How Many Decibels (dB) Is A Quiet Generator?

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Even though there are often decibel levels mentioned, it is not always clear how many dB is considered a quiet generator.

Before going into some numbers, it is worth noting that while decibel ratings are often measured at 25% load and 23 feet away, brands don’t need to stick to this standard.

Additionally, when looking for the quietest generators you will notice that different power levels and inverters vs non-inverters have very different standards.

That aside, it is fair to say that any model with a rating of fewer than 60 decibels, the dB of a normal conversation, is a quiet generator.

At the same time, you want to know that this would be on the louder side in the 2000 watt generator category where the quietest model has a rating of 51 dBA.

On the other hand, when it comes to 50 amp inverter generators, even a rating of 65 dBA would be on the quieter side.

What is a good decibel level for a generator?

Most people will agree that anything under 58 dBA at 25% load and 23 feet (7 meters) away is a good decibel level for a generator.

However, you want to keep in mind that the standards for different power categories, generator types, and measuring standards vary a lot.

The more running watts you have and if you are choosing non-inverter generators, the decibel levels will typically be higher.

Additionally, while at 25% load and 23 feet (7 meters away) is often used as a standard, generator brands can technically use their own standards.

There will also be a difference when measuring noise levels on a wooden surface vs on grass.

So while this “method” is not perfect, you will likely find the table below with standard and quietest rated noise levels for different generator power categories helpful.

Generator
Category
Standard
Noise Levels
Quietest Generator
Noise Rating
I found
Complete List
1000 Peak WattsVary A Lot42 dBAQuietest 1000
Watt Generators
30 Amp OutletVary A Lot48 dBAQuietest 30
Amp Generators
3000 Peak WattsVary A Lot50 dBAQuietest 3000
Watt Generators
2000 Peak Watts55 to 58 dBA
(Mostly Inverters)
51 dBAQuietest 2000
Watt Generators
4500 Peak Watts58 to 61 dBA For Inverters
69 to 72 dB For Non-inverters
52 dBAQuietest 4500
Watt Generators
240 Volts CapacityVary A Lot52 dBAQuietest 240V
Generators
6500 Peak Watts68 to 70 dBA
(Mostly Non-inverters)
52 dBAQuietest 6500
Watt Generators
7000 Peak Watts74 dBA
(Mostly Non-inverters)
52 dBAQuietest 7000
Watt Generators
3500 Peak WattsAround 58 dBA For Inverters
Non-Inverters Vary
53 dBAQuietest 3000
Watt Generators
50 Amp Outlet65 to 69 dBA For Inverters
72 to 74 dBA
For Non-inverters
55 dBAQuietest 50 Amp
Outlet Generators
4000 Peak Watts59 dBA For Inverters
68 to 70 dBA
For Non-inverters
57 dBAQuietest 4000
Watt Generators
5500 Peak Watts61 dBA For Inverters
69 dBA
For Non-inverters
58 dBAQuietest 5500
Watt Generators
5000 Peak WattsAround 68 dBA
(Mostly Non-inverters)
61 dBAQuietest 5000
Watt Generators
8000 Peak Watts76 dBA61 dBAQuietest 8000
Watt Generators
10000 Peak Watts72 to 74 dBA61 dBAQuietest 10000
Watt Generators
9000 Peak Watts72 to 75 dBA62 dBAQuietest 9000
Watt Generators
6000 Peak WattsVary A Lot63 dBAQuietest 6000
Watt Generators
12000 Peak Watts74 dBA74 dBQuietest 12000
Watt Generators
Standard and good decibel levels for different generator categories

I will update this table as I research more of the quietest generators in different categories.

How loud is a silent generator compared to daily noises?

You can also describe a generator as silent if it is less loud than certain noises you encounter in your daily life.

For example, I would describe a generator with a rating of fewer than 60 decibels, which is more or less how loud a regular conversation is, as quiet.

Since what daily noise levels you consider to be quiet for a generator is somewhat subjective, I put a range of examples in the table below.

Daily Noise TypeDecibel Level Estimate
Refrigerator50 dBA
Moderate Rainfall50 dBA
Normal Conversation60 dB
Background Music60 dB
Vacuum Cleaner70 dBA
Freeway Traffic70 dBA
Police Car Siren80 dBA
Whistling Kettle80 dBA
Generators vs daily noise levels

FAQ

Is 65 dB loud for a generator?

For small to medium-sized inverter generators, a rating of 65 dB is relatively loud.

For “regular” generators and very strong inverters, 65 dB is about standard (but will still feel almost as loud as a vacuum cleaner).

Is 67 decibels loud for a generator?

When it comes to inverter generators, 67 decibels is relatively loud.

On the other hand, this is about the standard for small to medium non-inverters and on the quieter side for non-inverters.

Is 68 dBA loud for a generator?

68 dBA is relatively loud for portable inverter generators and above average for “regular” generators.

Another way to look at 68 dBA is that this is about the same noise level of a vacuum cleaner and freeway traffic.

Is 69 decibels loud for a generator?

69 decibels is on the louder side for inverter generators and somewhat louder for other generators.

Is 70 dB loud for a generator?

70 dB is loud for inverter generators and small regular generators.

In the medium to large regular generator category, 70 dB is about what you can expect from the average model.

Is 72 dB loud for a generator?

It is fair to say that 72 dB is loud for inverter generators and small regular generators.

Even in medium-sized regular generators, 72 dB is leaning toward the louder side of the standard.

At the same time, 72 dB is still reasonable compared to many strong regular generators.

Is 74 dB loud for a generator?

74 dB is relatively loud compared to most generators. Especially inverters and regular models in the small to medium power levels.

Is 75 dB loud for a generator?

75 dB is loud for most generators.

Even in the stronger regular generator category, you can find many models that are quieter than this.

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Author:

Mats is the founder and head editor of Generator Decision. With a combination of critical thinking, tireless research, and a healthy interest in electronics he helps people find the right generators and how to use these. At this point in the journey, Mats has done research on hundreds of portable generators.