How Loud Are Propane Generators?

Last Updated: August 8, 2022
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Propane generators can be quite noisy because they have internal combustion engines that run off of propane, natural gas or gasoline. Some of the best propane generators utilize a Honda GX200 engine or other similar engines. If you are planning on using one of these generators, it is important to consider how annoying the noise is going to be.

Propane generators are usually not as loud as generators that run off of diesel fuel, but they are still enough to be heard. Some propane generators can produce up to 88 decibels of noise when the generator is running at full tilt. This is not extremely loud, but it may be loud enough to annoy someone who lives nearby or in the same building.

The noise level of a generator is also largely determined by how smooth and quiet its engine is. If the engine is a low-performance one, it’s going to make a lot more noise than a high-performance one. You can even have two different generators that are the same size and that each have the same type of engine in them, but their noise levels are going to be different thanks to them having different engines.

Are Propane Generators Quieter than Gas?

The propane generators are way more efficient when it comes to noise level, as compared to the gas-operated ones. It is even less noisy than some of the inverter ones you’ve seen so far. This is why propane generators are recommended if you’re looking for quiet operation in your home or in your office building or wherever you want to use it.

Let’s first look at references used by the National Institutes of Health to illustrate decibel numbers before comparing the sound quality of generators: Laughing is 60-65dB; silent workplace is 50-60dB; silent conversations are 50-65 dB; dishwasher is 75dB; city noise or garbage disposal is at 80dB.

Here is comparison of noise level we tested between gas vs propane fuel in Westinghouse Wgen 3600-watt dual fuel portable generator:

Fuel: GasolineFuel: Porpane
No LoadUnder load (1500 Watt)No LoadUnder load (1500 Watt)
1 feet 90-92 dB96-98 dB91-92 dB94-93 dB
20 feet70- 71 dB73-73 dB71-72 dB70-71 dB
30 feet70-71 dB70-71 dB69-70 dB69-70 dB
50 feet 68-69 dB69-70 dB68-69 dB67-68 dB

Propane Generators

Propane-powered generators have a disadvantage in terms of fuel consumption efficiency. As compared to gas-powered generators, it would result in half the consumption ratio. However, when it comes to noise and toxicity emissions, propane generators outperform gas generators hands down. A typical portable propane generator produces a noise level between 40-90 dB, and even less if you’re dealing with an inverter generator.

Gas Generators

Gas is the most common fuel choice for generators, but they have some disadvantages. Often, people purchase gas-powered generators for the fuel consumption rate rather than the noise level. The gas generator would provide you with a longer back-up and BTUs per gallon of gasoline. The pollution levels for the atmosphere and the noise level, on the other hand, are even higher for gas generators. A typical portable gas generator produces a noise level between 70 to 100 dB.

How Do I Make a Propane Generator Quieter?

If you live in an area where noise levels are restricted, you should think about keeping the generator silent. The same holds true if you’re camping in a remote location and want to power your generator quietly to avoid disturbing anyone. Here are few tips and directions to help you make your generator quieter:

Determine the Proper Wattage

Determine how much watt is needed to keep your house or RV running smoothly. If you only need 1000 watts to power your home, purchasing a 5000-watt generator would be a waste of money and would produce more noise. If you need 1800 watts for your application, a 2000 watt generator is an optimal choice.

Buy the Right Generator

If you don’t already have one, having the right kind of generator is the first step toward a quieter operation. The quietest generator is one that has inverter technology, particularly if it runs on propane. Inverter generators are more expensive, but the expense is well worth it, particularly if you want to use it in an RV or while camping. These generators have slightly smaller footprints, making movement easier, and they also have handles.

Point the Exhaust in The Right Way

Setting up the generator further away from the house or camping area might be a smart way to minimize noise right away. A generator should be placed at least 30 feet away from the building. Link your home circuit to the generator’s new outlet using a long extension cord. Another advantage of leaving it out is that you will reduce the chances of being exposed to CO (carbon monoxide).

The unnecessary sound of the generator is generated from the exhaust. The sounds can be greatly reduced if the generator exhaust is removed from your working or living room. The noise level can be reduced without undertaking any other steps, particularly if the generator is placed further away and the exhaust is pointed away.

Get a Rubber Base

Getting a pair of rubber feet for your generator will greatly minimize friction and help to remove noise. When the generator is placed on a hard surface the strong vibration raises the noise level. Rubber feet can significantly minimize the noise level by isolating the vibration.


If you’re going to be using your propane generator for an extended period of time, you want to make sure that you can stand to be standing next to it for hours on end. It’s definitely possible to have a generator that is extremely quiet, that will barely make itself known even when you’re close to it. However, there are also generators that are going to be much louder.

Propane generators are not as loud as other types of generators, but are they still loud enough to need some consideration. If you have a garage or shed, they can be placed in there without setting off any alarms. This may also be true if you are planning on using the generator with other equipment such as a welder or an air compressor. Larger propane generators can be placed outside if they are mounted securely and the noise from the generator does not create any problems for others nearby.

The best thing you can do for yourself if you want to know how loud your generator is going to be is to try it out before buying it. If you can find a dealer that will let you try out a generator ahead of time, that’s perfect. Sometimes they’ll even let you try it for as many hours as you want to make sure it works, or if they just sell it to you when you buy one.

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I am a mechanical engineer with years of experience working on Internal combustion engine and fixing electrical and mechanical systems, generators, transfer switches, and equipment related to storm water and sewage pumping stations.