Top 5: What is the Quietest 10000 Watt Generator? Noise Review

A 10000 watt generator has some serious power output that’s suitable for camping or use at home during power outages. However, finding a model that appropriately balances power level and noise output can be a bit more difficult.

In this article, I review my top picks for the best quiet 10000 watt generator. Along with this, I’ll suggest the most important factors to consider when making the pick that’s right for you.

Is There a Quiet 10000 Watt Generator?

Noise from generators are measured from a distance of 23ft. Any rating found on a manufacturer specifications imply this distance.

A 10000 watt generator can reach up to 90dB in noise output, although somewhere around the mid-80s is probably more reasonable for a standard generator. On the other hand, a quiet 10000 watt generator will produce anywhere between 70 and 80dB of noise.

For comparison, this is the difference between road traffic (70dB) and a pneumatic drill (90dB). Another important point is that prolonged exposure to sounds over 85dB can cause permanent hearing damage. So, choosing a quiet 10000 watt generator isn’t just about practicality, it’s about safety, too.

It’ll probably come as no surprise that a generator’s power output directly correlates to its noise level, meaning you’ll never find a super quiet generator in this power range. I discuss the power/noise ratio in my article about the Quietest Generator on the Market.

So, if these numbers sound too high, consider choosing a less powerful generator. While you won’t be able to run as many appliances, they should provide a more comfortable sound experience.

Top 5 Quietest 10000 Watt Generator

When rating my top picks, the most important factor will obviously be noise output. However, we need to balance this against functionality because, in some instances, greater power output will override lower noise levels.

Top Pick: DuroMax XP13000HX Dual Fuel Generator

  • Noise level: 74 dB min
  • Starting Power: 13,000 / 12,350 W (gas/prop.)
  • Running Power: 10,500 / 9,975 W (gas/prop.)
  • Inverter: No
  • Start: Electric & Recoil
  • Dual fuel: Yes
  • Run time:
    On gasoline, 8.5 hours (50% load)
    On propane, 6.5 hours (50% load)
  • Tank capacity: 8.3 gal
  • Outlet / Port:
    4 x 120V 5-20R [20A] – (Household type)
    1 x 120V L5-30R [30A]
    1 x 120/240V L14-30R [30A]
    1 x 120/240V L14-50R [50A]
  • Wheels: Yes
  • Handle: Yes (Foldable)
  • Weight: 240 lbs.

The DuroMax XP13000HX has an operating noise level of 74dB, which puts it in the middle of the acceptable range for a quiet generator. However, it’s got some decent functionality that makes up for this middle-of-the-road noise rating.

First, it’s a dual fuel generator, meaning it can run on either propane or gasoline. A propane generator is useful at home during a power outage because you can store the fuel indefinitely. Also, your home might already rely on liquid propane, meaning you always have a bottle at hand. Note, though, that the wattage is lower when operating on propane.

When running on gasoline, its surge wattage is 13000 and its running wattage is 10500. On propane, it’s 12350 and 9975. However, this is still plenty in the grand scheme of things. Considering you also get a total of 7 outlets, you’ll have all the outlets you need to power your devices while remaining safe because it’s equipped with a CO sensor.

There’s a 120/240V at 50A and another at 30A, a 120V 30A and 4 x 120V 20 A outlets. The 8.3-gallon gas tank provides 8.5 hours of runtime at 50% load, which, again, is about average fuel consumption for a generator of this size.

Its main downside is portability. At 242lbs., it’s pretty heavy, so physically moving it around can be challenging. One user commented to have towed the generator with his tractor. However, it does come with a built-in wheel kit and handle, so dragging it around is at least slightly easier. 

PROs
  • Decent power output.
  • Dual fuel type generator.
  • Variety of AC outlet ports.
  • Comes with a CO sensor.
CONs
  • Not super portable.
  • Noise at 74 dB is average.
  • No DC output (5V USB, 12V jack).

Best Budget Pick: A-IPower SUA12000E Portable Generator

  • Noise level: 78 dB min
  • Starting Power: 12,000 W
  • Running Power: 9,000 W
  • Inverter: No
  • Start: Electric & Recoil
  • Dual fuel: No
  • Run time: 9 hours (50% load)
  • Tank capacity: 9 gal
  • Outlet / Port:
    4 x 120V 5-20R [20A] – (Household type)
    1 x 120/240V L14-30R [30A]
    1 x 120/240V L14-50R [50A]
    1 x 12V Automotive port
  • Wheels: Yes
  • Handle: Yes (Foldable)
  • Weight: 206 lbs.

The A-IPower SUA12000E is a budget-friendly generator that provides 12000W of starting power and 9000W of running power. As such, it’s slightly less powerful than the Pulsar, but not by much.

However, its noise output is 78dB. While this is the loudest generator on this list, it’s not a huge difference, and the generator’s price-to-power ratio arguably makes up for it. Plus, its 9-gallon gas tank gives you 9 hours of runtime at 50% load, which is fair.

It’s also pretty well covered for outlets. There are 4 x 120V 20A, a 120V 30A, a 120/240V 30A, a 120/240V 50A and finally a 12V DC outlet. I have no complaints on this side, except maybe it’s lacking a 120V 30A (L5-30R). But contrary to the DuroMax you get a 12V DC outlet, which you could turn into USB ports with the proper adapter.

I was hesitant in putting the WEN DF1100T as my best budget pick. It’s at a similar price point and has fairly good build quality for the price, but the running wattage is only 8300. Although there’s no dB rating given, the WEN model I reviewed in my 5000W generator article had similar performance reviews to its direct competitors, so it’s fair to assume the same is true here.

There’s not much bad to be said about this generator. Its major downside is that it’s louder than the competition. But when budget is your top priority, you sometimes have to make sacrifices in other areas.

PROs
  • Plenty of outlets.
  • 9 hours of runtime at 50% load.
  • Electric starter.
CONs
  • On the louder end of the spectrum.

Best Value for Money: Pulsar G12KBN-SG Dual Fuel Generator

  • Noise level: 74 dB min
  • Starting Power: 12,000/9,500 W (gas/prop.)
  • Running Power: 9,500/8,550 W (gas/prop.)
  • Inverter: No
  • Start: Electric & Recoil
  • Dual fuel: Yes
  • Run time:
    On gasoline, 12 hours (50% load)
    On propane, not communicated
  • Tank capacity: 8 gal
  • Outlet / Port:
    4 x 120V 5-20R [20A] – (Household type)
    1 x 120/240V L14-30R [30A]
    1 x 120/240V L14-50R [50A]
    1 x 12V Post
  • Wheels: Yes
  • Handle: Yes (Foldable)
  • Weight: 209 lbs.

The Pulsar G12KBN-SG has an operating noise level of 74dB, which is about average for a generator of this size. However, with a surge wattage of 12000 and a running wattage of 9500, it’s slightly less powerful than the DuroMax. It means the power/noise ratio is not as competitive as the DuroMax, but it has more up its sleeves.

At 209lbs., it’s quite a bit lighter. Although this isn’t a huge difference, it helps when you’re trying to move it around. It still comes with a wheel kit and handle, but pushing it will be slightly easier.

The 8-gallon fuel tank gives you around 12 hours of runtime at 50% load, which is good fuel efficiency for a 10000 watt generator. Also, it’s dual fuel, so it can run on propane instead. Connecting it to a propane tank means your runtime is only limited by the size of said tank. 

You get 6 AC outlets on this generator: 4 x 120V 20A, a 120/240V 30A, and a 120/240V 50A. There’s also a 12V DC outlet that’s ideal for power tools, charging batteries, etc. As such, this is a flexible generator for use at home or on a job site.

Its only real downside is that it comes with a 1-year warranty. Sure, something is better than nothing, but plenty of generators come with 3 years or more. While it hopefully won’t break down, it’s not ideal that you’re only covered for the first year.

PROs
  • Easier to move around than comparative models.
  • Plenty of outlets (both AC and DC).
  • Excellent runtime.
CONs
  • 1-year warranty is quite short.
  • Average noise output. 
  • No CO sensor.

Premium Pick: Westinghouse WGen12000 Gas Powered Generator

  • Noise level: 74 dB min
  • Starting Power: 15,000 W
  • Running Power: 12,000 W
  • Inverter: No
  • Start: Electric & Recoil
  • Dual fuel: No
  • Run time: 11 hours (50% load)
  • Tank capacity: 10.5 gal
  • Outlet / Port:
    4 x 120V 5-20R [20A] – (Household type)
    1 x 120V L5-30R [30A]
    1 x 120/240V L14-30R [30A]
    1 x 120/240V L14-50R [50A]
    2 x 5V USB
  • Wheels: Yes
  • Handle: Yes (Foldable)
  • Weight: 352 lbs.

The Westinghouse WGen12000 is technically not a 10000 watt generator. Its running wattage is 12000 and its surge is 15000. However, it operates at 74dB, which is the same as the DuroMax and Pulsar. So, for the same noise level (and a bit more money), you can get a more powerful generator. The power/noise ratio is thus more competitive, especially if you seek more than 10000 watt running power.

It’s also quite fuel efficient. The 10.5-gallon fuel tank can provide up to 11 hours of runtime at half load, which is roughly 0.95 gallons per hour. This makes it more fuel-efficient than the 10000 watt models listed above.

You get a similar set of outlets, too. There are 4 x 120V, a 120V 30A, and 120/240V outlets with 30A and 50A fuses. There are also 2 x 5V DC outlets, which are handy for charging devices like phones and tablets. Granted, you don’t get a 12V outlet, but that’s not a massive issue.

A useful feature is its remote start key fob. It allows you to start the generator remotely from a distance. The generator also has Smart Idle control, which regulates the engine speed in relation to power output. In short, it functions like an eco-mode.

This unit doesn’t have an inverter, yet it has a very low level of harmonic distortion (how clean the voltage sine wave is). It manages to keep the distortion under 5%. So, if you have sensitive appliances or electronics, they would not struggle to recognize the power input.

But, one thing you’ll have to contend with is its massive weight. At 352lbs., it’s a majorly heavy generator. So, the extra boost of power is nice, but don’t expect to be able to take it anywhere with you! This generator is only portable by technicality because it has wheels. It’s also why I didn’t mention the lack of RV outlet; you likely won’t take this beast of a generator with you RVing.

As far as safety goes, there’s no CO sensor, which can be a minor downside for some. But considering the high price point, I would have expected one.

PROs
  • Excellent power/noise ratio – More power for same noise output as the DuroMax.
  • Plenty of outlets.
  • Fuel efficient.
  • Very low harmonic distortion for a non-inverter.
CONs
  • Very heavy – 100lbs. heavier than other generators on this list.
  • The most expensive 10000-watt generator we reviewed.
  • No CO sensor.

5. Rainier R12000DF Portable Generator

  • Noise level: 74 dB min
  • Starting Power: 12,000 / 10,800 W (gas/prop.)
  • Running Power: 9,500 / 8,550 W (gas/prop.)
  • Inverter: No
  • Start: Electric & Recoil
  • Dual fuel: Yes
  • Run time: 17 hours (25% load)
  • Tank capacity: 6.6 gal
  • Outlet / Port:
    2 x 120V 5-20R [20A]
    1 x 120V L5-30R [30A]
    1 x 120/240V L14-30R [30A]
    1 x 120/240V L14-50R [50A]
  • Wheels: Yes
  • Handle: Yes (Foldable)
  • Weight: 200 lbs.

The Rainier R12000DF is marginally less powerful than the DuroMax. Its peak wattage is 12000 and its running wattage is 9500. However, its noise output of 74dB is the same, putting it around the average for a 10000 watt generator.

One area where it does pull out in front is its running time. It can run for 17 hours at 25% load on a full 6.6-gallon tank. Its fuel consumption is around 0.39 gallons per hour, although its consumption on propane jumps to around 0.43 gallons per hour.

Another potentially important factor is that it’s the lightest generator on this list. Its dry weight is 196lbs., making it noticeably lighter than the DuroMax. So, if you want something easier to move around, this is a good pick if you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of power output.

However, it comes with 5 outlets, which is less than the other generators. You get 2 x 120V (20A), a 120V (30A) and 120/240V outlets with 30A and 50A fuses. It’s lacking some 12V posts, USB ports or an RV-type outlet (120V, 30A), but it’s still enough to power a range of devices.

Its biggest downside is that it’s a bit bare-bones in terms of extra features. There’s no remote start, which isn’t a massive issue, but it also doesn’t have a digital screen. It uses VFT (like on old cassette tapes) and the fuel gauge is a little wobbly line behind a screen. However, it’s at a lower price point than other generators, so this is an understandable compromise.

PROs
  • Lightest generator on this list.
  • Fairly fuel-efficient.
  • Reasonable noise levels.
CONs
  • Lacking extra features.

Do You Need a Quiet 10000 Watt Generator?

10000 watts is on the higher end of the “portable” generator scale. As a general rule, once you start looking at more powerful options, their size and weight make them more suitable as fixed options.

A 10000 watt generator is ideal for use at home during power outages. It would also be good for remote work applications, such as construction sites or even a makeshift film studio.

While you could certainly take a 10000 watt generator camping or in your RV, their weight makes this a bit impractical. Plus, you’d need to be running quite a few demanding appliances in your RV to justify a generator of this size.

However, as I’ll explain below, this isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.

Running Watts vs. Starting Watts

To understand this in more detail, we must first look at the terms running watts and starting watts. Starting watts (also called surge watts) is the short-term peak wattage a generator can produce. The extra boost of power is required by appliances that have starter motors, such as AC units or refrigerators.

Running watts are what’s required for the standard operation of an electrical device. For example, a refrigerator might have a surge wattage of 1500 but its running watts are 700. This means it only requires 700 watts to operate normally once its motor has kicked in.

Why is this important for generators? Simply put, you need to ensure the generator has a high enough power output to run all your desired appliances. Let’s assume you’re using it at home and will need to power, at minimum, the following:

To calculate the required generator size, we’d add the highest starting wattage (the AC) to the total running watts for all devices. This is a total of 7085 watts, meaning a 10000 watt generator would be more than enough. In fact, you could go wild and also run a well water pump (1000 watts)!

You can refer to this list for some approximate power values for standard household devices.

Balancing Power and Noise

With generators, there’s always a tradeoff between power output and noise level. This is because they’re motor-powered machines, and more powerful motors generate more noise during operation. That’s why I often refer to the power/noise ratio, the higher the better.

For example, the 5000 watt category are typically the quietest generators, going as low as 52dB, which is half the power output for a 20dB decrease. In real terms, 50dB is roughly the noise level of moderate rainfall.

Similarly, power output affects portability. Again, more powerful motors are typically larger and heavier. While all the generators listed above have wheels, something that weighs 320lbs. is only technically portable. You can’t expect to throw it in the back of your RV for a weekend away.

As such, balancing these factors against your needs is important. If you plan to take the generator on vacation, you’ll have to sacrifice some power for greater portability. However, if you plan to use it at home, you can go the other way.

Features that Matter in a Quiet 10000 Watt Generator

When picking the best 10000 watt generator, it’s important to consider the following factors in order to make an informed decision.

Runtime and Fuel Efficiency

A generator’s runtime is how long it’ll last on a full tank of gas. The values typically listed are for 25 or 50% load, meaning it’s only running at quarter or half capacity. Unsurprisingly, the less power it’s generating, the longer the fuel will last.

Runtime is ultimately a matter of preference. A longer runtime can mean either the generator has a larger fuel tank or that it’s more fuel-efficient. Either way, it means having to refill it less.

The only time it really matters is if you plan to run the generator overnight. For convenience, you’ll probably want a runtime of at least 8 hours, with 10 or more being preferable.

Electric Start

Generators all come with a manual start in the form of a recoil cord. This works the same as the starter on a lawnmower: you pull it and the engine kicks in.

But some also feature an electric start. This is battery-powered, much like your car’s engine. You press the button and the battery starts its own small motor that rotates the engine. It’s simply a more convenient option, but does add a bit of money onto the price.

Along with this, some models have remote start. You press a button on a key fob to start the generator. Again, this is simply a nice feature but is in no way necessary.

Inverter Generators

An inverter generator uses a throttle to control the engine’s RPMs. This reduces something called harmonic distortion, meaning the outputted energy is cleaner and less likely to damage sensitive electronics.

A conventional generator, on the other hand, runs full throttle all the time. It means you have no control over the power’s frequency, and that they’re typically less efficient.

Inverter generators are a better choice if you plan to power devices like TVs, computers, or anything else with computer chips. Note, though, that they’re significantly more expensive.

Noise

There’s not much more to say about noise levels for 10000 watt generators. The motor is the noisy part, so, if noise is your top priority, look for a closed-in generator. They have a boxy casing that provides some amount of insulation. Inverter generators typically have this casing, whereas conventional generators don’t.

If you’re certain you need a 10000 watt generator but you’re not happy with the noise levels given above, consider checking out my article on how to quiet a generator. These tips will provide varying levels of noise reduction depending on your setup.

If you consider a 10000 watt generator to be too noisy, consider a 4000 watt, 5000 watt or 7000 watt power unit. After all it’s about finding the right balance between Power/Noise/Portability.

Outlets

Understanding a generator’s outlets isn’t particularly complicated, but there are a few factors to consider when choosing the best model.

At the very least, your generator needs 120V, 20A or 120, 30A outlets (5-20R or L5-30R). These are what your everyday household appliances use. But, you’ll also want your generator to have a 240V, 30A or 50A outlet (L14-30R or L14-50R), which you use for more demanding appliances like HVAC systems and water pumps.

These will be rated with either 30A or 50A fuses. Amperage relates to the power drawn from the outlet, so a higher amperage means you can run more demanding devices, or a greater number of devices.

Some generators will also have DC outlets; these will be inverter generators. You use these for low-voltage devices like rechargeable batteries, smartphones, etc.

All household appliances will state their voltage and amperage requirements. Choosing a generator based on these is as simple as checking that its outlets meet or exceed the device’s needs.

Portability

10000 watt generators are the least portable models of portable generators. They can be pretty heavy, meaning lifting them will be at least a 2-person job.

To offset this, they should come with wheels and a handle. This means you can push or pull them more easily, giving you some level of portability. But, as mentioned, if you want a more portable generator, you’ll probably have to sacrifice some power output.

Warranty

The final thing worth mentioning is warranty. As with any pricey purchase, you’ll want it protected against faults for a reasonable length of time. Look for a 3-year warranty as a minimum, although 5 years is obviously better.

It’s important to factor in how often you’ll be using the generator. For example, if it’s for backup during power outages, you might never use it. Even if you take it in your RV, you might only use it once or twice a year.

So, consider how many times you’ll use the generator during its warranty period. The fewer times you’ll use it, the longer you’ll want your warranty to be.

Extra Features

Other features to consider are:

  • Low oil shutoff: The generator detects a lack of lubricant and automatically shutoff to preserve its components
  • Carbon Monoxyde (CO) sensor: A CO sensor is purely about safety. It detects if the area is ventilated enough. Up to a certain amount of CO gas, the generator will stop.
  • Outlet cover: To prevent water from seeping in outlets.
  • Remote start: To control the generator from afar. Especially useful if you need to turn it on several times a day without having to walk across your backyard.

Final Thoughts on Quiet 10000 Watt Generators

I hope this guide has given you enough information to pick the perfect 10000 watt generator for your needs.

My top pick is the DuroMax XP13000HX Dual Fuel Generator. Although its noise output is average, it has decent power and functionality to compensate for this.

Do you have any other recommendations for a quiet 10000 watt generator? If so, I’d love to hear from you.

Ludovic
Ludovic
Ludovic uses his technical experience as a Mechanical Engineer to compile Soundproofing DIY guides. You’ll often find him breaking down complex topics to make it clearer for others. He also finds inspiration in sharing mindful habits.

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