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Portable Generators

Compare and find the right portable power station for you

The Best Portable Generators For The Money

Size

20″ x 11.4″ x 16.7″

Weight

50 lbs

Power

2,200 Watts

Fuel Source

Gasoline

Warranty

3-year

Size

30″ x 29″ x 26″

Weight

224 lbs

Power

12,000 Watts

Fuel Source

Propane
Gasoline

Warranty

3-year

Size

18″ x 11″ x 18″

Weight

48 lbs

Power

2,000 Watt

Fuel Source

Gasoline

Warranty

2-year

Most User Friendly Portable Generator

Size

20″ x 12.6″ x 16.9″

Weight

46.2 lbs

Power

2,000 Watt

Fuel Source

Gasoline

Warranty

3-year

Most Fuel Efficient Portable Generator

Size

27″ x 26″ x 21″

Weight

144 lbs

Power

6,000 Watts

Fuel Source

Gasoline

Warranty

3-year

Best Rechargeable Portable Generator

Size

11.8″ x 7.6″ x 9.2″

Weight

13.3 lbs

Power

500 Watts

Fuel Source

Solar
Electric Power Source

Warranty

2-year
30-day money-back

Size

19.7″ x 16.5″ x 16.5″

Weight

74.3 lbs

Power

3,500 Watts

Fuel Source

Gasoline

Warranty

3-year limited

Best Portable Power Station

Honda EU2200i 2,200 Watt Portable Inverter Generator

Summary & Features

Pros

  • Fuel injection technology
  • Ultra-quiet operating noise
  • Lightweight design
  • Built-in inverter

Cons

  • Small gas tank
  • No automatic start 

What Customers Are Saying

“could not be happier
“Lots of power. Works great.”

Best High Power Portable Power Station

DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Electric Start Portable Generator

Summary & Features

DuroMax created a beast of a portable generator with the XP12000EH, which is sure to be able to power up your home through outages. Great for emergency situations, this generator operates off a dual fuel source allowing you to be as cost-effective as you need to be.

Known as being the beast of the portable generator world, the DuroMax XP12000EH boasts an 18HP, 457cc OHV engine reaching a maximum output of 12,000 watts start power and 9,500 running watts. You don’t have to worry about overworking this generator with large appliances including your air conditioner.

Because this generator can run on either propane or gasoline, you have more flexibility based on pricing on how you would like to fuel up. The dual-fuel feature is another that comes in handy in emergency situations.

This is without a doubt the most heavy-duty model we have in our lineup weighing in at 260 pounds. Luckily, the weight comes from the heavy-duty steel frame, ensuring its durability outdoors in bad weather. It also comes with solid fill wheels to help with its portability.

DuroMax backs all of their products, portable generators included, with a three-year warranty for residential use and one year warranty for commercial use.

Nicknamed “The Beast,” this dual-fuel portable generator is the champion generator you need for your home in case of emergency power outages. Great for the home or work sites, this model can be easy to maneuver with its solid fill wheels despite its weight.

Keeping in consideration the nickname of this generator, its build is much larger than the others on this list making it more challenging in terms of portability. Additionally, because it is creating so much power, it is known to be a bit noisy.

Pros

  • Dual fuel option
  • Powerful muffler
  • Runs long
  • Powerful enough for home use

Cons

  • Large and heavy body
  • Noisy operation

What Customers Are Saying

“would recommend this generator to everyone
“It is a great tool

Best Budget Portable Power Station

WEN 56200i 2000-Watt Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator

Summary & Features

Pros

  • Durable, galvanized steel construction
  • InfoHub wireless monitoring system
  • A warranty covers parts, labor, and travel costs for five years

Cons

  • 20kW might be more powerful than necessary for a small household  

What Customers Are Saying

“for camping look no further
“a good generator for camping”

Most User Friendly Portable Power Station

Generac 6866 iQ2000 Super Quiet Gas Powered Inverter Generator

Summary & Features

Generac is known to be one of the industry leaders when it comes to their standby generators. They also have a wide range of portable generators that offer a wide variety of power. The iQ2000 is a great model for first-time users.

With an 80cc OHV engine maxing out at 2000 watts starting power and 1600 running watts, the Generac iQ2000 is a great, user-friendly portable generator.

The design of the generator is simple and straightforward with a color-coded control panel menu, making it easier than ever to gauge your remaining runtime before another refuel. At 46.5 pounds, this lightweight model with a convenient carrying handle is easy to move around for any of your power needs.

There are also three different power output modes including economy, standard, and turbo, which help you to control your fuel consumption and CO emissions while running.

The iQ2000 is backed by a three-year limited warranty by Generac, authorizing a Generac dealer to perform any warranty services.

If you are new to the world of portable generators, Generac is a great, trustworthy brand to start off with. It runs both quietly and cleanly, making it a great backup power source in times of need or to bring along with you for camping trips and other outdoor activities.

The convenience factor is high with this portable generator, but it comes with some compromise on the running wattage overall. While it is built to withstand powering large household appliances, it does not do well with powering multiple large items at once.

Pros

  • Very user friendly
  • Inexpensive option
  • Quiet operation
  • Lightweight model

Cons

  • Low running wattage
  • Cannot handle multiple heavy devices at once

What Customers Are Saying

“nice features
“simple to start and operate”

Most Fuel Efficient Portable Power Station

Honda EU3000iS Super Quiet Gasoline Portable Generator

Summary & Features

Honda never disappoints when it comes to their top of the line power equipment. The EU3000iS portable inverter generator is one of the heavy-duty top picks for us. Matching durability with high power, this portable generator is yet another extremely well-built model from the Honda line.

Honda does it again with a GX200 4-stroke OHV engine which brings a maximum power output of 3000 starting watts and 2800 running watts in the EU3000iS. Despite its high level of power, it is still a quieter option operating at around 50 decibels.

Built within a steel frame casing, the EU3000iS is a sturdy model that can withstand the elements, making it a great outdoor option. It also boasts high fuel-efficiency thanks to the signature Honda Eco-Throttle system.

The EU3000iS is backed by the higher-powered generator products Honda three year warranty for both residential and commercial purposes.

The Honda EU3000iS is not only a powerful but also a durable and highly efficient model of portable generators. The Eco-Throttle technology ensures high fuel efficiency while operating at all times, another thing helping to preserve the longevity of the machine.

Because this is a heavy-duty model, the price tag can be a little off-putting to some. Also, some added features like wheels and the frame have to be purchased separately, adding to the cost. Keep in mind that Honda is a highly reliable name in the generator world, so you can be sure the value for your dollar is definitely there if you’re willing to pay the price.

Pros

  • Reliable engine
  • Larger fuel tank capacity
  • Steel frame
  • Eco-throttle fuel efficiency

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Necessary parts sold separately

What Customers Are Saying

“Does the job very quietly
“Whisper quiet”

Best Rechargeable Portable Power Station

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500

Summary & Features

Jackery is a newer brand in the world of portable generators but is quickly leaving its mark. For nearly the last decade, Jackery has been committed to discovering more eco-friendly power solutions. As a result, the Explorer 500 is one of the lightest, most portable rechargeable portable generators on the market.

The 518Wh/144,400mAh lithium battery capacity of the Jackery Explorer 500 produces 500 watts rated power and 1000 watts surge power.

This generator provides you with power through multiple sources that include a USB port, AC outlet, and 12V car output. Giving you endless options, you can recharge your portable generator via the pure sine wave AC outlet, DC carport, or optional solar panels.

The lightest portable generator on our list at only 13.32 pounds, the Explorer 500 packs enough power to provide charging for most small appliances including your lcd tv and space heater.

Jackery backs all of its power products with a two-year warranty as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee if you change your mind within the first month of purchase.

If you are looking for a quick and easy solution to your portable generator needs, the Jackery Explorer 500 is a great choice. Between the multiple power source outlets it provides and the various recharge methods including pure sine wave AC, bringing this lightweight generator around with you is as easy as it gets. The sine wave inverter makes charging more sensitive electronics hassle-free.

While you don’t have to worry about the fuel type on this generator with its lithium-ion rechargeable battery, you will have to understand that it can’t power up high energy appliances like others on this list. Another minor detail, there is no notification when the battery is running low, so you do have to keep an eye on the LCD screen while using it

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • Multiple charging options
  • Super lightweight design
  • Pure Sine Wave AC outlet

Cons

  • Cannot handle high power
  • No low battery notification

What Customers Are Saying

“Great all-around product!
“Why didn’t I get this sooner?”

Best Portable Power Station for RV

Generac GP3500iO Open Frame RV Ready Inverter Generator

Summary & Features

On the more heavy-duty spectrum of Generac’s portable generators is the GP3500iO, made RV ready to take your traveling experience up a notch. With a clearly marked control panel menu, Generac makes it easier than ever to navigate this heavy-duty generator.

With a 212cc OHV 4-stroke engine maxing out at 3500 starting watts and 3000 running watts, the Generac GP3500iO is a heavy-duty, RV ready portable generator that can run up to 11 hours.

Weighing in at 75 pounds, this generator is actually one of the most portable of the options on the market that are RV ready. The framing makes for a simple setup anywhere, great for on the go.

The GP3500iO is another generator backed by Generac’s three-year limited warranty which authorizes any Generac dealer to perform any warranty services.

RV portable generators require more power output and, as a result, it can be hard to find a truly portable one. Generac’s GP3500iO is just that weighing in at 75 pounds with a super versatile frame making it perfect for the great outdoors.

With all the power, unfortunately, comes a loss in fuel efficiency in this generator. Another less pitfall is that it does not have a push to start operation, but that just means one less gadget to potentially malfunction you’ll have to worry about.

Pros

  • RV ready
  • Compact
  • PowerRUSH technology
  • Quieter model

Cons

  • Pull cord start
  • Not fuel-efficient

What Customers Are Saying

“Good generator for the money!
“Great for price, size, and sound! A+”

How Do Portable Generators Work?

Think of a portable generator as miniature power stations or electrical plants, they work in the same way by converting mechanical energy into electrical energy. Portable generators typically operate off of gas, diesel, or propane, and some using rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

Main Components of a Portable Generator

In order to fully understand how portable generators work, it is important to break down the main components within them. The five main components of a portable generator are:

Engine

Portable generators function off of an internal combustion engine. Once fuel is injected into the chamber, a spark ignites which converts the fuel into mechanical energy to start the process.

Alternator

There are two components within the alternator that work together in converting the mechanical energy into electricity. The rotator, a rotating component within the alternator, creates magnetic fields around coils. The magnetic field, in turn, generates an excess of electrons, producing electricity to power your appliances.

Fuel Tank

The fuel tank is where you fill your portable generator with gas, diesel, or propane. In dual fuel models, you will have the option between two. Remember that you will want to run your generator a few times a year to make sure the fuel does not build up in the tank and cause any issues when you do need it. If your generator runs off of a rechargeable lithium-ion battery you will not have to worry about fuel tank capacity.

Starter

The starter is the mechanism that will start your portable generator. In newer machines, this is as simple as pushing a button. Other times, you will find a pull cord mechanism is required to start your gas generators.

Outlets

The number and type of outlets on your portable generator will be dependant on the make and model that you purchase. This is an important feature to keep in mind when looking for the right generator for your needs as outlets can vary greatly.

Using a Portable Generator on a Home

While there are portable generators out there that produce enough power to use on your home, it is important to note that in order to do so safely, you must have a transfer switch installed prior to doing so. Skipping this step could potentially cause danger to utility workers, damage your appliances, and even cause problems for your generator.

What is a Transfer Switch?

A transfer switch is installed by a licensed electrician, usually costing around $500 to $900, and ensures the safe connection between your portable generator and your circuit panel menu. It is important to have a transfer switch installed because of the high level of power being produced. Transfer switches help to prevent surges and back feeding the grid, which are potential hazards when utilizing generators for the home.

Is a Portable Generator Right for You?

Portable chargers are a great, inexpensive source of backup power for your basic needs. Depending on your budget and wattage consumption, you can easily find an appropriate unit for under $2,000 and even as low as $500.

Deciding whether or not a portable generator is right for you is entirely dependant on your needs. By using the Honda wattage calculator tool you can quickly identify what your needs will be.

If you are looking to provide backup power to your home and are worried you cannot find proper running wattage from a portable generator, the next alternative would be installing a standby generator. These can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 but are known to be solid investments.

Buyer’s Guide: Best Portable Generator

When researching portable generators to purchase, there are a number of different features to keep in mind. Finding the best portable generator for you will depend entirely on how you prioritize the following features.

Cost

If you are looking for something that will be powerful and long-lasting, it is worth putting the money into it. While there are less expensive generators out there, you are not always getting the quality with these choices. Take into consideration warranties, as many of the more expensive brands and models offer warranties to help with your peace of mind in making such a significant purchase.

Power

Whether you are looking to be able to power your house in times of emergency, your construction site, or your campsite, it is important to determine the level of wattage you will need in your generator. The Honda wattage calculator from their site is a helpful tool that will help you calculate your exact wattage needs.

Noise

Another thing to consider is the amount of noise your generator will produce. Some campsites and RV parks only allow the use of generators that fall below a specific noise threshold. There might be too much site traffic which interferes with the experience. There are some very powerful generators out there that produce minimal noise, but you will likely have to pay more for this feature.

Build

There are a lot of different materials used in portable generators, but depending on the level of convenience you are hoping for might determine your ideal content. If lightweight is a priority, there are plastic models available, but they are not great for withstanding the weather. Likewise, steel frame generators are great and long-lasting but can be very heavy and add bulk to the body.

Size

While all portable generators are built to be moved around, they can vary drastically in size. The more amount of power needed, the larger size your generator will need to be. Also, the amount of time it can run, and the fuel tank capacity will be determining factors of size as well. If you are in need of something that will be constantly moved around, you will likely have to compromise some of the power.

Run Time

The amount of time your generator can run on a single tank determines its run time. Generally speaking, the larger the fuel tank content, the more likely it can run for long periods. If you are in need of overnight power, a unit that can run for long periods might be crucial.

Fuel Efficiency

In the midst of a true emergency, fuel might not be easy to obtain. Having a machine that operates at high efficiency is not only good for the amount of time it can run but can help save money over time as well. You can also seek out dual fuel options to increase your efficiency over time.

Easy Setup

Although your portable generator is built for convenience, you will see that some will require additional setup prior to use. Make sure you read through the details before making your purchase. With today’s technology, most portable generators are pretty straightforward, but it is definitely something to look out for.

User Friendly

Some portable generators can be more complex than others. If you are a first time user, you might want to look for one that is known to be more user friendly. This can mean easy setup, ease of use, and clear identifying features on the control panel.

Safety

Anytime you are dealing with large amounts of power and electronics, safety should always be a high priority. At a minimum, make sure your portable generator offers the following safety features:

  • Surge protectors
  • Auto-low oil shutdown
  • Spark arresting features
  • Circuit protection sensor

There are other things to keep in mind with generators that operate off of fuel including the toxic carbon monoxide fumes. Make sure there is a way for the exhaust to proper be moved away from your direction to ensure no CO emissions enter your immediate area.

Conventional vs. Inverter Generators

Conventional generators run at a constant, full speed, producing a generous amount of power. While this is great for larger appliances, this can be harder on sensitive electronics. A portable inverter generator can auto-adjust depending on the load, making them a typically more fuel-efficient option.

Control Panel

Newer technologies allow portable generators to start by simply pushing a button. There are other clearly marked control panel features that make portable generators incredibly user friendly. Also, an identifiable fuel gauge is always good for monitoring fuel levels.

Outlets

Outlets tend to be an afterthought when researching portable generators. You want to make sure that the generator you shop for has the proper outlets you will need to power your appliances properly. RV-readiness is a feature that can help save you extra money and headache in the long run.

Environmental Factors

The primary fuel for portable generators is fossil fuels that emit toxic fumes including carbon monoxide. Today, modern generators are much more cleaner than their predecessors, they are not necessarily environmentally friendly. Most states have regulations that must be followed regarding the use of generators. Make sure you check on the restrictions not only in your area but areas you plan on using your portable generator.

EPA Compliance

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determines specific regulations regarding environmental impact through the use of generators including CO emissions. All of the portable generators from our list are EPA compliant.

CARB Compliance

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) also produces strict regulations for using any sort of generators, in efforts to minimize the air pollution from carbon monoxide in the state. While these regulations came from California, there are multiple other states that have adopted these standards to limit CO emissions.

Customer Service

Ideally, you are not making a large purchase with the thought of having to go through customer service to have issues with it irradicated, but things happen. When it comes down to it, you want to make sure that the company you are purchasing is easy to reach should you need any assistance with your generator. One key factor to look out for is the warranty associated with your generator. Not only do you want to make sure your model is covered, but look into the details of the warranty as well.

FAQ

Do you still have questions? If so, we may be able to address them with these FAQs.

Can I run my entire house on a portable generator?

It is possible to run your house on a portable generator provided it has sufficient wattage to cover your larger appliances like an air conditioner, refrigerator, and lcd tv. Typically, however, homeowners opt for a large generator to cover this need.

What size generator do I need for home use?

The usage of your generate will determine the size required to power your home. You can look online for different wattage calculators to determine what size generator you will need. Take a look at the Honda wattage calculator to get a better idea of your needs.

How far do I need to put my generator from my home?

Always make sure to run a generator a minimum of 20 feet away from your house, and never in an enclosed space. Also, make sure the exhaust is directed away from any windows or doors to maintain the safety of everyone inside and avoid potential carbon monoxide poisoning. If needed, you can find heavy-duty extension cords for this purpose.

Can I connect a portable generator to my house without a transfer switch?

While transfer switches are the most recommended way to hook up your portable generator to your house, they can be quite costly. While you might be able to find alternatives out there, we do not recommend them. Transfer switches enable safe connections that help to maintain the integrity of your home, appliances, and the generator itself.

What is the best portable generator to buy?

Our top pick overall is the Honda 2200i, but the best portable generator for you is going to depend on your needs. We have identified some of the best of their class to help narrow down some of your options.

Is Generac a good portable generator?

Generac is a widely popular generator producer in the United States, namely for their home standby generators. They do also produce a wide range of portable generators as well.

Is Honda a reliable generator brand?

Honda is known for being a leader in terms of technology in their generators. The brand itself is always reliable and notably fuel-efficient.

Final Thoughts

In times of need, a generator can make or break your situation, which is why we have gone ahead and narrowed down the best of the best portable generators available. Our top pick overall is the Honda 2200i, which packs power and efficiencies in a lightweight and reliable portable generator.

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