Best Portable Generators

Featured Image: Wirecutter

Portable generators can supply power to essential devices across the home when you are having a blackout in your area. A little portable generator can offer power for lights, power tools, small appliances, and TVs while camping outside the house. You can place medium to bigger portable generators to work on building sites and run power tools, like drills, paint sprayers, saws, and air compressors.

Whether you are getting ready for emergency power, wanting to run a construction site, or have recreational usage in mind, there is a great deal to think about when purchasing a portable generator. To enable you to sort it out among the plethora of choices out there, we have come up with a list of items our staff looks for when they are looking to buy a new one.

Honda 664240 EU2200i 2200 Watt Portable Inverter Generator with Co-Minder
  • This popular model can operate a wide variety of appliances, making it perfect for portable use at home, camping, on the job site, or much more. Reliable Power is now at your fingertips with Honda's Inverted Generators.
  • So quiet, your neighbors will thank you. The EU2200i operates at 48 to 57 dBA, which is less noise than a normal conversation. This makes it ideal for camping, supplemental RV power and any other activity that requires quiet operation.
  • Add a second EU2200i for additional power. Two identical models can be paralleled with an optional cable or cord for up to 4400 watts of power, or time-consuming applications.
  • Thanks to our exclusive Eco-Throttle System, the EU2200i offers great fuel efficiency. Runs 4.0 to 9.6 hours on a single tank, depending on the load. This makes it the ideal choice for overnight power, or long-time applications.
  • Honda's inverter technology means stable, clean power in a smaller, lighter package. The precision of Honda's inverter technology ensures our inverter generators produce power that is as reliable as the power you get from your outlets at home.
Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment 9500 Peak Watt Home Backup Portable Generator, Remote Electric Start with Auto Choke, Transfer Switch Ready 30A Outlet, Gas Powered
  • 7500 Running Watts and 9500 Peak Watts; Remote Start With Included Key Fob, Electric and Recoil Start; Up to 11 Hours of Run Time on a 6.6 Gallon Fuel Tank With Fuel Gauge
  • Features Two GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) 5-20R 120V Household Duplex Receptacle and One L14-30R 120/240V Twist-Lock Receptacle; All Outlets Have Rubber Covers for Added Safety
  • Plug-and-Play: Comes with a Remote Start Key Fob, 12V Battery Charger, Oil, an Oil Funnel, a Tool Kit, and a User's Manual to Get You Started Right Out of the Box (Minimal Assembly Required)
  • Powered by a 420cc Westinghouse 4-Stroke OHV Engine Featuring a Long-Lasting Cast Iron Sleeve with Automatic Low Oil Shutdown and Digital Hour Meter
  • All Westinghouse Portable Generators are Functionally Tested in the Factory and May Contain Minimum Residual Oil and/or Fuel Odor; EPA Compliant; Backed by 3-Year Limited Service, Labor, and Parts Coverage with Nationwide Customer Service Network
Champion Power Equipment 100231 6900/5500-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator with Wheel Kit
  • Dual Fuel – Operate your 5500-watt portable generator right out of the box on either gasoline or propane, plus the unit holds 1.2-quarts of oil and has a low oil shut-off sensor.DC Operation : No. Fuel Gauge : No. Wheel Type : Solid.
  • Fuel Safety Switch – Our patented fuel selector switch allows for quick and safe switching between fuel sources
  • Intelligauge – Keep track of voltage, hertz and run-time hours to easily monitor power output and track maintenance intervals
  • Outlets – One 120/240V 30A locking outlet (L14-30R) and four 120V 20A GFCI protected household outlets (5-20R)
  • Champion Support – includes 3-year limited warranty with FREE lifetime technical support from dedicated experts
WEN 56200i 2000-Watt Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator, CARB Compliant,Black & Orange
  • Dimensions: 18" x 11" x 18" | Weight: 48 lbs
  • Noise Level: 53 dB operation
  • EPA III and CARB Compliant 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV engine produces 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated watts
  • Great for campgrounds, construction sites, tailgates and power outages
  • Produces clean power to safely operate and prevent damage to sensitive electronics such as phones, tablets, televisions and computers

Portable Generator Frequently Asked Questions

What is the big difference between maximum watts and rated watts?

  • Rated watts describe the quantity of strength the portable electric generator can produce continuously. Maximum wattage is the strength that the generator can develop for brief periods of time. The energy a motor needs when setting up is a great illustration of optimum wattage requirements.

Can I work with a portable power generator for backup throughout a power outage?

  • Yes. You can plug household appliances and products into a portable power generator but not all simultaneously. Do not plug your power generator into an outlet in your business or home. If you want to connect a portable generator to the home’s electrical system, have an authorized electrician install an approved mechanical power transfer switch in conformity with electrical codes.

What is a transfer switch?

  • A transfer switch permits you to link a portable generator to the home’s power structure while properly disconnecting you from the energy grid. This can eliminate any chance of a harmful back feed.

What is a back feed?

  • A back-feed occurs whenever a generator is plugged into an electric outlet, feeding energy back onto utility lines. This causes a life-threatening hazard for just about any utility employees trying to bring power to these lines.

Does the portable generator have to be grounded?

  • Yes. For reliability, the generator has to be correctly grounded. If the generator is not grounded, you chance electrocution. Check out and adhere to all appropriate federal, local, and state regulations relating to grounding.

Can I vent the fumes from an enclosed area?

  • No. Never run the generator inside a house or an enclosed area. Portable home generators are created to run outdoors where there is plenty of ventilation. Generator exhaust, similar to all gasoline engines, has poisonous carbon monoxide.

Will I make use of the generator during inclement weather?

  • You can use a generator during a variety of temperatures and weather, though you need to shield it from the components when it is not being used to avoid rusting and shorting. By no means run a generator inside.

How often must I perform regular maintenance?

  • Check your owner’s handbook for the suggested maintenance schedule.

Where can I find parts?

  • You can buy parts through any authorized dealer.

Portable Generator Buying Guide

Before getting one, make sure you check their specifications and ensure that they meet your requirements.

  1. Gas, Diesel, Propane, or Solar?

The most well-known portable generators run on diesel or gas. Eco-friendly models run on solar, but they can be expensive. Additionally, there are generators that combine propane and gas (known as “hybrid,” “dual system,” or “dual fuel”).

  1. Expense

Portable generators run from somewhere between $400-4,000, so budget is another important consideration. With fuel-powered generators, extra energy means more money. Do you want continuous power for days or hours? You will spend a pretty penny for that also. You will also pay for a quieter motor.

Solar panels which accumulate as much as a hundred watts of electricity are costlier than all those whose capability is 50 watts. Also, lightweight versions with higher wattages have a heftier price tag.

  1. Size/Power Output

It is about the number of outlets and strength output capacity. First, determine the power needs for the gadgets and electronics in your house. These are average figures for some typical appliances:

  • Portable heater: 1,500 watts
  • Refrigerator: 600 watts
  • Lights: 60 to 600 watts
  • Window air conditioner: 1,000 watts
  • Sump pump: 750 to 1,500 watts
  • Computers: 60 to 300 watts

Most home appliances have labels of their power requirements, though it is wise to talk to an electrician. Furthermore, consider what basic power needs you would have within a survival situation.

  1. Performance

How is the generator’s functionality? Most models provide the number of hours they will operate on a full tank or a full battery capacity; remember that there is a distinction between continuous rating, and that is just how much power your generator can supply constantly, and optimum rating, what the generator can supply for brief time periods. Look at warranties as the goal is to have something which will likely be around for the long run. Moreover, examine what the generator is made from. Steel is a good option.

  1. Portability

This seems obvious, but it is usually overlooked. For camping, the Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is among the lightest and quietest portable generators and offers between 1600 & 2000 watts of energy. But at 44 pounds, the device weighs much more than a four-gallon container of filtered water. The DuroStar 4,400 watt weighs about 138 lbs. Does that seem lightweight to you?

  1. Accessories

Anybody who is made a big buy has gone through that enormous list of features. For most of us, understanding exactly what the features are for can be intimidating. Additional functions and add ons include automatic starts, electric start for gasoline generators, wheels to help you move the heavier beasts, multiple outlets, a gas can, gas gauges, fuel stabilizer, low oil shutoff, ground fault circuit interruption, economy mode switch, weather-resistant storage covers, along with a removable console. With solar, you can buy more panels and turn them off during a survival situation.


The appearance of the EU2200i is akin to the older generation look with the signature black and red housing and thick carrying handle, which runs to its top. The small fuel tank uses the majority of the area within its compact design.

The Honda EU2200i is created to be a user-friendly portable generator. It’s a 4-step color-coded system that guides the user through operating the machine with the manual recoil. Other user-friendly capabilities are larger areas dedicated to oil control, fuel shutoff, and a really low noise level. Its noise level is posted at only 48 decibels at a quarter load & 57 decibels at rated load.

Additional energy is yet another improvement with the EU2200i design. It’s 2200 watts surge power and its 1800 watts running power, which is 200 watts over the EU2000i model. Inverter generators are recognized for housing less energy than standard fuel-powered portable generators, which is why numerous more recent models now have parallel features, like the Honda design. The EU2200i is parallel able with every other EU2200i model but additionally the EB2200i, as well as the earlier EU2000i model.

The design also features an eco-throttle program. Essentially, this means it is energy efficient with the highest run period of 8.1 hours at a quarter load on a full fuel tank. The fuel tank is compact, just under one gallon. Looking at the effectiveness it has on such a tiny fuel tank; you’d expect this particular inverter generator to be also economical to run. Honda also advertises the EU2200i as simply being a more durable model because of its enhanced manual recoil method, improved ventilation, electric circuit breaker, and also the new stator/rotor. The brand new stator utilizes magnets that result in cleaner electric output.

To view our Amazon Associates Disclaimer, please click here.