Boating is fun. Some people occasionally go out in the water to have fun with friends and catch some fishes. On the other hand, some people do boating and sailing day and night to earn a living. But no matter whatever your reason is to ride on a boat, you must have easy access to electric power.
Now, you don’t have to sacrifice having access to electric power when you have some portable generators to keep with you during boat rides.
For smaller boats and different watercraft, you have many generator options available. In this article, we have selected the seven best portable generators that you can use on boats.
Best Portable Generators for Boat
1. WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator – Overall Best
Weight and Portability: This WEN 56200i is one of the best generators to take on a boat. Its 48 pounds weight and easy carrying handle make easier to get it on and off the boat.
Engine and Power Capacity: Its powerful 79.7cc 4-stroke OHV engine generates 2000 starting watts and 1600 running watts.
Fuel Tank Capacity and Runtime: Its fuel tank size is of 1 gallon that offers 6 hours of runtime on half-load.
THD Rating: It is an inverter generator, so it takes care of your sensitive electronics as well. It has a THD rating of less than 1.2% at full load. You can freely charge your smartphones, laptops, and other sensitive gadgets.
Eco Mode: Its eco-mode makes it a fuel-efficient generator. When you turn on this eco-mode, the motor adjusts its fuel usage according to the attachment and detachment of the electronic items to the panel.
Safety Features: If we focus on its safety features, then there is low-oil shutdown and overload protection available. Low-oil shutdown sensor senses lower levels of oil and turns off the engine to prevent damage. Overload protection also protects the engine from coming under the influence of overloading.
Parallel Capable: This generator is also parallel capable. This feature allows you to link another generator to produce more power. If you have a big boat, then this feature may come handy whenever you arrange small gatherings or parties.
Control Panel: Its control panel has two 120V AC outlets, one 12V DC outlet, and a 5V USB port to meet your power needs.
Noise Level: It is also a noiseless generator having a decibel rating of only 51 dBA.
Certifications: Moreover, it is an EPA III and a CARB compliant product.
2. Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Gas Powered Portable Inverter – With Pulse Width Modulation
Engine and Power Capacity: Another best portable generator that you can use on boats or ships is the Yamaha EF2000iSv2. Similar to WEN 56200i, its 79cc 4-stroke OHV engine produces 2000 starting watts and 1600 running watts.
Ease of Maintenance: Also, its inside may be very similar to WEN, but it has a small door that helps you to change oil with ease. In WEN, you have to remove the full panel.
Fuel Tank Capacity and Runtime: The unit has a fuel tank capacity of 1.1 gallons and can run continuously for 10.5 hours at 25% rated load. This runtime is just because of the Smart Throttle that maximizes fuel economy. Its fuel gauge tells you the tank’s status, and gasoline petcock saves your generator from stale gas related issues.
Inverter System with PWD: The inverter system of Yamaha provides clean power to your electronics. It is featured with PMW (Pulse Width Modulation) that ensures voltage and frequency stability.
New Controller System: Its new controller has advanced programming that allows you to power much more appliances than its previous generation EF2000iS.
Noise Level: It also works quietly with a noise level between 51.5 and 61 dBA (depends on load).Its smart throttle system and a muffler with spark-arrestor ensure lower noise level and safety.
Parallel Capable: You can also connect another generator or a previous model EF2000iS with this unit to produce more power.
Weight and Warranty: It is also very light in weight (44 lbs.) and is backed by a 3-year warranty.
Certifications: It is an EPA and CARB compliant unit.
3. Honda EU2200i Gas Power Portable Inverter Generator – Quietest Portable Generator for Boat
Noise Level: This Honda Eu2200i is quieter than the WEN 56200i and Yamaha EF2000iSv2. It operates from48 to 57 dBA.
Power Capacity: Its starting and running watts are upgraded from its previous model. Now, it produces 2200 starting watts and 1800 running watts.
Engine: It is powered with a 121cc Honda GXR120 engine that is quite powerful. You can run a wide variety of appliances during your boat ride without any problem.
Fuel Tank It comes with a fuel tank capacity of 0.95 gallons but offers decent runtime of 4 to 9.6 hours, depending on load. Thanks to its Eco-Throttle system that saves fuel and offers noise-less operation.
Inverter Technology: The advanced inverter technology of Honda ensures clean and reliable power supply to all your electronics and appliances.
Safety Features: Also, it features a fuel shut-off switch that allows the engine to run without fuel to prevent stale gas problems and its increased ventilation keeps the key components cool during operation.
Control Panel: If we focus on its power outputs, then there are two 120V AC outlets and one 12V DC outlet. In addition, there are three LED indicators for oil alert, overload alarm, and output indicator.
Parallel Capable: It is also a parallel-ready unit that can be linked to another generator to generate more power.
Weight and Portability: Moreover, the unit weighs around 47 pounds and has a comfortable handle for easy carrying.
4. Westinghouse iGen2500 Portable Inverter Generator – Most Fuel-Efficient
Engine and Power Capacity: If you need more power output than 2000 watts, then you can consider this Westinghouse iGen2500 portable inverter generator. Its 98cc Westinghouse 4-stroke OHV engine produces 2500 peak watts and 2200 rated watts.
Fuel Tank Size and Runtime: Its 1-gallon fuel tank can deliver up to 10 hours of runtime. Its efficiency mode helps you to get this runtime on 1-gallon fuel.
THD Rating: This unit is a perfect choice for a boat to run all of the appliances and electronics with ease. Its less than 3% THD rating is ideal for your sensitive electronics.
Parallel Capable: It is also parallel capable which means you can easily link another Westinghouse iGen Series inverter generator to get more power output.
Noise Level: It also operates without making any noise. It has a noise output of only 52 dBA.
Control Panel: If we talk about its power outlets then they include two 120V 20A outlets and two 5V USB ports. The most appealing feature of this generator is its digital data centre that keeps you updated regarding essential information related to your generator. It tells you the remaining runtime, fuel level, power output, and voltage.
Warranty and Certifications: The generator is backed by 3-year limited warranty and offers free technical support for lifetime. Also, it is a CARB, EPA, and USFS certified product.
5. Honda Power Equipment EB3000C Portable Gas Generator – Most Powerful
Power Capacity: If you are looking for the most powerful generator for your boat then this Honda Power Equipment EB3000C is the ideal choice for you. It produces 3000 starting watts and 2600 running watts to meet all your power needs.
Weight and Portability: It is a heavier unit with a weight of 76 pounds, but its frame provides you carrying handles on all sides for easy transportation. You can also purchase a wheel kit for mobility.
Engine: It is powered by a Honda commercial 4-stroke OHV engine.
Fuel Tank Size and Runtime: It runs for about 10 hours at half-load with a 2.6-gallon fuel tank. It is a fuel-efficient product that takes care of your fuel as well as your pocket.
Inverter Technology: An exclusive CycloConverter technology of Honda ensures clean and stable power. You can freely power your sensitive electronics with this unit.
Noise Level: If we talk about its noise level, then it is 65 dBA which is not bad at all.
Control Panel: Its control panel is simple and easy to use. There are two LED indicators for output and lower oil level. Also, it features two 120V AC outlets and a 21.7A twist-lock outlet. All of the receptacles are GFCI protected.
Warranty: It is backed by a 3-year limited warranty, but it is an expensive product.
6. Pulsar PG2000iSN Gas-Powered Inverter Generator – Best under $500
Weight: Another decent inverter generator to use on a boat is the Pulsar PG2000iSN. Its design is quite similar to Westinghouse iGen2500 and WEN 56200i, but it is a little lighter in weight, 47 pounds.
Engine and Power Capacity: The unit comes with an 80cc single-cylinder 4-stroke OHV engine that generates 2000 peak watts and 1600 running watts.
Fuel Tank Size and Runtime: It has a fuel tank capacity of 1.18 gallons that gives 8 hours of runtime at 50% load.
Inverter Technology: Its stable sine wave technology allows you to power all of your sensitive electronics like laptops, mobile phones, and others.
Parallel Capable: You can also connect another Pulsar PG2000iSN to get more power output. Its parallel capability allows you to do so.
Noise Level: The unit also operates quietly. It has a decibel rating of 59 dBA.
Control Panel: If we focus on its power outlets, then there are two 120V 13A AC outlets, one 5V DC USB port, and a 12V 8A DC outlet. Also, its control panel has an economy switch that not only consumes less fuel and gives more runtime but also decreases the noise levels. Moreover, you have an overload indication, oil warning display, and output indicator as well.
Warranty: But the main problem with this generator is its 1-year warranty.
7. TELONGPU Emergency Solar-Powered Generator – Least Powerful
Power Capacity: The last portable generator in our list that you can keep with you on a boat is the TELONGPU generator. It is a solar-powered unit that only offers 200 watts of power, but it is quite useful for emergency purposes when you run out of fuel in another generator. Also, it can be used on short distance boat rides.
Weight: It only weighs 4.5 pounds and is safer to use during water trips as compared to the gas-powered units.
Multi-purpose: The 200 watts can only power your smartphone or radio, but you can also charge your boat battery in emergency situations.
Solar Power: The generator gets power from the sun, but it is better to charge it up with a wall outlet before going to take it on board.
Light and Navigation: It not only provides power to your electronics, but it also features a compass and a flashlight.
Control Panel: The unit has one 12V outlet and four USB ports along with a 15V solar input.
Safety Features: Despite its small size and power output, it comes with various safety features that include over-current and over-voltage protection, overload and overcharging protection, and over-temperature and short circuit protection.
It is always recommended never to select any product based on the number of positive reviews. It might get you the best product but not always. Therefore, it is necessary to make sure that the product you are buying has all the available features that you need.
So, here in this section, we are going to focus on those things or features that you must look at before purchasing the best portable generator for a boat.
First, it is necessary to find out what you will power on your boat? If there are only small things like bulbs, lights, laptop, smartphones, hairdryer, and other small devices, then a small portable inverter generator with 1600 to 1800 rated watts power output is enough. But if you want to power an air conditioner, microwave, or a fridge along with these small appliances or electronics, then you have to look for a unit that can at least produce more than 2500 rated watts.
So, it all depends on your needs and the purpose and duration of your boat trips.
To make things easier for you, first, write the names of those appliances and electronics that you mostly use during boating. Write their watts in front of them and then add watts to find the total required power to get a unit that can easily handle that power. Also, make sure that your generator has the correct outlets according to the devices you have.
Tank Capacity and Runtime
Tank capacity and runtime also need to be considered as they are very important factors. For longer boat trips, you must have to buy a generator with more tank capacity so that it can offer you longer runtime. And for short trips, you can go for the 1-gallon fuel tank to get more than 6 hours of runtime in most cases.
But here one thing you must keep in mind that runtime changes according to the load applied. Also, smart throttle systems are there in many portable generators that maximize fuel efficiency.
It is also necessary to make sure that your generator is parallel capable. In order to generate more power output on your boat, you can take help of this parallel capability to link another generator of the same generation or series.
Although the sound level is not an important factor to consider as you are not going to disturb your neighbors during a boat ride. But for your own mental relaxation, you must have to check the noise level of your generator. A unit having the noiseless operation is an ideal machine to go with on your boat trips.
First of all, your generator must have a low oil shutoff sensor. Also, overload protection is a plus. Other than this, if you have an emergency stop button installed to your generator, then it is good; otherwise, you should buy an emergency stop button kit separately. Also, make sure that the power outlets on the control panel are all GFCI protected.
The last thing that you have to check is the warranty offered by a company. Some units come with a warranty of 3 years whereas some companies only offer a 1-year warranty. So, make sure that you are buying a unit that is backed by a 3-year warranty.