Users have endless choices when it comes to camping generators. However, this doesn’t mean that all generators designed for camping are great. In fact, only a few may make the cut depending on your needs.
One critical consideration that can significantly limit your options is noise output. Unfortunately, very few camping generators are quiet enough to allow you to enjoy your trip.
Read on to find out some of the best quiet generators for camping. We also discuss how to choose the perfect one for your trip.
Let’s begin with the reviews. The following are five of the best quiet generators as picked out by our experts.
1. Briggs & Stratton Power Smart Portable Inverter Generator
The Briggs & Stratton P3000 PowerSmart inverter generator is a 3,000-watt portable generator that runs quietly and incredibly efficiently. It consumes just 25% of the tank after 10 hours and can run the entire night without any issues. We also love that it produces fewer emissions.
The P3000 comes with a 171cc engine and puts out four through four household outlets in addition to a 12V 30A locking outlet. The 12V outlet has an RV adaptor and DC charging outlet so that you can charge your gadgets with ease. It also has a USB port.
A two-year warranty backs the unit for complete peace of mind. You’re also guaranteed professional customer support and even get a user manual to get you started.
- Extremely quiet for a portable generator
- It has an intuitive LCD control panel
- It has a moderate 1.5-gallon fuel tank
- It runs for 10 hours continuously
- It doesn’t ship to California
- It tends to become loud after a lengthy operation
- Convenient Monitoring System - Features LED lights for low oil and overload alerts.
- CO Guard Carbon Monoxide Shutdown Technology - Shuts down the generator when harmful levels of...
- Safe for Sensitive Electronics - With inverter technology, it produces smoother power for...
2. WEN 2000-Watt Gas Powered Invertible Generator
Another excellent option when shopping for a quiet generator for camping is the WEN 2000-watt unit. At just 51dB, it’s one of the quietest portable camping generators around. Even better, it limits harmonic distortion to 0.3 percent at no load and about 1.2% at full load. It’s also extremely lightweight at 48lb, making handling a non-issue.
The tank can hold a gallon of gas when full and lasts up to six hours on half load. You’ll appreciate that it has two 3-prong 120-volt receptacles and one 12V receptacle. These allow the user to hook common devices with ease. It also has a 5V USB port.
Other standout features of the generator are the ECO mode for increased fuel efficiency and a “parallel kit” so you can link multiple units together for higher power output.
- Very affordable generator
- Hushed operation at just 51dB
- An ECO mode helps save fuel
- The parallel kit allows modular linking
- No remote control
- Dimensions: 18" x 11" x 18" | Weight: 48 lbs
- Noise Level: 53 dB operation
- EPA III and CARB Compliant 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV engine produces 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated...
3. Yamaha EF2000iS 2000-Watt CARB Compliant Generator
If you want a famous brand with a track record of making excellent generators and electronics, Yamaha is one of the best. The model EF2000iS brings you a proven 2,000-watt generator that you can take on fishing expeditions, camping, or even hikes without any worries. It’s portable enough to fit the RV without issues and lightweight for easy handling.
However, what stands out most about the Yamaha model EF2000iS is its quietness. At 51.5dB, it guarantees a noise-free camping experience that allows you to indulge in nature and make memorable moments with your loved ones.
We also love that it allows for parallel wiring to connect multiple model EF2000iSs for increased power output.
- Attractive, portable design
- Has feet for standing and handles for mobility
- Convenient controls
- Powerful at 2,000 watts
- A tad pricey
- No smart controls
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4. Westinghouse iGen 1200 Super Quiet Portable Gas Gen
So far, we’ve looked at powerful portable generators without much consideration for price. But what if you’re on a tight budget? You need to find something practical but within a reasonable price range. That’s where the Westinghouse iGen 1200 comes in handy.
At just 1200 watts, this is one of the smallest generators for camping. However, it gives you two things others can’t – extreme portability and the best price. At under 35ldB, it’s even lighter than most laptops. It’s also only one of a few camping generators priced under $300.
Despite the small size, the iGen 1200 has a 0.8-gallon tank that can run for 10 hours straight. Buyers also get a 3-year warranty, way more than most brands.
- Extremely quiet at 52dB
- Very compact at just 35 pounds
- Most affordable unit on this list
- Excellent technical support, with a 3-year warranty
- It’s the least powerful on this list
- It only runs for 10 hours on a full tank
- 1800 Rated Watts and 2200 Peak Watts at Less Than 3% THD - Weighs Only 47.4 Lbs. - Gas Powered...
- Great Choice for Home Use as an Emergency Backup in a Power Outage - Strong Enough to Run All...
- Extremely Quiet, Extremely Fuel Efficient: as Low as 52 dBA Noise Output and 12 Hour Run Time...
5. DuroMax Dual-Fuel Model XP2000iS
Finally, let’s look at a dual-fuel generator. Whereas most generators use just one fuel type, a few modern models use two fuel types for increased convenience. The DuroMax XO2000iS is one such unit. It operates on gasoline or liquid propane, allowing you to bring extra propane cans in case you run out of gas. Remember that liquid propane is also cheaper and has a longer storage life than gas.
Besides the dual-fuel capability, the XP2000iS is a powerful 2000-watt generator with a second, 1600-watt setting. It provides power via a standard pure sine wave 110V AC outlet and several USB ports. The best part is that it can plug and charge from your vehicle’s battery or a solar system.
Above all, it’s a super-quiet lightweight unit that’s well designed and easy to carry or bring on tailgating trips.
- Dual-fuel capability for increased convenience
- Sleek, lightweight, and easy to carry
- Versatile charging options
- Fully functional while charging
- It takes longer to charge with a car battery or solar
- The charge controls aren’t very impressive
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Generators are critical if you would like to enjoy electric heating while camping. It’s also a great way to bring some entertainment on your trip. A generator allows you to plug on a TV or music system and catch up with your favorite programs.
Beyond that, power generators are a reliable source of lighting and can even serve as a source of fuel for cooking while you’re out there. All you need to do is to plug on your cooker, and you’re ready to prepare sumptuous meals for yourself and your crew.
Benefits of a Quiet Generator
Unfortunately, generators can be loud. Some of the larger generators produce over 70 decibels which is almost the sound of a tractor. It’s impossible to enjoy your time inside the tent or in your RV with such a loud generator. Even putting the TV on becomes pointless as the deafening noise blurs everything.
A quiet generator will power all your electronics without filling the area with noise, allowing you to enjoy your music and movies with little if any interruption. You can even pick up a book and enjoy a bedtime read before you go to sleep.
Above all, the noisier the generator, the more likely it is that you’ll place it further from the tent or RV. This increases the risk of theft. A quieter generator can be positioned closer to the camp for greater safety.
Factors that Impact Generator Noise
So, how can you tell that a generator is quiet? How do you separate quiet from noisy camping generators? Consider the following;
1. Decibel rating
The first thing to consider is the decibel rating. Nearly all generators (not just generators for camping) indicate the decibel rating on the product label on the side of the equipment.
The decibel value measures the intensity of sound and ranges from 0-140. Zero decibels is essentially noise-free, while 140 decibels is the sound of a gunshot.
The quietest generators for camping are around 50dB, though anything under 60dB is considered great. However, remember that the noise level increases 10x for every 10 decibels. Thus, a 70dB generator is 10x louder than a 60dB unit.
2. Fuel type
Generally, natural gas and diesel generators are the loudest, while propane generators are the quietest for hydrocarbon fuel models. However, if you want an even quieter option, solar is considered the best.
Though more expensive than standard generators, solar generators are way more efficient and incredibly silent to boot. Most units are rated around 50 decibels, with even the loudest models rated below 60dB.
Finally, if you want a really quiet generator for camping, you may have to compromise on size (wattage). Camping generators come in two broad size categories – small and compact. Small generators typically range between 2,000 and 3,000 watts, while compact units are around 1,000 watts. In general, the higher the wattage, the louder the generator.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should buy a compact generator no matter the circumstances. Make sure the unit is still powerful enough to run your applications.
Other Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Quiet Generator for Camping
As you’d expect, quietness alone doesn’t make a great generator. You also want to consider whether the generator meets your other needs. So, we recommend that you consider the following other factors;
- Modular capability
Even if you’re buying just one generator to start with, it’s worth asking the equipment manufacturer whether you can parallel the unit with other generators to form a more potent power source. Some generators come with this capability as a standard.
Paralleling multiple generators allows you to power up or down depending on your needs, thereby boosting fuel efficiency. It also provides a fail-safe power source.
- Control system and management
The control system must offer a wide range of features. For instance, modern generators offer the possibility of starting the unit remotely. The unit may also display warning signs and performance issues, such as low fuel. These metrics can help you better utilize the generator.
We’d also recommend that you check out the power management system (PMS). Generator power management systems allow for easy configuration and quick deployment.
- Fuel efficiency and autonomy
Today’s generators consume very little fuel, thanks to design innovations and energy efficiency improvements over the years. However, this doesn’t mean that all generators are fuel-efficient. Some still consume a lot of fuel.
To this end, check to ensure that you’re getting a fuel-efficient unit. We recommend discussing the options with the manufacturer and even considering other fuel options, such as biogas and natural gas, to keep your fuel costs down.
- Physical size and ease of handling
Finally, we’ve already mentioned the need to consider wattage sizing. Additionally, make sure to consider physical dimensions too. How large is the unit? How tall is it? Physical size is important because handling is a lot harder when the unit is large and bulky. This becomes an even bigger challenge when going camping. You want a compact unit that’s easy to handle.
Besides size, consider whether it has handles for carrying it around and legs for structural support. If it’s a little bulky (or large), it should have wheels for mobility.
Comparing all 5 recommended generators suitable for camping
Considering all the above, the below overview is summarizing all the facts we have gathered so far:
Frequently Asked Questions
- Where do you put the generator when camping? Generally, you want to place the generator 5-10 feet away from the tent or RV. Make sure the exhaust is pointing away from the tent/RV.
- Do I need to ground my generator when camping? Ideally, yes. This is especially true for larger generators as it prevents electrocution. That said, though, smaller portable generators don’t need grounding. Consult your manual for more details.
- Can you run a generator all night when camping? Yes, you can run the generator all night to power RV appliances. Just keep the windows closed to prevent the fumes and carbon monoxide from seeping inside the tent/RV.
- How many decibels is a quiet generator? Generator quietness is subjective. However, many campers feel most comfortable with generators rated 60dB or lower.
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Camping generators can be a lifesaver out in the wilderness. They keep your foods fresh and power the appliances to keep you warm and comfortable. They are also an excellent fallback plan for electricity-powered campgrounds.
However, a camping generator is only so beneficial if it’s quiet enough to let you comfortably go about your activities. Otherwise, it may even become a nuisance. So, don’t just pick the most powerful camping generator you come across. Make sure it’s quiet too.