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The 11 Best Portable Generators

Searching for a reliable portable generator? Here's a list of my recommended products and also some purchasing advice.

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James Mulligan: Engineer & DYI Enthusiast

Last Updated: Feb 18, 2021

Our Top Generators

Best Overall

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Generac 15000 Watts Gas Portable Generator

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Most Quiet

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WEN Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator

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Cheap Option

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Enginstar Portable Power Station

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Our Top Generators

Portable generators aren’t just used in the event of a power outage, they’re also used for tailgating, barbecues, construction sites, camping sites, and other events where power backups are needed.

Read on to discover our top choices for the best portable generators and advice for choosing the right one.

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14 Hours Research

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4 Products Reviewed

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11 Expert Interviewed

9.1

Consumer Score

6.9

Editor's Score

8.5

Quality Score

7.4

Features Score

How We Review

Best For Home

Generac 15000 Watts Gas Portable Generator

Generac 15000 Watts Gas Portable Generator

  • Generac 992cc engine with extended life
  • Charger jack and battery included
  • Fuel tank capacity: 16 gallons
  • Generator weight: 373 lbs
  • Idle control for reduced noise and oil preservation
  • Low oil shutdown

This portable 15,000W gas generator is perfect for those unexpected power outages. It provides a reliable source of power with an easy electric start.

It also features a lightweight frame with wheels for easy transportation. The OHVI engine offers advanced power and performance, while the exterior is protected with a solid steel tube cradle.

The unit also comes with circuit breaker ports for overload protection, and its idle control is convenient for oil preservation and quiet operation.

What customers are saying

This house generator received fantastic reviews with most customers commenting on its solid build, powerful reliable performance, and easy electric start feature.

Still, some customers experienced malfunctioning components and do not recommend the customer service from Generac.

Best Fuel Generator

DuroMax Dual Fuel Portable Generator

DuroMax Dual Fuel Portable Generator

  • Runs at 8000W (peaks at 10000W)
  • Capable of supporting heavy power loads
  • Runs on both propane and gasoline
  • 18 horsepower 440cc engine to handle various jobs
  • Idle control for reduced noise and fuel preservation
  • MX2 technology for maximum battery performance

Be prepared for unplanned power outages with this DuroMax 10000W generator. The unit runs on either propane or gasoline, giving you the flexibility to choose what suits you best.

It’s also easy to transport across any terrain and ideal for RV use.

The 18HP engine can handle heavy power loads easily, and the idle control feature ensures less noise output as well as fuel preservation.

What customers are saying

This generator received great reviews. Most people were impressed with its fuel efficiency, dual fuel feature, performance, and overall value for money.

However, some people complained about receiving damaged or malfunctioning units and unsatisfactory customer service from MaxTools.

Most Quiet Generator

WEN Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter Generator

WEN Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter Generator

  • Runs at 3400 rated watts and peaks at 3800 watts
  • Runs continuously for up to 8.5 hours on half load
  • 4 stroke 212cc engine
  • Automatic fuel shutoff for longevity
  • Clean power for charging sensitive electronic devices safely
  • User friendly display
  • Parallel kit sold separately
  • EPA III and CARB compliance

If you’re looking for a really quiet generator, this WEN 3800W model is definitely worth considering.

It is a portable inverter generator that is free of drops or spikes in voltage. It also creates a lot less noise than standard generators.

Its air cooled engine runs at only 57dBA and features an automatic fuel shutoff that allows the unit to use all the fuel in the carburetor. This prevents both fuel accumulation and blockages.

You’ll be able to safely charge sensitive electronic devices like laptops, phones, and tablets on this unit, without the risk of damaging them.

This one’s also easy to transport with a lightweight design, folding handle, and integrated wheels.

What customers are saying

Customers gave this unit mostly good reviews commenting on its flawless start, powerful engine, quiet operation, and portability.

Still, some customers complained of receiving damaged or malfunctioning units.

Ideal For Camping

Max Oak Portable Power Station

Max Oak Portable Power Station

  • Advanced capacity power station
  • Weighs only 37.9 lbs
  • Delivers 1500Wh and 1000W (maximum)
  • Suitable for both outdoor and indoor use
  • Rechargeable with solar, vehicle port, or wall outlet
  • Solar cable for charging included
  • Automatic shutoff when fully charged

This 1000W Max Oak power station is the ideal generator for camping.

It features a compact and lightweight design, making it easy to transport and store.

It weighs a mere 37.9 lbs and includes an integrated battery cell that can power small electrical appliances like hairdryers, drills, blenders, and more.

The unit includes an MPPT controller and battery management system, plus multiple outlets for different uses.

Other impressive features include its automatic switch-off once fully charged, temperature regulation, and LCD display for monitoring the battery status.

What customers are saying

This item received plenty of 5-star reviews with customers saying it is powerful, portable, solid, and great value for money.

Customers mentioned that the units take awfully long to charge. Others had issues with faulty components and did not receive satisfactory customer service.

Best Solar Generator

Jackery Portable Power Station

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Jackery Portable Power Station

  • Can be recharged via solar, carport, or AC wall outlet
  • Perfect for RV enthusiasts
  • BMS system for protecting your devices and yourself while in use
  • Provides 500W (Peaks at 1000W)
  • Integrated MPPT controller
  • Weight: 13.3 lbs

The Jackery power station is super compact and lightweight, making it extremely easy to transport and store. This solar generator is ideal for both RV enthusiasts and those who love to spend time outdoors.

It features various sinewave outlets and USB ports, enabling you to safely power sensitive electronic devices and small appliances (not exceeding 500W).

The power station can be charged via an AC wall outlet, carport, or solar panel. It also includes an MPPT controller and battery management system that protects you and your devices while in use.

What customers are saying

This item received great reviews. Customers were most impressed with its reliability, solid build, and pass-through charging feature.

Some customers, however, were disappointed with its performance and some complained that it takes too long to recharge.

Best Cheap Generator

Enginstar Portable Power Station

Sale
Enginstar Portable Power Station

  • Running power of 298W (peaks at 300W)
  • Plenty of outlets and ports
  • Weight of 7.8 lbs
  • Includes user manual
  • 30 day money return guarantee
  • Pure sinewave output for safe charging of sensitive devices

With this 300W Enginstar power station at your disposal, you won’t have to put up with your devices having no power while you’re out camping or fishing.

This unit weighs only 7.8 lbs, making it super easy to transport, and it reaches full charge within 7 to 8 hours with solar panels (not included).

The generator features various ports and outlets with a pure sine wave output to ensure your sensitive devices are protected against damage while being powered or charged.

It also enables you to enjoy an extended run time while powering your CPAP machine for 2-4 days.

What customers are saying

This cheap generator received excellent reviews with most customers commenting on its solid build, lightweight design, and overall value for money.

Others were disappointed because they either received faulty units or had generators that stopped working after a short period.

Other Recommended Generators

Bluetti Portable Power Station

The Bluetti power station delivers 2000Wh/2000W of clean power, enabling you to conveniently run your appliances and charge digital devices during a power outage.

The generator uses a LiFePO4 safe battery cell with an extended cycle life, and it features a quick dual AC charger for faster recharging.

It can be recharged via a solar panel, vehicle port, or AC wall outlet. You can also charge up to 17 devices at the same time, which makes this unit a must have when you’re stuck without power.

You’ll also be able to use power tools when doing DIY or any other work outside.

Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Inverter Generator

This Champion portable generator can run on propane or gasoline and holds up to 0.6 quarts of oil.

The unit comes with impressive features which include an automatic low oil shutdown, electric start, fast touch control panel, and low noise output of 59 dBA.

It also provides 3100 running watts and 3400 watts of starting power. It can run for a maximum of 7 and a half hours on gasoline.

This generator has various ports and outlets for different uses, plus includes a 3 year restricted warranty and lifetime technical assistance.

Westinghouse WGen9500 Heavy Duty Portable Generator

The Westinghouse portable generator runs at 9500W and peaks at 12500W with a runtime of 12 hours on 6.6 gallons of fuel.

It comes with multiple outlets and ports that enable you to power or charge both your appliances and electronic devices safely.

The unit also features a powerful 457cc 4 stroke OHV engine with a robust cast iron sleeve for durability. All outlets come with rubber covers for additional safety.

This unit is backed by a 3 year restricted labor, service, and parts warranty.

Honda Companion Portable Inverter Generator

The Honda Companion portable inverter generator runs at 2200W and is powered with a Honda commercial series engine that provides a smooth, quiet, and fuel efficient operation.

It is also extremely lightweight and reliable enough to supply you with clean power when you need it most.

Initially engineered for heavy duty construction, this generator is built for dependability and durability. The unit can be paralleled to supply power of 4400W.

Wen Dual Fuel 120V- 240V Portable Generator

The Wen dual fuel generator enables you to easily switch between propane or gasoline with the mere turn of a dial.

The unit starts electrically with its 224cc 4 stroke OHV engine, and it can run for up to 11 hours on half load time.

This generator comes with 2 x 120V GFCI outlets, 1 x 12V DC cigarette port, 1 x 120V/240V Nema twist lock (30A), a connection hose, oil, handle, and wheel kit, plus a 2 year warranty.

How They Work

Generators usually contain two primary components: an alternator and an engine.

The alternator is turned by the engine, subsequently producing AC power that runs through the voltage regulator providing 120V or 240V, as needed.

We all use AC power at home, therefore, almost anything that is normally plugged in at your home is able to be powered with a generator.

Things To Consider

Sizing guidelines

The weight and size of your generator must always be taken into consideration.

If you want something portable and lightweight, you need to opt for a smaller type of model that you can carry on your own.

If you have a vehicle and a team of workers that can help you with moving it, you can consider something larger.

Power requirements

It’s essential to look at how much power the portable unit can produce as well as the period that it can run.

You must also have more or less an idea of what you want to use the generator for and which appliances or devices you want to use.

This is especially because you cannot exceed the output wattage the unit is designed for when running your equipment.

Energy options

Many generators use gasoline while others are powered with diesel or propane.

Diesel is generally more expensive than gasoline, but it usually burns for longer and provides more energy per gallon. However, diesel generators require more maintenance.

Safety considerations

Many manufacturers nowadays provide units that automatically shut down once dangerous carbon monoxide levels are detected.

Still, never run your generator in front of or inside your garage because there’s always a chance carbon monoxide can get trapped inside and gradually enter your home.

Generators must be operated outside, a minimum of 20 feet away from your house, and away from doors and windows. The exhaust must blow away from your home.

Price

The price of portable generators can differ substantially, and the price point is typically affected by how much power is produced by the generator as well as its runtime.

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