You want to look for a quiet portable generator, something that falls within the range of 60 to 75 Decibels (db). Anything over 90 decibels can damage your hearing. At 130 decibels, you'll likely experience permanent hearing loss.
Decibels and examples are given below:
- 140 Deafening, Jet aircraft, Artillery fire
- 130 Deafening, Threshold of pain, Causes immediate ear damage
- 120 Extremely Loud, Thunder, Diesel engine room, Car Horn at 3 feet
- 110 Extremely Loud, Close to a train, Cain Saw
- 100 Very Loud, Wood saw, Home lawn mower, car horn @ 16 ft.
- 90 Very Loud, Symphony, Truck without muffler, mower
- 80 Loud Car noise @ high speed, Police whistle
- 70 Loud Normal street noise, Average radio, Vacuum Cleaner
- 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
Overhead valve (OHV) engines have valves like a car engine on top of the cylinder and although more expensive engines, they are more quiet and easier to start. OHV's are usually a 4 stroke engine.
A step up from the OHV is the OHVI Engine and are more quiet than a similar OHV. The engines last longer, run longer and are more efficient than an OHV.
In the end, I went with this Standby Generator and although not the quietest, it's noise level is low compared to other generators its size.