Inverter generators are the best portable power sources. They carry distinctive characteristics that make them suitable for many situations. This is due to their lightweight nature, stable power, fuel efficiency, and quiet performance. Our expert team analyzed the top-performing models and picked the best inverter generator currently available.
In this guide, we showcase some of the inverter generator reviews of the units that stand out the most. A selection that passed the stringent criteria, as features alone are sometimes not enough to know how a product will perform. There can be some advantages and limitations. However, we are covering them all and will inform you of what to expect.
Ultimately, with our comparison charts and buying guide, you will learn everything you need to know about portable inverter generators. Including the most convenient features, how they work, and how to choose the best one. Read our top recommendations.
The Best Inverter Generators
Fuel Type: Gas
Capacity: 0.95 gal
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Weight: 47.4 lbs
Fuel Type: Gas+Propane
Capacity: 1.1 gal
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Weight: 39 lbs
Fuel Type: Gas
Capacity: 2.2 gal
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Weight: 99.2 lbs
Fuel Type: Gas
Capacity: 1.06 gal
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Weight: 59.5 lbs
Fuel Type: Gas
Capacity: 4.2 gal
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Weight: 155.4 lbs
Fuel Type: Gas
Capacity: 3.4 gal
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Weight: 98 lbs
Vital Guide for the Best Inverter Generators
You’ve decided which type that best fits your needs. Whew! But now you’re trying to determine which one is the best inverter generator within your budget. If you’re reading this, you’re probably the type of person who likes to have all the information before making a purchase decision.
In this case, here are a few things to consider before you buy an inverter generator. These points will help you narrow down all the best portable inverter generator models available to only one.
Wattage – Size
Believe it or not, deciding on where you will mostly use your portable generator is important. Because each place has different power demands that can influence which inverter generator size you’ll want to purchase.
- Home Backup: Simultaneously running various machines and entertainment devices requires extra power. Large inverter generators usually tap out at 7000 watts. This range is suitable for powering all your essential appliances, including the TV, refrigerator, freezer, sump pump, and can also be connected to your house with a transfer switch. If power outages are more frequent, then please refer to standby generators.
- Job Site: Power tools in construction sites require a lot of power to function correctly. Primarily, during start-up, these include drills, sanders, and circular saws. Midsize inverter generators in the range of 2500 to 4500 watts should be sufficient for job sites.
- RV, Boat: For extended off-grid living, you want a well-suited size for your plug-in appliances such as the fridge, microwave oven, space heater, and coffee maker. In this case, the 3000-watt inverter generator range should be ideal. It is also suitable for running an air conditioning unit.
- Camping, Tailgating: If you want to power a fan, a blender, and charge your phone or laptop, then the 2000-watt inverter generator range will suffice. Since there is not much that needs electricity in the middle of the woods, small inverter generators should be ideal. You may also be interested in portable solar generators.
Please check our guide to learn more about how to calculate your power requirements.
Capacity – Think Run Time
Most inverter generators tend to use gas as the primary fuel type. However, there are also dual-fuel generators that are capable of using either gas or LPG. Inverter portable generators usually have gas tanks that hold between 1.0 to 3.0 gallons of fuel, which may not seem like a lot in run time at first glance. However, most models have an economy mode switch. It is often referred to as Idle-control, Eco-mode, Smart-throttle, or Eco-throttle.
This mode uses a load-sensing mechanism that automatically adjusts the engine speed to produce only the required load for your electrical devices. When you connect a few devices, the motor speed increases in response to the electrical draw. When you disconnect them, the motor speed slows down again.
A power inverter generator with Eco-throttle control can run at varying speeds to match the output and burn only as much fuel as needed while maintaining the proper voltage and frequency. Since the engine does not have to run continuously at full speed, it can significantly reduce fuel consumption by 20 to 40%. So you can enjoy an extended power supply.
This further helps reduce the overall exhaust emissions and the noise levels, since a portable generator is loudest when running at full electrical load.
Portability – Handles and Wheels
Inverter generators are the very definition of portable generators. They make portability a primary manufacturing goal. There are open frame inverter generators for high wattage solutions. However, in most cases, they have a compact enclosed case design. They are often found in sizes around two or three cubic feet.
So it’s not unusual to find portable inverter generators under 75 pounds. They are most often light enough to be hand-carried with just a handle. Large units usually utilize wheels and handles to maintain portability.
Parallel Operation – More Power Option
One of the best features of some inverter generators is the parallel capability option. This feature allows you to link two generators together to increase your power capacity. Usually, this feature is limited to connecting two identical units to share the load and deliver double the power output. It allows you to have the portability of inverter generators while achieving higher power output with a capacity to run an entire home during a power outage.
Noise Level – Don’t Keep the Neighbors Up All Night
An inverter portable generator can quietly power the devices you need to run. However, it’s necessary to consider the noise rating, since there is a big difference between one machine and the other. Noise is measured in decibels (dB) for portable power machines. The higher the decibel rating, the louder it is. Most manufacturers measure the noise levels from a distance of 23 feet.
At quarter load, the noise level of some models can drop to 48 decibels. However, at higher loads, the scale is bound to change. So, anything above 60 decibels for an inverter generator is higher than average. As a result, it’s necessary to compare various inverter generator models from highly-rated brands.
Convenient Features – Ease of Use
If you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of portable inverter generators, then you will want a unit that has some user-friendly features, such as:
- Low-oil indicator: An oil alert system that warns you when your portable generator is running low on oil.
- Fuel meter: A fuel gauge is necessary for monitoring the fuel level.
- Hour meter: An LED display or a digital display is useful for showing the running time, watts in use, and much more.
- Wireless remote start: This option allows you to start and stop your unit with a remote start from a distance of up to 300 feet.
- CO guard: A carbon monoxide guard allows the generator to automatically shut down if high levels of CO accumulate around the generator. However, this is only an extra safety feature. You should never operate portable generators indoors. Portable generators are for outdoor use only. Always place the generator at least 20 feet away from your living spaces while directing the exhaust away from occupied areas.
A good inverter generator will come standard with these features. However, make sure to check and weigh out your options.
Avoid – Common Mistakes
Avoiding the following mistakes will ensure that you purchase the best inverter generator money can buy for your power needs.
- Be aware of industry jargon and only focus on the specifications of each unit. All manufacturers advertise their models as the best ones on the market. Don’t get caught up in selling tactics. Instead, compare inverter generators from different brands to find the best one that fits your budget and needs.
- Get an inverter portable generator manufactured by a well-known brand. If you look all over and no one has heard of the company. Then it is best not to purchase from them.
- Make sure that you get a good warranty. If two models match your needs equally, then check the warranty. The one with the best warranty conditions and length is always the most suitable choice. Also, a warranty is an excellent indicator of how confident a brand is about its product.
- Finally, check the price before you purchase. Investigate a bit and check if the price you are getting is the amount you should pay. Usually, buying online will save you money.
So, you’ve decided on the essential features to you and what you need to power; Established an idea about how much power you need and the size of the inverter generator; What a reasonable noise level is; And lastly, which inverter generator has the best value for the money. Next, we answer the inverter generator FAQ.
Our Top Picks
1. Honda EU2200I Inverter Generator
With Honda’s reputation for excellence, this is undoubtedly one of the best portable inverter generators. A compact powerhouse with advanced inverter technology, it’s the top tier of its class. It presents a perfect choice for power-sensitive equipment such as computers, digital electronics, and medical devices.
One of this inverter generator’s main traits is its powerful engine. It features a 121cc GXR120 Honda engine, while similarly specced models usually hold 79cc or 98cc engines. It was initially developed for heavy-duty construction equipment, lending it more power and reliability.
The Honda EU2200i offers a starting wattage of 2200W and a running wattage of 1800W. Plus, it’s parallel capable, allowing you to expand its power output by connecting to another unit and get a total of 4400W.
Super lightweight, only 47 pounds. It has two 120V standard receptacles, one 12V DC, and an enhanced recoil pull-start for an effortless ignition.
Read our in-depth article on the Honda EU2200i
- Better durability, more powerful engine, and better overall performance compared to its predecessor. Managed by Honda’s Eco-Throttle system, which guarantees efficient fuel consumption.
- Runs over 3 hours at full capacity and 8 hours at quarter load on less than a single gallon.
- Extremely quiet, only 48 to 57 decibels.
- The CO-Minder safety feature. It automatically shuts down the generator if dangerous levels of carbon monoxide are detected.
- The fuel-off switch allows the generator to run dry before preparing it for long-term storage. It helps prevent stale fuel-related problems.
- A three-year warranty and support from one of the top brands out there.
- The lack of a fuel gauge makes it hard to monitor the fuel level.
- Given the already high cost of this machine, it should have an LED display. Similarly specced models are cheaper.
2. Champion Power Equipment 200961 Dual Fuel
This dual fuel inverter generator incorporates a powerful 79cc Champion engine. It can run on either gasoline or propane and comes ready with a propane hose and regulator.
When we compare the build quality to other generators, the Champion Power Equipment features a vibrant new compact design. It’s a quiet generator with a smart eco-mode that automatically adjusts the engine speeds to save fuel and produce lower noise levels.
It offers a peak power of 2500 watts and running power of 1850 watts on gas. However, on propane, you get a little bit less power output of 1665 running watts. To increase your power, you can link it with other inverter models using a separate parallel kit.
It’s one of the best inverter generators in this wattage range, designed to produce safe power for sensitive electronics. It offers two outlets for household devices and one DC automotive-style outlet with a dual USB adapter. Additionally, it’s CARB compliant with low emissions and safe for use in all 50 states. It’s supported by a three-year warranty and free lifetime technical support.
You may also be interested in checking the Champion Power Equipment 200987
- Dual fuel option with a fuel selector dial.
- Equipped with cold start technology for easy starting in cold weather.
- Long runtime. At quarter load, it runs over 11 hours on a single tank of gas and runs up to 34 hours on propane.
- Low noise, it operates at 53 dBA.
- Very lightweight. Only 39 pounds, easy to carry with a built-in handle.
- It lacks both an hour meter and a fuel gauge.
- Somewhat difficult to start on propane.
3. WEN 56380i Portable Inverter Generator
Wen 56380i is a powerful inverter generator with enough power to simultaneously run your appliances, power tools, and electronic devices. It offers a surge wattage of 3800W and a running wattage of 3400W.
It features a fuel-efficient economy mode, which means less gasoline consumption, longer engine lifespan, and quieter operation. At full load, it limits the total harmonic distortion to just 1.2%. As a result, it is safe to use with delicate electronics such as laptops, smartphones, and gaming systems.
With a potent 212cc gas engine, it’s also powerful enough to keep the refrigerator, air conditioner, or heater running. It has one TT-30R outlet, two household outlets, and dual 5V USB ports. It’s also parallel capable and can share wattage with other models.
The dry weight is 99 pounds, which could hardly be called “portable.” However, it has a suitcase-style handle and rugged tires that are a big boost in user-friendliness as well as ease of use.
- A push-button electric start and a backup manual rope start.
- Long runtime with a gas tank capacity of 2.2 gallons, runs over 8.5 hours at half load.
- A multi-meter display to help keep you up with scheduled maintenance. It shows the current load, frequency, remaining runtime, and fuel level.
- Low noise, it is rated at 57 decibels.
- A fuel shutoff switch. The fuel valve stops the fuel flow and uses only the remaining fuel from the carburetor before shutting down.
- An easy-access oil cover that makes for easy oil changes.
- The display is not bright enough. It’s particularly challenging to read in daylight.
- The oil replacement intervals are every 25 hours. Therefore, it may not be ideal for extended use on camping grounds, given that it requires you to change the oil almost daily.
4. Generac GP3000i Portable Inverter Generator
The Generac GP3000i features the PowerRush technology that delivers more power for starting up larger appliances. It ran the refrigerator, window air conditioner, and microwave at the same.
It’s designed to compete with the new inverter generators in the same wattage range. Built using the latest inverter technology and equipped with True Power technology, it supplies clean power that is safe for computers and portable electronics.
It has a 149cc four-stroke engine, delivering a surge wattage of 3000W and running wattage of 2300W. For more power, it has a paralleling function for connecting it with another unit to double the power output.
At 25 feet away, the operating volume is 56 dB. It also offers multiple receptacles for your home, RV, travel trailer, camping trip, or tailgate party. It includes one twist-lock RV ready outlet, two standard outlets for household appliances, and two USB outlets for charging devices.
You may also be interested in checking the Generac GP2500i
- PowerDial feature integrates the start, run, and off functions into one simple dial. It allows for a quick start-up process.
- A carburetor drain tube allows for draining the gas efficiently with no mess.
- It also doesn’t require any tools to open the oil fill panel and has a drain tunnel to easily drain the oil.
- The economy mode uses a load sensing mechanism for controlling the RPM speed. It runs almost 6 hours at 25% load and 4.5 hours on 50% load on a little over one gallon.
- No fuel gauge or hour meter. There are only light indicators for ready-to-use, overload, and low-oil. It makes it hard to know the remaining runtime or the fuel level.
- The inverter generator weighs 60 pounds with a top handle. But we wish there were also wheels.
5. Champion Power Equipment 100520 Digital Hybrid
This is the largest and latest inverter generator released in the Digital Hybrid series from Champion. The open-frame design makes it more economical with a lower price tag and allows for easier maintenance.
The 420cc variable-speed engine has a steel frame construction designed to withstand rough outdoor conditions. It puts out 8750 starting watts and 7000 running watts. It’s as large as inverter generators get.
In addition, it provides clean electricity for sensitive devices and gadgets. It’s suitable for extended use in campgrounds, tailgate parties, and other recreational activities. Not to mention for home backup power to keep your appliances running during a power outage.
The eco-mode aids in better fuel efficiency and lower noise levels compared to traditional generators. Additionally, it’s CARB compliant. It weighs 155 lbs. For portability, it has a foldaway handle and 8-inch never-flat tires. So you can wheel it around, but it’s a two-person job to lift it.
Read our in-depth article on the Champion Power Equipment 100520
- An electric start and cold start technology for an easy start in all weather conditions.
- A high wattage cost-effective power solution. It can power virtually anything from industrial equipment to home appliances.
- Multiple power outlets, including a 120/240 volts outlet that can connect to a house with a transfer switch.
- Runs for 10.5 hours at 25% load on 4.2 gallons of gas. It consumes about 0.4 gallons per hour.
- Intelligauge to monitor the voltage, frequency, and runtime.
- Ease of maintenance with a remote oil draining cord. It can be popped in and out whenever you want to empty the old oil.
- The brightness of the digital display is limited.
- With a rating of 72 decibels, it can be disturbing. However, nothing strange for generators of that size and capacity.
6. Westinghouse iGen4500 Inverter Generator
With a 7.3-horsepower engine, the Westinghouse iGen4500 fits the bill for both ends of the power spectrum. It’s an RV-ready generator with enough wattage to run a 15000 BTU RV air conditioner.
It puts out 4500 starting watts and 3700 running watts, giving it an advantage to power multiple appliances that require higher wattage to start. In addition, it is parallel compatible. So you can pair any two generators together from the Westinghouse iGen series.
It’s one of the quietest and most fuel-efficient inverter generators. It is gas powered and supplies a consistent power output. It’s suitable for powering sensitive appliances and electronics, such as smart televisions and mobile phones.
Despite the heavyweight, nearly 100 pounds. It comes with built-in wheels and a telescoping handle to simplify storage and transportation. It is CARB compliant, EPA, CSA, and USFS approved as well. Backed by a good warranty with nationwide customer service and support. There is also another dual fuel generator version with the same features.
- Three ways to start, a wireless remote start, an electric starter, and a recoil start.
- On a tank size of 3.4 gallons, it runs up to 15 hours when using 50% of the electrical load.
- Super quiet, rated at 52 decibels.
- A LED data display to help keep you up with scheduled maintenance. It showcases the fuel level, power usage, voltage, remaining runtime, and lifetime run hours.
- Fuel shutoff to run the inverter generator dry before storage.
- It doesn’t require any tools for accessing the oil fill/drain access panel.
- The owner’s manual has insufficient instructions.
- Few reported issues related to the automatic choke. If this problem occurs, it will require you to move the choke manually. It’s a pretty simple process, but we hope it doesn’t show up.
7. Briggs & Stratton P2200 PowerSmart
The Briggs and Stratton P2200 uses a robust 110cc OHV engine. It generates safe electricity with a peak power output of 2200 watts and a running power of 1700 watts. Designed with Quiet Power Technology, it boasts of a highly efficient engine that consumes less fuel and produces less noise. From 23 feet, it measures 59 dB. It’s also designed to deliver safe power for sensitive electronics.
This portable inverter generator features impressive built-in safety features and a fully packed control panel. With overload-protected outlets, circuit breakers, and low-oil alert. The control panel gives access to multiple power connections to accommodate various uses. It has two 120V household outlets and one 12V DC outlet with a dual USB adapter. It allows you to power different smaller appliances at the same time.
Weighs 54 pounds and has a practical H-Handle design. It allows for one or two people to conveniently carry it when needed. In addition, it has a dedicated parallel outlet that lets you connect to another PowerSmart series portable inverter generator and run them in tandem to increase the power capacity.
Read our in-depth article on the Briggs & Stratton P2200
- Extremely fuel-efficient, easy to handle, and get running.
- A fuel tank size of just one gallon allows for an 8-hour runtime at quarter load.
- It comes with everything in the box to get started. Including the screwdriver, oil, funnel, and battery charging cables.
- We also like the small tray beneath the oil reservoir cap to avoid spillage.
- There is no indicator for fuel or power usage. There are only light indicators when the generator is overloaded, its oil levels are insufficient, and ready to use.
- It may take more than three pulls of the recoil to start the engine.
8. A-iPower SUA2000iV Inverter Generator
Let’s start by saying that it’s not a Honda. However, it’s one of the best inverter generators on the market today, at one-third of the cost. The A-iPower SUA2000iV uses a clone of the MZ80 Yamaha engine with a 2000 watt surge wattage and 1600 watt continuous power.
The low power output is not enough to power a whole house. But it renders enough power for light camping trips. It’s also suitable for backup power during power outages to power electronics or home essentials.
It supplies clean energy for sensitive devices with a constant speed of AC power. It features an easy pull start and has a low idle switch to supply only the power needed.
In addition, it has one 20-amp residential outlet that you can use with extension cords, one 30-amp RV outlet, and one DC power for the USB ports. Next to them is the circuit breaker. There is also a dual fuel inverter generator version with the same features.
- Fuel-efficient with a long run time on a fuel tank size of just one gallon. It runs for 7 hours at half load and 4 hours at full load on a full tank of gas.
- Weighs 46 pounds and has a comfortable grip handle.
- You can run it in parallel with another unit using no additional accessories.
- It has a handy tube that you can pop out for draining the carburetor of lingering fuel to keep the engine dry.
- Through our test, the decibel scale reads a few decibels more than the advertised 58 dBA. While quieter than a conventional generator, it still drives a noise level more than other inverter generators we compared.
- There is no runtime display to keep track of the remaining time or power usage.
Inverter Generators Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
There are a few key features to consider. By reading our reviewed inverter generators, you can see which are the best ones in their class. We cover the features and benefits of different models and sizes, allowing you to find the best inverter generator on the market.
How Do Inverter Generators Work?
A generator is a fossil fuel-driven engine that turns an alternator to convert rotating mechanical energy into electrical power. It produces an electrical alternating current (AC) – typically 120V, 60Hz – similar to the standard electricity of a wall outlet.
In a conventional generator, the power is fed straight to the control panel and the connected appliances. The power may first go through a voltage regulator or other protective devices. Yet, it may not be clean enough to power sensitive electronics that can only handle specific voltages to work properly.
Portable inverter generators are far superior to their conventional counterparts. They fix this issue by using a 3-phase system. First, they create AC power just like conventional generators. But then that power is rectified to direct current (DC). Then ‘inverted ‘again to AC.
The power is filtered through microprocessor-controlled inverters that generate “clean” AC power. It is essentially the same as grid-quality electricity. They create stable, clean power, and they are also generally more compact and much quieter.
Read our dedicated article about the difference between a conventional generator and an inverter generator to learn more.
Are Inverter Generators Safe for Electronics?
Yes, inverter generators are rated safe for electronics that are sensitive to power quality. Therefore, they are perfectly suitable for powering sensitive electronics, such as laptop computers, smartphones, digital cameras, sound systems, and other household appliances.
On the other hand, conventional generators tend to experience spikes and voltage surges that can make the power uneven. It can lead to frying sensitive circuits in your electronics. Even if the effects of these voltage fluctuations are not always immediate. However, the damage may significantly reduce your devices’ longevity and lead to system failure over time.
As a result, to power sensitive electronics safely, choose an inverter generator with low harmonic distortion (THD), more on that below.
Are All Inverter Generators Pure Sine Wave?
All digital inverter generators produce utility-quality pure sine wave power. True sine wave power is a superior form of energy output than a square wave or modified sine wave produced by a conventional generator. As a result, it does not suffer from dangerous power fluctuations that can damage modern electronic devices.
This clean energy refers to the flow of power from the inverter generator as it is inverting the power to AC. The smoother the waveform, the better the generated electricity. One way of measuring the quality of power is according to the total harmonic distortion (THD). The amount of THD present in your electricity will influence how your equipment may respond or perform.
As the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) recommendation, the quality of power is considered good when the THD is less than 6%, often referred to as 5%. Inverter generators usually operate under 3% THD, which is the technical standard for commercial grid power quality. Some of the best portable inverter generators in our top selection operate with only +/- 1.5% THD.
Can You Parallel Two Different Size Generators?
Yes, you can parallel two different sizes of inverter generators together. Most often, you can only parallel operate two identical generator units. This allows you to get double the energy output capacity. For example, you can connect two Honda EU2200i with a special parallel cable to get a total of 4400 surge watts.
However, some brands, such as the Westinghouse iGen series, Briggs and Stratton PowerSmart series, Firman, Energizer, and some WEN models, allow parallel operating two inverter generators of different sizes. These brands offer a parallel connectivity kit that makes them compatible with varying sizes of portable generators. They will enable you to expand the power output even more.
Are Inverter Generators Worth It?
Many of us know that convenience comes at a cost, and the same is true for portable inverter generators. Possibly the only disadvantage of inverter generators is the purchase price tag. It tends to be more expensive than conventional generators. However, they carry distinctive characteristics that make them much more versatile and more reliable in many cases.
A portable inverter generator is a great power solution. It will provide you with a clean and consistent energy source without compromising your equipment. Additionally, designing inverter generators to fit their signature portable size with all these various features. It requires more refined planning and expertise to make all that possible.
After all, you get cutting-edge technology with custom parts. It is built specially to reduce noise, run efficiently, increase portability, and all that without a reduction in performance.
Suppose you need a large amount of energy, and your electrical devices and appliances can handle an irregular electrical waveform. In that case, a conventional portable generator will do just fine. Especially that it’s the more affordable option.
Otherwise, an inverter system is nearly always the best route to go. It provides quiet, reliable, clean electricity in the most efficient way possible. It’s also easy to transport, highly portable, requires very little monitoring, and has many helpful features.
There is a relatively recent advancement in these fuel-efficient machines. They provide clean power, fuel economy, and portability. As long as you have the budget, then an inverter generator is almost always the best route. We’ve narrowed the vast list down to only the top of their class.
With our guide, comparison charts, and inverter generator reviews, you should have no problem identifying your power needs, discovering the features you want. And finally, deciding on which inverter generator is most suitable for you.
Lastly, we’ve done the work of finding and comparing various models from multiple brands and manufacturers. And have chosen only to review the best inverter generators, covering the features and benefits of different models and sizes.