In many places across the country where hurricanes are common, power can go out frequently. During a power outage, doing your usual household activities such as cooking can be quite challenging. If you like camping, there is even a greater need for a portable generator to power your devices while off-grid.
A generator is a source of back-up power that allows you to go about your daily business with minimal interruption from power outages. Fortunately, there are many kinds of generators with different configurations for different applications.
Portable generators, as their name implies, are generators that give the added flexibility of being easy to move around – although admittedly, “portable” is a relative term. The smallest models are extremely lightweight. Others may be a tad heavier but can come with a wheel kit and a handle to make transporting them easier.
Unlike big standby generator units, portable generators may not be able to produce as much power for extended periods of time, but they are perfect for bare necessities like light and small freezers. Most often, portable generators are used in construction sites, for tailgating and camping, or other events where electronic equipment cannot be reached by an extension cord. Over the years, they have become more popular as they are becoming more affordable, too.
If you live somewhere prone to power outages or if you love camping out, getting a portable generator will certainly make your life better. Fortunately, there are many good brands to choose from. Read along as we take a look at the best portable generators available in the market today, so that the next time power goes out, you got one ready.
DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Generator
The DuroMax XP12000EH portable generator is powered by an 18HP 457cc OHV engine. With an impressive 12000 starting watts and 9500 running watts on gas, the highest in this list, heavy load appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners are no problem.
Aptly nicknamed the “BEAST”, the DuroMax XP12000EH provides the same amount of power normally seen in home standby units. It is more than enough to power home appliances through any power outage or emergency event. It comes in a portable package which makes it ideal for applications where you will need to move it around such as a jobsite or a campsite.
As a dual fuel generator, it can be run on either diesel or liquid propane. Although most consumers swear by diesel, liquid propane can in fact last longer. Using it won’t damage the carburetor. For heavy users, another key benefit is that propane is way cheaper so you can save money down the line with the DuroMax XP12000EH.
The DuroMax MX2 technology allows you to operate the generator at both 120 and 240 volts simultaneously. Alternatively, you can choose to operate it at 120 V with full power. With a voltmeter, low oil indicator, and idle control, you are kept informed with crucial information as you use this unit.
The DuroMax XP12000EH unit has a heavy-duty all-metal frame construction with motor mounts that are fully isolated. It also comes with a muffler which reduces noise and promotes quieter operation. A spark arrestor keeps the generator operating safely and a keyed electric start and optional recoil start make starting the unit up easy.
Because of its size, the XP12000EH is easy to transport over any terrain and makes for good portability. Also included are the handle kit and durable solid-fill tires. All of its windings are made of copper which guarantee that the unit is durable and will last for years.
Like all Duromax generators, this unit is both EPA and CARB compliant. Although it is quite pricey, the very high power output justifies the cost. Lastly, it comes with a 3-year factory warranty.
Green-Power America GPD5000W 5000W Gasoline Generator
The GPD5000W 5000W Gasoline Generator is capable of providing 3850 running watts and 5000 peak watt output on gas. As such, you can run this portable generator for up to 11 hours at 50% load due to its 4-gallon fuel tank and powerful 223cc 7.5 HP LCT professional engine. Within that period, you won’t have any need to refuel.
The GPD5000W also comes with an automatic low-oil shutoff feature and a built-in fuel gauge. This is an easy-to-operate machine that is quite easy to maintain as well. It is portable and is perfect to be used for any outdoor activity due to its compact design and durable construction. Because it comes with 8 inches solid wheels and handles, this generator is very easy to lug around your jobsite.
With an operating noise level of 74 dB, you can go about your business with noise that is not very distracting. You will also have no trouble plugging in your devices as it includes sine wave output outlets such as a 12V 8.3A DC outlet, two 120V AC outlets, and one 120V twist-lock AC outlet.
It is EPA-approved which means it is safe for the environment. Although it falls in the rather pricey spectrum, you are assured that Green-Power America products are built to last and come with the highest quality materials.
WEN 56200i 2000-Watt Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator
From the famous WEN brand, the 56200i 2000-Watt Inverter Generator produces clean energy sans voltage spikes and drops. Its 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV engine generates 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated watts of power without the noise of regular generators. Its efficient one-gallon tank provides over 6 hours of half-load run time.
The WEN 56200i operates at a quiet 53 dB that is why it is perfect for all your camping needs. The sound level can be compared to a normal conversation, providing non-invasive power wherever it is needed. Don’t limit yourself to using it for camping though as it can also be used in construction sites and at home during power outages. With its compact form and an attached carrying handle, this generator is easy to move from one jobsite to the next. The lightweight design of 50 lbs. increases its portability.
With a total harmonic distortion of under 0.3% at no load and under 1.2% at full load, it produces clean power to safely operate sensitive electronics such as phones, tablets, and computers.
It comes with heaps of features, too. Low-oil and low-fuel automatic shutdown with indication lights prolong the generator’s life. With the overload protection, both your generator and your electronics are shielded from damage. You can even maximize fuel economy by engaging the WEN 2000-Watt Inverter Generator’s Eco-Mode Throttle. This mode allows the generator’s motor to automatically adjust its fuel consumption, thereby preventing the usage of unnecessary gasoline and allowing you to save money.
If you need more energy, you can easily link together any two WEN inverter generators with a parallel kit. This way, you can increase the total wattage by sharing wattage among multiple units. Its fully-packed panel has two three-prong 120V receptacles, a 12V DC receptacle, and a 5V USB port.
The WEN 56200i is also EPA III and CARB compliant. And like most WEN products, your inverter generator comes with a 2-year warranty. WEN’s nationwide network of skilled technicians and a friendly customer helpline can help you with any issue.
WEN 56475 4750-Watt Portable Generator
Having another WEN generator on this list is not surprising at all as the brand is quite known for its well-built generators. Whether providing your home with electricity during a power outage or charging your family’s devices at the campgrounds, WEN is a reliable brand to turn to, and has always been since 1951.
The 223cc OHV engine provides an impressive 4750 surge watts and 3750 rated watts to power all your needs. Additionally, a digital readout helps manage oil changes and maintenance schedule. It features low-oil shutdown, an automatic voltage regulator, and overload protection to maximize safety and prolong the life of the unit.
The WEN 56475 is durable enough for any job site while its compact size is perfect for easy transport. It includes a wheel kit and foldable handles for added portability which makes it ideal for a variety of terrains and conditions. It includes two standard household 5-20R 120V receptacles, a TT-30R 120V RV receptacle, and an L5-30 30-amp three-prong receptacle.
Unlike other generators where you have no choice but to use the traditional pulling recoil mechanism to start the engine, this generator features a keyless electric start that allows you to turn on your generator at the simple press of a button. All you have to do is fill up that 4-gallon tank with gas and you’re good to go for up to 10 hours at half load. This means you won’t have to get up at the middle of the night to refuel.
Finally, a purchase includes engine oil, a funnel, and a battery. For the eco-conscious person in you, you can relax knowing that the WEN 56475 is also CARB & EPA compliant.
WEN 56203i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
The WEN 56203i has a 79cc 4-stroke OHV engine, providing non-invasive energy with 2000 surge watts and 1700 rated watts of clean power. Its total harmonic distortion is limited under 1.2% at full load, making it safe enough to run laptops, mobile phones, and other sensitive electronics. It also operates without voltage spikes and drops while its one-gallon tank provides efficient operation of over 7 hours of half-load run time.
With a quiet 51 decibels at quarter load, the 79cc 4-stroke OHV engine produces none of the noise of regular generators. In fact, this noise level is quieter than a window air conditioner and is similar to the sound of an average conversation. As such, you can thoroughly enjoy camping as you utilize this backup power. It has a runtime of 10.8 hours at quarter load.
The WEN 56203i’s body weighs only 39 pounds, making it easy to store. It is also easy to move this generator around especially outdoors or in rocky terrains. Its fuel shutoff feature maximizes the generator’s lifespan by using up the remaining fuel in the carburetor before effectively shutting down. This way, blockage due to stagnant fuel in the carburetor is prevented and the need for maintenance will be limited.
You can save money down the line because the eco-mode feature in this generator allows the motor to automatically adjust its fuel consumption when items are plugged into and unplugged from the panel. It prevents unnecessary gasoline consumption.
The panel features one 12V 8.3A DC receptacle, two three-prong 120V 14A NEMA 5-20R receptacles, and two 5V USB ports. If you need more energy, you can easily link up any two WEN inverter generators using a parallel kit, which is sold separately.
With the built-in overload protection and indicator lights, you are assured that both your generator and your electronics are protected from any form of damage. Finally, it is also backed by a two-year warranty so you are assured that this super portable generator is built to last.
A-iPower SUA2000iV 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
With 2000 starting watts and 1600 running watts of clean and safe power for most of your needs, the Ai-power SUA2000iV is powered by a 79cc engine.
It operates at a quiet 58 dB. This is in fact around the sound of a typical conversation so you can enjoy the solitude of nature if you are camped out. At only 46 pounds, it is extremely lightweight providing compactness and portability for your camping, tailgating, and traveling needs. With A-iPower’s “low idle” technology, you can use this generator for an extended run time.
The unit’s inverter technology produces pure sine wave power, making it safe for electronics such as tablets and laptops. A built-in fuel gauge is handy and tells you when it is time to refuel. How convenient is that?
Overall, this portable generator is a serious, no-fuss, and extremely reliable unit that you should get your hands on!
AIMTOM 300-Watt Portable Power Station
Are you looking for a portable generator power station for your next camping trip? Look no further because the AIMTOM SPS-300 portable power station is designed to make your life easier. It is a powerful and portable power station perfect for your camping, hunting or fishing trips. As a bonus, it requires very little maintenance as well.
This 300W portable power station packs a punch with its massive 75,000mAh 280Wh lithium battery. With a huge battery capacity and numerous connection possibilities, you can charge and recharge your devices anywhere and without the hassle of noise, fumes, or maintenance found in traditional gasoline-powered generators. Through its built-in sockets, you charge and operate your electronic devices as if you are at home.
The AIMTOM SPS-300 portable power station comes with a built-in intelligent Battery Management System which will helps protect your devices from over-current and over-voltage. It also prevents short circuits and high battery temperatures, too. You can relax knowing that your favorite gadgets are safe with it. As a matter of fact, you can charge up to 10 devices simultaneously. It features an 110V/300W AC port, four USB ports, three 12V outputs, one 24V output, and one 12V car port.
When it comes to choosing a portable power generator, you can either go cheap or you can choose a beast of a power station that can charge your mobile phone 40+ times! At only 7.3 lbs, camping has never been this light and convenient. With its lightweight and compact configuration, the AIMTOM SPS-300 portable power station will keep all your gears running. For people who are dead serious about camping, this powerful and portable unit is here to offer you comfort and flexibility anywhere.
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240
Jackery is known for providing green power solutions for adventurers. Equipped with a 240-watt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, the Jackery Explorer 240 has no need for fuel, hence there are no fumes and no clanging! It has 200 wattage output, and a smart display shows input power, output power and remaining battery power.
The Jackery Explorer 240 is especially designed for charging phones, mini-cooler, drones and other outdoor gear for the adventurous person in you. It features one AC outlet, two USB-A ports, and one DC car port so you can power your outdoor adventure without any worry.
Additionally, it can easily be recharged with the efficient solar panel. With a pure sine wave inverter, it can power your sensitive devices, too. At only 6.6 lbs, it is also an extremely portable generator so that you can pack light for your next camp trip. It has a solid handle making it easy to carry anywhere as well.
Upon purchase, you will receive the Jackery Explorer 240 Portable Power Station, one AC adapter, one car charger cable, and a user guide. Needless to say, it is an extremely reliable backup battery power supply for your camping trip and as a generator for home use.
Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator Rechargeable Lithium Battery Pack Solar Generator
The Rockpals RP250W portable generator is the perfect emergency backup power for home and travel. It is capable of providing up to 300 surge watts and 250 continuous watts of 120V pure sine wave AC power. While this is not a lot relative to some of the portable generators in this list like the WEN units, it still gets the job done as a back-up source of power especially suitable for your camping needs.
The Rockpals RP250W portable generator uses a 3.7V 60Ah lithium polymer battery and weighs only 5.5lb. In fact, it is among the lightest in this list. It is powerful enough to charge smartphones a whopping 25 times, laptops around 3-5 times, and 32″ TVs operating for 2-3 hours. This solar generator is also very handy to put on your RV and camper.
The solar generator can be recharged using a compatible 60W or 100W solar panel. It can be fully charged in only 8 hours by plugging it into a wall outlet or into your car socket. As a bonus, a car charger is included in the purchase.
Because it uses a pure sine wave inverter, you can use sensitive electronics safely. Inductive loads such as microwaves are able to run faster and quieter. Audible noises are effectively reduced as well since the generator is a gas-free source of power. Additionally, there are no fumes that may be harmful to you and to the environment.
Included in the panel are two USB charging ports and two ground AC outlets. The four DC ports have 5.5mm DC jack and come with a standard cigarette lighter socket. Upon purchase, you get this Rockpals portable generator, a 6.5ft / 2m AC adapter, a DC to Cig socket adapter, and a user guide, among others.
Westinghouse iGen160s Portable Power Station and Outdoor Solar Generator
Peace of mind is important. Whether you are working from home and need a dependable backup power solution or you are camping and need a battery generator, Westinghouse’s iGen160s is the perfect solution for you.
With 100 rated watts and 150 peak watts, the iGen160s Portable Power Station is the perfect solar generator for outdoor activities such as camping and tailgating where you need power on the go. Perfectly functional for indoor use as well, it can also be used during a blackout. It is powered by 155Wh lithium-ion batteries and can easily be charged with an included wall charger, car charger, or an optional solar panel.
As the lightest in this list, this portable generator weighs only 3.5 lbs and has a built-in carrying handle. Because it is extremely compact, you can easily tuck it into a bag ready for your camping trip. This portable unit is engineered to be easy to use and ready to go as a solar power bank.
Additionally, it comes with an LCD display, a flashlight, and a reading lamp. These extra features especially come in handy as you shine your way through the dark and keep going with your activities. It even comes with AC and cigarette lighter outlet accessories for use with cars, walls, and generators. It also includes solar panel capability to maintain the power bank functionality of the iGen160s.
As the Westinghouse iGen160s is designed with no engine, it means that there is very little maintenance required of this unit. You will not use any fuel and no noise will disrupt you during operation. You are free from harmful fumes as well. It comes with short circuit, overload, and overheat protection especially helpful for battery-connected devices.
This is the ultra-versatile silent power source to take with you anywhere you go. With two 120V outlets, four USB ports, and three 5mm DC outputs in the panel, it can support charging your necessities like mini refrigerators, lights, or speakers.
From power outages to camping trips, this Westinghouse power station is a great choice for a super portable generator. The best part, it is extremely budget-friendly, too! A perfectly portable generator that requires no engine maintenance, is rechargeable, and comes with a flashlight? It is all in the Westinghouse iGen160s!
If you wish to bring your generator in the construction site or while camping, its size and weight will matter so make sure to consider them before purchasing. Lower power diesel generators are often smaller and lighter because of reduced fuel capacity. Solar generators are also especially compact.
Most portable generators feature comfortable handles and heavy-duty wheels that make it easy for them to be transported. Whether it is a construction site or a camping site you are using the unit in, there are many different portable generators to choose from.
The fuel tank capacity dictates the amount of fuel that can be put in the generator at once and is given in gallons. A higher capacity tank means that you can put quite a lot of fuel and won’t need to refill as often. If you are thinking of using the generator for extended periods of time, buying a high fuel capacity generator might be worthwhile.
Some portable generators do not utilize gas. Instead, they rely on solar power and battery packs that is why they have no need for fuel tanks.
Generators produce power which is measured in watts. Basically, there are two different power output ratings – maximum watt (also known as peak or surge watts) and rated output. The maximum wattage is the peak wattage available to the generator whereas the rated watt relates to the continuous power produced by the generator. The higher the power output, the more high-power devices you can run at the same time. Compared to traditional diesel-powered generators, solar generators usually have lower power output.
Before making any purchase, always consider the cost. Cheap generators may not be worthy investments as they may not be very durable. More expensive models come with many features and are likely to last longer.
Larger generators often cost more money because they have larger fuel tanks that allow for longer run times. Expensive generators also come with higher power output and have extra features. Incorporating inverter technology also makes generators pricier.
When buying a generator, the key is in understanding your needs and knowing the features that you deem important so that you can find the best portable generator suited for your specific requirements.
Due to the combustion of fuel inside the cylinder, fuel generators are always bound to produce noise. While it is impossible to completely eliminate noise, it can be minimized using dampers, mufflers, and an encased construction.
If you want to enjoy the serenity of nature while camping, it is definitely helpful to get a quiet generator such as a solar power station. Generators with noise levels lower than 60 dB approximate the noise level of a regular conversation.
Safety is vital to every equipment. An automatic CO shutoff feature automatically shuts down a diesel generator’s engine if a built-in CO sensor detects levels of carbon monoxide building up. It is used to guard against risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
When the power goes off, some generators automatically start up. This is especially useful if you are not physically available to turn on your generator. Alternatively, other portable models offer a push-button alternative that saves you the inconvenience of having to pull-start the engine with a recoil mechanism. Other portable generators even feature a key fob which means you can start it from a few feet away.
The ability to check the amount of fuel left using a fuel gauge comes in handy. A low-oil shutoff feature automatically shuts off the generator if oil levels go below a certain threshold. This prevents engine damage and prolong its life. All these extra features can translate to added costs, so be sure to factor all that in when buying your generator.
How are maximum watts and rated watts different?
Maximum wattage is the power a generator can produce for short periods of time, such as when you start the generator up. As the name implies, it is also a generator’s highest possible power output. On the other hand, rated watts refer to the amount of power the generator can produce continuously such as when you use your generator for a prolonged period of time.
Can I use the generator indoors?
It is best never to run the generator in an enclosed area or anywhere else where at least three sides of the machine are not directly open to the air. Generator exhaust contains carbon monoxide which is not healthy for you and for the environment.
Can I use the generator during bad weather?
Yes, you can. Generators are expected to run in a variety of conditions. However, it is important to make sure that they are at least covered in order to prevent shorting or rusting. This way, you can prolong its service life.
Does my generator need grounding?
When using a portable generator, it is important to properly ground it to avoid the risk of electrocution. Most brands already come grounded; however, it is always handy to check the manual if this includes your unit.