Quiet portable generators are marvels of modern engineeringIf you’re reading this, you’ve already contemplated the advantages of compact, portable, best quiet generators.
But it’s easy to miss just how amazing these little machines have truly become. Portable generators have enjoyed a huge leap forward in recent years and improvements in efficiency, weight, size and noise output have skyrocketed.
We’re excited to bring you this brief guide and list of the best quiet generators.
A note about power output
We’ve provided reviews and links to pricing for quiet generators with power output between 1250 Watts for low power needs, and 3100 Watts for more on-board juice.
In our experience, this generator size range will produce enough power for the vast majority of conversion van travelers. We’ll likely review larger generators in the future.
Why are these generators so quiet?
The short answer is, instead of heavy copper coils, they use magnets to create electricity. They’re also highly engineered in many other ways to reduce and eliminate exhaust sound, vibration, and other mechanical noises that machines tend to produce.
The result is that these generators operate at sound levels of around 50 decibels, which is quieter than average human conversation!
What makes the best quiet generators so efficient?
This is a bit complicated, but it largely comes down to the fact that they incorporate microprocessor controlled power inverters to process and clean power.
The best quiet generators create multi-phase AC power that is converted to DC power and then back to grid quality AC power. This process allows engineers to minimize power wasting in a number of ways.
For example, the microprocessor controlled inverter varies motor speed according to demand keeping the power output at a surge free, consistent 60 hertz.
Back to magnets vs copper coils: Traditional generator motors using copper windings require a lot of energy to get up to and then maintain consistent, high rpms. Magnet based motors need very little power to spin up, saving much energy.
Furthermore, microprocessor controlled inverters combined with magnet driven motors allow for greatly reduced fuel consumption in other ways.
Another advantage of the built in inverter is that you don’t have to run your generated power through an external inverter, leaving that equipment free to process battery and solar power.
These combined features result in the most efficient generators to date.
What about my electronics and sensitive devices?
The inverter changes DC energy into grid quality AC electricity (like what’s in your home) with very little distortion.
It also produces clean DC energy, available from USB outlets on the generator for charging phones and other sensitive battery powered devices.
The long and short of it is, with these awesome, new inverters, you don’t have to worry about power supply quality for your sensitive devices.
Note: Please consult manufacturers to insure compatibility with medical devices and other sensitive equipment.
The top 5 quiet portable generators for your campervan
We’ve found the top rated models in the field manufactured by the most trusted, long standing brands.
Four of the five quiet portable generators we recommend are CARB compliant, and that means cleaner exhaust for you, your family and the environment.
When we see over 500 reviews and a 4.5+ star rating, we sit up and take notice! And the price on this little machine is great, too.
We love the Wen 562001 for its extremely quiet operation, EPA III and CARB Compliance, 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated watts, light weight build and energy efficient “Eco Mode” feature.
- It’s great for camping where you don’t want to disturb neighbors and of course for your own comfort.
- Features two, three-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle and one 5V USB port.
- Click below to see all the great features Wen packs into this unit.
The Honda name is synonymous with quality engine design, and they’ve obviously done a great job of expanding that reputation into power generation. A nearly perfect review rating from over 300 users supports that.
Unfortunately to get the CARB compliant rating on a Honda quiet generator, you’ll have to step up to a more expensive model than the EU20001, though that doesn’t stop this machine from being one of the most popular and successful available.
- Super quiet
- Fuel efficient – Up to 8 hrs on 1 gal of gas
- 21 x 12 x 19 inches
- 45.6 pounds
- AC Output – 120V 2000W max. (16.7A) 1600W rated (13.3A)
The Yamaha Inverter Generators hit all the important marks for features plus carry a highly rated name in power generation.
- Rated at 1600 watt AC output, 2000 watt max output, 13.3/16.7 amps for 120V
- Super-quiet, USFS-approved arrestor
- 51.5 dBA at 1/4 load
- Smart Throttle adjusts motor speed for load requirements for great fuel economy and further noise reduction
- Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) inverter system
- CARB Compliant
Maybe you have have lower power needs, or just want an emergency power source for the most basic necessities.
This is a great option for anyone running lower power devices or in need of a dedicated power supply for a CPAP or other medical gear.
The Wen 561251i will cover those needs while saving you money, space and weight.
- Very quiet operation
- EPA III and CARB Compliant
- 60cc OHV engine provides 1250 surge watts and 1000 running watts
- Clean power, safe operation for sensitive devices
- Features two, three-prong 120 V receptacles and two, 5 V USB ports
- 31.6 lbs, 17 x 9 x 12.5 in
If you’re in need of a bit more power, Champion makes some of the bet quiet generators at great prices. And we love the remote start feature so you can control it from up to 80 feet away.
- Quick Touch Panel provides access to all controls in one place
- Wireless Remote Start with fob to start and stop the generator from up to 80 feet away
- 3-position ignition switch
- Clean Power for Sensitive Electronics
- 120V 30A RV outlet
- 120V 20A household outlets
- 12V DC outlet with dual USB adapter
- 3100 starting watts, 2800 running watts
- Up to 8 hours run time at 25% total load
- 3-year limited warranty with FREE
- Lifetime tech support from Champion experts
What are your power needs while on the road? How do you meet them?
Please leave comments and questions below.
Thanks for reading.