It is clear that generators can have different decibel ratings but you may wonder what exactly makes a super quiet generator quiet.
Some of the main details that influence generator noise levels are enclosed or open design, noise-reducing material choices, power levels, inverter technology, and engine design.
The choices of a generator brand in these details will ultimately influence the number of decibels that reach your ears.
Differences between quiet vs loud generators
There are a few differences that influence the decibel levels and in turn, make a super quiet generator quiet and other models (a lot) louder.
1. Open frame vs enclosed design construction
First of all, generators in terms of the frame around the motor.
The quietest generators tend to have enclosed designs which you can describe as an almost closed box.
Similar to something like a wall reducing decibel levels, this enclosed design gets in the way of the sound waves.
In turn, the noise someone outside of the box, in this case you, experiences is lower.
2. Material choices and padding
Two generators can both have an enclosed design but different noise levels anyway.
One of the reasons for this is that generator brands can still choose what noise-reducing material they use and in what quantities.
I’m not familiar with the different costs of these materials.
However, from the prices of super quiet generators, I assume these noise-reducing materials cost at least somewhat more for the brands.
3. Power capacity
The previous details definitely matter but one of the main things that influence how many decibels a super quiet generator is is its power capacity.
Noise-making generator processes like the combustion of the fuel take place to a larger extent with more powerful models.
For example, the quietest 1000 watt generator on the market is the Honda EU1000i with 42 to 50 dBA at 25% to 100% load.
On the other hand, the quietest 9000 watt generator is the GENMAX GM9000iE with 62 dBA at 25% load.
4. Inverter vs regular generators
Inverter generators are a category of portable generators with a few internal differences.
Some of these make inverter generators quieter all other things being equal.
One of these is that inverter generators can adjust their engine speed based on how much power you draw from them.
In turn, this keeps your inverter generator quieter (and more fuel-efficient).
5. Exact engine design
The engines inside generators can vary in terms of how much noise they make due to different part sizes and how these move together.
I’m not familiar with the actual generator engines but I assume brands have at least sometimes differences in this area.
How does Honda make their generators so quiet?
I still have to make the article about the quietest generator brands but Honda will likely be the top pick in this area. You may wonder how they do this.
Again, I have not looked at all of the engine designs and exact material choices.
However, Honda does mention that the main things that make their generators so quiet are choosing an inverter design, eco-throttle options, sound-dampening materials, and the specific Honda engine design (1).