Uncle Bobs Tips: Generator Guide

Quiet Generators

Leading generators manufacturers are competing to provide you with quiet generators that hum softly and are least disruptive in terms of sound.

Once you have decided to purchase a generator for your home, business, recreational use or construction site, one question to ask is: How quiet does your generator need to be?

Increasingly, leading generators manufacturers are competing to provide you with quiet generators that hum softly and are least disruptive in terms of sound. Generator engineers have innovated exceptionally quiet generator models to serve your many applications, and sound quality or "decibel rating" is a commonly quoted feature of all generator models. Understanding more about the quality of sound may assist you in determining if you need a quiet generator, as you consider the options to select the best model to serve your purposes.

Sound intensities are typically measured in decibels (db). A one-decibel change is the smallest volume change detectable by the human ear. The Decibel scale is logarithmic rather than a linear scale.

Perception of Sound Change in Decibels
3 decibel change = Barely perceptible
5 decibel change = Clearly perceptible
10 decibel change = Twice as loud

The following chart may be used as your "sound guide" when scouting for a quiet generator:

Decibels Degree Comparable Loudness or Feeling
140 Deafening Jet Aircraft, Artillery fire
130 Deafening Threshold of Pain, Causes Immediate Ear Damage
120 Extremely Loud Thunder or Diesel Engine Room
110 Extremely Loud Close to a train
100 Very Loud Wood Saw, Home Lawn Mower, car horn at 16 ft.
Over 90 decibels Very Loud Can Damage Hearing without Protective Equipment
90 Very Loud Symphony, Truck without Muffler
80 Loud Car Noise at high speed, Police whistle
70 Loud Normal Street Noise, Average Radio
60 Moderate Normal Conversation
50 Moderate Normal Office Noise
40 Faint Residential Area without vehicle traffic
30 Faint Quiet Conversation
20 Very Faint Whisper, Ticking of a Watch
10 Totally Quiet Soundproof Room, Threshold of Hearing

Keep in mind that quiet generators are considerably more costly. Thus, while you may desire a super quiet generator for a camping application, home standby and construction applications might be satisfied with a less quiet generator model, while some industrial settings may not require any additional features required to provide for quiet operation.

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