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Why are Inverter Generators So Quiet? – The Real Reason!

Written by Jamie Masterson

With the arrival of inverter generators, temporary power supply has never been so reliable, lightweight, fuel efficient, and quiet. You can even synchronize a few generators and create a single load-sharing generator for redundancy and portability.

But many wonder how they are so quiet while other types of generators are so loud. If you’re one of those people, we’re here to answer your question!

Why Are Inverter Generators So Quiet?

  • The engine

The engine of inverter generators

Inverter generators use quieter and smaller engines compared to their conventional counterparts. These engines don’t have to run constantly to maintain the 3600 RPM voltage output.

Inverter generator units can regulate the speed that the engine requires to run that in turn regulates noise production based on the amount of load. For example, your inverter unit will keep getting quieter as you minimize its loads.

  • Stability of power

Stability of power

In fact, they have the most stable energy output among other types of generators because of the inverter technology. An inverter generator generally makes over 300 sine waves for each engine rotation that doesn’t occur in case of conventional portable generators.

The engine of the inverter generator works in 3 steps –  first, it produces up to 20,000Hz 3-phase AC power; then converts that AC power into DC power; then again it converts the DC power into clean and stable 60Hz/120V AC power.

  • Conversion of  AC-DC-AC power mechanism

Conversion of  AC-DC-AC power mechanism

Inverter generators usually come with high-end sound-dampening features to ensure noiseless operations. They’re fairly less noisy because they produce high-frequency AC power that passes through the three stages of conversion, thanks to the inverter technology.

  • Design

Design

Design-wise, this is a big advantage for inverter generators when it comes to minimizing sound output. As inverter units are comparatively quieter, manufacturers worked to improve this advantage with some added features like mufflers and noise absorbing casing.

You won’t find these features in portable non-inverter generators.

  • Microcontroller

Microcontroller

A microprocessor in the inverter generator controls the entire mechanism. This microcontroller lowers the engine speed the minute the load is less; so the noise is reduced even though the frequency is the same.

  • Casing material

Casing material

The exteriors of these generators are made of noise-absorbing and fine materials. They’re designed to reduce the noise and help the unit operate in silence. The noise-isolating materials used will affect how the noise will spread.

  • Mufflers

Mufflers

Some manufacturers added mufflers in inverter generators to make them even more noise-free. Mufflers are used to reduce the engine’s sound by nearly 10db based on the type of fuel used.

Although mufflers are conventionally not included in the design of most non-inverter generators, you can install yourself and use them to minimize the sound output to some extent. But we don’t recommend that you make that upgrade yourself unless you’re an expert since a malfunctioning muffler can trigger countless health hazards.

Why Can’t Regular Generators Be as Quiet as Inverter Generators?

  • Different working mechanisms

The working mechanism of an inverter generator is way different than that of a standard one. A standard unit depends on a mechanical alternator to generate ready-to-use AC (or alternating) power.

Inverter generators first produce alternating current, then convert it into direct current, and then their microprocessors invert this direct current back into a more stable and clean alternating current for use.

  • Solutions to standard generator noise issues

Still, you can lower the clangor of a regular generator using some external means such as a muffler, a sound-absorbing mat, and a soundproof generator box. You may also want to try and place the exhaust underwater and point the exhaust up in the air for better results.

Why Do Generators Make Noise?

  • Fuel combustion engine

Generators, like all types of machinery with engines, make noises. The fuel combustion engine inside is the source of the noise that comes out of it. The non-inverter units make more noise because they require a frequent 3600 RPM speed.

  • Conventional vs inverter units

Inverter generators come into play and cut out these two design flaws that cause the most noise. Inverter units keep these rattling and shaking components compact together while maintaining a constant speed of 3600 RPM. As a result, they are much quieter than the standard generators.

How Much Quieter Is an Inverter Generator?

How much quieter is an inverter generator

The latest inverter generators produce between 50 and 70 decibels at their maximum power and are quieter than many home appliances.

For instance, normal human speech equals 60db; a household vacuum cleaner produces 70db; a busy street reaches around 80db, and the heavy, rush-hour city traffic can top out at 100db.

To sum up, the sound of an inverter generator is comparable to the sound of someone speaking normally or it’s as loud as an average conversation.

You’ll be at basically the ambient sound level of the environment most of the time. So don’t forget to take an inverter with you the next time you go camping in the woods; it’ll not spoil your outdoor experience.

FAQs

1. What’s the quietest inverter generator on the market?

Ans: As of 2022, the Honda EU3000IS is the quietest inverter generator out there that produces only 49db when running at 3,000W.

2. What makes a quiet generator quiet?

Ans: The inverter (AC-DC-AC) technology makes a generator quiet. Besides, you can use a sound deflector generator box, acoustic enclosure, muffler, and noise-absorbing mat to reduce the amount of noise your generator produces.

3. Who makes the quietest whole house generator?

Ans: Think of “Generac” and “Briggs & Stratton” when it comes to choosing the quietest whole-house generator for you. Generac produces the most noiseless 8kw and 12kw units. Briggs & Stratton beats Generac when their large 20kw units are compared.

4. Can you put a generator in a box?

Ans: Yes, in fact, putting a generator in a soundproof generator box will reduce the amount of noise considerably.

5. Does a generator add value to a home?

Ans: Yes, as per the consumer reports, a whole-house generator that is properly installed by certified and licensed electricians adds as much as 3 to 5% value to your home.

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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