Are you shopping for the best portable generator? A portable generator is great for those who camp, travel in an RV or simply need a small generator for when the power goes out. It is always a good idea to have a generator as a backup just in case a storm shows up and the power goes out. What’s nice about a portable generator is that it is lightweight and easy to travel with. Unlike other generators, portable generators can easily be carried by a handle or feature wheels for you to easily roll it around. Choosing a portable generator, however, can require a lot of considerations. Today, let’s take a look at the best portable generator options, as well as a complete guide to choosing the right one. Hopefully, this article helps you choose a portable generator that fits your needs. Let’s get started!
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Things To Consider When Shopping For the Best Portable Generator
These days, generators come in many different styles, sizes, and types. Therefore, it is important that you take your time to choose the right one that will fit your needs. The noise level, features, and weight of the generator are all important things to keep in mind when shopping for the best portable generator. Below, let’s take a look at the top considerations to keep in mind when shopping for the best portable generator.
1. How Quiet Do You Want Your Portable Generator To Be?
Generators are known to be loud, which is why it is important to choose a generator that is as quiet as they possibly can be. The way to tell how quiet a generator will be is to look at the decibels. 60 decibels is a recommended number, as it allows you to comfortably hold a conversation while your generator is running. Even if you don’t plan on having a conversation while your generator is on, it is still a good idea to get a quiet generator, as it won’t bother neighbors as much.
2. Does It Have Features That Make the Generator Easier To Use?
The best portable generator options will have features that make the generators easier to use. Such features include automatic control options that protect the generator from damage. Another nice feature is a low-oil shutdown feature. This means that the generator will automatically turn off when the level of the oil gets too low. Also, if you are shopping for the easiest generator to use, opt for buying a generator with a start button instead of a pull-cord system. Sometimes, generators with a start button will also have a pull-cord as a backup, but the start button is definitely easier to use. There are many other features that modern generators have besides the features that I just covered. Try to buy a generator with such features so that your experience with using the generator is much easier.
3. Is the Generator Heavy?
What’s nice about portable generators is that they are portable, which allows you to easily maneuver them from one spot to the next. That said, even portable generators can be heavy, which is why it is important to consider how heavy the generator you plan on buying is. Not only do you want a generator that is lightweight, but wheels and handles make the generator more portable.
4. How Many Outlets Does It Have?
Next, consider how many outlets you need your generator to have. The best portable generator options will have multiple outlets for you to use. Keep in mind, however, that it is not recommended to use all of the outlets at once, as it strains the generator. Only use all of the outlets in emergency situations or when the appliances that you are using are low-wattage.
Why Do I Need A Portable Generator?
There are many reasons why you may want to buy a portable generator. Even though you may not use your portable generator often, it is always good to have a backup in case the power went out. Portable generators can also be traveled with and are perfect for campers and those who are traveling in RVs. Let’s take a look at some reasons why you may want to purchase a portable generator.
1. Portable Generators Are Portable
First, portable generators are portable, unlike standby generators that cannot be moved from place to place. This allows you to easily maneuver the generator from place to place. Even if you don’t plan on camping with your portable generator, a portable generator is worth investing in because you can easily move it from building to building.
2. Portable Generators Are Generally Cheap
Another benefit of ordering a portable generator instead of a standby generator is that portable generators are cheaper. The price of the portable generator depends on the amount of power it generates, how easy it is to use, it’s noise rating and the brand manufacturer. Overall, portable generators are fairly inexpensive.
3. Portable Generators Are A Great Backup For Houses and Businesses
When the power goes out, a lot of things can go wrong. Your house won’t be heated, the food in your refrigerator will start to go bad, you can’t charge your phone, and all the other appliances in your house won’t work. A generator allows you to plug in your appliances so that you can use electricity during an emergency. Not only is a generator great for houses, but it can also be used for businesses. If your business greatly depends on electricity, a portable generator may be a good investment for you.
4. Portable Generators Can Be Used During Camping
Another reason why you may want to buy a portable generator is that you can use it when you are camping. Your generator will allow you to charge your phone, use an electric camping stove, light up your tent/RV, and bring along small TVs when camping.
Features Of A Portable Generator
Are there any specific features you should be looking for in a portable generator? The answer is yes, there are. There are many unique features that portable generators have. Below is a list of the most popular features that you’ll find on a portable generator. Note that not all generators will have these features, but most modern generators will.
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The first feature that many portable generators have is wheels. Wheels are nice because you can easily roll your generator from place to place. If possible, try purchasing a generator with wheels. Sometimes the wheels are sold separately, but usually the generator will come with wheels.
2. Start Button
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As I mentioned earlier, some generators will have a start button instead of a pull-cord system. Generators with start buttons are easier to use because all you have to do is press the button to start it. Sometimes generators have both a start button and pull-cord, but usually, they just have one or the other.
3. Fuel Gauge
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Another feature to look for on generators is a fuel gauge. A fuel gauge allows you to check the fuel level easily. Therefore, you’ll know when you need to add fuel to your portable generator.
4. Low-Oil Shutoff
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Not only do most generators have a fuel gauge, but they also have a low-oil shutoff feature. This feature automatically shuts the generator off when the oil level gets low. Keep in mind that not all portable generators have this feature, but a lot of them do.
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High-quality portable generators sometimes provide cleaner output power that can be used by sensitive and delicate appliances. These generators are also fairly quiet, making them a great option for campers or those who live close to neighbors.
6. Multiple Outlets
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The best portable generator options will have multiple outlets, allowing you to plug in multiple appliances at once. Keep in mind though that just because your generator has lots of outlets doesn’t mean you should use them all at once. Using all of the outlets at once can drain the generator and shorten the life of it. Therefore, try not to use too many outlets at once.
Best Portable Generator Options
Now that we have taken a look at considerations and the top features of portable generators, it’s time to take a look at the best options available! Here, you’ll find the top ten best portable generator options to choose from. Remember to keep the considerations that I gave you earlier in mind as you scroll through these options below. Let’s start shopping!
1. Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator
This first portable generator has 1800 Rated Watts and 2200 Peak Watts at less than 3% THD. The Westinghouse portable inverter generator weighs 43 pounds. It doesn’t have wheels, but it is small enough to carry it around by the handle. Therefore, wheels are not necessary for this portable generator. This generator is gas powered and features two 120V 20 Amp outlets. It is very quiet, featuring a noise rating of only 52 decibels. It can run to 13 hours on a 1.3-gallon gas tank. This generator features an “Efficiency Mode” for maximum fuel efficiency. Keep in mind that this product does not have an electric start button, so you will need to pull the pull-cord for it to start. The Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator comes with a three-year warranty and free lifetime technical support.
2. Yamaha EF2000iSv2, 1600 Running Watts/2000 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Inverter
The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Inverter generator supplies clean, high-quality power. It quietly powers a wider range of applications for an extended time. Weighing less than 45 pounds, this portable generator is lightweight and compact. It doesn’t have wheels, but instead, it can be carried by its handle. This generator features an oil watch warning system, which prevents engine damage caused by low oil. It also features an auto-decompression system, which reduces compression for easier starting. The auto warm-up system increases engine speed during cold starts to handle high power demand appliances right away. All in all, if you are shopping for the best portable generator, the Yamaha portable inverter is a great option.
3. Champion 2000-Watt Stackable Portable Inverter Generator
The Champion 2000-Watt Stackable Portable Inverter Generator features a patented, space-saving stackable design. It can connect with another 2000-watt inverter to double your output power. Rated with only 53 decibels, this portable generator is very quiet. It features 2000 starting watts, 1700 running watts, and up to 9.5 hours run time. This generator includes two 120V 20A household outlets with clean electricity (less than 3% THD) and a 12V DC outlet. This portable generator comes with a 3-year limited warranty and free lifetime technical support.
4. WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator, CARB Compliant
Shopping for a quiet portable generator? Check out the WEN Portable Inverter Generator. This portable generator has a noise level of only 51 decibels. It produces 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated watts. This portable generator produces clean power to safely operate and prevent damage to sensitive electronics such as smartphones, tablets, televisions, and computers. It includes two three-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle, and one 5V USB port.
5. Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 PowerSmart Series Portable 2200-Watt Inverter Generator with Parallel Capability
The Briggs & Stratton Generator is quiet and fuel efficient. The 111 cc OHV engine produces 2,200 starting watts and 1700 running watts. It produces less than 3% total harmonic distortion, making it a safe option for laptop computers, TVs, and game systems. The 1-gallon fuel tank can be used for up to 8 hours of continuous operation at 25% load. This portable generator features a USB port that allows you to charge portable electronics. This product is very quiet, making it a great option for camping or if you have neighbors close to your home.
6. Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt 120-Volt Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator
This next portable generator can operate a wide variety of appliances. It operates from 48 to 57 decibels, making it very quiet. It is quiet enough to comfortably have a conversation while the generator is on. You can add a second EU2200i generator for additional power. This generator runs 4.0 to 9.6 hours on a single tank, depending on the load. Therefore, this product is a great choice for overnight power or long-time applications.
7. SUAOKI Portable Power Station, 400Wh Camping Generator Lithium Power Supply
This portable generator features the following outlets: (2x) AC outlet (max 100W, peak power 400W); (4 x) DC port (15A / 180W max); (1x) QC3.0 USB port (18W max); and (3x) USB ports (10.5W max). It charges laptops, phones, tablets, cameras, drones, small home appliances, and more. This portable generator measures 18.104.22.168 inches and weighs only 2.9 pounds. It features 2 hideable lift handles so that you can easily carry this generator.
You can connect a solar panel (not included) and S270 Power Station via DC 3.5X1.35 to the MC4 connector (included) if desired. As a result, you’ll have a silent and gas-free solar generator. Also, this generator can be recharged by connecting to a SUAOKI 60W or a 100W solar panel, it can be fully charged in 8 hours by being plugged into a wall outlet, or it can be charged by plugging into your car 12V socket. The car charger is included. An 18-months warranty is included with this portable generator.
8. Jackery Generator Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Emergency Backup Lithium Battery
The Jackery Portable Generator has an AC-Outlet, Carport, and USB Outputs. It has enough power to charge smartphones 18 times, laptops 4 times, and GoPros 40 times. It can also charge drones, mini projectors, mini-refrigerators, and other small power appliances. This portable generator only weighs 6.6 pounds and measures 5” wide and 8” tall. It has an easy-carry handle so that you can easily travel with this generator. It’s noise-free without vibration. In addition to this, it also does not produce any emissions, making it safe for your health and for the environment.
There are many ways you can recharge this portable generator. The first way to recharge it is to place it under the sun with the 50W Solar panel (Sold Separately) for 10 hours in full sun. Another option is to recharge the generator from a carport for 8-hours. The last option is to charge it from an AC wall outlet for 8-hours.
9. Quipall R2200i Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator
The Quipall R2200i Portable Inverter Generator has 800 Rated Watts and 2200 Peak Watts. It is a gas-powered generator and can run for 13 hours. It has a 1.3-gallon fuel tank. This portable generator features an “Eco (Economy) Mode” for conserving energy and maximum fuel efficiency. Rated with only 52 decibels, this generator is fairly quiet. It is safe for sensitive devices such as smartphones, tablets, televisions, and computers. The control panel includes a low oil alarm, overload alarm, and output indicator. It also includes two 5-20R 120V 20 AMP household outlets, one 12V 15 AMP DC Outlet, one neutral floating grounding port, and stop and reset buttons. This product weighs 44 pounds, which is compact and lightweight
10. SereneLife Portable Generator, 155Wh Power Station, Quiet Gas Free Power Inverter
This powerful generator includes a variety of outputs, 110V Dual AC outlet (max 100W), 3 – 12V DC ports max (180W, with an extra cigarette socket cable), 3 – 5V USB ports, to recharge all your devices like phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, and running lights. It is suitable for small home appliances as well. There are three options for charging this portable generator. It can be recharged by connecting to a solar panel (sold separately), it can be fully charged in 8 hours by being plugged into a wall outlet, or it can also be charged by plugging into your car 12V socket. The car charger is included. This product features upgraded power capacity, as well as more built-in USB and DC ports. Another nice feature is the built-in LED flashlight and battery level indicator. This generator is backed up by a 1-year warranty. Overall, if you are shopping for the best portable generator, this product is a good choice.
How To Care For A Portable Generator
How should you care for a portable generator? While you’ll probably be letting your generator sit in your garage or shed for most of the time, it is still important to follow these care instructions in order for your generator to last a long time. Let’s take a look at some maintenance tips to keep in mind when operating your generator. Remember to always read the manual that your generator comes with, as the care instructions can vary among the different types of portable generators.
- Never let any water come in contact with your portable generator, as the generator can become damaged and there is a risk of electrocution.
- Remember to regularly change the oil and filters of your portable generator. It is recommended to change the oil and filters right before starting your generator.
- Don’t bring your portable generator in the house, as portable generators emit deadly carbon monoxide. Only operate your generator somewhere that is ventilated, preferably outside.
- Let your generator cool down before you refuel it. Also, if you plan on using your generator for many days straight, you’ll want to stock up between 12 and 20 gallons of fuel for your portable generator to use per day.
- Store your portable generator in a cool, dry place. Make sure it is out of the weather and somewhere you can easily reach it for when the power goes out and you need to use it. Keep in mind that gasoline in the fuel tank has a maximum shelf life of up to one year. Also, gasoline may clog in the carburetor if it isn’t used or drained within two weeks. Therefore, it is recommended to not keep gasoline sitting in your portable generator.
Final Thoughts On the Best Portable Generator
Well, there you have it! A complete guide to choosing the best portable generator. The reason why you may want to buy a portable generator instead of a standby generator is that portable generators are easy to transport. Whether you’re camping, traveling, or simply moving your generator from your garage to your house, a portable generator allows you to maneuver the generator without much effort. Most portable generators weigh around 40 pounds, but some weigh even less. Use the considerations that I gave you in this article to help you find a portable generator to fit your needs. I hope this article has helped you choose a portable generator to fit your needs. Happy shopping!
Featured Image: Image via Flickr
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