Why Are Generators (Inc. Portable) So Loud And How To Make Them Quieter

Generators are incredibly convenient and can really come in handy for camping or as an emergency backup for your home in the event of a power outage or emergency.

While they can do many things, from powering your essential appliances to your RV at a campsite, there’s one thing that all generators struggle with, and that's noise.

Why Are Generators (Inc. Portable) So Loud And How To Make Them Quieter

There’s no escaping the fact that generators make a considerable amount of noise while they’re running and even expensive models that may be a little quieter are fairly loud in most cases.

While there have certainly been advances such as with inverter generators and higher quality control that has made generators quieter, they still range from around 50 decibels up to around 90 or even a hundred, and this could make your generator a bit of a nuisance for you, or your neighbors.

However there are many things that you can do to mitigate how loud your generator is, and in this guide we’re going to explain why they’re so loud to begin with and how to make them quieter to give yourself some peace at the campsite or at home.

Let's get started by looking at why generators are so loud.

Why Are Generators So Loud?

For those who don’t know, generators are essentially a small engine, and they create electricity using various fuels to power a motor.

Naturally, like almost all engines that use internal combustion, there is some noise as a consequence of the engines functioning, and there’s almost no escaping that fact.

There are many things that can cause some generators to be louder than others, and many brands purport to be offering the quietest generator out there, using a bespoke design to reduce the disturbance these machines cause.

Some of the features that generators may use to reduce their noise are enclosed cases around the generator, as well as being an inverter generator instead of a standard generator, or a higher quality control that ensures that the parts are all secure and well fitted to reduce rattling.

Some generators even come with padded feet to help reduce vibration!

All of these can massively help reduce noise, however it's far from perfect and even the best rated generators for sound still produce a considerable drone while they’re running.

The load level and size of the generator can make an impact on sound levels too of course, as a larger generator will of course produce more energy and thus more noise, while working a generator harder makes the motor run faster and more frantically which also increases noise.

Avoiding noise entirely is almost impossible, and the best motors around will still create enough noise to mimic a conversation happening in your presence, something around 50 or so decibels.

What Can You Do To Make It Quieter?

While it seems like there’s nothing you can do and generators will always make some noise, there are many steps you can take to reduce sound levels and ensure you make your generator as quiet as possible.

In this section we’re going to give you some tips about the different types of solution there are for noisy generators.

Place The Generator On A Soft Material

A lot of the sound that generators cause comes from the vibrations of the motor and the fact that these vibrations can rattle around on the floor.

Using something soft, even just positioning your generator on grass or dirt instead of concrete (if you’re outdoors) can reduce the noise levels by a considerable amount.

If you’re using it indoors, using anti-vibration mats or making custom fitted foam padding for the legs of the generator can be a great way to prevent the generator from creating a ton of noise.

Even just putting the generator on an old palette can save some decibels until you can find a better solution.

Just make sure that the materials you use are flame retardant or aren’t in contact with any hot areas of the generator to avoid creating a fire hazard.

Build A Baffle Box

SomBe generators are built very well and are surrounded in a sort of included enclosure, while more old school generators are skeletal and quite exposed, and this will of course make them louder.

Regardless of whether your generator is open or closed, you can still build your own baffle box or a sound partition to absorb a lot of the sound your generator will produce.

You can make baffle boxes out of various materials, but it's crucial to make sure that you don’t fully enclose the generator and allow the exhausts and the control panel plenty of access and space to avoid hazards.

Use A Muffler Or Buy A Better One

Mufflers are an attachment for the exhaust of the generator and they can massively reduce the sound the generator makes especially when under load or if the generator is powerful.

Position The Generator Well

This seems obvious and it's really simple, but position your generator in such a way as to reduce the chances of being able to hear it while it's in use.

Obviously the further away you place the generator the better.

Make Sure You Have The Right Size

When it comes to generators, it's important to make sure you have one that's the right size for you.

Consider your needs and don’t go overboard and buy the most powerful machine you can find.

Getting a generator that's smaller but that still meets your needs will make it much quieter, especially if it's an inverter motor, and this is one of the best ways to ensure that you don’t spend hours and cash trying to solve noise issues in the first place.

I'm an environment and energy blogger who teaches outdoor and energy enthusiasts how to be better informed when it comes to purchasing or maintaining a generator, solar panel system, or anything else related to your energy needs.