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Portable Generator Reviews

Portable generators are excellent sources of electricity when the main electric grid goes down in your home, outdoor camping, or even moving around in your RV. The best portable generator allows you to run your appliances, charge your devices, and run most electric tools. However, without enough information, finding a suitable one can be a challenge. To help in your search, we prepared this comprehensive guide. We keep it updated according to what’s new on the market.

Our team evaluated various generators according to stringent criteria and only included the top rated ones. With our detailed comparison chart and unbiased reviews, you’ll learn everything about how generators work, and how to pick the most suitable generator for your needs.

Vital Buyers Guide to Find the Best Portable Generator

The history of generators goes a long way. Today, with such a wide range of options for generators, finding the perfect generator for your specific needs and budget is not a trivial task. Below, we have outlined what will help you choose a portable generator for your home emergency backup power or off-the-grid energy requirements. When you’re in the market for a portable generator, these are the points to make a note of to make the best purchase decision.

power requirements for outdoor generators


The amount of backup power supply you need is influenced primarily by the items you intend to use. Appliances are rated in their starting and running wattage. Starting watts are the power required to start up an appliance with a motor (e.g. a refrigerator). The running watts are what is needed to continue to use an appliance once it is up and running. The starting wattage rating is always larger than the running wattage. Keep this in mind when you select the portable generator is right for you.

As you estimate the amount of power that you will need, factor in all the applications you intend to use up and pick a generator size rated slightly higher than that figure just be on the safe side.

Run Time

Most generators indicate their run time at either quarter (25%) or half (50%) of the load. This represents how long it will run on a full fuel tank at the set percentage of its total power. If you intend to use a portable generator for emergencies and during blackouts, and then be sure to have enough fuel on hand to provide you with enough hours of runtime.

Noise Level

The operating noise level of portable generators depends on the manufacturer, model, and wattage. It usually ranges from 60 to 90 decibels, with inverter generators being the quietest generators on the market. For comparison, here are some examples of noise operation measured in decibels:

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

The acceptable range for generators is between 60 and 70 decibels measured from 23 feet away. At this level, you can comfortably hold a conversation and act less as a disturbance to your neighbors at home, on your business premises, or at the campsite.

Starting Methods

There are several methods of starting a generator. Some generators feature just one way to start. But in most cases, there are multiple options. Let’s look at the most common ways to start a portable generator.

    • Recoil Start: Another name for recoil start is manual or pull start. Generators with this starting method ignite by pulling the cord, which activates the internal mechanism to start the engine. Although more affordable, generators with recoil start are not for everyone, especially people with insufficient strength, shoulder/grip problems, or a disability.
    • Electric Start: This method removes the physical aspect of starting a generator completely. It allows you to run your generator by flipping a switch, pushing a button, or turning a key. In general, portable generators with electric start are slightly pricier. So it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons to determine whether the extra cost is worth it in your situation.
    • Remote Start: As the name suggests, portable generators with remote start are powered remotely. This works similarly to an electric start. But the user doesn’t have to be next to the generator when starting it. However, keep in mind that to start the generator remotely, it will have to be in the ‘Ready to Start’ state.

Power Outlets

When it comes to operating, controlling, and monitoring a generator, the control panel comes into play. A generator with several power outlets allows you to use your generator by spreading its load optimally. Most generators supply power like 120V, 240V AC, or 12V DC. Some models feature all three possibilities, while some supply only 120V AC. Also, having a transfer switch-ready outlet means that it allows a safe connection between your home’s wiring and the generator.

You can have various outlets such as 20 amp, 30 amp, and 50 amp, which you can use depending on the device or appliance you’re powering and the wattage you’ve chosen. Other generators also feature ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI outlets, which is another safety feature that protects you from an electric shock.

Convenient Features

The best-rated portable generator you can pick should be simple to use and feature automatic control options that protect the generator from damage. For example, a low-oil shutdown feature turns the engine off when the oil level gets too low. A fuel gauge is handy to quickly check the remaining fuel. An hour meter tracks power usage, running time, fuel consumption, and ensures you know when maintenance time comes. In addition, a built-in co-monitor to detect high levels of carbon monoxide and automatically shut the generator off before it puts you in danger.


The weight of a generator is not necessarily tied to how much power it generates. But high power generators are usually a bit heavier. Therefore, wheels and handles make it feasible to move these types of generators around. Professional generators are usually heavier since they pack up more components and a larger fuel tank to generate all that power. However, if your home appliances don’t require a large power output, going for a compact portable generator will serve you better.


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 a portable power station may be ideal for you. Also, look for the exhaust compliance and certificates that the generator could obtain, such as EPA, CSA, or CARB. These certifications confirm that the portable generator meets specific regulations which ensure cleaner air and environmental protection.


Generators are expensive machines that could set you back a couple of thousands of dollars if they get damaged. For this reason, you should only buy a portable generator backed by a reliable generator brand with a long-term warranty from the manufacturer. This way, you can have your generator repaired or replaced in the event of a failure. An extended 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.


The price of a generator is influenced by:

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

Generators from established brands will have a higher price because of the manufacturer’s experience in making these reliable engines to serve you for a very long time. You can be sure that they offer the best generators around.

Best Portable Generators – Top 10

1. Westinghouse WGen7500

our pick for the best generator

The Westinghouse WGen7500 is the best portable generator and among the most powerful on our list. At a starting output of 9500 watts and a running output of 7500 watts, it proves more than capable of covering your power needs to get you through a storm.

The generator has a 420cc four-stroke OHV engine, designed with reliability and functionality in mind. It’s equipped with some user-friendly features. It includes a built-in fuel gauge to quickly check the gas level, low oil automatic shutoff, automatic voltage regulator, and overload protected outlets.

There are two 120V household duplex outlets and one 120/240V twist-lock outlet that is transfer switch ready. It’s an excellent choice for running multiple appliances and power tools simultaneously.

Additionally, it is EPA, CSA, and CARB compliant. It comes with a three-year warranty and support from one of the best generator brands around with nationwide customer service.

Read the full review of Westinghouse WGen7500


    • A heavy-duty engine with a cast iron steel frame protects the whole unit.
    • Fuel-efficient with extended run time. The gas tank holds 6.6 gallons and will run for 11 hours at half load.
    • A data center to monitor the voltage, frequency, and running hours.
    • Various connection options, including 120 and 240 volt twist-lock outlets.
    • Starting and running is simple with a wireless remote start. There is also a push-button electric start and a manual recoil.


    • It’s heavy, weighs almost 200 pounds. As such, it’s not easy to store and transport.
    • The noise rating is 72 decibels. However, there is nothing out of the ordinary due to the generator’s high wattage rating.

2. Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter

Honda EU2200i the best portable generator with fuel shutoff feature

Famous for its reliability and exceptional performance is the Honda EU2200i to continue the massive success of the EU2000i. It’s designed to handle your power needs while maintaining quality industry standards comfortably.

It produces 2200 starting watts and 1800 running watts. Equipped with advanced inverter technology, suitable for powering sensitive electronic devices that require a clean power source.

It’s also parallel capable. Simply connect it with a second unit to double the power output to accommodate larger loads.

This gas generator has a capacity of just under one gallon of gas and will run for 8 hours at quarter load and 3 hours at full capacity.

It’s also CARB compliant with low emissions, meaning it’s approved for sale in all 50 states.

It’s perfect for a variety of professional and recreational activities. It is also handy to bring to job site where you may be using power tools. Moreover, it’s backed by a 3-year warranty covering the generator from top to bottom.

Read the full review of Honda EU2200i


    • A reliable engine that delivers power and usability. The throttle switch allows the motor to run at optimum speeds to match the electrical load to save fuel and reduce noise.
    • This is the quietest generator, producing only 48 decibels at quarter load and 57 decibels at full load.
    • CO-detection safety feature that shuts the generator off if high levels of carbon monoxide are detected.
    • It has a fuel shutoff feature, which allows the generator to run dry before storage.
    • It’s super lightweight, at only 46.5 pounds.
    • It is a Honda, among the best of generator manufacturers.


    • The generator has to be absolutely level to avoid spilling when changing the engine oil.
    • This generator has just three light indicators. Given the already high cost of this inverter generator, it should have a digital display and a fuel gauge.

3. Champion Power Equipment 76533 Dual Fuel

Champion 76533 dual fuel capability portable generator

Champion Power Equipment 76533 is a best-in-its-class generator. It’s a dual-fuel generator, runs on both gasoline and propane for uninterrupted power. It will ensure that you never run out of power during power outages, even if one fuel type becomes temporarily unavailable.

The dual-fuel generator supplies 4750 starting watts and 3800 running watts and runs for 9 hours at half load on the 3.4-gallon gas tank.

Once empty, there’s a safety fuel selector switch for switching back and forth between different fuel types. Propane provides 4275 starting watts and 3420 running watts and runs for 10.5 hours on a 20-lb tank.

It has a handle that you can fold away when not in use and never go flat wheels that allow for simple transportation. Moreover, there is a cast iron sleeve on the engine for added durability.

This generator is also travel and RV ready, suitable for a camping trip, and can be used with most power tools with a host of appropriate receptacles.


    • Dual-fuel capability. Gas burns quicker but provides more energy, while propane burns cleaner with less energy output.
    • It works with an electric start and has cold start technology to improve its ability to power up when the temperature drops.
    • An LED screen shows hours, hertz, and volts in use.
    • Voltage monitoring system. It protects your connected appliances from power surges with a 20-second power delay. It also cuts off the power a few seconds before the engine stops.


    • The oil cap location is a bit tricky.
    • It runs slightly louder than expected but is reasonable for the size and power. It measures 68 dBA, and while on LPG, it is 74 dBA.

4. WEN GN6000 Gas Powered

WEN GN6000 portable generator for recreational activities

WEN is the absolute winner when it comes to powerful yet affordable generators. The WEN GN6000 boasts numerous standard features delivered at an affordable price.

It runs on a potent 272cc four-stroke engine capable of putting out 6000 peak watts and 4000 running watts.

A fuel tank capacity of 3.4 gallons will provide up to 7.5 hours of sustained power at fifty percent load. That is more than enough to cover your electrical necessities during a blackout, such as a refrigerator, freezer, and sump pump.

This generator can run a myriad of devices; able to run your power tools and household appliances. It weighs 120 lbs. But the sturdy handles and wheels allow it to be moved where it is needed.

Safety features include low-oil shutdown, automatic voltage regulator, and overload protection, which adds to the engine’s longevity. This generator also has multiple outlets for home use during a power outage and the RV.


    • Armed with a steel frame enclosure and an internal cooling air system to keep the engine from getting warm, maximizing engine longevity and durability.
    • Digital readout to help monitor and schedule maintenance intervals.
    • A straightforward voltage selector to switch between 120V and 240V.
    • A large fuel tank with a considerably long runtime makes it suitable for power outages and emergency backup power.


    • The noise rating is 68 dBA at quarter load. It sounds like a vacuum cleaner when placed nearby.
    • The oil change intervals are every 25 hours. For the average user, this is not a problem. But for frequent use, it is somewhat limiting.

5. Generac 7676 GP8000E

Generac GP8000E 8000-watt portable generator for home emergency power

The Generac GP8000E is a large machine that runs high-power appliances and is ready for rugged working conditions. It delivers a surge capacity of 10000 watts and a running capacity of 8000 watts, able to power your TV, freezer, space heater, window air conditioner and a wide variety of power tools.

The engine uses splash lubrication to aid in the entire generator’s prolonged life. There’s also a steel tube cradle, and the gas tank is likewise made of steel for added durability.

For functionality, it features an electric start. In addition, it has a foldable handle and durable wheels, which is an essential feature for a generator that weighs 200 pounds.

Generac places a significant emphasis on the environment. It is one of the most efficient generator options due to the CO-sensor technology available on some units. It monitors and shuts the generator down in case of high carbon monoxide presence.

You may also be interested in checking the Generac GP5500 review


    • Enough energy and more starting capacity make it ideal for electric motors in remote job sites and emergency backup use.
    • A 7.9-gallon fuel tank boasts the ability to power appliances for over 10 hours at 50% load and 15 hours at 25% load.
    • An hour-meter keeps track of maintenance intervals and provides information on the overall upkeep schedule.
    • Various power outlets and multi voltages accommodate 120V and 240V.


    • If you buy the generator with the CO-detection option, note that it can be troublesome. The sensor is too sensitive and can easily trip off even in outdoor areas with the exhaust pointed toward open space.
    • It is big and heavy. Also, installing and using the handle is somewhat problematic.

6. Champion Power Equipment 100302 Digital Hybrid Generator

Champion 4000-watt portable generator with clean power capability

With a startup wattage of 4000W and a running wattage of 3500W, the Champion Power Equipment 100302 is one of the best generators for the money.

It’s a digital hybrid portable inverter generator with an open-frame design that can safely power sensitive electronics. This inverter generator produces clean power with less than 3% total harmonic distortion (THD).

It promises better fuel efficiency and a lower noise level. From 23 feet away, it measures 64 decibels; it’s quiet enough for camping, tailgating, and home backup to get you through a blizzard.

It’s also RV-ready and has enough power output to run a 15,000 BTU air conditioner with an intuitive, quick one-touch panel. It features multiple power outlets for the household and camper, including battery charging cables and a USB adapter.

Easy set-up, and it’ll pretty much start working straight out the box, requiring minimal assembly. There is also a three-year warranty and free technical support from Champion generator.

Read the full review of Champion 100302


    • A smart eco-mode provides better fuel consumption, extended motor life, and quieter performance.
    • It can sustain up to 17 hours of runtime on 2.9 gallons of fuel at a quarter load.
    • Parallel-capable. You can pair it with another identical unit or other Champion 2800W+ inverters. The parallel kit grants an extra 50 amp outlet.
    • It has cold start technology for drama free starting during cold weather.


    • It lacks an hour-meter display to monitor the power usage.
    • Adding fuel is somewhat challenging. It’s easy to splash out gasoline unless you go slow and steady.

7. Westinghouse iGen1200 Portable Inverter

Westinghouse iGen1200 portable inverter generator

The Westinghouse iGen1200 is a small generator that provides a variety of premium features at an affordable price.

It puts out 1200 starting watts and 1000 running watts. It’s an excellent option for camping, tailgating parties, and small projects around the house.

Ready for business, it employs asymmetrical cooling fans, low tone mufflers, and a double-insulated acoustic enclosure to reduce the operating noise.

The electricity this inverter generator produces is a pure sine wave that is safe for sensitive electronics. As a result, it supplies high-quality electricity for sensitive electronics such as computers, laptops, tablets, CPAP machines, and smartphones.

As for the plug selection, it has two USB ports and a 120V standard duplex outlet. In addition, it has an intuitivecontrol panel with warning lights.

There is also an eco-mode switch to adjust the power needed for the task at hand.

It is overload protected and equipped with a low-oil shutdown sensor that protects the engine if the generator runs low.


    • Features enhanced fuel efficiency, with a tank capacity of less than one gallon of gas, it runs up to 9 hours at 25% load.
    • It’s relatively quiet. Only 52 decibels when running at a 25% load.
    • A true feather weight at just 33 pounds! Transportation is a breeze with its built-in carrying handle.
    • Parallel capable, meaning that you can plug it and connect it through a parallel cord to numerous Westinghouse iGen series inverters to increase the power output.


    • Not suitable for heavy-duty power equipment.
    • It lacks an electric start option, fuel gauge, and a digital hour meter.

8. Briggs & Stratton P2400 PowerSmart Series Generator

Briggs & Stratton P2400 portable inverter

Briggs & Stratton P2400 is the newest unit in the spotlight. It produces a steady output of 1800 watts, with a surge output of 2400 watts. It’s user-friendly with a convenient control panel for straight forward operation and has multiple outlets, including USB ports.

This inverter generator provides sine wave power, suitable for powering various essential electronics with low THD levels.

It’s also very power-efficient. It runs for 8 hours at 25% load with a fuel tank of just one gallon of gas.

It features an auto-idle control system to adjust the engine speed according to the power being used. Thus, better fuel management, extended runtime, and quiet power generation.

For portability, it has a built-in handle that allows just one person to carry. It’s suitable for camping, RV, and tailgating weekends, lightweight yet powerful enough to run multiple appliances simultaneously.

You may also be interested in checking the Briggs & Stratton P2200 review


    • With the economy mode, this inverter generator is fuel-efficient and quiet. The operating volume is only 58 dBA.
    • It comes with a dedicated parallel port that lets you connect two units together for more power output.
    • It’s also compact and highly portable, weighing only 50 pounds.
    • CO-guard technology safety feature shuts the generator down when high carbon monoxide levels are detected.


    • While lacking an electric start, running it may require more than just three pulls.
    • The fuel gauge is also missing, making it difficult to guess how much fuel remains inside the tank.

9. DuroStar DS4000S

DuroStar DS4000S portable generator for construction sites

The Durostar DS4000S is a budget-friendly powerhouse. Sporting 4000 starting watts and 3300 running watts. This generator size is ideal for various uses, from running your power tools to getting you through a power outage.

The heavy-duty steel frame protects the engine and gas tank while also eliminating rattle during operation.

It weighs 95 pounds and doesn’t have wheels. However, there is an optional wheel kit that you can purchase separately.

The 4-gallon fuel tank capacity provides a run time of 8 hours at half load. In addition, it’s equipped with a full power panel.

It has an easy-to-use pull start, complete with warning light indicators, circuit breaker, voltmeter, and low oil alert system. There is also a good selection of outlets, including two GFCI 20-amp outlets and one twist-lock 30-amp outlet.

Moreover, it’s EPA and CARB approved. It also has a three-year limited warranty.

Read the full review of DuroStar DS4000S


    • It has an all-metal construction and steel frame to protect the seven-horsepower engine.
    • It has an analog voltmeter for measuring voltage output.
    • The visible fuel gauge is highly welcome. It allows you to monitor the fuel level.


    • The engine requires frequent oil changes every 20 hours of running time.
    • The operating volume is 69 decibels at quarter load, almost similar to highway traffic noise.

10. DuroMax XP4400E

DuroMax XP4400E best portable generator and backup power source

Powered by a 7-horsepower engine, the DuroMax XP4400E has a peak power of 4400 watts and a continuous power of 3500 watts. This generator is a good option for powering your home, RV, and outdoor equipment at a low price point.

At 50% load, it provides up to 8 hours of runtime on a single full tank of 4 gallons. It has a robust steel frame and some helpful safety features. It includes a low-oil sensor system and surge arrester.

Although the AC’s quality is not particularly great and has mild performance issues when the load increases past 3000 watts. However, the analog voltmeter helps to keep everything under control.

At 122 pounds, the generator is big and large, but it has wheels and a collapsible handle for easy transportation. It doesn’t cheap out on outlet selection either. It sports multiple outlets, including a twist-lock RV outlet and for tools requiring a high-powered outlet.

Read the full review of DuroMax XP4400E


    • It is sturdy with an all-steel design and powerful enough to run most heavy-duty power tools like drills or saws.
    • Able to run at both 120V and 240V options. It has a voltage selector switch that allows you to switch between different power modes.
    • It has an electric start button, and there is also the standard pull recoil.


    • At 69 decibels, it comes across as a little loud. Nothing alarming for a machine of this wattage range; there are quieter ones available but at an extra cost.
    • It requires you to change the oil every 20 hours, which is not a trivial job with this generator.

Portable Generator Comparison Chart

Product/FeatureWattageEngine (cc)Fuel GaugeHour MeterEmission Standards
Westinghouse WGen75009000W/7500W420cc OHVAvailableAvailableEPA + CARB + CSA
Honda EU2200i2200W/1800W121cc OHCAvailableN/AEPA + CARB + CSA
Champion 765334750W/3800W224cc OHVN/AAvailableEPA + CARB
WEN GN60006000W/5000W272cc OHVAvailableAvailableEPA + CARB
Generac GP8000E10000W/8000W420cc OHVAvailableAvailableEPA + CARB + CSA
Champion 1003024000W/3500W224cc OHVN/AN/AEPA + CARB
Westinghouse iGen12001200W/1000W54cc OHVN/AN/AEPA + CARB + CSA
Briggs & Stratton P24002400W/1800W79cc OHVN/AN/AEPA + CARB
DuroStar DS4000S4000W/3300W208cc OHVAvailableAvailableEPA + CARB
DuroMax XP4400E4400W/3500W212cc OHVAvailableAvailableEPA + CARB

Generator Safety & User Responsibility

The benefits and uses of generators are unlimited. But it’s essential to use generators safely and responsibly. Here are some points to keep in mind:

    • Firstly, generators are for outdoor use only. Because of carbon monoxide emissions, it’s unsafe to have them enclosed in your home or garage.
    • Additionally, you must set up far enough from your home, windows, and ventilation. Allow a distance of at least 20 feet to avoid the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.
    • Further, installing a CO detector (carbon monoxide sensor) is an excellent way to ensure safety.
    • Store your electric generator in a dry and cool place when not used. And shield it from rain, snow, and other weather conditions. You can use a generator cover or a GenTent to protect it from wet conditions.
    • Also, store the fuel in a safe space and proper containers.
    • Finally, protect the environment and others by responsibly disposing used motor oil. Never pour the oil down the drain or throw it in a trash can.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

Here we answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

How Does a Generator Work?

Once the generator is turned on, the fuel burns and rotates the alternator, creating electricity. It transforms chemical energy into mechanical energy to get electrical power as a final product.

Can a Portable Generator Power a House?

A portable generator can power small devices, medium appliances and most power tools. But can it run a whole house? This depends on the power the generator can supply. If you’re looking into providing your entire home with electricity, look for the 7500-watt category. For more power, check the 10,000-watt generators.

Does a Portable Generator Need to be Grounded?

It depends on the model and features of your generator. Most modern generators with a metal frame are already grounded. But some older models will need more work. The owner’s manual will include all the details about whether it requires grounding or not.

Will a Generator Damage Electronics?

Yes, a generator can damage electronics with power fluctuations during operation. However, there are ways to make them safe for electronics, or you can opt for an inverter generator. They are safe for electronics and provide clean AC power like a wall outlet.

Which is the Quietest?

According to experts, one of the quietest models ever made is the Honda EU2200i. It operates in a range between 48 and 57 decibels. Besides quiet operation, it offers a plethora of valuable features. However, noise reduction is possible with any generator.

Which is the Best?

The Westinghouse WGen7500 generator takes first place. This powerful generator is packed with features ensuring high functionality, reliability, safety, excellent customer service and support.

Bottom Line

Overall, generators are helpful in different circumstances to ensure adequate power supply in your home, outdoor activities, or business premises. With our comprehensive guide and analysis, finding the right portable generator for home use, RV, camping, or even the job site should be easy. Our reviews feature only the top-selling and highly rated ones from the best brands. We’ve analyzed the features and benefits of each of these units. We have explained what you should look for when choosing the best. By now, you should be well equipped with all the information that you require to pick the best generator that is both affordable and will meet for your specific needs.