15 Best Portable Generators (Review) In 2021
- The Best Portable Generator
- 1. Westinghouse WGen9500 Heavy Duty Portable Generator
- 2. DuroMax XP12000EH 18 HP Portable Generator
- 3. Honda EU2200i Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator
- 4. Champion Dual Fuel Portable Inverter Generator
- 5. Jackery Portable Power Station
- 6. Westinghouse iGen2200 Portable Inverter Generator
- 7. DuroStar DS4000S Portable Generator
- 8. WEN 56203i Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator
- 9. Generac 7117 GP2200i Portable Inverter Generator
- 10. A-iPower SUA2000iV Portable Inverter Generator
- 11. FF FLASHFISH Portable Power Station
- 12. Champion Power Equipment 100692 Portable Inverter Generator
- 13. TogoPower Portable Generator
- 14. NusGear Generator Portable Power Station
- 15. WAWUI Portable Power Station
To cover you in a power outage, to power a building site, or simply to provide you with power while hosting a tailgating event, you will need to look for the best portable generator to cover your needs. From small, lightweight portable generators to those that provide higher levels of backup power, this guide will review the best portable generators for a range of purposes. We will then discuss some of the most important features you should consider prior to your purchase and answer some of the most common questions related to portable generators.
The Best Portable Generator
9,500 running watts/12,500 peak watts
6.6 gallon steel fuel tank (gasoline)
Push start operation
Built-in fuel gauge
Automatic low oil shut off
Includes 2x duplex 120V 20A, 1x 120/240V 30A & 120/240V 50A outlets
Pairing high performance with ease of use and durable construction, the Westinghouse WGen9500 Heavy Duty Portable Generator offers a 17.5 hour run time (based on 25% load). The sturdy 4 stroke engine is easily operated with a simple electric start push button; alternatively, you can operate your generator by using the remote key fob from up to 260 feet away, which is perfect if the power goes out during the night and you don’t want to leave the warmth of indoors. The large 6.6 fuel tank is constructed from steel, so you need not worry about it corroding. The twist-lock outlet (120/240V) enables you to hook your generator up to your home via the transfer switch, meaning all of your important appliances like your fridge, air conditioner, and sump pump will continue to run the moment you switch over to generator power. Safety features like automatic low oil shut off will ensure your generator does not run dry; the fuel gauge also allows you to easily monitor your fuel levels with ease. This portable generator measures 27.2 x 26. 1 x 26.5 inches and weighs 22 pounds. Your purchase is covered by a three year limited service, parts, and labor coverage.
EPA and CARB compliant
Easy to use
Remote control operation
Battery is quick to connect
Long run time
Must run to charge battery for push button start
Doesn’t show wattage being drawn
Runs on either gas or propane
457cc 18 HP engine
12,000 starting watts and 9,500 running watts
8.3 gallon fuel tank
Automatic low oil shut off
Providing you with versatility, the DuroMax XP12000EH 18 HP Portable Generator is our premium pick as you can operate this portable generator on both gasoline and propane; the large fuel tank has a capacity of 8.3 gallons. The all metal construction guarantees a long lifespan and is powerful enough to run multiple home appliances simultaneously, from lighting your home to running the air conditioning or even high amperage power tools. To cover all of your power needs, you can choose between each of the 120V volt outlets or the 120V and 240V at the same time. The available outlets are:
– 1x 120/240V 50A heavy duty outlet
– 1x 120/240V 30A twist lock outlet
– 1x 120V 30A twist lock outlet
– 2x 120V 20A household outlet
Perfect for use at home or on job sites, this portable generator features idle control which will lower the number of RPMs, thereby saving you fuel and helping to reduce noise. Individual breakers on the power panel help to prevent overloading, which is a major safety feature, as is the automatic low oil shut off if oil levels become too low. This generator measures 30 x 29 x 26 inches and weighs 224 pounds.
Range of outlets and voltage options
Durable, all metal construction
Electric start with key
Must install wheels
No load indicator
Idle control only works with gasoline
Quiet, 48-57 dB noise levels
Automatic low oil shut off
Colour coded system for easy operation
Big oil filler opening
Circuit breaker protects against overloading
Perfect for use on job sites or to bring out camping, the Honda EU2200i Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator runs at 48-57 dB, which is quieter than conversation at a normal level. Running this portable generator is easy thanks to the color-coded start-up points. Maintenance is also simple with this generator; the large spout and oil drain valve helps to easily empty and replace the oil. While this portable generator may appear to be small, it does not at all lack in power, in fact, it can run anywhere between four and nine hours on a single tank. You are also able to easily connect a second EU2200i generator using a cable (not included) to increase wattage to 4400. Measuring in at 16 x 20 x 11 inches and weighing 40 pounds, you are able to easily bring this generator with you wherever you go and be guaranteed of a quiet, efficient power supply.
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Lightweight and portable
Easy to connect a second generator for more power
Fuel cut off switch
No funnel included
Requires time to clean/prep before use if stored for long periods of time
Can’t view fuel level easily
Operates on fuel or propane
3,400 starting watts and 3,100 running watts
0.6 quart fuel tank
Quiet operation (59 dB)
Quick touch panel
If you are looking for a plug and play portable generator that operates on both gasoline and propane, the Champion Dual Fuel Portable Inverter Generator is a great option to consider! The four-stroke, single-cylinder offers a powerful supply, all the while running at 59 dB noise levels. The push-button electric start makes using this generator very simple and the battery maintenance smart charger means less maintenance for you to worry about; all of the controls and conveniently located in one area too. Covering you through a power outage that occurs during the night, this generator’s run time is 7.5 hours on a full tank of gas or an impressive 14.5 hours on a 20 pound propane tank; tank capacity is 0.6 quarts. Ideal for use at home, on a job site, or even out camping, this generator offers several outlets:
– 1x 120V 30A RV
– 2x 120V 20A household outlets
– 1x 12V DC outlet with USB adapter
You can also double up your power by linking another unit to it thanks to the parallel ready port. This portable generator measures 25.1 x 17.3 x 18.3 inches and weighs 95.7 pounds; your purchase is also covered by a three year limited warranty with free lifetime technical support.
Includes a parallel kit to link a second generator
EPA certified and CARB compliant
Propane can struggle to operate large AC units
Can’t run on trucks, even flat beds
No gas gauge
Struggles to run coffee machines and microwaves
Lightweight and portable
Powered by a 240-watt hour lithium-ion battery
Ability to pair with a solar panel
Includes USB ports, car port, and AC output
Power up to four devices at once
The Jackery Portable Power Station is perfect for camping trips and other outdoor adventures, capable of powering up to four devices, including a drone, light, camera, and laptop. You can even purchase a separate solar panel to connect to this generator so that you can easily recharge the battery; this generator relies on a 240-watt hour lithium-ion battery pack, making it much more eco-friendly than its counterparts. Equipped with a 12V car outlet, 200W AC outlet and two USB-A ports, charging your devices has never been more simple while out exploring. This conveniently portable and lightweight power station measures in at 9.05 x 5.24 x 7.87 inches and weighs just 6.6 pounds.
Display shows battery life remaining
Auto-shutdown safety feature if left running for too long
Convenient carry handle
Different ways to charge
Can’t power devices over 200W
Charges quite slowly
1,800 rated watts and 2,200 peak watts
4 stroke, 79cc OHV engine
1.2 gallon fuel tank
Quiet operation, as low as 52 dB
Includes 2x 120V power output and 2x USB ports
The Westinghouse iGen2200 Portable Inverter Generator not only runs at a minimal noise level but is up to three times more fuel-efficient than traditional generators. In fact, inverter generators like this one can run for up to 12 hours on just 1.2 gallons of gasoline. For additional power, this generator is capable of connecting to another unit (purchased separately). There are two power outlets located on the control panel (120V AC 20A) supplied with covers, which help protect you, in addition to the two built-in USB ports with covers. Indicator lights will display low oil if the generator is overloaded and when the power output is ready. An efficiency mode helps keep your running costs to a minimum. Perfect for keeping at home in case of a power outage, this portable generator measures 19.8 x 11.4 x 17.9 inches and weighs 46.3 pounds. It is also backed by a three year limited service, labor and parts coverage with lifetime technical support.
Safely powers sensitive electronics
Built-in carry handle
Capable of paralleling
Easy to use control panel
Can be hard to start
Sometimes can vibrate, depends on surface its placed
Not easy to determine fuel levels
3,300 running watts and 4,000 peak watts
4 gallon fuel tank capacity
Heavy-duty steel frame
EPA and CARB approved
Ideal for a range of applications, the DuroStar DS4000S Portable Generator features gasoline operated 7.0 horsepower engine with a recoil start, offering 3,300 continuous watts of power, peaking at 4,000 watts. The large capacity fuel tank (four gallons) features an easy to read gauge. At half a load, this generator offers a run time of an impressive eight hours! The steel frame includes isolated motor mounts that help provide quiet operation with very little vibration. The 100% copper windings also ensure longevity and more power. Power output includes:
– 2x 120V 20A household outlet
– 1x 120/240V 30A twist lock outlet
Safety features include a voltmeter that allows you to monitor the voltage use to avoid overloading, a low oil sensor, and an AC circuit breaker – all of which can be found on the control panel. This generator measures 24 x 17 x 17 inches and weighs 94 pounds.
Great for high voltage appliances like power tools
Noise level of 69 dB
Range of safety features
Starting up can be difficult
Fuel gauge slightly inaccurate
No watt/amperage meter
2,000 surge watts and 1,700 rated watts
79cc 4 stroke OHV engine
Gas-powered, 1 gallon fuel tank
Noise level of 51 dB
Lightweight and compact
If you are looking for an ultra-quiet portable generator, then the WEN 56203i Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator fits the bill, running at just 51 dB at quarter load. Ideal for camping, tailgating, or even just as a standby generator in a power outage, this generator runs at 2,000 watts and offers a 10.8 hour run time at quarter load; you can also rest assured knowing your sensitive devices will charge safely. The control panel provides you with everything you need to easily run it, including a 3-in-1 switch, parallel connection for adding a second unit for additional power, a choke lever, and eco-mode option. Indicator lights will alert you to low oil and overloading; automatic fuel shut off helps make maintenance easy. Power output is offered through a few outlets:
– AC outlet, 120V 15A
– 12V DC outlet
– 5V USB ports (1A and 2.1A)
This generator is lightweight and compact, measuring 17.3 x 11.5 x 17.7 inches and weighing just 38.6 pounds. A two year warranty is also included in your purchase.
Safely charges sensitive electronics
Automatic fuel shut off
Easy to start
Solid, durable construction
Eco-switch for fuel efficiency
Drain plug gets hot after use
No wattage indicator
No gas gauge
1,700 running watts and 2,200 starting watts
1.2 gallon gas tank
Parallel ready which makes it capable of running an air conditioner
Easy start-up with integrated knob
10.75 hours run time at 25% load
Whether you need a lightweight, portable generator for a camping trip, BBQ, or tailgating, the Generac 7117 GP2200i Portable Inverter Generator offers quiet noise levels and easy start-up. The 1,700 running watts provides clean power for sensitive devices including tools and appliances, so you can power them with no worries or concerns. The integrated off/run/choke knob located on the control panel makes starting this generator very simple and the parallel ready port allows you to connect a second inverter generator for boosted power. Light indicators will alert you to low oil and overloading. This generator includes a 12V DC outlet and USB outlet, ideal for your smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices. To further reduce noise levels and remain efficient, an eco mode can be toggled on and off to suit your needs. This generator is durable, yet compact and lightweight, measuring 19 x 11 x 17 inches and weighing 46 pounds. A two year limited warranty is also included.
LED indicators for low oil and overloading
Safely run your electronic devices
Easy to set up
Sometimes vibrates on eco-mode
No gas gauge
No wattage indicator
1,600 watts running power and 2,000 starting watts
Low idle technology
Features pure sine power wave for safe power supply
Multiple outlets and USB ports
Featuring pure sine wave power, the A-iPower SUA2000iV Portable Inverter Generator can safely power your electronics and other sensitive devices, offering 1,600 watts of running power and 2,000 starting watts. The built-in gas gauge will allow you to easily monitor gas levels so that you don’t run dry unexpectedly and lose power; low idle technology also allows your generator to become fuel efficient when running for longer periods of time. The multiple outlets and USB ports allow you to charge a range of devices including your phone, laptop, and tablet, as well as power lights and televisions. The carry handle makes it easy to move around, which is why this model is great for tailgating, events, camping, and other outdoor activities. This generator measures 22 x 13 x 20 inches and weighs 50 pounds.
Built-in gas gauge
Easy to start
Great fuel efficiency
Can’t run RV air conditioners
Doesn’t include a fuel shut off valve
No oil included
200w battery powered power station
Functional LCD display
Range of built in safety features
Lightweight and easily portable
Includes AC/DC/USB outputs
Powerful, yet compact and lightweight, the FF FLASHFISH Portable Power Station offers 151 watt-hours through the lithium-ion battery cell. The pure sine wave output efficiently and safely powers your small household appliances; do note, that this generator cannot power devices and appliances that draw over 200W. This battery-powered generator includes an AC output (200w), DC output (9-12V/10A), and three USB ports. The multi-functional LCD display allows you to see output statuses as well as monitor battery levels. You can also purchase a separate solar panel to connect to this power station to charge the built-in battery. To help guarantee the safety of your gadgets hooked up to this power station, it includes built-in features that prevent overcurrent, overvoltage, and overheating. This super lightweight generator is small enough to fit into a backpack; it measures 14.09 x 13.07 x 6.65 inches and weighs 5.51 pounds. A one year warranty is also included from the date of purchase.
Supports 3.0 quick charge
Can be linked with a solar panel
Comes fully charged
Perfect for CPAP machines
Can’t be used with devices above 200W
Can be slow to charge
2,000 starting watts and 1,700 running watts
1.05 gallon gas tank capacity
Giving competition to other 2,000-watt inverter generators available, the Champion Power Equipment 100692 Portable Inverter Generator is the lightest available, weighing just 39 pounds. Packing a powerful punch of 1,700 running watts, you can rely on this generator to provide you with a run time of 11.5 hours when the 1.05 capacity gas tank is full. Economy mode allows you to run this generator efficiently, helping you save on gas. The convenient Cold Start Technology ensures that you can start your generator even in colder temperatures. As for power outputs, this inverter generator includes:
– 2x covered 120V 20A household outlets
– 1x covered 12 DC automotive-style outlet
Operational noise levels clock in at 53 dB from about 23 feet away, which is similar to the sound of a dishwasher running in a room next door. The low oil sensor will detect when the 0.5 quart oil tank is running too low and will automatically shut off the generator, helping keep you safe. Measuring 17.3 x 11.5 x 17.7 inches and weighing 39.5 pounds, this portable generator is ideal for use at home, camping, and a range of other applications. Your generator is also covered by a 3 year limited warranty with free lifetime technical support.
Cold start technology, can start in cold temperatures
Low oil sensor
Comes fully assembled
Includes pre-measured oil
Must keep filters, oil and spark plugs clean for optimum use
Certain types of gasoline are not recommended for use
Gas-powered, 1.05 gallon capacity
1,000 watts starting power and 800 running watts
63cc 2 stroke OHV engine
6 hour run time at 50% load
The TogoPower Portable Generator is the perfect outdoor backup power solution! This gas-powered generator offers 1000 watts of power from the 63cc two-stroke engine, providing a six-hour run time when running at 50% load. Ideal for a range of uses, this generator features a 120V AC outlet which even enables it to power high voltage appliances such as power tools. To help provide high levels of safety, there is a built-in circuit breaker that will recognize faults in the generator or short circuit. It is very easy to use, simply move the choke to the start position, switch the engine on and pull to start. The built-in carry handle makes it portable and easy to transport; this unit measures 16.2 x 14.4 x 14.1 inches and weighs 38.1 pounds. A one year post-sale warranty is also included.
High fuel efficiency levels
Optional carry case can be purchased
Lightweight and portable
Easy to use
Cannot run appliances over 800 watts
Gas/oil instructions are a little confusing
AC/DC and USB ports
Battery management system built-in
The NusGear Generator Portable Power Station offers 155-watt hours that supports devices under 100 watts. This lithium-ion battery-powered power station includes an AC/DC output as well as USB ports:
– AC outlet, 110V
– DC ports, 10A/120
– 1x quick charge 3.0 USB port
– 1x quick charge 3.0 USB C port
You can recharge the battery through a wall charger or by a solar panel, which would need to be purchased separately. A built-in battery management system helps maintain high safety levels by controlling voltage and temperature, for example; other built-in safety features include overcurrent protection and short circuit protection. There is a built-in LED light that you can toggle between a steady light or a flashing one. The LCD display will show you output status for the various ports and the remaining battery life. The handle located at the top of the power station makes it easily portable; it measures 7.32 x 4.21 x 7.08 inches and weighs just 3.52 pounds.
Can be used with a CPAP machine
Built-in LED light with 2 modes
Large carry handle
Great in emergency situations
Can charge battery with a solar panel (purchased separately)
Instructions are not very clear
Can’t charge devices over 100 watts
Can be a bit slow to charge
42-watt hour battery-powered station
Includes 3 external lamps
Includes a built-in lamp
Built-in solar panel
3x DC output and 1x USB port
12 year battery life
The WAWUI Portable Power Station is our best value pick as it offers an attractive design and 42-watt hour battery. The perfect power station for camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities, the WAWUI Portable Power Station includes three external lamps, each equating to a 6 watt LED; running just one lamp on a fully charged battery will provide you with 20 hours of use, two bulbs running simultaneously will offer 10 hours and three bulbs seven hours! The built-in lamp can also provide you with 16+ hours of use. There are three DC outputs (3.2V/1A each) and a USB port (5V/2A). There is a built-in solar panel, so you can either charge this through a wall charger or with the sunshine. Conveniently sized for portability, this station measures 6.3 x 4.2 x 6.9 inches and weighs 4.04 pounds. This power station offers a 12 year battery life and a 60 day full refund if you are unsatisfied.
Long external cable (9.8ft)
Compact and portable
Supplied with a carry bag
Supplied lamps are very bright
Solar panel is made of glass, so very delicate
Charges quite slowly
Not ideal as an emergency power backup
Features To Consider With Portable Generators
The amount of power you need is one of the key features you need to consider prior to purchasing any portable generator. Think about the purpose for which you require a portable generator - is it a standby generator for instances of a power outage? Or, is it something to take with you when you go camping, or perhaps while tailgating?
If you are looking to run major household appliances, you will need a powerful portable generator that offers high wattage. Our FAQs below will look in a bit more detail about what size generator you should opt for to support your needs.
The next consideration when you think about power is the type of outlets a generator offers. For more simple applications, inverter generators tend to have AC outlets and sometimes USB ports, whereas larger standby generators feature 240V plugs and multiple AC outlets.
If you are purchasing a portable generator to serve as backup power in an outage, you will tend to find that they are quite bulky; this is due to their construction which helps keep them running for years to come. Large portable generators tend to feature an OHV engine and fuel tank, which make them heavy, especially when encased in a steel frame. On the other hand, inverter generators tend to be much smaller, although their range of applications are much more limited due to the lower levels of power they offer.
Noise level is a big consideration when it comes to purchasing a portable generator! Of course, any motor-powered appliance is going to come with some noise level, but the best portable generators use mufflers and other features to help reduce noise levels. To help you as you are deciding which generator is best, do bear in mind that the noise level of normal conversation is about 60 dB, so anything below this is excellent for a generator. If you have neighbors to consider, or your bedroom is located close to your garage where your generator operates, looking for a generator with low noise levels is key.
Many of the best portable generators include a range of safety features that help protect you and your appliances connected. One of the most important safety features to consider is overload protection; this will help ensure you do not connect too many appliances and devices to your generator, which could then become a fire hazard. Overload protection will recognize when the generator is being overloaded or if there are circuit issues and will automatically cease the supply of power.
Fuel Tank Size
There is nothing worse than waking up in the night during a power outage to realize your generator has run out of fuel and has turned itself off. If you do plan on running your generator for prolonged periods of time, looking for one with a large fuel tank will ensure that you get hours of use of a full tank. The smaller the fuel tank, the more often you will need to fill it.
Electric starts are the most simple kind of way to startup a generator and make it easy for nearly anyone to start it. Always ensure you keep your battery charged and ready for use. Pull start engines can take a bit of patience (and strength!), so they are not always suitable in emergency situations or for those that lack strength, perhaps due to a mobility issue or arthritis.
The ease of portability is a big consideration, especially if you wish to take your generator while out exploring. Larger portable generators are typically supplied on wheels and have a large handle that allows you to angle the generator back onto the wheels and take it to the location required; these kind of generators are good for job sites and home use.
Other compact generators, like inverter style generators, usually are much lighter and feature a carry handle on top of the unit, so you can easily bring it with you while camping, tailgating, or hosting an outdoor event. Some smaller generators are also supplied with a carry bag, which makes them even more convenient for travel.
Portable Generator FAQ
Q: What is a portable generator?
Portable generators are used to supply power to essential appliances, like your fridge, lights, computer, and even air conditioning units, in some cases. They are great as a backup source of power during power outages, but they do have a range of other uses. Some high power portable generators are capable of being paired with power tools, which makes them ideal on building sites. Smaller battery-operated generators can act more like a power station to help charge your devices and even power a CPAP machine.
Q: What can you run on a 2000 watt portable generator?
A 2000 watt portable generator is capable of running a range of small appliances, which why they are one of the best portable generators in power outages and similar situations. Here are some ideas of what can be run on a generator offering 2000 watts:
- Mid-sized fridge
- Portable AC
- Smart Air Purifier
- Lower powered microwave
- Smart bulbs
- Small mini split air conditioner
- Coffee maker
- Induction Cooker
Q: How big of a portable generator do I need?
The wattage level you require in a generator will depend on what you wish to power. Do note that there are two types of wattage levels you will typically see advertised - running watts and starting watts. Running watts advise the consistent level of wattage that can be supplied, whereas starting watts are only briefly available.
When thinking about what you need to power, you may initially have a long list, however, in a power outage, you will only want to think of the essentials. If you are on a building site, for example, you will need to consider the power tools used and whether lighting is needed. You can then add up the wattage of the essential or required appliances/devices required. Do remember that when motors kick in on certain appliances, they can draw more power for a brief period of time, so this is where looking at your starting watts is ideal to ensure your generator will not become overloaded and turn off during these moments of power surging.
If you are using your generator more recreationally, such as for camping, you will want to consider what light sources you will need, whether you will be using a portable air conditioner, and mini-fridge, for example, to help determine which sized portable generator will best cover your camping trips.
Q: How do you hook up a portable generator to your house?
If you are opting for a portable generator to cover you in times of power loss, learning how to connect it to your house is essential, reducing the need to run cables and extension cords all over the place. Start by determining your essential appliances and determine their wattage to ensure they can all run on your generator.
There are two wiring systems you can choose between when connecting your generator, either an interlock kit or a manual transfer switch. We highly recommend a transfer switch, while it is more expensive, it is much safer and is legal, whereas interlock kits are not approved everywhere.
You should hire an electrician to sort out all of the wirings to prevent any accidents, but an inlet box would need to be installed outside of your home and will have a recessed male connector that will be connected to the panel system inside your home. You can then plug your generator into this inlet box and plug the attachment cable into the generator.
Q: Can you run a portable generator overnight?
You are able to leave a portable generator running overnight, however, you need to ensure it is rated for long run times and is set up correctly so that it is shielded from harsh weather conditions. If you are running your portable generator in an enclosed space, like a garage, you will need to ensure there is proper ventilation; this is extremely important, as generators can emit carbon monoxide, and not having adequate ventilation can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. The best place to run your generator is away from your home, with the exhaust pointing away from any windows and doors. If you are running a generator in a well-ventilated garage, always install a carbon monoxide detector, which can help save your life as well as others living with you if levels get too high.
Q: How long do portable generators last?
Portable gas generators typically last anywhere between 2,000 to 3,000 hours, but this figure is entirely dependent on how often you use your portable generator and how well you maintain it. Portable power stations that are battery-powered tend to last for years, although it is important to note that you should always allow the battery to cool before recharging, as this helps extend the battery life.
Q: Are portable generators loud?
The majority of portable generators include a decibel rating which will allow you to compare noise levels. On the whole, most portable generators now run relatively quietly, with comparable levels to normal conversation or a dishwasher running in the next room. Inverter style generators typically run much more quietly than gas-powered. Don't expect whisper-quiet noise levels with any generator, but you can rest assured knowing you are still going to be able to get some sleep in a power outage with the majority of portable generators.