Reviews Tools

Best Portable Generator Reviews: Complete Buyer’s Guide

Are you looking for the best portable generator? Then read on for the most comprehensive review and guide to the top options with all Pros & Cons.
Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a generator to power your home during a crisis? Imagine walking out into the yard, flipping a switch, and you have power again. Maybe you need power on a camping trip to enjoy some home comforts or need power in your yard for a special occasion.

That’s where a portable generator comes in – In this review of the best generators, we look at the top models for your home. We looked at hundreds of models and came up with this selection.

Check through our buying guide and FAQ to give you everything you need to know about choosing the best portable generator for your home or office.

Best Portable Generator – Our Top Picks

There are dozens of generator manufacturers and hundreds of models available. We picked out our top three models for this review, placing them in three distinct categories for homeowners.

Best Pick: Westinghouse WGen9500 Portable Generator

Westinghouse WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator-9500 Rated 12500 Peak Watts Gas or Propane Powered-Electric Start-Transfer Switch & RV Ready, CARB Compliant
  • 9500 Running Watts and 12500 Peak Watts (Gasoline); 8500 Running Watts, 11200 Peak Watts (Propane); Remote Start With Included Key Fob, Electric and Recoil Start; Up to 12 Hours of Run Time on a 6. 6 Gallon Fuel Tank With Fuel Gauge
  • Features Two GFCI 120V 5–20R Standard Household Receptacle, One Transfer Switch Ready 120V L14-30R, One RV Ready 120/240V 14–50R, and Two 5V USB Ports; All Outlets Have Rubber Covers for Added Safety
  • Powered by a Heavy Duty 457cc Westinghouse 4-Stroke OHV Engine Featuring a Long-Lasting Cast Iron Sleeve With Automatic Low Oil Shutdown and Digital Hour Meter
  • Plug-and-Play: Comes With a Remote Start Key Fob, 12V Battery Charger, Oil, an Oil Funnel, a Tool Kit, and a User’s Manual to Get You Started Right Out of the Box (Minimal Assembly Required)
  • EPA and CARB Compliant; Backed by 3-Year Limited Service, Labor, and Parts Coverage with Nationwide Customer Service and Support Network at 1-855-944-3571 or service@wpowereq

This beast of a generator has enough power to run your refrigerator and large appliances for up to 17.5-hours. This model has a peak wattage of 12,500-watts on gas and 11,200-watts on propane.

Runner-Up Pick: Briggs & Stratton P3000

Briggs & Stratton P3000 Power Smart Series Inverter Generator with LCD Display and Quiet Power Technology, 3000 Starting Watts 2600 Running Watts, RV Ready
  • Run time: Up to 10 at 1/4 Load
  • Running Amps 21.7A
  • Alternator: Permanent magnet
  • Clean and instant power to keep appliances and other important electronics running during a power outage, 30545s engine speed reduces noise, fuel consumption and emissions
  • Quieter than a traditional camping generator with enough power to start a standard RV air conditioner

This compact and lightweight, portable generator/inverter is a fantastic choice for the home and camping trips. It has plenty of power, with a hybrid generator/inverter system that conserves energy.

Budget Pick: Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 160, 167Wh Lithium Battery Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) Backup Power Supply with 110V/100W(Peak 150W) AC Outlet for Outdoors Camping Fishing Emergency
  • Founded in California in 2012, Jackery specializes in providing outdoor green power solutions for explorers. Jackery portable power station, power outdoors.
  • QUIET GENERATOR& ECO-FRIENDLY CLEAN POWER: Jackery Explorer 160 is equipped with a 167 watt-hour (46,400mah/3.6V) lithium-ion battery pack, no fuel or gasoline needed, no fumes, no clanging! Pack light for your next camp trip with Jackery portable power station.
  • OUTDOOR CAMPING BATTERY: Portable power station special designed for charging phones, tablets, laptops, gopro and other smaller electronics. Explorer 160 features 1* AC outlet (110V 100W 150W Peak), 1*USB-C port, 2* USB-A ports and 1* standard DC 12V port , power your outdoor adventure without worry.
  • SOLAR READY RECHARGING: pairs well with Jackery Solar Saga 60W/100W (sold separately), easily get recharged with efficient solar panel. Built-in led flashlight with SOS mode (long press the button) portable power station, convenient for outdoor activites; Jackery Portable power station with solid handle, easy to carry wherever you go.
  • PACKAGE DETAILS: You will receive 1* Jackery Explorer 160 Portable Power Station (167Wh Portable Power Station), 1*AC adapter, 1* car charger cable, 1*DC to car adapter cable, 1* user guide.

If you’re heading out camping or hiking for the weekend, take along this compact, lightweight solar generator. It’s the ideal machine for powering all your electronics.

Portable Generator Reviews

Now that you know our top models let’s unpack them in further detail. We’ll also look at other top contenders for the best portable generator.

Best Pick: Westinghouse WGen9500 Portable Generator

Our pick for the best overall portable generator goes to the Westinghouse WGen9500, dual-fuel generator. This model operates on gasoline for the startup, switching to propane when running to extend the run time of the machine.

With a peak wattage of 12,500-watts on gasoline and 11,200-watts when running propane, this generator has serious capacity for running most appliances in your home during a blackout. This model comes with a key fob and electric recoil start.

A full tank of gas measures out at 6.6-gallons, providing you with enough power to run the generator for up to 12-hours.

This model comes with two GFCI 120V 5–20R standard receptacles, a transfer switch, and two 5-volt USB ports. You can power your entire home with this robust generator. All the outlets come with rubber covers for waterproofing and additional safety.

You get a user-friendly control panel, including the VFT Data Center program. This software sends updates in real-time, detailing its operational status for extended service life and easy maintenance. The generator mounts to a tubular steel frame with large wheels on the rear, and rubber bushings on the front to reduce noise and dampen vibration from the motor.

With this model, you get remote start function, ergonomic foam handles for moving it around, and a 3-year warranty with dedicated support.

The 457cc four-stroke motor features a durable cast-iron sleeve with an automatic shutdown when the machine senses low oil levels. You get a digital hour meter, helping you keep an eye on your run time and a fuel gauge for easy referencing of your fuel level.

Pros:
  • High power output suitable for the largest appliances
  • Minimal risk over overloading
  • Up to 40% better efficiency than other generators in its class
  • High capacity fuel tank for extended use
  • CARB Compliant
Cons:
  • Heavy and hard to move, even with the wheels

View Details

Runner-Up: Briggs & Stratton P3000

The Briggs & Stratton P3000 PowerSmart Series Inverter/Generator is an excellent portable option and the winner of our best premium portable generator in this review. This model is ideal for use around the home and on camping trips. Featuring a sturdy plastic housing, and 6-inch “no-flat” tires in the rear, you pull out the telescopic handle and pull this machine along.

This model is lightweight and easy to carry, making it an excellent choice for taking to the park for a cookout or to the stadium for some tailgating. This mobile generator has everything you need to power your home appliances and devices.

The quiet power technology in this model reduces noise, producing on 58dB of noise when operating under 25% load – that’s barely audible. This model comes with a 1.5-gallon fuel tank, providing you enough runtime for four hours of operation, depending on the load.

Keep your eye on the machine with its easy-to-read LCD screen that shows the power you’re using, as well as the total operating hours. You also get friendly service reminders, allowing you to maintain the machine properly.

Briggs & Stratton are one of the most sought-after brands in home maintenance equipment. The company’s legendary motors power lawnmowers in gardens all around the world. The dedicated parallel connector port permits the connection of two PowerSmart Series inverter generators, allowing you to pull more power, without sacrificing any household outlets.

Pros:
  • Run-quiet technology for near-silent operation
  • 10-hour service time when operating at 25% load
  • LCD screen for monitoring performance
  • Lightweight and easy to move around with carrying handle and wheels
  • Parallel capabilities
Cons:
  • Doesn’t meet Californian emissions requirements

View Details

Budget Pick: Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer

This model is an excellent choice for powering your devices if you’re looking for a portable inverter/generator to take with you on the road. The Jackery Portable Power Station features enough power to charge your laptop, phone, and other small devices on the road or a camping trip.

This model features an optional connection to solar panels, allowing you to charge it at your campsite, without hooking it up to a power supply. The solar panels don’t come included with the machine, and we advise that you strongly consider purchasing them as an optional extra.

The Jackery reaches a full charge under solar power in 6-hours. However, the charge rate depends on the location and weather at the time of charging. The generator switches off automatically when it reaches the 10% power threshold.

This model only powers devices with a power rating of under 200-watts and overloading it will fry your generator quickly. If you don’t have solar panels, you’ll have to charge this unit by plugging it into your wall outlet to reach a full charge before you hit the road.

The Jackery is an affordable portable power solution for all your devices.

Pros:
  • Ideal for off-grid adventuring
  • Powers all your electronic devices
  • Very affordable
  • Digital LCD
Cons:
  • Solar panels not included
  • Not suitable for appliances

View Details

 PryMax Portable Power Station

The PryMax portable power station is a level up from the Jackery. This model features a 110V 60HZ 300-watt inverter that can handle surges up to 600-watts. It’s the ideal choice for taking on extended camping trips or tailgating—power your c-pap machine, phone, laptop, and music center for hours.

Weighing only 6-lbs, this machine is lightweight and easy to carry around thanks to its compact size. This model comes with a 167 watt-hour lithium-ion battery and doesn’t require any gas for operation. This model features one USB-C port, two USB-A ports, and a single DC 12-volt port.

This model connects to the Jackery solar panels, allowing you to power the machine using energy from the sun. The panels sell separately, which will add to the device’s cost if you decide to go that route.

Overall, this handy little model is an excellent choice for the outdoors and the best way to bring power to your next camping trip.

Pros:
  • An excellent choice for camping and outdoor use
  • Pure sine wave function
  • Built-in cooling fans
  • Lithium-ion battery cells
Cons:
  • Doesn’t handle loads over 300W

View Details

Pulsar PG1202S 1200W

This generator operates on a 72 cc, 2.2-HP motor, producing 1,200-watts. This model is a great portable machine with plenty of power. Take it tailgating, to the beach, or on camping trips for plenty of power for all your devices.

The Pulsar PG1202S features a modest, square-shaped 1.1-gallon gas tank, providing 8.5-hours of electricity at a 50% load. The machine weighs 35-lbs, featuring a compact, square body and carry handle that makes it easy to move around.

The rubber feet on this model help to absorb vibration and dampen sound. The Pulsar comes complete with recoil start, sporting dual 120-volt AC outlets, and a single 12V DC output. This model is robust and highly portable, making it an excellent choice for camping and tailgating.

Pros:
  • Portable and compact design
  • Rubber feet to reduce noise
  • 5-hours operation at 50% load
  • Excellent value for money
Cons:
  • Requires a fuel/oil mix to operate the 2-stroke motor

View DetailsView Details

Firman P03608

This model from Firman is a great portable choice for camping trips, and it also has enough power for use around the home. This model features a 5-gallon gas tank driving the 208cc gas-powered engine. You get a total run time of 14-hours from the tank and a multi-featured control panel.

This generator mounts to a durable steel frame featuring solid 8-inch rubber tires at the rear, and a convenient carry handle at the front of the frame. The tank comes with a gas gauge to let you know when you’re running out of fuel.

The Firman P03608 features an impressive 3,650 running watts and 4,550 starting watts. The Phoenix fat-head block on this motor is efficient and powerful, helping the engine run cool, even under the most demanding loads.

This machine is unusually quiet for a gas-powered model, thanks to the “Whisper Series” muffler. As a result of the dampening effect, you get a maximum noise level of 68dB, which is nearly 20dB lower than other models with the engine capacity.

The USDA Forest Service approves the spark arrestor on this model, allowing you to take it onto public land for camping and hunting trips. You get one-touch smart start with this model and key fob starting for up to 168-feet away. The outlets come with waterproof rubber dust caps, and

This generator features the famous Firman volt lock, providing automatic regulation of power, for a clean and consistent output from the Firman Power Stream alternator. The control panel features a 4-in-1 data readout. You’ll see the LCD displaying hours, Hertz, Voltage, and a low-oil indicator.

This model comes CARB certified, making it suitable for sale in the State of California. You can use it at Joshua Tree National Park, Yosemite, and all the other regional national parks.

You get a service kit included with your purchase. This kit features spanners, oil, and a funnel for easy maintenance of the generator. The Firman P03608 comes with a 3-year warranty.

Pros:
  • Volt lock regulator for consistent power delivery
  • CARB certified
  • 5-gallon tank for 5-hour run time
  • Sturdy frame and large caster wheels
  • Multi-feature control panel
Cons:
  • Some user issues with kits arriving broken

View Details

DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel 12000

Our final model in this review is the Duromax XP12000EH. This generator is another beast of a machine suitable for whole-home use. Use this generator to power all your appliances, your lights, your entertainment station, and even the oven.

The Duromax XP12000EH features a colossal 12,000-watts of output, with a dual-fuel feature allowing you to run it on gasoline or propane. Propane is affordable, but it struggles to bring the generator to life in cold weather.

The gasoline start feature on this machine brings the motor roaring to life, even in the coldest weather conditions. Once it’s up and running, you can switch to propane for an affordable home generator that provides plenty of power and extended running time.

The 457cc dual-overhead motor provides plenty of power, and this model features a sturdy steel frame with large air-filled tires in the rear. This generator is the ideal choice for contractors that need a portable generator for the job site.

While this model is an excellent choice for the most demanding situations, it’s rather heavy, weighing 260-lbs. The easy-to-read control panel and copper winding in the coils make it a reliable option for the job site, or for powering your home.

The motor features low-oil shut off, protecting the engine from damage, and idle control for reducing output when the machine is not in use.

The Duromax XP12000EH features all-metal construction, making it the most robust generator in this review, and worthy of its nickname, “the Beast.”

Pros:
  • Hybrid model using gasoline or propane to generate power
  • Automatic shutoff
  • Suitable for powering your home
  • 18-HP engine with idle control
  • Large tires and sturdy frame for portability
Cons:
  • Heavy and cumbersome to move around
  • Limited service agents

View Details

Other Best Selling Options

Bestseller No. 1
WEN 56203i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator w/Fuel Shut Off, CARB Compliant, Ultra Lightweight
  • Ultralight body weighs in at a mere 39 pounds for easy transport and storage
  • Extremely quiet operation comparable to the sound of a normal conversation according to the US Department of Health and Human Services
  • Produces 2000 surge watts and 1700 rated watts of clean power for safe charging of sensitive electronics (phones, tablets, televisions, computers, etc.)
  • Fuel shutoff maximizes the generator’s lifespan by using up the remaining fuel in the carburetor before shutting down
  • Includes two three-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle, two 5V USB ports, and a two-year warranty
Bestseller No. 2
A-iPower SUA2000iV 2000 Watt Portable Inverter Generator
  • Produces 2000 starting watts with 1600 running watts of clean and safe power for sensitive electronics, such as phones, televisions, laptops, and other electronics
  • Quiet operation at only 58 decibels
  • Light weight at only 46 pounds, providing compact and easy portability
  • Complete with A-iPower’s “Low idle” technology for an extended run time
  • Perfect for camping, tailgating, and RVs
SaleBestseller No. 3
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/200W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Emergency
  • Founded in California in 2012, Jackery specializes in providing outdoor green power solutions for explorers. Jackery portable power station, power outdoors.
  • QUIET GENERATOR & ECO-FRIENDLY CLEAN POWER: Jackery Explorer 240 is equipped with a 240 watt-hour (16.8Ah, 14.4V) lithium-ion battery pack, no fuel or gasoline needed, no fumes, no clanging! Pack light for your next camp trip with Jackery portable power station.
  • OUTDOOR CAMPING BATTERY: Portable power station specially designed for charging laptops, mini-cooler, drone and other outdoor electronics. Explorer 240 features 1* AC outlet (110V 200W 400W Peak), 2* USB-A ports and 1* DC car port, power your outdoor adventure without worry.
  • SOLAR READY GENERATOR. Pairs well with Jackery Solar Saga 60W/100W (sold separately), easily get recharged with the efficient solar panel. Pure sine wave inverter portable power station, protect your sensitive devices; Jackery Portable power station with solid handle, easy to carry wherever you go.
  • PACKAGE DETAILS: You will receive 1* Jackery Explorer 240 Portable Power Station (240Wh Portable Power Station), 1*AC Adapter, 1* car charger cable, 1* user guide.
Bestseller No. 4
WEN 56200i 2000-Watt Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator, CARB Compliant
  • Dimensions: 18" x 11" x 18" | Weight: 50 lbs
  • Noise Level: 53 dB operation
  • EPA III and CARB Compliant 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV engine produces 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated watts
  • Great for campgrounds, construction sites, tailgates and power outages
  • Produces clean power to safely operate and prevent damage to sensitive electronics such as phones, tablets, televisions and computers
Bestseller No. 5
Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator with Remote Electric Start - 7500 Rated Watts & 9500 Peak Watts - Gas Powered - CARB Compliant - Transfer Switch Ready
  • 7500 Running Watts and 9500 Peak Watts; Remote Start With Included Key Fob, Electric and Recoil Start; Up to 16 Hours of Run Time on a 6.6 Gallon Fuel Tank With Fuel Gauge
  • Features Two GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) 5-20R 120V Household Duplex Receptacle and One L14-30R 120/240V Twist-Lock Receptacle; All Outlets Have Rubber Covers for Added Safety
  • Plug-and-Play: Comes with a Remote Start Key Fob, 12V Battery Charger, Oil, an Oil Funnel, a Tool Kit, and a User's Manual to Get You Started Right Out of the Box (Minimal Assembly Required)
  • Powered by a 420 cc Westinghouse 4-Stroke OHV Engine Featuring a Long-Lasting Cast Iron Sleeve with Automatic Low Oil Shutdown and Digital Hour Meter
  • EPA and CARB Compliant; Backed by 3-Year Limited Service, Labor, and Parts Coverage with Nationwide Customer Service and Support Network at 1-855-944-3571 or service@wpowereq.com

Portable Generator Buyer’s Guide

Generators come in different capacities, featuring various power sources to produce electricity. Choosing the right generator for your home, office, or camping trip requires you to purchase the right model to suit your needs.

For instance, if you’re going on a camping trip, a portable solar generator is a better choice than a gas-powered machine. The solar option is lightweight and easy to transport, while the gas-powered version is going to be challenging to take on the hiking trail.

It’s the same at home. If you live in a quiet neighborhood, your neighbors aren’t going to appreciate it when you fire up your noisy diesel generator and pollute the air with emissions.

In this buyer’s guide section, we’ll give you everything you need to know about purchasing the best portable generator to suit your electricity needs.

What are the Types of Portable Generators?

Portable generators come in varying capacities, ranging from as little as 300-Watts to 12,000-Watts. Generators require a fuel source to produce electricity, and there are a few different ways to power the machine. You get four basic fuels sources for your generator

  • Petrol – A petrol-based generator is the most common type used in home blackouts. These generators come with either a 2-stroke or 4-stroke motor. With a 2-stroke engine, you must blend oil with the fuel to lubricate the machine while it operates. With a 4-stroke generator, you use straight fuel, with no oil added.
  • Diesel – The second-most-common generator fuel source is diesel. These machines are typically not suitable for home use, due to the smell they create, and the extensive emissions produced by the generator. Diesel types are more common in large generators that power entire buildings or shopping malls.
  • Propane – Some generators run on propane gas, like the burner in your kitchen. Propane offers the cleanest solution, with fewer emissions compared to petrol and diesel models. It’s cheaper than gasoline and requires less maintenance as there’s no carb, fuel filter, or other components found in petrol and diesel engines.
  • Mixed Fuel – Some generators use a dual fuel source. For instance, you get some generators, like the Duromax in this review, that use dual fuel sources during operation. The machine might use fuel to startup and then switch to propane once the generator is running.
  • Solar – Solar-powered generators are the cleanest energy source, and you can run them for free because no-one is charging you for sunlight. However, solar generators are typically smaller-capacity units. They’re not suitable for extended use, and many of them will only power small devices, like cellphones and laptops.

Choosing the right portable generator depends on your electricity needs. It’s also important to note that gasoline and diesel models require maintenance to keep them in running condition.

How Do Portable Generators Work?

Let’s unpack how generators work, but to do this, we need to understand the machine’s components.

Your portable generator features design and construction with a power-head, fuel source, and an engine. The unit features a control panel to check the operation of the machine, and power outlets to connect to your homes DB board or directly to appliances, depending on the model. These models are otherwise known as “gen-sets” or “engine-generator sets.”

In most models, these generators feature the following components within the steel frame of the machine.

  • The fuel tank
  • An engine
  • The starter motor
  • An alternator
  • Power outlets

The head of the generator is the heart of the machine. It’s responsible for producing electricity and driving it to the power outlets on the side of the generator body. For petrol and diesel models, the generator head gets its power from a propane, gasoline, or diesel engine that provides the mechanical energy required to power the generator-set.

The gen-set spins the main shaft of the generator head, maintaining the right speed through a governor or speed regulator. The gen-head coverts the mechanical energy to electrical energy, passing it through the power outlets.

The generator moves a high-powered magnet close to a wire coil, creating a flow of electrons. The machine harnesses the flow, directing it to the outlets which provide power to your appliances and devices.

If that all sounds super-technical to you, here’s a simple way to understand the generation process. The generator acts as a water pump. However, instead of pushing water through a garden hose, the magnet pushes the electrons to produce a steady flow of electricity.

The gen-set magnet pushes the electrons, applying pressure to create a consistent “flow” of energy, like the same way a pump applies pressure to water to drive it through your pipes. The electrons move through the electrical cables installed in the generator until then contact your appliance, providing the energy it needs to operate your fridge, TV, or devices.

The amount of electrons found in the electrical circuit refers to the current, measured in amperes – or “Amps” for short. The voltage is the pressure pushing the electrons, and we measure it in volts.

Most portable generators feature a power rating in watts, and as the wattage increases, so does the current and voltage of the machine. When it comes to classifying wattage, there are two types – “Starting” and “Running” watts.

As you can imagine, the starting watts measure the current during the startup of the machine, and the running watts measure the current during operation of the generator.

How Do I Choose a Portable Generator?

The most important part about selecting the right generator for your needs is to match the machine’s capacity with what you need to power. When a blackout strikes, you need to have the right generator to handle the length of time that the outage lasts.

For instance, there are some states and towns with bigger problems with electrical grids than others. If you frequently experience two or three-day blackouts in your neighborhood, you need a machine that can power your household during the entire length of the outage.

Finding yourself in the middle of a blackout with no power can make your home inhabitable in a few days. Can you imagine if the power goes out in winter? If you live in New York State or Maine, you’ll have to bundle up with blankets to stay warm.

You need a machine that has the power to drive your deep freezer to prevent your food from defrosting. Running the fridge, TV, and the oven is also important. You’ll need a generator that matches this level of energy usage. Speak to a professional electrician for recommendations on the right wattage to power your home.

However, if you only need a small power-pack for camping trips, then a lightweight machine with a rating up to 600W will be sufficient to power your laptop and mobile devices while you’re on the trail.

Instead of fumbling around in the dark looking candles or firewood, flip a switch on your generator. Electricity returns to your home in a fraction of a second.

So, now you understand how to select the right generator to manage your household or portable power needs. Review the models in this post and pick the one that suits your requirements.

Portable Vs. Fixed Generators

There are portable models you can move around and fixed generators that wire into your home’s electrical system. Which one is the right choice for you? A portable unit is a must if you’re a contractor and you need power at a job site.

A portable generator allows you to bring power into any area of the site, allowing you to run power tools to finish your job.

Homeowners mostly go for fixed models. However, we recommend a portable version. Generators are a theft risk, and leaving them outdoors unsecured, results in possibly losing your equipment due to theft. With a portable model, you can lock it up in the shed and bring it out when you need it.

What Do I Look for In a Portable Generator?

By now, you should have a grasp of the fundamentals involved with selecting the right generator for your home. Let’s unpack what you need to look for when purchasing your portable generator.

Fuel-Economy

If you’re looking at purchasing a fuel-based model for your home, consider your machine’s economy. When the fuel runs out, there goes the electricity. Select a model with the capacity and the fuel reservoir to ensure you get enough power to your home for as long as you need it.

We recommend that you keep a reservoir of fuel in your garage, around 3 to 4-gallons. If there’s ever a natural disaster, it could be challenging to find fuel. Having a reserve in your garage will ensure that you still have power in that situation.

It’s important to note that you can’t store fuel forever. After a few months, the additives in the fuel will start to separate from the gasoline, aiming it useless to run in your generator. Therefore, we recommend rotating your gas or diesel stock. Use the inventory to refill your car every few months and replace your reservoir with clean, fresh fuel.

Run Time

Run time is vital when considering your portable generator. There’s no point in purchasing an underpowered generator that will start to malfunction after a few hours of running. If you use the generator for extended periods, make sure the model has the design to stand up to this type of robust use.

Size, Weight, and Portability​

Portable generators come with handles or wheels, allowing you to move them anywhere on your property or job site. Large-capacity generators come built on a sturdy frame, with large wheels to help you move them around easily.

The larger the capacity of the generator, the heavier the machine. If you want to load your generator into the back of a truck, consider the weight before making your purchase.

If you’re looking for a smaller unit to take camping, most of these models are lightweight and come with a carry handle.

Should You Go with an Inverter or Conventional Generator?

Conventional generators are an excellent choice for powering appliances in the home. However, most of them operate with a slight fluctuation in the power they provide to your plugs. Therefore, if you try to charge your devices using a generator, it may damage the device through a surge.

A portable inverter generator is an excellent choice for your devices. These generators feature pure sine wave function that removes the “pulsing” effect of larger machines.

Look at the Features of the Control Panel

When selecting your portable generator, look at the features of the control panel. Your model should have an LCD screen showing you the details of the output.

Most premium generators also include a starter switch located on the control panel. A fuel gauge is also essential to let you know when your reserve is running low.

What Safety Features Do You Need on Your Generator?

Generators operate using flammable fuels, and they produce high-voltage electricity for your home. These features make your generator a dangerous machine to run if you don’t have any experience with these devices.

Therefore, look for safety features on your model. When selecting your generator, keep an eye out for the following safety features.

  • Built-in surge protection – Protecting your appliances for spikes in power that cause damage.
  • Low-oil auto-shutdown – When your generator runs out of oil, the engine seizes. Low-oil shutdown ensures that your motor never runs dry.
  • Spark arrestor – This feature prevents sparks from the motor during startup, preventing fires.
  • Circuit protection – Protect yourself from electric shock when operating the generator.

Portable Generator FAQ

Picking the right generator to match your power needs is no easy task. However, one of the models in this review is sure to satisfy your power requirements, whether it’s at home or out on the trail.

In this section, we’ll go over a few frequently asked questions. Use the information to help you settle on the right choice for your new generator.

Is the weight and size of my generator important?

If you want a portable device, then weight and capacity will play a role. However, there’s a significant difference between the power requirements for your home, and when you go camping or have a cookout at the park.

If you’re going to use your generator at home, you might get away with a heavier model, because you won’t have to move it around as much. However, if you’re a contractor looking for a generator, then size and weight matter, as does output. Look for a machine that offers the best balance between performance and portability to match your needs.

Should I go with a portable generator that has an electric start?

Electric starts are so much more convenient than pulling on a ripcord to start the machine. With an electric start, the engine roars to life with the push of a button. Electric start is more reliable in cold weather, so take that into account if you live in the northern states, or on the East coast. However, make sure the battery has a charge, or the electric start will fail, leaving you powerless.

How do surge wattage and rated wattage compare?

Surge wattage refers to a sudden spike in consumption; it’s the peak wattage that the machine can handle and used during the generator’s startup. The rated wattage refers to the continuous operating wattage of the generator. Before you start shopping for your new generator, total the wattage of all your appliances, and make sure the total is below the rated wattage number.

Is a wheel kit necessary?

Sure, if you want a mobile generator and frame with wheels and a handle is ideal for moving the unit around. Lighter models don’t need wheels, and they come with a carry handle for portability.

Should I go for a dual-fuel model or stick with gasoline operation?

Propane is the cleaner option, producing fewer emissions than petrol models. You can pick up a dual-fuel model that runs on either fuel source. Propane is cheaper and cleaner than gasoline, and it’s readily available. The only issue with propane is that it doesn’t start the generator in cold weather. Therefore, you’ll need to begin with gasoline, and then switch over to propane when it’s running.

Best Portable Generator – The Verdict

By now, you should have your eye on the right portable generator for your home, office, job site, or camping trip. In case you’re having trouble picking a generator, why not go with one of our top picks?

The Westinghouse WGen9500 Portable Generator wins the award for the best overall model in this review. Featuring everything you need to power your major appliances and entertainment station, this generator is robust and durable, with a long run time thanks to its efficient consumption.

The Briggs & Stratton P3000 portable generator is an excellent choice for homeowners, contractors, and campers. This machine is easy to move around with its telescopic carry handle and large casters. This device has enough power to keep your entertainment station and a few essential appliances going when the power goes out.

If you’re heading out for an urban or rural adventure, take along the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer. This lightweight and compact unit provide power to all your devices while you’re on the road. Use it to charge your phone, laptop, and any other small devices with low power ratings.

50 views
Robin Watson

Robin owns his own Landscape Gardening company based in the UK and has over 10 years professional experience working outdoors, creating beautiful landscapes for his clients in the UK. He is also a keen garden-grower and maintains his own fruit and vegetable gardens. He also has a level 3 Certificate in Practical Horticulture from The Royal Horticultural Society and is currently working on his first book about gardening. Contact him at Robin@gardenbeast.com

Write A Comment