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What is the Quietest Generator?- Things You Need to Consider

what is the quietest generator
Written by Jamie Masterson

From industries to offices to homes, the use of generators has expanded everywhere. They have become indispensable nowadays, no doubt about that. But the noise output of most generators could be harmful to the human ear and result in numerous problems, don’t they?

So, what is the quietest generator out there? This question arises when buying a portable generator. Right? Well, in this article, we’ll discuss every single detail of the characteristics of a quiet generator and how to make your generator quiet in case you end up with a loud one. Keep your eyes glued till the end.

what is the quietest generator

What is the Quietest Generator – Things to Know About Generators

Understanding Noise

Noise refers to an undesired sound that is disruptive to hear, loud, or annoying. The standard of sound level is measured in decibels (dB or dBA). The lower the dBA of a generator, the quieter it is. For example- 0 dBA is the quietest sound that is healthy to hear by the human ear.

Whisper conversation produces 30dB of sound while a normal conversation produces 60. When the noise exceeds over 140 dBA, it can damage your eardrums resulting in hearing damages.

Measuring the Sound Levels

A variable attribute depending on the distance between the noise source and you is the sound measurement. For generators, 7 meters is considered to be the standard so if you want to test portable generators, make sure to measure it from the stated distance. If the distance increases by double, the intensity level could decrease by 6 dBA.

The Acceptable Quietness Level of Generators

For generators, no universal standard is set for the permissible noise. On the other hand, the environment and application you’re using the generator differ from each other. Keep the limits of acceptable noise in your state into consideration because different states have different regulations aiming to protect the environment of sleeping, conversation, and many more.

Well, for residential areas, 45dB of noise level is considered to be the ideal where 55 dB is acceptable for outdoor areas like playgrounds. Going through 70 dB of noise level can be moderate for occasional exposure. In that case, ensure sufficient quiet time to prevent measurable hearing issues.

Decibel Ratings of Quiet Generators

In most cases, a 50-65 dB rating can be good for portable quiet generators. If a generator comes with 3 dB more then that can make a huge difference. So, do not take it lightly. Remember- if the level increases by 10 dB, the noise doubles. For example, a 70 dB generator produces double noise compared to a 60 dB generator. So, the generators that produce up to 57 dB of noise while running at full load can be considered as the quietest generator.

Characteristics of a Super Quiet Generator

The quiet technology of a generator varies based on numerous factors, such as the size of engines, muffler quality, and the presence of an enclosure. Here, engine quality plays the most important role. Cheap options like air-cooled generators don’t feature quietness where the water-cooled engines do. So, consider purchasing a water-cooled portable quiet generator.

Sound Varies According to the Power Output

Although the engine size is the main fact of a generator’s sound, power output has an impact. Wondering how? Well, more power results in higher decibel levels up to 110 dB that may slightly differ based on the generator model. You’ll find a few couples of generators having the same power output but vary in noise rating. In plain words, a 4000W generator will always produce louder noise than a 3000W generator.

The Significance of Inverter Technology

The generators that come with an inverter technology tend to be quieter than the regular ones. Producing electrical current allows the inverter generators to have smaller engines that help reduce the noise levels.

Now it comes to the body parts. Inverter generators come with insulated and sound-damping materials to absorb noise vibration. This is how an inverter generator is up to 20 dB quieter than the normal ones.

Some of the portable generators have acoustic housing to dampen the noise. But, according to our opinion, inverter portable generators are the market leaders.

Throttle Control of Quiet Portable Generators

The Smart Throttle is one of the best noise reduction features added to some fantastic quiet generators. The constant RPM that the portable generators run in does not only noise louder but also is not fuel-efficient. The operating volume reduces by the ability of an engine in different output levels.

The throttle control feature allows generators to vary the engine speed automatically to run the required load. So, it’s clear that generators running at full load produce more noise. Decreasing the output level is recommended for a quieter result.

Factors that Play a Role in the Noise Level of Generators

Along with the size of a generator, the noise production depends on other factors like the air density around the generator. Exhaust is one of the major contributors to the overall noise level. In addition, the cooling fans are also contributors to noise in operation. Fan blade design and the operating speed are the variables of the sound of cooling fans.

Then it comes to the alternator- another internal fan responsible for increased noise level. Current instability is the reason for this mechanical noise. Also, the friction produced by different parts produces extra mechanical noise.

How to Make Your Generator More Quiet: 5 Steps

Step 1: Extend the Distance of the Generator

The simplest and obvious solution to noise reduction is maximizing the distance between the power source and your house. Keeping the noise source distant from your activity area is the ultimate solution to noise issues, no doubt. So, let the sound waves spread over a wide area.

Make sure to avoid placing the noisy generator close to your neighbors and ensure a safe and dry place for your generator.

Step 2: Properly Position the Generator

No matter if you want to set your generator neat in your activity area or far from it, positioning it properly can help you eliminate the noise level. Being not level can result in increased noise and vibration. So, ensure a flat surface to place your generator. Place your portable generator to your desired position using leveling feet. Make sure to point the exhaust away from your activity area as it is the loudest part of your generator

Step 3: Upgrade to a Better Exhaust

Standard generator silencers have a significant effect on the noise a generator makes. The longer the exhaust pipe is, the more level of noise will be redacted. So, consider upgrading it to a better one.

You can opt for a huge generator muffler or you can go with a motorbike muffler to quiet the noise. Attaching a custom pipe to the exhaust can also be an effective way.

Step 4: Move the Exhaust Pipe Vertically

In general, exhaust pipes remain horizontally that drive the sound waves in one direction. Adjusting the pipe vertically by pointing upward can make some improvements to the noise level.

Step 5: Build and Insulate an Enclosure to the Generator

Building an enclosure is a great way to reduce the noise level. Enclosures help absorb and deflect. Vent the exhaust and ensure enough airflow to prevent the unit from overheating.

Create additional barriers to insulate the enclosure using different options like sound-absorbing foams, dampers, and rubber waffle pads. This will help dumb the noise and isolate the vibration as well.

Conclusion

Manufacturing noise-reduced generators is a challenge to manufacturers nowadays. Probably it won’t take long for us to start using noise-free portable generators at home. Till then, hopefully, these guidelines will help you survive the annoying noise.

About the author

Jamie Masterson

With decade-long experience as a generator technician, Jamie has worked with USA’s top generator manufacturers and suppliers as an independent contractor.

The long years of service to the industry has taught Jamie the ins and outs of troubleshooting, repairing, and maintaining all kinds of generators in home, industrial and outdoor settings.

Jamie thinks this platform is a great opportunity to share his tips and tricks with you so you can make the most of such power equipment for better living.

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