7 Best Portable Generators in 2021 Reviews & Buying Guide

Why Portable Generators?

A portable generator is the best option for powering up your appliances during blackouts. They are preferred because of the following reasons.

  • A lot inexpensive as compared to standby generators
  • Easy to maintain
  • Power almost all the necessary appliances during a blackout
  • Smaller models and inverters are best for outdoor use
  • Low running cost
  • Can be stored easily when not in use
  • Can be used with RVs as well
  • Can also be used as backup work generators

Portable generators have a lot of advantages over standby generators for an average-sized home. Not everyone can afford a standby generator worth of thousands of dollars; a portable generator in this situation is your best buy to get things done during a blackout and outdoor purposes.

Problems Associated with Buying Portable Generators?

A machine like a generator is not purchased after 1-2 years. You should make sure that you are buying a high-quality generator with all the features you need. It must be able to supply enough power to run all your appliances, have a low running cost, easy to maintain, durable, and economical as well. Your portable generator, despite being heavy or lightweight, must be easy to move around. Luckily for you, we have taken care of all these things in this guide. We have included the best generators for home and outdoor use and reviewed them for you. We have also included a buying guide and a FAQ section to help you make the best purchase decision.

Best Portable Generators

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Product Name
Features

Ratings

Reviews

Check Price

Westinghouse power station with 247cc engine

Westinghouse WGen5300v Portable Generator

  • 247cc 4-stroke engine

  • 4.7 gallons fuel capacity

  • 13.5 hours runtime at 50% load

Champion whole house lightweight power station

Champion Power Equipment 76533

  • 3.4 gallons fuel tank

  • 224cc OHV engine

  • 10.5 hours runtime at 50% load

DuroStar power station with 10 hrs runtime

Durostar DS10000EH Portable Generator

  • 10 hours runtime at 50% load

  • 8.3 gallons fuel tank

  • 18 HP 440cc engine

WEN lightweight power station with 79cc engine

WEN 56200i 2000-Watt Generator

  • 1-gallon gasoline tank

  • 4-stroke 79cc engine

  • 2-years warranty

Honda power station with 9 hrs runtime

Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt Generator

  • 0.9-gallon fuel tank

  • 40 pounds weight

  • 4-9 hours runtime

Pulsar lightweight portable power station

Pulsar 1,200W Carrying Handle Generator

  • 72cc 2.2 HP engine

  • recoil start system

  • 1.1-gallon gas tank

Westinghouse power station with 18 hrs runtime

Westinghouse iGen4500 Generator

  • 18 hours at 25% load

  • 3.4-gallon fuel tank

  • 224cc 7HP OHV engine

Best Home Use Portable Generators

If the primary purpose is to power up your home during a power outage, your main concern must be to meet your power demands. Small inverters can’t do this for you. You need power, strength, and durability. Let’s look at the best portable generators for home use.

1. Westinghouse WGen5300v Portable Generator with 120/240 Volt Selector 5300 Rated 6600 Peak Watts Gas Powered, CARB Compliant, RV and Transfer Switch Ready – Best Medium-Sized Portable Generator

  • Engine: 247cc OHV
  • Fuel tank: 4.7 gallons
  • Warranty: 3 years

More Features: Westinghouse has attached wheels and a handle to carry it around.

Westinghouse lightweight power station

Power Output: The generator has a running wattage of 5300 watts and peak wattage of 6600 watts. It will allow you to manage all your appliances at home. You can even run a large furnace, well pump, AC at one time without making any compromise.

Engine Specifications: It comes with a powerful 247cc 4-stroke engine to make sure that the generator provides ample power to your home. You get engine oil as well and a funnel for an oil change. It comes with a recoil starting mechanism.

Fuel Type, Tank Size, and Run Time: The gas tank has a capacity of 4.7 gallons and runs for 13.5 hours with a 50% load. You won’t need to refuel your generator during the night and sleep peacefully.

Dimensions and Weight: It weighs 98.9 pounds and measures 26.97 x 21.65 x 19.69 inches. Make sure you enough space for storage in your garage.

Portability: It is a heavy unit. To facilitate moving it, Westinghouse has attached wheels and a handle to carry it around. The handle comes with a foam grip, and the wheels are strong and sturdy.

Warranty and Certifications: You get a 3-year warranty on labor, services, and parts and lifetime technical support. It is an EPA and CARB compliant unit.

Other Features: It is a versatile generator. You can choose between 120 and 240V output to manage various appliances in your home.  All the outlets are covered with rubber pads to provide safety while operating the generator. A VFT meter and a fuel gauge keep you aware of the different readings in your generator. The generator has a transfer switch, is RV ready, and comes with a low oil shut-off sensor.

Our Opinion and Verdict:

It is an excellent generator at a very reasonable price. Once you by this generator, you don’t need to worry about anything. It will always be there for you during an emergency.

2. Champion Power Equipment 76533 4750/3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator with Electric Start – Best for Small Homes

Champion lightweight power station for outdoor activities

Fuel Type, Tank Size, and Run-Time: It is a dual fuel generator and can be run on gas and propane. The gas tank is 3.4 gallons. You can attach different sized propane cylinders with the help of a propane hose (included). The generator can run for a maximum of 10.5 hours on propane and 9.0 hours at gas on half load. As the load increases, run time decreases. The fuel selector switch is high-quality, and you won’t face any problems dealing with it in the long run.

Power Output: The generator produces 4750 peak watts and 3800 running watts on gas. On propane, it gives 4275 starting watts and 3420 running watts. Gas has a higher burning power and therefore produces more wattage. You can adjust more appliances on gas as compared to propane.

Engine Specifications: It is a touch and recoil start 224cc OHV single-cylinder engine from Champion. The oil capacity is 0.6 quarts, and the engine has a low oil shut-off sensor as well. The engine is air-cooled.

Dimensions and Weight: It is a heavy generator and weighs 122 lbs. The measurements are 26.30 x 24.80 x 22.90 inches. The generator is a little bigger than other generators.

Portability: It comes with never-flat wheel technology and a folding handle with an ergonomic design. As it is a heavy unit, you may need some help pulling it.

Warranty and Certifications: You get a 3-year limited warranty and a lifetime customer support service.

Other Features: The generator comes loaded with a battery to save you some extra bucks. You can track the voltage and run time to monitor power output and carry out timely maintenance. It comes with a volt guard to protect your environments from a voltage surge. It has a noise rating of 68 DB.

Our Opinion and Verdict:

We are amazed by its performance and ability to run for long hours without making any issues. It is one of the best dual-fuel portable generators with excellent features at an affordable price.

3. Durostar DS10000EH Portable Generator, Red/Black – Best for Large Homes

DuroStar lightweight power station

Fuel Type, Tank Size, and Run-Time: You can use propane and gasoline to run this generator. The tank capacity for gasoline is 8.3 gallons and runs for 10 hours at 50% load. The propane run time is 20 hours on a 20 lb. cylinder. Its propane run time is quite impressive and leaves others far behind.

Power Output: On gasoline, the generator provides a maximum power of 10,000 watts and a running power of 8,000 watts. The peak and running wattage for propane are less than gasoline. You will have to remove the 1000 watt load to run it without any worries. You can easily power a large home with this unit.

Engine Specifications: It comes with a mighty engine of 18 HP 440cc and a noise level of 72 DB. The engine lacks the electric start option. All the engine windings are of copper, and all the parts are made of metal, giving your engine and generator a long life.

Dimensions and Weight: It has a 40 x 29 x 27.5 inches size and weighs 239 pounds. It is heavier than the above models and needs more force to drag it.

Portability: Luckily for you, the generator comes with a wheel kit and pulling handle. You may need a companion to drag this generator. It would be very difficult to manage this generator in your RV. Even if you install a separate case for it, it will add a lot of weight.

Warranty and Certification: The generator comes with a 3-year warranty for parts, labor, and services. It is certified by EPA and CARB to be used in all states.

Other Features: You get the freedom to choose between 120 and 240V outputs. It comes with an oil funnel, spark plug wrench, a tool kit, DC charging cables, and a well-elaborated manual. Please keep in mind that the generator does not come loaded with engine oil.

Our Opinion and Verdict:

Durostar is one of the top generator brands. It will deliver unmatched power at an affordable running cost. It is the best option to meet the needs of large homes, small restaurants, and offices.

Best Outdoor Portable Generators

When you are on a trip, your power needs are not very high. You need something that will power up your small appliances and provide clean electricity. We have included the best generators for this purpose in the following section.

4. WEN 56200i 2000-Watt Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator, CARB Compliant

WEN 56200i portable inverter power station

Power Output: The generator will provide a maximum power of 2000 watts and 1600 running watts. A moderate power output makes it perfect to be used during camping trips and charge sensitive appliances like phones, laptops, and tablets. It can also be used to run lights, fans, and TV during a blackout.

Fuel Type, Tank Size, and Run-Time: It has a 1-gallon gasoline tank and provides a run time of 9.4 hours on quarter load. With half load, the run time will be around 5 hours on a full tank.

Engine Specifications: The generator comes with a 4-stroke 79cc engine and keeps the noise level down to 53 DB. A low noise level is perfect for camping trips.

Dimensions and Weight: Its dimensions are 18 x 11 x 18 inches. It is a very lighter unit and weighs 48 pounds.

Portability: With a low weight, you won’t have any problems carrying it to the campsite. It comes with an ergonomic carry handle, which makes carrying it around easy. As it is a compact unit, you can easily store it in your RV and garage cupboards when not in use.

Warranty and Certification: You get a 2-years warranty on this unit and is certified by EPA and CARB to be used all over the country without any worries.

Other Features: The inverter is parallel ready and can be used with other WEN generators to get higher power. It comes with a 3-in-1 choke switch, a reset button, 12V DC receptacle, 5V USB port, grounding nut, 3 indication lights (overload, oil, and output), NEMA 5-20R, and an eco-mode to enhance fuel consumption.

Our Opinion and Verdict:

WEN is the first choice of thousands of campers all across the US. Its fuel tank is comparatively small, but it gives an excellent runt time due to its efficient engine.

5. Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt 120-Volt Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator

Honda EU2200i lightweight power station

Power Output: If you are looking for more power, then Honda is your best pick with a low weight. It will give you a maximum of 2200 starting wattage and a running wattage of 1800 watts. The extra wattage gives you the freedom to run more appliances on it.

Fuel Type, Tank Size, and Run-Time: It runs on gas and has a 0.9-gallon fuel tank. The generator will provide you a run time of 4-9 hours depending on the load on it.

Engine Specifications: It comes with a powerful and durable Honda engine to give you extreme reliability, smooth operation, and a low noise rating of 48-57 DB. It will give you a soundless experience on your camping trips.

Dimensions and Weight: We are impressed by its dimensions and size. It is a compact unit with measurements of 16 x 20 x 11 inches and weighs only 40 pounds.

Portability: It is the best generator when it comes to portability. Small size, low weight, and a carry handle will make it hassle-free to carry it around.

Other Features: The inverter is parallel-capable with other Honda inverters. You get LED indicators for oil, overload, and output. A battery charger, 120V 5A outlet, and an eco-mode button on the control panel.

Our Opinion and Verdict:

If you are looking for a powerful inverter with low weight from a reputable brand, it is your best buy. However, it is a costly unit and comes at almost double the price of the inverter reviewed above.

6. Pulsar 1,200W Carrying Handle, PG1202S Gas-Powered Portable Generator, 1200W, Black/White

Pulsar PG1202S lightweight power station

Power Output: It provides a peak power of 1200 watts and a running wattage of 900 watts. This generator is ideal for camping and recreational use. It can also be used to run a light, fan, and TV during blackouts.

Engine Specifications: The generator comes with a 2-stroke 72cc 2.2 HP engine. It is light on gas and runs silently to keep your surroundings quiet. The engine is a recoil start.

Fuel Type, Tank Size, and Run-Time: A 1.1-gallon gas tank will provide a run time of 8.5 hours at 50% load. Its run time is excellent with reference to the engine size and tank capacity.

Dimensions and Weight: It is a small machine with a size of 16.20 x 14.00 x 14.80 inches and weighs 37.50 pounds. It is the lightest in our list and perfect for individual use.

Portability: To ensure easy portability, it comes with a comfortable carry handle.

Warranty and Certifications: It comes with a 1-year warranty on parts and labor.

Other Features: You get AC, DC reset buttons, two 120V AC outlets, a choke, and an easy to replace air filter. It comes with rubber pads, which keep the noise level reduced.

Our Opinion and Verdict:

It is best to be used by 1-2 people. You can easily move around and store it in your RV.

Best Multipurpose Portable Generators

A multipurpose portable generator is one which can be used for outdoor trips and powering your home. It must be portable, have enough power to run your appliances like AC, furnace, lights, and microwave oven. Such generators are a treat to own. We have the best one for you in this category.

7. Westinghouse iGen4500 Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator 3700 Rated & 4500 Peak Watts, Gas Powered, Electric Start, RV Ready, CARB Compliant

Westinghouse iGen4500 power station

Power Output: This model comes with a maximum power of 4500 watts and rated power of 3700 watts. It holds the power to run all the important appliances of a medium-sized home. For RVs, it can run your AC, water heater, refrigerator, and TV. To get more out of it, you would need to do load management.

Fuel Type, Tank Size, and Run-Time: It is a gas-powered generator with a 3.4-gallon capacity and gives a backup time of 18 hours at 25% load. At 50% load, it will give you a run time of around 9 hours with a full tank.

Engine Specifications: It comes with a 224cc 7HP OHV Westinghouse engine to make sure that you never face any problems while powering your appliances. The best thing about this generator is its low noise level. The engine runs at a noise level of 53 DB. The engine can be started through an electric and recoil starting mechanism.

Dimensions and Weight: It is a powerful generator, so it is bulkier and weighs 93 pounds. The dimensions are 18 x 10 x 15.50 inches.

Portability: Don’t worry about its portability. Despite being heavy, it is easy to move around because of its design and the location of the carry handle. The carry handle comes out, and the generator is tilted at an angle of 45 degrees to your body, making it easier to carry around.

Warranty and Certifications: It has been certified by EPA, USFS, and CARB to be run in all US states. You get a 3-year limited warranty on service, labor, and parts.

Other Features: It features a 120V 5-20R home outlet, RV outlet, and 2 USB outlets for quick connections for your phone chargers. The LED data center displays fuel level, power output, remaining run time, voltage, and lifetime hours. It comes with an economy mode to give you enhanced fuel efficiency.

Our Opinion and Verdict:

It is the best multipurpose inverter generator for your home and outdoor. It will never let you down at the time of emergency and recreation.

Buying Guide

A buying guide helps you make the best purchase decision. It lists down all the features you need in your generator and the advantage of having them in your machine. Our buying guide will help you deal with all your concerns regarding your generator.

Power Demand

When you are buying a generator for your home, you need to make sure that you buy a generator that can accommodate your power needs. It is best if you find a generator according to your running wattage needs and not starting wattage. It will help you save money on the initial cost and reduce the running and maintenance costs. Let’s look at the following example to understand it.

Appliances Starting Wattage Running Wattage
Refrigerator 1200 200
1/2 HP Furnace 2350 875
TV 300 300
Lights 300 300
AC 1800 1200
Total 5950 2875

In the above table, 5950 is the power you need to add all the appliances at one time. However, to keep them running at one time, you would need 2875 watts. In this case, a generator with approximately 3000 running watts would be best for you. It is better to keep a power cushion to adjust any extra load on your generator. You can also use the same formula to calculate the power needs for RV and camping generators.

Inverter or Conventional Generator

A conventional generator will supply you with more power than an inverter. It is best for home use and powering heavy appliances for work. Classical generators have a large fuel tank and are more damage resistant than inverters. Inverters are lightweight, have smaller fuel tanks, and can be connected in parallel to get more power out of them. The best thing about inverters is that they produce a clean and stable current, safe for sensitive and costly gadgets. Inverters also make less noise as compared to simple generators. We suggest you buy a classical generator for your home needs or buy an inverter for outdoor. A multipurpose generator fulfills both needs.

Type of Fuel

You can either buy gas, propane, or dual fuel generators. Gas burns better and produces more power as compared to propane. Propane, on the other hand, is cleaner and keeps your engine clean. Dual fuel generators are best in this regard as they eliminate dependency on any one type of fuel. You can use gas to run your generator in normal circumstances and use stored propane (30 years shelf life) when you can’t find gasoline.

Starting Mechanism

Generators come with the recoil start or recoil and electric starting mechanism. It is easy to maintain a recoil starting generator as compared to an electric start generator. Electric generators are a bit costly as compared to manually starting generators. Starting an electric generator is hassle-free as compared to a recoil generator.

Control Panel

A user-friendly generator will have maximum options on the control panel. An ideal control panel has buttons, light indicators, choke, outlets, fuel selector switches, and a digital display to tell you about output power, oil level, run time, and other features.

Noise Level

Generators make a lot of noise. The larger they are, the more disturbing they get. Always look for a generator with the lowest noise rating. You can also use mufflers and sound boxes to reduce the noise. Inverters have a low sound rating as compared to classical generators.

Safety

Features like low oil shutdown, overload protection, surge protection increase the safety of your generator. They also keep your appliances safe from short-circuiting. Make sure your generator is grounded before you run it.

Warranty and Certifications

Look for generators with warranty and certifications from EPA, CARB, and other regulatory bodies. A warranty helps you in after-sale services and getting your generator repaired.

FAQs

What precautions do I need to follow while starting a generator for the first time?

You must check oil levels, use fresh gas or propane, and make sure nothing is blocking the exhaust. You must read the owner’s manual before firing up your generator for the first time.

How can I maintain a portable distance?

You need to take care of the following while doing maintenance for your portable generator.

  • Timely oil change
  • Spark plug replacement
  • Don’t overload your generator.
  • Don’t run it in the rain.
  • Store it properly without gas in the tank
  • Run periodically for testing
  • Air filter replacement

What is the safe distance for running a portable generator?

You should run your generator at least 15 feet away from your home and camp. Never run your generator inside your home or camp.

Can I use a portable generator without a transfer switch?

You must not use your portable generator without a transfer switch to power up your homes. You must always install a transfer switch with it. If you are using it outdoor, make sure you use heavy-duty power cables.

How can I avoid generator theft?

The best way to keep your portable generators safe is to lock them with a security cable. For inverters, you would need metal brackets to lock them with the cable.

Conclusion

A portable generator is a very useful appliance during power outages. All the generators in our list are of high-quality, durable, reliable, and give you the best value for money. We suggest you buy the one according to your needs and make your life easy.

 

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