Phil has been working as a technical engineer since his graduation, and has never thought of changing his profession. Also, he’s an avid fisherman and camper, so it’s not only work which makes him deal with generators.
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Whether you go camping regularly or experience power outages, your family needs a portable generator. You can power all the necessary appliances and charge mobile phones to keep your family comfortable and happy. You neet to purchase a well-functioning generator that fills all the boxes. Portable generators are perfect for performing outdoor activities, including lawn mowing and residential construction projects.
Finding the best portable generator for your specific needs might be a bit difficult because there are several factors that you should consider. These include generator type – inverter or conventional, fuel type, fuel tank capacity, warranty, rated and maximum output, and runtime. All these factors ultimately decide the generator’s price, which is an important factor to consider as well. It has to be affordable but fulfill all the basic requirements. One more factor that you need to consider is the noise level, especially if you are looking for a generator for your RV. Also, it should be compact in size, so you can comfortably place it anywhere in your RV or camp.
Top 12 Portable Generator Reviews 2021
To help you find the best portable generator, we created a panel of testers who researched different models in the market and tested the shortlisted ones. They spent two to three days testing each model to write an in-detailed review of each one of them. They used multiple resources, including customer reviews, expert reviews, and product description, to write this review. It is divided into three sections – a table, in-detail reviews of each product, and a buying guide to help you decide.
The 56200i by WEN is the best portable emergency generator for home. It is powered by 79cc, 4-stroke, OHV, the single cylinder that produces 2,000 peak watts and 1,600 running watts, which is enough to start big appliances including air conditioner and refrigerator. At 50 percent load, the generator runs for six hours. It offers quite a performance since the tank is only one gallon big. The generator comes with four outlets including two 120V 20A 3-prong, one 12V DC 8.3A, and one 5V USB port.
It only has a recoil start option, but it is convenient to use so that you won’t hurt your back or hands. Since the generator is EPA III and CARB compliant, you can use it in the state of California along with other states of the United States. Weighing in at only 48 lbs, WEN 56200i is easy to carry around when there’s an emergency, or you are planning a road trip. The US Department of Health and Human Services has certified this generator as one of the quietest models on the market.
The generator produces small stable amounts of clean energy, so you power your delicate appliances using it. If you want more power, you can connect two of these generators to using Parallel Connection Kit, which can be purchased successfully. It comes with a two-years warranty, which isn’t the best in the market but still better than other brands.
What we liked:
Runs quietly at 55 dB(A)
Comes with a USB charging port
Inverter and parallel-ready
CARB and EPA III compliant
Eco-mode option to save fuel
One gallon tank keeps its running for six hours at 50 percent load
Honda is a preferred choice for home generators because of its superior quality products and durability. With a surge wattage of 3,000 watts, Honda EU3000IS is one of the best inverter generators in the market. It runs for 20 hours at 25 percent load before you will have to refill the 3.4-gallon tank. You can use the generator to the operator a number of appliances including microwave, refrigerator, furnace, and air conditioner. It runs silently at 50 dB(A), so you can sleep undisturbed and peacefully throughout the night.
The generator offers two-start options, including electric and recoil, so you can choose whichever you are comfortable with. Its sophisticated inverter technology enables the generator to produce stable energy that can be used to run delicate devices, including computers and laptops. If you want additional electricity, you can connect it with another EU3000iS using a connector cable.
It has a DC outlet that you can use to charge 12-volt automotive type batteries. Other features of the generator include circuit protection, low oil alert protection, and USDA-qualified spark arrestor. Apart from all this, Honda offers three year residential and commercial warranty each on purchase of EU3000IS. Unfortunately, it isn’t CARB compliant, or EPA approved, so you can’t use it in California.
What we liked:
Runs extremely quietly at 50 dB(A)
Three years of commercial and residential warranty
Runs for 20 hours at 25 percent load
Electric starter with a recoil backup
Inverter technology provides stable energy
What could be better:
Need two people to carry it around
Expensive compared to models in a similar product range
An ultra-high-capacity portable generator, Goal Zero Yeti 1400 WiFi has a lithium-ion battery that doesn’t make any noise or fumes, which makes it the safest option for RVs and handling power outages at home. The plug-and-play generator has a capacity of 1,425 Wh and has enough power to recharge 70 smartphones, 230 POV cameras, 230 headlamps, 52 tablets, or 23 laptops.
It has a peak wattage of 3,000 watts and rated wattage of 1,500 watts. The generator has six outlets including one 120V AC inverter, one 5V USB-A, one 12V DC, one 12V Power Pole Port, one 5V USB PD port, and one 5V USB-C. It is the ideal choice if you regularly go camping or road tripping. It only weighs 43.7 pounds, so you can easily store it in the back of your car and make your way to the destination. The Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium comes with multiple layers of protection and security. The battery has 18650 lithium cells and is monitored by the Texas Instruments battery management system to prevent overload, overheating, and short-circuiting.
It has a long shelf life of 10 to 12 months, which means you can charge the generator and keep it for emergency use within the period. You get a 30-day money back guarantee and one-year long warranty on purchase of this product.
Westinghouse WGen7500DF is the best portable emergency generator for a home that comes fitted with the powerful and advanced 420cc Westinghouse OHV engine. Since it is a dual-fuel generator, you can run it either on gasoline or propane. It has a surge wattage of 9,500 watts and 6,750 watts of running wattage with gasoline. On propane, it has surge wattage of 8,550 watts and running wattage of 6,750 watts.
The generator runs for 16 hours at 25 percent load on gasoline and 11 hours at 25 percent load on propane. WGen7500DF has 6.6 gallons of the fuel tank that will keep your house running throughout the night without disturbing your sleep. It comes with three years of residential warranty and one year of commercial warranty. Top features of the generator include convenient remote start, push-button start, cast iron sleeve to protect the engine from dust and water, automatic low-oil shut off, overload prevention, and circuit protection.
It has five outlets that you can use to run three big and two small appliances simultaneously. These include two duplex 120V 20A (5-20R), two 5V USB ports, and 120/240V 30A (L14-30R). One of the biggest advantages of WGen7500DF is that you get everything you need to start the generator including a propane hose, key fob, battery, oil, charger, funnel, manual, tool kit, and a starter guide.
What we liked:
High wattage for both fuels; propane and gasoline
Large fuel tank capacity of 6.6 gallons
Three-year residential warranty
Long runtime of over 11 hours on the program and 16 hours on gasoline
This 50 percent quieter and 20 percent lighter model from Champion Power Equipment is an upgraded version of its traditional 3500-watt generator. It is an inverter generator with surge wattage of 4,000 watts and running wattage of 3,500 watts, which is perfect for starting big appliances including air conditioners, central heaters, and refrigerators. The manufacturer cut the noise by half by adding the Quiet Technology digital inverter components to the generator. It runs quietly at 64 dB(A), which is equivalent to two people having a normal conversation. Its efficient mechanical design reduced its physical footprint and made it lighter.
Champion Power Equipment 100302 weighs only 81.6 pounds, which makes it convenient to carry around during camping trips or outdoor work. When its 2.9-gallon fuel tank is full, the generator can run for 17 hours at 25 percent load. With its low oil shut-off sensor and 0.6-quart oil capacity, you can stay assured that it won’t ever run you into trouble. You can connect your delicate devices, including computers, toasters, and coffee makers to the generator without worry because it uses only clean power, which is less than 3% THD.
It does come with four outlets including two 120V 20A household outlets (5-20R), one 120V 30A RV (TT-30R), and one 12V DC automotive-style outlet along with battery-charging cables and a dual USB adapter. You can also connect it with another generator to double the power using a clip-on connector. You will receive a three-year limited warranty with this product.
A gasoline-powered inverter generator, Yamaha EF2200iS has a surge wattage of 2,200 watts and running wattage of 1,800 watts. It’s Smart Throttle technology makes the generator fuel efficient. The 79cc Yamaha MZ80 OHV, 4-stroke makes the generator run for 10.5 hours at 25 percent load. It has a fuel tank capacity of 1.24 gallons.
EF2200iS comes with a number of attractive features including TwinTech™, which allows you to hook up two generators together to produce up to 30 amps of power. You will need the TwinTech II or Sidewinder cable to attach them. Other features include light indicators to show you if the oil level is too low and the generator is overloaded, fuel gauge to check the fuel level before taking off the cap to refuel the generator, and electrical overload breaker to prevent overload.
It is fitted with a new and improved controller with advanced programming that widens the variety of appliances you can run using the generator. Weighing in at just 52.2 lbs, the generator only has recoil start type, which is a downside of the product because it might hurt your hands and back. The generator is fitted with one of the Yamaha’s most advanced muffler that reduces the noise level to 57 dB(A).
Additional features of the Yamaha EF2200iS include comfortable grip handle, centralized controls, rubber vibration isolation feet, and gasoline petcock, all of which make using and storing the generator easy and effortless. Lastly, you get a three-year warranty with this generator, which is rare among portable generators.
What we liked:
Runs silently at 57 dB(A)
10.5 hours runtime at 25 percent load
Lightweight, waterproof, and compact
Advanced programming to run multiple devices at the same time
Three year warranty from the manufacturer
Easy fuel drainage feature for storing the generator
Pulsar PG4000iSR is one of the highest rated models in the market and is known for its durability and undistinguished performance. It has a small tank capacity of 3.4 gallons but runs for 15 hours at 50 percent load, making it an extremely efficient model. Since it is an inverter generator, it barely produces any noise so that you can sleep undisturbed throughout the night. It comes with five outlets including two AC 120V, one 30A RV, one 5V DC USB, and 12V DC 8A that allows you to run two major and three small appliances simultaneously. It also has parallel sockets for charging multiple small devices.
You can switch on the generator using three start types, including electric, remote, and recoil. It has never-flat wheels and telescopic handle, which makes it convenient to carry the generator around. The 224cc OHV produces 4,000 peak watts and 3,500 running watts. It produces stable Sine Wave Technology, which makes it safe for charging delicate devices, including mobile phones, computers, and laptops. It is CARB, EPA, and CSA approved so that you can use it in California and national parks across the country.
You can connect two PG4000iSR units together to double the power output. It only makes 63 dB(A) of noise from a distance of 10 feet away, which sounds like two people having a normal conversation. Apart from that, it comes with a one-year limited warranty on parts and labor.
What we liked:
Surge wattage of 4,000 watts to start big appliances
EPA, CARB, and CSA approved
Easy to transport using never-flat wheels and telescopic handle
Electric control with remote start and recoil backup
Versatile outlets to power a variety of devices
What could be better:
Only one year limited warranty
Wheels don’t work well on rough surfaces
Makes whining noise when the fuel is about to finish
Generac GP2200i is the best portable generator for a home power outage that runs for 10.75 hours at 25 percent load. It produces surge wattage of 2,200 watts and rated wattage of 1,700 watts. TruePower™ Technology enables it to produce clean energy, which can power a number of sensitive devices. It is a fully-enclosed, compact model that weighs only 46.6 lbs, which makes it a great choice for camping trips and RV use. However, it isn’t suitable for long distance walks since it is heavy, so you will need another person to help you out. One of its most attractive features is the Economy mode, which lowers fuel consumption and noise level over extended periods of time.
It comes with LED indicators that start blinking when oil levels reduce, so you can prevent the engine from overheating. It has multiple charging ports to charge mobile phones and laptops. Other outlets include one L5-30R Twist Lock and one TT-30R, which is specifically designed for RV use. The generator has to choke, run, and stop integrated on one single dial that simplifies the start process.
It comes with two years residential warranty and one-year commercial warranty on parts and labour. The generator is parallel ready, so you can connect two units together to double the power and run more devices at the same time.
What we liked:
Long runtime of 10.75 hours at 25 percent load
Produces clean energy to run sensitive devices
Lightweight and easy to carry
Two years of residential warranty and one-year commercial warranty
Easy reset function
What could be better:
Recoil start is inconvenient, especially for the elderly
As one of the best 10,000-watt portable generators in the market, Honda EB10000 is efficient and durable, making it a perfect choice for residential use. Since it weighs 403 pounds, you can’t change its location regularly. Place it at least 10 feet away from your house to minimize the noise levels to 73 dB(A). The generator uses Digital Automatic Voltage Regulator technology to maintain voltage stability during operation and produce consistent power.
Its power panel has seven outlets including four 120V AC, 20A 125V GFCI Duplex outlets, two 30A 125V Locking Plug, one 50A 125/250V Locking Plug, and one 30A 125/250V Locking Plug outlets. It is fitted with the all-powerful GX630 commercial engine that offers better fuel economy and decreases harmful emissions than products in the similar range. EB10000’s compact and sleek design has a centralized exhaust mechanism that has separate hot and cool zones to balance operations.
It has a fuel tank capacity of 8.1 gallons, which keeps the generator running for 7.2 hours at 50 percent load. The i-Monitor™ LCD provides information on the generator output voltage, battery voltage, and hours of operation along with time left before servicing. It has a hanger kit to lift the generator and place it in another position. It has never-flat two wheels that help in easy transportation. Honda offers a three years long warranty on commercial and residential warranty each on purchase of this model.
What we liked:
Fully GFCI protected
7.2 hours runtime at 50 percent load
Produces clean energy
Seven outlets to charge big and small appliances
Quieter than most conventional generators at 73 dB(A)
9,000-watt rated output
Three years of commercial and residential warranty
Fitted with a 435cc, air-cooled, 4-cycle, vertical cylinder diesel engine, Generac XD5000E produces 5,500 surge watts and 5,000 running watts. With its 12-gallon fuel tank, the generator goes on for 32.4 hours at 50 percent load. You can go an entire day and a half on the generator and stay comfortable during a power outage or long road trips in an RV. It has a one ¼-inch steel cradle protecting that engine and other parts from damage.
A lifting eye is integrated into the structure to hook the generator to your car or trailer to take it from location to another. The True Power Technology feature of this model produces six percent total harmonic distortion waves that can power sensitive devices without damaging any delicate parts. A battery isn’t included in the package, which you will have to purchase separately. You can use the control panel to start the generator using the single touch electric start, switch between 120 and 240 volts, and track the number of hours it has been running to monitor maintenance.
Generac offers two years of commercial and residential warranty each. You can purchase a portability kit separately, which comes with handles, never go flat wheels, and front foot, to make it easy to transport the generator. The only downside of this model is that it is quite heavy, weighing at 252 pounds but the wheels come in handy.
What we liked:
Durable and efficient in the long run
Runs for 32.4 hours at 50 percent load
Switches between 120 and 240 volts with an easy button
Sportsman GEN4000DF is a conventional generator with 7 HP 4 Stroke OHV engine. It produces a peak wattage of 4,000 watts and rated wattage of 3,500 watts. The generator has built-in fuel tank for gasoline, but you can attach a 20-pound propane tank that has a runtime of 10 hours at 50 percent load. You will have to purchase the tank separately as it isn’t included in the cost. Next, it has three outlets including two 120V AC and one 12V DC outlets. The generator only has a recoil start, which can be a bit inconvenient for the elderly or anyone with back or shoulder pain.
Weighing in at 88 lbs, you can move the generator around on wheels, which you will have to purchase separately. It is EPA approved but not CARB compliant, which means you still can’t use it in California and national parks. It produces less than 69 dB(A) of noise when placed 10 feet away from your house. The generator sounds like two people conversing at a regular volume.
Other features of the generator include low auto oil shut down, an auto fuel shut-off safety valve, and circuit protection. One of the disadvantages of the products is that you only get a one-year limited warranty on purchase.
DS4000S by DuroStar is a conventional generator with 12.3 hours runtime at 50 percent load. It has a four-gallon fuel tank that once you fill will last for the entire night. The power panel has three outlets including two 120V 20 Amp 60 Hz-NEMA 5-20R and one 120V 30 Amp 60 Hz-NEMA L5-30 outlet, which you can use to run two big and one appliance simultaneously. It is made of lightweight construction material so that you can carry it around during emergencies. It weighs 105 pounds, so you will need another person to help you out.
The unit produces 4,000 peak watts and 3,300 running watts, which provides enough surge power to big appliances including lawn mowers, refrigerators, and air conditioners. You can power all devices from delicate to heavy duty devices without worrying about damaging any sensitive parts.
It runs on gasoline only, which can be a little inconvenient in times of emergency. It is also CARB compliant, and EPA approved. Like all other DuroStar generators, DS4000S is EPA approved and CARB compliant to make it as environmentally friendly as possible. DuroStar provides three years of residential warranty and one-year commercial warranty on purchase of the product. Things included in the package are oil funnel, spark plug wrench, toolset, and user manual.
What we liked:
CARB compliant and EPA approved
Three-year residential warranty and one-year commercial warranty
30A twist-lock outlet, which is RV ready
Analog display to easily monitor fuel levels
Fuel efficient at 12.3 hours at 50 percent load
What could be better:
Runs loudly at 69 dB(A), which isn’t suitable for a household with young kids
Buying the best generator is a difficult choice because you want a reliable unit that is durable runs throughout the night, and is eco-friendly. Most people use generators during major storms when there’s a power outage, while there are others who use it for mowing lawns and outdoor DIY projects. Other people use portable generators during camping and RV trips. Requirements change according to the situation, and one generator might be suitable for you but not for your friend’s house. And that’s why here’s an in-detail buying guide by our test panel to help you make the right choice.
Portable generator type: Inverter or conventional
There are two types of portable generators that you can choose from – inverter and conventional. Each type has its own set of pros and cons, so the decision lies entirely upon you. Portable inverter generators are more silent compared to conventional generators. They usually make less than 60 dB(A) of noise, which is quiet enough for you to sleep throughout the night. With conventional generators, you will have to bear more than 68 dB(A), which isn’t ideal if you have young kids and elderly who have trouble sleeping.
On the other hand, if you are short on budget, a conventional generator might be your choice. It is also heavier, so you can’t take it on camping trips. Conventional generators are less eco-friendly and not always the safest choice for powering delicate devices. However, big brands have come out with more eco-friendly and sensitive device-safe generators that you can use.
The amount of power output you want is a personal choice and depends where you live. For example, if you live in areas where there are regular power outages or somewhere rural, you will need at least 10,000 watts of power to run a median household. Westinghouse WGen and HONDA EB10000 are the two best 10,000W generators on the market.
Most models mentioned on our list run on gasoline since they are portable generators. Gasoline is easily available, so you won’t have any problem finding fuel during emergencies. The fuel also makes the generator last longer, and if you are curious about other options which are not listed here, try to review A-iPower generators, they also have lot’s to offer.
However, if you want to have the option between fuels, you can go for Westinghouse WGen7500DF. It runs on gasoline and propane. You can switch between fuel effortlessly. Propane will have a lower runtime compared to gasoline, so don’t keep it your first choice. If you want a propane generator, Sportsman GEN4000DF is the best choice. Unfortunately, it consumes a lot of fuel like any other propane generator, so it isn’t the best choice environmentally, but still counts among the best Sportsman generators.
Fuel tank capacity and runtime
An ideal generator should run throughout the night, so you don’t have to get up during the night to refill the tank. In our article, we have calculated runtime at 50 or 25 percent load, assuming that the tank is fully loaded. Yamaha EF2200iS is a small 2,200-watt portable generator that runs for 10.5 hours at 25 percent load. It can keep your air conditioner or heater running throughout the night so you can stay as comfortable as possible, but if you need something less pricy but with practically the same characteristics you should check the Powermate inverter generator.
Another good generator is the Honda EU3000IS that runs for 20 hours at 25 percent load. Champion Power Equipment 100302 is one of the most efficient with a 17 hours runtime at 25 percent load. Our favorite from the list is Pulsar PG4000iSR, which offers 15 hours of runtime at 50 percent load, making it one of the most efficient generators in the market.
Top safety features that a generator must have include low oil shut off to prevent the engine from overheating, CARB compliance, and EPA approved. Only if the generator has CARB compliance, you can use it in national parks and California. Both indicators specify that the generator produces eco-friendly energy. Another indicator of a safe generator is the noise it produces. It should be less than 60 dB(A) from 10 feet away. If it is too loud, the generator can cause noise pollution, and it won’t only disturb you but also those around you.
Ease of use
There are three types of start options available – electric, recoil, and remote. Pulsar PG4000iSR offers all three types, which is the most convenient option because if one is broken, you can use the other option. Avoid buying generators with recoil start because you have to pull a cord to start the machine, and it can hurt your arm and back muscles. Generac XD5000E is another good option as it comes with two types of start, including electric and recoil. You will also like the Honda EU3000IS, which comes with two-start options as well.
The generator you pick should have an LCD, preferably, to check the available fuel in the tank, oil levels, and the number of watts consumed by different appliances. It should also offer an easy way to refill the tank and remove used oil.
Generators make a lot of noise, but there are some that come with a muffler to reduce it. Inverter generators are quieter than conventional generators, but they are also more expensive. If you want to sleep peacefully throughout the night, inverter generators are a better choice. Yamaha EF2200iS is one of the quietest in the market at 57 dB(A). Other low noise-producing inverter generators include Generac GP2200i, also considered to be one of the best Generac generators, and Honda EU3000iS. If you want to buy a conventional generator because of budget constraints, purchase a muffler to reduce the noise.
Goal Zero Yeti 1400 WiFi is also a good choice but only for infrequent users. It is a lithium power station that produces peak wattage of 3,000 watts and rated wattage of 1,500 watts. It doesn’t produce any noise or harmful fumes and is best for outdoor use.
Dimensions and weight
Since we are talking about portable generators in this article, the ideal weight shouldn’t be more than 50 pounds. You will be carrying it with you on road trips and camping, so you need a generator that’s lightweight. At 55.2 lbs, Yamaha EF2200iS is one of the lightest generators on our list. Despite the weight, you will need another person to help you carry it.
If you don’t plan to take the generator on camping trips and want to use them around your house, Goal Zero Yeti 1400 WiFi is a good choice, as well as other solar generators models if you are standing for an eco-friendly energy source. It weighs 43.7 lbs and has handles that make it convenient to carry. Bigger generators like Westinghouse WGen7500DF and Honda EU3000IS weigh over 130 pounds and meant more for stationary use. You can still drag it on their wheels to nearby locations, but they aren’t ideal for camping trips. Alternately, you can mount them in your RV for long-term use because of them have RV-ready outlets and are fuel efficient.
But always keep in mind, that if you think that a portable generator still is not portable enough for you, then you can always consider portable power stations, in case it will suite your output needs.
Warranty and customer service
The best way to know if the generator’s a right fit for you or not is by getting the warranty terms. Ideally, you should receive three years of residential warranty and one year of commercial warranty. Longer the warranty, the more durable the generator. Honda EU3000IS is the best portable 3,000-watt inverter generator because it offers three years of residential and commercial warranty each. Champion Power Equipment 100302 comes with only three years of residential warranty. Another great option is the DuroStar DS4000S, which offers three years of residential warranty and one year of commercial warranty.
The kind of customer service you receive inside warranty and out of warranty matters as well. Here are a few questions you need to ask before finalizing the generator:
Does the manufacturer have several service stations throughout the country?
Is the customer care department apartment throughout the day?
Does the manufacturer offer at-location repair services?
What is the manufacturer’s policy on guarantees?
Does the manufacturer or dealer offer adequate training to their employees to repair the generators?
Portable generator prices
Portable generator cost $300 upwards depending on the peak wattage and runtime. The cost will depend on the brand, fuel tank capacity, and a number of outlets. Price should be your last concern because buying an affordable model can compromise on your safety, customer service, and fuel efficiency. If you live in California, you will need to buy a CARB compliant generator, which is going to be more expensive than a non-CARB compliant model.
Like this, there are many other factors that influence the cost. The generator should produce a high surge power to start big appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners and maintain a comparable running wattage power.
You need a well-functioning generator to survive through hurricanes, cyclones, and rainstorms and run multiple appliances, including air conditioners, refrigerators, heaters, and delicate devices like computers, mobile phones, and laptops.
Here are six tips that will come in handy while buying a portable generator:
Determine your power needs before buying a generator
The very first thing that you need to identify is your requirement for buying the generator. Someone might need it for camping or RV use; others might need as a backup during power outages. To be able to say that you own the best RV generator or the best camping generator, you will need 4,500 to 7,500-watt generators. For backup, you need a generator that produces at least 9,500 to 12,000 watts. Bigger generators are difficult to move, so if you need a generator for both purposes, you will need two separate models.
Add watt consumption of the appliances you want to run on the generator
An average-sized refrigerator requires 700–1,200 watts of power to run for an hour, while a microwave needs 600–1,200 watts. If you want to run three appliances, two big and one small, you have to multiply the number of watts by 1.5. For example, if the calculated watts comes to 2,500 watts, you will need a generator that produces 3,000 surge watts.
Find a generator with a minimum of 10 hours runtime
Always look for a portable generator that runs for 10 hours at 25 percent load, so it can run throughout the night without needing a refill. If you plan to use it commercially, you will need something that doesn’t need repetitive refills because that’s a waste of time and labor.
The generator needs to have at least four outlets
The generator you pick should have at least four outlets, two for big appliances and small devices each. It should have RV ready outlets, so you need a transfer switch for using it in your motorhome. If you want to power more appliances at the same time, find a generator with five or more outlets.
Ease of transportation
Whether you are renovating a fixer-upper or go on regular camping trips, you will need a lightweight, portable generator with never-flat wheels and a handle to drag it. A good portable generator should never weigh more than 45–50 pounds.
Purchase a generator with electric start
Modern generators come with electric start, which starts the generator using a simple push button. Don’t buy a generator with only recoil start because it can hurt your back and arm muscles. Some models come with remote control, which is more expensive.
Precautions to take while using a portable generator
A portable generator is made to save your life during power outages, so make sure to use it with care and precaution to avoid any mishaps. Here are some precautions you need to take while using one:
Regular manual maintenance is important
Change the spark plugs periodically and clean the screen on the spark arrestor. Even when not in use, ensure the oil tank has more than the minimum amount of oil. Change the oil after running the generator for a number of hours as specified by the brand. Also, change the air filter periodically as mentioned by the manufacturer.
Test the generator as soon as you buy it
Don’t wait until the emergency situation to arrive to test the generator. As soon as you receive it, test the model. Always use heavy-duty extension cords with 12-gauge wire for safe conduction.
Run it frequently for a short time to keep it functioning
A generator that hasn’t been used for a long time can’t be trusted during power outages and that’s why you need to start it for a few times every two weeks.
Never connect it to your house’s electric service panel
A generator is designed to work on limited power using electric cords. If you connect it to your house’s electric service panel, the generator can fry the sensitive devices. Call a professional to connect the generator with the main service panel of your house. Whenever the power is out, your house appliances will run automatically on the generator.
The size of your largest or biggest appliance determines the size of the generator. If your RV has an air conditioner that will be your deciding factor. The appliances consume anywhere between 700 to 1,200 watts of power; your RV will need 3,000-watt portable generator.
Gasoline is definitely more efficient than liquid propane. For example, Westinghouse WGen7500DF is a dual generator that runs on both gas and liquid propane. If you use gasoline, the generators run for 16 hours at 25 percent load. On propane, it runs for 11 hours at 25 percent load. You can’t add liquid propane to the fuel tank, which means you will have to add an external tank. Also, propane is more expensive and difficult to find compared to gasoline, so it is best to stick to gas generators for fuel efficiency and affordability. However, keep in mind that propane is ecologically-friendlier and easier to store.
Yes, your generator can run nonstop for 24 hours. However, you will have to refill the fuel tank and check oil levels every six to eight hours. You must also make sure that you don’t overfill the oil tank because it will get all greasy and only create a mess to clean up later. If you live in an area where you suffer frequent power outages, you will have to run maintenance checks every seven days.
Yes, you can use a portable generator to power your house during emergencies. It might not be the most efficient choice because you can’t too many devices on the generator because of limited capacity, but you can keep your family members comfortable by running the air conditioner and cooking some warm food.
After reviewing some of the best portable generators available in the market, we have three top choices for you to purchase. Our top favorite is WEN 56200i, which is a 2,000-watt generator with two years of limited warranty. It is a highly efficient model because it runs for 6 hours at 50 percent load on a small tank capacity of 1 gallon. The generator’s easy to carry around since it weighs only 48 pounds and has a handle to hold it firmly. Also, it is one of the quietest models in the market and makes less than 50 dB(A) of noise so that you can sleep peacefully throughout the night.
This brings us to our second pick, which is the EU3000IS by Honda. It is an inverter generator like the first model by Yamaha and produces 3,000 watts of surge wattage and 2,800 watts of running wattage. It is fitted with a strong and durable engine, 196cc Honda GX200, which makes the generator run for 20 hours at 25 percent. With two start options and three years of residential and commercial warranty, EU3000IS is the best for home use. The only downside of this model is its weight, which is 131 pounds. It may be difficult to carry it around, but you can attach wheels and make it more convenient to transport, and it has handles on both sides to be carries by two people.
Our next favorite is the Goal Zero Yeti 1400 WiFi, which is not a propane or gas generator but a lithium power station. It isn’t the most efficient because there’s a huge difference of 1,500 watts between a surge and running wattage, but it is eco-friendly, doesn’t make any noise, and doesn’t produce any fumes. The model’s a perfect choice for RV users or outdoor use because it has six outlets that are RV-ready. It produces clean energy that can power sensitive devices without causing any damage. Weighing at 43.7 ponds, it is a lightweight model that comes with a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.