12 Best Portable Generators – Take Power with You!

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Last updatedLast updated: November 04, 2021
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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.

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.

Top 12 Portable Generator Reviews 2022

1.

WEN 56200i Editor’s Choice

Features
  • Generator type: inverter
  • Peak/rated watts: 2,000/1,600
  • Engine: 79cc, 4-stroke, OHV, single cylinder
  • Fuel tank: 1 gal.
  • Run time: 6 h (50% load)
  • Outlets: (2) 120V 20A 3-prong, (1) 5V USB Port, (1) 12V DC 8.3A
  • Start type: recoil
  • Dimensions: 18 x 11 x 18 in
  • Weight: 48 lbs
  • Warranty: 2-year

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.

Why is it special?

  • 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
  • Two-year warranty

What are the flaws?

  • Not ideal for carrying long distance
  • Tall design, which makes it difficult to store
RELATED: 5 Best CARB Compliant Generators for California Residents
2.

Honda EU3000iSBest Quiet Portable Generator

Features
  • Generator type: inverter
  • Peak/rated watts: 3,000/2,800 (gasoline)
  • Engine: 196cc Honda GX200
  • Fuel tank: 3.4 gal.
  • Run time: 20 h (1/4 load)
  • Outlets: 20A 125V Duplex, 30A 125V Locking Plug, 12V DC
  • Start type: recoil, electric
  • Dimensions: 25.9 x 17.6 x 22.0 in
  • Weight: 131 lbs
  • Warranty: 3-year (residential and commercial)

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 makes it special?

  • 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 cons did we find?

  • Need two people to carry it around
  • Expensive compared to models in a similar product range
RELATED: 8 Best 30 Amp Generators – Outage Is Not An Issue Any Longer!
Features

Peak/rated watts: 13,000/10,500 (gasoline)
Engine: Honda GX630 OHV
Fuel tank: 11 gal.
Run time: 10 h (1/2 load)
Outlets: (8) 120V, 20A, (1) 120/240V, 50A, (1) 120/240V, 30A locking, (1) 120V, 30A locking
Start type: electric
Dimensions: 32.5 x 24.5 x 26.9 in
Weight: 359 lbs.
Warranty: 4-year consumer/2-year commercial

If you want a portable generator that runs for hours on end thanks to a large fuel capacity, the NorthStar Portable Generator might be one of the best picks. The tank can hold a maximum of 11 gallons of gasoline which powers the Honda GX630 OHV engine. With this, the generator can produce 13,000 watts of peak power and 10,500 watts of continuous running power. As such, it’s bound to make light work of powering your appliances.

In the case of recreational vehicles, this power may even be surplus to requirements. Also, thanks to the copper-wound head and low THD, you don’t have to worry about damaging your sensitive appliances. The electric ignition in this model offers efficient starting and allows for a better output during the beginning stages of use. Also, you can monitor performance via the meters provided. There are even multiple safety features in the generator. One is the low-oil shutdown. Another is the roll cage with anti-trip mounts. You even get a solid base to protect the engine from debris and dirt.

Notably, the electric ignition system is a positive, but it’s dependent on you buying a separate battery for the generator, which can be inconvenient. Also, the generator is one of the bulkier options listed. As such, you might need the optional wheel kit if you plan to move it often.
The NorthStar Portable Generator is for people who don’t want to keep checking the fuel levels during use since the fuel tank is fairly large.

What are our favorite features?

  • Electric ignition
  • High power output
  • Larger fuel tank than the competition
  • Safe for sensitive appliances
  • Low-fuel shutdown
  • Rugged exterior
  • Meters for monitoring use

What could be better?

  • Bulky
  • The battery is sold separately
  • Wheel kit for portability is sold separately
RELATED: Top 5 NorthStar Generators — Choose the Best One for Your Needs
4.

Westinghouse WGen7500DFBest Dual-Fuel Portable Generator

Features
  • Generator type: conventional
  • Peak/rated watts: 9,500/7,500 (gasoline), 8,550/6,750 (propane)
  • Engine: 420cc Westinghouse OHV
  • Fuel tank: 6.6 gal.
  • Run time: 16 hrs. (gas, 25% load), 11 hrs. (propane, 25% load, 20 lb. tank)
  • Outlets: (2) Duplex 120V 20A (5-20R), (1) 120/240V 30A (L14-30R), (2) 5V USB ports
  • Start type: electric, remote, recoil
  • Dimensions: 27.2 x 26.5 x 26 in
  • Weight: 194 lbs
  • Warranty: 3-year (residential), 1-year (commercial)

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 are our favorite features?

  • 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
  • Five outlets
  • Electric, push button, and recoil start options

What could be better?

  • Only one-year commercial warranty
  • Heavy; difficult to carry around
  • Loud mechanism; not suitable for RV use
RELATED: 6 Best Westinghouse Generators – Power Up Your Life!
5.

Champion Power Equipment 100302Most Powerful Portable Inverter Generator

Features
  • Generator type: inverter
  • Peak/rated watts: 4,000/3,500 (gasoline)
  • Engine: 224cc 4-stroke
  • Fuel tank: 2.9 gal.
  • Run time: 17 h (25% load)
  • Outlets: 120V 30A (TT-30R), 120V 20A Duplex (5-20R), 12V DC Automotive
  • Start type: recoil
  • Dimensions: 20.5 x 17.9 x 17.7 in
  • Weight: 81.6 lbs
  • Warranty: 3-year limited

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.

What makes it stand out?

  • Clean electrical waveform supports delicate devices
  • CARB compliant and EPA approved
  • Runs for 17 hours at 25 percent road
  • RV-ready twist lock outlet
  • Three-year warranty from the manufacturer
  • Lightweight and easy to carry

Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?

  • Rated power wattage of only 3,500 watts
  • Comes with only two 120V outlets
RELATED: 8 Best 30 Amp Generators – Outage Is Not An Issue Any Longer!
Features
  • Peak/rated watts: 11,050/8,400 (gasoline)
  • Engine: DH457E
  • Fuel tank: 6.6 gal.
  • Run time: 8.5 h (1/2 load)
  • Outlets: (2) NEMA 5-20R GFCI (120V-20A), (1) NEMA L14-30R (120/240V-30A), (1) NEMA 14-50R (120/240V-50A) outlets, (2) USB ports
  • Start type: electric w/recoil backup
  • Dimensions: 31.7 x 21.7 x 24.2 in
  • Weight: 260 lbs.

Warranty: 2-year consumer/90-day commercial

This Powerhorse Portable Generator is another high-output performer given the peak and rated watts of the machine. This is mostly thanks to a powerful DH457E engine. It comes fitted with a durably cast-iron cylinder sleeve and is thus is better protected against damage. Also notable is the 6.6-gal fuel tank. If there’s enough fuel in the tank, the generator should be able to run for about eight and a half hours on half load. Increase the load, and you reduce the runtime.

Additionally, there’s a fuel gauge provided, so any time you turn on the generator, you know whether you should top up the fuel or not. The machine can be started electronically with the push of a button. However, if push comes to shove, a recoil backup can bail you out of a tricky situation.

There’s even the element of the control panel that gives you real-time feedback on parameters like voltage, frequency and more. Also, you needn’t worry about small surges that might damage your appliances. This Powerhouse Portable Generator comes standard with a voltage regulator and a voltmeter, so output stays consistent.
The outputs for this generator are impressive as well, and you’ll likely have enough for your homestead or recreational vehicle. The commercial warranty may not be all that impressive. However, if you’re using it at home or in your RV, the two-year warranty should be enough.

This Powerhorse Portable Generator differentiates itself by combining high power output, top-tier construction, an affordable price point, and generally great value for money.

Why did it make our list?

  • High power output
  • Long run time
  • The Control panel gives you real-time feedback
  • Electric ignition
  • Voltage regulator to keep output consistent

What is not ideal about it?

  • Commercial warranty is underwhelming
  • Electric ignition may fail
7.

DuroMax XP10000EHThickest Rugged Wheels

Features
  • Peak/rated watts: 10,000/8,000 (gasoline); 8,500/6,300 (propane)
  • Engine: DuroMax 419cc
  • Fuel tank: 8.3 gal.
  • Run time: 10 h (1/2 load)
  • Outlets: (1) 120V 30A twist lock, (2) 120V 20A, (1) 120/240V 50A, (1) 120/240V 30A, (1) 12V DC outlet
  • Start type: electric w/recoil backup
  • Dimensions: 40 x 29 x 32 in
  • Weight: 236 lbs.
  • Warranty: 3-year consumer
  • Price-wise, this DuroMax Portable Dual Fuel Generator is only slightly more expensive than the Powerhorse Portable Generator mentioned above. As such, it’s no surprise that the performance isn’t all that different in terms of peak and rated watts. This generator should also handle powering powerful appliances in the house reasonably well. Notably, this DuroMax generator is a dual-fuel option, and the output you get will depend on the fuel used. If it’s gasoline, you get 10,000/8,000 for the peak/rated watts. If its propane output drops to 8,500/6,300.

    In terms of runtime, the device gives the NorthStar Portable Generator a run for its money since they’re both rated to run for the same periods at half load. It also starts electronically with the push of a button. Another notable feature is the quiet exhaust which has the added advantage of a spark arrestor.

    Given that it comes with an oil alert light you likely won’t need to check the oil levels to know you need to refuel. There’s also a recharge indicator in the design of the generator as well. In the case of electronic start-up failure, you also have a recoil start-up mechanism that should be handy.

    Unlike other generators with optional wheels, the wheels on this machine come standard and are rugged and large enough to handle whatever you drag the generator over.
    This generator is for users who have to move the device frequently over rough terrain thanks to the design of the wheels.

    Why is it special?

    • Electric ignition
    • Recoil back up included
    • Oil alert light
    • High power output
    • Spark arrestor included
    • Quiet exhaust
    • Dual fuel function

    What are the flaws?

    • No fuel gauge to determine precisely how much fuel is in the tank
    • There’s a dip in power output when you switch to propane
    RELATED: 10 Awesome 10,000-watt Generators – Power Loss is no Longer a Threat
    8.

    Generac GP2200iBest Small Portable Generator

    Features
    • Generator type: inverter
    • Peak/rated watts: 2,200/1,700
    • Engine: 80cc OHV Variable Speed
    • Fuel tank: 1.2 gal.
    • Run time: 10.75 h (25% load)
    • Outlets: (1) L5-30R Twist Lock, (1) TT-30R (RV)
    • Start type: recoil
    • Dimensions: 19.7 x 11.4 x 17.9 in
    • Weight: 46.6 lbs
    • Warranty: 2-year limited (residential), 1-year limited (commercial)

    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 are its best features?

    • Long runtime of 10.75 hours at 25 percent load
    • Produces clean energy to run sensitive devices
    • RV ready
    • Lightweight and easy to carry
    • Two years of residential warranty and one-year commercial warranty
    • Easy reset function

    What could be improved?

    • Recoil start is inconvenient, especially for the elderly
    • Poor customer service
    RELATED: 10 Best 2,000-watt Generators – Your Most Portable Power Solution
    9.

    Champion Power Equipment 20949Best for Small Tasks

    Features
    • Peak/rated watts: 2,000/1,700 (gasoline)
    • Engine: Champion 79cc engine
    • Fuel tank: 1.1 gal.
    • Run time: 11.5 h (1/4 load)
    • Outlets: 120V 20A, 5V 2.1A USB
    • Start type: recoil
    • Dimensions: 17.3 x 11.5 x 17.7 in
    • Weight: 39 lbs.
    • Warranty: 3-year consumer

    The Champion Power Equipment 20949 is perfect for small tasks, as shown by the 2,000/1,700-watt power output. It’s a compact device that you can carry with your hands if necessary. It’s powered by the Champion 79cc engine and only has enough space for 1.1 gallons of fuel in the tank. That said, it still manages an eight-hour runtime at half load.

    The machine is designed with a smart throttle that makes the most of the fuel depending on the load. Also, the generator is protected from overload by an electrical overload breaker. Another top-tier feature is the parallel function that allows you to connect a similar generator for increased power output.

    Also, there’s a muffler included to keep the generator quiet during use. With regards to fuel, there are a few features to ensure you get the best out of it. This is in addition to the smart throttle mentioned above. One is the fuel petcock that prevents issues caused by stale gas. There’s also the fuel gauge and oil watch warning system. This generator is for users without high power requirements who want an extremely portable system.

    Why did it make our list?

    • Compact design
    • Relatively lightweight
    • Parallel function
    • Oil watch warning system
    • Long runtime

    What is not ideal about it?

    • Power output fairly underwhelming
    10.

    Generac XD5000EBest Portable Diesel Generator

    Features
    • Generator type: conventional
    • Peak/rated watts: 5,500/5,000 (diesel)
    • Engine: 435cc, air-cooled, 4-cycle, Vertical Cylinder Diesel
    • Fuel tank: 12 gal.
    • Run time: 32.4 hrs. (50% load)
    • Outlets: (2) 120V 20A GFCI Duplex (NEMA 5-20R), (1) 120/240V Twist Lock (NEMA L14-30R), (1) 120V Twist Lock (NEMA L5-30R)
    • Start type: electric, recoil
    • Dimensions: 33.1 x 22.5 25.6 in
    • Weight: 252 lbs
    • Warranty: 2-year limited (residential and commercial)

    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 are our favorite features?

    • 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
    • Two years of residential and commercial warranty
    • Easy maintenance

    What could be better?

    • No battery included in the package
    • Heavy and not easy to carry around
    RELATED: Top 5 Diesel Generators for Any Purpose – Find the Best One for You (do not publish)
    11.

    Sportsman GEN4000DFBest 4000-Watt Generator

    Features
    • Generator type: conventional
    • Peak/rated watts: 4,000/3500
    • Engine: 4-stroke OHV
    • Fuel tank: N/A
    • Run time: 10 hrs. (20 lb. propane tank)
    • Outlets: (2) 120V AC, (1) 12V DC
    • Start type: recoil
    • Dimensions: 23 x 17 x 17.5 in
    • Weight: 88 lbs
    • Warranty: 1-year limited

    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.

    RELATED: Top Ten 4000-watt Generators – Find the Best One for Your Needs
    12.

    DuroStar DS4000SBudget Pick

    Features
    • Generator type: conventional
    • Peak/rated watts: 4,000/3,300 (gasoline)
    • Engine: 208cc DuroStar 4-stroke OHV
    • Fuel tank: 4 gal.
    • Run time: 12.3 hrs. (1/2 load)
    • Outlets: (2) 120 Volt, 20 Amp, 60 Hz-NEMA 5-20R; (1) 120 Volt, 30 Amp, 60 Hz-NEMA L5-30
    • Start type: recoil
    • Dimensions: 24 x 17 x 17 in
    • Weight: 105 lbs
    • Warranty: 3-year limited (residential), 1-year limited (commercial)

    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.

    Why are we impressed?

    • 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 negatives must you be aware of?

    • Runs loudly at 69 dB(A), which isn’t suitable for a household with young kids
    RELATED: Top Ten 4000-watt Generators – Find the Best One for Your Needs

    Things to Consider

    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

    12 Best Portable Generators – Take Power with You!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.

    Choose your ideal model with our guide to choosing the Best Inverter Generator.

    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.

    Some of the most efficient inverter generators on our list include Honda EU3000IS, Champion Power Equipment 100302, and WEN 56200i. If you plan to buy a conventional generator, our top picks are Westinghouse WGen7500DF and Generac XD5000E as the best diesel generators.

    What to pay close attention to:

    Power output

    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 is probably the best 10,000W generator on the market.

    On the other hand, if you want a generator to carry out small DIY activities or handle infrequent outages, settle for a 2,000 to 5,000W producing generator. Honda EU3000IS and DuroStar DS4000S are good choices for such users.

    Generators by Amperage

    Fuel: gasoline, propane, or both

    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

    12 Best Portable Generators – Take Power with You!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. Champion Power Equipment 20949 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.

    Safety features

    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. 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.

    Noise level

    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. Champion Power Equipment 20949 is one of the quietest in the market at 53 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.

    Dimensions and weight

    12 Best Portable Generators – Take Power with You!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, small versions like Champion Power Equipment 20949 is a way to go. 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:

    1. Does the manufacturer have several service stations throughout the country?
    2. Is the customer care department apartment throughout the day?
    3. Does the manufacturer offer at-location repair services?
    4. What is the manufacturer’s policy on guarantees?
    5. 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.

    Tips

    12 Best Portable Generators – Take Power with You!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:

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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

    12 Best Portable Generators – Take Power with You!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:

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

    FAQ

    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.

    Our Verdict

    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 NorthStar Portable Generator, and you only need to look at the power output to realize how powerful this device is. Additionally, there’s the larger fuel tank that also translates into a longer runtime. Finally, considering the outlets, you’ll find it easier to power all your appliances with this single device.

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