Portable Electric Generator

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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
  • 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 Best 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

Fast charging

  • BrandGoalZero
  • ModelYeti 500X
  • Weight12.9 Lbs

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
  • ModelWGen7500
  • Weight192 Pounds

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. 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

LCD screen with charge/discharge

Powerful built-in flashlight with SOS mode

Package includes a DC to car adapter cable

  • BrandJackery
  • 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. 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
  • Model30545
  • 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

  • BrandWEN
  • Model56200i
  • 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

EPA-approved

  • BrandSportsman
  • ModelGEN2000
  • 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. 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
  • Model30651
  • 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. Check them out.

1.3-gallons gas tank

13-hours run time at 25% load

Relatively quiet operation, 52 dBA

Compact, lightweight & portable design

Inverter parallel cord available for amplifying wattage

  • BrandWestinghouse
  • ModelWH2200iXLT
  • 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

  • BrandACOPOWER
  • Weight3.31 Pounds