Best Portable Generators

Power outages are not quite common in the US but when they happen, they wreak havoc. Heavy rain, storms, and similar disasters affect our lives beyond imagination.

We are so used to electricity, not havin g access to it can prevent us from performing daily tasks such as bathing, cooking. Since power outages are not in your control, the only option you have is to get the best portable generator.

They can provide you with electricity in case of an outage. They are portable due to their compact size and some may even come with wheels. This is why they are suitable not only for indoors but outdoors as well.

You can carry portable generators along and make your trips more exciting. There will be no need to reply on torchlights and fire when you go camping. A portable generator can provide you light and also let you run electrical appliances making your trips more fun.

We’ll talk about the benefits of portable generators later on. For now, let’s have a look at some of the best portable generators out there.

We have divided them on the basis of power, helping you choose the best portable generator. Without much ado, let’s have a look:

Best Light Duty Portable Generators: Comparison Chart

Portable Generator (Light Duty)

Weight

Dimension

Noise Level

Fuel Type

​48 pounds

​18 x 11 x 18 in

​51 dB

​Gasoline

​55 pounds

​22.4 x 14.4 x 19.9 in

​59 dB

​Gasoline

​96 pounds

​2.4 x 13.2 x 23.5 in

​58 dB

​Gasoline

​122 pounds

​22.8 x 22 x 30.7 in

​68 dB

​Gasoline

​91.8 pounds

​24.3 x 17.5 x 18.4 inches

​96 dB

​Gasoline

Light Duty Portable Generators

Let’s start off by looking at the five best light duty portable generators. They mostly offer wattage power between 1000 watts to 5000 watts. They may not be suitable for heavy appliances but can be used outdoors to light up spaces when you go camping. They may also be suitable if you wish to work at night.

Let’s have a look at some of the best portable generators now:

The unit is capable of producing 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated watts. This is enough power to run a few lights, charge appliances, and power a TV or washing machine.

Features:

  • ​Eco-Mode adjusts the fuel automatically depending on power requirements.
  • ​Carb and EPA III compliant, therefore, expect clean energy from it.
  • ​Solid 79.7cc 4 stroke engine delivers 2000 starting watts and 1600 running watts.
  • ​Less than 0.3% harmonic distortion.
  • ​Automatically shuts down when fuel is low.
  • ​Parts are easily available if you encounter a mechanical problem.

This one is super silent and produces only 51 dBa at 25% loud and 55 dBa at 75% load. According to the US Department Of Health And Human Services, this sound is similar to humans making a conversation at a distance of 23 feet. You will not feel any discomfort or irritation due to the noise.

You won’t notice any voltage fluctuations thanks the generator’s ability to replicate pure sine wave that keeps harmonic distortion to 0.3% only. Therefore, expect clean electricity from this portable generator.

It also features an eco mode that balances fuel consumption on its own by measuring the load. Thanks to this feature, you won’t be wasting any fuel.

This portable generator incorporates a one gallon tank that will easily run for 4 hours at 100% load and 6 hours at 50% loud. Moreover, the generator comes with a USB port that lets you connect and charge devices. This is a great feature that makes it a customer-friendly portable generator.

If the power is not enough, you can buy two units and increase output as it supports parallel connections.

​PROS

  • ​2 year warranty.
  • ​Lightweight (48 pounds)
  • ​Can be stored in a car thanks to its compact dimensions (18x11x18).
  • ​Works on sine wave technology that makes it ideal to use sensitive gadgets.

​CONS

  • ​Heavy duty appliances cannot be powered up (AC units).
  • ​Heavy duty appliances cannot be powered up (AC units).

Bottom line:

If your requirement is to light up a few appliances that require less than 2000 watts then this portable generator can be considered. It is lightweight and can be taken along trips and picnics as well.

Briggs & Stratton P2200 has the right mix of features that will allow you to breathe a sigh of relief during power outages. It is a small unit but it is capable of running even some big appliances like refrigerators and ovens.

Features:

  • ​Automatic idle control.
  • ​Only 3% total harmonic distortion.
  • ​Parallel connection capability to add up wattage power.
  • ​CSA approved.
  • ​Works on inverter technology.

Apart from looking aesthetically pleasing, it is also easy to use. The simple recoil system starts the generator and its 3 LED lights tell you about the current status of the generator. The first one shows the current status, 2nd light shows overload, and the third tells you if oil is low. This feature makes it easy to use and maintain the unit.

The engineers have given thorough thought to make it secure. It has multiple reset buttons for more safety.

It contains two 120v electric outlets for home appliances and one 12v DC plug for device charging (mobile, tablets etc). If that’s not enough outlets then consider making a parallel connection. You can connect two generators together and raise its power from 2200 watts to 4400 watts.

A one gallon fuel tank is enough to make it run for 8 hours at 25% load. The icing on the cake is its noise output. This portable generator produces only 59 dBa of sound at a distance of 23 feet (on ¼ load). It will not disturb you while you’re at work or asleep.

This portable generator is marked safe for laptops and sensitive electronics because it produces less than 3% harmonic distortion. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about any fluctuations or anomalies created by this generator.

​PROS

  • ​2-year warranty.
  • ​Lightweight (weighs only 55 pounds).
  • ​Consist of a drain off tray (helps release oil when changing oil).
  • ​Safe for sensitive gadgets.
  • ​Quiet than a normal conversation.

​CONS

  • ​Can’t power up heavy duty appliances that require more than 1700 watts of power.

Bottom line:

In the list of lightweight portable generators, this is quite a juggernaut thanks to its pure energy and safety features.

Briggs & Stratton can be a good choice if you need reliable, portable, and silent generators.

Features:

  • ​Powerstart mode (changes speed as per the load).
  • ​Statstation LCD (allows you to see generator load).
  • ​Telescopic handle and wide wheels aid in moving the unit.
  • ​Automatic idle control.

This one consists of four standard outlets and lets you power up four different appliances simultaneously. Moreover, it also incorporates a 12v-30 amp locking outlet with RV adapter, USB port, and a DC outlet.

The wheels and telescopic pull handle make it easy to pull the unit. It pumps 3000 starting watts and 2600 running watts which is commendable for its size.

Its 1.5-gallon fuel tank offers a runtime of about 10 hours on a full tank when the load is 25%. However, it depletes faster when the load is above 500 watts. One of its highlights is the Special Quiet Power mode that reduces noise and also uses less fuel, making it economical.

Ease of use is another strong characteristic of this portable generator. It has a simple control panel that lets you adjust settings, choose modes, check overload, generator status via LED and reset button in case of overload.

The generator uses the recoil system but one wishes there was an electric option, too.

Maintaining the unit is a breeze thanks to the maintenance schedule feature it offers. The generator will notify you when an oil change is due. This will allow you to keep it in good shape for years to come.

While it’s a small unit, you can increase the wattage by using the parallel connection feature that lets you connect two generators.

​PROS

  • ​Great for RV and house back up.
  • ​Offers clean energy which is ideal for delicate electronics.
  • ​LCD display to read volts and status.
  • ​Supports parallel connection.
  • ​2-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​A bit heavy at 96 pounds
  • ​Not CARB Compliant

Bottom line:

This portable generator will allow you to run a few home appliances. You can also power up heavy duty applications using the parallel connection.

Champion generators are popular as they’re hybrids, i.e: they support both propane and gasoline. This one incorporates a 244cc dual fuel engine that offers 4750 starting watts and 3800 running watts.

Features:

  • ​Easy push button electric start.
  • ​TT-30R Outlet makes it RV ready.
  • ​Voltmeter allows you to read voltage.
  • ​Volt guard protects delicate appliances.

There’s a 20 pounds gas tank installed on the unit which runs for 9-10 hours on a full tank. It also has a built-in volt guard that protects sensitive appliances from voltage fluctuations. You can look at the gauge meter to check the power output and voltage as well.

Starting the unit is a breeze thanks to the dedicated button on it. You won’t have to pull the rope and apply any force to start it. Just push a button and you’re good to go.

This unit features a low oil shut down option that will break the connection between the generator and connected appliances when the oil is low. This is an excellent feature that prevents the device from malfunctioning or causing voltage fluctuation.

There is one 30A locking outlet, one 120V 30A RV power outlet, and two 120V household outlets on this unit.

​PROS

  • ​Low oil shutdown option.
  • ​Prevents voltage fluctuation.
  • ​3 year warranty.
  • ​Allows you to easily monitor output loud.

​CONS

  • ​Loud when operational.
  • ​Does not support parallel connections.

Bottom line:

Champion is a reliable name in the industry and this product is no different. It’s safe to use and can be suitable for users who need a unit to keep outdoors.

This GoPlus portable generator is powerful and capable of delivering 4000 watts of power. It might be a compact looking generator but don’t let its size fool you because it packs a powerful 4-stroke 208cc OHV gasoline engine.

Features:

  • ​Picture decals offer easy instructions.
  • ​Air cooling system to prevent overheating.
  • ​EPA approved.
  • ​Offers clean electricity without fluctuations.

It incorporates a plastic 15L fuel tank that can run the unit for up to 9 hours at max load. You can, in fact, run it for a whole day at reduced power.

Another amazing feature of this portable generator is its eco mode. It’s designed to reduce fuel consumption and increase runtime as the unit adjusts usage according to the requirements.

Maintenance is also easy as it comes with a few indicators and a voltmeter.

GoPlus 4000 is also commendable when it comes to preventing overheating. Its air cooling system is reliable and adds years to the lift of the unit.

While all looks good, the unit can be a bit noisy (96db). Hence, it should be kept outdoors.

​PROS

  • ​9 hours of runtime at 100% load.
  • ​Control panel system shows status.
  • ​Prevents overheating.
  • ​Cleverly designed handle makes it easy to carry.
  • ​Fuel efficient unit helps save fuel.

​CONS

  • ​The gas tank is made up of plastic and is not very durable.
  • ​The wire is not very long but can be extended.

Bottom line:

This generator is powerful, reliable, and easy to use. It is ideal if you want a unit to keep outside or to travel with and is one of the only units to offer 9 hours at 100% load.

Best Heavy Duty Portable Generators

If you face long power outages or need a unit to run big appliances then go for heavy duty generators. They can run heavier appliances like irons, ACs, and heaters and may be suitable for businesses as well.

They may be more powerful but they’re still light and portable. Let’s have a look at our top five best heavy duty portable generators.

Portable Generator (​Heavy Duty)

Weight

Dimension

Noise Level

Fuel Type

​130 pounds

-
-

​Gasoline and propane

​192 pounds

​27.3 x 26.2 x 26.2 inches

​64 dB

​Gasoline

​209 pounds

​28.5 x 22.2 x 21.8 in

​65-70 dB

​Gasoline and propane

​196 pounds

​27.2 x 26.1 x 26 in

​72 dB

​Propane and gasoline

​269 pounds

​29 x 29 x 27.5 in

​72 dB

​Gasoline and propane

Quipall 5250DF offers excellent power along with portability. This is a versatile option and can be used at home, work, campsites, and fields as well.

Features:

  • ​Able to run multiple household items easily.
  • ​Women and kids can also start this generator (using the electric button start).
  • ​Prevents overloading.
  • ​Control panel shows generator status.

The highlight of this portable generator is its dual fuel support feature which is not found in most of the light duty generators. The benefit of a dual fuel generator is that you can run it on both gasoline or liquid propane. It’s a great feature as you can choose the more readily available/affordable fuel option.

It works on a high-end 224cc engine that is capable of producing 5250 watts of surging power when you use gasoline. Liquid propane brings it down to 4500W. Running watts lie somewhere between 3600 to 4000 which is enough to run multiple household items.

Starting this portable generator is not a problem at all as it features both electric start and recoil start system.

The unit offers 5 outlets: four 120v AC outlets (20 amp) and one 120v/240v AC outlet (30 amp).

Moving the generator is also quite easy thanks to the pull-handle and set of wheel installed underneath.

With Quipall 5250DF, you can provide backup power to household items up to 9.5 hours consistently on a full tank. That’s quite a lot of runtime if we compare it to other portable generators in this price range.

As far as safety is concerned, this one is super safe. It has a low oil shut down feature which turns the generator off when the oil is low. Moreover, it will also protect the circuit during overloading.

​PROS

  • ​Safe and robust frame that makes the unit long lasting.
  • ​Carb compliant.
  • ​Multiple outlets to power appliances simultaneously.
  • ​Visual indicator shows fuel level and overloading status.

​CONS

  • ​A bit louder than most portable generators.

Bottom line:

This portable generator will fit your needs during a power outage. It has a longer runtime than most generators and offers clean electricity without fluctuations.

Westinghouse WGen7500 is a user-friendly portable generator that not only packs superior power but is also very safe to use. It offers 7500W of power which covers a plethora of home appliances including refrigerators, television sets, and sensitive appliances like laptops.

Features:

  • ​Wireless remote to start and turn off the unit.
  • ​Automatic voltage regulation.
  • ​Circuit breaker protection.
  • ​EPA and Carb compliant.

Starting the unit is a breeze thanks to electric start. You don’t need to rely upon the cord pulling system which is too tiring for most people. However, you can use the recoil system as a backup.

WGen7500 incorporates a large 6.6 gallon fuel tank that offers a runtime of 16 hours.

The unit comes with exciting additional tools including key remote to start or turn off the engine from a distance, oil and oil funnel to keep it well maintained. Moreover, you also get an instruction manual on how to use it.

The powerful 420cc 4 stroke OHV engine is enclosed in a cast iron sleeve for protection and there’s also a low oil protection feature to prevent damage.

This is an economic portable generator that uses less amount of oil and offers excellent runtime. Apart from that, it also incorporates a fuel meter gauge so you know when to add fuel.

It consists of two 120v AC duplex receptacle GFCI outlets and one 120/240v twist lock receptacle. All of these outlets are covered with a rubber casing for safety.

​PROS

  • ​Air cooled cooling system prevents overheating.
  • ​Outlets are secured with a rubber casing which keeps moisture and debris away.
  • ​Gas powered and transfer switch ready.
  • ​3-year warranty with lifetime technical support.

​CONS

  • ​Gasoline supported only.

Bottom line:

WGen7500 is one of the best heavy duty generators out there. Its safety features and power make it a hit among all kinds of users. Plus, at about 100 pounds, it’s also quite portable.

If you’re looking for a portable generator that is a combination of versatility and power then bring home Pulsar Dual Fuel generator. It supports both gasoline and liquid propane.

Features:

  • ​Switch To Go Feature (Change fuel type while the generator is operational).
  • ​Consists of 3-in-1 digital meter.
  • ​Contains large 10” wheels.
  • ​RV ready.

It produces 10,000W of peak power and 8,000W of rated power on gasoline. Peak power falls down to 9,000W and rated power reduces to 7,000W on LPG. Nonetheless, this is enough power to run even heavier appliances like ACs.

One of the rarest features of any portable generator is found in this unit and that is the switch and go feature. This option lets users switch between gas or propane while the generator is operational. This option allows you to run the generator for longer – up to 24 hours in some cases.

The 8 gallon fuel tank itself supports about 8 hours of runtime. This may be a heavy portable generator but the wheels make it easy to move it around.

It supports both recoil and electric start and is easy to manage. Moreover, you can also keep an eye out on fuel consumption thanks to the hour-meter installed on it. It lets you read fuel consumption and time left before the juice runs out completely.

There are 7 outlets on this unit altogether: four 120V AC outlets, one 50 Amp RV Port, one 120/240V twist-lock outlet and finally one 12V DC trickle charge output.

​PROS

  • ​Fold-down handles for easy storage and portability.
  • ​Large 10” flat tires provide easy movability.
  • ​1 year warranty.
  • ​Air cooled system inside prevents overheating.
  • ​Easily powers an AC unit.

​CONS

  • ​Delivered power is sometimes not clean.

Bottom line:

If you’re searching for a powerful portable generator that can provide electricity backup to multiple appliances then this product will serve you right.

Rainier R12000DF isn’t your average portable generator, it packs a serious punch and delivers top notch performance.

With 12,000 peak watts and 9,500 running watts on gasoline, and 10,800 peak watts and 8550 running watts on propane, this unit is one of the best in terms of power and runtime.

Features:

  • ​VFT display shows lifetime hours, frequency, and voltage.
  • ​EPA and CARB compliant.
  • ​Offers overload protection alarms.
  • ​Contains a transfer switch ready outlet.

This portable generator offers a runtime of 17 hours on 25% load thanks to the 6.6 gallon fuel tank. Moreover, it is also very easy to maintain thanks to the low oil shutdown feature which automatically shuts the unit off to prevent damage.

There’s also a fuel gauge meter so that you know when to add fuel. This ensures you don’t have to run for a fill-in at the last minute. Starting the generator is also easy thanks to the push button. There’s also the recoil system that can be used as a backup.

It offers two 5-20R 120v (20 amp) outlets, one L5-30R 120v (30 amp) outlet, and a TT-30R 120V outlet (30 amp) along with two grounding ports. This ensures you have no trouble in running multiple appliances at once.

In case of overloading, the machine gives off an overload alarm so that you can reduce the load or turn the generator off to prevent serious damage.

The generator may look big but its 10” wide wheels ensure there’s no trouble in moving it around. It also has ergonomic handles that making pulling and pushing easier.

There’s also a VTF display on the control panel which keeps you updated regarding the voltage, operating hours, and frequency.

​PROS

  • ​1-year warranty.
  • ​Comes with engine oil, funnel, propane hose, and battery.
  • ​Indicator lights show overloading.
  • ​Works on circuit breaker technology.

​CONS

  • ​Louder (72 dB).
  • ​Less than 23%THD means that it does not have sine wave clean power technology.

Bottom line:

This is a powerful portable generator that’s easy to move around and can run multiple appliances.

Duromax XP12000EH is hands down one of the best choices when it comes to heavy duty portable generators. It delivers a tremendous amount of power and is quite robust as well.

Features:

  • ​Less vibration and noise thanks to the heavy duty frame.
  • ​Circuit breaker protection and low oil indication.
  • ​Overload protection.
  • ​Fuel efficient and RV ready.

It is a heavy duty portable engine that delivers up to 12,000W of power. You can choose between two fuel options, propane or gasoline.

This unit is fairly safe to use thanks to the low oil light indicator, circuit break, and a durable body. It also doesn’t require much maintenance and can run for up to 10 hours (50% loud). Choose propane and it will run for 20 hours.

It incorporates a 120V outlet, an RV-ready 120V socket, one twist lock 120/240V outlet, and a 12V DC receptacle. You can run several machines at once, including big and small electrical appliances.

It might be a bit heavy but thanks to the wheels and handle, you don’t have to exert a lot of strength to move it from place to place. Moreover, the handles are foldable, hence you will have no trouble in carrying it around.

​PROS

  • ​20 hours of runtime on propane.
  • ​1-year warranty.
  • ​30 days replacement warranty.
  • ​Noise reducing muffler reduces noise.

​CONS

  • ​Very heavy.

Bottom line:

This portable generator is a treat for homeowners and travelers who want to light up heavy duty appliances.

How To Find The Best Suitable Portable Generator In 13 Steps

If you wish to find the best portable generator on the market then you need to consider a few factors. Let’s have a look:

1) Fuel Type: Most light duty generators support gasoline and most big generators offer dual fuel system (gasoline and propane).

  • Gasoline: Gasoline is easily available and inexpensive. Plus, it is also easy to store.
  • Propane: It is more expensive than gasoline but works quietly. It may have a longer shelf life, but it’s also less energy efficient.

Tip: Choose one that’s more readily available and affordable for you.

2) Applications: The number of appliances you want to run should be at the back of your mind when you’re out to purchase a portable generator. Check out your requirements in terms of watts and ensure the generator can support it. Also, some light duty generators may not support big appliances even if they meet the watt requirements.

Tip: Some generators allow parallel connections to increase outage.

3) Starting Technology: No matter how powerful and popular a portable generator is, it won’t do you any good if you have trouble turning it on. Normally, generators have two starting methods: the recoil system and the electric button start system.

The recoil system requires effort and is stressful. Whereas, the electric button takes a second to start.

Tip: Some generators have both the options but the electric system is definitely more suitable.

4) Wattage Check: It is important to know the generator is not overloaded to ensure it or other appliances sustain no damage.

Some generators come with a voltmeter that reads and displays wattage reading.

Tip: If your generator does not have a voltmeter then consider if it supports a separate voltmeter.

5) Number Of Outlets: One of the characteristics of a portable generator that most people often overlook is the number of outlets it has. Multiple outlets make it easier to distribute load and connect various appliances simultaneously. It’s an excellent way of preventing overloading.

Tip: Ensure it has different types of outlets to support various devices.

6) Weight: Big and heavy generators can be a bit problematic to travel with. So pay attention to this feature and the dimensions as well so they are easily portable.

Tip: Pick a generator with wheels and a properly designed handle to ensure no trouble.

7) Noise: Generators cannot be completely silent so choose one that produces between 50-68 dB of noise. This equals to two people conversing at a distance of 23 feet. Noise will not be much of an issue if you want to keep the unit at a large distance but it can still result in noise pollution.

The higher the noise level of a generator, the more irritating it gets for the family and neighbors. Plus, it can also be a distraction and make it difficult to sleep or work.

  • 50 dB: People conversing, operating refrigerator.
  • 70 dB: Vacuum cleaner.
  • 80 dB: Blender.

Tip: The noise also often depends on the type of fuel and energy consumed.

8) Fuel Economy: The amount of fuel a generator consumes is of vital importance. Some generators are meant to drink up a lot of fuel which can be expensive.

Therefore, choose a generator that is economical when it comes to consuming fuel.

Tip: Generators that have a quiet mode, eco mode are good as they only produce the required amount of energy.

9) Runtime: The right runtime depends on your requirements. Pick a generator that offers extended runtime so that you have no trouble in case of an emergency.

Tip: You can reduce loud to increase runtime.

10) Price: The most important factor you need to consider is the price, of course. The rule of thumb is simple, if you pick a powerful generator with many features, it will cost more.

Tip: A portable generator is a one-time investment so make sure to be careful.

12) Warranty: Most reliable companies offer warranties so make sure to look into this factor. They can be between 1-5 years.

Tip: Some warranties require registration and may not be transferable.

12) Accessories: Some generators require additional accessories to install and run properly.

Tip: Make sure the generator comes with all the required accessories.

13) Safety: Safety is important as generators can malfunction resulting in not only financial losses but injuries as well. Look for generators that come with features such as automatic shut down. Other than this, ensure the tank is properly sealed.

Tip: Stay away from generators while they’re operational as they produce gases that may be harmful.

Portable Generator FAQS

Q. Which portable generator is best for home use?

Ans. This depends on what you need to run.

For running heavier appliance such as a water pump, you will need to choose a generator with at least 5000w because running a pump requires at least 4000W.

A high-end washing machine requires at least 3500W, electric heaters require 4500W, and electric dryer needs 5500W. Make sure you consider all of this before making a purchase.

Also, makes sure it can support sensitive appliances as well. Generators with sine wave technology can be a good pick. Our personal favorite portable generator for home use would be Goplus 4000 Watt Gasoline Portable Generator Gas Powered.

Q. Best Portable Generator For Camp Use?

Ans. You will need to run coffee makers, blenders, bulbs, laptops, phones and small refrigerators at a campsite. These are the power requirements:

  • AC: 3000-3500W.
  • Electric kettle: 2000-3000W.
  • Microwave: 1000-1500W.
  • Fridge: 200-300W.

You can opt for a heavy duty generator like Rainier R12000DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator.

Q. Best Portable Generator For Job Site?

Ans. Construction sites involve the use of heavy machinery such as electrical saws, pulleys, etc. Therefore, you will need to buy heavy duty portable generators.

Consider Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator with Remote Electric Start. It is reliable and works well for offices, too.

Q. How do I know the right amount of watts an appliance needs?

Ans. You can find the number of watts an appliance needs by checking the labels or stickers given on it. However, they’re usually given in amps.

You will need to convert amps into watts. Here’s how:

watts= volts x amps.

Best Portable Generator: The Bottomline

Portable generators have become a necessity for households, camps, RVs, and job sites as they provide with immediate power back up. Pick the best portable generator according to your needs keeping in mind all the thirteen factors discussed above.

Note: Ensure the generator can work in rain and outside conditions. Pay special attention to the material.

About the Author Billy

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