8 Best Portable Power Generator [ 2019 Reviews & Guides ]

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Best Portable Power Generator

Having a generator at home makes a lot of sense. After all, an average home in the US can experience a power outage every now and then. These times can be very inconvenient, but you can alleviate the problem with a generator to power your more important appliances at home. But with the best portable power generator, you can get power with your beach outings and campsites.

Since it’s a portable generator, it won’t be a full-sized unit. So don’t expect to power all your home appliances. The good news is that at least you can power the more important ones with the right generator. Maybe you can power the fridge to keep the food fresh (and the ice cream from melting). You can get the HVAC system working too. Or perhaps you can get by with the TV and sound system so you don’t get bored at home when the power’s out.

Our Picks of 8 Best Portable Power Generator:

To help you make a quick (yet suitable) choice out of the numerous options, here are some of the best generators that may be small and portable enough or your needs.

Image Name Watt Check
Westinghouse 9500W at Starting
Champion 3800W at Starting
Briggs 6500W at Starting
Sportsman 4000W at Starting
Wen 2000W at Starting
Yamaha 2000W at Starting
Honda 2000W at Starting
Generac 6875W at Starting

Westinghouse WGen7500 Generator

Best portable power generatorWestinghouse is of course a familiar brand in the power industry, so you’re not getting a generator from some fly-by-night operation.

This particular model gives you ample wattage at 7500 running watts, along with 9500 starting (peak) watts. That should be more than enough to let you remain comfy during a power outage in the summer or winter. The tank can contain up to 6.6 gallons of gasoline, and that’s enough for about 16 hours of running time.

It’s still a portable model though, although it’s the best portable power generator and best described as a mobile unit. This comes with the requisite wheels and handle so you can move it from one spot to another.

It’s easy enough to use, and it also comes with lots of safety features. These include rubber covers for the outlets, a digital hour meter, fuel gauge, automatic low oil shutoff, and a durable cast-iron sleeve. This should last a long while, and it comes with a 3-year warranty.

Features:

  • This is also compliant with CARB, EPA, and CSA regulations.
  • You have a 1-touch push button electric start, with remote start key fob.
  • You can connect this to your home through a transfer switch.
  • It has four 120/240V standard household outlets.

Champion Dual Fuel 3800 Watt Generator

Best portable power generatorWhat if you don’t want to use gasoline? With this dual fuel power generator, you also have the option of using propane gas instead of gasoline if you want. This gives you 3800 running watts and 4750 starting watts, so it can power a bunch of stuff for camping and outdoor parties. This dual fuel generator should consider as the best portable power generator on the market.

You can use this overnight too. With a full tank of gasoline, you can get 9 hours of straight use. With propane, it’s even longer at 10.5 hours. It comes with push button electric start, and Volt Guard secures all your outlets. This is extremely well-made, which explains the lengthy 3-year warranty. The technical support is also free for a lifetime.

Features:

  • This can work for outdoor fun as well as for home backup.
  • You can run this overnight.
  • It’s very durable, with a 3-year warranty.

Briggs & Stratton 30675 Q6500 Inverter Generator For Camper

Best portable power generatorThis also offers lots of wattage with 5000 running watts and 6500 starting watts. Its 5-gallon fuel tank should, at 25% load, be able to give you 14 hours of running time. Aside from the four 120V-20A GFCI outlets and the 120V/240V, 30A Locking outlet, you also have 2 USB ports so you can directly power your smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

This comes with the standard set of features, including a fuel gauge and a power meter. It’s very fuel-efficient as well, and in comparison tests in fuel efficiency it performs 30% better. It’s very well made too, and it has a 24-month warranty for regular consumer use. For commercial use, you still get a 12-month warranty.

What makes this stand out is that it’s extremely quiet. It’s about 60% quieter than standard portable generators. Its “Quiet Power Technology” adjusts the engine speed to minimize the ruckus.

You should also move it farther away from you when you use it, and this should be easy. It’s 30% lighter and 45% more compact than regular portable generators. You also have wheels and a suitcase-style telescoping handle.

Features:

  • You have plenty of outlets, including a couple of USB ports.
  • This generator is very compact and lightweight, and easy to move around.
  • Extremely quiet inverter generator
  • It’s very fuel-efficient.

Sportsman GEN4000LP Propane Gas Powered Portable Generator

Best portable power generatorThis is another generator that should be able to power your crucial home appliances, while it also powers various devices on your camping trips. You get 3250 running watts and 4000 starting watts, so even your fancy coffee machine should run outdoors.

It’s powered by propane gas, and on 50% load it can run for 10 hours. It’s also EPA-approved, so it’s also quiet enough.

You have two 120V AC outlets to work with your generator cords and you get several safety features. These include circuit protection and automatic shutoff in case of low oil or low fuel.

Features:

  • This can run 10 hours on half load.
  • The 3250 running watts can power many devices on camping trips, and make life comfy at home during a power outage.
  • There’s plenty of safety features.
  • It’s EPA-approved.

WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator

Best portable power generatorIf you want to buy small portable generator then this one can be the best example. It can provide power for essential appliances and devices when you’re outdoors. This gives you 1600 running watts and 2000 starting watts, and that’s more than enough for camping and beach parties. If the wattage isn’t enough, you can always connect a second WEN model 56200i to increase the power output.

For many people, this will be mainly used to recharge the ubiquitous smartphones, tablets, and laptops. For that purpose, the power output is extremely stable so as to be safe for these sensitive devices. There’s also a USB port for them, to go with the two 120V sockets and the 12V DC socket.

This comes with a lot of safety features too. These include low oil automatic shutoff, overload protection, and low fuel shutoff. It’s not very noisy (51 decibels at a quarter load), and the ECO mode adjusts fuel consumption for optimal fuel efficiency.

Carry this to a campsite, and you can have music and recharged smartphones for everyone. It’s designed like a small suitcase, and it only weighs 48 pounds.

Features:

  • It’s portable and lightweight.
  • It’s comparatively quiet.
  • It has automatic fuel adjustment for maximum fuel efficiency.
  • It has numerous safety features.
  • It’s safe enough for smartphone recharging.

Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Portable Inverter Generator

Best portable power generatorThis gas powered inverter generator gives you 1600 watts and 2000 starting watts, which make this best for emergencies and for camping trips. That goes for California residents as well, since this is CARB-compliant.

It’s actually designed to look like a bag, so it really is meant to go along with you. The handle is on top, the design is compact at 2.2 cubic feet, and it doesn’t weigh more than 45 pounds.

The power you get is extremely stable, which makes this great to power sensitive devices. It will also run up to 10½ hours at 25% load, as its Smart Throttle feature monitors the load and rpm to maximize fuel efficiency. This has the fortunate bonus of also reducing noise.

If you think the power is good for most situations but you think you need extra power for “just in case” scenarios, you can always just get a second EF2000iSv2 generator. They can then be used in parallel fashion to increase your available wattage.

Features:

  • It’s CARB-compliant.
  • It’s compact and lightweight, so it’s easy to carry.
  • The power output is very stable without surges that can damage sensitive electronics.
  • It’s fuel-efficient.
  • It’s not noisy at all.

Honda EU2000I Super Portable Generator

Honda EU2000I Portable GeneratorSince Honda is best known for producing fuel-efficient cars, it’s not surprising that their expertise extends to making great engines for generators. This is one of their no-nonsense models, with 1600 running watts and 2000 starting watts.

It’s a hardy unit that can be run all day as long as you have the fuel. But you don’t have to bring along too much fuel, because it can run more than 8 hours on just a single gallon of gasoline.

You’re going to love this for outings, since you get the power you need without the bulk and the weight. It’s compact and lightweight. What’s more, it’s very quiet too so it won’t disturb your party or your sleep.

Features:

  • It’s very fuel-efficient.
  • You don’t have to put up with too much noise.
  • There’s no trouble bringing it to an outdoor location.

Generac 5939 GP5500 Portable Generator

Best portable power generatorFor home use, you may want more watts to really feel comfy even during a power outage. This particular generator should do, as it offers 6875 starting watts and 5500 running watts. That should be more than enough to run your fridge, AC for summer comfort, and the TV and audio system so you’re not bored. Add your lights as well.

At 50% load, this can also last up to 10 hours on a full tank. The safety features include circuit breaker, covered outlets, hour meter, and auto low oil shutoff. You can also move this around with its wheels, while the handle folds down so it doesn’t take up too much space.

Features:

  • It offers ample power for home and outdoor use.
  • It has numerous safety features.
  • Its steel-tube cradle increases its strength and durability.
  • It’s easy enough to move around.

What’s the Quietest Portable Power Generator on the Market?

Finding a quiet generator is crucial, since a gas generator has an engine that can make a lot of noise. If silent operation is actually your highest priority, then you’re better off with a rechargeable power station that can in turn power your smartphones and laptops, and maybe a few lights and your music system.

That’s more than ample for camp sites and beach parties. But the problem with this type of generator is that you don’t have an easy way to power it on location. Usually, you have to power it at home first and you’re stuck with the available power you have.

That’s why it’s great to have a gas generator, since you can just refill the tank when you’re running low. But again, we go back to the noise problem. In itself, the generator is noisy and that’s especially true when you’re using up the full load. The good news is that even among the gas generators there some comparatively quiet generators.

  • You can try the Yamaha EF2000iSv2, which on a full load is still only working at 61 decibels. That’s about as noisy as a typical office, or an air conditioner that’s working 100 feet away from you.
  • The Champion Power Equipment 73536i is also a rather silent generator. It’s only at 53 decibels on half load.
  • With the Honda EU3000IS, you can even get down to 48 decibels or so. That’s even quieter than a peaceful suburban neighborhood.

If you want it quiet, go with fewer watts and look for a built-in muffler. You should also place it far from you, so you don’t have to shout to have a conversation!

How to Test a Voltage Regulator on a Portable Generator

A portable generator is great only if it’s producing the right voltage. For that, you have a voltage regulator on your generator. But what if there’s something wrong with it? If your voltage regulator isn’t working right, then it will affect the voltage output of the generator.

Step one

  • The first thing you need to do is to buy yourself a volt meter. You can borrow one too, but it’s cheap enough so you ought to have one yourself.
  • Before you use the volt meter, you should wear shoes with a non conductive sole. You should also stand on a rubber mat. These are just precautions, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • When you use the volt meter, here’s the most important rule: don’t touch the voltage regulator or any of the other wires. You may be in for quite a shock (literally) if you do.
  • Start the test by getting the generator running.
  • Turn on the voltmeter and set it to the “AC Voltage” position.
  • Ground the voltmeter with the black lead, attaching it to the frame of the generator. The black lead will have an alligator clip for this purpose.
  • Touch the red lead to the socket where you’d plug in your appliance or generator cord.
  • Read the voltage in the display, and that’s the generator’s current voltage output.

If the number is what you’d expect, everything’s fine. If the number you get isn’t right, then there may be something wrong with your automatic voltage regulator. So you’ll have to test this AVR.

Step Two

  • Remove the red and black leads from the AVR.
  • Then remove the red and black leads from the AVR going to the brush set.
  • Use electrical tape to cover the red and black leads so they’re unable to touch the housing or each other.
  • Use a car battery or any other 12V DC power source and some alligator clips. Attach the alligator clips to the brush set from which you removed the leads.
  • Hook the positive line you attached to the brush set to your battery. This positive line should always be towards the bearing.
  • Now start the generator.
  • After at least 10 seconds or so, hook the negative line to the battery.
  • Use the voltmeter to test those 2 leads that you first removed from the AVR.
  • This should then read at least 60V. If it doesn’t, you may need to replace the AVR. But if you do that and still your generator isn’t giving you enough electricity, another part may be malfunctioning. You may have to take this to a pro technician to fix.

Buying Guide – How to choose the Best Portable Generator

It’s best that you read the product info and customer reviews to know as much about the generators you’re considering. You should focus on the following factors:

Brand

The brand is crucial because it can help assure you that you’re buying a well-made, high quality generator than can last a long while without breaking down. Forget about the unknown brands, since they haven’t yet proven their worth.

Wattage

This is one of the first things you need to check. You have to make sure that the wattage you get matches your needs when there’s no readily available power. Just how many appliances are you planning to power, and how any watts do they need. You better make sure you have enough watts.

Portability

This is a catch-all factor that covers the size, weight, and other portability issues concerning the generator. The main issue here is to balance your wattage with the portability, since more watts means getting a bigger and heavier generator.

It’s best if you get something that comes with wheels and a handle, so the generator is easy enough to move around your location.

Legal Issues

If you’re planning to use the generator in a national park, you better make sure it’s EPA-approved. California residents also can only get generators that are CARB-compliant.

Noise

Some manufacturers mention their noise levels. Just keep in mind that for the most part, these decibel levels are for half load, and it’s measured from 23 feet away. It’ll get noisier if you plug in more appliances and the generator is near you. Some power stations, unlike gas generators, are very quiet, though.

Durability

How long will these things last? You should check customer reviews for complaints regarding breakdowns and malfunctions that occur sooner than expected. It helps if the warranty is longer (a 1-year warranty is common) and if they offer excellent customer support. Some manufacturers even offer lifetime technical support.

Safety Features

It’s great if you have low oil automatic shutoff, and other protection measures against low fuel, overloading, and other potential problems.

Price

Again, it’s a matter of balance. The price goes up if you get more watts and the brand is well-known. However, you do need to spend money if you want a high-quality generator. A cheap generator may cost you more money in the long run, because you will have to buy another one soon to replace it.

Conclusion

Get the best portable generator for power tools and you can bet you’ll have plenty of use for it. Bring it along on the beach or to a tailgate party, and keep it handy at home when there’s a power outage. Buy one now, because you’ll need one eventually.