Camping Life Presents…

The 2021 Guide to Quiet Generators

One of the most common questions ( concerns ) about buying a generator is knowing how loud it runs.  The good news is that generators are rated with what is called DBA, which is the sound measurement the device makes.

Depending on what your intended use is for your generator –  when it comes to campgrounds you will want a generator no louder than 60 dba.  DB by the way stands for decibels and the A stands for the scale that the pitch or sound is on.  The human ear is most sensitive to the A scale – and thus generators are measured in the DBA scale.  In this guide, we will attempt to help you understand the factors you need to take into consideration when buying a generator.   

We will cover in brief the key factors and in using the site menu, you can dwell deeper into the various elements of buying a quiet generator. When you are doing research on which quiet generator you are looking to buy – in the specifications you will see a measurement that will tell you the DBA’s of the generator.    

A heavy duty high power generator will drown out conversation and run at 80 plus DBA’s where a 1500 watt quiet generator will run in the mid 50′s.  To put this in perspective with what is a quiet generator, compare the following sounds below.

Type of SoundDBA Rating
Humans Talking60-65 db
Telephone Dial Tone80 db
Power Saw110 db
Jet Airplane Taking Off140 db
Shot Gun Blast150 db

Determining the Best Quiet Generator to Go Camping With

More and more campgrounds are starting to impose rules as to how loud generators can be – nothing is worse than having a neighbor pull in beside your beautiful peaceful mountain camp spot and they fire up their commercial grade generator to power their RV air conditioner. As you can see in the chart above – normal conversation takes place at 60 to 65 db – which means any generator over 60 dba is going to over power people talking and become an annoyance.   Depending on how much you remember for High School Science class, sound multiples as it gets louder as well, which means that a generator that is 65 db is nearly twice as loud as a generator that runs at 55 db despite it being only 10 db more in sound measurement.

What Determines a Quiet Generator ?

The sound or loudness that a generator runs at is effected by several factors.   The primary measurement is the size of the engine which typically is in direct relation to the amount of power it is required to generate.   For example a 3500 watt generator will always run much louder than a 1500 generator of the same brand. The two other main factors that affect the sound output is the muffler and whether the engine is encased.  You will notice that the vast majority of generators considered quiet are enclosed in a heavy plastic case which works as a sound closet for the noise of the running engine.

Inverter GeneratorPowerWeightImageLoudness LevelPrice

PowerSmart 2200 Watt Portable Inverter Generator

2200 watts42.5 lbs58 DBA$699.99

Powermate PM3000i P0080601 Gas Inverter

2300 watts59 lbs61.5 DBA$699.99

Honeywell 6066

2000 watts49.6$559.99

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