A portable generator is any machine which can generate power and can be easily transported. There are many possible applications for your portable generator.
From powering some electronics on a camping trip to providing power during an outage, a portable generator can be a very worthwhile purchase. Finding the best portable generator on the market does not have to be quite as difficult as it seems.
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Best Portable Generator for the Money
Best High Power Portable Generator
Best Lightweight Portable Generator
Best Quiet Portable Generator
Best Portable Solar Generator
Why You Should Choose Your Portable Generator Carefully
There are many reasons why you should take care when buying your portable generator. One reason is that portable generators tend to be rather expensive when compared to other products due to their complexity. If you end up buying a generator which is either ineffective or does not suit your needs, you will have wasted a large sum of money.
You must consider that the best portable generator is an investment, meaning that the more you pay up front, the longer it is likely to last. It is certainly possible to remain within the constraints of your budget while you still get an excellent product. The easiest way to ensure that your product fits your needs is to research the features and characteristics that you will need thoroughly.
Beyond simply purchasing a worthwhile product, there are several other reasons why it is imperative to ensure that you buy the best portable gas generator. Consider that a portable generator can be supporting your home's electrical needs in a time of emergency.
Would you entrust your family's safety to a generator which has a chance of failing when you need it most? It is crucial that you endeavor to find a reliable generator which still manages to fit your budget. Even if you do not plan on using your best portable generator for home use, it is still important to ensure that it is effective and durable.
For example, if you are using your generator on site as a contractor, and you are using heavy machinery, a generator failure could result in major injury depending on what it is powering. This is one of the main reasons that the best small portable generators are usually so pricey compared to other types of home appliances.
On What To Pay Attention
There are many aspects and characteristics to portable generators that can elevate a normal generator to the status of the best portable generator. It is also important to know the best characteristics as it makes it easier to pick and choose which generator is ideal for your needs.
Many types of fuel can be used with the best portable generators, regardless of whether you are searching for the best portable generator for travel or the best cheap portable generator.
In this section, we will list some of the most common forms of fuel which are available for use in the best portable generators.
Diesel: This is one of the more common forms of fuel which is used with portable generators. It is popular due to its reliability, low cost, and effectiveness in many climates. It is also less flammable than many alternatives.
Gasoline: Gasoline is easy to find, so it is superior to many other fuels in that regard, beyond its commonality, gasoline is also inexpensive in comparison to other fuels. Unfortunately, it is more flammable than diesel and does not do well in the cold.
Propane: Propane is another excellent source of fuel. Propane is typically used for the best quietest portable generators because propane runs far quieter than liquid fuels. Unfortunately, propane generators tend to be more expensive than the alternatives.
Another significant characteristic to consider is how long your generator can run. In the case of an emergency situation, you may find that you need an extended amount of time's use out of your generator. It is preferable to have a generator which runs longer than you need than shorter, better being safe than sorry, after all.
Your generator's run time is also important for getting projects done promptly if you are making use of your portable generator for contracting work. Since many higher powered tools and machines used in construction tend to be energy hungry, a longer run time will help you out greatly.
Fuel Tank Capacity
A larger tank capacity is directly related to your generator's run time, but it also depends on the type of fuel that your generator uses. For example, a propane generator will not run for as long as a similarly sized diesel generator. Beyond that, the capacity of your generator should not be overly large if you do not use your generator very often.
A generator with an overly large capacity will cause issues for you if you rarely use your generator because the fuel may expire inside of it. Gasoline has a shelf life of about a year, so if you do not use all of the gasoline in your generator by the end of that year, it will either go to waste or lose efficiency.
Weight And Portability
It is important to ensure that your generator is sufficiently portable, as evidenced by the name best portable generator. While smaller generators will have less capacity and produce less power, they will also be easier to move around. Keep in mind that weight and portability are not always the same thing.
You can have a generator which is relatively light, but if it is excessively bulky, it still will not be very portable as you will have trouble fitting it into a van or a pickup.
One aspect which can greatly improve the portability of your generator is the inclusion of wheels on the underside. When you consider that portable generators can easily exceed 100 pounds in weight, you can understand why wheels are an incredibly important inclusion to ensure that your generator is portable.
Electric start is a feature which greatly improves the ease of use of your generator. Generators which do not feature an electric start usually feature a manual starter system. These manual systems can consist of a kick starter or a pull starter, among other forms of manual starter systems.
The problem with these systems is that it is impossible to turn on your generator unless you are in close physical proximity to it. An electrically started generator makes it possible to start up your generator remotely. It also makes it far easier and more convenient to start up your generator as you will not have to sit around kicking or pulling on it.
Alternative Fuel Capacity
Certain generators also feature the ability to use multiple forms of fuel. This is an excellent feature if you plan to use your portable generator during emergency situations. During a power outage or a natural disaster, you never know what kind of fuel you will get your hands on, so a multi-fuel generator is an excellent choice to ensure that you maintain power.
A fuel gauge is a crucial inclusion for your generator if you want to keep it topped up.
Beyond just keeping your generator full, it gives you a good idea of when your generator will cease functioning.
This is good for delicate activities such as powering heavy machinery and other tools in a construction capacity.
Even if you don't plan to use your generator for contracting or other construction, it is simply far more convenient to know how much fuel is left in your generator. This lets you have a general idea of when you will have to top up your fuel reserves.
Low Oil Protection System
A low oil protection system consists of exactly what it sounds like. It is a system which contains safeguards to protect the generator in case of low oil. If your generator's oil levels are low, you run the risk of causing permanent damage to the components of the generator itself.
There are many forms of systems which can protect your generator from damage in the event of low oil. The most common and least expensive system is a simple warning light that notifies you that you are low on oil.
More complex systems contain generator cutoffs that will not let it run if you are low on oil, preventing the generator from harm.
One other important aspect to consider about your generator is how much noise it makes. If you do not use your generator to be overly distracting while it is functioning, a low noise level is an important aspect to consider.
However, if you plan on working at a construction site with your generator or another high noise environment, this aspect becomes less and less important. Typically, propane generators are the best portable generators regarding noise levels.
Best Portable Generator For The Money - Duromax XP4850EH Generator
- Features a seven hp engine for additional power
- Features a heavy duty frame
- Features fully isolated four point motor mounts
- Rated output of 3850 watts
- Max output of 4850 watts
- Includes an oil warning light
- Accepts gasoline and propane
If you would like the best portable generator regarding reliability and durability, this model is an excellent choice. The maximum output of 4850 watts is to be expected from a seven hp generator, but few models that we have ever reviewed function quite so smoothly.
If you are tired of sputtering generators which do not work cleanly, this model should be great for you. Beyond the smoothness of this model's operation, the inclusion of a multi-fuel system is a nice touch as you can choose which fuel type works best for you.
We have found that propane works far better for this generator than gasoline for many applications. If you would like to ensure that your generator lasts as long as possible, you should use propane since it will keep the interior of this generator far cleaner than anything else.
Beyond simply improving the cleanliness of the interior of your generator, the use of propane also ensures that your oil will last far longer too, as gasoline tends to burn up a lot more excess oil. This is not to say that the gasoline capabilities of this generator do not function properly, it just seems better optimized for propane.
The battery included with this generator also features a rather decent battery life of one or two years, which is rather acceptable for a similar model of generator. Regardless, the combination of multi-fuel capabilities, sturdy frame, and excellent construction quality makes this a fantastic choice of generator.
Best High Power Portable Generator - Briggs & Stratton 30664 Generator
- Generates clean and instantly available power
- Can provide up to a quarter more surge power
- Features a 420cc engine
- Fuel tank size of 7.5 gallons
- Comes with a limited three-year warranty
- Generator can run up to nine hours on a half power load
- Features 8000 watts of power
If you would like one of the more powerful generators which can be easily found on the market, this model from Briggs & Stratton is one of the best choices available to you. With up to 8000 watts of running power, this generator is quite the workhorse. It is ideal for running a large number of lower powered appliances.
If you are not interested in using a larger number of appliances at a lower rating, you may also use fewer higher rated appliances with this product. The large amount of available wattage on this generator allows it to be more versatile than your typical portable generator. It is important, however, to ensure that you do not overload this generator, because its power output is still limited, though high.
One of the parts of this generator that we loved was the inclusion of a 7.5-gallon fuel tank. If you are not the type of user who wishes to refill their generator's fuel tank repeatedly, this will allow you to keep your generator functioning for a longer time frame than you would otherwise.
The limited three-year warranty included with this product demonstrates that the manufacturer is confident in the construction and build quality of their product. They are right to be confident in the quality of their product's construction, as this generator model is one of the more resilient and reliable ones we have had the pleasure of reviewing.
Best Lightweight Portable Generator - Honda EU2000I Portable Generator
- Generator features a recoil starting system
- Features 59 decibels of sound at rated level
- Features a rated power of 1600 Watts
- Features a max power of 2000 Watts
- Runs for 3.4 hours at the rated load
- Features an inverter for a stable power supply
This is one of the most efficient portable generators we have run into. The Honda EU2000I is the perfect blend of low cost, low weight, and surprisingly high power generation. With a max power rating of 2000 watts, this Honda generator provides much more power than a lot of competing models in this price range and above.
This generator also features a rather impressive run time of 3.4 hours at the rated load of 1600 watts, provided that the tank is full. This generator is also very reliable, being able to run continuously, even for 24 hours straight, should you need that kind of functionality.
We know of very few generators which are as reliable as this model. Though we suppose that it would be reliable when you consider the price of this model. This is one of the more expensive lightweight, portable generators that we have run into, typically retailing for about 1100 dollars.
The inverter system which is included with this model of generator makes the power output of this product immensely impressive, almost rivaling the consistency of a home power outlet. This is also a very quiet model of generator, running at anywhere from 53 to 59 decibels, depending on the power load.
However, the most impressive part of this generator is the weight. When you consider most of the other aspects of this product, you would expect it to weigh around 100 pounds. This model of generator only weighs about 60 pounds, giving it an excellent power to weight ratio.
Best Quiet Portable Generator - Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Portable Generator
- Features a rated output of 1600 watts
- Features a max output of 2000 watts
- Features a super quiet muffler for lower noise
- Includes a spark arrestor
- Produces 51.5 dB of sound at ¼ load
- Features a smart throttle system for improved efficiency
- Includes an inverter system for better consistency
If you would like to purchase a generator which you can use at night without waking up your neighbors and your family, this model from Yamaha should be an excellent choice. Beyond the features which make this one of the more quiet models of generator you will find, it is remarkably small and lightweight.
Weighing around 45 pounds, this is one of the lighter models of the portable generator that you will find available for purchase, even rivaling the previous Honda model. When combined with this model's small dimensions, it makes for one of the most easily portable generator models with such a high power output.
Beyond the portability, there are many features which contribute to making this one of the quietest generators available on the market. The inclusion of a smart throttle system not only improves this generator's efficiency but it also heavily reduces the amount of noise it makes while functioning thanks to the effective down throttling.
Another feature which significantly reduces the amount of noise which is produced by this model is the inclusion of a super quiet muffler. This greatly improves the sound performance of this model when combined with the motor itself, which is already rather quiet.
Best Portable Solar Generator - Goal Zero Yeti 400 Generator
- Features a 396 Wh lead acid battery
- Can power up to 7 devices at once
- Can recharge using either AC or solar power
- Designed by power station experts
- Features 300W continuous power
- Features 600W of surge power
- Also, features 2.1A USB ports
If you are looking for a generator which can be powered by solar panels, this product from Goal Zero should be ideal for you. In reality, this product is closer to a lead acid battery than a bona fide generator. However, this model can function as a generator in essence due to the ability to recharge it using solar panels.
The advantage of this model over other forms of generators is that you can chain it up with other batteries of the same type to provide even more power. The ability to recharge this model through AC also makes it far more convenient as you do not have to provide a form of fuel for this product to function.
The ability to power up to 7 devices makes this a very versatile option for users with a large number of items which need to be connected. Many other competing models of generator make it unreasonably difficult to connect a large number of devices, either due to a lack of suitable outlets or lack of power.
While 300 watts of continuous power may not seem that impressive when compared to other forms of generators, this product is much easier and less expensive to recharge when compared to generators. This makes this product ideal for powering a large number of low draw devices.
As you can see, there are many choices at your disposal when it comes down to the best generator for your needs. Depending on your needs, you can opt for a larger, more powerful generator or you can opt for a small, quiet and efficient model. We hope that these reviews have proved helpful for you.