It ain't that simple. The dB scale isn't linear.
The standard distance for noise measurement is 7 meters for generators, or is supposed to be, but companies play tricks with the surrounds, humidity, etc. So, take what the manufacturer claims with a grain of salt. Sound travels better over hard surfaces and at night when humidity is higher, likewise sound travel reduced by placing on grass and during a hot dry day.
A 1000 watt inverter generator might actually measure 47 dB and be incredibly quiet, but a 6000 watt standard might measure 76 dB. The difference in these two is huge... 29 dB is huge! In fact 2dB is noticable (47dB to 49dB, for example).
A 70dB sound is twice as "loud" as a 60dB sound (10dB higher), all things being equal. However, if you double the distance from the source, the sound is quartered; or cut in half twice.
To understand just how non-linear noise (unwanted sound) is: 10dB is 10 times more than 1dB, but 20dB is 100 times more; 30 dB is 1000 times more. From just beimg able to hear noise (0dB - which doesn't mean zero in a linear world) to pain is only 130 dB, but that is something in the order of a billion times louder.
The quietest generators are always inverter types. So, if quiet is a goal, only look to that type.
The larger the generator the larger the motor, the larger the motor the more noise, so only get enough to do the job.
The best generator for you, is one that has the capacity to do the job, not break the bank, and thirdly, will not being annoying.
The factor that no one can advise you about is what is annoying; it is personal opinion and we are all unique. By the same token, what might be annoying to one isn't to another. So, be considerate of others - DW first
- especially if you are not easily annoyed.