nutshell, you can use low decibel generators for all kinds of applications including heavy duty/industrial applications. There are high-power silent generators on sale today capable of producing enough power to run a commercial establishment during a blackout. The most important thing is calculating your power needs so that you can choose a silent generator that serves you perfectly.
How to reduce generator noise
In case you own a noisy generator which you aren’t ready to dispose of, there are a few things you can do to make the generator quieter. Although it is always better to research and invest in a low decibel generator, there are some remedies you can consider before you buy a silent generator.
- Move your generator further away from you: You can reduce the amount of noise your generator produces by simply moving the generator away from you. This tip is commonly overlooked. However, it’s extremely effective if you have enough space. You can get rid of 10 or more dBAs by relocating your generator.
- Build an enclosure: If you don’t have the luxury of space, consider constructing a sound enclosure for your generator. You can do this effectively by using materials that are known to absorb sound i.e. plywood. Placing your generator in an enclosure surrounded by plywood can reduce noise levels significantly. However, avoid wooden flooring since wood tends to amplify vibrations.
- Make sure your generator’s exhaust points away from your home: You can also reduce generator noise significantly by directing exhaust fumes away from your home. This simple tip makes a lot of difference since engines are usually loudest at the exhaust section.
- Insulate: To reduce reverberation, you need acoustic insulation i.e. lining surfaces such as the generator floor with sound-absorbing materials. You can insulate using acoustic wall panels and/or using ceiling tiles. If you are using your generator for industrial applications, you can consider insulating wall panels using perforated steel.
- Install anti-vibration mounts: Generators produce a lot of vibrations which can easily increase noise levels. Anti-vibration mounts absorb vibrations reducing noise levels significantly. You can install rubber mounts on your generator’s feet to reduce vibrations. Dampers and spring mounts can also be installed for the same purpose.
- Install attenuators: Attenuators reduce noise by limiting noise transmission in areas where air/fumes are passing through. They force air between splitters which absorb sound and reduce wavelength concurrently. Good attenuation systems can reduce noise by 50% or more depending on their size. A larger attenuator is always better. This tip works perfectly with large generators.
- Don’t overload: This is another simple remedy for reducing generator noise. Overloading your generator can increase noise levels significantly so, use your generator as recommended. If you require more power, you should buy a more powerful generator. If your generator has parallel operation capability, connect another identical generator to produce more power. Overloading a generator increases noise levels and introduces safety risks.
- Service your generator regularly: Like all kinds of machines, generators need to be serviced regularly to function optimally. Poorly serviced generators tend to produce more noise so, service your generator first before you consider more involving remedies of reducing generator noise.
You can turn a noisy generator into the quietest generator by considering all the above remedies. Nevertheless, it’s a lot of work and effort. You will also be required to spend some money. For this reasons, it’s always recommendable to invest in a new low decibel generator instead. The best low decibel generators on sale today are affordable, and they come with many other benefits besides being silent.
How do you choose a generator: Choosing low decibel generators
The most distinct feature about low decibel generators is silence. For this reason, the first feature you must check when choosing low decibel generators is the noise level. The generator you choose must be silent by all standards. Any generator which has a noise level above 70dBA is considered loud. Low decibel generators have an average noise level of 40-65dBA.
Once you identify a generator with an acceptable noise level, your second consideration should be wattage. How much power do you need?
All generators come with wattage information which simply means the amount of power the generator is capable of producing at any given time. Generator Wattage is classified into two namely; starting watts and running watts. You should pay attention to the running watts since this is the maximum amount of wattage a generator is capable of producing constantly at any given time. Your total power needs shouldn’t exceed the running watts.
You can calculate your total power needs by adding the wattage of all the appliances/electronics you wish to power using your generator. All appliances/electronics have wattage information clearly highlighted so you shouldn’t have problems calculating your total wattage needs. Remember to calculate the wattage of the most essential appliances/electronics only i.e. those you intend to power concurrently.
For instance, a backup generator should be able to power lights as well as essential appliances/electronics like a coffee maker, microwave, TV, and Radio. For this reason, you don’t have to buy a generator with the highest wattage unless you want to power other appliances/electronics that are known to consume a lot of power i.e. washing machines, dish washers, etc.
In a nutshell, your total power needs at any given time should not exceed your generator’s running wattage. Otherwise, you risk overloading your generator. It’s also advisable to give yourself some headroom. For instance, you shouldn’t buy a 4000-watt generator if your total power needs at any given time are 4000 watts. A general rule is to give yourself approximately 20% headroom. Using our example above, you need a 4800-watt generator to power 4000 watts of appliances/equipment.
Generators have two main applications namely; domestic and commercial applications. To choose the best low decibel generator for yourself, you need to consider the intended use. If you want a silent generator for domestic use when you suffer a power blackout or emergency power cuts, wattage shouldn’t be a huge concern. Typical low decibel generators are capable of providing you with adequate power in case of emergencies. If you want a generator for commercial purposes, you need to consider the highest wattage low decibel generators in the market. Also, you don’t need the quietest low decibel generator if you want to use the generator in a job site. In a nutshell, knowing the intended use/s of the generator beforehand will help you make a better decision.
Low decibel generators are generally safer than conventional generators. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t assume that all low decibel generators are safe or have the same safety standards. Some generator manufacturers observe higher safety standards. For this reason, pay attention to all safety metrics from emissions to power quality. A generator which is CARB and EPA compliant is always better than one which has one or lacks both compliance standards. You should also lookout for safety features such as low-oil warning, automatic shutdown, carbon monoxide detector, fireproof casing, etc. Also, pay attention to the quality of power produced. Although inverter generators produce cleaner and more consistent power which is ideal for powering sensitive electronics, the quality of power produced varies from one generator to another. You should choose a generator with the lowest harmonic distortion for the highest/safest quality power.
The low decibel generator you choose should also have an ideal runtime. No one wants to waste time refueling a generator after every few hours. For this reason, it’s advisable to consider choosing low decibel generators which have bigger fuel tanks and better fuel efficient. If generator runtime is more important to you than factors like portability, you can go for a low decibel generator with a large fuel tank since such generators tend to run for more than 8 hours nonstop. Generators with a lower output are also bound to consume less fuel and offer better overall runtimes.
Features to look out for in a generator
Besides considering the noise level, wattage, application, safety and runtime factors, it’s important to look out for specific generator features. Below are some of the best generator features to consider.
- Automatic/remote start/stop/monitoring
The best low decibel generators on sale today have remote capabilities. It’s important to choose a generator that can be operated remotely for convenience. Operating a generator can take up your precious time and effort especially when your generator is far away. You should start and stop the best generator as well as track performance remotely/automatically. The low decibel generator you choose should be able to tell you how much fuel you have used, how much is remaining among other performance metrics like oil level. Generators with automatic/remote capabilities are extremely easy to use. They also tend to be safer and more fuel efficient. A generator that is capable of shutting down automatically when the oil level falls or when not in use is definitely safer and more fuel efficient.
- Transfer switch
This feature is incredibly important for generators which are intended for backup power applications. A transfer switch enables a generator to be safely connected to conventional circuitry. In fact, you should never attempt to connect your generator directly to your home’s or office’s circuitry to avoid damaging the generator as well as your electronics and appliances. Transfer switches monitor and allow safe transfer of power. A transfer switch monitors voltage and automatically signals the generator to start when there is an interruption or signals the generator to shut down when regular power is restored.
Generator displays also go a long way. Generators with LCD displays and/or LED status indicators are easier to use. Displays make generators easier to use at night. Displays also make generators safer because you can track important functionality metrics like oil level, service status, warnings, etc. You can discover a lot of important operational information by simply checking your generator display. The importance of choosing low decibel generators with LCD displays and/or LED status indicators can’t, therefore, be overlooked.
- Multiple Ports
The best low decibel generators have multiple ports allowing you to connect the generator to any kind of electronic device or appliance you can think off. For instance, you should make sure the generator you choose has USB ports for you to be able to charge computing devices easily. Standard 12v and 24v ports, as well as two and three-prong ports, are also a necessity. A generator’s usability is dictated by the type and number of ports the generator has. To maximize on usability, consider buying a generator that has as many ports as needed.
The generator you buy should come with portability features like handles and wheels. Most people prefer generators which are easy to carry from one place to another because such generators can be used for multiple purposes. Unless you want to use your low decibel generator for one application only, it is advisable to choose a generator with good carrying handles and/or wheels. The ideal type of portability features should be dictated by the size and weight of the generator. Heavier generators should have both wheels and carrying/pushing handles.
- Safety features
The generator you buy should also have safety features. Some of the most basic generator safety features include; Low-oil level shutdown, spark arrestor, protective casing, circuit protection, voltage regulator and a CO (carbon monoxide) detector which usually comes as an accessory. Generators come with numerous risks, so it’s important to buy a generator that curbs all common risks associated with using a generator. You also need a generator that is CARB/EPA compliant to avoid air pollution which can be detrimental to your health.
A warranty isn’t exactly a feature. Nevertheless, the generator you decide to buy must come with a good warranty i.e. a one year+ unlimited warranty. The warranty period should match the cost. Expensive generators should come with lengthy warranties to reduce risks. Warranties are important because they safeguard your investment in case of anything. They are also an indication of a high-quality product. High-quality generators come with the best warranties because their chances of breaking down are very slim.
Generator safety: How do you install and run a low decibel generator safely?
Buying one of the best low decibel generators is one thing. Knowing how to install and use the generator safely is another totally different thing. Many people rush to buy and use generators without equipping themselves with appropriate knowledge on generator safety. This shouldn’t be the case. Here’s what you need to know about generator safety.
Installation and use
The latest low decibel generators on sale today are easy to install. In fact, you don’t need to hire an expert to install most portable silent generators today. The generators can come ready to use. They must, however, be set up on dry ground to avoid electrocution and generator damage risks. Generators also need to be placed on level ground to avoid accidental tripping. Slanting a generator can also result in wrong oil and fuel readings. Generators should also be placed on a platform as opposed to being placed directly on the ground. Platforms help to absorb vibrations as well as protect the generator from damage.
Although most portable generators come ready to use, you must go through your instruction manual before you start using the generator. There are countless generator models available today, so you can’t afford to assume your new generator is the same as your old generator. It’s also dangerous to operate a new generator on trial or error method. Different generator models come with unique risks which must be identified before use. Everyone who operates the generator must read the user manual first.
In regards to placement, always place your generator in a properly ventilated area. If you plan on placing your generator indoors, the generator’s exhaust pipe must be channeled outside. You also need to invest in a carbon monoxide detector if your generator doesn’t have one. Generators produce carbon monoxide gas which can cause death when inhaled for a prolonged time. Generator cords should also be installed securely away from footpaths to avoid accidents. Generator cords should also be weatherproofed if the generator is going to be used for outdoor applications. Weatherproofing generator cords is important for preventing damage as well as electrocution. You should also use a transfer switch when connecting your generator to your home’s circuitry to avoid overloads that can damage your generator and electrical equipment.
When handling your generator, make sure your hands are dry to avoid electrocution. It’s also advisable to wait until your generator has cooled off before you refuel or handle the generator in any way. Generators are usually hot during and immediately after operation. To reduce fire risks, turn off your generator and wait for a few hours before you refuel. You should also handle generator fuel with care. For instance, store fuel containers in a cool, dry and safe place away from the reach of children. Fuel containers should also be labeled.
Carbon monoxide poisoning
One of the most deadly generator risks is carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas which makes it impossible to detect. As mentioned above, it’s important to invest in a CO monitor. You also need to know the signs of CO poisoning and what you need to do if you suspect you have inhaled CO for some time. CO poisoning comes with symptoms such as lightheadedness or nausea, shortness of breath and fatigue. If you suffer one or more of these symptoms when using your generator, get some fresh air immediately and seek medical help.
Generator servicing & maintenance
You can reduce carbon monoxide poisoning risks by ensuring your generator is serviced regularly as recommended by the manufacturer. Poorly serviced generators are prone to producing more harmful gasses so; follow your maintenance schedule religiously. You should, however, take your generator to authorized dealers only to avoid damaging your generator or increasing safety risks. This highlights the importance of buying recognized generator brands only. Renowned generator brands have numerous and readily available/accessible servicing outlets. By investing in a renowned generator brand, you are assured of high-quality stress-free maintenance services. Renowned generator brands also come with 24/7 online and offline support services.
Best low decibel generators
When looking for the best low decibel generators, the first and most important thing is the noise level. The generator then needs to be powerful, high-tech, safe, portable and energy efficient. The generators discussed below have met this criterion and more. Below are our top 5 best low decibel generators.
1. The Yamaha EF2000iS, (Noise level: 51 dBA)
The Yamaha EF2000iS stands out as one of the best low decibel generators because of its incredibly low noise level. At 51dBA, the Yamaha EF2000iS is quieter than a normal conversation. The generator also has a potential of being ”library quiet” (producing approximately 40dBA) if you take measures for making the generator quieter. This generator is clearly in a class of its own in regards to noise level. But that’s not all.
The Yamaha EF2000iS is also powerful enough for most generator applications. The generator produces 1600 running watts which can power basic equipment in both residential and commercial applications. This makes the Yamaha EF2000iS the perfect backup/emergency generator. Power aside, the generator also has an impressive running of 10+ hours.
The Yamaha EF2000iS is also high-tech thanks for features such as smart throttle which boosts fuel efficiency while reducing generator noise further. The generator also comes with a superior inverter system, spark arrestor, low-oil and AC overload warning. The Yamaha EF2000iS is also environmental friendly. The generator is EPA and CARB compliant.
Last but not least, the Yamaha EF2000iS is sizable. At 44.1 pounds only and 19.3 x 11 x 17.9 in dimensions, this generator can be carried with ease and fit anywhere. You also get a 3-year warranty which is a testament to the generator’s quality. Click below for more info.
2. WEN 56200i (Noise level: 51 dBA)
The WEN 56200i is another incredibly quiet generator with a noise level of 51dBA only. Like the Yamaha EF2000iS, this generator operates with unmatched silence. You can run the WEN 56200i next to you without suffering any noise disturbance whatsoever. Furthermore, the generator is also capable of handling all basic generator powering applications.
The WEN 56200i also comes highly recommended for delivering high-quality power. The electricity produced by the WEN 56200i has a harmonic distortion of 0.3-1.2% which is unmatched. The power produced by this generator is ideal for the most sensitive electronics/appliances. Besides producing high-quality power, the WEN 56200i also has an impressive runtime. The generator can run for six hours on 1 gallon of gas at average load (50%).
The WEN 56200i also comes with numerous ports which enhance usability. You can connect all kinds of electronics and appliances to this generator. You can also connect the WEN 56200i to another identical generator to double the power output thanks to the parallel connection ports. The WEN 56200i is also sizable at 48 pounds only and 18 x 11 x 18 inches in dimensions. Most importantly, this generator is safe to use. With features such as low-oil automatic shutdown and overload protection, this generator exposes users to very little risks. There’s much more about the WEN 56200i. If you want to learn more about portable generators and the Wen 56200i, Click here for more detail or click below.
3. Champion Power Equipment 75537i (Noise level: 58dBA)
The Champion Power Equipment 75537i is a more powerful but incredibly silent generator. Considering this generator produces 2800 running watts, a noise level of 58dBA is incredible. If you’re looking for a more powerful but equally silent generator, look no further. The Champion Power Equipment 75537i is also unmatched on technology. The generator is one of the few low decibel generators which can be remotely started 80 feet away. This high-tech feature makes the Champion Power Equipment 75537i very usable.
The Champion Power Equipment 75537i also stands out for its portable features. For a generator that produces 2800 watts, the Champion Power Equipment 75537i is more portable than similar generators on sale today. The generator comes with an integrated mobility kit and built-in handles that boost portability to unmatched levels. The generator may be heavier than generators discussed above. However, the manufacturer has compensated this shortfall effectively.
The generators 8-hour runtime (at 25% load) is equally impressive. The safety features are also above industry standards. You also get a good warranty and price. If you are keen on getting more power without increasing noise and cost, the Champion Power Equipment 75537i is a strong buy. Click here for more!
4. Honda EU2000i (Noise level: 59 dBA)
The Honda EU2000i produces between 53 and 59 decibels during normal operation. Considering you can always take measures to lower noise levels, the Honda EU2000i qualifies to be featured on the list of top low decibel generators available today. Noise levels aside, this inverter generator is also incredibly energy efficient. The Honda EU2000i can run for 8.1 hours continuously at normal load on 0.95 gallons. This generator also produces high-quality power ideal for all kinds of sensitive electronics in use today.
The Honda EU2000i is also portable at 47 pounds. You can carry this generator easily by hand. The Honda EU2000i also stands out for its parallel capability. You can double the power output by connecting the Honda EU2000i to another identical generator. The generator also comes with one of the best warranties i.e. a three-year residential/commercial warranty. For more on the Honda EU2000i, click here.
5. Briggs & Stratton P3000 (Noise level: 59 dBA)
The Briggs & Stratton P3000 also comes highly recommended because of its high power output but low noise level. Most 3000 watt generators on sale today are louder than the Briggs & Stratton P3000. This generator offers the perfect combination of power and silence. This factor alone makes the power and silence ideal for both residential and commercial applications.
The Briggs & Stratton P3000 is also high-tech. The generator has a unique computer-controlled motor that adjusts speeds automatically offering unmatched fuel efficiency and noise levels. The generator can also operate for more than ten hours on 1.5 gallons. The Briggs & Stratton P3000 is also safer than most inverter generators on sale today. The generator produces electricity with a very low harmonic distortion (less than 3%) which is safe for sensitive electronics. Although the Briggs & Stratton P3000 is heavier than the generators featured in this list, the generator has a twin handle, luggage-style handle as well as wheels that offer easy transportation. Here’s more on why the Briggs & Stratton P3000 is among the best low decibel generators.
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