When you enjoy camping and other outdoor recreational activities on a regular basis, having a camping generator close at hand can bring you the convenience of electricity. Whether you are camping with your kids in your own backyard or trekking along some of the remotest places on planet earth.
Those portable power generators that are specifically designed for outdoor or camping are your best friend out in the wild. How else will you be able to brew your morning cup of coffee, or power up your laptop while relaxing in the midst of nature? Still, bringing along a generator on your camping and outdoor trips does have its drawbacks. And the highest one on the list is the noise your generator makes.
Choose The Ideal Camping Generator Based On Your Power Needs And Noise Limits
You don’t want to be kicked out of the campgrounds because your portable generator noise is keeping everybody else awake. Neither will you want your camping generator exhaust to scare off the wildlife.
So, what do you need to look for in a camping generator to ensure you don’t upset anybody? Or how you can control the roar of your genset?
The first thing to do is consider the size of the generator unit. There are generally two sizes available in the market today that can fit into the back of your pickup or RV–compact and small.
Compact camping generators can power you up with as much as 1,000 watts. This is adequate electricity to run a couple of appliances, say your coffee maker and your laptop. While a small one will generate anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 watts of power. You can run several appliances at once: a small TV, a microwave, and even your camper’s air conditioner unit for uninterrupted sleep on muggy nights.
One caveat: the small camping generator can provide more wattage. So it will produce more noise compared to a compact camping generator.
If you’re all for peace and quiet, then you’ll have to make the compromise of running only two appliances at a time with a compact generator.
On the other hand, if a low noise generator isn’t high on your agenda, the small camping generator model will suffice. As long as you keep relatively out of the way of other campers who may take issue with the racket your genset can make. Besides, you can also park your vehicle far away from the wildlife you intend to hunt or observe.
Whether you are a rabid appliance or gadget user, even in the wild, or a back to basics kind of person who would prefer to sleep under the stars with only the sound of crickets and your purring silent generator for company, your choice of camping generator should match your outdoor recreational requirements without cramping your style or hindering you from acquiring the convenience of electricity when you most need it.
Get The Right Silent Generator
Electrical generators are not only for emergencies and power outages. Although their existence may be attributed primarily to this need, they have other purposes as well that are worth a second look. Especially if you are looking to purchase one to go camping with you.
Like any other buying decision, the first thing you want to evaluate is the need. If you can answer the question on what you need a silent power generator for, then you are already half-way there. You can find generators that will suit the majority of the needs out there.
If you are thinking small and only require a portable silent generator that can power a small motor home, then a 1-kilowatt (kW) model may be enough. If you need more juice to run heavier appliances, a 2 kW model may be just right. If you need one that can power an entire house, you may need to go for 5 to 7 kW machines that could supply a lot of electricity.
Furthermore, you will also need to check what the outlets available in the generators you can plug in your electric appliances. There are outlets for both 120 and 240-volt appliances. But you will need to ensure what your generator is coming with because this can differ from region to region.
And finally, you will need to decide on which fuel type you prefer in your generator. The most common are gasoline, propane, and diesel.
If you wish to save on fuel costs, then you should go for a silent diesel generator. These types of generators are generally more efficient and economical. It should outlast the other two because diesel is actually a light grade oil that helps protect the generator engine mechanisms from wear and tear. Gasoline and propane generators will probably require higher maintenance costs because of this.
To sum it up, deciding on your silent generator purchase requires just a few considerations. The most important consideration is your power requirements, outlet requirements and longevity of the machine.
A Guide to Gauging Generator Noise Levels
Portable power generators are one of our main sources of electricity in the event of a power outage or interruption. They are extremely useful and exceedingly convenient for use in homes, offices and small businesses, and are within the reach of the ordinary budget.
One deciding factor in choosing a portable genset is the amount of noise produced by a unit, depending on what one considers soft or loud, and portable power generators can be very loud, indeed.
How does one determine whether generator noise emissions fall within the limits comfortably tolerated by humans?
First, you need to isolate where the noise actually comes from. Portable power generators normally emit noise from two separate sources: its engine and its exhaust. In many cases, noise level data provided by portable genset manufacturers do not factor in the noise created by a unit’s exhaust.
The volume of noise created by a generator is usually measured in terms of decibels, and decibels are the standard unit of measurement for the intensity of sound. There is a decibel scale that ranges from total silence (0 decibels) to the sound of a gunshot (140 decibels), and this intensity is affected by the number of sources of the sound and the distance from it.
That said, the more generators you have in operation, the louder the noise produced. If you take a look at the decibel levels of generator noise using a typical 60-decibel portable power generator and compare it with normal noises heard every day, you’ll be able to get a clearer reading of the kind of generator noise level a portable power source can produce:
Moving a portable genset closer by double the number of feet increases the noise by 6 decibels:
Conversely, moving a portable power generator away by double the distance reduces the noise level by 6 decibels. Distance plays a big role in the lowness or loudness of generator noise. On the other hand, more than one generator within the same hearing distance automatically doubles the decibel levels:
It is also interesting to note that a person can incur a hearing loss from sustained generator noise levels of between 90 to 95 decibels, which is equivalent to trucks in traffic, or a subway train going 200 miles per hour.
When searching for a portable backup power source, it is important to look into acoustical dampening methods to reduce the noise level and prevent hearing loss from sustained noise.
A lot of generator manufacturers and third-party retailers in the market today offer solutions, such as silencer devices and enclosures, to attenuate generator noise emanating from its engines and exhaust systems. A solid wall barrier separating a portable genset from main areas where people congregate can likewise lower decibel levels considerably.
Generator Wattage Guide
In choosing and buying generators, you first need to determine your need. You can assess this simply by listing down the appliances you will need to run with the generator. The general rule of thumb is that the more power you need, the bigger the generator gets so if size is a factor then you will need to make some trade-off adjustments between size and power.
If you’re going to use it for light appliances, as in the case of camping trips or small picnics, a small 1,000 watts unit may suffice. See the table below for your reference:
If you are buying from your neighborhood hardware store, then you can just list down the appliances you are planning to use it for and bring it to the store and just show it to a knowledgeable attendant or product specialist.
You can also call your electrician for more input. If you are buying online, you will need to spend a bit more time by going through the appliances and taking down their wattage ratings to accurately determine your power requirements.
You need to do this because you do not really want to get a generator that is too big or too small for you as that may result to you spending more because you will not be able to get maximum efficiency.
How Do Silent Generators Work?
Silent power generators work the same way most generators work. They converting mechanical energy into electrical energy.
The same is true for other types of generators whether they be portable types or industrial types. Or even the power generators that could power whole cities. The only difference between them is how they generate the mechanical energy that they need.
Below are the common sources of mechanical energy that different generators use:
- Steam engine turbines
- Water turbines (think water wheels)
- Internal combustion engines
- Wind turbines
- Manual hand crank
- Compressed air
Most modern generators of the portable and industrial variety use internal combustion. This is the reason why most of them, especially the bigger ones, have very high noise levels. The usual portable generator is said to average about 75 decibels which is about the same as the noise of a leaf blower.
How do silent power generators work then?
Manufacturers are still able to reduce noise levels down to 50 decibels by employing sound damping methods. They can also use the noise reduction techniques in the design of the generators.
It could be done through the design of the engines and through the design of the engine housing. Materials that reduce vibration and noise levels are often used. They are being used along with the clever application of acoustics in the design and manufacturing of silent power generator models.
There are plenty of generators out there that will suit your needs. Whether you are going on a camping trip, a road trip or a fishing trip, you would want a portable silent generator that will work the way it is supposed to be.
After all, nobody wants a loud whirring noise in the background while having a campfire cookout in the forest. Nobody also wants any noise when watching television inside the RV or while waiting to catch a fish in the middle of the sea. Silent generators should work best in these situations.
The Silent Power Generator Advantage
Let me go straight to the point. From small and portable silent generators to big industrial generator types, all of them work just as well as any other power generators out there. They all provide the needed power for any application, whether they be for personal, recreational or home use, or for business and industry uses.
Silent power generators are at a slight advantage because they have one little asset that most other generator types lack: Noise control.
Let me state the obvious though that silent electric generators are not exactly silent. But some of them have been designed to reduce noise levels as low as 48 decibels which are as noisy as your everyday conversation with slightly raised voices. If you place the running generator a little farther, you would probably barely notice it’s there.
Below is a list of other advantages that you can enjoy with these machines:
1. If you are going to use it on an RV road trip or a camping trip, the portability and reduced noise of some small silent generator models will certainly enhance the enjoyment of your company. After all, the entire purpose of going on a recreational trip is for rest and relaxation. Having a whirling noise portable gas generator reverberating inside your motor home can be annoying. It will not help your relaxation any tiny bit.
2. If you are using them for camping, you and your neighbors will be happy with the low noise power generators. You will also be complying with any noise pollution ordinances or laws in your locality.
3. For RV campers, the noise can significantly reduce if all RVs are using the silent generators.
4. Silent power generators also see a lot of use in the entertainment sector. It is especially great at powering up concerts and public events where utility providers cannot do the job alone.
As you can see, low-noise electrical generators have an extra dimension that creates a lot more possibilities compared to the ordinary power generators that you will find in the market. If your intended applications offer similar situations as I enumerated above, it might be worth your time looking at a few silent generator models before you arrive at a buying decision.
Read also: Know about camping grills
Three Tips To Finding A Portable and Quiet Generator
The world is too loud these days for you to further add to the noise pollution. If you’re looking for a backup power source that won’t drill it’s roar into your head or get you into trouble with your home association, a low-noise or quiet generator is the best choice for an environment of relative peace and tranquility.
There are so many portable power generators in the market. But what many people are looking for are silent generators that won’t shatter the calm of the neighborhood or drive away the wildlife during nature expeditions. If you are on a quest for your own quiet generator, here are some tips to help you source out the best one:
Determine the decibel levels of a portable power generator – the quietest of the low noise generator models run at a modest 50 decibels, which is categorized as “quieter than normal,” and can be compared to a hushed conversation between two people a couple of feet away from each other. Average generator noise runs at 75 decibels or the equivalent of a leaf blower. You need to know what decibel level you’re comfortable with and get your portable generator with that number in mind.
Go for CARB compliant generators – what is CARB? It stands for California Air Resources Board. They monitor the regulatory activity of California’s air districts, as well as impose the Federal Clean Air act of 1970. This means they are the be-all and end-all of clean and quiet power, at least as far as the United States is concerned. So if you find the CARB seal on a portable power generator, chances it’s an eco-friendly silent generator. It will pass your state’s noise pollution and air quality regulations.
Don’t forget to read reviews – don’t fall for advertisements and other media hype. It pays to read up on third-party reviews of quiet generators from other consumers who’ve tried the products.
If you’re already saddled with a noisy portable generator and buying a new silent model isn’t in your budget, there is something you can do to reduce the roar and vibrations of your genset without actually emptying your wallet. One low-cost way you can convert your noisy clunker to a quiet generator is to put on a muffler.
As far as electrical generator accessories go, a muffler is probably the cheapest contraption way you can kill generator noise with. For most people who travel by campervan, making a whole new purchase of a low noise generator can be a financial inconvenience, hence a muffler.
Check with your genset’s manufacturer, and chances are, they’ll have a muffler for the portable power generator model you already own. A muffler can reduce the noise of your exhaust considerably. It’s as simple as adding some adapter couplings to your genset exhaust and bolting your new muffler in.
And if you happen to be a cheapskate who thinks having to buy a new muffler is the height of luxury, take out the muffler from your old lawnmower. You’ll be able to achieve the same effect of a quiet generator without spending a single cent.
Silent Gas Generators for Camping and Other Outdoor Activities
Small, portable and silent gas generators are becoming ever more popular because the demand keeps increasing. One such application is in the field of recreational activities. They are widely used for camping which is probably the main reason why it’s gaining that popularity. Today, you can find many manufacturers producing gas generators specifically for camping. The outdoor kind of gas generators which are optimized for portability, ease of use, fuel efficiency and low-noise operation.
Inverter generators are a good example of such designs. Because these class of power generators is designed for truly quiet operation. With some models reaching down to around 50 dB levels which are pretty quiet. They are also made for ultra-portability with weights being reduced to just above 30 lbs. They are also considered “green” in that they are more power and fuel efficient. The inverter technology gives the engine the ability to vary its speed and control fuel consumption depending on its load.
Choosing a suitable gas generator for camping, picnic, etc.
The main question in choosing the best silent generator that will suit your needs, as always, is how much power will you need. The answer to this will certainly depend on you and what kind of activities you will be doing and what sort of “amenities” you are going to bring. The most basic unit that you can bring is the 800 to 1000 watt generator. With these babies, you will be able to power up a few items that will give you some home comforts. You can use it for outdoor lighting, water heater, communication devices like cell phones or satellite phones, laptop computers, etc. If you are looking for a little more juice one, then you could go for a 2000 to 3000-watt generator.
But if you are a hiker or a camping enthusiast who like going outdoors to escape the rigors of city life, then a small 1000 watt carry-around genset will probably be more than sufficient to power the basic necessities of modern living.
In buying the right silent gas generator for any outdoor activity then it would be advisable to stick to the top brands if you want to be assured of good quality operation and after-sales support. I would go for brands that offer at least 1-year warranties but a 2 or 3 year warranty is something that you should definitely consider. Generator manufacturers like Honda, Yamaha, Kipor, etc. are some of the top producers providing good quality products and support.
Buy Or Build Your Own Generator Enclosure To Reduce Your Generator’s Noise
If you’re like most people who’ve had to deal with a noisy neighborhood – cars, sirens, horns, loud music, and raucous neighbors – having some peace and quiet can feel a big slice of heaven. If you’ve had the misfortune to be saddled with a noisy backup power generator, however, you can just kiss a tranquil good night’s sleep goodbye.
Dealing with generator noise can be a big problem. Not only for you but also if you’re faced with your state’s laws or homeowners’ regulations on noise pollution. One way you can remedy a noisy generator, besides buying a brand new expensive silent genset model, is to get a generator enclosure to ensure no one is likely to sic the cops on you for “disturbing the peace.”
As a good citizen, contributing to tranquil surroundings, even during power outages, starts with buying or building your own generator enclosure. There are three types of generator enclosures you can choose from, depending on the type of portable power generator you have:
Sheet steel construction generator enclosure
If you want to protect your generator unit for years and years, a sheet steel generator enclosure will guarantee your noisy equipment remains safe and sound longer. Sealed openings with doors and locks that are flush with the doors’ seams will ensure minimum noise escape, as well.
Portable generator enclosure
This is a necessary part of owning a portable power generator that’s typically used during outdoor events such as weddings, parties, concerts, and camping trips.
You wouldn’t want your generator’s noise to drown out the festivities or scare off the wildlife, so a generator box with a roof cover to protect your portable power generator from the elements and to muffle your equipment’s noise is a good idea. This type of generator enclosure can be fitted onto the back of your truck or trailer for easy access when you need backup power.
If you have a larger, and necessarily noisier, generator model, a shed a short distance away from your home can protect you in two ways. One, a shed shields you and your neighbors from nasty carbon monoxide gas emissions, and two, it effectively mutes the roar of a larger, older and noisier generator model.
While buying generator enclosures can mean additional expense on your part, custom-building your own generator enclosure to your specifications can be enjoyable and satisfying. Anybody who dreams of killing their generator noise will find constructing their own generator enclosure a fun and satisfying project.
You may need materials like mass loaded vinyl to reduce noise, medium density fiberboard for your enclosure walls, foam matting, acoustical foam, fiberglass or tile for insulation, and even soundproof moisture and vibration-blocking paint if you can find it.