Generators play an important part in keeping your life running during power outages. But they also play their part in increasing air pollution. They run on different combustible fuels like diesel or propane that produce harmful pollutants like carbon monoxide and sulfuric oxide. These emissions of gases make the air polluted. So, it becomes necessary to use CARB (California Air Resources Board) compliant generators to protect our environment and the whole world.
CARB is a regulatory organization responsible for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to reduce air pollution. It also finds ways to deal with climate change challenges.
So, here, we are going to talk about the best CARB compliant generators.
CARB Compliant Generators (Comparison) Chart
Terms used in the below table along with their meanings:
Gas Tank Size (Gallons)
Runtime @ 50% Load (Hours)
G & P
G: 12,000, P: 11,400
G: 9,500, P: 9,025
G: 8.83, P: 7.2 @ 40 lbs tank
30 x 29 x 26/224
27.2 x 26.1 x 26/192
18 x 11 x 18/48
24 x 17 x 17/94
G & P
G: 3400, P: 3060
G: 3100, P: 2790
G: 3.25, P: 7 @ 40 lbs tank
25.1 x 17.3 x 18.3/95.7
26.6 x 17.1 x 17.3/112.5
23.3 x 15.5 x 21.3/104.8
1. DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator–
DuroMax XP12000EH is one of the best and most powerful CARB-compliant generators currently available. It is a versatile machine. You can use it to power your homes, RVs, and worksites. The 457cc, 18HP DuroMax engine is a powerhouse capable of delivering 12000 starting and 9500 running watts on gasoline; 11400 starting and 9025 running watts on propane. You can use this generator as a whole house generator for homes up to 2000 sq. ft. You can also run your heavy tools on this machine without any worries.
The runtime of the machine is also impressive. It gives 9 hours at 50% load on an 8.3-gallon gas tank. The runtime on propane depends on the load applied and the size of the cylinder. DuroMax claims a runtime of 7.2 hours on a 40-pound tank at 50% load.
The control panel offers amazing features. The outlets consist of two 120V 20A GFCI-protected outlets, one 120V 30A twist-lock outlet, one 120/240V 30A twist-lock outlet, and one 120/240V 50A heavy duty outlet. You can use the 50-amp outlets for RVs, heavy tools and machines, and connecting your home’s main electric panel. Other features include a voltmeter, engine switch, idle control, fuel selector knob, and MX2 switch. MX2 technology allows you to run the generator at 120V or 240V, or both simultaneously. It offers versatility, and you don’t feel limited while working with this machine.
The running sound is 74 dBA, which is standard in this category. You get big wheels and an ergonomic handle for portability. It has a 3-year residential and 1-year commercial warranty. The safety features include low oil shutdown, overload, short circuit, and surge voltage protection.
What Customers Say About XP12000EH?
2. Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator– Best CARB Compliant Portable Conventional Generator
Westinghouse is another leading generator brand. Its products are high-quality, reliable, durable, and come with advanced features. The Wgen7500 delivers 9500 starting and 7500 running watts. It features a 420cc 4-stroke gasoline-powered Westinghouse engine with a remote (range: 109 yards) starting feature. You can also start the generator electrically and manually. The power output is perfect for running essentials during an outage, managing appliances on a small RV, and running mid-size tools. It is also best for small shops, food trucks, offices, and garages.
The gas tank capacity is 6.6 gallons, and it can provide up to 11 hours of runtime at 50% load. Westinghouse is known for providing high runtimes and stable output under a high-load application. The machine runs at 73 dBA, which is a bit higher with this power output, and it can get loud at times.
The outlets consist of four 120V AC 20A GFCI protected outlets and one 120/240V AC 30A twist-lock outlet. It doesn’t have a 50-amp outlet, so you may face some issues while running heavy tools/appliances. The 30A outlet is RV-ready, and you can use it to power small RVs. All the outlets are GFCI and rubber protected for extended operational safety. Other features include push-button electric start, generator on/off switch, and data center for volts, frequency, and running hours. The safety features are low oil shutdown, overload protection, short circuit protection, and a neutral to bonded frame.
The unit is EPA and CARB approved and has a 1-year commercial and 3-year residential warranty. An ergonomic moving handle and a never-flat set of wheels enhance the portability. Overall, it is a great machine to own.
What Customers say about Westinghouse Wgen7500?
3. WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator– Best CARB Compliant Portable Conventional Generator
WEN 56200i is one of the best CARB compliant and EPA certified inverter generators. The unit gets the power from a 79.7cc 4-stroke OHV engine and supplies 2000 starting and 1600 running watts. With a THD below 1.2%, the output is ideal for running sensitive appliances during an outage, camping on an RV, tailgating, and outdoor gatherings. You can also run 1-2 small tools on this inverter without any bogging.
You get 6 hours runtime with a 1-gallon tank. The eco-mode feature further enhances the runtime by adjusting the engine speed according to the load applied to the unit. You can double the unit’s output by parallel connection with another WEN56200i. Please note that it is recoil starting the machine.
The outlets consist of two 120V AC outlets, one 12V DC outlet, and a 5V USB port. Other features on the control panel include a choke (for a cold start), low oil, overload and output indicators, and a grounding port.
Inverters are mostly used outdoors and hence must have excellent portability features. WEN56200i weighs only 48 pounds, and you can easily lift it with an ergonomic handle. The unit operates quietly at 53 dBA and will not disturb your or your neighbors.
What Customers say about WEN56200i?
4. DuroStar DS4000S Portable Generator–
DuroStar also manufactures CARB-compliant and EPA-approved generators. This model, DS4000S, is one of its finest and most popular generators because of its affordable price, mid-range power output, and user-friendly features.
The machine delivers 4000 peaks and 3300 rated watts output, making it ideal for running essentials during an outage, powering most of your appliances on RVs, and running small tools at a worksite. You can also use this machine at a campsite and other outdoor gatherings. The 208cc OHV gasoline engine ensures that you always get stable power even on higher loads.
DS4000S offers two 120V 20A household outlets and one 120V 30A RV-ready twist-lock outlet. The safety features include low-oil shutdown, overload protection, and spark arrestor. The control panel offers an engine on/off switch, an analog voltmeter, and a breaker. Please note that you will have to keep track of running hours yourself for maintenance purposes.
The fuel tank is 4-gallons and provides 8 hours runtime on 50% load. You can easily navigate a 4-5 hours outage with one full gas tank while running your essentials. The running sound is 69 dBA which is ignorable.
It is a lightweight and compact size model. Please note that the wheel kit and handle do not come with the initial purchase. You will have to purchase it separately to make this unit portable. Overall, it is a reasonable generator in this price range.
What Customers say about DuroStar DS4000S?
5. Champion 100263 3400-watt RV-ready Portable Inverter Generator– Dual Fuel
Sometimes you need a powerful CARB-compliant inverter to adjust a couple of big appliances during an outage, in your RV or run heavy tools at a worksite. Champion’s 100263 is the answer to your worries. The dual-fuel 192-cc 4-stroke single-cylinder engine delivers 3400 starting and 3100 running watts on gasoline; 3060 starting and 2790 running watts on propane. The output makes this model one of the most powerful inverters in the market. A below 3% THD allows you to run sensitive appliances on this machine.
The gas tank capacity is 1.6-gallon which runs up to 3.25 hours at 50% load. On propane, you get 7 hours runtime with a 40-pound tank at 50% load. The runtime on gasoline is not up to the mark, whereas propane delivers just fine backup time.
The outlets consist of one 120V 30A RV outlet, two 120V 20A household outlets, one 12V DC automotive, and a parallel connection port. Apart from outlets, the control panel also features a fuel selector switch, choke, indicator lights (output, overload, and low oil), a battery switch, circuit breakers, and a grounding terminal. The unit operates at 59 dBA and will not disturb you much.
The machine weighs 95.7 pounds and measures 25.1 x 17.3 x 18.3 inches. It is a highly portable unit because of its design. It comes with wheels and an in-built handle. However, it would have been nice to have a retractable handle. Overall, it is a fine unit for emergency use.
What Customers say about Champion 100263?
6. WEN 56475 Gasoline Powered Portable Generator– Under $500
WEN offers CARB-compliant conventional generators as well. WEN 56475 is a gasoline-powered generator with a 223cc engine. It provides 4750 starting and 3750 running watts of power. The power output makes the machine perfect for small homes, offices, shops, and RVs.
The 4-gallon gas tank provides up to 9 hours runtime at half load. The runtime is impressive and easily beats most generators in this category. You can use this machine to run your appliances for one full night with one tank.
The outlets consist of two 120V outlets, one 120V 30A outlet, and one 120V RV ready outlet. Other features on the control panel are an electric start switch, a data center, a circuit breaker, and a grounding port. It is an easy-to-use machine with simplified features.
The CARB and EPA-certified machine has a 2-year warranty and comes with safety features like low oil shutdown, overload, and surge voltage protection. The machine design includes two wheels and two handles with rubber grips for better portability on the go.
What Customers say about WEN 56475?
7. Rainier R4400 Portable Generator – Under $500
Rainier R4400 is built around a powerful 212cc OHV 4-stroke engine and delivers 4400 starting and 3600 running watts. You can utilize this output to run essentials, power tools, and a few appliances on an RV. A unique thing about this generator is the low gap between starting and running watts. It allows you to adjust more appliances once they start.
The 4-gallon gas tank can deliver up to 9 hours of runtime at 50% load. The runtime is almost the same compared to other models in the list. One full tank with almost 1800-watt on the unit will last for 9 hours without any hiccups.
The outlets consist of two 120V 20A household outlets and two 120V 30A outlets. You can use this machine with an RV through the 30A outlet without any problems. Other features on the control panel are an electric start switch, a VFT meter (volts, frequency, and total running hours), circuit breakers, and a grounding port. The unit provides a safe working experience through safety features like automatic low oil shutdown, overload, and surge voltage protection.
You get a three-year warranty along with CARB and EPA certification. The machine runs at 65 dBA, which is lower than other generators in this category. It comes with a wheel kit and a one-hand handle for easy movement.
What Customers say about Rainier R4400?
Output and Power Needs
Either you are buying a CARB compliant or a simple generator, you need to select the right unit. The most important thing in this aspect is power calculation. You can do this by making a list of all the appliances you need to power on the generator. Find out their starting and running wattages and calculate the total. Consider the example below.
|Appliances||Starting Wattage||Running Wattage|
|1/2 HP Furnace||2350||875|
As you can see that the starting wattage needed to start all the appliances at one time is 6250 watts, and the running wattage is 3075 watts. In such a situation, a generator with a running wattage of 4000 watts will be ideal. It is best to leave a cushion for some appliances. You can work your way around with a small generator by adding the loads one by one. If you are new in the world of generators, you will be tempted to buy a generator with 6250 running watts, and you will end up wasting a lot of money. It will also be costly to run, maintain, and repair in the long run. If you buy a smaller generator, you can save a lot of money.
Inverter vs. Conventional Generator
Both the inverter and conventional generators are CARB compliant, so you can select anyone to meet your power needs.
Inverters are compact, portable, and light in weight. Also, they produce clean AC power that is ideal for powering sensitive electronics. On the other hand, conventional generators are usually bigger in size and heavier in weight. Also, most of them can’t produce clean electric power.
Inverter generators produce less output power than conventional generators, so they are mostly used to power tailgate parties, campsites, and other outdoor gatherings. In contrast, most of the conventional units are used to power homes and RVs.
Fuel Tank Size and Runtime
Inverter generators do come with small size fuel tanks, but they give excellent runtime because of the economy mode.
However, in conventional generators, you need to focus on the size of the fuel tank to get good runtime.
At least, your conventional generator must feature a 4-gallon tank to give up to 9 hours of runtime.
But the runtime also changes according to the load applied. Your generator will run for a longer period at a 25% load and will give a shorter runtime at 75% or 100% load.
The noise level depends on the generator type. If you want a generator with lower noise levels, then go for an inverter generator. These inverter generators produce no more than 60 dB (A) of noise. On the other hand, conventional generators mostly operate at 65 dB (A) or above.
You should also focus on the control panel of your generator to know which of the power outlets and how many of them are present.
If you are only purchasing a CARB-compliant generator to power your house, then make sure it has at least two 120V 20A household outlets, one 120V 30A outlet, and USB ports. For tailgate parties and campsites, a 12V DC outlet becomes a must along with 120V 20A outlets and USB ports. Also, to power an RV, double-check your generator has an RV-ready outlet.
Look for a generator that will give you maximum portability. Conventional generators are heavier than inverters and hence require more high-quality wheels and carry handles. It is easy to move around with an inverter, but when it comes to conventional generators, you need to pick a lightweight generator.
Look for a CARB-compliant generator that offers you maximum control through the control panel. Inverters usually have a fully advanced control panel, and you can control the unit with the help of buttons. It also displays different readings through odometers. Some conventional generators also come with a fully loaded control panel that makes the machine user-friendly and easy to handle.
The latest model will give you all the three modes for starting it up, a remote control start, an electric start, and a recoil start. Remote control is a luxury, and it may develop issues later on. It is better to look for a generator with an electric start mechanism because you don’t always feel like pulling the starting rope.
Almost all the inverters come with paralleling capabilities. It allows you to connect two inverters and get more power to run a heavy appliance. Conventional generators can be made parallel capable with a paralleling kit, but the results are not always satisfactory.
A generator with a warranty will ensure that you don’t have to spend a single penny on repairs during the warranty period. A generator can develop issues within 1-2 years of purchasing. Hence it is better to go for a unit with a warranty cover. Make sure you read the terms and conditions associated with the warranty.
CARB generators are slightly costly than conventional generators, but they keep your surroundings clean and free from harmful gases. It is better to stay within your budget while shopping for a generator. Please keep in mind that inverters are costly compared to conventional units.
Fuel Type: Gas vs. Propane
When you select a CARB-compliant generator, it is better to understand gas and propane as generator fuels. We have listed some of the key differences with respect to generators.
Output: Gas has a better energy density and gives a better power output than propane. A dual fuel generator will give more power while running on gasoline as compared to propane.
Run Time: If you are using a small generator (under 4000 watts), you will get a better runtime on propane but lesser power. As the generator’s size increases, the run time for propane decreases and improves for gasoline.
Shelf Life and Availability: The shelf life of propane is 8-10 years. For gas, it is just 8-10 months. Gas and propane are available throughout the year. However, at the time of natural disasters or infrastructural problems, finding gas is a challenge. At such times, propane will help you keep the generator running. It is wise to store a propane cylinder for tough times.
Safety: Propane is safer to operate than gasoline. It won’t spill, evaporate, or catch fire.