When the power goes out, we are suddenly living in a world of inconvenience and risks. Can you even reimagine those draining sleepless nights during blackouts? How about opening that fridge full of rotten foods due to extended outages? Did we forget to ask about your business losses? Power outages ruin daily routines and spoil special occasions. Whether they are brought by downtime or disasters, power failures cause inconvenience. Fortunately, you can get away with all these difficulties by acquiring a good portable generator. Choosing the right product is a challenge. Hence, we conducted a research for you, factoring consumer reports and product specifications. Below are 10 best portable generators in 2017 that we recommend putting at the top of your buying selection:
Top 10 Highest-Rated Portable Generators
Honda EU2000I 2000 Watts Portable Inverter Generator
You get what you pay for with this top-rated portable generator from the brand to reckon with, Honda. Customers love this item quietly providing enough power for the essentials at home and even those for outdoor. This inverter generator, with 53-59 decibels rating, can operate for 8.1 hours of producing 2000 watts of electricity. It is powered by Honda GX100 engine and 0.95-gallon fuel tank. The manufacturer puts premium to safety, thus its oil alert system turns off the unit when the oil reaches critical levels. Further, the circuit breaker ensures that the appliances will not overheat when plugged-in to this generator. If the situation calls for more power, you can have this smart machine paired with another unit. Regardless of locations, a clean and reliable supply of power should no longer be a problem with this 46-pound lightweight generator.
WEN 56200i 2000 Starting Watts Quite Generator
WEN boasts of this 2000-watt portable generator with a pure sine system that allows you to plug-in electronics without worry. It produces minimal noise in normal mode, and it can be quieter on economy mode. It has a 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV engine emitting a sound of 51 decibels at 25% load. With the parallel connection kit, you can have this quiet generator work hand-in-hand with another unit, and they will both do the job of supplying you more than 2000 watts of power. The manufacturer equipped this low-noise machine with several features to keep it running smoothly. The overload protection, low-oil shut down, and low-fuel shut off protect the engine from being damaged when it is about to run out of fuel. This highly-recommended 48-pound machine, which is sold with a two-year warranty, is among the frontrunners on the market today.
Briggs & Statton 30651 2200-Watt Small Generator
If you are going to buy a portable generator, you would look for power, performance and value. This premium combination is being offered by this unit for travel trailer and for home use as well. It comes with higher wattage and parallel capability for your electrical backup needs. Its P2200 computer-controlled engine adjusts its speed for efficient, consistent and quite power supply. The 111 cc OHV engine, with 59 decibels, produces 2200 starting watts and 1700 running watts. The one-gallon fuel tank makes this compact generator lasts for up to 8 hours of operation at quarter load. It comes with a USB port for charging electronics and parallel connector port, which is needed if you wish to have it tandem with another unit for more power. It is very handy at 55 pounds coupled with an easy-to-carry design.
DuroStar DS4000S 4000 Watts Gas Generator for Home/Camping
When you want reliability, but budget comes into play, pick the affordable and good quality standby generators. DuroStar offers this 92.4-pound unit to make things normal for your family during outages. It delivers 4000 starting watts and 3300 running watts for 8 hours at ½ load. Its 7.0 Hp OHV engine with a 4-gallon fuel tank is capable of cooling itself using air, which is instrumental for its endurance. A well-constructed gas-powered camping generator with a steel frame and fully-isolated motor mounts, it runs smoothly with tolerable noise at 69 decibels rating. It accommodates your power needs for appliances and high-powered tools given the two 120v, 20 Amp, 3-prong and one 120v, 30 Amp outlets. For the engine and user’s protection, it is designed with a low-oil shutoff, circuit breaker and volt meter. This is covered by a year of limited warranty.
DuroMAx XP4400E 4400 Watts With Wheel Kit
You want power with portable gas generator under $500? Then, you can have this backup generator powered by a 7.0 Hp air-cooled OHV engine and 4-gallon gas tank delivered at your doorstep. This one brags of 4400 starting watts and 3500 running watts that can be generated for 8 hours at 50 percent load. Another key feature of this unit is the voltage selector that allows the user to optimize power by choosing between operating voltages, or by using both the 240 and 120 volts at the same time. The engine is protected when it runs out of oil by the automatic voltage regulator and low-oil protection systems. This EPA-approved generator with 69 decibels rating comes with a 12v DC output for battery and gadget charging, circuit breaker for overloading prevention, volt meter, wheel kit for portability, and one year warranty.
Champion 75537i 3100 Watts RV Generator
Based on customer reviews of a portable generator, this product edges its competition with a wireless remote functioning even at a distance of 80 feet. It whispers with a 58 decibels rating when producing 3100 starting watts and 2800 running watts. Behind its 8-hour running time at 25% load is the dependable 171cc Champion engine and the 1.6-gallon fuel tank. It has a provision for household outlets such as the 120V 30A RV and two 120V 20A outlets, as well as for plugging-in electronics like the 12V DC outlets. This 95-pound RV generator has a Smart Charger making its battery fully-charged when idle. You can rely confidently with this unit for power supply during your outdoor activities and when outages strike in your area. It is offered with a 3-year limited warranty and free lifetime technical support by the manufacturer.
Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Generator, 1600 Watts, CARB Compliant
Being one of the best brands globally, we expect a high quality portable generator from Yamaha. This emergency generator commits power, portability and efficiency. It delivers maximum electrical output as it generates 2000 watts of clean AC power. It can run up to 10.5 hours at ¼ load continuously without refuelling and uses premium technologies for fuel efficiency. It has a Smart Throttle that varies engine speed based on load which improves fuel economy and reduces noise, thus the 51.5-61 decibel rating. Other functionalities include auto decompression, oil watch warning and fuel gauge monitoring. The unit is provided with two 120V AC outlets and one DC outlet (8A 12V). Its clean emission makes it EPA and CARB compliant. It is the time to buy this generator with a 3-year limited warranty as it currently sold online at its best price.
Goal Zero 22004 Yeti 150 Solar Generator
This one is your mini powerhouse and gas-free generator. It is a ‘plug and play’ portable solar generator that can power up laptops, lights and smartphones anywhere with its 150Wh and 14000mAh capacity. It has 2-ampere USB outlet, 12 Volts output and 80 watts AC inverter. This reliable but cheap portable generator only weighs 12 pounds, and it is very handy given the pop-up handle and stackable shape. Charging this small generator should not be a problem at all because you can connect it to a compatible solar panel, plug it into a regular wall outlet, or go with your car’s 12V adapter. People love to use it for camping, charging electronics, expo booths, road trips and even for emergency cases. A customer review highlights that, “it is a must have great mini power/solar camping gear that carries some power.”
Westinghouse WH7500E 7500 Watts Electric Start
If you are still in a hunt for a large portable generator that packs a lot of power under $1000, then stop right here as Westinghouse got this one manufactured for you. This unit offers a superior value for the money as it is powerful, efficient, safe and reliable. It generates 7500 running watts and 9000 starting watts, with a 6.6-gallon fuel tank that makes it run for 11 hours at 25% load. This workhorse, weighing 201 pounds, banners its L14-30R 120/240 VAC twist lock outlet and 4x 120 VAC outlets, electric start, manual recoil starting option, 420 cc 4-stroke OHV engine, oil inclusion, oil funnel and a tool kit. If you are to purchase an electric generator to energize the whole house, this one can deliver your expectations. Customers who bought this product benefitted from a 3-year limited warranty.
Generac 5939, 5500 Watts Emergency Generator
And last but certainly not the least is the emergency generator by Generac. This one is regarded as the right choice for camping, power tool use and emergency backup power. Its Generac 389cc OHV engine with splash lubrication for longer engine life cranks out 5500 running watts and 6875 starting watts. It can run for 10 hours at 50% load with the steel made tank storing 6.7 gallons of fuels. The construction includes circuit breaker protected outlets for safety, hour meter with maintenance alerts, and a low-oil level functionality that safeguards the engine from damage. The hardened steel tube cradle makes this 180-pound machine durable and sturdy with never-flat wheels for portability. This 180-pound well-engineered generator can run the whole house at a reasonable cost. Users take pleasure in the ease of operating this machine whether at home, campsite or jobsite.
The Generator that suits your needs
By now, you might be on the verge of making the decision. Remember to choose the unit that addresses your concerns. What type of generator do you really need? Let us reinforce your judgment by walking through the points that you need to consider.
Have you determined the generator size that can handle your power needs? The determinant for generator sizing is power requirements. You must establish the total starting watts of the appliances that you need functional during blackouts. Match the estimate with the wattages of the available generators, and you settle for the unit that meets or exceeds your expectations. In determining the total starting watts, add the total running watts of the appliances to the highest starting watts recorded.
Generators of today utilize gasoline, propane, natural gas, diesel and solar energy. You can find units using a combination of these resources like the dual fuel generators. By comparison, gasoline is easily obtainable but highly combustible with shorter shelf life; propane is a clean-burning fuel with indefinite shelf life, but a propane generator has complicated fuel system; diesel is the least expensive and least flammable, but the generator tends to be noisy; natural gas is abundant when you are connected to a local utility grid, but explosive and damaged pipelines lead to supply disruptions; and the solar energy which is eco-friendly, but with limited and definite charging time.
Which fuel is right for you? Just revisit your power requirements and on-site fuel storage capacity. You must also put due consideration to the availability of supply in your area. Do not engage with the hassle of sourcing your fuel from afar to operate a generator.
Nobody wishes for a machine emitting so much noise. Therefore, it is prudent to check the sound intensity of the unit. There are generators constructed for residential use that complies with noise regulation. Meanwhile, inverter generators are ideal for camping because it is quieter. In this review, we presented inverters with decibels less than the noise of a normal conversation, which is 60 decibels. Get a generator designed with the silent operation if you do not want to be at the receiving end of the ire of your neighbours or other campers.
If you have specific requirements for operating hours, then take a good look at the engine and fuel tank capacity. Generally, portable generators of today have a running time of 8-12 hours at 50% load, which is sufficient to get you through the night. Go with the engine from the trusted brands mentioned in this review.
Features and Value-added Services
Consider features that enhance the overall functionality and value of the generator. You can have a unit that has: automatic start-up when power goes out, easy start-up with a push-button electric start, fuel monitoring, circuit breaker for overheating prevention, automatic shut off when the oil reaches dangerous level, multiple outlets, wheel for portability, parallel kit for pairing with other unit for more power, warranty, and after-sales technical support.