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.
Last updated: March 16, 2021
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Made by the leading brand, Buffalo Tools, Sportsman generators are some of the best generators you can buy. Whether you’re looking for a power source for camping, outdoor work, or even just in case of emergencies, having a good quality generator is essential.
We reviewed over 20 of the best Sportsman generator models around in order to find the top rated options to recommend to you. We found that the Sportsman GEN4000DFC is the best option of all, offering a mega 4,000 watts of power, a lengthy run time of over 10 hours, and plenty of outlets for your convenience, all in a relatively portable and compact package. We found six other Sportsman generators to recommend too, choosing a varied selection of models to suit all needs and preferences.
Our researchers spent dozens of hours analyzing and evaluating the pros and cons of each model, considering a wide range of features and factors in order to separate the very best models from the rest. We considered the maximum output of each generator in order to find models that can really provide sufficient power for your needs, as well as looking at the runtime for those situations where you need non-stop power for extended periods of time. We looked at the tank capacity too, in order to find models that don’t need to be refilled too often, as well as the overall size and weight of these generators for practicality and portability. You can see all of our findings in the table below, followed by detailed reviews of each generator and an in-depth buying guide too.
"Portable and lightweight, eco-friendly and extremely quiet, this model is the best choice for people, who value such qualities in their generators and all in all that makes it best inverter generator."
Very similar in style and performance to the classic Sportsman GEN4000, the Sportsman GEN4000DFC has the unique advantage of being a dual fuel generator, meaning you can use either gasoline or propane to power it up. This gives you the freedom of being able to use whichever fuel you prefer, depending on your budget and the situation. This is a nice bonus, and many users appreciate the option to choose between fuel sources as they please.
The Sportsman GEN4000DFC can offer up to 4,000 watts of power and comes with a vast range of different outlets, including four 120V outlets, a 120V RV outlet for motorhomes, and a 12V DC outlet for charging up battery powered devices. It can run for 10 hours straight with the 3.6 gallon tank filled up with gasoline or even longer with propane, and it comes with a 1 year limited warranty. The warranty isn’t the longest out there, which is a minor disappointment with this model, but if you’re buying a Sportsman generator, you’ll usually have to cope with such a short warranty as this tends to be industry standard.
Users have been relatively impressed with the Sportsman GEN4000DFC overall, with many saying it offers just the right level of performance and functionality they need. It’s good for campers, in particular, and the dual fuel functionality and option to store up propane at home makes it a good option as an emergency backup power supply too.
Why is it special?
Relatively quiet compared to other models
Dual fuel model offers flexibility of propane and gasoline
Last but not least, we come to the Sportsman GEN2000. This is our Budget Pick for this list, and it stands out for its low price. There are many Sportsman generators that can cost quite a lot of money, but if you only have a small budget to work with and don’t want to spend too much, or simply don’t need a lot of power output from your generator, the Sportsman GEN2000 is a good option to choose.
This highly affordable Sportsman generator may not be able to boast of the same high power output and peak watts as some of the others, topping out at just 2,000 watts and featuring a fairly low powered 94cc OHV 4-Stroke engine, but it’s a reliable performer, powered by highly affordable and easily obtainable gasoline and fitted with a 1.2 gallon fuel tank. It can run for nine hours consecutively too, which is impressive for such a cheap model.
The Sportsman GEN2000 has just two outlets in total: a Duplex 120V 20A outlet and a 12V 8A receptacle. This limits the functionality of this Sportsman generator, but, as stated previously, this is only a simple, affordable model, so you shouldn’t buy it expecting lots of frills and features. The Sportsman GEN2000 is one of the most lightweight Sportsman generators around too, and it also happens to be very quiet while running compared to some of the others.
Part of the Sportsman generator series includes the Sandstorm line, and one of the best Sandstorm generators is the Sportsman GEN4000DF-SS. It’s also one of the best 4,000 watt generator models you can buy today, with its sandy exterior and high powered engine offering both style and substance in great amounts. It’s well equipped to handle almost any situation, working flawlessly as a backup generator and even being strong enough for work situations too.
The 7HP OHV 4-Stroke engine in the Sportsman GEN4000DF-SS is a very reliable and effective piece of equipment, giving this generator the edge over many competing models, and another big advantage of the Sportsman GEN4000DF-SS is that it’s a dual fuel generator, able to run on both propane and gasoline. This gives you the freedom to decide how you want to power up the generator, able to stock propane at your home or simply load up on cheap and accessible gasoline when you need it.
With a noise level of 69 dBa, the Sportsman GEN4000DF-SS is actually one of the quieter entries on our list. It’s still relatively noisy compared to some super silent generators out there, but it’s not too bad in this department and users have been impressed with how little noise it makes. At 91 lbs, it’s also a good compromise between power and practicality, and it comes with a reasonable selection of power outlets too. The only flaw with this model is that some RV users have complained about the positioning of standard 30 amp RV power cords, which can be an inconvenience.
The only inverter entry on our list, the Sportsman GEN2200DFI is the best inverter generator you can buy today. Inverter generators may not be able to offer the same power outputs as conventional counterparts, but they do still provide a lot of unique advantages, starting by the fact that they’re smaller and more compact overall, as proven by the Sportsman GEN2200DFI.
This portable generator really lives up to its ‘portable’ tag by weighing in at just 45 lbs and measuring up at only 19.2 x 12 x 18.1 inches. It even comes with a handle to allow the user to carry it around, and it’s one of the quietest Sportsman generators on our list as well, with a noise level of just 60 dBa, which is super silent when compared to many other models and very appealing to those people who don’t want a noisy generator making lots of sound while in operation.
The Sportsman GEN2200DFI also has the advantage of being more environmentally friendly and energy efficient in its energy production, as well as offering the unique benefit of coming with a 5V USB port to charge up USB compatible devices. It has a couple of other ports too and can run for a very long time with propane, but has a significantly shorter time with a ½ load of gasoline.
Sportsman has also made this brilliant generator, which gives you all the functionality that you need. It has a 1.1-gallon tank that will give you clean and consistent power for as long as you run it, which it’s able to for around 6 hours at a 50% load.
One aspect that some users may find frustrating is that it only has two outlets with only one of them being an A/C outlet. It’s also important to note that there is no electric start on this generator, which may be a deal-breaker for some people.
Most people, however, are going to love this generator. It’s small and portable which gives it brilliant usability in how it can be used. An example of its use is for camping as it can run a wide range of small appliances, such as coffee machines.
It makes a maximum noise of 62 dB which isn’t too loud and quieter than many other generators. Another advantage of this generator, like most Sportsman models, is the high level of reliability. This should last for many years without ever letting you down.
Why is it special?
Clean and stable power
Small and compact
Perfect for small appliances
What are the flaws?
Only one A/C outlet
No electric start
Things to Consider
Now that we’ve looked at some of the best Sportsman generators on the market, it’s time to take a closer look at the various features and factors you need to consider when buying one of these models. It’s never wise to simply go out and buy the best rated generator or first generator you find without considering your own needs, what you’re going to be using the generator for, etc. This buying guide will give you all the details on choosing a Sportsman generator.
Features to consider while choosing a Sportsman generator
There are many different features to think about when choosing a Sportsman generator, and it’s vital to consider each one of these features and think about how important they are to you. Some people, for instance, will care greatly about the overall fuel tank capacity and runtime of their generator, needing constant energy for an extended period of time, while others will place greater emphasis on the overall power output of the generator. Read on to learn more.
In simple terms, Sportsman generators can be divided into two main types: conventional and inverter. Conventional generators, like the Sportsman GEN2000, are the more traditional option of the two. They make use of an energy source like diesel or gasoline to power a motor, which in turn generates electricity. Inverter generators, like the Sportsman GEN2200DFI, are quite recent and effectively generate AC power just like a traditional generator but then convert it to DC and then back to AC, essentially resulting in the elimination of power fluctuations. This means they’re generally more flexible as you can adjust the speeds. They’re also quieter and more eco-friendly too, but conventional generators tend to offer way higher outputs and better value overall.
The power output of a generator effectively tells us how much power it is able to generate. Bigger isn’t always better here, however, as not everyone will need gigantic amounts of energy. If you don’t have a high demand for energy, you can get by with a smaller and more affordable option, like the Sportsman GEN2000, but if you need lots of power, for example for a work site or as an emergency backup generator in case of a natural disaster, you may want to choose one with a high power rating like the Sportsman GEN4000DF-SS. Also, you can check the best 7,500-Watt generators if you need more power.
In general, when it comes to Sportsman generators, the two main fuel types you’ll have to consider are gasoline and propane. Gasoline, used in the Sportsman GEN2000, has the advantage of being super affordable and easy to obtain, so it’ll save you the most money in the long run and is highly convenient too. Propane, meanwhile, as seen in the Sportsman GEN4000DFC, has the advantages of having a longer shelf life than gasoline and is easier to store in big quantities. And if you have already decided that propane fuel option is the most suitable for you, then it is advisable to make a full survey of the best propane generator models before buying one of them.
The engine of your generator is what helps to generate power. It’s an integral component of the machine and there are a lot of different engines out there. Some are stronger, faster, more efficient, and more durable than others. In general, Sportsman generators all feature high quality engines, but the more expensive and advanced models will typically have better overall engines.
Fuel tank capacity and runtime
A key feature for many people is the overall fuel tank capacity and runtime of their Sportsman generator. Some people only need a generator for short, quick bursts of power in certain situations, like on camping trips, but if you’re going to be relying on the generator for an extended period of time, it makes sense to invest in a model with a long running time, like the Sportsman GEN4000DF-SS.
The outlets of your Sportsman generator allow you to actually connect the generator to various devices in order to power them up. The more outlets you have, the more options you’ll have in regard to the devices you can use with the generator, so if you want to have a flexible model that can work with lots of different things at once, it’s a good idea to choose a generator with many different outputs, like the Sportsman GEN4000DFC.
Generators can’t exactly be described as silent. They make noise when they operate, but some are much quieter than others. If you don’t want to be disturbed while running your generator, choose one with a low noise level, like the Sportsman GEN2200DFI.
Dimensions and weight
If you’re planning to carry the generator around, transporting it from place to place and using it in different situations and environments, opting for a relatively compact and lightweight generator, like the Sportsman GEN2000, is the best option. If you don’t plan on moving the generator much, you can choose a heavier model with no worries.
The last thing you want with your Sportsman generator is for it to fail, but faults and technical issues can occur, so it’s always reassuring to have a good warranty protecting your purchase. If you’re worried about any issues in the future, be sure to select a Sportsman generator with the longest possible warranty.
Some Sportsman generators can come with little extra features that make them easier to use or move around. The GEN4000DF-SS, for example, is quite a heavy and high powered model, so it might take a lot of effort to move it, while the relatively lightweight Sportsman Buffalo Tools GEN1000I-PL comes with a handle to make it simpler to carry from place to place.
Yes, it is possible to connect a generator to a breaker box, but you’ll need to either seek professional help with this or ensure that you do your research and know exactly what you’re doing before you make any attempt to wire up the system. Before connecting a generator to a breaker box, you’ll need an approved transfer switch. It’s also wise to get the whole set-up checked over by a professional to ensure it meets safety standards, rather than running the risk of harming yourself or anyone else involved in the wiring.
Absolutely. Sportsman generators have been used for camping and personal use for years, but they’ve also been trusted at many worksites around the nation. Naturally, in order to supply a work site with sufficient power, workers will need to choose the better and stronger models of Sportsman generators, like the Sportsman GEN4000DF-SS and Sportsman GEN4000DFC, and it’s important to measure the needs and demands of your work before selecting a generator in order to find a model that can satisfy those needs adequately, rather than investing in an insufficient power source.
Yes, Sportsman generators are parallel compatible, provided you make use of the official Sportsman parallel cable kits, which are sold separately to the generators and work to increase wattage by combining the power and output of two generators. By doubling the power, you’ll have access to much greater energy output overall, so this is a good option for work sites or situations where large amounts of power are needed.
Overall, our top rated Sportsman generator is the Sportsman GEN4000DFC. Offering great runtime, plenty of power, and all the outlet options you need in a comprehensive and fairly priced package, this is the perfect portable generator for almost any situation.
The next best Sportsman generator is the Sportsman GEN4000DF-SS, and this was our best dual fuel generator too. The dual fuel facet of this model gives the user plenty of versatility in terms of how they use it, and the GEN4000DF-SS is able to offer solid performance and strong power output every time.
Our third favorite Sportsman generator is the Sportsman GEN2000. With its propane only design, durable build, and compact size, all combined with a powerful engine and impressive runtime, this is the ideal all-rounder for your portable generator needs.