This article will suggest six of the best quiet camping generators of 2023. Some of them are simple solar-powered power banks for people who just want to charge their devices.
But I’ll also suggest some more conventional generators for those of you looking to run some heavier appliances.
If you’re anything like me, you go camping to enjoy the great outdoors. You want to hear the birds sing in the morning and enjoy the sound of the bubbling river.
You probably don’t go camping to hear the sound of a noisy generator.
And even if you don’t mind it yourself, no one wants to be the guy who turns up and ruins everyone else’s camping trip.
So for the sake of your neighbors who want a decent night’s sleep and the wildlife that doesn’t want to be disturbed, you need to get a generator with a reasonable noise level.
In a Hurry? Here Are My Top 2 Picks
- My Choice: Marbero Portable Solar Generator
- Best Overall: WEN 56380i Portable Inverter Generator
6 Best Quiet Camping Generators
Marbero Portable Solar Generator
This Marbero Portable Power Station might be small, but it’s amazingly powerful for its size.
This solar generator would be my choice because I prefer to charge my devices by sun, so I can stay out in the wild for as long as possible without worrying about running out of gas for the generator.
A solar bank like this is silent, which will give you a completely different camping experience from a noisy and smelly generator.
You don’t have to break your back moving it or trying to get it running, but there are some obvious limitations. For example, in windy and rainy weather, it’ll take ages to charge.
No matter the weather, this won’t be the best option for running appliances like fridges, but it’ll be great for phones, laptops, and portable camping fans.
It also has a built-in emergency light in case your flashlight fails on you.
The battery management system will automatically turn off the solar generator if it’s getting too much power, so you don’t have to worry about breaking it or any of your stuff.
Just be aware that the solar panels aren’t included, so you’ll have to get them separately.
- Automatic battery management system
- Powerful for its size
- Emergency light
- It relies on sunny weather
- Not the most powerful
WEN 56380i Portable Inverter Generator
For those with a bigger energy need, the WEN 56380i would probably be your best bet.
I can’t deny that this generator is heavy. But it’s extremely powerful and discreet at the same time. Some people use it to run two refrigerators and two freezers simultaneously, without any worries.
The built-in fuel shut-off uses up any excess gas before it shuts down, which means your generator will last longer. It has an 8.5-hour half-load run time, and the digital meter keeps a close eye on fuel consumption and run time, so you don’t have to worry about it suddenly going out on you.
The drawback of this generator is that it sometimes arrives with a loose or broken spark plug. Make sure you hold on to the original packaging and test the generator before going out on a trip. People who use it regularly have a lot of positive things to say.
Now, this generator isn’t completely silent, but it’s much quieter than many similar models.
The vast majority of users give this generator five-star reviews. Just make sure you read the user manual because some people get so excited and launch in without knowing what they are doing.
If you break it through misuse, the company won’t replace it.
- Digital meter
- Occasional spark plug issue
ALLPOWERS 300W Solar Generator
Going back to another solar generator, the AllPowers model would be great for an off-grid camping trip. It charges up nicely with a solar panel, but you can also charge it at the mains.
The only thing to be aware of is that you can’t leave it plugged in indefinitely. Although the battery will eventually stop charging to protect itself, the display doesn’t turn itself off.
So if you left it hooked up to a solar panel for a couple of weeks and then came back to it, you might find that it had run out of battery power.
Instead, you need to hook it up to power until it’s charged, then disconnect it and turn it off to conserve the battery.
You can charge up to nine devices simultaneously, and the power output is pretty good. It won’t run a load of heavy appliances constantly, but it could keep your car fridge ticking for a good six hours or charge your phone up to 45 times.
This is another excellent choice for campers who want to charge their appliances and keep the lights running for a few evening hours, without the noise and smell of a gas gennie.
But you probably do want a gas-powered generator for heavier use.
- Extremely quiet
- Reasonably powerful
- Flexible charging options
- Not for constant use
Champion Power Equipment 4000-Watt Inverter
The Champion Power Equipment Inverter will run for 17 hours on gasoline. This powerful 4000-Watt Inverter is a lot quieter than most similar generators.
It’s by no means silent, but the noise it creates is more like a thrum than a high-pitched whining sound, so it shouldn’t be too intrusive for any of your neighbors at camp.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a silent camp, this wouldn’t be the best option. But if cutting your normal generator noise in half is enough, this generator is worth considering.
I love that you can start this remotely with a fob, which is helpful for people who sometimes struggle with starting a gennie.
It has cold start technology, so you don’t have to worry about using it in the winter, and the energy that it produces is nice and clean, so your sensitive electronics won’t get wrecked!
Overall, this is a much-loved generator. From the standard seven-meter distance, it’s a bit louder than a normal speech level, so don’t get it if you want total silence at camp.
But in that case, you’ll have to go for a solar generator, which won’t handle as many appliances.
The only major drawback is that the control panel gets in the way of the oil fill port, which makes filling up your oil an unnecessarily fiddly experience.
So long as you can get over that annoying design aspect, this is a great choice.
- Remote start
- Reasonably quiet
- Difficult to fill oil
Paxcess Portable Power Station
Going back to something less bulky, the Paxcess Portable Power Station is great for powering up your devices on the go.
You can charge this compact lithium battery with a solar panel or via the mains. The integrated battery management system will protect both the battery and your devices from a power surge, so you don’t have to worry about replacing expensive equipment.
Of course, this won’t be as powerful as a giant gas generator, but it weighs only six pounds instead of a 99-pound gas gennie. It takes just four hours to charge fully, and being a solar generator, it’s completely silent in the process.
For your next back-to-nature trip, you should seriously consider using one of these little generators instead of a noisy gas guzzler. It’ll change the experience completely (for better or worse, depending on your priorities)!
- Quick to charge
- Sets up in 5 minutes
- Not for energy-heavy appliances
Pulsar Products G450RN 4500W Generator
Pulsar Products makes the final quiet camping generator that I’m going to recommend.
It has a remote start, which makes it easy to get going. Plus, the wheels and telescopic handle will help you get it into place without breaking your back! It’s not the quietest generator on the market, but it’s more discreet than the average, coming in at less than 63 decibels.
This generator produces clean energy that won’t wreck your appliances, and it’s powerful enough to run a conventional freezer or a fridge, but probably not both at the same time.
Of course, most camping appliances are designed to pull less power, so you may find that this runs everything you need at camp.
Overall, this is an excellent little generator that is reasonably light for the size and has a surprisingly long running time, so you won’t waste loads of money on fuel.
It’s not too intrusive, and it has really positive user reviews. It’s definitely one to consider!
- Reasonably quiet
- Wheels and telescopic handle
- Remote start
- A little noisy at full power
Camping Generators Buying Guide
I had to reject so many generators from the list of recommendations because of noise or quality concerns. So be careful about straying from the suggestions I’ve made.
But if you’d like to shop further afield, here are some pointers to help you choose a good model.
Solar Versus Gas
The great thing about a solar generator is that it’s silent. You can be totally discreet while it’s in use, and you don’t have to rely on gas fill-ups. Solar generators are also lighter and more compact, and they aren’t smelly or challenging to set up.
The downside of solar generators is they are more like battery banks than traditional generators.
Although they can be pretty powerful, they are best for charging devices or running small appliances rather than powering a load of equipment.
Pulling a load of power off any generator will make a fair amount of noise, and you’re specifically searching for something quieter. So you may have to go back to the drawing board and ask yourself:
Is it more important to be quiet and discreet or to power lots of appliances?
There is no right or wrong answer, but it’s a good idea to get your priorities straight before you make a significant investment.
Of course, solar generators rely on good weather or access to the mains electricity. If the weather will be terrible for a week, you may be left short on power.
Generators running on gas have their ups and downs as well. They are better for anyone who wants to run multiple appliances like fridges and freezers, and you don’t have to worry about the weather so much.
You still need to consider the fact that most gas generators are more difficult to get running in the wintertime. They also need more maintenance, like oil changes, than a solar generator does.
If possible, you might want to get a gennie with a remote start, so you don’t have to struggle with a starter cord. (It really depends on upper body strength; a lot of people will be OK with the cord!)
Another downside of gas generators is that they are louder than solar alternatives. Even the ones I’ve recommended, which are the quieter ones on the market, will disturb wildlife and camping neighbors to some degree.
That may not be a problem for some people, but try to be thoughtful. Don’t wack a gas generator on early in the morning or late at night.
Also, consider setting up camp a bit farther away from other people, so you don’t disturb them.
Both gas generators and the more modern solar power banks can be useful at the right time and place, so it’s up to you to work out which one suits you best.
Most generators are about 60 to 70 decibels when you’re seven meters away. (Seven meters is the industry-standard measurement.)
If you’re looking for something quieter, I wouldn’t get one over 64 decibels.
Also, bear in mind that generators get louder the more load they are powering. So if you’re running it at 25%, it’s going to be significantly quieter than if it’s going full throttle.
For most RV users running some camping appliances, a 3000-4000 watt generator will be more than enough. Of course, everyone is different. It might make more sense to work out the wattage of the devices you want to power and then pick a generator accordingly.
Campers who just want to run a fan or charge devices can get away with significantly less than this.
The last thing you want to do is waste a ton of money on a generator that packs up after a few uses. Refer to the user reviews to see how well your chosen generator gets on in the long run.
But there is a catch.
Many people have no idea how to take care of their equipment. They don’t do any maintenance or break in their generator correctly, and then they get mad when it doesn’t work.
For starters, make sure you break in your generator properly. When it first arrives, you need to clear out any tiny bits of metal or dirt inside the engine.
This video explains what you need to do far better than I could:
If you correctly break in your gennie, I promise it’ll last so much longer. It’s worth investing a little time and effort upfront.
What size generator do I need for camping?
It depends on how much equipment you want to power. A compact solar generator will be more than enough for charging devices, but you may need to look into a bigger gas generator if you’ll be running lots of equipment.
You can work out which is the perfect generator for you by calculating the power draw of your devices and using it as a guide.
What is good camping generator etiquette?
You should never leave your generator running all night. Set it up as far from other campers as possible, with seven meters being the absolute minimum. Avoid using it outside of reasonable daytime hours.
If you’re boondocking, don’t park near another vehicle and fire up the generator. It’s best to keep your distance so you don’t spoil the tranquility for other people.
So long as you’re respectful of wildlife and other campers, a generator can be a brilliant addition to your camping trip. It makes sense that you want to find the quietest one possible, but you will have to accept a certain noise level if you go for a gas generator.
A solar generator like the Marbero Portable Solar Generator will be totally silent. It’s not as powerful as a traditional generator, but it’s an excellent value and perfect for charging devices.
For running heavier appliances, your best choice will be the WEN 56380i 3800-Watt Portable Inverter Generator. So long as you don’t overload it, it won’t be too intrusive.
Don’t forget to take good care of your generator and make sure you break it in correctly! This will save you loads of hassle and money in the long run because your kit will last for far longer.
I hope you found this article on the best quiet camping generators helpful, and I wish you many happy camping adventures!
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Rachel is a freelance adventure writer and founder of Highly Sensitive Nomad. When she isn’t writing, she can be found wild camping in the mountains and swimming in the lakes of Europe.