Portable generators are great sources of electricity when the main grid power goes down, or when you are outdoor camping or moving around in your RV. The best portable generator allows you to power your appliances and charge your devices in all situations. However, without enough information, finding the best generator can be a challenge. To help in your search, we prepared this generator guide. With our detailed comparison chart and unbiased portable generator reviews, you’ll learn everything about portable generators, and how to pick the most suitable one for your needs.

Our panel tests generators according to stringent criteria, featuring only the top rated portable generators in the market. We are showing different types of generators, light-duty and heavy-duty comparison lists, so we can cover all your different power needs. With our vital buying guide, we will also explain how to decide on your generator of choice, as well as how to maintain it to stay in top conditions and save your investment.

Best Portable Generator Reviews – Top 10

  • Westinghouse WGen7500Wireless Remote + Electric + Recoil Start
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • Starting 9000W - Continuous 7500W
  • Fuel Type: Gas Capacity: 6.6 gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 16 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 64 dB.
  • Weight: 200 lb.
  • Warranty: 3-Year
  • Price: $$$

  • Honda EU2200IRecoil Start
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • Starting 2200W - Continuous 1800W
  • Fuel Type: Gas Capacity: 0.95 gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 8.1 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 48 dB.
  • Weight: 47 lb.
  • Warranty: 3-Year
  • Price: $$$$

  • Champion Power Equipment 100554Wireless Remote + Electric + Recoil Start
  • 4.4 Customer Rating
  • Starting 4375W - Continuous 3500W
  • Fuel Type: Gas Capacity: 4.7 gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 18 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 68 dB.
  • Weight: 120 lb.
  • Warranty: 3-Year
  • Price: $$

  • WEN 56500Electric + Recoil Start
  • 4.3 Customer Rating
  • Starting 5000W - Continuous 4500W
  • Fuel Type: Gas Capacity: 3.4 gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 12 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 68 dB.
  • Weight: 121 lb.
  • Warranty: 2-Year
  • Price: $$

  • Champion Power Equipment 100302Recoil Start
  • 4.3 Customer Rating
  • Starting 4000W - Continuous 3500W
  • Fuel Type: Gas Capacity: 2.9 gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 17 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 64 dB.
  • Weight: 81 lb.
  • Warranty: 3-Year
  • Price: $$$

  • Briggs & Stratton P2200Recoil Start
  • 4.0 Customer Rating
  • Starting 2200W - Continuous 1700W
  • Fuel Type: Gas Capacity: 1.0 gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 8 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 59 dB.
  • Weight: 55 lb.
  • Warranty: 2-Year
  • Price: $$$

Scroll down to see our complete top 10 portable generators list and more exclusive comparison tables of the best generators for low-duty and high-duty power needs.

1. Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator

Best Portable Generator

The latest hit model from Westinghouse comes packed with power and ease of use features. At 7500 running watts and 9000 starting watts, the Westinghouse WGen7500 is the best portable generator and the most powerful in our list. This gas-powered generator is designed with durability and functionality as a focal point.

Starting, set up, and maintenance is easy, it’ll pretty much start working straight out the box, requiring minimal assembly.

Has a 6.6-gallon gas tank, the WGen7500 is a powerhouse, and proves more than capable of covering your home power needs, even over an extended period of time.

Equipped with some useful features, such as; the built-in fuel gauge to easily check the gas level, low oil automatic shut-off, overload protected outlets including twist lock outlet for powering heavy-duty appliances. It’s also EPA, CSA, and CARB approved.

Westinghouse, a trusted name in the world of electrical products, and has built its reputation quality craftsmanship and excellent service over the years. The WGen7500 is a reliable and powerful generator built with the quality you would expect from this brand.

See also – Westinghouse WGen7500 review


  • Powerful, heavy-duty engine with a cast iron steel frame that provides additional protection for the whole unit.
  • Starting and running this machine is easy with a manual recoil, electric start, and a remote key start.
  • Also, it’s fuel-efficient with long run time. It offers more than 10 hours on a single full tank of gas when at half load.


  • Heavy, weighing a bit over 200 pounds. Not easy to store or transport.
  • Rated 64 decibels 23 feet away, this unit may not be quiet enough for camping grounds and simple outdoor tranquility time.

2. Honda EU2200I Portable Generator

Portable Generator Reviews

Famous for its reliability and exceptional performance comes the Honda EU2200i to continue the great success of the EU2000i. Now it has a stronger engine with 10% more power, simplified maintenance, and an improved recoil starter. All with no change in weight or cost.

This generator is designed to handle your portable power needs comfortably. It delivers power and usability, while maintaining industry standards of quality and workmanship. 

It produces 2200W surge and 1800W running power. Equipped with advanced inverter technology that is suitable for powering sensitive electronics that require a clean power source. 

It’s also parallel capable. Simply connect it with a second identical unit to double the power output to accommodate larger loads. It’s a CARB compliant generator, perfect for a variety of professional and recreational activities. Backed by a 3-year warranty that covers it from top to bottom.

See also – Honda EU2200i reviewYamaha EF2000iSv2 review


  • An Eco-throttle switch that allows the engine to run at optimum speeds to match the electrical load, which reduces the fuel consumption and the noise level.
  • A gas capacity of just under one gallon allows it to run 8 hours at quarter load, 6 hours at half load, and 3 hours at full capacity.
  • Part of the super quiet generator series. It makes only 48 decibels at quarter load and 57 decibels at full load.
  • A small portable generator that only weighs 46.5 pounds.
  • It has a fuel-off feature, which allows the generator to run dry before storage.


  • If the generator is not level when changing the oil, overfilling can easily occur.
  • No gas gauge, which makes it hard to monitor the fuel level.
  • Also, the control panel has three light indicators. Given the already high cost of the generator, it should have a LED display.

3. Champion Power Equipment 100554 Portable Generator

Best Portable Generator for Home Use

The Champion Power Equipment 100554 is a powerful gas-fueled generator with great features. Including cold-weather engine start and a 30 amp RV outlet.

This generator has 4375 surge watts and 3500 continuous watts, and runs for 12 hours at 50% of the rated load. It’s capable of starting and running a 15,000 BTU RV air conditioning system. Making it more than capable of handling your trailer, boat, or backup power needs.

The electric remote control makes this machine more than a little user-friendly. It also has an electric start, a manual recoil start, and a low-oil automatic shut-off, which are some of the great features available on this machine.

It has a handle that can be folded away when not in use and a special design of never go flat wheels that allow for easy transportation. In addition, the cast iron sleeve on the engine makes it a durable portable generator, CARB compliant with low emissions. The Champion 3500W portable generator offers good value while being fuel-efficient and powerful.

See also – Champion Power Equipment 46539 review


  • A VoltGuard feature for monitoring the voltage output. It protects your connected appliances from power surges with a 20-second power delay. Additionally, it also cuts off the power a few seconds before the engine stops.
  • An IntelliGauge LED screen, showing hours, hertz, and volts in use.
  • Moreover, the wireless remote start allows you to conveniently run your generator from up to 80 feet away.


  • Unfortunately, it is fairly loud for noise enforced campgrounds, rated at 68db.
  • Also, the oil should be changed every 50 hours, which is every couple of days if you are using it on a regular basis. That said, if your needs are short term and intermittent, it’s a great affordable option.

4. WEN 56500 Portable Generator

Best Generator

The WEN 56500 is a good example of an economical powerful portable generator. On a full gas tank of 3.4 gallons, you can run this generator up to 7.5 hours at half load.

Packing 5000 starting watts and 4500 running watts, enough power to run your electric stove, oven, and sump pump. With two household outlets, one 120V RV, and one 30A prong outlet, it’s easy to use with a myriad of devices; able to run your tools and appliances.

Weighing 121 pounds, however, the collapsible handles and rolling wheels make it easy to transport.

Featuring an electric start switch, hour meter, low-oil shutdown, overload protection, automatic voltage regulator, and everything to ensure your machine and connected appliances are all running safely.

It’s also CARB compliant, meaning it’s safe to use and operate in all 50 states. With nationwide customer service, the WEN 5000W portable generator has all the power you need, combined with user-friendly features.


  • A digital readout to help monitor maintenance intervals and schedule oil changes.
  • An easy voltage selector to switch between 120V and 140V.
  • Armed by a steel frame enclosure and an internal cooling air system to keep the engine from getting warm, thus, maximizing engine longevity and durability.


  • At 68 decibels, it may sound like a vacuum cleaner when placed nearby.
  • Poor quality control during manufacturing.

5. Champion Power Equipment 100302 Digital Hybrid

Generator Reviews

Rated at 3500W running power and 4000W surge power. A cost-effective digital hybrid portable generator, RV ready with quiet technology. The Champion Power Equipment 100302 is an inverter generator in open-frame design. It is more efficient and comes fully assembled with a durable steel frame.

Has a large gas tank of 2.9 gallons that allows it to run for up to 17 hours at quarter load. Fuel efficiency is an important thing to consider when choosing a generator, and this one makes a great example of that.

RV ready with enough power to run a 15,000 BTU RV air conditioner. Not to mention, with the incorporated inverter technology, it’s also suitable for use with sensitive electronic devices. Produces clean power with less than 3% total harmonic distortion.

Features a convenient control panel to easily access all controls in one area. It has two 120V household outlets, one 120V RV outlet, and a 12V DC outlet. The Champion Power Equipment 100302 digital hybrid is a great solution for recreational use and can also serve as portable backup power during emergencies.

See also – Champion 100302 reviewChampion 100520 review


  • Has a smart economy mode that controls the engine speed according to the applied load. This feature allows for higher fuel economy, extended engine life, and quieter performance.
  • Parallel ready, it has the ability to connect with an identical unit or 2800W+ inverter generators.
  • Safe inverter power in a cost-effective design.


  • Weighs almost 83 pounds and has no wheels. For added portability, you can acquire a wheel kit but at an extra cost.
  • Also, adding fuel might be a challenge. Easy to accidentally splash out gasoline unless you go slow and careful.

6. Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 PowerSmart Series Generator

Top Rated Portable Generators

The 55 pounds, Briggs & Stratton P2200, produces a steady output of 1700 watts, with a surge output of 2200 watts.

Equipped with multiple outlets, this inverter generator is safe to use with sensitive electronic devices; with less than 3% total harmonic distortion. Making it suitable for powering a variety of appliances, such as your mobile devices, blender, and TV.

The one-gallon gas fuel tank available on this inverter generator allows it to run up to 8 hours at 25% load.

It features an overload alert system, to automatically adjust the engine speed according to the power being used to save fuel, run longer, and operate quieter. There is also an H-handle built into this generator that makes it easy to pick up and move, even for one person. A great generator for camping and tailgating weekends.

The Briggs & Stratton 30651, P2200 PowerSmart Series, light-weight yet powerful enough to run multiple appliances at once, offering a reasonable price tag compared to other models of inverter generators.

See also – Briggs & Stratton P2200 reviewBriggs & Stratton Q6500 review


  • User-friendly with a convenient control panel for easy operation.
  • Fuel efficient with an auto-idle control feature. In Eco-mode, the operating volume is 59 dB.
  • It comes with a dedicated parallel port, which you can connect a P2200 or a P3000 unit for more power output.


  • While lacking an electric start button, running this generator may require more than just 3 pulls.
  • Produces too little power to operate certain heavy-duty equipment.

  • DuroStar DS4000SRecoil Start
  • 4.2 Customer Rating
  • Starting 4000W - Continuous 3300W
  • Fuel Type: Gas Capacity: 4.0 gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 12 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 69 dB.
  • Weight: 94 lb.
  • Warranty: 1-Year
  • Price: $

  • DuroMax XP4400EElectric + Recoil Start
  • 4.0 Customer Rating
  • Starting 4400W - Continuous 3500W
  • Fuel Type: Gas Capacity: 4.0 gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 12 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 69 dB.
  • Weight: 120 lb.
  • Warranty: 1-Year
  • Price: $

  • Generac 5939 GP5500Recoil Start
  • 4.0 Customer Rating
  • Starting 6875W - Continuous 5500W
  • Fuel Type: Gas Capacity: 6.7 gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 15 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 65 dB.
  • Weight: 180 lb.
  • Warranty: 2-Year
  • Price: $$

  • WEN 56105Recoil Start
  • 3.9 Customer Rating
  • Starting 1000W - Continuous 900W
  • Fuel Type: Gas Capacity: 1.0 gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 7.5 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 60 dB.
  • Weight: 39 lb.
  • Warranty: 2-Year
  • Price: $

7. DuroStar DS4000S Portable Generator

Best Rated Portable Generators

4000 starting watts and 3300 running watts, the DuroStar DS4000S, is a rugged power machine. Ideal for a variety of uses, from running your power tools in your remote project to getting you through a power outage.

The heavy-duty steel frame eliminates rattle, allowing for quieter operation. Rated at 69 dB at quarter load, this portable generator is relatively quiet for its size.

Equipped with a full power panel; easy to use recoil start, complete with warning light indicators, circuit breaker, voltmeter, and power outlets.

Its 4-gallon gas tank allows it to run for 8 hours at half load. And the gas gauge is easy to read, allowing you to check the gas level at all times.

It has a low oil shut-off feature, which prevents damage to the 7 horsepower air-cooled engine if you run low on oil. Overall, the DuroStar DS4000S is affordable yet works efficiently, and has a variety of uses.

See also – DuroStar DS4000S review


  • Durable, heavy-duty steel frame design. And has an easy to operate, powerful engine.
  • It offers excellent value for its size compared to other generators.


  • The fuel consumption is high and requires frequent oil changes.
  • Additionally, it doesn’t come equipped with wheels, while weighing 94 pounds; which is rather inconvenient for a portable generator, but it does have an optional wheel kit that you can purchase separately.

8. DuroMax XP4400E Portable Generator

DuroMax XP4400E Gas Powered Generator

A 7 horsepower engine, this gas-powered generator has a starting output of 4400 watts and a continuous output of 3500 watts. The DuroMax XP4400E is a good option for outdoor projects for powering your tools and equipment.

At 50 percent load, you can run this generator for up to 8 hours on a single full tank of four gallons. It has a robust steel frame built around the engine, which effectively eliminates rattle during operation, releasing 69 dB at quarter load.

Comes with a standard recoil start as well as an easy start electric key option. Some other great features on this generator include a low-oil protection system, an advanced automatic voltage regulator, and a voltmeter with a battery charge light indicator.

It also has overload protected outlets to safely charge your batteries and devices. It has multiple outlets, includes a twist lock for tools requiring a high-powered outlet. Also, the DuroMax XP4400E is equipped with wheels and a collapsible handle for easy transportation, but some assembly is required.

See also – DuroMax XP4400E review


  • Powerful with a steel frame heavy-duty design and comes at a great value.
  • Has a voltage selector RV switch allows you to switch between different power modes 120V and 240V.


  • Hard to drain the oil and the tools included in the box are insufficient.
  • Also, has some performance issues when the load increases past 20 amps or 3000 watts.

9. Generac 5939 GP5500 Portable Generator

Generac 5939 GP5500 Gas Powered Portable Generator

This gas-powered generator produces 5500 watts of consistent power and 6875 watts starting power.

The Generac 5939 has a 6.7-gallon gas fuel tank and runs up to 10 hours on a single tank of gas when used at half capacity. The OHV engine uses splash lubrication to aid in a longer life of the entire generator.

It runs high power appliances and ready for rugged working conditions, able to power your freezer, heater, and window air conditioner. And with its covered outlets protecting it from the environment, you can use it safely outdoors, even in extreme weather conditions.

The low-oil shut-off feature prevents engine damage in case your generator goes out of oil, and it has an incorporated hour meter and a fuel gauge that makes knowing how much fuel you have left a breeze.

The fold-able handle and unique never go flat wheels allow for easy transportation, which is an essential feature for a portable generator that weighs 180 pounds, but they require some assembly out of the box. The Generac 5939, also known as GP5500, is a powerful, good option for your remote job site as well as your emergency backup power.

See also – Generac 5939 GP5500 review


  • A powerful engine capable of powering heavy-duty equipment.
  • Durable enclosure, made of steel. It also has a steel-tube frame that adds durability and strength to the whole unit.


  • Not easy to start-up with the recoil option while lacking an electric start switch.
  • Also, changing the spark plugs is a challenge as you would have to remove the fuel tank in order to reach it.

10. WEN 56105 Gas Powered Portable Generator

WEN 56105 Portable Generator

At just 39 pounds, it’s as portable as generators can get. The easy to use design and the carrying handle makes it ideal for light camping and emergency backup use.

Rated at 1000 watts of starting power and 900 watts of continuous power and can run for 5 hours on its one gallon of gas tank at half load.

The WEN 56105 compact portable generator produces 60 decibels of noise when running at quarter load. It’s CARB compliant and has a spark arrestor that makes it safe to use in public areas as national parks and camping sites.

It features only one power outlet on the side with its reset button close by. However, this one outlet will provide you with enough power for your camping mini-fridge or your tailgating sound system.

It can effectively power a wide range of small appliances that do not consume a lot of power. However, it does limit its use to lighter applications.

To sum it up, the 56105 is only a little update to the older model, PowerPro 56101. Nonetheless, it’s a good generator for the money that could be of great benefit for any camper.

See also – WEN 56180 review


  • Affordable and comes in a compact design, makes carrying and storing an easy task.
  • The best part is that it does not require engine oil and oil changes as it has a 2 stroke engine, which uses a mixture of gas and oil as fuel.


  • Weak recoil components and handle that can easily break.
  • Also, it idles very rough and can be fairly loud.

Best Portable Generator Comparison - Heavy-Duty

Feature/ProductWestinghouse WGen7500Champion Power Equipment 100554WEN 56500Champion Power Equipment 100302Generac 5939
Wattage:9000W / 7500W4375W / 3500W5000W / 4500W4000W / 3500W6875W / 5500W
Engine Displacement (cc):420 cc.208 cc.272 cc.224 cc.389 cc.
Engine Horsepower (HP):12.8 HP7 HP6 HPNot AvailableNot Available
Starting Method:Wireless Remote + Electric + RecoilWireless Remote + Electric + RecoilElectric + RecoilRecoilRecoil
Fuel Gauge:AvailableAvailableAvailableNot AvailableAvailable
Low Oil Shutdown:AvailableAvailableAvailableAvailableAvailable
Exhaust Emissions Certificate:EPA + CARB + CSAEPA + CARBEPA + CARBEPA + CARBEPA

Best Portable Generator Comparison - Light-Duty

Feature/ProductHonda EU2200IBriggs & Stratton P2200DuroStar DS4000SDuroMax XP4400EWEN 56105
Wattage:2200W / 1800W2200W / 1700W4000W / 3300W4400W / 3500W1000W / 900W
Engine Displacement (cc):121 cc.111 cc.208 cc.200 cc.63 cc.
Engine Horsepower (HP):3.6 HPNot Available7 HP7 HP1.2 HP
Starting Method:RecoilRecoilRecoilElectric + RecoilRecoil
Fuel Gauge:Not AvailableAvailableAvailableAvailableNot Available
Low Oil Shutdown:AvailableAvailableAvailableAvailableAvailable
Exhaust Emissions Certificate:EPA + CARBCSAEPA + CSAEPA + CSAEPA + CARB

Vital Guide to Find the Best Portable Generator in 10 Steps

Portable generators can serve as an emergency power option in homes, or as a primary source of electricity off-grid such as on a construction site, on a camping trip, or in your RV. Generators history goes a long way. Today, with such a wide range of options when it comes to these portable engines, finding the perfect generator for your specific needs and budget is not an easy task. Below, we have outlined the things that will help you pick the right portable generator for your home or off-the-grid power needs. They include:

  1. Power Requirements

portable power

How and where you intend to use your portable generator determines the power rating of the generator that you should get. The power requirement in a home is different from the power requirements on a camping day or a construction site, and for each of these situations, you will need generators of different ratings. The amount of power that you need is influenced primarily by the items that you intend to power up.

Appliances are usually rated in their starting and running wattage. Starting watts are the amount of power required to start-up an appliance, and power consumption is usually highest at this point. The running watts are the amount of power needed to run the appliance continuously. The starting wattage rating is several times larger than the running wattage, and this may mislead you on the amount of power that you require from your portable generator.

As you estimate the amount of power that you will need, factor in all the applications that you intend to power up and pick a generator that is rated slightly higher than that figure. The extra allowance caters for additional power needs that may arise in the future.

  1. Quiet Operation

Generators that run too loudly can cause hearing damage, and act as a nuisance to your neighbors. You should, therefore, buy a portable generator that runs as quietly as possible, or purchase long cables to be able to set your generator a few meters away. The acceptable noise level for generators is 60 decibels and less. At this level, you can comfortably hold a conversation and act less as a disturbance to your neighbors at home, in your business premises, or at the campsite. Some examples of noise operation measured in decibel:

  • Whisper talking – 30 dB.
  • Operating refrigerator – 50 dB.
  • Vacuum cleaner – 70 dB.
  • Blender – 80 dB.

Professional generators for factories are a little bit louder because of their high power rating. Professionals using these machines are advised to wear the right protective gear to safeguard their health and well-being. Here you can learn more about how to use a generator safely.

  1. Fuel Economy

Efficient fuel consumption is a feature of a good portable generator. Such generators, adjust the rate at which they consume fuel with the applied load. With this setting, the engine runs in full-throttle only when the applied load equals the generator’s maximum rating. Such as Honda generators using the Eco-Throttle feature, which ensures that the engine consumes enough fuel in line with the applied load. Efficient fuel consumption helps you to save money on fuel expenditure.

  1. Run-Time of a Fuel Tank

Generators usually indicate their run time at either quarter (25%) or half (50%) of the load. This represents how long it will run on a full tank of fuel at the set percentage of its total power. If you intend to use the generator for emergencies, and you cannot estimate how long the main power supply will be out, then you should get a generator with a large fuel tank.

  1. Ease of Use

The best-rated generator that you can pick is easy to use and features automatic control options that protect the generator from damage. Low-oil shutdown feature, which turns the engine off when the level of oil gets too low. A fuel gauge to easily check the remaining run time. An electric start is another of such features; with electric ignition, you simply push a button to start the engine. The pull cord method of starting generators is outdated and tiring. However, a good generator has a pull cord as a backup starting option.

  1. Ease of Movement

The weight of a generator is not necessarily tied to the amount of power it generates, but high power generators are usually a bit heavier. The presence of wheels and handles makes it easy to move these engines around. Professional generators are a bit heavier since they pack up more components, and a larger fuel tank to be able to generate all that power that you need for your various power tools and equipment.

  1. Number of Outlets

A generator with several outlets allows you to optimally use your generator by spreading its load. However, using all the outlets on your generator is not advisable as it strains the generator, and this puts its longevity in jeopardy. We recommend using all the outlets only in emergency situations, or when the appliances that you are using are low-wattage.

  1. Emissions

Generators that run on fossil fuels are the biggest culprits when it comes to emissions. This includes diesel and gasoline generators. If you are looking for a ‘green’ generator, then a solar generator or those that run on propane may be ideal for you. Also, look for the exhaust certificates that the generator could obtain, such as EPA, CSA, or CARB.

  1. Budget

The price of a portable generator is influenced by:

  • The amount of power it generates.
  • The ease of use features it has.
  • It’s noise rating.
  • The brand manufacturer.

Generators from established brands such as Honda and Yamaha are somehow pricey, but for a good reason. These manufacturers are experienced in making these engines, and you can be sure that their generators are reliable enough to serve you for a very long time.

  1. Warranty and Customer Service

Generators are pricey machines that could set you back a couple of thousands of dollars if they get damaged. It is for this reason that you should only buy a generator that is backed by a long-term warranty from the manufacturer. This way, you can have your generator repaired or replaced in the event of a failure. A long warranty also shows the manufacturer’s trust in their product. A good warranty is two or three years long. Read the warranty information carefully to know what is covered and what isn’t. And, keep in mind to never accept damaged goods.

Check out the top 10 list of the most useful portable generator accessories.

How Much Power Do I Need?

Portable generators are convenient power sources that are used as primary and backup power options in various situations. You can use a portable generator as:

  1. An emergency source of power for your home or business establishment.
  2. For recreational activities as a primary source of power for tailgating, camping, and RVing.
  3. To power up tools in a job, farm, or a construction site.

The amount of power that you need in each of these situations depends on various factors. Such as, the equipment, tools, and appliances that you intend to power up with the portable generator. Here is how to decide on the amount of power that you require in each of these situations.

  • Home Power Requirements

outdoor generators

The amount of power that you need in your home depends on the electric appliances and systems that you have installed. You also need to decide which appliances will be running simultaneously in case of a power outage. This will help you determine the size of the portable generator that you should get for your home emergency needs.

If you are using a pump to draw water from a well for home use, and you’d still want to operate it when the main grid power fails, then you will require a powerful generator that is capable of running the pump and other appliances. A well pump may require more than 3800W of power for successful operation. You, therefore, require a generator rated 5000W and above to be able to use the pump and power other appliances in your home.

Other household appliances that require significant amounts of power to operate include:

  • A small furnace that consumes about 3000W of power.
  • A pressure washing machine rated at 3600W.
  • Electric heaters rated at 4500W and above.
  • An electric clothes dryer rated at 5400W.

Portable emergency generators come in different power ratings, with the most common in the range of 3000 – 5000 watts. With this amount of power, you can simultaneously run several appliances such as your AC, TV, and kitchen appliances.

  • Recreational Power Requirements

Thanks to portable generators, campers, and RVers alike enjoy similar power supply benefits to those who are connected to the grid; such as being able to use their mobile devices to remain in touch with friends and family. They are able to use various kitchen appliances to prepare meals and to cool down the place with an air conditioner.

  1. Camping Power Requirements

Items that most campers take with them to camp include a digital camera, coffee pot, and a set of lights. They will also need to charge their phones, and maybe laptops. For a small camping trip, you will probably need to power the lights and charge your phone and laptop. In this case, a small generator rated 1000W or less will do. Heavy campers, with a lot of equipment that require a heavier power supply, would require a generator with a higher power rating in the region of 1000W – 2000W.

Here is how much power some of these items consume in operation:

  • Coffee maker – 600W.
  • A Blender – 300W.
  • Laptop charger – 200W.
  • Light bulbs – 100W.

As you camp, you will, therefore, require power in the range of 1000 – 2000 watts.

  1. RV Power Requirements

A portable generator also comes in handy when powering up the different appliances in your motor-home. The applications that you have in your RV consume a lot of power than those that you will find with an average camper. This is due to the presence of heavy-duty appliances such as an air conditioner, a fridge, and other kitchen appliances such as a microwave and an electric kettle. The AC, which ranks as the highest power-consuming appliance in most RVs, can run on 2000W of power but requires about 3000W to start-up. To power up all these appliances, you will require a portable generator rated at 3500 watts and above.

If you have a larger AC, the best option would be to connect two smaller generators than using one large generator. It’s easier to move two small generators than it is to move a large one. You can learn more about some of the most important efficient items for an RV here.

  • Job Site Power Requirements

Construction and other power tools require a lot of power to be able to function properly. A typical 10 inch saw, for example, requires 4500W starting power, and eventually stabilizes at 1800W running power. The running power increases as you increase the load (cutting through thick timber). You, therefore, require a powerful generator to keep the saw running as well as other power tools such as drills and grinders.

To effectively meet the power requirements at a job site, you will need a generator rated at 7500 watts and above.

How to Determine the Power Requirements of a Specific Appliance?

Typical locations where you can find the power rating of an appliance include:

  • The product stamp at the bottom of the appliance.
  • It’s name tag.
  • The data tag found on motors.

Most appliances indicate their power requirements in amps. Determining the appliance’s power requirement in watts can be challenging if you are not familiar with how to perform the conversions. Here is how to convert the power ratings from amps to watts:

  • Watts = Volts x Amps

Most appliances run on 120 volts. There are those that run on 240 volts, and those that can run on either of these voltages. This simple multiplication will help you to figure out the power rating in watts of an appliance.

Still, have some questions? Read some of the frequently asked questions here.

Types of Generators and their Properties

There are different types of generators to choose from for your power needs. Each of the different types is unique in its mode of operation, built, and the type of fuel it requires for operation. Understanding the different types of generators and how they function will help you in your quest to find the best portable generator for home use or your specific power needs. Here are the different types of generators, showing you a side of their pros, and cons:

gasoline fuel
  • Gas-Powered Generators

Gas-powered generators are the most common type of generators around. They run on gasoline, which is relatively cheaper than other types of fuel. Gasoline is readily available as well; this makes owning a gas-powered generator very convenient. They are safe to use, and they come in smaller sizes, and models making them very portable.

They are, however, not environmentally friendly as they usually produce high emissions when in operation. Gasoline has a shorter lifespan of less than a year and, therefore, storage becomes a challenge. Gasoline generators are not ideal for use in colder environments as they do not start well in such weather. You can also learn more about carbon monoxide poisoning here.

diesel fuel
  • Diesel-Powered Generators

Of all the fuels that can be used on a generator, diesel is the least flammable. Diesel is just as available as gasoline, and this makes for added convenience. These generators are among the most fuel-efficient generators around. They are powerful machines that last longer under rigorous use, provided they are maintained properly. They generate a lot of power, and if you have some heavy-duty tools to power up, then you are better off with a diesel generator. Diesel has a shelf life of about 24 months, much more than that of gasoline.

They are easy to maintain, but when it comes to pricing, they are slightly expensive than gas-powered generators. The emissions of such engines are also prohibitively high, and it is advisable to limit the amount of time you run these generators in a day for environmental protection.

propane fuel
  • Propane-Powered Generators

Propane generators are clean-running engines that run a bit quieter than other types of generators. They are fuel-efficient machines that ensure economy in fuel consumption. Propane is readily available, and it boasts a better shelf life than diesel or gasoline fuels. They are quite affordable when compared to diesel and gas generators. They are durable machines as well, that can serve you for a long time.

Propane generators are ideal for small appliances, or as a backup power option in the event of a power outage. They are not ideal for large power operations as the logistics required to install and store them are quite prohibitive. Propane is highly flammable, and potentially explosive since it is usually kept under high pressure. The fuel systems of these generators are very complex and, therefore, they are subject to frequent failures. Dual fuel generators are also available, where the engine has the ability to burn more than one fuel type.

solar fuel
  • Solar-Powered Generators

Solar generators trap the sun’s energy using solar panels, convert it into electrical energy, and store it in a battery bank for later use. They produce clean, free energy, and the fact that solar energy is a renewable resource means that you will hardly run out of ‘juice’ for your generator. Solar generators have no moving parts, and this makes maintaining them very easy. They can be used outdoor as well as indoor areas since they have no fumes or emissions.

The amount of power produced by solar generators is relatively low when compared to other types of generators. They are not ideal for powering up heavy-duty, or large appliances; unless you have a big enough solar set-up.

To learn more about solar energy, check our article about the milestones of solar power.

  • Inverter Generators

Conventional generators are usually characterized by power surges that are particularly harmful to sensitive electronics. Inverter generators, on the other hand, incorporate built-in inverters that convert the direct current into a smooth sine wave power by limiting their total harmonic distortion; making them safe to use with delicate appliances and electronics. Learn more about conventional generators vs. inverter generators.

Portable Generators are Essential

A portable generator produces a steady supply of electricity to power your basic needs at home, or specific appliances, or tools. It comes in handy in various situations such as:

portable backup power
  • Backup Power for Households

When the main power supply goes off, a lot can go wrong. Your house may heat up beyond habitable levels, fresh supplies in your freezer may go bad, and you are left disconnected from the rest of the world when your smartphone goes off as a result of no charge. With a whole house generator, you will be able to power up your entire home and your critical appliances such as the AC, the refrigerator, the lights, and charge your mobile devices. If you intend to use a portable generator as permanent backup power for your home, we advise having a transfer switch installed by the electrical panel for an effective changeover in the event of a power outage, and upon resumption of the main supply. You can also check our article to learn more about what are the safest ways to connect a generator to a house.

  • Backup Power for Businesses

Businesses that might be harmed when there is no power for a couple of hours would greatly benefit from having a portable generator for their businesses. Such businesses include those that offer internet-based services to their clients. Or those that require their workforce to file their task reports online, such as insurance firms and banks. Small businesses such as restaurants, markets, farms, and butcher shops that rely on a refrigerator to keep their stock fresh would benefit from a portable generator to power up the freezer when there is a power outage. In addition to food trucks or mobile shops that would require a portable outdoor power source.

  • Power Supply in Severe Weather Conditions

Those who live in severe climates can benefit significantly from portable generators. Power failures in extremely cold areas can be fatal. But with a portable generator, you will be able to power your heater or keep the electric furnace running. If you live in the coastal areas where tornadoes and hurricanes are a common occurrence. Power outages as a result of damaged power lines can put you in the dark for a very long time. Owning a portable generator allows you to power up your home, and live as comfortably as you would with the mains supply. Learn more about power outage preparedness here.

  • Power for Recreational Activities

A portable generator provides power as you camp or in your motor-home. You are, therefore, able to enjoy the convenience of your home at your campsite or in your RV. You will be able to make coffee, cool the place down with an AC, and charge your electronic gadgets.

  • Power Supply at the Construction Site

Builders at a construction site often require electricity to power up construction tools and equipment, such as drills and power saws. These tools make work at the construction site easier, and the builders are able to cover a lot in a short period of time. A portable generator allows the professionals to power their tools as well as light up the place, and this way, they can work through the night.

Bottom Line

Portable generators are helpful in different circumstances to ensure adequate power supply in your home, outdoor activities, or your business premises. With our comprehensive guide and analysis, finding the best portable generator for home use, recreational activities, or even for a job-site should be an easy task. Our portable generator reviews feature only the best portable generators from the best generator brands. We’ve analyzed the features and benefits of each of these models. We have explained in detail what you should look for when choosing a suitable portable generator. By now, you should be well equipped with all the information that you require to pick the best generator that is perfect for your specific needs.