Staying at a campsite with electrical hookups is a luxury that is not always available. Often “primitive” campsites are the only ones left unbooked or are significantly more affordable. Other times you may not want to be in a campground at all, preferring the freedom of boondocking.
Regardless of the situation, having an RV means you won’t always have a ready source of power. For these situations, a generator is a perfect way to stay connected and comfortable. Yet, generators have historically been crude and noisy machines that could ruin your enjoyment.
Thankfully, modern generators have advanced significantly in terms of operating quietly and efficiently. Having a truly quiet generator is a great way to have the best of both worlds while camping, so we combed through the options and selected our top five picks for the best super quiet RV generators. Here’s what we found.
What You Will Learn
- 1 Products Reviewed in This Article
- 2 Our Top 3 Best Quiet Generator for RV Camping Compared
- 3 Best Quiet Generator for RV Camping Reviews
- 4 Our Top Pick WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter Generator with Fuel Shut-Off and Electric Start
- 5 Champion 4000-Watt RV Ready DH Series Open Frame Inverter with Quiet Technology
- 6 Briggs & Stratton 30675 Q6500 Inverter Generator
- 7 Champion Power Equipment 100692 2000-Watt Ultralight Portable Inverter Generator
- 8 Firman W03083 3300/3000 Watt Remote Start Gas Portable Generator
- 9 How to Choose the Best Quiet Generator for RV Use
- 10 Conclusion
Products Reviewed in This Article
Last update on 2021-09-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Our Top 3 Best Quiet Generator for RV Camping Compared
Last update on 2021-09-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Best Quiet Generator for RV Camping Reviews
Our Top Pick WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter Generator with Fuel Shut-Off and Electric Start
If you are the type of person who likes your equipment to carry all the latest features and tech, WEN has your back. I have reviewed countless WEN generators over the years, and have always been impressed by their quality and commitment to innovation. The WEN 56380i continues this legacy by packing some truly novel features into a highly impressive package.
The first thing you are likely to notice about the WEN 56380i is the front panel. It looks more like a piece of high-tech stereo equipment than something as basic as a generator. The switches and dials are beautifully labeled and finished, and the digital display is a very unique feature. In many generators, knowing the fuel level or current power load is an imprecise guessing game. Not so with the WEN. There is a digital readout making it incredibly easy to know the fuel level and capacity at a glance. I won’t pretend that this is a necessity, but it sure is certainly a nice luxury. The panel also includes a full complement of plugs, including a 30-amp RV plug, USB ports, and a parallel connect port.
Luxury seems to be a recurring theme with this model. While it has a pull-start as a redundant backup, this generator is equipped with an electric starter. Thus, turning the unit on simply requires rotating the knob to “run” and pushing a button. It’s simple, elegant, and effective. Turning the generator off is equally impressive. A common issue with generators, especially those that are only used periodically, is that the fuel in the carburetor goes stale and gums up the jets. This can make the generator difficult or impossible to start and require costly repairs. WEN sought to avoid this issue by including a “shutdown mode.” When you turn this generator off, it turns off the fuel supply but continues running for a few moments. This allows the engine time to burn the fuel left in the carburetor, making the unit ready for storage. It’s a simple feature, but one that can make a huge difference.
When a generator has this many unique features, it is natural to wonder if the company also spent the time to get the basics right. Don’t worry, they did. In terms of performance and durability, the WEN 56380i is top-notch. With 3,800 watts of output, it easily runs small to mid-size RVs. And at only 57 dB, is it among the quietest generators I’ve ever tested. If you are looking for an incredibly quiet RV generator with the latest in tech, the WEN should be at the top of your list.
- Auto-off shutdown feature
- Electric start
- Incredibly quiet
- Digital gauges
- Slightly heavier than competition
|Start Type: Electric or Recoil||Engine Size (cc): 212|
|Output: 3,800-Watts||Fuel Type: Gasoline|
|Voltage (V): 120||Gasoline Capacity (gal.): 2.2|
If you are looking for the quieter generators, looking for “inverter” models is your best bet. Inverter generators use a slightly different method of generating power, resulting in a generator that is much quieter and efficient than older models. The Champion DH4000 represents something of an odd combination in terms of design and function. Most inverter generators use a completely enclosed design, giving them an overall sleeker appearance. However, the tradeoff is that the enclosed design makes the generator slightly more expensive and heavy. Champion took a novel approach with the DH series by combining the mechanical components of an inverter generator and putting them in a more traditional open-frame chassis. The result is an exceptionally quiet and powerful generator that is also very affordable.
Long-term readers of this site will note that we are consistent fans of Champion products. Champion generators always seem to combine a seemingly perfect blend of features, performance, and value. With 4,000-watts of output, the DH4000 is an ideal size for most RV needs. It can easily run an air conditioner with the capacity to spare. Further, it is a model that is specifically targeted at RV users, meaning that the ports and features are well-suited for any RV. Some general-purpose generators use outlets that aren’t standard on RVs, but this Champion uses the standard 3-pin 30-amp connector, allowing you to hook up your RV without the use of annoying and expensive adapters.
This generator is extremely quiet, especially when considering its open-frame design. Champion rates this unit at 63 decibels(dB) of noise output under full load. Our measurements were slightly high, at 65, but this is well within the range of testing error. In either case, this generator is quiet enough to not disturb you or your neighbor’s camping relaxation.
A notable aspect of the DH4000 is the size of its fuel tank. This is a consideration that so many manufacturers overlook, resulting in a frustrating experience. The fuel tank in this unit is a sizable 3 gallons. Combined with the efficiency of this unit, you can leave this model running unattended for 17 hours. In other words, you won’t have to get up in the middle of the night to add more fuel. It’s an important consideration, especially when your air conditioning relies on it.
Overall, this is a thoughtfully designed unit with a lot of great features for RVs. When you factor in the impressively affordable price tag, this is a great choice for anyone’s needs.
- Only 63 dB
- Long run-time
- Parallel capable
- Slightly louder than enclosed models
- Wheel kit not included
|Start Type: Recoil||Engine Size (cc): 224|
|Output: 4,000-Watts||Fuel Type: Gasoline|
|Voltage (V): 120||Gasoline Capacity (gal.): 2.9|
RVs come in all shapes and sizes, and some models require more power than a 4,000-watt generator can provide. If your coach or toy hauler has a second air conditioner, a larger refrigerator, or any high-draw equipment, then you’ll need a bigger generator to keep the show running. For some time, the benefits of inverter generators were limited to smaller models. However, Briggs & Stratton addressed the need and made a powerhouse model that gives the benefits of an inverter model with a larger output. At 6,500-watts, the Q6500 provides a huge amount of power in an impressively quiet fashion.
Briggs & Stratton is one of the oldest manufacturers in America, having made small engines since 1908. Despite their legacy, they have never been a company to slack off in terms of innovation. That commitment to innovation is apparent in this model. A lot of low-end generators seem like several unrelated components were hastily thrown together. In contrast, the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 feels like a cohesively engineered product. The control panel is cleanly and elegantly laid out, the case is well-sealed and easy to access, and the wheels and handle are neatly integrated into the frame. It feels extremely well-engineered and makes for a very attractive piece of equipment.
The performance is impressive as well. This model has a 6,500-watt peak output, meaning it will easily run dual air conditioners. Despite the high output, it is still an extremely quiet unit. At full load, it only produces 66 dB at 10 feet. This is admittedly louder than some of the smaller units. However, it is one of the quietest generators over 6kW I have ever tested. Within the sleek case, Briggs & Stratton managed to fit an impressively large 5-gallon fuel tank. As I mentioned above, inadequate fuel tanks are a common pet-peeve of mine, so I was happy to see the generous capacity here. With a full tank, the Q6500 can run up to 14 hours.
In terms of performance, the Q6500 is close to perfection. Yet, there is one slightly odd oversight that is worth noting. It lacks an electric start. For a unit this large and impressively equipped, I was somewhat surprised that pull-starting was the sole option. Ultimately this is not a huge obstacle, especially given how easily this unit starts. But it is nonetheless worth mentioning. Beyond this one complaint, this is a truly impressive generator. If you want the quiet and efficiency of an inverter generator but need more capacity than most can provide, give the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 serious consideration.
- Very quiet for its size
- Elegant design
- Large fuel tank
- Integrated wheels / handle
- No electric start
|Start Type: Recoil||Engine Size (cc): 306|
|Output: 6,500-Watts||Fuel Type: Gasoline|
|Voltage (V): 120 or 240||Gasoline Capacity (gal.): 5.0|
While some RVs demand a lot of power from their generators, others exist at the other end of the spectrum. If you prefer to camp closer to nature in a smaller trailer, tear-drop, or pop-up, you simply don’t need the amount of power that the larger generators combine. However, it is still a nice luxury to have power for running air conditioning, making coffee, and keeping the lights on through the night. For campers looking for the ultimate in quiet and compact power, suitcase-style inverter generators are an excellent option. There are many variations on these models. Yet, regardless of the brand, they all produce roughly 2,000-watts and utilize an extremely convenient form factor. Among the many options on the market, the Champion 1000692 is a consistent favorite of ours. Not only is it one of the most affordable models, but one of the quietest and most efficient as well.
With 2kW of power, you will have to be fairly conservative with the gear you power. A smaller air conditioner is possible, but it will need to be run without many other items. However, most campers find that this is more than enough power for a simple camper or tent setup. The advantage of having a smaller generator is two-fold: they are extremely quiet, and extremely light. At 58 dB, this is a truly low-noise model. The noise output is equivalent to a quiet conversation. Thus, even if you are tent camping or camping in a dense campground, the noise from this unit should not pose a problem. It’s light, too. At 40 lbs, this generator weighs only as much as a few gallons of water. It’s simple to toss into the back of a car or truck single-handedly. In terms of convenience, it is hard to beat.
The front panel of the Champion 1000692 has all that you need. With two 120VAC standard outlets and a 12VDC “cigarette” style plug, you’ll be able to plug in your large and small gear easily. As a bonus, this model supports parallel operation. With an optional cable, you can combine two of these generators for double the power. This is a very popular setup because you end up with an easy-to-move system that allows you to turn off one generator for efficiency when not needed.
Overall, this is a simple but highly effective unit. If your main priority is finding the quietest and lightest generator on the market, this is the one for you.
- Only 40 pounds
- Only 58 dB
- Parallel capable
- No USB ports
|Start Type: Recoil||Engine Size (cc): 79|
|Output: 2,000-Watts||Fuel Type: Gasoline|
|Voltage (V): 120||Gasoline Capacity (gal.): 1.05|
I had heard a lot of good things about Firman products over the years, but this was my first chance to test one personally. The feature list was impressive on paper, but I am always especially thorough when reviewing a brand that I have less experience with. I spent two weeks running the Firman W03083 through a gauntlet of tests, and the results were impressive.
The design of the Firman is fairly futuristic and reminds me a lot of the Briggs & Stratton model above. It is a fully enclosed unit with integrated wheels and handle. The result is a very sleek and attractive unit. I personally find the graphics and color to be slightly busy, but you get used to it quickly. In terms of features, there is a lot to like here. There is a full complement of outlets available, including the all-important 30-amp RV connector. Further, there is an extremely useful digital readout that allows you to quickly check the voltage or amperage.
There’s a pull-start option, but the primary means of starting this generator is with a very convenient electric start. Electric starting is somewhat of a rarity on a generator of this size, so it makes for an impressive inclusion. However, Firman did not stop there. In addition to the starter button on the front panel, this generator can also be started from up to 175 feet away using an included remote key fob. This is a particularly unique feature, but an incredibly convenient one for RVs. If you are cozy in your RV and don’t want to have to go out in the wind, cold, rain, or heat to turn your generator on, this model allows you to get power from inside your camper with the push of a button. It’s a feature that I hope becomes more common.
The Firman is a fantastic unit for low-impact camping. At 58 dB, it is incredibly quiet and will be acceptable to use in almost any campground. Further, it incorporates a USDA Forest Service approved spark arresting muffler, increasing the areas where it can be used. To paraphrase a certain bear, only you – and Firman – can prevent forest fires.
Needless to say, the Firman W03083 made an extremely strong first impression. It’s a great value, it’s lightweight, and it is the most highly-equipped generator of this size I’ve ever seen. If convenience is your goal, this is a brilliant option.
- Remote start
- Very quiet
- Only 98 Lbs
- USDA Forest Service Approved Muffler
- USB Port
- Fairly small fuel tank
|Start Type: lRecoil, Electric, or Remote||Engine Size (cc): 171|
|Output: 3,300-Watts||Fuel Type: Gasoline|
|Voltage (V): 120||Gasoline Capacity (gal.): 1.8|
How to Choose the Best Quiet Generator for RV Use
Powering an RV is one of the most common uses for a generator, and having a quiet model is often a top priority. That said, many generators are marketed as “quiet RV-ready” models but fail to deliver on the promise. Here’s how to make sure you get the right generator the first time.
Understand Noise Ratings
Despite the popularity of “quiet” generator models, few people take the time to understand how noise is measured. The most common measurement of noise levels is decibels or dB. This can be a difficult to understand system because the scale is logarithmic, not linear. This means that every 10 dB increase represents a sound that is roughly twice as loud. A small change can make a big difference.
Having a noisy generator can quickly become a source of frustration for you and the campers around you, so getting the quietest unit possible can have a huge impact. For the best experience, look for a generator that produces less than 65 dB. This noise level is equivalent to a normal conversation or a TV playing softly in the background. You’ll notice it, but it won’t bother you. Any generator that produces above 70 dB is likely to constitute a significant disturbance.
Consider Parallel Kits
A great method of getting the most portable and quiet generator is to buy two instead of one. This may sound crazy at first, but many modern generators offer a “parallel” option that allows you to combine two small generators to double the output. This has numerous advantages.
First, you greatly increase portability because you can move one generator at a time. Second, you decrease noise and increase efficiency because you only have to run both units if you need additional power. If you only need one, you only have to run one.
Fuel Efficiency Can Make a Big Difference
Fuel efficiency, and the size of the fuel tank, can make a big impact on your camping enjoyment. No one wants to get up in the middle of the night because their generator ran out of fuel and their air conditioner shut down.
Luckily, quiet models tend to also be efficient models. Look for a generator with a run time of at least 10 hours to make sure it can run throughout the night without additional fuel.
There has never been a better time to shop for the best quiet RV generators. Inverter and engine technology have increased rapidly in recent years, and generators continually get quieter and more efficient. You can now get a high-quality and ultra-quiet generator for a more affordable price than ever. In this roundup, we purposefully chose a wide variety of models to show the different options and capacities that are available to fit a breadth of needs.
Although each has its perks, there can only be one winner per roundup. For this round, the title of the best quiet generator for RV use goes to the WEN 56380i. Its combination of value, technology, power, and quiet operation proved to be a winning combo. If you’re in the market for a quiet generator to power your next camping adventure, given the WEN is a fantastic choice.
- Dimensions: 23.2" L x 18" W x 20.1" H | Weight: 99.2 lb
- EPA III and CARB Compliant
- 212cc 4-stroke OHV engine produces 3800 surge watts and 3400 rated watts with a half-load runtime of up to 8.5 hours
- Fuel shutoff maximizes the generator’s lifespan by using up the remaining fuel in the carburetor before shutting down
- Produces clean power to prevent damage to sensitive electronics such as smart phones, tablets and laptops
Last update on 2021-09-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API