Most experts talk about finding generators that fulfill your wattage requirements. They’re right to focus on wattage, but it’s sometimes annoying for many of us that they don’t focus more on price.
The sad truth is that not all of us can afford generators that offer lots of watts to power an entire household. But with the best affordable portable generator, life can still be a lot comfier even without any other power source.
Simply starting your search by looking among the cheapest generators may not be the best idea. That’s because you’re more likely to buy a crappy generator that may not be safe to use and will probably break down quickly. It’s just a waste of money.
Instead, you should start with our list of the best affordable portable generator. These will be at various price ranges, as even the more expensive ones on our list will actually be more affordable than other generators with similar features.
Our Picks of 8 Best Affordable Portable Generators:
1. Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator With Remote Electric Start
Everything about the WGen7500 is about making life easier for you. This means you won’t have to agonize about picking which appliances you want to run with this generator, since with 7500 running watts and 9500 starting watts, you can probably just run all the most crucial appliances.
In fact, you can add in the appliances that make life much more comfortable for you during a power outage.
It’s very easy to use with lots of safety features and a convenient remote start fob key.
It’s actually considered a plug and play generator model. You can even get 16 hours of straight use with this before you need to refuel.
- You have plenty of watts to run all your important appliances.
- It’s still an easy to move model, so you can use this for campsites.
- You get a lot of safety and convenience features.
- It complies with EPA, CARB, and CSA standards.
- It has a 3-year warranty.
2. DuroMax XP4400E Portable Generator
This one gives you 3500 running watts and 4400 starting watts. It can also work for 8 hours straight at half load.
This makes it best generator for home backup power during a power outage. But it’s also a viable option for outdoor use, as it comes with a handle and wheels.
Whether you use this for your home or for camping, your sleep and your fun won’t be bothered.
That’s because it runs at 69 decibels, and that’s even quieter than the average sound of the TV running. This is actually EPA-approved, and it’s also available to California residents as it’s also CARB-compliant.
- With 3500 running watts, you can get a lot of important home appliances running during a power outage.
- It can run for 8 hours at half load.
- It complies with EPA and CARB guidelines.
- The noise it produces is much quieter than what you get with other generators of similar wattage.
3. DuroStar DS4000S Gas Powered Portable Generator
Sometimes you just want a simple generator that can provide the watts and features you like with the reliability that you need.
That’s not always going to be inexpensive, but then there’s the DuroStar DS4000S Generator for you if you’re in a tight budget.
It can actually offer 3300 running watts and 4000 starting watts at a price that usually comes with generators that offer only a few hundred watts.
With these many watts, you can power your fridge so your food doesn’t spoil during a power outage.
You can also add your HVAC system so you’re not uncomfortable during the summer or winter. You also won’t have to be bored, as you can also power your PC and TV, while able to recharge your smartphones.
This can run up to 8 hours on 50% load, and its features include automatic low oil shutoff, circuit breaker, and volt meter.
It also uses an effective muffler so that it’s not as noisy as it can be. It’s about as loud as an ordinary conversation. Above all this generator can be the best affordable portable generator for you.
- With 3300 running watts, you can power the fridge, the AC, the TV, and the PC all at once. You can also make sure you have good java from your coffee machine.
- Run this at 50% load, and you can trust it to run overnight while you sleep.
- It has plenty of safety features.
- It’s not as noisy as other generators, so you won’t be overly bothered by its noise.
4. WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
Just because you want a heavy duty generator with several thousands of watts doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune.
Not when you can get this generator at a reasonable price while you also get 1600 running watts and 2000 starting watts. Use it at half load and you can get up to 8 hours of continuous use.
Despite the power output, it’s not as noisy as other similar generators. You also get a fuel gauge, an oil warning light, circuit breaker, and a volt meter.
It has handles on both ends so it’s easier to lift from a car trunk, and you can put in optional wheels if you want.
- This offers 2000 running watts.
- You have 2 AC outlets and a 120V 30-amp twist-lock outlet.
- It’s not really big, measuring 20 by 27 by 22 inches.
- It’s quiet enough to merit EPA-approval.
- It has lots of safety features, including automatic low oil shutdown.
5. Champion 2000-Watt Stackable Portable Inverter Generator
It can be annoying when you buy an affordable generator only to discover that in a few cases you’re not able to power all the appliances you want.
With the 1700 running watts and 2000 starting watts you get here, you should be able to power various small appliances that you may want to use in a campsite.
But if that’s not enough to power your home appliances, you can just get another generator like this one.
You can stack them together and you’ll then double your wattage so you can even power your fridge and your bedroom AC. For outdoor parties, even one of these will be great.
It can even run up to 9.5 hours before you refuel. It uses gasoline, and with the smart economy mode you get better fuel efficiency, longer engine life, and even quieter operations. At 23 feet away, it works at just 53 decibels.
This offers 2 AC household outlets per unit, and the power is very steady. The build quality is terrific, as evidenced by the 3-year warranty and free lifetime technical support.
- With 1700 running watts, a tailgate party or a campsite can have lights and music powered by the generator.
- You can stack another Champion 2000-Watt generator with this one so you can double your wattage.
- The generator can run for 9.5 hours without fueling, so you can use it overnight while you sleep.
- The electricity is stable enough for charging smartphones.
- It has a 3-year warranty and free lifetime tech support.
- It has a built-in handle with just 48.5 pounds of weight.
6. Pulsar 2,000Watt Portable Generator
Some gas generators are very expensive, but this Pulsar generator isn’t one of them.
This gives you 1600 running watts and 2000 starting watts, and its fuel tank is enough to give you 8 hours of running time at half load.
The power you get is quite stable, so this can be used for smartphones and laptops. If you feel the power isn’t enough, you don’t have to upgrade to another generator.
You can buy another one like this model and have them both work in parallel to effectively double your available wattage. It’s still a nicely compact unit in a convenient suitcase design for easy portability.
It only weighs 47 pounds, so you can just lift it from your car trunk and bring it to your camping site. There it offers two AC outlets, a 12V cigarette lighter socket, and a USB port.
- With 1600 running watts, you’re able to power lights and a music system for a beach party or a campsite.
- At half load, you can get up to 8 hours of run time.
- The power is stable enough for smartphones.
- You get several outlets, plus a USB port for mobile devices.
- It’s easy to carry.
7. Portable Generator Briggs and Stratton
This gives you 8750 starting watts and 7000 running watts, which makes it great for home backup as well as for construction sites for the use of power tools.
It can also run for 9 straight hours at half load. This comes with numerous features for safety and convenience, and it’s extremely easy to use.
It’s also expected to last a long while, which is why it has an impressive 3-years warranty.
- With 7000 running watts, you can power even your most watt-hungry appliances.
- You have electric key start as well as an effective muffler to minimize the noise.
- It has a fuel gauge, hour meter, and circuit breaker protection.
- The warranty is for 3 years.
8. CHAFON 346Wh Portable Power Station Generator
Here’s an example of a great yet cheap generator. This CHAFON 346Wh doesn’t even cost more, yet it’s still very useful.
You will able to power several small appliances. It offers 346 watts, and that’s good enough to charge mobile devices and the power it has is enough to charge up to 30 smartphones at least.
In fact, it has lots of outlets for that purpose. You have a couple of AC outlets and four DC outlets.
You also have 4 USB outlets, so there’s no fight as to who gets to have their smartphone charged first. This is powered by a rechargeable battery, so you only need to recharge it via a wall socket to get the full power reserve. That will only take 5 to 6 hours to get a full recharge.
You can also power it on the road using the car socket, and will also take 5 to 6 hours. It’s even possible to use a solar panel with it, so that you can get it to work for the whole day.
You also get a lot of safety features with this, aside from the LED light in front that can act as your backup flashlight. There’s a battery indicator and a charging indicator, along with protections against short circuit, and excessive temperature, voltage, load, and current.
- You have 2 AC and 4 DC outlets, plus 4 USB ports.
- With this 346 watts you can power a fan or a laptop for 5 hours, and fully recharge 30 to 36 smartphones.
- It’s very compact at 9 by 5 by 5.3 inches.
- It’s also extremely lightweight at 5.3 pounds, so you can just about bring this with you when you go to a park or to a coffee shop to work on your laptop.
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Cheap Portable Power Generator?
Find a generator that suits your needs and your budget can be difficult, but we can help. That’s we had our list of 8 generator recommendations.
They’re all generally lightweight and easy to bring along, and they’re often less noisy than larger models. To pick among these generators, you should focus on the following considerations more closely:
Obviously, the price will be the most crucial factor if you’re looking hard for the best affordable portable generator.
The problem with this, though, is that a particular model may be sold at different prices depending on the seller. At least it’s cheaper to buy them online, compared to an actual retail store.
To be aware that the price of an item will depend on several factors, and these will include the other factors on this list.
Now that you have set yourself a budget ceiling for yourself, it’s best if you can find the affordable generator that offers the most watts for your money.
The number of running and starting watts a generator can provide will determine what kind and how many appliances you can run with it.
If you are only able to get a few hundred watts from your generator, you won’t be able to run appliances that require at least a thousand watts like your air conditioner or your coffee machine.
If you don’t want to waste your money, don’t settle on the cheapest generators from unknown brands. These may not have very high quality control standards, and they may not even have a proper customer support department.
You can also waste your money if you buy the cheapest generator only to see it break down completely in just over a year.
That’s why it’s actually cheaper to get a slightly more expensive model if you can at least get many more years of use from it. You have to consider the cost at a “per year” basis.
You can find out about a generator’s durability by checking out its warranty period. A 1-year warranty is typical, so longer warranty periods may indicate better than average durability.
The customer reviews about a generator can also be quite illuminating. You need to be careful if you read too many complaints about a generator breaking down after only a short time of use.
The generator should have a solid frame, as well as various safety features that protect from problems like overloading and low oil.
Generators should be easy to use, and these safety features protect the generator when there’s a mistake like plugging in a large AC into a 100W generator.
What is the Best Portable Generator for The Price?
There are hundreds of portable generators that can be chosen as the best for their prices. These generators have certain qualities that will be discussed right below. Once a generator meets all the requirements, you can choose it.
Great generators are very portable, and their weight is light. This makes it easy for users of the generator to be able to carry the generators around easily. However, this quality matters for people who will have to carry their generator around. For instance, if you’re a regular camper, you need a very light generator to power your smaller devices and illuminate your surrounding while in camp.
On the other hand, if you prefer to station your generator in your house without having to carry it around, the weight may not be a priority for you.
- Safety features
Many generators come with different combinations of safety features. That’s why you should buy a generator that has several safety features too. Some of the necessary safety features are resistance to high voltage, low voltage, overloading, short circuits, and overheating. When any of these occurs, the generator should automatically shut down to protect itself and the appliances plugged into it.
- Large fuel tank
A great generator should have a fairly large fuel tank. Such generators will be able to run for several hours. Remember, no matter how powerful a generator is, once it runs out of fuel, it will shut down. That’s why a generator with a relatively bigger fuel tank can work for a longer period of time.
Any generator that has all the three features discussed above is one of the best portable generators for its price. Go for it.
How to Connect a Portable Generator to Home Supply System?
The answer to this question depends on the circumstances in which you’ll use the portable generator.
If you’re using this outdoors at a campsite and you want to connect your appliances, then it’s a simple matter of treating the generator outlets like they’re wall sockets.
If you wish to use a lot of appliances, you should connect extension cords specifically designed for use with generators. It’s a different matter to connect a portable generator at home.
Your best bet is to first have an electrician install a transfer switch right next to your electrical panel. This will connect to the electrical panel circuits that you will want to power during an outage.
With this transfer switch, you’re then freed from using too many extension cords to power your many household appliances.
You can just plug in the generator into the transfer switch to power them directly. Another advantage of this is that this method lets you power your hard-wired devices like your home lights and AC.
How Long Do Portable Generators Last?
This is actually a very common question, but some people can mean different things when they ask. Do you mean how long a portable generator can be used until they will need to be replaced? Or do you mean how long a generator will run before you need to refuel?
The answer to both questions is the same: it depends on the model you’re buying. Some of the better ones can run overnight while you sleep.
But this will also depend on the watts you’re using up as you connect an increasing number of appliances. You shorted the running time when you use up 100% of the load, compared to just a 50% load.
As for durability, it’s best if you also look for various safety features that keep the generator from being damaged by mishaps like low oil and overloading.
You should also check the warranty. Most models come with a 1-year warranty, but others have 2 or 3 years of coverage.
Just because a lot of generators are expensive doesn’t mean that you have to do without one. On the contrary, you need one for emergencies like power outages, and they can certainly make camping a lot more enjoyable.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money, as the portable generators should be able to provide you with the power you need while you still have a healthy bank account.