Open-Frame versus Closed-Frame Inverter Generators: What's the Difference?

Open-Frame versus Closed-Frame Inverter Generators: What's the Difference?

If you’re in the market for a new generator, you’ve probably noticed that there are a million different types available on the market: standby, portable, standard, inverter, open frame, dual fuel, etc. With so many terms, it’s easy to get lost. Fortunately, your friends at WEN are here to help clear things up.

Today we will be focusing specifically on the differences between closed-frame and open-frame inverter generators. Both of these styles of inverters provide cleaner and quieter power in comparison to a traditional generator (for an overview of inverters vs traditional generators, check out our article 6 Advantages of Inverter Generators). However, there are a few things to consider when deciding whether a closed frame or an open frame inverter is right for you.

1) Noise levels
The primary difference between open and closed frame inverter generators is the noise. Closed frame inverter generators will run significantly quieter than their open-frame counterpart. For instance, our WEN 56380i 3800-Watt Closed Frame Inverter Generator operates at approximately 57 decibels (dBA), whereas the similarly-sized WEN GN400i 4000-Watt Open Frame Generator creates approximately 67 dBA of noise. Either way though, both noise ratings are lower than a traditional non-inverter generator, which would likely run about 72 to 76 dBA for this size range.

2) Engine Access
Open frame inverters are like traditional generators in the sense that the body design leaves the engine exposed. While this makes maintenance easier (since the engine is more accessible), the closed frame alternative (which completely encloses the engine) better safeguards the unit from outside forces such as wind and dirt. Also, this design difference is the main cause of the varying noise levels between the two styles.

3) Price Point
Generally, closed frame inverters tend to run a little on the costlier side. If you are on a tighter budget, but still want the clean low-THD power of an inverter generator, an open-frame model might be the right style for you. However, if you plan to use the generator for camping, hunting, or any other application where low noise levels are necessary, then it may be worth spending a little extra on a model with a closed frame.

Ultimately, the right generator for you depends on your needs, including the types of devices you want to power, how much power you need, acceptable noise level and more. But no matter your need, WEN has a generator to suit you. If you have any questions or need help choosing the generator that’s right for you, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-232-1195 (M-F 8AM to 5PM CST) or drop us a message at to speak with our friendly and knowledgeable technical support team.

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