12 Best Portable Generator in 2019 (Review & Buyers Guide)

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portable generator

The value of having a portable generator is endless. Whether you need a generator for home use, emergency power backup, your jobsite, or for your campsite, our top 12 best portable generators will help you to narrow down a piece of ideal equipment for you. So read the entire guide to get a thorough idea of each model.

Best portable generator reviews:

1. Westinghouse WGen7500 portable generator, best portable generator for home use:

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The latest from  Westinghouse line of portable generators is its WGen series. It is a durable equipment that is great for household use, emergency power backup, and camping. This is a powerful, durable, and easy to use and operate portable generator, and it is expected to go passed the quality of its previous models. It is the top rated portable generator that is currently available in the market, and that is the reason why we have featured it #1 in our review list.

For the past 10 plus decades, the Westinghouse has supplied dependable and efficient power generators all around the country. They are well known for their features suitable for both home and industrial usage. The WGen has a 9000 watt starting and 7500 watt of continuous running power.

It is protected with a seriously durable steel frame, and the cast iron sleeve protects both the generator as well as its gas tank. You can also use this feature for easy portability. Starting this machine is a pretty easy task. You can push a simple electronic button  or you can start it from a remote, and also you will have a regular recoil start as well. There are also colored marks to aid you start the generator without much hustle. It has a gas tank capacity of 6.6 gallons. The tank comes attached with a fuel gauge which helps you to find out how much fuel left in it.

You can run all of your appliances through its 4-stroke over-head value OHV durable engine and it produces more than enough power to accomplish that thing. Also, it is fuel efficient, and you can expect to start it from lower temperatures as well. The supported quiet mufflers allow this machine to operate on 64 decibels noise level at a50% load, which is quiet impressive for such a powerful portable generator.

Another great feature is its built-in low oil shutdown system, that automatically turns off the generator when oil gets over heated, or the oil level gets too low. This way, the engine will be protected from internal damage. Easy mobility with this equipment is possible thanks to its set of wheels and handles. You can have everything included in this package and it is really easy to assemble.

Pros:
  • Comes equipped with a 6.6 gallon of tank capacity.
  • This generator is fuel efficient.
  • Useful equipment for home use, power backup, and
  • Easy to assemble.
Cons:
  • It is a heavier equipment, and without its wheels, it would be a lot harder task to move it around.

2. Yamaha ef2400ishc portable generator, best portable generator for camping:

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The Yamaha generators contain the longest engine durability score that can only be issued by the environment protection agency in our country. It is very, very durable, and its  low oil warning system protects its engine from internal damage.

The electricity it produces is comparable to what you get from your utility company. So, you can use this generator even for your sensitive electronic devices such as your smartphones and tablets. With 2400 watt of starting and 2000 watt of running power, it can also be used with high wattage devices like the energy efficient air conditioners. This portable generator can provide the needed electricity for running RV air conditioners, microwaves, and heaters.

This model portable generator consists a throttle feature that enables this machine to function quietly. It operates in 53 decibel of noise at 25% load and 60 decibel of noise at full load. It is equipped with 1.6 gallons of fuel tank and usually functions in a maximum fuel efficiency mode. It can run up to eight hours continuously in 25% load with full tank of gas. With a fuel gauge attached on this machine, you will be able to see the gas level. It is also a CARB compliant equipment and it is the best portable generator for RVs and outdoor use.

Pros:
  • Comes with a 1.6 fuel tank capacity.
  • Provides the needed power for running RV air conditioners, microwaves, and other electronic equipments.
  • Has a fuel gauge attached with this machine.
  • Can also be used with sensitive electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Cons:
  • It doesn’t feature wheels which makes it hard to move and carry it around.

3. DuroStar DS4000S, 3300 Gas Portable Generator, best portable generator for power tools:

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If you want a mid-range portable generator, consider purchasing this model. It is both powerful and economical. This equipment features a 7.0 amp air cooled engine and it outputs 4000 watts of power. Another cool feature is its low oil shutdown. What this basically means is that the machine turns off immediately after recognizing that it has lower amount of fuel.

This protects your engine from internal damages. When we speak of its noise levels, it only becomes louder if it is operated at a full load. Otherwise, the noise levels are kept in control at 69 decibels thanks to its muffler system. It can run up to eight hours continuously at half-load. Also, this portable generator includes two 120volt power outlets and a 120volt 30 amp power outlet.

It is so easy to start with its EZ-pull starting mechanism. Perhaps, above all of its features, this portable generator is priced at a reasonable range, and it gives you incredible performance. Its build quality and metal construction of this portable generator is commendable. Since it offers lots of power, you can safely consider this as the best value buys in the market.

It is user friendly and easy to access even if you have a limited experience with operating generators. In case of a power loss, you can still keep your essential devices running thanks to its higher runtime.

Pros:
  • Can run up to eight hours nonstop at a half load.
  • Affordable pricing.
  • Easy to start with its EZ-pull mechanism.
  • Gives you exceptional power and performance.
  • Has a tank capacity of 4 gallons.
Cons:
  • It is a really heavy equipment, and transporting it from one place to another is going to be an issue.

4. Honda eu2200i portable generator, best portable generator for boat:

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The Honda line of portable generators are among the bestsellers for so long, and they are the favorite inverter generator for consumers all around this country. The strongest USP of this model is it is super-quiet. This is also the best portable generator model for boat use. You won’t be bothering other nearby boaters when it is docked.

It is seriously an ideal equipment for maritime use. The generator output 2200 watts of power, and as we have mentioned earlier, it is super-quiet and the noise level is only 48 to 57 decibels. For a fully filled single tank gas, you will get a continuous runtime of 9 hours. This unit is fuel efficient, and you will get a stable power, which in turn let’s you plug-in your most sensitive electronic devices without any worries.

It also serves the purposes of an inverter, so you can run any of your appliances. Apart from producing enough power to run an entire range of appliances, this model has one of the best ventilation system, as good ventilation is absolute necessity on a boat.

This is particularly important as it creates a safe environment in which a generator can be used, such as marine. Using this equipment is as easy as it can get with a portable generator, and you can use it even in places where power access is limited, and  also, it is the best tool to have with you when you experience a sudden power outage. A simple control knob and a recoil cable allows you to start it as quick as anything.

The LED controls let’s you know as and when the oil level of your generator gets pretty low. This reduces the risk of internal parts damage. Unfortunately, it features less than a gallon tank capacity, but it performs admirably well with the generators that has a larger tank. Finally, the manufacturers include a three years of commercial and residential warranty which will be useful in many ways.

Pros:
  • 9 hours of continuous runtime is possible.
  • it offers a three years of residential and commercial warranty on its generators.
  • Noise levels are 48 to 57 decibels which is equivalent to a normal conversation.
  • Comes with an excellent ventilation system which is great to use in a marine environment.
Cons:
  • Although it performs equally with other generators, the tank capacity is pretty low in our view.

5. Champion Power Equipment 100555 portable generator, best portable generator for sump pump:

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If you want a real portable generator that is able to power up sump pumps, then your search ends here. The Champion Power Equipment 100555 portable generator is a highly recommended generator by our experts to power all kinds of sump related machineries. With the 3500 running watts, it is exceedingly powerful.

The durable construction makes it an attractive equipment to have with you. It is designed with a sturdy look in mind, and the low noise production means that you can use it in your home without bothering your neighbors at all. You can always enjoy operating it as it has an easy operation mechanism.

The power outlets are well protected meaning that your devices are less prone to shot circuit. Also, your family members will feel a sense of safety when they want to operate it. Built-in surge protection safeguards this equipment from overloads, which obviously reduces internal damage. No matter what sump pump or sump related machine you use with it, you will get the adequate power to make each one of them function efficiently.

Pros:
  • Comes equipped with low noise production.
  • The power outlets are really well protected.
  • Easy to start and operate.
  • Durable construction.
Cons:
  • Only three years of warranty provided.

6. WEN 56475 portable generator, best portable generator for power outage:

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Whenever you look for a company that produces innovative products and combines power and performance in a single unit, you should turn your attention towards WEN. They have pioneered all kinds of technological advancements when it comes to manufacturing various types of generator engines. There latest innovation of the WEN 56180 portable generator is created with all the things that we’ve just mentioned above.

It is a powerful machine and it has an output of 1800 watts. This is a top quality and affordable equipment, and the company producing it is well respected all around this country. One of its key features that most companies think twice before giving it out is its significant warranty backing the entire product. The service centers are spread across nationwide, so you will have quick access to professional repair services.

It produces starting power of 1800 watts and 1500 watts of continuous running power. It also contains a 4-stroke OHV single cylinder engine that is fuel efficient and quite reliable, and it uses a forced air cooling system to protect this essential part from overheating. Designed compact and lightweight, this generator is ultra-portable and the handles make it that much easier to carry it wherever you want to take it.

The operation is quiet and smooth thanks to its noise reduction mufflers. The generator runs continuously for 7.5 hours with a full tank when on 50% load and noise level stands at 65 decibels at full load. Its tank capacity is 1.45 gallons.

The low oil shutdown feature automatically turns off the generator when oil levels reaches alarmingly low point. What it does is it protects your engine from internal damage. If you are looking for a portable generator that can serve you for a long time, this will be your best choice.

Pros:
  • Comes with a low oil shut off feature.
  • Ultra portable equipment.
  • Compact and lightweight design.
  • The generator operates super-quiet.
Cons:
  • At 65 decibels, it is quite noisy.

7. Champion Power Equipment 100302 Digital Hybrid portable generator, best cost effective portable generator:

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If you are looking for a cost effective portable generator, then this is it. The Champion Power Equipment 100302 Digital Hybrid portable generator has some of the exceptional features of a pro class equipment. It is so powerful and the starting power is 4000 watts and its running power is 3500 watts.

One of the cool features it contains is its quiet technology which reduces its noise levels quite dramatically. This portable generator is constructed in an open frame design. What is more attractive is its ability to project efficiency in both performance and fuel usage. It comes fully assembled with durable steel frame.

It runs continuously at an astonishing rate of 17 hours at 25% load. It has a 2.9 gallon tank capacity. The overall noise level is 64 decibel at 23 feet away. The 23 feet is the standard calculating method to a generator’s noise level. It can power up a 15000 BTU RV air conditioner. It is also suitable to use with your sensitive electronic equipments thanks to its incorporated inverter technology.

You can get a clean and stable power with this equipment for sure. This pocket friendly generator comes equipped with an automatic voltage regulator, low oil shut off, and an overload protection. You can access all of this portable generator’s controls in one area with a help of a control panel. Overall, it is a great tool for power backup when there is a sudden power outage and a supreme product for recreational use.

Pros:
  • Not overly priced.
  • Comes with an automatic voltage regulator.
  • Portable equipment.
  • Compact and lightweight design.
Cons:
  • Added portability features are not included.

8. Lincoln electric ranger 225 portable generator, best portable generator for welding:

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This unit can generate up to an all time high power of 10500 watts, which is enough for powering most devices. It can even be enough for using at jobsites, farm, and home use. It has a massive 12 gallon fuel tank capacity which is the highest we have reviewed so far. It can run up to 14 hours nonstop that will help you if in case you experience a longer power outage in your area.

A completely enclosed casing with the three service access doors provide the engine the much needed protection it requires. The multi-process welder that includes a flux-core, stick, MIG, and TIG. You can start this equipment real quick with its easy electric start. Maintaining this generator is pretty dam simple.

You can comfortably handle most of the fundamentally simple welding jobs from the sectors of basic maintenance, construction, farm, and ranch related work. However, you can’t expect the same performance when you try to use it for industrial grade welding.  In fact, it is not a suitable equipment for industrial welding needs.

Having said that, it is a great choice for getting the job done. It provides power for various equipments such as lights, grinders, and the inverters of the Lincoln electric brand, and much more. You can even use it for emergency power backup. Want more info? Here’s a video that explains all about this product.

Pros:
  • Can complete a variety of basic welding jobs.
  • 10500 watts of output power.
  • Starting and using this generator is pretty simple.
  • Comes with all the necessary features of a pro class tool.
Cons:
  • Not an ideal tool for industrial grade welding needs.

9. Generac 6866 iQ2000 portable generator, best generator under $700:

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This unit is going to be your best friend when you want a portable generator that can be carried easily wherever you go, or you want an equipment that is suitable for camping. Its design is compact and it is a highly attractive product for most people due to its features. This generator uses a 1.6 gallon of fuel tank capacity and it can run up to 5.7 hours continuously at 50% load.

If you reduce its load down to 25%, its runtime increases significantly, and it will last up to 7.7 hours. It is one of the lighter models in its class and there are easy to read controls available at the side of the generator. As the name implies, it is really a super-quiet generator.

When it comes to power options, it is unfortunate to state that it is very limited. It only has 2 120volt power outlets with no USB connection available. This model contains easy to use dial for adjusting its runtime. Also, the output can be adjusted to economy, standard, and turbo modes. If you want a light generator that performs exceptionally well in its category, and only uses 120volt options, then this may be a right fit for you.

Pros:
  • Super-quiet generator.
  • Performs really well.
  • Easy to use dial for adjusting runtime.
  • Contains easy to read controls.
Cons:
  • Very limited power options.

10. Mpow 222Wh portable generator, best portable generator under $200:

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Although it is a smaller portable generator, it performs really, really well when you are in a sudden power outage. It will help you to run many number of small electronic devices simultaneously. So, there is no doubt that it is a workhorse in its class. This unit is seriously easy to use. You don’t have to pull any ripcords to turn on this generator. Instead, you have to press a simple power button to get started with this equipment.

On the side of this tool, you will find a flashlight, a dc input, and a fan. On the rear, there is an USB port available in order to charge your electronic devices. Also, you can even find a single ac output. There is no need of buying gasoline for your generator as it can be loaded with energy by the wall outlets itself. You can even charge it with your car’s 12volt battery socket. If your car’s battery starts to wear out, then this method of powering your generator is strictly not recommended.

This is particularly helpful for cars that are having a smaller batteries. It is a perfect equipment for emergency power backup use. However, it is not an ideal tool for camping or powering large electronic equipments. Finally, portability is at a premium level as it is easy to carry, and it is a great equipment to have with you for emergency power backup.

Pros:
  • Can power up small electronic devices.
  • Pretty easy to start and use.
  • No need to buy gasoline.
  • Portable equipment.
Cons:
  • Not an ideal equipment to power up large electronic devices.

11. Briggs & Stratton 30663 portable generator, best portable generator under $1000:

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When you want a generator that increases your power production, the Briggs & Stratton 30663 portable generator will be your best bet. It produces 7000 watts of power, however, this won’t be your first choice generator that you will take it with you for camping. Instead, you will use it in your worksite.

In fact, it is specially designed to generate 25% more surge wattage. It starts at 7500 watts and you will be able to easily start it by hand. You can power up large electronic devices such as your refrigerator, hammer drill, and table saw with this generator. Its 420cc engine is larger than most generators out there, and with a 7.5 gallon metal fuel tank, you will be able to run this generator for 9 continuous hours at 50% load.

So, if you are in need of a portable generator that can be easily move about from place to place in your worksite, this will be your great option. It contains two durable wheels that are protected by rubber tread, so there won’t be any issue when you use it in a bumpier terrain. This gas powered generator weighs 221 pounds.

It won’t be a light weight model. In the portable scale, it will be at the very end. But, if you need a power packed generator that can be moved easily all around your workplace, then you might want to consider this powerhouse.

Pros:
  • A seriously powerful generator.
  • Comes with a 7.5 metal fuel tank.
  • You can move it easily from place to place in your worksite with its rubber tread protected wheels.
  • Can power up large electronic devices.
Cons:
  • It is a really heavy equipment.

12. Duro Max XP 4400E Gas Powered Portable Generator, best portable generator under $600:

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This unit is EPA approved and it ensures that it is environment friendly. It has an electrical starting system which will be easy on you if you are a beginner generator user. It can hold up to 4 gallons of gas. The volt meter protects it from overloads. It can provide power for up to 8 hours of continuous use at 50% load. The manufacturers state that it is rated at 3500 watts of continuous power and 4400 watts of surge power. This model has a number of power outlets including 2 120volt of 20 amps and a 12volt dc.

It comes equipped with wheels for easy portability. The steel frame enclosure prevents its engine from getting damaged when you move it from one place to another. The flip down handle makes it easy to store it wherever you want.

It is powered by a 7hp 4-cycle OVH engine and the low-oil shut off feature prevents it from internal damage. When we speak of its noise levels, it stands at 69 decibels when it is operating in full throttle mode. It is one among the top most best portable generator in terms of value for money. It is built around the latest technology, and they are easy to use and operate.

You can always access pro repair services with its service centers spread across all over the country. Although you have these pro class features, you don’t have to pay top dollar. Their price tag is always affordable. If you need a powerful portable generator that can be used in home, worksite, or for recreational power needs, this is it.

Pros:
  • Can start it easily with its both electric and manual options.
  • This is a powerful portable unit.
  • Affordable pricing.
  • Exceptional customer service.
Cons:
  • 69 decibels is pretty loud and can be irritating specially on a campsite.

Buyers guide:

When you experience a sudden power outage, or you want an emergency power backup anywhere, a portable generator can serve all your power needs. Although our review list talk about each generator in detail, what is needed is some additional important information that will aid you to choose the best portable generator that meets your requirements. That is exactly what we are going to present to you in this buyers guide.

1. What are the things you need to consider before buying a portable generator for yourself?

Here is an important list of stuff you need to consider before purchasing a portable generator.

Power:

The biggest USP of any generator is its power output, measured in watts. The power output really determines how many home appliances you can run at once. The consistency and the power quality determines how well it will run. To cover all of your basic power needs, consider buying a portable generator that has 5000 or more watts of power output. First up, you should list out what are the things you need to run when you experience a sudden power cut. Then add up  the item’s watts in your list to get your perfect generator. Here are some rough calculation for your essentials to help you.

  • Refrigerator, 600 watts.
  • Sump pump, 750/1500 watts.
  • Portable heaters, 1500 watts.
  • Window air conditioner, 100 watts.
  • Lights, 60/600 watts.
  • PCs and desktops, 60/300 watts.

Automatic start:

This feature is seriously Important. When power cut take place, the generator starts automatically. It is also pretty helpful if you work long distance from home and doesn’t always have the time to reach quickly in case of emergency.

Electric start:

So many portable models offer this easy start method where you have to push an electric button instead of pull starting the engine. But there is an important thing you need to consider. They are little costlier if the manufacturer doesn’t include a battery.

Alternative fuel capacity:

Most portable generators run only in gasoline. But some models come equipped with running on propane or natural gas. But, all kinds of portable generators can be converted to run on the fuel choice of yours with kits.

Fuel gauge:

When you experience a long power blackout, you obviously expect your generator to run for a longtime. When that is the case, you will appreciate how efficiently you can check how much fuel that is left in the tank with the help of a fuel gauge.

Low oil shutoff:

If the oil levels reaches alarmingly low, the generator shuts down automatically to prevent engine and internal parts damage. Although it is a standard feature in the stationary generators, it is becoming increasingly common in portable models as well.

Multiple outlets:

4 or more power outlets let’s you use them to spread the load efficiently. But, there is no need to use all of them whenever you have a power cut. We recommend you to use every outlet when there is an extreme power blackout in your home, or when you are in a campsite.

Removable console/transfer  switch:

If you have a stationary generator, this feature is absolutely important. It helps you to connect a portable generator or a home standby generator safely with your circuit panel via one cable. When you skip installing a transfer switch, it presents a potential risk for damaging your home utilities, appliances, and electronic items. So, you need to install a transfer switch with the help of a licensed electrician, and get ready to pay anywhere between $500 to $900 as a labor/installation charge.

Once its installed, it will turn on automatically. If you have a portable model, you need to turn on a few switches by hand, and make sure that your electrician explain the procedure for operating it. Most of the transfer switches are designed to handle 220volts, so it will be suitable for 5000 watts generators or more. For a stationary model, this switch automatically shuts off when the power comes back on, and for portable models, you will have to turn off the same switches to bring up live power.

Noise:

Usually, in portable models, gas and diesel powered generators make a little more noise. For that simple reason, you should have to consider its noise level. It is difficult to find out how much noise your preferred model produces before buying it, but most companies list there generator’s noise levels in its product description. So you should consider the one which has not more than 60 to 70 decibels.

Size and weight:

Your generator may offer a high output wattage, a huge battery, or multiple outlets, but if you are a camp enthusiast who can’t fit your generator in to your car, it is of no use to you. So it is important that you consider the size and the weight of a generator you want. If you are a camper, you don’t need a generator more than 50 to 70 pounds in weight.

2. What are the types of portable generators available in the market?

There are basically three types of portable generators currently available. These generators are categorized according to their fuel. They are gas powered, diesel powered, and solar powered portable generators.

Gas powered generators:

The most common type of portable generator that seems to be everywhere is the gas powered generators. These power tools have a small motor that produces energy by burning the gasoline. This means that you should have enough gas in the fuel tank to run the generator. There are a few advantages of having a gas powered generators. You will get a continuous runtime as long as you have gas in the tank.

They are more compact than all other types we have mentioned, and you can literally carry it anywhere you go. Even though gas generators are compact, they output a lot of power and they are easy to setup.

Diesel powered generators:

As the name implies, these generators use diesel to run. They are the most fuel efficient than the gas generators. They run a lot longer with the same amount of fuel that you need to use in another type of generator. One drawback to a diesel powered generator is its noise level. It is prone to produce more noise and you can’t use it in an apartment.

Solar powered generators:

Solar powered generators are powered by the sunlight but they are significantly less powerful. They can power your devices as well as power itself. There is no noise associated with this type of tool.

3. What are the difference between a portable generator and a traditional generator?

Here is a video explaining the key differences between a traditional generator VS a portable generators.

Although there is a higher chance that you’ve  watched the video, here are some key takeaways.

  • Traditional generators are less expensive but they are heavier.
  • Portable generators are more expensive still they are compact and lightweight.
  • Traditional generators are fuel consuming and louder.
  • Portable generators are fuel efficient and quieter.

4. How to hookup a portable generator in your home?

We are visual creatures. We tend to associate more towards videos and pictures than the text Though you’ve came across so many videos in this post, here is another one that clearly points out how to hookup a portable generator. This will help you to understand the process in a more practical way.

Conclusion:

We’ve given a detailed account of each portable generators after a careful and methodical testing. Our list includes generators for pros, homeowners, and people who are on a budget. Before selecting a model, you should keep your needs and your budget in mind. Because, those are very, very important. We hope that you have gained a deeper understanding of a near perfect model that caters to all your power needs after reading our in-depth guide. As always, leave your valuable feedback in the comment section below. We love to read them!