You have finally arrived at your destination and located the best site for setting up camp. Tired from the long drive, you decide to take a short refreshing nap and utterly relaxed amidst the soothing sounds of a nearby running brook, the harmonious chirping of happy birds and the gentle rustle of wind through trees, slip into deep sleep.
But not for long.
You are startled awake by what sounded like a thousand-strong hell’s angel motorbike parade. You dash outside to see another camper has set-up close to you, and the roar of their portable generator had totally shattered the peace and tranquillity of the perfect campsite. And with it, your dream of an idyllic vacation in the pristine “great” outdoors.
Portable generators are useful equipment which provides an alternate source of power supply for use while camping, tailgating, working on outdoor projects, construction sites and emergency home back up power.
There are two broad classes of Portable generators:
- conventional portable generators and
- inverter portable generators
These are differentiated by their mechanisms for producing the desired electric power. They come in different sizes and power rating to suit a range of uses.
Portable generators like all rotating mechanical devices powered by an internal combustion engine, produce sound while in operation. The sound is measured in decibels and can range from a humming 45dB to a thundering, painfully loud 120dB or more. Noise is basically unwanted sound, and no sound is as unwanted as the rumble of a loud portable generator, especially if coming from a neighbor. Some cities also have regulations for acceptable levels of noise from any piece of equipment.
Thankfully, with rapid advances in technology, portable generators are now running quieter.
With inverter generators several decibels quieter than the quietest conventional generator. This is partly due to their compact design and smaller engines which minimizes the output noise levels. They are also able through, the use of complex electronics, to vary engine speed with a change in load demand – throttling back the engine speed with a reduced load which reduces the noise further (unlike a conventional generator which runs at a steady 3600RPM no matter the load).
Another noise reduction feature lies in the use of noise absorbing materials in the design of inverter generators. Typical noise levels for an inverter portable generator range from a whisper-quiet 45dB to a below-normal-conversation 56dB at half load. This sound level is quite comfortable and will let you appreciate the calming natural sounds at a campsite or carry out a normal conversation a few feet away without yelling like a pumped-up drill Sergeant.
For a portable generator that
- will run through the night without disturbing your sleep or your neighbors
- take along to power your RV in the untouched and peaceful great outdoors
a portable inverter generator is going to be your best option.
However, if pricing and having a lot of power output is a major consideration for you, inverter generators might not be ideal because their power output is somewhat limited- and they can be a bit expensive.