Best portable generators are the way to go when it comes to camping, RV’ing, and outdoor activities in general, they also serve as a backup power source in case the worse happens. A lightweight transportable generator can save you a lot of trouble when you’re camping in the heart of nature, as they generate high-quality electricity and can power up a lot of appliances such as; phones, laptops, electrical mini-stoves; you name it.
There’s a wide variety of portable generators to choose from on the market today, and finding one that caters to your needs can be a challenge at times. So if you’ve been on the fence on whether to buy a generator or not, think no more, we got you covered as we compiled a list of 10 of the best and most reliable portable generators money can buy in this year. We picked the following models based on their performance, affordability, build quality, portability, noise level, and additional features. So let’s delve into it.
Best Portable Generators 2020
1. WestingHouse WGen7500 portable generator
The WGen 7500 from WestingHouse is the best portable generator and it packs some serious power output. With 7500 rated watts, it’s safe to say that it can run the most power demanding appliances without any issues whatsoever.
For starters, this generator boasts a 4-stroke OHV durable engine and has 7500 running watts and can go up to 9500 peak watts, which is ideal for powering anything from a mere laptop to a 40.000 BTU central AC unit that requires 6000 watts. Furthermore, it has a runtime of 16 continuous hours at quarter load.
It is equipped with a huge 6.6-gallon fuel tank and weighs about 192lbs. Thus, there’s no denying that this unit is pretty heavy, but thanks to its integrated maneuverable wheels and ergonomic handle, the mobility of this inverter generator is as convenient as any other lighter model.
With a noise level of 64 decibels, the WGen 7500 is not the quietest generator there is, but it is fairly quiet for its size and the impressive power it produces.
Regarding other features, it comes with a one-touch push-button electric start and remote control options. Also, it has an intuitive and user-friendly control panel, making it very simple and comfortable to utilize.
- 7500 running watts/9500 peak watts
- 6 gallons of fuel
- 16 hours at 25% load
- 192 lbs
- 64 decibels
- One-touch start
- Remote control
- Very high power output
- Large fuel capacity
- Long runtime
- Easy to use with remote capabilities
- Can still be heavy for some people despite the wheels
2. Honda EU2200i
Honda is one of the leading manufacturing companies in the motors industry. And the EU 2000i is a prime example of their quality products, as it delivers extreme fuel efficiency, portability, and quietness.
Not only does it weigh little, but it also emits very faint noises when operating. With a noise rating that ranges between 47 to 57 decibels according to the load. To put that into perspective, it’s even quieter than two people having a casual conversation. Weighing in at only 46lbs, the Honda EU 2000i is one of the lightest options on our list. Being this light makes it the perfect choice for campers or people who might not be that physically strong.
As far as the fuel tank capacity goes, the Honda EU2200i can hold 0.95 gallons of fuel which may be nothing to write home about. However, with the ability to pair it with an ultra-efficient GXR120 engine, the fuel consumption will be optimized to generate consistent and high-quality electricity that will last you up to 8 hours of runtime at ¼ load.
This super quiet generator and portable and it has 2200 running watts and includes some other nice features like; Easy Start, Parallel-Ready, Fuel Shut-off, Oil-Alert, and Eco-throttle.
- 2000 running Watts
- 47-57 dBA
- 95 gallons
- 8 hours runtime at quarter load
- Extremely quiet
- Parallel capabilities
- Not optimal for larger appliances
3. Ryobi RYI2300BTA Gas Portable generator
In a nutshell, the Ryobi RYI2300BTA is one of the most affordable yet most portable and performing inverter generators that money can buy.
First off, this generator contains a gasoline-fueled 80cc 4-stroke OHV engine and a 120V output, this, in turn, gives you 2300 starting watts and continues to run on 1800 watts, which is pretty much enough to power up all the essential electric devices.
The Ryobi RYI2300BTA is very lightweight and easy to move around with a weight of only 56lbs including fuel, couple that with the fact that it has a nice set of built-in dual rear wheels for extra mobility, this generator is tailored to be extremely portable thus it caters to a large audience.
When it comes to the fuel tank capacity, the Ryobi has a fuel tank of 1.2 gallons which enables it to operate for 10.3 hours with a full tank. Unfortunately, some people reported that it can be a bit of a hassle to start the generator when the tank is left dry for awhile.
Moreover, this inverter generator doesn’t come short in terms of quietness, as it has a rating of 57 dBA, meaning that it is barely noticeable when operating. In addition to that, it has a very useful dual 20 amp outlets, 2 USB ports, and an on-board LCD display. The latter will allow you to monitor fuel consumption, remaining runtime, and the power out.
- Watts: 2300 peak/ 1800 running
- 80cc 4-stroke OHV Ryobi engine
- 57 dBA
- 10 hours runtime
- 2 USB ports/120 V outlet
- LCD display
- Outstanding maneuverability and portability
- USB ports
- Useful LCD display
- Starting problems when the tank is dry
4. Champion 73540i
At a low price-tag of just under 500 bucks, the Champion 73540i gives you the best value for your money without skipping on quality.
Although, the Champion 73540i doesn’t sport a decent-looking and elegant design as some of the other pricier models, performance-wise, it is just as powerful as any other 1000$ inverter generators, as it features 2000 starting watts and 1700 running watts and comes with two 20 amp outlets. Therefore, it is ideal for powering up some heavy-duty and power-draining appliances when camping or at home. Click here for the best camping generators.
Concerning its weight and portability, it weighs as little as 48.5 pounds making it a viable choice for people who portability when camping and tailgating. In addition, it has 2 120V outlets, 12V DC, a dual USB adapter, and several charging cables.
As for the fuel tank, it is equipped with 1-gallon fuel tank that enables it to run for up to 9.5 hours on 25% load without being a nuisance or a disturbance, as it operates quietly with a noise rating of 53 decibels from 23 feet away.
With features like Champion’s Economy mode and Clean Power, you can confidently connect your delicate devices for an extended duration such as your pc or laptop without having to worry about them being damaged.
- 2000-1700 watts
- 5 pounds
- 1 gallon
- 5 at quarter load
- 53 decibels at 23 feet
- Economy mode
- Clean Power
- So light
- Low noise output
- Perfect for sensitive devices
- Subpar fuel gauge
5.Briggs & Stratton P2200 Quiet Portable Generator
The Briggs and Stratton PowerSmart P2200 inverter generator represents everything you need in a generator, from performance, portability, and quietness.
Right off the bat, this inverter generator packs a 111cc OHV engine that delivers 2200 peak watts and 1700 running watts. It provides clean and smooth electricity that is suitable for sensitive devices thanks to the inverter technology. Besides, it has a 1-gallon fuel tank and can work constantly for 8 hours at ¼ load.
As far as plugs go, it comes with a 120V 20 amp outlets dedicated to powering up more demanding appliances like drills or electric saws, along with a 5 amp USB port that will take care of charging the more delicate electronics such as; phones and tablets.
The Briggs and Stratton P2200 weighs 54 lbs only, making it very lightweight and portable. Add to that the fact that it’s very quiet as it operates with a very low noise level of 59 decibels.
Some other handy features of this generator include; Parallel connections for pairing two models to achieve more power, Quiet Technology, that plays a major role in reducing the noises emitted from the engine and it can automatically adjust the speed of the engine giving you more quietness and runtime.
- 2200 peak watts/ 1700 running watts
- 111cc OHV engine
- 1 gallon
- 8 hours at quarter load
- 59 decibels
- Parallel Ready
- Quiet Technology
- Good for delicate appliances
- Helpful features
- Quite portable
- No fuel gauge and hour meter
6.Yamaha EF 2000iSv2 Portable Generator
The list wouldn’t be complete without a Yamaha model making an appearance. The Yamaha EF 2000iSv2 ticks all the boxes as it is quiet, fuel-efficient, and incredibly compact.
Weighing in just under 45 pounds, with its radio-like, lightweight, compact design and two ergonomic handles for more convenient transportation, the Yamaha EF 2000iSv2 is a legitimate choice for camping and tailgating.
This generator operates at 1600 watts and can reach a peak wattage of 2000, allowing it to power numerous heavy-duty or delicate appliances alike at a steady flow for an extended period. The 16.7 amps 120V output gives you just adequate power to run devices that draw a great deal of energy and not only the less demanding devices.
Regarding the fuel tank capacity, it comes with a 1.1-gallon fuel tank, the EF2000 iSv2 offers you an impressive operation time of 10.5 at quarter load. Also, the Smart throttle feature you can adjust fuel consumption to your liking.
In addition to that, the noise level on this inverter generator appeals to a large number of people. Producing 51 decibels at 25% load and no more than 61 decibels at full load which is delightful.
The only downside to this Yamaha generator is the absence of an LCD display which is important for tracking and managing power.
- 1600/2000 watts
- Smart throttle
- 44 pounds
- 1 fuel tank
- 51-61 dBA
- 5 hours of runtime at 25% load
- Outstanding compact design
- Smart throttle feature for adjusting engine speed
- Low noise rating
- Has no LCD display
7. Duromax XP4850EH Gas-Powered Generator
The Duromax XP4850EH Dual Fuel hybrid generator cements its place as one of the best generators on the market due to its high-quality electricity, and just like the name implies it runs on both gasoline and propane.
At first glance, the Duromax XP4850EH appears to be a big hassle to maneuver, and it is heavy and bulky indeed with 127lbs of weight. Fortunately, it has its own set of thick rubber wheels that make the task of moving around simply a breeze.
With its powerful 210cc 7HP4-stroke engine, this generator is designed specifically to handle the most power-drawing household appliance and RVs, as it is capable of achieving 4850 starting watts and 3850 running watts. Combine that with the fact that it utilizes both gasoline and propane fuel and you’ll be more than pleased.
It has a fuel tank of 4 gallons and a runtime of 10.42 hours with gasoline at quarter load, and about 9 hours with propane at quarter load as well.
Propane is ideal as a backup source of power and having it as a fuel option will save you a lot of trouble in case of emergency occurrences.
On the flip side, the Duromax XP4850EH doesn’t exactly excel in the quietness department compared to the other generators on our list with 69 dBA of sound. In spite of this, it’s still fairly reasonable considering how much power it can generate.
- 4850 starting watts/ 3850 running watts
- Dual Fuel
- 4 gallons
- 42 hours at 25% load (Gas)
- 92 hours at 25% load (propane)
- 69 decibels
- High power output
- Runs on two types of fuel
- A useful set of wheels
- A bit noisy
8.PowerPro 56101 Portable Generator
This is arguably the lightest and most portable generator out there. So if you’re into lightweight generators, you’re in for a treat.
Let’s tell it as it is, the PowerPro 5610’s 63cc 2HP 2-stroke engine doesn’t pack a punch when it comes to power output, with only 1000 starting watts and 900 running watts it is unable to power up larger appliances. The Parallel-ready feature would come very handy in a generator of such sort due to its low-power output. Sadly though, it is non-existent in this model. but this is simply a small backup power unit intended for low-power devices that costs no more than 160$ on most online stores.
However, what this generator lacks in power, it more than makes up for in portability and compactness. Weighing in at a mere 35.5 pounds, has a 13.5x14x12 size, and it is fitted with 4 rubber feet and a carrying handle, so even the least physically capable human can carry and drag it around with ease, making it the best companion for your camping and tailgating adventures.
On top of its compact design and small size, the PowerPro 5610 is also quiet with a 60 decibels noise rating at 22 feet away, so it has the green light to be used in national forests and parks. In addition to that, it has a 1-gallon fuel tank that enables it to run for approximately 5 hours.
- 1000 starting watts/ 900 running watts
- 5lbs of weight
- 1 gallon of fuel
- 5 hours runtime
- 60 dBA noise level
- Incredibly portable
- Very affordable
- Optimal for low-power devices
- Only well-suited for small appliances
9.WEN 56200i Gas Portable Inverter Generator
Lightweight, quiet, fuel-efficient and affordable the WEN 56200i was specifically made with camping addicts in mind.
The WEN 56200i is equipped with a 79cc 4-stroke OHC engine, and it cranks out a surge power of 2000 watts and continues to run on 1600 watts. It can also handle five devices connected at once. Most importantly, the electricity this generator produces is pure and safe suitable for sensitive appliances, all thanks to the sine wave technology.
It’s also worth mentioning; this generator comes with a variety of plugs for different uses and more flexibility, 4 5V USB port, 12 volts DC outlet, and 3-prong 120volts receptacles.
Despite its decent power output, the WEN 56200i still operates at an impressive level of quietness, with only 51 decibels. Therefore, you won’t hear any unwanted noise that will disrupt your calm life.
In regards to fuel capacity, it is fitted with a 1 gallon gas tank that gives it a runtime of 4 hours at max load and 6 hours at half load, which is pretty lackluster compared to its counterparts. However, it features an Eco-mode that basically optimizes fuel consumption preventing fuel from being wasted and significantly reducing your spending in the process.
Last but not least, at 48lbs and with a built-in ergonomic handle, the WEN 56200i is very portable and you can take it with you wherever you want without breaking a sweat.
- 2000 peak watts/ 16000 running watts
- Sine wave technology
- 1 gallon gas tank
- 6 hours at ½ load
- 48 pounds
- 51 noise level
- Clean electricity for delicate devices
- Compact and lightweight
- Quiet operation
- Fairly small gas tank
10. Champion 75531i 3100-Watt portable inverter generator
If you’re looking for one of the best generators for RV camping, look no further than the Champion 75531i 3100-Watt.
With the generator’s 171cc 4-stroke Champion engine, you can achieve a maximum power of 3100 watts and 2800 running watts. This is more than enough to power up a plethora of power-hungry appliances, as well as delicate electrical devices with clean and stable electricity.
The Champion 75531i has a moderate weight of 83 pounds, it comes with a maneuverable wheel kit, and built-in ergonomic handles on both sides of the generator. Consequently, it is very portable and transportable, and it will serve as a reliable companion when camping, tailgating, and outdoor activities in general.
It can run for 8 continuous hours at quarter load with a 1.6-gallon gas tank. Owing to Champion’s Inverter technology it offers prolonged runtime and ensures fuel-efficiency. In addition to that, it produces a noise level of only 58 decibels which is relatively silent the higher. Although it’s important to note that the higher the load the louder it becomes.
The Champion 75531i includes some other interesting features like; Quick Touch Panel, Electric Push Button Start, and a Low-oil shut-off detector.
- 3100 starting watts/ 2800 running watts
- 6-gallon tank capacity
- 8 hours runtime at 25% load
- 83 pounds
- Wheel kit
- 58 decibels
- Quick touch panel
- Push Button Start
- Decent runtime and fuel consumption
- Good for large and small appliances alike
- User friendly
- Easy to move
- Noisy when operating at max and half load
Benefits of Owning a Portable Generator
Unlike traditional stationary generators, not only do portable and more maneuverable generators work as an excellent emergency power backup, but they come in handy in several other situations as well.
For instance, making your outdoor activities more enjoyable, have fun tailgating with friends and family, or improve your camping experience and make it more entertaining and worry-free with an easy to carry and reliable source of electricity. With a portable generator, you can bring the modern-day conveniences to the heart of nature, light up your surroundings, enjoy a cold drink, play games on your laptop, charge your phone, you name it.
Need electricity in your worksite? A portable generator will give you just that, whether you need lighting, or powering up other appliances such as drills and pumps, it will do the trick.
Moreover, Portable generators usually cost much less than stationary ones, a solid-performing generator’s price ranges between 400$ and 1000$. Also, they can be stored in your backyard and garage, they’re user-friendly and require no electrician.
Things to Look for When Buying a Generator?
Nowadays generators come in all sorts of characteristics and specs, of course, each one ranks higher or lower in your priority list, according to your specific needs and the situation you’re in. So here are some fundamental things to look out for, and hopefully point you in the right direction prior to buying your generator.
Wattage and Power Output
The first step to make before buying a generator is deciding what type of appliances you plan on running. Clearly, the more demanding your electronic devices are, the higher the wattage you need and vice versa. You wouldn’t want to buy a 1200 watts generator to power up a refrigerator or a sump pump, it just won’t cut it. Rather, a 3500 watts generator is more suited for such large appliances. Meanwhile, a 1200 watts unit provides basic power for lighting and charging in an easily portable package.
Fuel Capacity and Runtime
As you’d expect, the runtime of the generator in most cases depends heavily on the size of its fuel tank. Although, there are some models that feature eco-mode which makes them more efficient at consuming fuels than others. If you live in an area that witnesses heavy rains and storms on regular basis, you’ll be better off purchasing one with a big tank as it can operate for an extended period of time.
Weight and Portability
If you’re a camping enthusiast, you’ll appreciate a lightweight and compact generator. With that said, the weight of the generator varies according to its power output and the size of the tank. Usually, the more capable units tend to weigh more, but most of these units come with a maneuverable set of wheels and comfortable handles, which will literally put the weight off your shoulder.
How quiet your generator often determines what kind of person you are. Some people are big on quietness and calm, if you, your family, or your neighbors happen to be one, ideally you won’t go wrong with a model that produces 55 decibels or less, as this is the kind of noise you hear when two people are having a normal conversation. Also, anything slightly below or above 60 decibels is still acceptable by most people.
There are other features choosing one should put in mind before buying a generator.
- Fuel gauge: it allows you to monitor fuel level
- Electric start: makes starting your generator easy and hassle-free
- Eco-mode: a useful feature that helps you save up on fuel
- Low-Oil shut-off: Automatically turns off the generator when oil reaches a certain level for safety measures.
- Inverter Technology: a high-end technology that drastically reduces the noise of the generator and ensures clean and smooth electricity for sensitive appliances.