Last updated on January 27th, 2021 at 03:06 pm
Frequent power outages, unfavorable environmental effects, and inadequate grid infrastructure in remote areas force people to buy portable generators. According to a survey, in 2018, the world-wide portable generator market size was 3.88 billion US dollars, and it is expected to reach 5.87 billion US dollars by 2026.
Portable generators are best suited for emergency power backups, recreational activities, job sites, and RVs. If you want to buy one, then here we have a list of the best in the business.
Portable Generator Reviews
Durostar DS4000S Portable Generator
DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator
WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator
Westinghouse WGen5300v Portable Generator
Champion Power Equipment 100165 Portable Generator
Champion Power Equipment 100554 Portable Generator
Briggs and Stratton P2200 Portable Inverter Generator
Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Portable Inverter Generator
Firman W03083 Portable Generator
Generac 5735 GP17500E Portable Generator
Pulsar PG1202S Portable Generator
1. Durostar DS4000S Portable Generator
Portability: Durostar DS4000S is a portable generator. It weighs only 94 pounds, and an optional wheel kit is available that can make transportation easier.
Size: The size of the generator also counts when buying a portable generator. Its dimensions are: 24 x 17 x 17 inches.
Fuel Type: It runs on gasoline so when going anywhere with your generator, keep enough gasoline with you.
Certifications: It is both the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and CARB (California Air Resources Board) compliance. It means you can travel to all the 50 states of America with this generator.
Engine: Durostar DS4000S features a powerful 208cc/7HP air-cooled OHV engine with low-oil shutoff. This low-oil shutdown feature turns off the engine due to lower levels of oil.
Power Output: It gives 4,000 peak watts and 3,300 rated watts.
Power Panel: The power panel of this unit is quite simple. There are two 120V AC 20A outlets and one 120V AC 30A outlet. Also, we have a voltmeter (shows operating voltage) and an engine switch.
Designed for RV: Use the 30A power outlet to prepare your generator for RV use.
Tank Capacity and Runtime: Durostar DS4000S has a fuel tank capacity of 4 gallons. With this fuel tank size, you can run your generator up to 8 hours at half load. Also, its fuel tank is featured with a fuel gauge that tells the fuel levels.
Starting Mechanism: This portable generator comes with a recoil (manual) start mechanism.
Noise: It has a super quiet muffler that keeps the noise levels lower than 69 dB (A). Keep this unit at a distance from your house, camp, or RV during operation.
Safety: If we focus on its safety features, then there is a low-oil shutoff, GFCI outlets, and surge arrest technology.
GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) is a fast-acting circuit breaker that turns off the power supply when it detects an imbalance between incoming and outgoing current. And the surge arrest technology protects your devices from voltage spikes.
Warranty: Durostar DS4000S has a 3-year limited warranty.
2. DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator
Portability: If you are looking for a powerful portable generator then DuroMax XP12000EH is the best choice for you. It comes with a handle kit and durable solid-fill tires that make the unit easy to move on any surface.
Size: Its dimensions are: 40 x 29 x 27.5 inches. If we consider its weight then it is a heavyweight unit with 234 pounds of weight. But durable wheels and fold-down handles make it extremely portable.
Fuel Type: Gasoline and propane fuel options make it easy for the users to use any fuel according to its availability.
Certifications: Both EPA and CARB certifications allow it to use in all 50 states.
Engine: A powerful 457cc/18HP DuroMax OHV engine with cast-iron sleeve
Power Output: DuroMax XP12000EH can produce 12,000 watts of starting power and 9,500 watts of running power on gasoline. But on propane, the power output goes to 11,400 peak watts and 9025 rated watts.
Power Panel: Its power panel is very busy. First, we have two 120V AC 20A outlets, one 120V 30A outlet, one 120/240V 30A outlet, and one 120/240V 50A outlet.
Other than power outlets, DuroMax XP12000EH features a voltmeter, engine switch, and oil alert and recharge indicator lights. Also, the idle control and voltage selector switches are the part of the power panel.
The idle control switch reduces the speed of the engine at no load and then allows the engine to regain its rated speed when loads are turned back.
The voltage selector switch with DuroMax MX2 technology allows you to switch between 120V and 120V and 240V simultaneously.
Designed for RV: It is an RV-ready unit
Tank Capacity and Runtime: DuroMax XP12000EH can run up to 9 hours at half load on an 8.8-gallon gasoline tank.
Starting Mechanism: A user-friendly keyed electric start system is there with a recoil backup. Electric start mechanisms are great to have when you are away from home.
Noise: It operates at 74 dB (A).
Safety: Built-in spark arrestor, GFCI-protected outlets, and low-oil shutdown feature. Spark arrestor limits sparks from getting out of the muffler. This makes the generator suitable to use in parks and forests.
Warranty: This DuroMax generator is backed by a 3-year warranty.
3. WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator
Portability: Its 48 pounds weight and a built-in carrying handle make it easy to move from one place to another.
Size: WEN 56200i is a compact unit. Its dimensions are 18 x 11 x 18 inches.
Fuel Type: It requires gasoline to power your appliances and electronics.
Engine: The 79.7cc 4-stroke OHV engine produces decent and clean output power.
Power Output: WEN 56200i generates 2,000 starting watts and 1600 running watts. This output power is clean and reliable as the generator limits THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) rating to under 1.2% at half load. You can freely run your sensitive electronics like laptops, cellphones, tablets, and others.
Parallel Capable: This machine is also parallel capable. That means you can attach another inverter machine by using a WEN 56421 parallel connection kit to increase the power output. This parallel capability becomes quite useful when you are away from home and need more power to run your essentials.
Power Panel: The power panel of WEN 56200i features two 120V AC outlets, one 12V DC outlet, and one 5V USB port. Also, eco-mode switch, parallel operation outlets, and overload, low-oil, and output indicator lights are featured.
Tank Capacity and Runtime: One-gallon gasoline tank gives 9.4 hours of runtime at quarter load. This runtime is because of the Eco-mode that adjusts the engine speed a/c to the applied load. This saves fuel as well as provides quieter operation.
Starting Mechanism: It supports the recoil start mechanism.
Noise: Its 51 dB (A) decibel rating makes it a noise-free generator.
Safety: Low-oil indicator with automatic shutdown and overload protection. This overload protection protects your generator and electronics from severe damage.
Certifications: WEN 56200i meets both EPA III and CARB set standards.
Warranty: 2-year warranty period
4. Westinghouse WGen5300v Portable Generator
Portability: It is also a highly portable machine. The hardened steel roll-bars, two strong wheels and a foam-grip handle make movement easier.
Starting Mechanism: Westinghouse WGen3500v only supports a recoil (manual) start system.
Size: It measures 23.3 x 17.5 x 21.3 inches.
Fuel Type: Only gasoline can run this Westinghouse generator.
Warranty: This machine is featured with a 3-year limited warranty.
Engine: It is equipped with a 212cc Westinghouse 4-stroke OHV engine featuring a cast-iron sleeve and automatic low-oil shutoff feature.
Power Output: With 6600 peak watts and 5300 rated watts, you can run a variety of things inside or outside your house.
Tank Capacity and Runtime: Up to 20 hours of runtime on a 4.7-gallon fuel tank.
Power Panel: Westinghouse WGen3500v features two 120V 20A household outlets, one 120V 30A outlet, and one 120/240V 30A outlet. Also, there is a voltage selector switch like the DuroMax XP12000EH. Moreover, we have a VFT meter that shows volts, frequency, and runtime.
Designed for RV: The 120V 30A (TT-30R) outlet makes the unit camper and RV ready. Also, it is a transfer switch ready generator.
Certification: Both EPA and CARB approved
Safety: Automatic low-oil shutdown and rubber covered power outlets.
5. Champion Power Equipment 100165 Portable Generator
Portability: It is easy to maneuver. The U-shaped handle and two durable wheels allow you to move the unit with ease.
Size: If we talk about its size then it measures 27.8 x 28.7 x 26.4 inches.
Fuel Type: Champion 100165 runs on both LPG and gasoline.
Certifications: It is tested and approved by both CARB and EPA.
Warranty: 3-year limited warranty
Engine: Start the 439cc Champion 4-stroke air-cooled engine to power up your appliances.
Power Output: Get 9375 starting and 7500 running watts on gasoline and 8400 peaks and 6750 rated watts on propane.
Tank Capacity and Runtime: Champion 100165 runs up to 8 hours on a 6.1-gallon gas tank and up to 5.5 hours on a 20-pound propane tank.
Power Panel: Its power panel is equipped with an intelligauge that helps you to monitor power output and track maintenance intervals. Also, we have four 120V 20A outlets, one 120V 30A locking outlet, and one 120/240V 30A locking outlet.
Starting Mechanism: Recoil and electric start with the included battery and cold start technology. This technology ensures quick starts in winters.
Noise: It has an operational sound of 74 dB (A).
Safety: Volt Guard, GFCI-protected outlets, and low-oil shutoff sensor are included in its safety features. Volt Guard is a built-in surge protector that protects your equipment from overload damages.
6. Champion Power Equipment 100554 Portable Generator
Portability: It is also highly portable. Two carrying handles, one pulling handle, and two never-flat wheels are enough to transport the unit.
Engine: Champion 100554 generator has a 208cc Champion OHV engine.
Power Output: It gives 4375 starting watts and 3500 running watts.
Fuel Type: Gasoline-powered generator
Size:Its dimensions are: 28.5 x 21.1 x 20.7 inches
Tank Capacity and Runtime: Champion 100554 can run up to 12 hours at half load on a 4.7-gallon fuel tank.
Power Panel: It has one 120V 30A locking outlet, one 120V 30A RV outlet, and two 120V 20A outlets. Also, there is an intelligauge.
Designed for RV: This Champion generator is an RV-ready unit
Certifications: EPA and CARB compliant
Starting Mechanism: It is an RV-ready unit so the remote start system will make it easy to start the generator from quite a distance. Also, it supports electric and recoil start mechanisms. Moreover, its cold start technology makes life easy in winters.
Noise: Its decibel rating is 68 dB (A).
Safety: Rubber covered outlets and Volt Guard are there for safety.
Warranty: Champion offers a 3-year limited warranty.
7. Briggs and Stratton P2200 Portable Inverter Generator
Portability: Its H-shaped handle and lightweight make it easy to move.
Starting Mechanism: Briggs and Stratton P2200 only features a recoil start system.
Size: It is a compact-sized unit that measures 22.4 x 14.4 x 19.9 inches.
Fuel Type: It is a single fuel generator that runs on gasoline.
Engine: P2200 generator has a fuel-efficient 111cc OHV engine.
Power Output: You will get 2200 watts of peak power and 1700 watts of rated power. It produces less than 3% Total Harmonic Distortion which makes it suitable to power sensitive electronic items.
Parallel Capable: A dedicated parallel connector port allows you to link another PowerSmart Series inverter to generate more power.
Tank Capacity and Runtime: It has a 1-gallon fuel tank that offers a runtime up to 8 hours at 25% load. Its Quiet Power Technology saves fuel and reduces operational sound.
Power Panel: The small power panel features two 120V household outlets and one 12V DC outlet. Also, there are low-oil, overload, and output ready indicator lights.
Noise: Briggs and Stratton P2200 generator operates at only 59 decibels.
Safety: Low-oil and overload indicators
Warranty: It has a 2-year warranty.
8. Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Portable Inverter Generator
Portability: It is a lightweight machine.
Certifications: You can ship this generator to California as it meets the CARB set standards. Also, it is an EPA approved product.
Size: Yamaha EF2000iSv2 measures 19.3 x 11 x 17.9 inches.
Warranty: 3-year limited warranty
Fuel Type: It is a gas-powered generator.
Engine: Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is featured with a 79cc OHV air-cooled engine.
Power Output: It gives clean and high-quality 2000 starting watts and 1600 running watts. The generator is powered by Pulse Width Modulation (PWD) that ensures voltage and frequency stability.
Tank Capacity and Runtime: The 1.1-gallon fuel tank gives a 10.5-hour runtime at a 25% load. Its Smart throttle system makes sure you get extended runtime.
Parallel Capable: You can either connect another EF2000iSv2 or the previous model EF2000iS to produce more power.
Power Panel: A new controller with advanced programming enhances the ability of the generator to power a wide variety of applications. Its control panel includes two 120V AC outlets and one DC outlet.
Starting Mechanism: A recoil start with an auto-decompression system for quick starts
Noise: Its operational sound lies between 51.5 dB (A) and 61 dB (A).
Safety: Safety features of this generator include the USFS-approved spark arrestor, oil watch warning system, and a gasoline petcock. This Gasoline petcock allows the generator to run without gas to prevent stale gas issues. It will help you in storing the unit without any fear.
9. Firman W03083 Portable Generator
Portability: Firman W03083 is an inverter generator that is light in weight. Also, two small tires with integrated ergonomic handle make transportation easier.
Fuel Type: It only runs on gas.
Size: If we talk about its size then it is a compact unit with 25 x 19 x 19 inches dimensions.
Engine: It comes with a Max Pro Series 171cc Firman engine. It has a Phoenix Fat Head Block that keeps the engine cool and efficient.
Power Output: Firman W03083 can produce 3300 peak watts and 3000 rated watts. Its low THD rating under 3% makes it an ideal unit to power sensitive electronics.
Parallel Capable: It is a parallel capable generator through which you can generate more power by connecting another Firman inverter.
Tank Capacity and Runtime: Its 1.8-gallon fuel tank offers up to a 9-hour runtime. Because of the fuel economy mode, you will get extended runtime.
Power Panel: The power panel of this machine has an hour meter and overload, low-oil, and output ready indicators. Also, there are two 120V 20A outlets, one 120V 30A outlet, one 12V DC outlet, and one 5V USB port.
Starting Mechanism: Firman W03083 features recoil, remote, and electric start systems.
Noise: Its Whisper Series muffler keeps the noise level at 58 decibels.
Safety: Volt locks automatic voltage regulator, low-oil indicator, and spark arrestor are there for safety.
10. Generac 5735 GP17500E Portable Generator
Portability: It is quite a heavy unit but its strong and durable handle and two big wheels make it easy to move.
Starting Mechanism: Generac GP17500E supports both electric and recoil start mechanisms.
Size: Its dimensions are 48.5 x 31 x 39.5 inches.
Fuel Type: It needs gas to power your appliances during a power outage.
Engine: A powerful Generac 992cc OHVI engine produces excellent power.
Power Output: It can generate 26,250 watts of peak power and 17,500 watts of rated power.
Power Panel: The GP17500E is equipped with four 120V 20A outlets, two 120V 30A outlets, one 120/240V 30A outlet, one 12V DC outlet, and one 50A outlet. Other than power outlets, there is an hour meter and an idle control switch.
Tank Capacity and Runtime: You will get up to a 10-hour runtime at half load on a 16-gallon tank. Its idle control feature reduces noise and saves fuel as well.
Safety: Automatic low oil shutdown and auto voltage regulation feature.
Also see: Generac Generator Reviews: Top 5 Picks
11. Pulsar PG1202S Portable Generator
Portability: This Pulsar PG1202S is light in weight so you can easily carry it with a comfortable carrying handle.
Warranty: It comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
Size: The size of this unit is small. It measures 16.2 x 14 x 14.8 inches.
Fuel Type: It is a gas-powered portable generator.
Starting Mechanism: Pulsar PG1202S comes with a manual start system.
Engine: It is powered by a 72cc, 2-stroke engine.
Power Output: 1200 starting watts and 900 running watts.
Power Panel: Its control panel has two 120V AC household outlets and one 12V DC outlet.
Tank Capacity and Runtime: Up to 8-hour runtime at half load on a 1.1-gallon fuel tank.
To find out your exact power needs, make a list of all the appliances you plan to run during a power outage or in your RV. Mention the starting and running wattages and then count the total for both. Consider the example below.
|Appliances||Starting Wattage||Running Wattage|
|1/2 HP Furnace||2350||875|
The total starting wattage of all the appliances is 6250 watts, and 3075 is the power needed to keep them running. In this case, a generator with a 3500-watt starting power will be perfect. The trick is to add appliances one by one on your generator. It is better to leave a cushion of 300-400 watts. You can calculate the wattage of your appliances in the same way.
Conventional or Inverter Generator
The inverter generator can get clean AC power, but you have to go with a conventional unit to get higher output power. Inverter machines are more fuel-efficient and are compact and light in weight. On the other hand, conventional units have big fuel tanks and big bodies.
The first thing to look at when buying a portable generator is how portable your generator is. If it is lightweight, then you may only need a comfortable handle to carry it. On the other hand, make sure your unit has big wheels and a durable handle if it is heavy.
It is always suggested to go for a dual fuel portable generator. The reason is that when any fuel gets short in your area due to any reason, you can still manage to run your generator on the second fuel option.
As you can take portable generators to any place, dual fuel generators are the best choice for traveling.
Fuel Efficiency and Runtime
Your portable generator must be fuel-efficient to give you extended runtime. During outdoor trips and natural disasters, fuel-efficient generators come in handy. A generator with a big fuel tank and a fuel-efficient engine will benefit you a lot.
Large generators come with a big gas tank. If you use your generator frequently, then look for a big tank. Otherwise, a small tank will suffice. Apart from the gas tank, it is also essential to consider the run time.
A user-friendly machine will give you full features on the control panel. It will come with a digital display to tell you about the total working hours, oil level, wattage being drawn from the unit, and other working parameters.
If you don’t want to pull the starting rope every time the power goes out, look for an electronic starting generator. Some generators also come with remote control start feature. All such features make our life comfortable in one way or another. An electric start generator is costly as compared to a recoil start. The ideal situation is to look for a generator that offers both starting mechanism.
Your machine must be both EPA and CARB compliant to move with your generator in all the states of America.
What is your purpose for buying a portable generator? The answer to this will help you to determine the total power you need. If you need a portable generator for your home or construction site, then a 5,000-watt to 10,000-watt generator would suit you. If you require an RV generator, then a 5000-watt generator is ideal. Or if you need to power your campsites or tailgates, then 2000-watt generators are best suited.
You may need more power sometimes. Hence, a generator with a paralleling ability is best under such situations. It is easy to connect two inverters. However, connecting a conventional generator is not always possible. You will have to install a paralleling kit and then connect two generators. Even if it works, you may experience fluctuations in the output.
If you are conscious about your generator’s running sound, buy an inverter as it is quieter than a conventional generator. However, its power output is less than a conventional generator, but it is best to run your sensitive appliances. Conventional generators are loud, but they can be made quieter with a generator box and some other tricks.
Warranty and Customer Service
A generator with a warranty is always better than one without a warranty. A new generator may start troubling you after a year or two. We don’t want you to spend a hefty amount on repairing it. Therefore it is better to look for a generator with a warranty cover. Make sure you read all the terms and conditions. Helpful customer service is a cherry on the top as far as the after-sale service is concerned.
Inverters are costly compared to conventional generators. The price you have to pay for a generator depends on the features. Models with advanced control panels, electric starting, dual fuel options, and safety features are expensive than simple generators.
Fuel Type: Gas vs. Propane
Selecting the right fuel type is very important. Before you start using your generator, it is best to know about some of both fuels’ basic properties. These properties are related to the generator and help you get more out of it in the long run.
Power Output: When you compare gas and propane in terms of power output, the gasoline takes a clear lead. The reason is gas has a better energy density as compared to propane. It is the reason why every dual fuel generator gives more power to gas as compared to propane. On the other hand, propane is cheap but does not have a high energy density than gas.
Run Time: When you consider small generators under 5000 watts, propane offers a better run time than gas. However, as the generator size increases, the run time for propane decreases and increases for gas. All the calculations for run time and power output have been made under controlled circumstances.
Availability and Shelf Life: Both the fuels are available around the year. However, gas is difficult to find during times of natural disasters. In such situations, propane comes in handy. Why? Because it can be stored for a very long time as compared to gasoline. The shelf life of gas is 10-12 months, and that for propane is 8-10 years.
Safety: Propane is a safer fuel to use. There is no risk of spillage and storing a propane cylinder is more comfortable than storing gas tanks. However, managing propane cylinders is difficult on the go.
Each fuel type has its pros and cons. Therefore, a dual fuel generator is best because it can give you the best of both worlds.