During the last winter, some parts of my hometown plunged into darkness for a whole week.
Technicians took longer to repair the power lines and that meant that we could not watch TV, food went stale, we could not access internet and my daughter could not play PS because we did not have a backup energy source.
Without a doubt, electricity is an indispensable need in our daily lives. Emergencies and power outages disrupt our daily activities. Unless you are well prepared for these, be ready for constant disruptions during the winter.
But what is the solution to the unwanted power disruptions and outages?
Our solution for this is a portable generator. There are dozens of generators in the market today that vary in size, wattage, fuel type and different other factors.
Before settling on a particular generator, you need to have a need that you want to solve with the generator. For example, there are generators for homes, RVs, camping trips and backyard parties that vary in size. Before choosing the best portable generator, you need to ensure that it meets your criteria.
We reviewed and tested various portable generators that we think are the best and that will give you value for your money.
If you are impatient and want a sneak preview, here are our best picks:
- Best Portable Generator for the money- Westinghouse WH7500E
- Best Budget Portable Generator- DuroMax XP4400E.
- Best Inverter Portable Generator- Honda EU2000i
- Best Dual Fuel Portable Generator- DuroMax XP4850EH
Factors to Consider when Buying a Portable Generator for Home Use or Outdoors
Take these factors into consideration when shopping for the ideal generator that fits your needs and budget:
Some of the generators start automatically once the power goes off. Therefore, is an advantage if you spend less time at home and you need some of the appliances to be functioning even in your absence. Most common feature in standby generators.
Most portable generators incorporate a push button as an alternative to the traditional pull-start for generators. Batteries are necessary for this feature to function. Some models include these battery cells while for others, you purchase them separately.
Solid Wheels and handle.
The wheels allow easy movement and transportation of the unit even when it is heavy. Most generators come with solid, never-flat wheels that should be attached when setting up the unit. Other models price the wheels separately, adding to the cost of the generator.
These features prevent damage to the generator. Safety features such as low-oil shutoff, circuit breaker, low oil indicator lamp and advance oil warning light safeguard the machine from getting damaged when running.
Some portable generators incorporate the inverter technology that provides clean power that will not damage sensitive appliances. Also, inverter portable generators are known to be quiet than other portable generators and an ideal option for camping trips.
The fuel gauge allows users to monitor fuel levels, especially during blackouts when you may be required to add fuel to the tank.
Number of Power Outlets
Several power outlets allow users to distribute the wattage to several devices. Users should take caution not to overload the unit.
Type of Fuel
Portable generators use gasoline, propane, and gas. Dual fuel portable generators use either propane or gas.
Nobody wants a generator that will wake up the kids on early Saturday morning. Quiet generators are the best and can run in the background without disturbing your neighborhood.
Best Portable Generator for the Money: Top Picks
The Westinghouse WGen7500 is a machine from Westinghouse, one of the oldest and most reputable manufacturers of electronic products. Westinghouse portable generators are some of the most powerful, safe and reliable power systems in the market.
If you are looking for the best portable generator to power several circuits and meet your wattage needs, the Westinghouse WGen7500 is the best choice. With a run-time of up to 16 hours, the machine can be used for large outdoor events, RV applications and even for a bad day during the winter.
The Westinghouse model is easy to operate, thanks to its simplified control panel. The unit has four standard household outlets and rubber covered GFCI outlets that are ready to power your home devices.
The high-efficiency overhead valve technology help in lowering fuel consumption and ensures the machine runs at low temperatures. The automatic voltage regulation system allow for reliable voltage control for demanding devices and applications.
The Westinghouse WH7500E Portable Generator has an all-steel construction and fully enclosed electrical connections to protect the machine from harsh weather conditions.
Features of the Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator
- Heavy duty 420 cc westinghouse 4-stroke OHV engine with an electric start, and automatic low oil shutdown.
- 9000 peak watts and 7500 watts during normal running conditions.
- Up to 16 hour run time on a 25% load.
- 6.6 Gallon Fuel Tank.
- L14-30R 120/240VAC Twist Lock Power Outlet and two 5-20R 120V Power Outlets.
- Plug and Play mechanism- Includes oil, oil funnel, battery charger and tool kit to get started with minimal assembly required, remote start key fob and user manual.
- User-friendly Operator Control Panel.
- Easy to start through the Westinghouse One-touch Electric Start System.
- Voltage-regulating system.
- Quiet Operation (with Noise reduction Pulse-Flo muffler).
- The machine has a 3-year Limited Warranty.
The Box package includes:
- Remote Start Key Fob.
- 12V Battery Charger Oil.
- Tool Kit.
- Oil and oil funnel.
- Operating instructions manual
What we liked
- Quiet generator (has a distinct Pulse-Flo Muffler that reduces the noise levels).
- Ease of use (the generator has an LCD screen that shows you the generator run time and allows users adjust generator settings).
- Voltage-regulating system.
- Fuel efficient.
- High running wattage.
- Durable engine and efficient alternator.
- Long product warranty - 3 years.
What we did not like
- A heavy machine (201 pounds).
Summary Westinghouse WGen7500 Review
The Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator is an excellent choice for homes due to its unique features, durable engine, fuel- efficiency and quiet operation.
Also, the high running wattage and Westinghouse One-touch Electric start system make it a superior model. If you require a powerful and reliable portable generator, the Westinghouse WGen7500 is the Best Choice.
2. DuroMax XP4400E Review- Best Affordable Portable Generator
The DuroMax XP4400 portable generator is a compact, reasonably powerful and affordable machine for home use. The generator has a 7 HP OHV 4-Cycle gas-powered engine that has a running output of 3500 watts and 4400 watts surge power.
The DuroMax model includes two 120-volts 20-amps standard household outlets to power all your devices at home plus 120/240 volts; 30-amps twist lock to serve high powered tools. The 12-volt DC power output with leads serves as a charger for batteries and other rechargeable appliances. The 15-amps circuit breaker prevents overloads that may damage your devices.
The exclusive DuroMax RV Switch/ voltage selector allows users to enjoy maximum power from each of the 120-volts outlets. Users choose between operating at 120 volts only or 120 and 240 volts simultaneously. The volt meter allows users to monitor the machine’s output range at all times.
The machine is ideal for job sites where technicians need to power saws, drills, and other equipment. Individuals can also use the portable generator to power appliances during power outages, therefore ensuring your appliances and devices are running smoothly without interruptions.
Key features of the DuroMax XP4400E Portable Generator
- Durable 7 HP OHV 4-Cycle gas-powered engine.
- All Steel 4 Gallon Tank- At half load, the generator runs for 8 hours on a full tank.
- 3500 Watt Continuous/4400 Watt Surge.
- Electric Key Start (includes a battery in the package).
- 8-inch knobby all-terrain Wheel kit with front handle for easy movement.
- Automatic low oil shut off that prevents damage to the engine.
- Multiple outlets- Two 120 volts, 20-amp and three prongs, one 120/240 volt, 30-amp twist lock, one 12 volts and 10-amp utility.
- Automatic voltage regulator.
- Voltage meter to monitor output range.
- DuroMax RV Switch/ Voltage selector.
- Lightweight- weighs 120 pounds.
- Quiet muffler reduces noise levels-
- The machine is EPA approved with a 69 dBA rating.
- 1 (one) year limited warranty.
What we liked about DuroMax XP4400E Portable Generator.
- The generator is cost effective and a terrific bargain.
- Electric key start (easy to start just like a car)
- EPA Approved.
- Quiet operation.
- 4-gallon fuel tank and powerful gas motor.
- DC charging capacity.
What we did not like
- Not ideal for large equipment
- Not CARB compliant.
Should you buy this portable generator?
The DuroMax XP4400E is an ideal portable generator for job sites and home emergencies.
Though the machine is not the best for large equipment, it has various unique features to support power needs.
With a runtime of 8 hours at half load and multiple outlets, the generator is ideal to keep your appliances running before power outages are resolved. The machine is a terrific bargain!
3. Honda EU2000i Review- Best Quiet Inverter Portable Generator
The Honda EU2000i 2000 watts is a super quiet inverter generator that can provide reliable power to households. This portable generator is a machine from Honda, a company that has excelled in producing durable generators and other machines.
If you are looking for a small generator for a camping expedition, the Honda EU2000i is an ideal choice. The super quiet inverter generator produces 53-59 decibels of sound during a normal operation. The machine uses the Honda GX 98.4 cc engine with a 0.95-gallon tank capacity and has a run time of 8.1 hours on one fuel tank.
The Honda EU2000i is lightweight, and it weighs 46 pounds, making it one of the most portable generators in the market. Despite its small size, the generator can produce clean and reliable power similar to that of a standard household outlet using inverter technology.
The Honda Oil Alert protects the generator from being damaged by turning off the machine once the oil level reaches dangerously low. Also, the circuit protection prevents overloading during operation. The generator is a pull start only, and it is quite easy to start and maintain.
Unique Features of Honda EU2000i Portable Generator
- Lightweight-weighs 46 pounds only!
- Super quiet- 53-59 dBA Noise level making it ideal for camping.
- Honda GX 98.5 cc engine.
- Fuel efficient- runs for 8.1 hours on one tank of fuel.
- Eco Throttle- the technology adjusts engine speed to match the actual load.
- Honda Advanced Inverter Technology- results in clean power that is safe for all sensitive appliances.
- Parallel Operation - Two EU2000i generators can be linked to double the load capacity to serve several appliances simultaneously.
- Honda Oil Alert- shuts off the generator when the oil levels are dangerously low as to damage the machine.
- The machine has a starting power of 2000 watts with a rated output of 1600 watts.
- 12v DC Outlet ideal for charging batteries.
- Starting system-recoil.
- Voltage-120 volts.
- EPA and CARB Compliant- can be used in all US states including California.
- 3-year warranty.
What we liked
- Lightweight- 46 pounds.
- It is quiet- 53-59 dBA.
- Fuel efficient.
- This machine produces clean power.
What we did not like
- The 2000 watts might not be enough for use in multiple equipment.
- Adapters bought separately.
Should you buy the Honda EU2000i?
The Honda EU2000i stands out as one of the best portable generators in the market today and has passed reliability and fuel-efficiency tests.
Though not the cheapest 2000 watts generator in the market, it beats other competing brands with its combination of unique features and technology that makes it a superior portable generator.
4. Yamaha EF2000iS Review
Yamaha EF2000iS is another ultra-portable inverter generator with superior performance and a combination of unique features. It competes relatively well as one of the best camping generators. It is super quiet, fuel efficient and very reliable.
The generator has a 79 cc 4-stroke OHV engine and the machine has 1600 watts rated AC output and a 2000 watts maximum AC output. The power produced is enough to power a camping fridge, microwave oven, RV, refrigerator, lights and job site equipment. The machine can also supply power during natural disasters and emergencies.
The Yamaha EF2000iS portable generator’s inverter system has a tested Pulse Width Modulation technology that creates clean and secure energy that will not damage sensitive home appliances, high-tech devices or job site tools. The machine is CARB compliant and used in all states in the United States.
The super-quiet muffler (51.5 dBA at ¼) with USFS-approved spark arrestor gives a super-quiet experience making it an ideal option as the best camping generator. The machine is also suitable for use during fishing and other outdoor recreational activities.
The EF2000iS also includes the Smart Throttle feature that is a load sensing rpm control. The feature allows for greater fuel efficiency and noise minimization by adjusting the engine speed to match the exact load. The generator has a run time of 10.5 hours at ¼ rated load on a full tank of gas.
Features of Yamaha EF2000iS Inverter Generator
- Twin Tech Parallel Generator Operation - If you need extra electricity to power your appliances, the EF2000iS allows you to connect two generators to double the power up to 30 amps. The connection requires a Twin Tech Cable (purchased separately) to double the electricity.
- Oil Watch Warning System- This system prevents engine damage that may be caused by low oil level, therefore minimizing downtimes and costly repairs. The system cautions against human error when you might forget that the generator was on, especially due to its long run time and super quiet nature.
- Electrical Overload Breaker- Prevents generator damage that may be caused by a power overload.
- Air cooled OVH Engine- the Yamaha EF2000iS comes with an advanced gasoline powered Overhead Valve Engine (OVH) that provides the needed mechanical energy to produce electricity, to power home appliances and equipment. OVH engine is efficient, reliable and powerful and ensures a long generator life and excellent heat dissipation.
- EPA and CARB- compliant - the EF2000iS model produces clean emissions, and Yamaha generators have the longest emission engine durability ratings issued by EPA and CARB.
- 10.5 hours run time at ¼ rated load.
- Auto-decompression system- Reduces compression for easier starting.
- Auto-warm up - this feature increases engine speeds during cold starts to handle high power demand appliances immediately.
- Fuel gauge to monitor fuel levels.
- Grip handle for easier movement and transport.
- DC outlet - 8A 12Volts for charging batteries.
- Oil Watch Warning System to prevent engine damage due to low oil levels.
- Three years limited warranty.
What we liked
- Lightweight and compact - weighs 44 pounds.
- Fuel efficient- Smart Throttle features improved fuel economy.
- Long run-time of 10.5 hours and ¼ rated load.
- Super quiet - Noise level of 51 dBA-61 dBA.
- Environmentally friendly - EPA and CARB compliant.
What we did not like
- It is expensive.
- Limited power output.
Should you buy the Yamaha EF2000iS Inverter Generator?
The Yamaha EF2000iS is one of the most popular portable inverter generators in the market.
Among the features that make this model an excellent option include the long run of 10.5 hours on a full tank, whisper-quiet experience, environmentally friendly and fuel efficiency.
The machine is lightweight and a good choice if you are shopping for the best portable generator for camping or RV.
The Champion Power Equipment portable generator is a powerful and reliable generator that can be used at construction sites and also as a backup power supply for homes and businesses. The machine is also ideal for use in campgrounds, outdoor parties, and RVs. This generator is CARB approved.
The generator is RV ready and equipped with a standard 30 amps RV outlet that is enough to start and run a 15,000 BTU RV air conditioner. The unit produces 3500 running watts and 4000 starting watts. The generator has a run time of up to 12 hours on a full gasoline tank at 50% load. The Cold Start Technology optimizes the generator to start easily even during winter.
The machine has three power outlets that distribute power to multiple appliances. The outlets include 120V 30A locking, 120V 30A RV and 120V 201. Volt Guard secures these outlets by protecting appliances from a power surge. The power is adequate to power various devices such as television, computers, air conditioner, refrigerator, and power tools without interruption.
Just like other expensive portable generator models, the generator has an Electric Remote Control Start. As such, users can control the machine even from a far distance of up to 80 feet. A battery is also included for an easy push-button electric start. The remote control feature makes it ideal for construction sites. The generator incorporates safety features such as oil sensor, overload protection, and volt meter.
A durable steel frame, a folding handle, and the two 8-inch never flat wheels allow for easy movement and transportation of the Champion Power Equipment 46539. Also included in the box is a bottle of engine oil. Once you buy this generator, you only need to supply gas to get started.
Features of Champion Power Equipment 46539
- The generator is EPA and CARB compliant.
- Wireless Electric Remote Control Start that works from a distance of up to 80 feet. The box package includes a remote battery. If the clicker fails, users can use the pull-start lever to start the engine.
- 3.3 gallons tank engine that runs up to 12 hours on a full tank at 50% load.
- RV Ready- the 30 amps RV outlet is adequate to start and run a 15, 000 BTU RV air conditioner.
- 196 cc Champion single cylinder OHV engine with automatic low oil shut-off sensor powers the machine.
- 3500 watts rated and 4000 watts peak output.
- Three outlets- 120V 30A locking, 120V 30A RV and 120V 20A.
- Total weight is 140 pounds, and the dimensions are 29 x 21 x 21.
- The equipment has safety features such overload protection, a low-oil sensor, and a voltmeter.
- The Cold Start Technology optimizes the generator to start during cold weather.
- Two years limited warranty.
What we liked
- The Remote Electric Control Start allows users to start the engine from a distance.
- EPA and CARB compliant.
- Long run time of 12 hours.
- Pull-start level option if the remote control fails.
- Cold start technology supports the generator during winter.
- Highly portable.
- Low noise level.
What we did not like
- Lacks a 240 volts outlet.
Should you buy the Champion Power Equipment 46539?
If you are looking for the best portable generator that is CARB compliant and incorporates superior features such as cold start technology, remote control start and 12 hours run time, the Champion 46539 is the best option.
Not forgetting that this model is super quiet and has safety features such as an oil sensor and overload protection to prevent damage to the engine.
The Generac 6866 iQ2000 is the ideal inverter gas generator for powering various activities such as campsites, road trips and backyard parties. The generator’s digital inverter converts raw power from DC to AC power and can be connected to sensitive appliances and devices.
Unlike other gas powered generators that are known to be too loud, the 6866 iQ2000 is specially designed to perform in a calm manner, and you can use it as a backup power source for your home or business. You can also use the generator can as a backup energy source during vacations and camping trips.
The generator is easy to operate and comes with unique features such as the LED display, PowerDial, and PowerBar. The LED display on the control panel allows users to monitor the current fuel level and the remaining run-time. Conversely, the PowerDial feature simplifies the machine’s start, run and stop functions. Through the PowerBar, users can monitor the wattage produced by the unit.
A unique Turbo/Standard/Economy switch can be employed to control the noise levels and fuel consumption.
The unit set up takes less than 5 minutes, and users can get to work immediately. The unit’s manual is user-friendly, and it does not take a techy to work that around.
Features of Generac 6866 iQ2000 Portable Inverter Generator.
- Uses Generac UHV Engine that has three modes of operation i.e. Turbo, Standard and Economy that allow users to control fuel consumption and noise levels. Users select the mode that fits their needs.
- It is portable- the unit weighs 46.2 pounds only.
- 1600 Running Watts and 2000 Starting Watts.
- Ultra-quiet- the generator has been third party tested and proven to be quieter than other competing models.
- LED Display - the display allows users to monitor the status of the generator from one location. The LED dashboard shows the battery life, fuel level and the remaining run time.
- Unique Alternator- the unit has a digital inverter that converts power output from DC to AC.
- Power Dial- this feature simplifies the generator’s Start, Run and Stop functions.
- Parallel Ready- Users can double the power by connecting two iQ2000 inverter generators.
- Long run time for such a small unit- The unit has a run time of 7.7 hours at 25% load.
- CARB Compliant.
What we liked
- Easy to set up and use – the set up takes less than 5 minutes.
- Lightweight - weighs only 46.2 pounds.
- Quiet and clean - the third party tested and is proven to be quieter than other competitor models.
- Build Digital Inverter that converts DC to AC power.
What we did not like
- Cannot power multiple appliances simultaneously.
Should you buy the Generac iQ2000 Portable Inverter Gas Generator?
The Generac iQ2000 is a high-tech and reliable portable inverter gas generator that is ideal for powering backyard parties, camping trips and tailgating events. This model is easy to use and incorporates various innovative features lacking in other portable inverter generators.
The unit has a digital inverter that converts raw power from DC to AC and can be connected to different appliances at home and during outdoor events. Due to these innovating features and 7.7 hours run-time at ¼ load, we highly recommend the iQ2000 inverter generator.
7. DuroMax XP4850EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator- Best Dual Fuel Generator
The DuroMax XP4850EH Propane Generator is a unique and powerful portable generator that utilizes both gas and propane to produce energy used to power appliances.
The distinct feature of the XP4850EH model is the DuroMax Dual Fuel Technology. The technology can double the lifetime of your generator by running on the cleaner burning propane from a BBQ tank.
The use of propane in generators has various advantages over other types of fuel including the ease of storage, long-lasting and being readily available even during disasters. Also, propane allows for a quicker and steadier start every time.
Use the DuroMax XP4850EH dual fuel generator as a backup source of power at home and businesses especially during power outages and emergencies. The unit produces a constant 3850 watts and a peak of 4850 watts. This generator can adequately power most household items such as lights, refrigerator, TV and other necessities.
This portable generator comes with a fuel switch that ensures easy switching between gas and propane.
The unit comes with various safety features that prevent damage to the machine. These features include the advance oil warning light, low oil indicator lamp, voltmeter, power output panel and circuit breaker.
Features of DuroMax XP4850EH Dual Fuel Generator.
- Uses either propane or gas.
- Fuel switch that allows users to choose the type of fuel to use.
- Comes with a 212 cc, 7 HP air cooled DuroMax OHV engine.
- Has an electric starter that is more convenient than a manual starter.
- Heavy duty frame with 4 point fully isolated motor mounts for smooth and quiet operation.
- Rated AC output is 3850 watts while the Maximum AC output is 4850 watts.
- Installed Safety features – including advance oil warning light, low oil indicator lamp & shutoff, volt meter, and circuit breaker.
- The Generator has EPA approval for safe use in National Parks.
- Dual fuel capability allows users to use either gas or the cleaner propane depending on their preferences.
- Easy to use - the unit comes completely assembled (except the handle and wheel kit).
- Includes all necessary accessories such as propane regulator, connecting hose, funnel, and several other tools.
- Fuel economy - unit uses little fuel.
- Can be noisy especially on heavy loading.
Should you buy the DuroMax XP4850EH Dual Fuel Electric Start Portable Generator?
The DuroMax XP4850EH is an ideal choice for outdoor events as well as a backup power source during power outages.
Its dual fuel capability makes it an excellent choice for anyone who plans to use either gas or propane and this feature doubles its lifetime without requiring frequent maintenance. Also, this dual fuel generator has a unique design, safety features, and power. We highly recommend DuroMax XP4850EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator.
Types of Generators to Consider
Portable generators are those that can be moved easily and used to provide electricity without plugging into electrical grids. The majority of users utilize them as a backup power source during power outages and also powering backyard parties, camping trips and RVs.
They provide adequate power for TVs, lights, refrigerators, kitchen appliances, construction site power tools and other AC-powered tools.
Most portable generators are gasoline powered, but there are others that run on diesel, propane or natural gas. Others have dual fuel capabilities, and users can use either gas or propane. Stabilizers must be added to store gasoline safely.
Portable generators are typically smaller than stationary generators and deliver 1000 – 8500 watts. Most portable generators cost less than $1000, unlike stationary generators that cost above $2000.
Stationary (Standby) Generators
Standby generators are large and deliver between 8,000 to 40,000 watts. They cost more and require an experienced electrician to install.
These units start automatically once the power goes off and stop when power resumes. Standby generators supply more power than portable generators and can keep all electrical appliances in operation during emergencies and power outages. They are commonly used to provide power to factories, hospitals, and large offices do their huge power supply.
Inverter generators have an inverter placed between the generator and power output. They convert the produced raw power from DC to AC power and controlling output voltage and frequency to prevent damage to sensitive electrical appliances. They deliver 1000-3000 watts of clean power that is adequate to power lights, TV, smartphones and other appliances.
Inverter generators are the quietest portable generators and are known to be fuel efficient. Under low load, the engine is made to run at low speeds, therefore reducing fuel consumption and noise levels.
Apart from powering home appliances, these generators are ideal for camping trips, backyard parties, tailgating, and RVs since they are lightweight, have low noise levels and produce clean power.
Dual Fuel Generators
Dual fuel generators combine the convenience of using either gas or propane to power the generator. They give users the advantage of using one type of fuel when the other is limited in supply especially during emergencies and winter.
These generators have a fuel switch that they can use to change from gas to propane and vice versa.
What Other Aspects Should Buyers Consider?
Apart from the features discussed above, there are other factors that buyers should consider when choosing the generators that meet their needs. Here are a few tips that will help you in making a proper decision:
Power Outage Power Supply
If you are looking for a generator to solve your emergency power needs, first determine your power needs that the generator will solve. You may use a wattage calculator to determine the amount of wattage you are looking for in a generator.
Do you aspire to power the entire house or just a few electronics? What are the wattage needs of your appliances?
If you want a generator that will back-up the whole house including all the appliances, then a standby generator will be the best option for you. A standby generator has a higher wattage than a portable generator and most appropriate for large power needs.
However, if you only want to have a backup source of energy for a few electronics, then a portable inverter generator is most appropriate. Portable inverter generators are small and provide clean energy that will not damage your appliances. They are also the quietest portable generators, and you can carry them along to the camping trips and excursions.
Outdoor Events Power Supply
If you require a portable generator suitable for use in fishing, camping, and tailgating, an inverter generator is the best choice. Portable Inverter generators are lightweight and produce clean energy that is safe for all electronics. They convert raw power from DC to AC power that can be used to power all electronics including smartphones.
Construction Site Power Supply.
Construction sites require a portable yet handy generator that can power the various tools without any hitches. Such a generator should have adequate running and peak watts to serve several tools. Other features such as flat free wheels, remote control start, cold start technology, durable cage, auto-idle technology and long run time are ideal for a construction generator.