How Loud is a Whole Home Standby Generator?

Having the power go out at your home or business is never a fun time. This holds especially true if the power is out for hours or even days at a time. In the best case scenario you are inconvenienced and in the worst case all of the food storage you have in your refrigerator or freezer spoils. Now most folks do not experience power losses that often and when they do it is only out for a few minutes or hours at a time. But, if you are one of the unlucky ones that has constant power outages for extended periods of time then it may be time to look for a solution.

There are two main solutions when it comes to generating power during an outage. The most commons is known as the portable generator. I won’t get into all of the details on these within this article but in short they give you temporary power for some of your appliances. Typically they cannot power your entire home. They also have to be manually setup each and every time your power goes out. This can be a hassle. Depending on the model you choose they can also be quite noisy and disruptive to your family or to your neighbors.

The other option to review is going with a standby generator. Standby generators can power your entire home and automatically turn on within a few seconds of your power going out. They are by far the easiest solution for power but they are also the most expensive. Typically you can spend anywhere from four to ten-thousand dollars on a standby generator and then you also have to pay for the installation which can cost just as much as the generator itself.

How Loud are Standby Systems?

A common question that we receive on standby generators is exactly how loud they are. Now, before I answer your question lets first look at the noise levels of a portable generator system. There is a wide range here but most often you will see portable systems between seventy to one-hundred decibels. That one-hundred decibel volume is equivalent of a lawn mower or motorcycle running nearby. It is loud and disruptive. The seventy decibel volume isn’t as bad as it is about the sound of being inside a car going down the highway. There is noise there, but it is not all encompassing.

In many neighborhoods there are ordinances when it comes to noise levels. These are put in place to prevent disruptive noises from taking over the peacefulness of the area. Each neighborhood is different but typically anything over seventy decibels is seen as disruptive and will not be able to be run. If you are not in a neighborhood but are within city limits then you should also check your city’s laws to ensure that you are compliant. If you are out in the country though with no nearby neighbors then the only thing you need to worry about is the comfort of you and your family. If you can stand the sound of a motorcycle nearby then by all means go with it.

Ok folks, so now that we have some basic knowledge on generator decibel levels let us look at standby systems. From my research I have found that standby systems typically range between sixty-five to eighty decibels. There are of course models exceeding that level and falling below. Generac, one of the most popular standby manufacturers out there, has a 6462 Guardian model that comes in at fifty-eight decibels. This is equivalent to a normal conversation happening nearby. It is very quiet. There are other standby models out there, like the Briggs & Stratton 40450, that have decibel levels at seventy-five.

One thing to keep in mind here is that the quieter the machine the more expensive it will be. A quiet generator is a much desired feature and in order to achieve it you are going to have to pay more. This is why we see the Generac model as the quietest and the Briggs & Stratton as one of the loudest. Generac is seen as a premium brand name in the generator world. While Briggs & Stratton is just fine as well, they are not the premium product.


In conclusion folks it really depends on what you want and what your local laws and ordinances allow. You could go with a very loud portable generator system and have it sound like a motorcycle is running nearby. Or, you could shell out the cash and go for the ultra quiet Generac standby model. My suggestion is to go with the middle of the road approach and find a model that is right around sixty-five to seventy decibels. This will still give you an overall quiet machine but will also save you some money.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

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