Whether you go camping regularly or experience power outages, your family needs a portable generator. You can power all the necessary appliances and charge mobile phones to keep your family comfortable and happy. You neet to purchase a well-functioning generator that fills all the boxes.
Portable generators are perfect for performing outdoor activities, including lawn mowing and residential construction projects. Finding the best portable generator for your specific needs might be a bit difficult because there are several factors that you should consider.
These include generator type – inverter or conventional, fuel type, fuel tank capacity, warranty, rated and maximum output, and runtime. All these factors ultimately decide the generator’s price, which is an important factor to consider as well.
It has to be affordable but fulfill all the basic requirements. One more factor that you need to consider is the noise level, especially if you are looking for a generator for your RV. Also, it should be compact in size, so you can comfortably place it anywhere in your RV or camp.
To help you find the best portable generator, we created a panel of testers who researched different models in the market and tested the shortlisted ones. They spent two to three days testing each model to write an in-detailed review of each one of them.Expert Tip
They used multiple resources, including customer reviews, expert reviews, and product description, to write this review. It is divided into three sections – a table, in-detail reviews of each product, and a buying guide to help you decide.
The Best Portable Generator
1. Champion Power Equipment 100165 Dual Fuel Generator
The Best Dual Fuel Generator
Keep the lights on during a blackout; charge your devices when there’s no power; take off on the road as a lone wolf with no need for civilization and its luxuries – there’s plenty you can do when you have the best portable generator by your side. In this guide, we help you identify which of these top generators is best for you and your needs. Whether you need a battery-powered option to recharge on remote work trips, an inverter generator for emergencies to power appliances, or small portable generators for anything in between, there are plenty of options in our guide for you.
I lived in Texas for most of my life and spent a lot of time without power due to storms and hurricanes and a portable generator is a key way to ensure you survive those events or even remain a little more comfortable. Now, I have a camper van that I take skiing, climbing and on 2-8 day trips across the country and the PNW, and a portable power station allows me to work from anywhere and charge devices overnight while I sleep.
- Without further ado, here are some of the best portable generators on the market.
- Find the right one for your needs and budget, and never get caught in the dark again – no matter where you are.
- Best For Remote Work: Goal Zero Yeti 500X Portable Generator.
- Heavy Duty: Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator.
- Best For Weekend Trips: Jackery Power Station Explorer 160 Portable Generator.
- Most Portable: Briggs & Stratton 30545 Portable Generator.
|Noise Rating||74 dB(A)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||6 Gal|
2. DuroMax XP12000EH Generator
The Best for Power-Outages at Home
Quietest Generator: WEN Portable Generator W/ Inverter. Best For Emergencies: Sportsman GEN2000. Best For RV Use: Briggs and Stratton Portable Generator. Best Run Time: Westinghouse Portable Generator W/ Inverter. Most Budget-Friendly: ACOPOWER 150Wh Lithium-ion Portable Generator. The GoalZero Yeti 500X proved to be the perfect mobile working companion. The diminutive size has saved precious cargo room in our tester’s Subaru, but packed enough juice to power all the electronics needed for multiple days of work as a remote editor.
It has all the necessary ports and it recharged quickly via a 12v socket in the car or at home on 110v. Our tester also replenished the Yeti 500X with a Goal Zero Nomad 100 solar panel used as a windshield shade while riding or climbing, and the charge rate seemed appropriate for the panel wattage.
- The GoalZero Yeti 500X never failed, glitched, or caused any issues with anything it powered over the five-month testing period.
- If our tester is packing a laptop or camera gear, the Yeti 500X is their default power station for the daily mobile work driver.
- This is one of the best portable power stations available and can supply power to recharge your cell phone 42 times, or a laptop 10 times on a single charge.
- The Yeti 500X can also run a small space heater and multiple appliances to make van life a little more comfortable.
- Four different port options for a variety of devices. Battery-powered & solar powered.
- Lightweight design with a large carrying handle.
|Noise Rating||72 dB(A)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||8.3 Gal|
3. Sportsman Dual Fuel Powered Portable Generator
Short Vacations and Small Power Outages
Whether you are running DIY projects out of your workshop, require an emergency home backup energy supply or have a trailer or RV you want to power, the WGen7500 portable generator from Westinghouse is an excellent choice for heavy-duty workloads or powering appliances. It couldn’t be easier to operate thanks to a simple electric push-button stop-start feature which will have you back up and running in seconds. It even comes with a remote start key fob which can be operated from up to 109 yards away.
It’s easy to maintain and comes fitted with a powerful 4-stroke air-cooled engine that can run for up to 16 hours on a large 6.6-gallon fuel tank. The WGen7500 conveniently operates on both 120/240 volts and is fitted with four standard household outlets so you can quickly get all your major domestic appliances back up and running in case of an emergency.
- If you are looking to invest in a premium portable generator that’s reliable, efficient, and packed with innovative features, then the WGen7500 is ideal.
- With its easy transport roll bar and wheels, it can be securely moved from one location to the next.
- Perfect to use as a generator for RV.
- Push-button electric start. Up to 16 hours run time from the 6.6-gallon fuel tank.
- Powered by a 420 cc 4-stroke OVV engine. Automatic low oil shutdown and digital hour meter.
- Transfer switch ready. BrandWestinghouse . Weight192 Pounds.
|Noise Rating||69 dB(A)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||3.6 Gal|
Jackery Power Station Explorer 160 Portable Generator. When looking for small portable power banks as a power supply for my camper van, all my research had my eyes on Jackery. While I’ve been perusing the 200 model, the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 160 is an excellent small portable generator with enough juice for comfortable weekend trips.
4. Westinghouse 7500 Gas Powered Portable Generator
The Largest Gas Tank Generator
We’ve picked out the Jackery as it presents an eco-friendly clean powered solution and is ideal for folks who love to camp or spend quality time outdoors. It’s small, discreet and compact, and perfect for charging a variety of popular low-powered devices such as cameras, tablets, and phones.
Featuring an AC output port along with one USB-C port and two convenient USB-A ports as well as a standard DC 12V, port it’s highly practical and conveniently portable. It’s perfect for short blackouts or trips off-grid. This is my personal choice for van camping trips.
- The Jackery Explorer 160 is equipped with a lithium battery pack, so there’s no fuel, fumes, or mess to clean up.
- The unit itself can be charged either by plugging into a wall socket, via your car, or even with a solar panel which is sold separately.
- When utilizing a wall socket, it takes up to 5 hours for a full charge which is enough to power your camping lights for up to 26 hours or recharge a camera 20 times.
- Other cool features that you might appreciate include an LCD screen indicating the battery life status as well as a very cool and convenient built-in flashlight with an SOS mode.
- High capacity portable power station.
- Quiet, eco-friendly generator equipped with a powerful lithium battery.
|Noise Rating||72 dB(A)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||6.6 Gal|
5. Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Inverter
Best for your RV
LCD screen with charge/discharge. Powerful built-in flashlight with SOS mode. Package includes a DC to car adapter cable. Weight3.84 Pounds. Never worry about running out of power ever again thanks to this quiet running Briggs and Stratton PowerSmart series inverter generator.
With 3000 watts of starting power and 2600 watts of running power output, it’s a lightweight and efficient solution to all your backup and portable power needs. It’s been intuitively designed with a telescopic luggage-style handle and large 6-inch wheels for convenient maneuverability, a rare find among large generators.
- Whether you’re heading off camping or tailgating, it makes the ideal portable generator.
- This Briggs and Stratton unit is operated via inverter quiet power technology, which means that it’s safe and clean.
- It features a parallel port, USB port as well as DC outlet plus the option to charge four household appliances via 120v outlets.
- There’s a clear and easy-to-read LCD display that indicates power being used, hours remaining, and useful maintenance reminders for changing oil, air filter, and spark plugs.
- It also comes with parallel capabilities meaning that you can conveniently connect two Smart Power generators to pull even more power if necessary.
- Possibly the best portable generator, the Briggs & Stratton also makes for a great standby generator during emergencies as well.
|Noise Rating||59 dB(A)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||1.6 Gal|
6. WEN DF1100T Dual Fuel Portable Power Generator
Dual Fuel and Multiple Outlets
For more amazing power supply options, check out our selection of the best solar phone chargers. Quiet power tech automatically adjusts engine speed and reduces noise. Easy-to-transport unit with telescoping luggage handle and large wheel design. LCD displays important performance stats.
Tether two units together thanks to parallel capabilities. 10 hour run time at 25% load. BrandBriggs & Stratton. Weight96 Pounds. Portable with lots of power, this slightly-larger WEN Portable Generator W/Inverter model gives you all the conveniences you need, and a bit more. If you’re going to camp out under the stars but can’t be without your gadgets, or you want to work remotely, WEN is able to charge them; this unit is also excellent for heavy-duty purposes, such as power tools that are too far from outlets and small appliances for camping and off-grid living.
- Flip on the Eco-friendly switch and utilize every drop of power.
- This model also comes in a slightly less powerful version (1250 watts) as well as a more powerful one (3100 watts) depending on your needs.
- Gas-powered and extremely quiet, the WEN quiet portable generator comes with an inverter, overload protection, and a two-year warranty.
- Running wattage 1,600W, tether two units together for more power.
- Eco-friendly mode auto-adjusts fuel consumption.
- Ultra quiet, operates at 53 decibels at quarter load. Lightweight and portable design with a carrying handle.
|Noise Rating||72 dB(A)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||6.6 Gal|
7. Westinghouse WGEN6000 Portable Gas Generator
Back Up Your Home Power
Weight48 Pounds. When you purchase a portable generator, gas has to stretch for as long as possible. The Sportsman GEN2000 sports 2000 watts with nine hours of runtime, supporting five different outlets that you can use to power small appliances, a small air conditioner or charge your mobile electronic devices: laptops, phones, tablets, and you can even power coffee pots if you can’t function without that morning cup of joe.
This is widely considered as one of the best generators for power outages; it’s slightly heavy, giving it no chance of getting knocked around by adverse weather that may knock out your power. The 1.2-gallon tank offers about nine hours of run time. Be sure to read the startup/safety guide that comes inclusive with this model to get started properly.
- 2,000 surge watts rated, 1,400 starting watts. 1.2-gallon gas tank. 9-hours run time at a 50% load.
- Engine shut off switch, circuit protection. BrandSportsman .
- Weight55 Pounds. The Briggs and Stratton P2400 Portable generator is another great unit to consider as it has an efficient and reliable system and inverter.
- This generator comes with a 24-month warranty, 2 120v AC plugs, one DC plug, and an adapter for a USB port to directly charge devices.
- With this model, you can bulk up and purchase a secondary unit, allowing you to parallel cable connect them and generate enough power to run major appliances.
- The generator comes with easy-to-grasp handles, making it comfortable to carry, and since it weighs 55 pounds, one to two people are more than enough.
|Noise Rating||72 dB(A)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||6.6 Gal|
8. Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator
The Best for Lightweight Mobility
This unit comes with a protective and noise-reducing shell so it runs very quietly. For extra security and peace of mind, there are also carbon monoxide detector and auto-shutoff feature. This inverter generator is also great for camping/RV use when noise restrictions are not in place. 8-hours of runtime on 1 gallon of gas.
Safe for all appliances/small devices. CO shutdown technology. Lightweight, compact design with carrying handles. Quieter than a conversation between two people. BrandBriggs & Stratton. Weight55 Pounds. The Westinghouse Portable Generator W/Inverter is a quiet portable generator that comes with a good warranty and support.
- Westinghouse makes their models compatible one with another, so you can hook up an entire generator system made solely of Westinghouse models.
- You get two AC outlets and one DC, giving you the ability to plug in a power strip and power devices.
- With a 1.3 gallon tank that runs on gasoline, EPA-approved operation, and an “Efficiency Mode” for optimal use, this is one of the best gas-powered portable generators.
- Its run time is around 13 hours at 25 percent load, so you’ll have everything you need to go off the grid, at least for a little while.
- You may also be interested in some of the top emergency radios from our list.
- 1.3-gallons gas tank. 13-hours run time at 25% load. Relatively quiet operation, 52 dBA.
|Noise Rating||57 dB(A)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||1 Gal|
9. Generac 7676 GP8000E Portable Generator
Best for Construction Sites and Home Power
Compact, lightweight & portable design. Inverter parallel cord available for amplifying wattage. BrandWestinghouse . Weight43 Pounds. Outfitted with outlets and included adapters, your ACOPOWER generator is the perfect solution to your on-the-go power needs.
Utilize the ultra-bright LED control panel to operate your unit; harness solar energy, use a car adapter, or AC adapter into your wall at home before a trip or storm. Three ways to charge, endless ways to use it. You can power cellphones, laptops, and other small devices for your next camping trip.
- For such an affordable generator, this unit is packed with useful features.
- It is convenient and easy to pack up, coming in at just three pounds, making it a great choice for car camping or small camper vans.
- During a winter storm or hurricane when power is lost, this device can keep multiple appliances running as long as they are small, to make things a little more comfy and keep you connected.
- Gas-free generator with 40,800 mAh high battery capacity.
- LED panel shows important performance stats. 3 ways to recharge, around 8-hours to fully charge it.
- Super-lightweight, compact design for easy portability.
|Fuel Tank Capacity||7.9 Gal|
10. Ryobi RY906500S Gasoline Powered Portable Generator
Best Generator for CO Safety
You can rest assured that you're protected from carbon monoxide poisoning with this generator's CO detection. This makes it entirely safe to use in an enclosed space. The heavy-duty engine gives you enough backup power to run your entire household
What We Like
- An inverter generator with a 420cc engine that supplies clean and reliable power
- Comes with a wrap-around hand truck frame with 10-inch wheels for portability
- Noise level output is 72.3 dBA
- The 6-gallon fuel tank gives you up to 10 hours of continuous run time
- Includes both 120 and 240-volt outlets
|Noise Rating||72.3 dB(A)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||6 Gal|
11. WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator
Best for Power on the Go
Weighing only 50 lbs and with a noise level output of only 53 dBA, this is the best portable generator to take on the road. It will provide you with safe, clean power for all your electronics when traveling.
Why We Liked It: This is the best standby generator to take with you when traveling. It's super quiet and will keep your electronics powered wherever you are. It also has a handy eco mode that allows the motor to adjust its consumption to reduce fuel use.
- Powered by a 79.7cc, 4-stroke overhead valve engine
- Provides a starting power of 2,000 peak watts and operating watts of 1,600
- Includes two 120 volt outlets, one 12 volt outlet, and one 5 volt USB outlet
- Is both EPA III and CARB compliant
- Handy carry handle so you can take it anywhere
- Designed for small electronics whilst travelling rather than home power outages
|Noise Rating||53 dB(A)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||1 Gal|
12. Durostar DS4000S Portable Generator
Best Balance of Power and Portability
This portable generator is great for ensuring you have back-up power at home or taking it along in your RV. It's even great for camping. It features a 7HP, 208cc overhead valve engine. This will provide you with 4,000 starting watts (peak watts) and 3,300 running watts. The power panel has 3 x 120v outlets, giving you maximum flexibility. The noise rating is 69dBA.
Why We Liked It: This is a true portable generator; it's light enough to take in the RV or on a camping trip, while still having enough power to run the things you need. It's easy to use and includes a super quiet muffler to reduce the noise level while running. We also liked the fuel efficiency of this model.
- Weighing only 94 pounds, it's portable enough to take on camping trips
- The fuel tank has the capacity to hold 3.96 gallons, which will give you 8 hours of run time at a 50% load
- Automatic low oil shut-off
- Complete with surge arrest technology
- Has both EPA and CARB approval
- Industrial design that can clash with RV interiors
|Noise Rating||69 dB(A)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||3.96 Gal|
Think About Fuel Storage
If you have a generator but no fuel, your generator won’t do you much good. Store fuel so you’re ready when you need to use your generator, but make sure you check local regulations for fuel storage. And remember that gasoline can oxidize over time, so look into fuel stabilizers.
Best Portable Generators Buying Guide
Portable generators, as the name implies, are meant to be portable. That means they can be moved around when you need emergency power. Portable generators come in a variety of sizes and power outputs. They’ll provide your home or camping trip with backup power whenever you need it. See our article on how to connect your portable generator to your home
How Do Portable Generators Work?
Quite simply, portable generators work very much like water pumps. The combustion engine powers the generator head. This, in turn, pushes electrons out through the power outlets.
Most generators have the following components:
- An internal combustion engine
- A generator head that converts mechanical energy into electricity
- A starter motor to get the generator fired up
- An alternator
- One or more power outlets
See our article for a more in-depth guide to learning how a portable generator works.
Now, let’s look at some of the things you need to consider when choosing the best portable generator for your needs.
The Fuel Source
Most portable generators run on gasoline, but propane can also power some. This is particularly useful if you experience long periods without power and your gasoline supply has run out. A portable generator that runs on either gas or propane is a good choice for a home standby system.
This is also ideal if you live in a rural region and don’t have ready access to fuel close by. Generally, you’ll find that it won’t put out as many watts when you run your portable generator on propane. But if you choose correctly, you should still have enough power to run all your essential appliances.
Click for garage heaters.
It’s also important to remember that gasoline will evaporate over time, especially if your generator has been sitting idle for many months. As the gas in the carburetor evaporates, it leaves behind a sticky deposit that can block future fuel from getting through. This also means that your portable generator will need more maintenance.
To avoid this issue, it’s a good idea to turn off the fuel valve and keep the engine running until it stalls. This will ensure that there’s no fuel left in the carburetor. Also, firing up your portable generator regularly will stop the store fuel from going stale.
Running generators on propane will avoid these issues altogether because it’s a cleaner and more stable fuel source. Plus, most homes already have propane tanks that they might be using to run things like a barbecue.
What’s the Difference Between Standard Portable Generators and Inverter Generators?
Inverter generators basically put out clean, stable electricity. These generators convert AC current into DC current and then invert this back into AC current. This filters and flattens surges and cleans up the sine wave.
While inverter generators are not necessary to run most home appliances and power tools, they are a wise investment if you plan to use your portable generator to power your electronic devices. Devices such as laptops, computers, tablets, and even televisions, benefit from receiving a stable current and a clean sine wave.
However, a lot of standard portable generators also include power surge protection. This will protect your more sensitive devices from any possible power surges.
What’s the difference between a Portable Generator and a Portable Power Station?
A portable generator is used to provide electricity for appliances or tools in places where there is no access to a regular electrical outlet. It is typically powered by gasoline or diesel fuel, and it runs on an engine that converts the fuel into electricity.
Portable power stations, on the other hand, are used to store electricity so that they can be used in case of an emergency power outage. Portable power stations are typically powered by batteries, and they can be recharged by plugging them into a regular electrical outlet. However, there are solar panel and gasoline versions available.
How to Choose the Correct Size of Generator
To make sure that you buy the best portable generator for your needs, decide what you want to use it for. If it’s to run your home whenever the power goes out, consider which appliances you essentially want to keep running. This will determine the amount of power that you need.
What to Consider for a Home Backup System
All portable generators have generated power. This is measured in watts. Each of your appliances will have a wattage demand that your generator needs to meet for the appliance to run.
Power outputs in portable generators are measured in both starting watts (commonly referred to as peak watts) and running watts. The starting watts refer to the initial surge that is required to turn on your appliances. Running watts refer to the number of watts that are needed to keep the appliance running.
The best way to find out how much power you’ll need to run your home is to put together a register of all the appliances that you absolutely have to run. Don’t skimp on this either. You might be able to do without the heating or the washing machine for a few hours, but what if the power is out for a few days or even weeks?
Here’s a handy reference guide you can refer to.
You might want to put this information into a spreadsheet so that you can add additional appliances as you purchase them. Then, add up the starting watts and the running watts to decide what sized portable generator you’re going to need. You can even work out the running watts for each of your appliances by multiplying the voltage with the amps required to power each one. The amperage is usually found on an appliance tag.
The US Department of Energy also has a handy calculator on its site that you can use.
Once you’ve purchased the best portable generator for your needs, you may find that it won’t power all of your appliances simultaneously. The best thing to do is connect each appliance individually until you know just how much your generator can handle.
What to Consider for a Portable Generator for Traveling
If you want to purchase a portable generator for your RV or your next camping trip, you’ll need to consider the weight of the machine. Think about which appliances you want to power with the generator. The noise rating is important too.
You should look for a lightweight portable generator that you can easily move around. Of course, if you have an RV, you might have a spot where your portable generator can live permanently. This means you won’t have to move it around too often. But you still want one that runs as quietly as possible, so you don’t disturb other campers.
If you only want a generator to power your laptop and charge your mobile phone, one of the lightweight models might be perfect for you. However, you might also want to consider an inverter generator to eliminate any possibility of power surges.
Safety Features You Should Consider
When choosing a portable generator, it’s essential to keep safety in mind, both for you and the life of the generator. Here are some safety features to look out for:
- Low-oil shut off
- Surge protection in the form of at least one circuit breaker
- Automatic CO emission shut down
Other Things to Consider
In addition to the features we’ve mentioned above, there are a few other things to consider when selecting the best portable generator for your needs.
First, you want to make sure that the portable generator is easy to use. Consider whether you want a push-button start or whether you can easily handle a more traditional recoil start.
Next, consider the fuel capacity of the fuel tank. Is the tank large enough to power your portable generator for the amount of time you need it for? Remember, your power could be out for 5 hours, or maybe more.
Also, consider this if you’re traveling with your generator. You might not have easy access to additional gas supplies while you’re on the road.
Of course, you’ll also want to consider the price. A large generator can be a hefty investment, so only select one large enough to suit your needs. You don’t want to be burning more gas than you have to. On the other hand, don’t skimp either. Otherwise, you’ll find that you might have to upgrade more than once.
When deciding on the best generator to suit your needs in times of blackouts, there are many things you need to consider. First, work out how much power you’ll need for all the appliances in your home, whether the power is out for 5 hours or even a week. You also want to decide whether you want a gas-powered generator or one that also uses propane.
This will help you to narrow down your list of the best generators to choose from. If you have a heavy power demand, you’ll want one that’s easy to move around. Choose a model with a handle and sturdy wheels.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for the best generator to take on a camping trip or to use in your RV, select one that is lightweight and relatively quiet. This will keep your camping neighbors happy, especially if you’re running it for more than 5 hours.
We hope you liked our top picks for the 12 best portable generators. We’ve provided a selection that includes heavy-duty generators for home or work use, as well as a few lightweight generators that are perfect for taking away with you.