I get asked about generators a lot, and one of the questions I’ve been hearing quite frequently lately is if there are any really quiet diesel generators out there, or even if there is such a thing as a silent diesel generator.
It’s easy to understand why this is such a common question, considering that diesel generators are becoming more and more difficult to find in general, and most that are made today aren’t exactly what we would call quiet – in fact, they are often quite noisy.
So let’s look into this question in a bit more detail, in this article on finding the quietest diesel generator on the market today. But first a very brief summary:
Bottom Line: Who Makes The Quietest Diesel Generators?
I think that Kubota diesel generators are superb in every way, and are probably the quietest diesel generators on the market today. They range from “small” semi-portable units to full commercial / industrial sized permanent installations, and are all highly recommended.
For larger commercial or industrial usage, I also highly recommend the entire line of Cummins Quiet Diesel Generators, which are intelligently designed and beautifully made in the United States, and are very highly regarded in every industry.
When it comes to consumer-level products, finding a quiet diesel generator is a bit trickier – not really possible, in fact – and you would be much better off considering a gasoline-powered generator. For more on this, please check out my articles on:
How To Find A Quiet Diesel Generator
This article is going to be a bit different from my other buyer’s guides and informational articles, because I am going to say right off the bat that the answer to the question of how to find the quietest diesel generator today is, well, you probably can’t…
But please, before you leave me and search for a more promising web page, let me explain myself. When I say ‘you probably can’t,’ I am really referring to people looking for quiet diesel-powered generators for consumer use – RVs and camping, DIY work, emergency backup and such – and no, there aren’t any smaller, portable diesel generators I would recommend, quiet or not.
There are excellent choices for large-scale high-power generators, for industrial and commercial use (which I will mention below), but I emphasize portable consumer-level generators here because I know that not only have I been asked about smaller diesel generators a lot, but there are a lot of people on the internet who are asking the same questions:
- Who Makes The Quietest Diesel Generator?
- How Can I Find A Silent Diesel Generator?
- Are Any Diesel Generators Really Quiet?
But despite the large number of people asking for quiet diesels, there are very, very few articles posted that actually answer the question, and many of the buyers guides to quiet diesel generators for RV and camping, quiet portable diesel generators and the like reference outdated or discontinued models, or even point to gas powered generators instead.
So what’s going on here? Why is it so difficult to find a quiet diesel generator for us, and not for our factories? Why is it so difficult these days to find a diesel generator at all? Maybe our best question at this point is:
Who Still Makes Diesel Generators?
In Europe and other parts of the world there is still a good market for smaller diesel powered generators, but the market in the United States and North America is dwindling, to the point that very few manufacturers offer any diesel powered generators at all, except for full sized industrial scale generators meant for more permanent installation, or very large and heavy trailer units or semi-portables.
This seems to be largely due to the fact that, while they do offer some clear advantages – especially the price of fuel and the low maintenance and long life of diesel engines – diesel generators have some pretty serious disadvantages, which are especially salient for consumer use and make diesel a less and less popular option.
Some of the problems we face with diesel generators are:
- Availability of fuel
- Environmental issues, including high output of carbon dioxide
- Problems with starting and running in cold temperatures
- Special maintenance issues like wet stacking
- Diesel generators are bigger and heavier, to the point that they usually can’t be considered portable
- Diesel generators are expensive
- Diesel generators are noisy!
That last point is a bit of a deal-breaker for us here, but all of these cons and others really add up, to the point that there are very few manufacturers making good quality consumer-level diesel generators for sale in the US and North America – again, this does exclude full sized industrial generators and models made for Europe and other parts of the world.
I will say that if you are looking for a large commercial or industrial generator, you might do well to consider the fine range of Cummins Quiet Diesel Generators, which are incredibly high quality and designed, made and tested in the United States, and also Generac Industrial Diesel Generators, which come from the largest supplier of industrial and commercial power equipment in the world – not as quiet as the Cummins, but excellent products.
Who Makes The Quietest Diesel Generators?
So this becomes a simple question, really.
For industrial or commercial use, Cummins generators are remarkably quiet and as good as it gets on everly front.
For personal use, however, there are only a small handful of smaller, consumer-level diesel generators anyway which I could recommend, including the:
Kubota GL-7000 – a beautiful unit from a legendary company, the GL-7000 diesel is known for its extreme durability and reliability, and is one of the most popular semi-portable generators going for worksites, small mobile operations, and house and small business backup. The 7000 is a remarkably quiet unit, for a diesel at least, with a running noise level of only 66 DBa.
Generac XD5000E – a super-tough and seriously overbuilt worksite generator which has 5,000 watts of running power at dual voltages, a big diesel tank for over 32 hours running time, and easy availability of transfer switches for use as a reliable backup generator for homes and other smaller-scale locations. The XD5000E is not, however, quiet – while the noise level is apparently not published, I can tell you that this is a noisy unit, and customer reviews have consistently mentioned that they love their Generac in every way except for noise level.
Let’s keep in mind, though, that neither of these excellent diesel generators will be as quiet as a gas powered alternative, and they are both much larger, heavier and less portable, and much more expensive than like-powered gasoline counterparts.
Conclusion: Can You Find A Really Quiet Diesel Generator?
I often like to recommend at least 5 or 6 good choices for whatever type of product I’m covering, but in this case I guess I really came up with only one – the Kubota GL-7000 is a surprisingly quiet generator, and an absolutely beautiful one to boot.
In fact, all of the KL series iesel generators by Kubota are superb, and all remarkably quiet given their size, their diesel engines and their power output. And again, I love the Cummins Quiet Diesel Generators, which are probably the quietest diesel generators you can get for larger commercial and industrial applications, and certainly among the finest.
But even the smallest Kubota diesel generators are large and heavy, and not a reasonable choice for somebody who is looking for any kind of portability. For worksites, home backup and semi-permanent installations, Kubota GL generators are as good as it gets, but if you are looking for a more consumer-oriented product you would be better served by any of the super-quiet gasoline or dual-powered (gas and propane) generators from several different companies, like Honda, Wen, Westinghouse and Champion.
If you’d like my ideas on the quietest gas powered electric generator, please check out the website – The Final Kit – or you can go to some of the specific articles, like: