Suppose you spend a reasonable amount of time on a boat or a plan to have boat rides. In that case, you have to invest in a portable generator to power up your sensitive electronics, heat food, make coffee, or even run your air conditioner.
But keeping your boat generator in good working condition is a must. Keep it always dry; make sure there is no fuel leak, and perform regular maintenance.
If you are looking for a portable generator for the boat, we will review the seven best boat generators. Go through the features of each to select one that meets your needs.
Best Boat Generator Reviewed
Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator
Generac GP3000i Inverter Generator
Firman W03081 3300/3000 Watt Generator
WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator
Honda Power Equipment EB3000C Portable Generator
Briggs and Stratton P2200 Portable Inverter Generator
Pulsar PG2200BiS Portable Dual Fuel Inverter Generator
1. Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator – Best Pick
Power Output: The best portable generator that you can buy to use on a boat is the Honda EU2200i. If we talk about its power output, the generator produces 2200 peak (starting) watts and 1800 rated (running) watts. It generates more than 200 watts of power than its previous model, EU2000i.
Engine Power: It is powered by a 121cc Honda GXR120 engine that provides smooth and quiet performance.
Fuel Tank Capacity: Eu22000i is a small size generator with a fuel tank capacity of only 0.95 gallons.
Runtime: Its Eco-throttle system ensures excellent fuel efficiency. Your generator can run up to 9.6 hours on a full tank at a 25% load.
Noise Level: 48 to 57 dB (A) noise level makes it ideal to use on a boat.
Parallel Capability: Eu2000i is also parallel capable that allows you to connect another generator to produce more power on your boat at the time of need.
Starting System: It has a recoil start system, but you only need to pull once to turn on the generator.
Control Panel: We have an eco-throttle switch, parallel operation outlets, and three-light indicators (low-oil alert, overload alarm, and output indicator). The low-oil alert notifies you about decreasing oil levels; the overload alarm shows your unit is taking the extra load, and the output indicator indicates that the generator is ready to produce output. Other than this, we have two 120V 15A outlets and a 12V DC outlet.
Weight: Its weight is 46.5 pounds.
Warranty: It has a 3-year residential and commercial warranty.
Safety: There is a fuel shutoff valve that allows the engine to run without fuel. It prevents stale gas related issues. Its increased ventilation system keeps the running components cool. Also, low-oil shutoff and overload protection are there. The engine turns off automatically when the oil level goes down.
2. Generac GP3000i Inverter Generator – Under $1000
Power Output: The GP3000i portable inverter generator from Generac produces 3000 watts of peak power and 2300 rated watts. The PowerRush Advanced Technology delivers 50% more starting capacity so that you can do more with less. But, its rated power is comparatively lower than the Honda EU3000IS.
Engine Power: It is equipped with a 149cc 4-stroke single-cylinder, OHV engine.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 1.06 gallons is its fuel tank capacity.
Runtime: An Economy mode automatically adjusts the speed of the engine to save your fuel. It also helps in reducing sound emissions. You can get a runtime of up to 6 hours at 25% load.
Noise Level: The Quiet Inverter power reduces noise levels. It operates at 55 dB (A) at a 25% load.
Parallel Capability: Parallel operation outlets allow you to link another GP3000i to double the output power.
Starting System: It comes with a recoil start system.
Control Panel: There are two 120V 20A outlets, one 120V 30A twist-lock outlet, and two USB ports. Other than power outlets, there is a parallel operation outlet, economy switch, and power dial. Three generator status lights turn on when your unit is overloaded, ready to use, and low on oil.
Warranty: It offers a 3-year limited residential warranty and a 1-year limited commercial warranty.
Weight: This generator’s weight is 59.5 pounds, which is half less than the weight of GP2200i.
Safety: The generator is protected with low-oil shutoff and fuel shutoff.
3. Firman W03081 3300/3000 Watt – CARB Compliant Inverter Generator
Fuel Source and Power Output: It is a gas-powered inverter and produces 3300 starting and 3000 running watts. The power output is enough for a small to medium-sized boat, and you don’t have to worry about running 4-5 big appliances on this unit.
Engine Specifications: The inverter is built around a 171cc engine. A large and powerful engine makes sure that you don’t have to face any fluctuations and power drops. You can start the machine with a recoil starting mechanism.
Gas Tank Size and Runtime: The gas tank is 1.8 gallons, and it is in line with the unit’s power output. You can get up to 9 hours of runtime on a 50% load. The runtime is impressive. If you know load management, you can complete a small boat trip with this machine without any additional fuel reserve.
Outlets: Firman offers enough outlets to meet your needs on a boat. You get two 120V 20A 5-20R outlets, one 12V DC outlet, one 120V 30A 30R outlet, and one USB outlet. The outlets enable you to run heavy appliances as well. All the outlets are covered.
Parallel Connectivity and Eco-Mode: The machine has eco-mode and parallel connectivity. These features make the machine versatile. Parallel connectivity enables you to deal with situations where you need more power output.
Safety Features and Control Panel: You get a low oil shutdown feature, surge voltage protection, and overload protection. The control panel offers an engine on/off switch, choke and power, low oil, overload indicator lights.
Noise Level: The noise rating is 59 dBA. It is tolerable on the boat.
Dimensions, Weight, and Portability: The unit measures 26.6 x 18.9 x 19.3 inches and weighs 94 pounds. We agree that it is a bit heavy inverter, but its design makes it highly portable. You get wheels and a foldable handle. The inverter can be treated like a suitcase, and you can move with it without any worries.
Warranty and Certifications: The machine comes with a 3-year warranty for residential use and 90 days for commercial use. It is certified by EPA and CARB for all 50 states and has CETL certification for Canada.
4. WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator – Under $500
Power Output: WEN56200i produces 2000 peak watts and 1600 rated watts. It is a less powerful generator ideal for small day-to-day ship needs. Also, the generator can easily handle sensitive electronics with less than a 1.2% THD rating.
Engine Power: 79.7cc 4-stroke OHV engine performs well.
Fuel Tank Capacity: It comes with a 1-gallon fuel tank that gives good runtime.
Runtime: The generator runs for 6 hours at 50% load because of its eco-mode.
Noise Level: Its operational sound is between 50 and 55 dB (A).
Safety: You will face a generator shutdown in case of low-oil and low-fuel. Also, the generator carries overload protection.
Starting System: The same recoil start system is its part.
Parallel Capability: WEN 56200iis also parallel capable. You can link another generator with the help of the WEN 56421 parallel kit.
Weight: The weight of this machine is only 48 pounds.
Warranty: It comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
Control Panel: If we focus on its power outlets, we have two 120V household outlets, one 12V Dc outlet, and a USB port. Also, there is an engine switch, eco-mode switch, and parallel operation outlets. Moreover, three light indicators indicate overload, output ready, and low oil.
Liked this beast? Check out nine more Wen Generators here.
5. Honda Power Equipment EB3000C Portable Generator – Heavyweight Generator for Boat
Power Output: This EB3000C from Honda Power Equipment is a bit bulky, but one of the best units to have on board. It gives you a lot of power with 3000 starting watts and 2600 running watts. Its CycloConverter technology ensures you get clean and stable power.
Control Panel: The control panel has oil alert and output indicators, an engine switch, two GFCI protected 120V household outlets, and a 21.7A twist-lock outlet. GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) is a circuit breaker that protects people from electric shocks.
Weight: It weighs 71 pounds.
Warranty: The warranty period of this generator is of 3 years.
Fuel Tank Capacity: The fuel tank size of EB3000C is 2.6 gallons.
Runtime: It is a fuel-efficient machine that gives a runtime of 9.4 hours when the half load is applied.
Engine Power: We have the Honda commercial OHV engine.
Noise Level: Its decibel rating is 65 dB (A), slightly higher than the decibel rating of everyday conversation.
Starting System: There is a recoil start system that is easy to pull.
Safety: Low-oil alert and GFCI protected outlets are included in its safety features.
6. Briggs and Stratton P2200 PowerSmart Series Portable Inverter Generator – Compact Generator
Engine Power: a fuel-efficient 111cc OHV engine powers Briggs and Stratton P2200 model. It continuously changes its speed according to the load applied because of featuring Quiet Power Technology.
Power Output: It produces 2200 starting watts and 1700 running watts.
Fuel Tank Capacity: P2200 is equipped with a 1-gallon fuel tank.
Runtime: It is a fuel-efficient generator that gives runtime up to 8 hours at 25% load.
Noise Level: 59 dB (A) at 25% load is its operational sound.
Parallel Capability: The machine is also parallel capable. Connect another Briggs and Stratton P2200 or P3000 to produce more power.
Starting System: It comes with a recoil start system.
Control Panel: The control panel contains three light indicators (output ready, overload, and low-oil), parallel port connectors, two 120V household outlets, and a 12V DC outlet with a USB adapter.
Weight: If we talk about Briggs and Stratton P2200, then it is 55 pounds.
Warranty: It has a 2-year limited warranty.
Safety: Overload protection and low-oil alert are the safety features available.
7. Pulsar PG2200BiS Portable Dual Fuel Inverter Generator – Dual Fuel Generator
Power Output: This CARB compliant unit from Pulsar is dual fuel that produces 2200 peak watts on gasoline and 2000 peak watts on LPG. If we talk about rated watts, then 1800 watts it gives on gas and 1600 watts on propane.
Engine Power: It comes with an 80cc, 3HP, 4-stroke, OHV engine.
Parallel Capability: Pulsar PG2200BiS is also a parallel capable unit that allows you to generate double power.
Noise Level: It offers quiet operation. It works at 60 dB (A).
Fuel Tank Capacity: We have a 1.18-gallon fuel tank.
Runtime: On a full gas tank, the unit gives 8 hour runtime, and with a 1 pound propane tank, you will get 75 minute runtime at 50% load.
Control Panel: Three indicator lights, engine switch, eco-mode switch, fuel switch, and parallel connection outlets are there. Also, we have two 120V outlets and a 5V USB outlet.
Starting System: The generator has a pull start system.
Weight: Its weight is only 44 pounds.
Warranty: The warranty period is only 1-year.
Safety: Low-oil indicator with a low-oil shutdown feature.
The first thing you need to do is find out what you are going to power on your boat trips? If you will power sensitive electronics and other small devices, then a small size generator with 1600 to 1800 rated power output is enough. But to power large appliances, you will need at least 2200 rated watts.
Moreover, if you are going to power both small and big items simultaneously, then make a list of all those things and write their watts to calculate the total required power. In this way, you will find a perfect unit for your boat.
To make this clear and understandable for you, we have given an example below.
|Appliances||Starting Wattage||Running Wattage|
|10000 BTU Air Conditioner||2000||700|
|Laptop and Phone Charger||500||500|
For the above setup, 5300 watts are needed to start all the appliances together, and 3600 watts are needed to run all the appliances at one time. If you know how to do load management, you can run all these appliances on a 3600 watts generator. The trick here is to add load one by one to your generator. Once they release the extra wattage needed to start the appliances, you can add more load. Smaller generators are cheap to buy and easier to maintain. They also have a low running cost.
Type of Fuel
It is recommended not to use propane on a boat because liquid gas can be hazardous. But nothing is stopping you from buying a dual fuel generator for other uses. You can buy a dual fuel generator for your boat and use only gasoline while you are out in the water. Gas is a safer option for boats. Overall, a dual fuel generator gives you versatility when it comes to the fuel type. When you are using the same generator at home, office, or RV, you can use propane without any issues. Propane is cheaper than gas, burns cleaner, and gives a better runtime in smaller generators. Gas availability is also jeopardized during natural disasters and infrastructural problems.
You must look for a generator that offers maximum options on the control panel. When you are out on the boat, you want things simple and under control. A fully advanced model will have an odometer, meter readings, on/off buttons, a choke, and power outlets on the control panel.
The next thing to look at is power outlets. Make sure the generator you are selecting has your desired power outlets. There must be two 120V AC outlets and a DC outlet along with a USB port. Also, try to get a generator with GFCI-protected power outlets.
Tank Capacity and Runtime
As you are buying a portable generator for a boat, tank capacity and runtime are vital to consider. It would help if you went for long boat trips for units with big fuel tanks; otherwise, a 1-gallon tank is enough to go for a 6 to 7-hour trip.
But a big fuel tank like 2 gallons or more is not enough if your generator is not fuel-efficient. Make sure your unit has an eco-mode. However, runtime also depends on the load applied.
It is always recommended to go for portable inverter generators to use on a boat to produce less operational sound. Less than 65 dB (A) operational noise is quite bearable.
For boat trips, a parallel capable generator is a must so that you can generate more power when needed. Paralleling also allows you to run more appliances as you get twice the number of power outlets. Having two small generators is always an edge because they can be used for two different purposes or at different places.
One of the biggest benefits of buying an inverter generator is that it comes with a throttle control system. Throttle control or eco mode is a feature that helps in adjusting the engine output according to the load applied to it. If your generator has less load on it, it will reduce the output and increase it when the load is high. Such features help increase fuel efficiency and reduce operational costs.
You will have to carry your generator to your boat every time you set sail. Hence, look for a generator that comes with high-quality wheels, an ergonomic carry handle, and push/pull bars. You will be using this generator for your home or other purposes when you are not on your boat. So, you must never ignore the portability features in your generator.
Low-oil alert with shutdown feature and overload protection are the two safety features that must be part of your generator. Other than these, if there is an emergency stop button, then it will be a plus.
Weight and Warranty
Make sure your portable generator is light in weight. Also, it must have an excellent gripping handle to carry it quickly to the boat. Other than weight, the warranty period also needs to be considered. At least your generator has a 2-year warranty period.
When you are on a boat, don’t ignore the environment. Buying a generator without EPA and CARB (for California residents) isn’t legally and ethically right. Uncertified generators hurt the environment by producing toxic and harmful chemicals. Hence, you must look after such things as well.
The last thing to consider is price. When you look for advanced generators with all the latest features, you will have to pay more. Such generators are user-friendly and easier to maintain. On the contrary, basic models are cheaper but often have a higher operating cost.