If you want to use a generator for more than just powering your home appliances during a power outage, you need a best portable power generator. To find a good one, you should start looking among the better brands first. But how do you identify the best portable generator brands in the first place? Of course, you can’t discount the power of marketing. In these days though, we have social media that enables actual masses of customers to provide a more accurate identity to a brand. We can read the reviews of actual customers, and also read the assessments of the various authorities we trust.
To establish a great reputation for a brand, a manufacturer can’t just rely on how good one of their products is. They all have to be consistently well made, with useful features and reliable durability. A good customer support service is crucial too.
Our Picks of 8 Best Portable Generator Brands
Here we’ve listed not just the brands you should try out if you’re looking for a best portable generator brands. We’ve also included a good representative generator for each brand to show you why this particular brand is so highly regarded.
Westinghouse is a famous brand, and they also have generators for sale that enhance their reputation. An example of this is the WGen7500, which openly tells you about its 7500 running watts. For starting watts, you actually have 9500 watts to work with.
You can conveniently remote start this with the key fob, and there’s a recoil start option too. This comes with a 6.6-gallon fuel, and with a full tank it’s possible for you to use this for up to 16 hours straight. There’s a fuel gauge as well, so you’ll know when to get more gas.
There are 3 outlets here (where you can connect generator cords), and these outlets have rubber covers for extra safety. You also have a digital hour meter, plus auto low oil shutoff. It complies with CSA, EPA, and CARB regulations. You even have a 3-year warranty. It’s very easy to use, which is why it’s described as a “plug and play” model. The purchase also comes with a tool kit, a handy oil funnel, some oil, and a battery charger. There’s a nice user’s manual too, and only minimal assembly is needed to get things started.
- You can power lots of important appliances with 7500 ready watts.
- It has electric start.
- You can run this for up to 16 hours straight without refilling.
- It’s easy to use.
- This comes with plenty of safety features.
- It’s durable enough to come with a 3-year warranty.
This one is a bit similar to the DS4000s, but with just a bit more watts in store. Now you have 3500 running watts and 4400 starting watts. Again, you have 8 hours of running time when you full up the 4-gallon fuel tank.
One of the main differences is that with this model, you can have power for your campsites. It’s approved by CARB and the EPA for use even in national parks. That’s because it’s not very noisy at all, with noise levels of less than 70 decibels. You also have wheels and a front handle.
This comes with a circuit breaker, and you also get low oil shutoff. The working panel offers you man engine shutoff switch, and there’s a volt meter too. It’s a very popular generator among other best portable generator brands.
- Its 3500 running watts are more than ample for crucial appliances.
- This has wheels and a handle for easier mobility around a campsite.
- It’s not very noisy at all.
- This is CARB-compliant so Californians can buy it, and it’s also EPA-approved for national parks.
- It can run up to 8 hours straight.
This air-cooled generator has a 7-hp engine that gives you 3300 running watts and 4,000 starting watts. That’s enough for a campsite or to run several crucial appliances during a power outage. The fuel tank holds 4 gallons of gasoline, and this can give you 8 hours of run time.
Your work panel comes with a volt meter and oil warning light, and you have a circuit breaker as a safety feature. This will also automatically shut off when the oil gets too low. It also protects your eardrums, since it’s not very noisy at all.
This is mainly for home use portable generator, since you don’t have wheels. It’s meant to stay in one place. However, you can put in optional wheels if you want so you can also bring it along to campsites.
- Its 3300 running watts can run your most important appliances during an outage.
- You have plenty of safety features.
- This uses gasoline, and you can run it continuously for 8 hours.
- It’s EPA-approved and very quiet, so you don’t bother the family or your neighbors.
When you’re camping or you just want to power essential appliances during a home power outage, you don’t need as many watts from a generator. That’s why the 3800 running watts generator (and 4750 starting watts) should be more than enough for your needs.
Instead, you have a generator that can use either gasoline or propane so you’re not dependent on a single fuel source. A full tank of gas can give you 9 hours of continuous running time. With a 20-pound propane tank, you’re also able to go up to 10.5 hours.
You have a push button start here, and in truth it’s really quite simple to use. You have a bunch of outlets to work with, and they’re all protected by Volt Guard. This Volt Guard monitors your voltage and it shuts down the generator automatically if something’s wrong. It also has low oil shutoff and a safety fuel switch.
- With 3800 running watts, you can run a bunch of minor appliances or a couple of major ones (like an AC and a fridge).
- This can run up to 10.5 hours straight.
- You can use gasoline or propane as a fuel source.
- It’s very easy to use, with plenty of safety features.
One of the more annoying drawbacks to gasoline engines is that they’re hardly silent. They’re noisy beasts in general, which can be a problem in camp sites when you’re trying to sleep. But this 2,000W is a very quiet power generator, and at 25% load it operates only at 51 decibels. A window air conditioner is a lot noisier.
What’s more, this gives you extremely stable power without the surges that can damage sensitive electronic devices like smartphones and laptops. Add the various safety features like eco mode, low oil and low fuel shutoff, and overload protection, and it’s easy to see why so many trust the WEN brand name.
- It’s very quiet, so it’s great for sleeping.
- You get stable power for your sensitive electronics.
- The Eco mode automatically adjusts the fuel consumption depending on the appliances you’ve plugged in.
- You have protection against overloading, low oil, and low fuel.
- It’s very portable, as it comes in a handbag design with handle along with a weight of just 48 pounds.
What if you don’t really want to power all that many appliances to begin with at a campsite? That means you will waste your money buying a more expensive generator offering more watts (and more weight) than you need. Instead, you should just get this Pulsar portable generator, which gives you 900 running watts and 1200 starting watts.
This is really meant for outdoor use generator, which is why it’s very compact and lightweight. It only weighs 35 pounds. Its fuel tank is only holds a little over a gallon of gasoline. Yet that’s enough to run for 8.5 hours straight on a half load.
- It’s easy to bring to the beach or a campsite, as it only weighs 35 pounds.
- It can still give you 8.5 hours of use at half load.
- Its safety features include automatic voltage regulation and a low oil indicator.
Generac has been in the business of making generators since 1959, so it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing. This particular model offers many reasons why the brand has managed to survive and thrive all these years.
This comes with features that owners will certainly appreciate. The GP5500 name refers to its 5500 running watts. It doesn’t refer to its (higher) starting watts, which is actual 6,875. You have enough watts to run a power-hungry appliance or two, or a lot of many other appliances at the same time.
This comes with a 7.2-gallon fuel tank, and at half load you’re able to use this for 10 hours straight. Its safety features covered outlets protected by circuit breakers, hour meters with maintenance alerts, automatic low oil shutoff, and a tough cradle for durability. It has fold-down handles on 2 sides, along with wheels for easier mobility.
- It can run for 10 hours at half load.
- Its running watts can power essential appliances at home, or various devices at camping sites.
- It’s easy enough to move around with its wheels and fold-down handles.
- It comes with a bunch of safety features.
- You can also use this for tailgate parties and for emergency home backup power.
Gas generators have engines, so it’s not surprising that Honda is one of the best brand among other portable generator brands on the market. Honda calls this its “Super Quiet Portable Generator”. While some other generators consider 68 decibels as relatively quiet, with this you don’t usually exceed 57 decibels. In fact, you can even operate down to 48 decibels.
As this is a Honda, you also shouldn’t be surprised by its fuel efficiency. This can run up to 9.6 hours without refilling, so it’s great for overnight campsite use. It’s not even all that heavy either at 47 pounds.
As the name of the model implies, this can give you 22oo watts of power that’s ample for a campsite. It’s also good for emergency home power outages. If the wattage isn’t enough, you can get another unit of this model to work in parallel so you can double your available wattage.
- It’s a Honda, and that speaks of great quality and durability.
- It’s also very fuel efficient, which isn’t surprising at all.
- The generator is very lightweight so it can be carried easily to a camp site.
- It’s a silent operator, and even other “quiet” generators are much noisier.
- You’re able to get 2 of these to work in tandem to double your wattage.
So What Are the Best Portable Generator Brands?
There are a lot of them, and many are downright familiar even for those who have never bought a generator before. These include brands like Westinghouse, which makes sense when talking about a device that provides power for electrical appliances. Even Honda is also part of the industry, as they’ve brought their engine-building prowess into the field.
But in many cases, we have the usual suspects like Pulsar (which also makes pressure washers and air compressors) and brands like WEN, DuroMax, and DuroStar (which also manufacture various types of power tools).
How to Connect a Portable Generator to Your Home
The best, easiest, fastest, and safest way to do this is to have an experienced electrician do this for you. This will be done in a jiffy, and in the right way. Amateurs and electricity isn’t always a very safe combination.
If you do insist on the DIY route, you must consult your generator owner’s manual. These will have the instructions you need to follow, and some of the directions will be specific to the generator model you have.
In general, you need to place the generator where it’s safe to operate for the unit and for your family. If you’re using a gas generator, it should be far enough that it’s not too noisy while you also have good ventilation for the fumes.
The generator will have several outlets, and here you can plug various types of cords.
- Power transfer systems. This method hooks up your generator to your house, and it can power whole circuits instead of individual appliances. You can power your hard-wired appliances like your lights and your air conditioner.
- Generator cords. This is like a super heavy-duty extension cord, except it’s expressly for generators. At one end you have sockets where you can plug in your extension cords so you can power multiple appliances.
- Extension cords. It’s not usually advisable to connect an extension cord directly to your generator. The only possible exception is when you’re using an inverter generator, and you’re only powering a handful of appliances.
Buying Guide: Choosing the Best Brands
So which brand is for you? Here are some of the factors that elevate the reputation of a brand:
Inclusion in “Best Of” Lists:
We’re not the only ones in the industry to list the top generators of various types. But you can read over several of them, and they’re not all the same. These lists reflect the expert’s opinions, and they won’t be the same as other expert’s opinions.
But you will notice that some brands are often included in the majority of these lists, and that’s because many experts recognize their superiority. Whether you’re looking for gas generators, dual fuel generators, or recreational generators for smartphones, some brands are always part of the list.
General Tenor of Customer Reviews:
You rely on specific customer reviews for particular generator models, but you get a sense of a brand’s reputation if all they’re generators (and other products they manufacture) tend to receive consistently high ratings.
Check the reviews for how quickly the generator breaks down, and how long they last. The better brands are known for their longer than average lifespans.
Great Owner’s Manual:
Have you noticed how many second-rate brands don’t offer any owner’s manual at all? When they do, it’s poorly written, and it’s as if it was amateurishly translated into English by some random employee.
In contrast, the better brands offer clear and concise directions with their manuals. They have them online for you to download too, and some even have YouTube videos to demonstrate their directions.
Warranty and Customer Service:
The best brands tend to have more faith in their products, so they may offer longer than usual warranty periods. In addition, they have professional and friendly customer serviced people who are knowledgeable about the products and are eager to help. In contrast, the inferior brands may have virtually no customer support at all, and they may force you to jump through hoops before they honor the warranty.
Some brands offer 2-year warranties or more, and they may even offer lifetime technical support.
All of these brands we’ve mentioned are greatly respected in the generator industry, and they make terrific generators. It’s important that you don’t go with unknown brands simply because they cost less. Chances are that those cheap generators won’t last long, if they even work properly and safely.
The best portable emergency generators come from the well-known brands, and they’ve established their reputation through years of offering excellent generators. Don’t take a chance—go with the sure the finest portable generator brand to make sure you don’t waste your money!