Investing in a Silent Generator is well worth the extra money if you truly dislike noise and value a working generator that you can barely hear.
As wonderful as it is to have the convenience of a portable generator, noise can be a problem for many users. There are a lot of camp sites that don’t allow generators for this very reason. As an RV owner this can be a problem. Homeowners who use a generator for power outages and live in a built-up area, have a similar problem – your neighbors are likely to complain about a noisy generator.
Thankfully, there are many generators that are designed to overcome this issue. You can get reasonably quiet generators that have a better muffler design, though these aren’t exactly silent. In fact, there’s no such thing as a completely silent generator, but there are some that come as close to silent as is possible with today’s technology.
What is a silent generator?
By using very advanced mufflers, quieter engines and sound insulation panels to enclose the generator, it’s possible to build a generator that is quiet enough that it won’t disturb your comfort or that of your neighbors. The noise levels won’t all be the same, a larger generator will always be louder than one with a smaller engine, that’s just the way it is. Even though these larger engines are noisier, it’s possible to get a generator that gives you over 6000W peak power and still be quiet enough as not disrupt the peace and calm of the neighborhood or campsite.
Honda Eu7000is | Powerful & Silent Generator for Heavy-Duty Uses
So, how quiet does a generator need to be in order to be considered a silent generator? To give us a point of reference, we can use a normal speaking voice as a good indication as to what can be considered as an acceptable noise level. The average sound level of a conversational voice is 65dB. Any generator that doesn’t exceed this level (or is reasonably close to this) should be seen as being quiet enough by anyone’s standards. Some smaller generators can produce noise levels that are much lower than 65dB and these can be as quiet as a whisper.
Because of the technology used and the extra sound insulation, a silent generator is going to cost more than a standard generator. So before you decide on buying a silent generator, you should do a little homework and check what your options are.
A unique & completely silent battery | Kohler enCUBE 1.8
We’ve selected five excellent options for people interested in buying a silent generator. They’re not the cheapest and, even then, some will be more expensive than others. Amongst these excellent options, you will be able to get a high-quality silent generator with inverter technology for well under $1000. So there are some fantastic value for money options available. Most of them are smaller generators (under 3000W) – these will be the quietest, less than 65dB.
We’ve also included a larger machine (the Briggs & Stratton Q6500) that has a peak power output of 6500W. This generator is a better option for people who need more power – it can run several high-current appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners at the same time. While it’s somewhat louder than the others, this generator is quiet enough to pass as a silent generator. It has all the same silent-running design features as the others, it just has a larger engine and this pushes up its noise levels.
2000 Watt : Best silent generator if you value peace and quiet
- 2000 watt inverter generator
- Silent : Noise Level : 59 dB(A) @ rated load 53dB(A) @ 1/4 load
- Dry Weight : 45.6 lb.
- Fuel efficient – up to 8.1 hrs on 1 gal of gas
- Inverter – clean and stable power for sensitive electronics
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the Honda EU2000i.
The Honda EU2000i is one of the more expensive 2000W silent generators. Honda is not a cheap brand, but in the world of gas generators, they’ve earned a great deal of respect. Not only does the Honda EU2000i come with a legacy of outstanding quality and durability, it’s also packed with all the modern technology that can go into making a top of the line generator.
Powered by the GX100 98.5cc engine, it has one of the best gas engines around and it’s going to run reliably for many years. This engine drives an alternator that delivers 2000W of peak (starting) power and 1600W of continuous running power. With this, you can keep the basics running. It will give you enough power to run a medium-sized refrigerator or air conditioner, but you’ll be very limited as to what other appliances you can use at the same time.
VIDEO | See the Honda EU2000i generator up close
You have the added advantage of one of the best inverters, giving you clean pure sine wave power that won’t harm your sensitive electronic equipment, whilst also being more fuel efficient than most other generators of this size. The 0.95-gallon gas tank will keep the generator running for up to 8-hours at around 25% load and even when running it continuously at its full load capacity of 1600W, you’ll still get around 3½-hours from a tank of gas.
As a silent generator, the Honda EU2000i is one of the best. When running at around 25% load, it will produce a noise level of only 53dBA. Even at its loudest, when running at full throttle, the Honda won’t exceed 59dBA. From only a short distance away, you won’t even know that the generator is running – it’s that quiet. The little Honda EU2000i is also incredibly light, only 48 LBS. By using the comfortable handle, just about anyone can easily carry this generator with only one hand.
Because the Honda EU2000i is a state of the art inverter generator, it has an eco-throttle that will reduce the engine revs when the power demand is low. This will save on fuel and reduce the noise levels at low output. It also has ports for parallel connection, so you can connect more than one Honda EU2000i in parallel. The sine waves of the connected generators will be synchronized and, in so doing, increase the power output to that of all the generators connected together. This gives you the versatility of having a compact and lightweight generator when that’s what you need and the advantage of extra power output when required.
The control panel on the front of the generator has two 120V-20A receptacles, protected by a circuit breaker and a 12V-8A outlet for charging batteries. There are warning lights for both low oil and power overload. In addition to this, it has an alarm for when the outlet circuits are overloaded. The Honda EU2000i has a USDA approved spark arrestor and the engine is CARB certified for low emission levels.
So the Honda EU2000i is the full package. It’s super-quiet, very fuel efficient, compact and lightweight. It also uses the most advanced inverter technology for clean, low Harmonic Distortion (HD), pure sine wave power and the added advantage of parallel connectivity. Honda service is as good as it gets and their machines simply refuse to die. This fact is highlighted by their fantastic 3-year warranty for both residential and commercial use.
- Engine Honda : GX100
- Displacement : 98.5cc
- AC Output : 120V 2000W max. (16.7A) 1600W rated (13.3A)
- Receptacles : 20A 125V Duplex
- DC Output : 12V, 96W (8A)
- Starting System : Recoil
- Fuel Tank Capacity : .95 gal
- Run Time per Tankful : 3.4hr @ rated load 8.1 hrs @ 1/4 load
- Dimensions : (L x W x H) 20.2″ x 11.4″ x 16.7″
- Noise Level : 59 dB(A) @ rated load 53dB(A) @ 1/4 load
- Dry Weight : 45.6 lb.
- Residential Warranty : 3 Years
- Commercial Warranty : 3 Years
Honda offers a wide range of generators. They aren’t cheap because they are extremely well-engineered. Learn more by reading our indepth review of the Honda EU2000i.
51 dB at 25% load : Excellent silent generator if you value well-engineered products and owning a portable generator that you don’t hear.
- Incorporates a completely new controller with advanced programming resulting in improved output characteristics between 1600w-2000w operation ranges. The addition of the new programming allows the EF2000iSv2 the ability to power a much wider range of applications than previous generation EF2000iS.
- If you need extra power the EF2000iSv2 has you covered—a convenient parallel function lets you connect two generators to deliver up to 30 amps.
- Light weight — Easy transport
- Compact — 2.2 cu.ft. size is easy to store and transport
- Twin Tech (Parallel generator operation) – The EF2000iSv2 can be operated in parallel to deliver up to 30 amps.
- Parallel generator operation – The EF2000iSv2 may be connected in parallel with an earlier model Yamaha EF2000iS.*
- New controller with advanced programming – The addition of the new programming allows the EF2000iSv2 the ability to power a much wider range of applications than previous generation EF2000iS.
- Smart Throttle varies engine speed based on load — Improves fuel economy and reduces noise. Runs up to 10.5 hours at ¼ rated load on a tank of gas.
- Gasoline petcock – lets you shut off the gas to run the carb dry for storage and helps prevent stale gas problems.
- Fuel gauge — See fuel gauge at-a-glance
- Inverter system with Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) control — Produces a pure sine wave to run products with built-in microcomputers or microcomputer-controlled electric tools
- OHV engine with cast iron cylinder liner — Efficient, reliable, powerful providing long life and excellent heat dissipation
- OHV engine — Includes steel camshaft and valve train components
- EPA & CARB Emission Engine Durability Rating — Yamaha generators have the longest emission engine durability ratings issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the
- California Air Resources Board
- Oil Watch Warning system — Prevents engine damage caused by low oil, avoiding costly repairs and minimizing down time, adding customer confidence and peace of mind
- Auto-decompression system — Reduces compression for easier starting
- Comfortable grip handle — Easy portability and storage
- Electrical overload breaker — Prevents generator damage in case of overload
- Centralized controls — Easy access to controls
- DC Outlet — 8A 12V outlet for charging batteries (cables included)
- Rubber vibration isolation feet — Absorbing feet for smooth operation and noise reduction
Overview | Yamaha EF2000iSv2
Arguing as to whether the Honda EU2000i or the Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is the better generator, is a bit like the tomato tom-a-to argument. They’re both highly respected Japanese brands with a reputation for engineering excellence, durability, and outstanding dealership service. These two generators cost about the same and have very similar specs and identical power output ratings – 1600 watts of running power and 2000W peak power.
The differences are very subtle and some may find that one is preferable over the other based on the slight variations in their respective specifications. These can easily go by unnoticed, so when reviewing the Yamaha EF2000iSv2, I’m going to be comparing it with the Honda EU2000i, pointing out where some might prefer either option.
VIDEO | See the Yamaha EF2000iSv2 up close
The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 has a slightly smaller engine, being a 79cc, OHV, 4-stroke engine. While this engine is also CARB and EPA compliant, the 20cc difference in the engine size has some significance. The smaller engine on the Yamaha is slightly more fuel efficient. It has a slightly larger 1.1-gallon fuel tank and this will give you 10.5-hours runtime on a tank of gas at 25% load.
If we calculate the gallons per hour fuel consumption at the same load, the fuel consumption of the Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is 0.01 gallons per hour lower than the Honda EU2000i. This is a very small difference, but will save you some money in fuel bills over the life of the generator, both are probably going to work hard for many years. So, over time, this fuel saving will amount to quite a few dollars.
On the other hand, if we look at it logically, the larger engine isn’t going to work as hard to produce the same power, this means that the Honda engine could last longer. They’re both incredibly tough engines, but a larger engine should endure less wear and tear under the same working conditions – at least, this seems like a reasonable deduction to make, in my opinion.
Even though the Yamaha has a smaller engine, it’s slightly louder – 51.5dBA at 25% load and 61dBA at full load. Again, this is a very small difference and both are quieter than a regular conversational voice. The Yamaha is almost 4 LBS lighter at 44.1 LBS. It’s just as compact and has a very similar handle to the Honda, so it’s slightly better when it comes to portability because of the small weight difference.
The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is slightly more sophisticated when it comes to the internal electronics. It’s also an inverter generator with an incredibly low 1% or less Total Harmonic Distortion (THD). The Yamaha also has parallel connectivity. Where the Yamaha shows some technical superiority is in the programmable controller that offers the best adaptability to different power demand situations. The Yamaha also has a fuel gauge, something that you won’t get on the Honda.
Both engines use a recoil starter and they both start very easily. The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 has automatic decompression that makes it easier to start. I’m not sure if the Honda EU2000i also uses valve decompression for easier starting, but there doesn’t seem to be much difference where this is concerned, both start with a single pull.
VIDEO | Learn more about Yamaha Generators
The power outlets are identical. The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 also has 2 X by 120V household outlets and a 12V-8A battery charging outlet. It has the same warning lights for low oil and current overload as the Honda. It also has a low oil shutoff to protect the engine.
When it comes to build quality and service from the agents, they’re both just as great and the Yamaha EF2000iSv2 also has a 3-year warranty.
- Type : Inverter
- Maximum AC Output : 2000 watts
- Rated AC Output : 1600 watts
- Rated / Maximum AC Current : 13.3 / 16.7 amps @ 120V
- Engine : OHV, air-cooled, single cylinder, 4-stroke
- Displacement : 79cc
- L x W x H : 19.3 x 11.0 x 17.9 in
- DC Output : 8 amps @ 12V
- Dry Weight : 44.1 lb
- Fuel Tank Capacity : 1.1 gallons
- Continuous Operation at 1/4 Rated Load : 10.5 hrs
- Noise Level (1/4 Load – Rated Load) : 51.5 – 61 dBA
- Warranty : 3 Years Limited Warranty
Yamaha is at the top of its class when it comes to engineering. Yes, they will cost you more money than many other brands but its worth the cost if you’re looking for a long-term investment.
6500 Watt inverter generator : Best silent generator if you need a lot of power.
- Quiet, portable inverter generator delivers 6,500 starting watts of reliable home backup power
- QuietPower Series inverter technology and a noise-reducing shell give you power that’s more than 60% quieter than a standard generator (66 dBA at 25% load)
- Design is 45% more compact & 30% lighter (128 lbs) than a standard portable generator
- Highly-efficient 306cc Briggs & Stratton integrated engine/alternator provides up to 14 hours of run time at 25% load
- Power a wide variety of electronics & devices at the same time with (4) 120V-20A outlets, (2) USB outlets & (1) 120V-240V locking outlet. Use of RV adapter in the twist lock outlet provides 2500W of continuous power (120V / 20.8A)
Overview | Briggs & Stratton Q6500
Although the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 is way more expensive than any of the other silent generators in this review, it’s an all-together different beast. The Briggs & Stratton Q6500 has a peak power output of 6500W and a continuous load capacity of 5000W. So when comparing specs like noise levels, weight, and fuel consumption, remember that this is a much larger generator.
I’ll start with the noise level of the Briggs & Stratton because, although it’s much louder than the 2KW models, it’s actually very impressive as a silent generator. At 25% load, the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 produces 66dBA – this is just about the level of a normal speaking voice. Though if we compare this to the Honda EU2000i, the Briggs & Stratton is actually quieter for the watts that it produces. In order to match the power output of the Briggs & Stratton Q6500, you’ll need to use three Honda EU2000i generators – you’ll have slightly less power form the three Hondas, but this is as close as it gets. This means three times the noise level. When we look at it this way, the Briggs & Stratton is by far the most silent of all these generators.
Designed to perfection | Briggs & Stratton Q6500
To generate the extra power, the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 uses a 306cc (CARB compliant engine) with an integrated alternator. This means that the engine and alternator are one unit, unlike other generators that have an alternator that bolts onto the engine. This makes it more compact, but I’d think that it is going to be more complicated to repair. You only get a recoil starter on this engine. On an engine this size, I’d prefer to have seen an electric starter motor but the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 seems to start very easily, even in cold weather.
The entire generator is enclosed in a durable sound insulated housing. The larger engine and alternator, as well as a larger housing, make it quite a bit heavier than the smaller generators, but very reasonable for a generator of this size. It weighs 128 LBS. Transporting the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 is made very easy thanks to the large 8” solid rubber wheel kit and a telescopic (luggage-style) handle.
This is an inverter generator, so it provides clean full sine wave power but this doesn’t include parallel connection ports like the smaller generators. Then again, with 5000W of running power, there isn’t much need to up the power output. This also means that it has the same fuel-saving advantages as any other inverter generator. The 5-gallon gas tank will keep the generator running for up to 14-hours at 25% load.
Power outlets are great. It has 4 x 120V household outlets, a 120V-240V 30A twist lock outlet, and 2 X USB outlets. All the power outlets have covers to protect them from dust and moisture and are protected by circuit breakers. While discussing the power outlets, I want to point out a complaint that one of the customers raised on the Briggs & Stratton website, he gave this generator a 2-star rating – which I think was unfair. The complaint raised was that the generator tripped when he started the large air conditioner on his RV. He went on to say that the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 cannot handle a heavy inductive load, which is totally untrue. It wasn’t the generator that tripped, but rather the circuit breaker on the RV plug.
An RV adapter is only rated for 20.8A, at 120V this is 2496W (which is half the total output of the generator). Even using a 30A outlet, doesn’t give you the full wattage of the generator – a 30A outlet at 120V will trip at 3600W. If one is going to make use of the full power of any generator over 3.5KW, you need to connect your wires directly to the main output of the generator – if you use a 30A outlet (or less), the generator will trip when the load reaches the maximum rated amperage. I thought I’d mention this because many people could have experienced a similar issue. When using the 30A or lower amperage outlet for your RV, you might want to use the 20A outlets as well, in order to split the load.
Other features that people will like on the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 is that is has a fuel gauge and low oil shutoff.
With over a century of experience behind them, Briggs & Stratton have a stellar reputation for building durable machines and for offering excellent backup service. The Briggs & Stratton Q6500 comes with a 2-year consumer warranty and a 1-year commercial warranty.
Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator.
- Extremely quiet operation is comparable to the sound of a normal conversation according to the US Department of Health and Human Services
- EPA III and CARB Compliant 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV engine produces 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated watts
- Great for campgrounds, construction sites, tailgates and power outages
- Produces clean power to safely operate and prevent damage to sensitive electronics such as smart phones, tablets, televisions and computers
- Includes two three-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle ( DC Adapter Cable included on the package and one 5V USB port )
Overview | WEN 56200i
The budget-conscious buyer might be feeling a little disheartened by the prices of the all the generators that we’ve reviewed so far. If you aren’t up to paying too much for a silent generator but don’t want to compromise on the quality of the machine that you’re buying, the WEN 56200i is what you’re looking for. WEN might not be up there with the really expensive machines when it comes to the most impressive technical specs, but they come close and cost quite a bit less. When it comes durability, WEN products are known to be tough machines and this makes them excellent in terms of value for money.
The WEN 56200i uses a 79.7cc, OHV, 4-stroke engine that’s both EPA III and CARB compliant. It produces 2000W peak power and 1600W rated running power. Like all the other silent generators in this review, the WEN 56200i has an inverter. This means you get very clean power with a THD of 1.2% or less at maximum load and the benefit of an eco- throttle, allowing it to run at lower revs when the power demand is less and saving fuel. Though it isn’t as fuel efficient as the more expensive 2000W silent generators. At 25% load, you’ll get 6-hours runtime from the 1-gallon gas tank.
Noise levels are very reasonable, but also not the best at 51dBA when running at 25% load. It has all the outlets that one could want on a 2000W generator – 2 X 120V GCI household outlets, a 12V DC outlet, and a 5V USB outlet. It has warning lights and automatic shut down for both low oil and low fuel as well full circuit breaker protection. You also have the option to increase the power output using an optional parallel connection kit.
The WEN 56200i is every bit as portable as the other 2000W silent generators. It weighs 48 LBS and has a comfortable handle for carrying the generator.
When it comes down to it, you aren’t getting much less from the WEN 56200i when compared to the more expensive 2000W silent generators. It’s a high-quality generator at a very reasonable price and backed by a 2-year warranty.
2500 Watt silent portable inverter generator.
- Lightweight and Compact Design: the iGen2500 weighs 48 lbs. and Features a Built-In Carry Handle for Easy Transportation
- Safe for Sensitive Electronics and Strong Enough to Power All Your Household Essentials – No Need for a Bulky Conventional Generator
- Outlets : 2 USB Ports (5V DC) and a 120 VAC 20A Household Duplex Outlet – 2200 Running Watts and 2500 Peak Watts at <3% THD
- Enhanced Fuel Efficiency – 30-50% More Fuel Efficient Than a Traditional Generator! 1.0 Gallon
- Fuel Tank Runs for 8 Hours at a 25% Load
- Quiet Operation: the iGen2500 Utilizes a Double-Insulated Acoustic Enclosure, Asymmetrical Cooling Fans, and Low Tone Mufflers to Reduce Operating Noise
Overview | Westinghouse iGen2500
As I’ve come to know more about Westinghouse generators, my admiration for the brand has grown. Westinghouse generators are generally on a par with the best brands in terms quality and high spec level but cost less. This makes the Westinghouse iGen2500 the best value for money silent generator in its class. The iGen2500 costs about the same or even a bit less than the Honda and Yamaha models that we’ve reviewed here, but is a more powerful generator – delivering a peak wattage of 2500W and a continuous running capacity of 2200W.
The Westinghouse iGen2500 uses a 98cc engine that’s EPA compliant, but not CARB certified, so it’s not for sale in California. The power is provided using a low HD inverter and has all the benefits that this provides, including parallel connectivity. Fuel consumption is remarkably low for a generator that pushes out 2500 peak watts. The 1-gallon gas tank will keep the generator going for 7.7-hours at 25% load and 6.1-hours at 50% load. This is very much the same as the Honda EU2000i if you consider the higher output current of the Westinghouse iGen2500.
Like the other generators in this review, the Westinghouse also has a recoil starter (no electric starter motor). It has an excellent selection of electric outlets – a duplex 120V-20A outlet providing 2 X standard 120V household outlets and 2 X USB charging ports. It also has an LED display, giving you a lot of useful information, including volts, runtime, output, and fuel. This something that you won’t find on any of the other silent generators that we’ve reviewed here.
It has the same safety features as most others – circuit breaker protection and low oil shutoff. It’s also as light as any other (48 LBS) and has a convenient carrying handle. The guys at Westinghouse say that it is quieter than a speaking voice at 50% load. More specifically its operational noise level is 53 dB, which is excellent. It has a very similar sound insulated housing to all the other silent generators and shouldn’t cause a disturbance in campsites.
The Westinghouse iGen2500 is every bit as impressive as the best silent generators and offers a lot more Watts for your buck when compared to all the others. The only thing it doesn’t have CARB certification, which is bad news for people living in California. The Westinghouse iGen2500 has a 3-year warranty.
Learn more about the iGen2500 by reading our indepth review.