When it comes to needing some power on the go or somewhere far away from a power outlet and electricity, nothing beats grabbing a high-quality portable generator. Today we took the time to find the top 10 best portable generators in the market worth looking at while you shop for yours. We help compare, contrast and review the best features of each.
What is a portable generator and its uses?
A portable generator can provide you electrical power when and wherever you require it — there really aren’t any limits unless of course there are some rules or laws preventing you from doing so. Usually it is used during a power outage, at a campsite or when conventional electrical power is down or not available at a jobsite.
The best portable generators generate power through running a gas-powered engine or alternative sources of energy aside from electricity and this turns on board alternators to produce its own electricity. There are some relatively affordable portable generators out there that we were able to find to help your shopping endeavors.
Picking the best portable generator for you
- Price-point – Although most portable generators come in priced at under $1000, there’s a bit of a range and will take some budget-planning for you to choose wisely. If you’re on a super strict budget, we have a few under $300, otherwise most will be above that. Which generator you choose will most likely be on how much cash you have saved up (or want to continue saving for). Our best portable generator under $500 guide helps for those in the middle.
- Desired wattage – We’d say do not go below 1,000 watts — we’ve some go as far as 3,000, so if you are concerned strictly with power, go for the higher numbers. However, most applications your portable generator will be needed for will work with at least 1,000.
- Duration – Some can run for as long as 10 hours, others about 7 and below. How long will you need your generator run? This will most likely be based on how you foresee yourself using it, but think of the future as well (you can always refill it if you have some gasoline handy to keep it running longer).
- Extra features – Wheel kits, solar power, control panel indicators, low oil shutdown mechanisms, steel builds, and more. We list the highlights of each model to help you determine if the additional features are worth the buy.
The top 10 best portable generators
This unique portable generator features a 1.45 Gal fuel tank that can work for a consecutive 10 running hours. As one of the best portable generators in the market today, the Champion 42436 produces 1200 running Watt as well as 1500 peak Watts for your home, RV and in case of emergency wherever you may be. This generator possesses a 4-stroke 80 CC OHV engine that is air-cooled and comes with a single cylinder. For enhanced durability, the engine also has a cast iron sleeve. On the portable generator itself, the 42436 offers an integrated control panel with 20 Amp 120-V outlets and a 10 Amp breaker. To make the machine durable and best in protection, it is designed with a 3/4 inch steel frame. Its high quality meets CARB and EPA standards — it really isn’t lacking much and is well worth the purchase if it’s within your budget. We’d consider it one of the best out there and many other users will agree if you read the reviews for yourself.
This is another one of the best portable generators that has proved its overall build and quality backed up by many reviews around the internet. The PowerPro 56101 has a 2 stroke engine and it can generate 1000 watts of starting and 900 watts of running power. That’s a little bit less than the previous model but it will still get the job done. This one weighs only 36 lbs despite its wonderful performance. The rugged machine is especially best to take in national parks due to its spark arrestor but can fit pretty much any need you may find for it. It fulfills the standards of CARB and EPA and comes with a 1 gallon fuel tank for longer running hours. The 56101 is a low noise generator and therefore can be adjusted at home when your conventional power is down or you need to plug-in some heavy devices. We’d recommend it if you wanted something quiet yet efficient that isn’t too heavy on your budget.
Goal Zero 23000 Yeti 400
The Goal Zero Yeti 400 is a wonderful addition in the world of portable generators. It is the best portable generator as it works on the technology of solar energy and although costly, an amazing specimen as we see this type of generator continue to grow. It is available in a nice compact size and therefore is very easy to take away with you anywhere you need it. It is considered best to deliver power to laptops, tablets, CPAP machines, lights, DSLR cameras and for the TV as well. No worries of fumes and gases that can at times be harmful for you and the environment. So enjoy this amazing product in your camps because it’s also free of noise unlike traditional generators. The Yeti 400 weighs only 29 pounds and is thus loved by the users. It’s one of the best generators when it comes to loudness, efficiency and portability if you have the money — just make sure it’s seen some sunlight here and there to get it to work!
The engine of the WEN 56180 portable generator is EPAIII and CARB compliant and it provides 98CC of power with its internal air-cooling system. This highly rated power generator provides the users reliability and facilitates them to carry it anywhere indoors as well as outdoors. You can run a number of devices through it like a microwave, blender, TV, refrigerator, laptops, computer and way too many to name. With 1500 running watts and 1800 starting watts, the machine is regarded as a great generator in terms of power and a great capacity with about a 1.5 gallon fuel tank. This model offers almost seven and a half hours of load run time. so if you were looking for a model that’ll give you some leeway in terms of not dying on you, check this one out. It’s not necessarily the longest out there but it fits the hours norm. Lastly, the feature of low-oil shutdown is very helpful in protecting the 4-stroke engine from damage as well.
The monstrous Honda EU2000i is a very popular model in the high-end arena of generators that can provide more than enough power to any device you’ll see yourself needing it for. We were going to list this one first since its quality is obviously one of the highest but figured we’d keep it in the middle since the price is a bit intimidating. This portable generator is a peaceful appliance with less noise as compared to the conventional models because it works at 53 to 59 dBA — its one of the quietest. With its ‘Eco-Throttle System’, this generator has become one of the most fuel-efficient generators. With less than a full tank of fuel,the EU2000i can run 3 1/2 to 8 hours depending on the load. This is a smart and nice lightweight (less than 46 pounds) generator. The user can take it anywhere with ease and comfort due to its affordable volume and presentable structure. We’d recommend this if your budget was high up there since it’s within the biggest price range. Check it out if you are serious about your shopping and need for power.
Generac 6866 iQ2000
Here we have a model that’s included in a lot of best portable generator articles around the internet but for quite a few good reasons. For one, the Generac 6866 iQ2000 is gas-powered, pretty light weight at only 46 lbs, comes in at 1,600 watts of power and a 12V DC charging outlet. For safety, you have an electronic circuit breaker to help in case of overloads, a low oil shutdown protection to decrease engine damage, and a nifty control panel indicator. It’s priced higher than others since it has a cool electronic microprocessor to help with clean and stable power. This will give you some confidence if you’re powering up computers or other devices that are sensitive. Although considered to be placed in the highest price range, it’s a bit cheaper than the previous Honda model and is well worth it if you wanted a powerful generator and your budget allows.
Westinghouse WH2000i XLT
If you are looking for the best portable generator that you can run efficiently at camping, tailgating or at home when the conventional power is down, the Westinghouse WH2000i XLT would be many individuals first choice. This digital inverter generator can deliver 1800 watts of running and 2000 watts of starting power. The 2000i is a 4 stroke gasoline powered generator that produces less noise (52 dBA) and weighs only 43 pounds. At 50% load and full tank, it can run pretty well for about 13 hours. It provides two 120-V AC outlets as well as one 12-V DC power outlet. This powerful portable generator can be combined with other WH2000iXLT with a parallel cord to provide the user with double the power output. We recommend it if you still wanted a higher-priced model with better tech than most but the previous few were a bit too expensive.
Along with air-cooled OHV engine, the DuroStar DS 4000S portable generator features low oil shut off to avoid any sort of engine damage. This best portable generator of its type, the DS 4000S also offers two fully protected 120-V outlets and one 120-V twist lock outlet. It is a nice machine that you can take not only when your home electricity is down but also for recreational purposes too. It is a solid generator to buy in terms of loudness because this one is friendly to your hearing with 69 dBA. This model of DuroStar cranks out 3300 running watts with 4000 watts for starting up. It has a 4 gallon tank capacity that can produce power for up to 8 hours (depending upon the load). We’d recommend this because it’s one of the best portable generators in terms of watt. If you were concerned with power, grab it.
Goal Zero 22004 Yeti 150
We had to include another Goal Zero model in here for obvious reasons — their solar-powered portable generators are continuing to become more popular as time goes on. The best thing about this generator is its compact size that weighs only 12 pounds. Though you can run a lot of devices with the help of the Goal Zero 22004 portable generator like DSLR cameras, TV, lights, laptops, tablets and many more, you must determine the compatibility of your device as well as the time period for which you have to engage your device with generator. Take this portable generator anywhere freely whenever you need it. It has no noise and no fumes. You can charge it through solar energy, wall outlets and through a car’s 12V adapter. The Goal Zero Yeti 150 is a very nice and user-friendly solar power portable generator — it’s a bit cheaper than the previously listed model so if you still wanted a GZ generator, check it out.
Last but not least, we have one of the best portable generators in terms of overall power with the DuroMax XP4400E. It features 7.0 horsepower and an air-cooled OHV engine. It has a 4 gallon gas tank that can deliver power nonstop for 8 hours. It offers an easy electric start and is ideal to run at home and to take for recreation purposes due to its low noise quality. With a peak of 4400 watts, it delivers 3500 running watts of power which shows us that numbers don’t lie. It has a little wheel kit as you can see in the photo so that’s a plus if you intend on needing some versatility with your portable generator. Its one of the best within them middle price point.