The real quiet portable generators are not easily available. A generator is a heavy piece of equipment, so naturally while working, it makes noise. The sound level of generators, for that matter anything, is measured in terms of decibels. The louder the sound, higher will be the decibel level.
Over time, as technology has improved, so the generators also have become quieter than before. But some models are quieter than others. To find such a generator, quite enough to enable you to have a conversation with others while standing close, is possible when you know the related technicalities.
Let us discuss some of these.
What are “quiet portable generators”
A portable generator will be termed as quiet when the sound level at 1 m distance is within 70 Decibels. To understand what 70 decibel sound level represents, it will be interesting to know that in a typical working office sound level is about 40 decibels, and an AC makes the sound of about 60 decibels. So, a level of 70 dB is really quiet for a heavy equipment like a portable generator.
How to reduce the Sound Output
If you already have a portable generator installed, then you can reduce the sound levels substantially by little effort.
The operating location of the generator can be located in a far off place, provided it does not become a nuisance to others. Also, it may need the use of large gauge wire to minimize the voltage drop and line loss due to large length of wire.
Noise in the generator is produced by engine block and exhaust system. There is little you can do to reduce the sound from the block, but the sound level can be reduced drastically by modifying the exhaust system. The changes like removing the bends from the exhaust pipe, installing a bigger muffler, or installing a vertical exhaust pipe can reduce the sound level substantially.
Another effective method to reduce generator noise is to build a sound proof enclosure around the machine. You can also install a sound shield between the generator and the house to deflect the sound away from the house. While installing the sound enclosure, follow proper safety norms like providing proper ventilation and air circulation. Otherwise, there is a strong possibility of heat and carbon monoxide buildup in the enclosure, which is a quite dangerous situation. It is advisable to get the enclosure designed and installed by professional and experienced agency.
If the sound level is not brought down to the desired level, even after following all the above suggestions, then replacing the existing generator with state of the art quiet portable generator is advisable.
Westinghouse WH6000S (357cc)
This machine has an operating noise level of 71dba, which makes it whisper quiet for anything with an engine. It can put out a continuous 6000 watts, making it ideal if you need a refrigerator, space heater, and lights all running at the same time. Using your circular saw or air compressor barely makes the machine miss a beat under a load, so you can use it with confidence.
This guy weighs a bit more at around 170 pounds, but it has a 6.6 gallon gas tank that will allow you to run for about 12 hours or so under a half load. The unit comes with everything you need to start it except the gas, including a funnel and tools needed to assemble it. Putting it together and running will take you about 30 minutes.
Complete with one 240 volt jack and four 120s, this one will be a handy friend wherever you take it. It also comes with a 25 foot power cord for added convenience. Mounted on wheels for easy mobility, this is a no-nonsense power supply with plenty of punch.
Powermate PMO435005 (287cc)
Teamed up with a Subaru 10hp engine, this generator is a relatively quiet 72dba, which can be compared to what city traffic sounds like inside a car, or roughly 80 decibels. It will send 5000 watts to the outlet panel, and would be a great addition to your backup power plan.
Multiple appliances at once is no problem for the Powermate. It can put other generators twice its size to shame, and outperform more expensive units by a wide margin. If you need a work horse in a pony sized package, this is the one for you.
The Powermate has a running time of about 14 hours at half load before you have to put another 8 gallons of fuel back in. It weighs nearly 170 pounds, but is transported easily with handle and wheels.
Convenient and reliable, the PMO435005 is a great addition to your jobsite needs, or your bunker plan for the apocalypse. Easy to see controls make using it a cinch, even in dark lighting.
Honda EU3000iS (196cc)
This is another light duty generator which is perfect for emergency use, and as an aid to campers. Noise level is one of the best in the business, only putting out 48 to 58 decibels depending on load. It generates a respectable 2,800 watts, which will more than keep the beer cold and the light on.
The Honda EU3000iS will run for a whopping 20 hours at a quarter load, and then it will drink another 3.4 gallons of petrol. This feature combined with the reduced operating noise make this generator a multitasking unit with a great medium of features.
The Honda only weighs 134 pounds, but you’ll have to carry it or buy a separate cart because of the lack of wheels. Great performance from a great name in small engines.
Champion 46539 (196cc)
At 68 dba, this generator is one of the quietest on the market, and can give you 4000 watts of surge/starting power and run all day long at 3,500. It can be used for emergencies or leisure alike, and is easy to start and use.
3.8 gallons of gasoline will allow you to stay powered up for 12 hours under half a load. Keeping a refrigerator and heater going at the same time will get you 8 or 9 hours. As with most modern generators, it has a low oil cutoff switch will shuts the unit down with oil level issues.
The Champion 46539 weighs 140 pounds, but is travel ready with 8 inch, never-go-flat tires under a sturdy metal frame. Perfectly suited to take along the paved path, or off into the dirt trails, this generator will give you all the portable juice you could need for most single appliances. Another great choice for light duty portable power in a conveniently easy to use unit.