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It wasn’t that long ago that I ran our RV Generator Sound Off. The results of that test were fresh in my mind as Stef and I checked out vendors at this year’s Outdoor Retailer show. When we saw these guys – running multiple generators in their display yet still speaking at a normal volume – you know I had to stop. I made sure to come back the next day with my sound level meter to check them out. I wasn’t disappointed in what I found. Check out the video:
The sound on the video review actually doesn’t do justice to how quiet the Generac iQ2000 generator was. Let’s just say it was freakishly quiet. Probably the most telling thing about this video is that, unlike in my Onan RV Generator video – you won’t hear anyone yelling to be heard over the generator. It just wasn’t necessary. And when we compared the Generac to the the Honda model that everyone thinks is so darn quiet – the Generac was quieter than that one too.
But to cut to the chase, here are some numbers:
- The ambient noise level at the Outdoor Retailer show was about 60dB (a trade show in downtown Salt Lake city).
- The ambient noise level for my Onan RV Generator Sound Off was 50dB or less (a deserted country road).
- In “Standard” mode the no-load noise level for the Generac iQ2000 was 75dB at 2 feet, as I measured it that day
- The Generac’s “Eco” mode was so quiet, it was unfair.
- The no-load noise level for the Onan units ranged between 80 and 87dB at 2 feet.
- At 50% load, the Generac got up to 78-80 dB. Still as quiet or less than the Onan units with no load at all.
So, a point about decibel measurements before you go adding or subtracting. Decibels are on a logarithmic scale, so you can’t just add or subtract them. If you wanted to factor out the ambient noise, you’d have to take antilogs, subtract, then re-log to decibels. If you do the math, the ambient noise didn’t affect the Onan results in my previous tests at all. But you can knock off a tenth of a dB or so from the Generac to get “corrected” values.
The other thing about decibels is their relationship to perceived loudness. You’ll hear people say that a 3dB increase means a doubling of acoustic energy. That’s true. But a doubling of acoustic energy is not what the typical human ear and brain perceives as twice as loud. That’s about 10dB (though I’m sure someone will want to argue this). At any rate – by ANY measure – the Generac iQ was less than half as loud as the Onan gas or propane units, and still significantly quieter than the Onan diesel unit. And remember – those Onan generators were mounted in RVs. The Generac iQ was just sitting on a pedestal.
Numbers aside though, the Generac iQ generators were stunningly quiet. Any RV enthusiast would have noticed the low noise level, and would have been excited to have one on their RV.
The OTHER thing RV enthusiasts would be excited about was the price they’re going to be asking for these.
That’s it. That’s less than the Honda. I want one.
Now, there are still a few things they need to do before this becomes the ideal motorhome generator. First, they’re already working on some larger models. Then, they need to come up with a mounting system to get it mounted to RVs (they’re already thinking about this, too). And finally, they need to move the monitoring and start/stop functions to a remote control panel. If they get those things done – you’ll find my Onan on Craig’s List the next day. I would have bought one at the show to have at the house, or to take along on RV trips, but sadly, they weren’t selling them (or giving away samples…)
You can learn more about the Generac iQ 2000 on the Generac iQ website.