Low-Noise Tools: A Quiet Generator, etc

Looking for a quiet generator or shop vacuum? Here are some quieter brands, models, and types of power tools for your workshop, garage, and yard.

When you're working in your garage or around the yard, many of the tools you use generate a lot of noise. Much of it is unavoidable — when you use a table saw, for instance, you'll want to wear hearing protection, if you value your hearing. But if you're concerned about noise, you also have the option of buying brands and models that generate less noise. This list is to help you identify those machines.

The products here have been included based on independent product reviews and test evaluations, spec sheets, and opinions of working professionals and hobbyists. Of course noise level is only one of the factors you'll be looking at when you buy, but this list can help steer your research and give you some benchmark products for comparison.

Quiet generators (portable power generators)

  • Honda EU2000iA or EU1000iA
  • Yamaha EF2400iS
If you're looking for a quiet generator for your RV, see the page on quiet vehicles and accessories.

Quiet air compressors

This is a tough one! Air compressors are inherently noisy; a quiet air compressor seems a contradiction in terms. Rotary screw compressors are the quietest, with vane compressors a close second, but these are designed for industrial use and are more expensive. For home use, go for two-stage oil-filled compressors. In general, avoid piston compressors, especially the "oil-free" variety.
  • Rotary screw compressors
  • Vane compressors
  • GMC Syclone Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free Air Compressors
  • Senco PC1010 portable air compressor
  • Two-stage oil-filled compressors
If the compressor noise is unacceptable, position it as far as possible from your work area. You might also consider purchasing or building an enclosure for it, using noise-reduction materials.

Quiet table saws

  • Steel City 35900G hybrid saw
  • Bosch 4100-09 portable table saw
  • SawStop contractor saw
Note: Table saws are loud enough to damage your hearing. Be safe and wear hearing protection.

Quiet shop vacuums (wet/dry vacuums)

  • Fein Turbo I portable shop vacuum
  • Fein Turbo II or Turbo III (workshop models)
  • Festool brand

Quiet garage door openers

  • Chamberlain LiftMaster Whisper Drive WD822KD (belt-driven)
  • Any belt-driven model. (A screw-drive model will be the next most quiet garage door opener; chain drives are the noisiest.)

Quiet lawn mowers

As a general rule, reel lawn mowers are the quietest, then electric models, followed by gas-powered mowers, with riding lawn mowers being the loudest. A mulching or bagging style mower will be quieter than a side-discharging one.
  • Reel mowers: McLane 17" Front Throw
  • Electric mowers: Neuton CE 5 (5.4) (battery-powered)
  • Gas mowers:
    • Honda HRX217HXA or HRX217HMA
    • Many Craftsman models
  • Riding mowers: Electric Ox (electric)
    Note: Nearly all riding lawn mowers are loud enough to damage your hearing. Be safe and wear hearing protection.
  • Robotic mowers: LawnBott brand

Quiet hedge trimmers / string trimmers

Electric models are generally quieter than gas- or propane-powered versions.
  • Stihl FSE 60 (corded electric string trimmer)

Quiet leaf blowers

Most (not all) electric models are quieter than most gasoline models.

Quiet chain saws

  • Any battery-powered (cordless electric) model
  • Corded electric models:
    • Husqvarna 316E
    • Makita UC 4000
    • McCulloch 1.5HP
    • Remington 3HP or 1.5HP
  • Gas-powered models:
    • Echo CS-370
    • Husqvarna brand models
    Note: Gas-powered chain saws are loud enough to damage your hearing. Be safe and wear hearing protection.

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