If you want to use a generator for more than just powering your home appliances during a power outage, you need the best portable power generator. To find a good one, you should start looking at 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.
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 Top 10 Portable Generator Brands:
Here we’ve listed not just the brands you should try out if you’re looking for the 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.
1. Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator
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.
2. DuroMax XP4400E Portable Generator
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.
3. DuroStar DS4000S Gas Powered Portable Generator
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.
4. Champion 3800 Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator
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.
5. WEN 56125i Super Quiet 1250-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
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.
6. Pulsar PG1202S, 12000 Watt Portable Generator
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.
7. Generac 5939 GP5500 Portable Generator
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.
8. Honda EU2200i Portable Generator
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.
9. Briggs & Stratton P2400 PowerSmart Series Inverter Generator
The wattage of this generator is 1800 watts. What we love most about it is its weight of 1 pound. With that weight, you can move it around easily. The voltage of the generator is 120 volts.
When the level of the oil is low, its LED light will come on. So, you don’t have to bother about checking the oil every day.
It also has an overload alert light that comes on when you overload the generator. We all understand how dangerous carbon monoxide can be. So, when the level of carbon monoxide around the generator is high, it will shut down automatically.
With its parallel connector port, you can connect two of the same generators together for more power. So, we believe that it deserves the 4.4 Amazon rating that users have given it.
10. Pulsar G12KBN Heavy Duty Portable Dual Fuel Generator
We can assure you that this heavy-duty generator can easily power your whole house. It has a peak wattage of 12,000 watts and rated wattage of 9,500 watts. Having a weight of 209 pounds makes it very heavy, and that’s why its two wheels will ease mobility.
Another feature that should be mentioned is that it runs on dual fuel.
You can choose to fuel it with either gasoline or Liquefied petroleum gas. Its tank can easily take 8 gallons of fuel. With a full tank and at 50% load capacity, it can work for 12 straight hours. Finally, it has an Amazon rating of 4.6 stars, and it comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
Are Chinese Generators Any Good?
First of all, you need to understand that there are very many brands of Chinese generators. Although most of them are good, a few of them may perform below your expectations. This is why we will advise you to check the reviews of your preferred Chinese generator before you purchase it.
The features and functionality of a generator will drive up the price of a generator. By that, we mean that generators with more features will cost more than the ones with fewer options. If your budget is low and you need a generator with sophisticated functions, it means that your expectation isn’t realistic.
That being said, we can conclude that Chinese generators are good products. They are worth the money. But you should also remember that what you get depends on your budget.
Which Portable Generator Brand Is Best?
There are so many portable generators with impressive performance. And we’ll discuss the features to look for in a portable generator.
Every portable generator has a wattage. You need to consider all the appliances you intend to power with your generator. Then determine their total wattage. You can then look for a generator that has the capacity to power them.
If you intend to carry your portable generator around, its weight is important. The heavier a generator is, the more difficult it is to move the generator around. So, you should gun for the lightest generator with your desired wattage.
Humans are susceptible to errors. No one is above mistakes. So, you need a generator with several safety features. Check for a generator that is resistant to high voltage, low voltage, overloading, short circuits, and overheating.
Generally, some of the brands with great generators are:
- Goal Zero
- Briggs & Stratton
Buying Guides: How To Choose a Good Brand?
So which brand is for you? Here are some of the factors that elevate the reputation of a brand:
1. 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 experts’ 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.
2. 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 their 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.
3. 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, 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.
4. 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!