12 Best Portable Generators for the Money
Find the Best Portable Generator for Power Outages, Camping and RV Trips
With climate change causing extreme weather events, and more people working from home, it’s now more important than ever to invest in a backup portable generator for when the power goes out. Having a portable generator that can run your essential appliances and your electronic gadgets will keep you working and your family comfortable.
Solar power homes need back up too. What if you only run on solar power and there’s been no sun for a few weeks? Will you have enough power stored for your needs? Having a portable generator will keep your home going if you experience long periods of low or no sun. If you’re looking to go green, see our top 10 list of solar generators.
There’s a multitude of portable generators on the market today, so which one should you choose? When choosing from the many portable generators available, the best starting point is to determine how much wattage you’ll need in the event of a power outage.
You’ll also want to consider whether you’re looking for a portable generator that just runs on gas or one that you can also power with propane. To give you a hand, our team has researched some of the best portable generators on the market. These will provide home backup power for your needs!
We’ve also included some lightweight portable generators that are suitable for camping, meaning you can charge up your electronic devices on the go. Many portable generators are also used at sporting events, fairs, and even construction sites to allow the availability of power whenever it’s needed.
View the Best Portable Generators, Below.
- Champion Power Equipment 9375 Dual Fuel Generator
- DuroMax XP12000EH Generator
- Sportsman Dual Fuel Powered Portable Generator
- Westinghouse 7500 Gas Powered Portable Generator
- Champion Power Equipment 200988 Portable Inverter
- WEN DF1100T Dual Fuel Portable Power Generator
- Westinghouse WGEN6000 Portable Gas Generator
- Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator
- Generac 7676 GP8000E Portable Generator
- Ryobi RY906500S Gasoline Powered Portable Generator
- WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator
- Durostar DS4000S Portable Generator
1. Champion Power Equipment 9375 Dual Fuel Generator
The Best Dual Fuel GeneratorRead Customer Reviews →
This powerful 7500-watt Champion power generator will give you all the power you need when you need it, thanks to the 439cc engine. As it's a dual-fuel generator, it runs on gasoline and propane. Start-up is easy with the battery-powered start button. The tank's fuel capacity reaches 7.7 gallons of gasoline, allowing 10 hours of run time on gasoline or 5.5 hours on propane. A propane hose is also included. The intelligence allows you to keep track of power usage and maintenance schedules. It also has a built-in surge protector and runs at 74 dBA.
Why We Liked It: This Champion power generator is heavy-duty. It uses either gasoline or propane gas. The electric push-button makes it easy to use - it starts every time. The in-built surge protector means that you won't overload the engine. Plus, the large fuel tank ensures you can keep working all day, and its cold-start technology means that it will start even in the coldest conditions. This generator comes with a 3-year warranty.Check Price on Amazon ➞
TRACTOR SUPPLY CO ➞
2. DuroMax XP12000EH Generator
The Best for Power-Outages at HomeRead Customer Reviews →
If you suffer power failures often and need to run your entire home during emergencies, then the DuroMax XP12000EH is the generator for you. It has a massive 12,000 watts of output, which means it can run your entire house without missing a beat. It's also ideal for construction sites when there's no main power available. This machine might be heavy at 224 pounds, but it has wheels to make it easier to move around. It's powered by an 18HP, 457cc overhead valve engine. The noise rating is 74 dBA.
Why We Liked It: This heavy-duty generator is powerful enough to power an entire house, including all appliances - even the air conditioner! Tough and robust, it can also be used on construction sites to run all manner of power tools. It has both EPA and CARB approval. It also features low oil shut-off protection.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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3. Sportsman Dual Fuel Powered Portable Generator
Short Vacations and Small Power OutagesRead Customer Reviews →
This is the best portable generator for occasional power outages, and it's perfect to use in your RV when traveling. It has a 7HP, 4-stroke OHV engine that can run on gasoline or propane gas. The start-up wattage is 4,000 peak watts, and it has the capacity to produce 3,250 running watts. The noise rating is only 69 dBA. However, it's not recommended for high-altitude use above 3,000 feet. The fuel tank holds 3.6 gallons, giving you a run time of 10 hours at 50% load. If you're using the generator on propane, you can expect 12 hours of run time at 50% load.
Why We Liked It: This is a great back-up generator if you only have the occasional power outage. It's also ideal for taking on trips, such as camping. If you only have a light load, it can easily run your campsite for a couple of days on one tank of fuel. This is excellent fuel efficiency.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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4. Westinghouse 7500 Gas Powered Portable Generator
The Largest Gas Tank GeneratorRead Customer Reviews →
With a large 6.6-gallon gas tank, this 7500-watt portable generator will keep you powered for up to 11 hours. It features an electric push-button start that you can pair with a wireless keyfob. This means it's quick and easy to start every single time. It's powered by a 4-stroke, 420cc overhead valve engine. It has a noise rating of 72 dBA.
Why We Liked It: The long run time makes it fuel-efficient and an ideal back-up power source for your home. The electric start means you can kick it into gear without having to battle the elements. It has plenty of power to run the appliances you need or the power tools you want to use. It also comes with a 3-year warranty.Check Price on Amazon ➞
TRACTOR SUPPLY CO ➞
5. Champion Power Equipment 200988 Portable Inverter
Best for your RVRead Customer Reviews →
This is a relatively lightweight dual fuel generator from Champion. It's one of the best generators to use for your RV, It runs on a 212cc engine to run on gasoline or propane. Enjoy the quiet 61 for up to 14 hours on gasoline or up to 21 hours with a 20-lb propane tank. It features an electric start with a 3-position ignition switch.
Why We Liked It: This generator weighs just under 97 pounds, so it's best to take a camping trip or use it in your RV. It's one of the quietest generators on our list at only 61 dBA. The electric start means that it will start the first time, every time.Check Price on Amazon ➞
6. WEN DF1100T Dual Fuel Portable Power Generator
Dual Fuel and Multiple OutletsRead Customer Reviews →
If you want the convenience of using either gasoline or propane in your portable generator, consider the WEN DF1100T. It's powerful enough to run your entire household if you have a blackout. Powered by a 457cc, 4-stroke OHV engine, this generator gives you 11,000 starting watts and 8,300 operating watts when using gasoline. It also has an electric key start.
Why We Liked It: This portable power generator is powerful enough to run an entire household during blackouts. The electric key start makes it easy to fire up. It also has a recoil start back-up. The included handle and wheel kit means you can move it around easily. Plus, the convenience of being able to use both gasoline and propane means you'll have power whenever you need it.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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7. Westinghouse WGEN6000 Portable Gas Generator
Back Up Your Home PowerRead Customer Reviews →
This high-performance 6000-watt portable generator is an ideal back-up power source for your home, especially if you experience a lot of blackouts and power outages. It runs on a powerful 4-stroke, 420cc overhead valve engine. This gives you a power output of 7,500 starting watts and 6,000 running watts, which means it's powerful enough to run your entire household. It also features an electric start, making it easy to fire up when you need it.
Why We Liked It: If you live in an area that experiences constant power outages, this powerful generator will keep your household appliances running. The large fuel tank means that you won't have to refill it too often. The transfer switch allows direct connection to your switchboard. The built-in handle and wheels mean that you can move it around when you need to, making it ideal for construction sites.Check Price on Amazon ➞
TRACTOR SUPPLY CO ➞
8. Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator
The Best for Lightweight MobilityRead Customer Reviews →
This super light (47 lbs) portable inverter generator is an ideal back-up power source if you only have occasional power outages. It's perfect for those working from home, as it can easily run your computer or laptop, as well as the modem. It's also a great portable generator to take with you when camping or on the road; it will charge up all your electronic devices.
Why We Liked It: The Honda eu2200i Inverter Generator offers clean power in times of emergency or while away from home. It's lightweight and highly fuel-efficient. The tank holds just under one gallon of fuel, and this can keep the generator running for up to 8 hours.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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9. Generac 7676 GP8000E Portable Generator
Best for Construction Sites and Home PowerRead Customer Reviews →
With a large-capacity steel fuel tank and 10,000 starting watts, this portable generator is there when you need it. It will run for up to 11 hours on a full tank at 50% load. It also has a battery-operated push-button start. There's a handy battery jack to keep it charged and ready for use.
Why We Liked It: This powerful generator will keep your household running in times of power failures. It's also ideal to use on construction sites. The electric start makes it easy to fire up, and the large fuel tank gives you up to 11 hours of power. It comes with a 3-year warranty.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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10. Ryobi RY906500S Gasoline Powered Portable Generator
Best Generator for CO SafetyRead Customer Reviews →
The Ryobi RY906200S features CO Detect. This means it has a carbon monoxide sensor that will shut down the generator if CO is detected. The power output of this generator is 8,125 starting watts and 6,500 running watts. It features easy-start technology with a 3-position start-up process.
You can rest assured that you're protected from carbon monoxide poisoning with this generator's CO detection. This makes it entirely safe to use in an enclosed space. The heavy-duty engine gives you enough backup power to run your entire householdCheck Price on Amazon ➞
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11. WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator
Best for Power on the GoRead Customer Reviews →
Weighing only 50 lbs and with a noise level output of only 53 dBA, this is the best portable generator to take on the road. It will provide you with safe, clean power for all your electronics when traveling.
Why We Liked It: This is the best standby generator to take with you when traveling. It's super quiet and will keep your electronics powered wherever you are. It also has a handy eco mode that allows the motor to adjust its consumption to reduce fuel use.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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12. Durostar DS4000S Portable Generator
Best Balance of Power and PortabilityRead Customer Reviews →
This portable generator is great for ensuring you have back-up power at home or taking it along in your RV. It's even great for camping. It features a 7HP, 208cc overhead valve engine. This will provide you with 4,000 starting watts (peak watts) and 3,300 running watts. The power panel has 3 x 120v outlets, giving you maximum flexibility. The noise rating is 69dBA.
Why We Liked It: This is a true portable generator; it's light enough to take in the RV or on a camping trip, while still having enough power to run the things you need. It's easy to use and includes a super quiet muffler to reduce the noise level while running. We also liked the fuel efficiency of this model.Check Price on Amazon ➞
Best Portable Generators Buying Guide
Portable generators, as the name implies, are meant to be portable. That means they can be moved around when you need emergency power. Portable generators come in a variety of sizes and power outputs. They’ll provide your home or camping trip with backup power whenever you need it. See our article on how to connect your portable generator to your home
How Do Portable Generators Work?
Quite simply, portable generators work very much like water pumps. The combustion engine powers the generator head. This, in turn, pushes electrons out through the power outlets.
Most generators have the following components:
- An internal combustion engine
- A generator head that converts mechanical energy into electricity
- A starter motor to get the generator fired up
- An alternator
- One or more power outlets
See our article for a more in-depth guide to learning how a portable generator works.
Now, let’s look at some of the things you need to consider when choosing the best portable generator for your needs.
The Fuel Source
Most portable generators run on gasoline, but propane can also power some. This is particularly useful if you experience long periods without power and your gasoline supply has run out. A portable generator that runs on either gas or propane is a good choice for a home standby system.
This is also ideal if you live in a rural region and don’t have ready access to fuel close by. Generally, you’ll find that it won’t put out as many watts when you run your portable generator on propane. But if you choose correctly, you should still have enough power to run all your essential appliances.
Click for garage heaters.
It’s also important to remember that gasoline will evaporate over time, especially if your generator has been sitting idle for many months. As the gas in the carburetor evaporates, it leaves behind a sticky deposit that can block future fuel from getting through. This also means that your portable generator will need more maintenance.
To avoid this issue, it’s a good idea to turn off the fuel valve and keep the engine running until it stalls. This will ensure that there’s no fuel left in the carburetor. Also, firing up your portable generator regularly will stop the store fuel from going stale.
Running generators on propane will avoid these issues altogether because it’s a cleaner and more stable fuel source. Plus, most homes already have propane tanks that they might be using to run things like a barbecue.
What’s the Difference Between Standard Portable Generators and Inverter Generators?
Inverter generators basically put out clean, stable electricity. These generators convert AC current into DC current and then invert this back into AC current. This filters and flattens surges and cleans up the sine wave.
While inverter generators are not necessary to run most home appliances and power tools, they are a wise investment if you plan to use your portable generator to power your electronic devices. Devices such as laptops, computers, tablets, and even televisions, benefit from receiving a stable current and a clean sine wave.
However, a lot of standard portable generators also include power surge protection. This will protect your more sensitive devices from any possible power surges.
What’s the difference between a Portable Generator and a Portable Power Station?
A portable generator is used to provide electricity for appliances or tools in places where there is no access to a regular electrical outlet. It is typically powered by gasoline or diesel fuel, and it runs on an engine that converts the fuel into electricity.
Portable power stations, on the other hand, are used to store electricity so that they can be used in case of an emergency power outage. Portable power stations are typically powered by batteries, and they can be recharged by plugging them into a regular electrical outlet. However, there are solar panel and gasoline versions available.
How to Choose the Correct Size of Generator
To make sure that you buy the best portable generator for your needs, decide what you want to use it for. If it’s to run your home whenever the power goes out, consider which appliances you essentially want to keep running. This will determine the amount of power that you need.
What to Consider for a Home Backup System
All portable generators have generated power. This is measured in watts. Each of your appliances will have a wattage demand that your generator needs to meet for the appliance to run.
Power outputs in portable generators are measured in both starting watts (commonly referred to as peak watts) and running watts. The starting watts refer to the initial surge that is required to turn on your appliances. Running watts refer to the number of watts that are needed to keep the appliance running.
The best way to find out how much power you’ll need to run your home is to put together a register of all the appliances that you absolutely have to run. Don’t skimp on this either. You might be able to do without the heating or the washing machine for a few hours, but what if the power is out for a few days or even weeks?
Here’s a handy reference guide you can refer to.
You might want to put this information into a spreadsheet so that you can add additional appliances as you purchase them. Then, add up the starting watts and the running watts to decide what sized portable generator you’re going to need. You can even work out the running watts for each of your appliances by multiplying the voltage with the amps required to power each one. The amperage is usually found on an appliance tag.
The US Department of Energy also has a handy calculator on its site that you can use.
Once you’ve purchased the best portable generator for your needs, you may find that it won’t power all of your appliances simultaneously. The best thing to do is connect each appliance individually until you know just how much your generator can handle.
What to Consider for a Portable Generator for Traveling
If you want to purchase a portable generator for your RV or your next camping trip, you’ll need to consider the weight of the machine. Think about which appliances you want to power with the generator. The noise rating is important too.
You should look for a lightweight portable generator that you can easily move around. Of course, if you have an RV, you might have a spot where your portable generator can live permanently. This means you won’t have to move it around too often. But you still want one that runs as quietly as possible, so you don’t disturb other campers.
If you only want a generator to power your laptop and charge your mobile phone, one of the lightweight models might be perfect for you. However, you might also want to consider an inverter generator to eliminate any possibility of power surges.
Safety Features You Should Consider
When choosing a portable generator, it’s essential to keep safety in mind, both for you and the life of the generator. Here are some safety features to look out for:
- Low-oil shut off
- Surge protection in the form of at least one circuit breaker
- Automatic CO emission shut down
Other Things to Consider
In addition to the features we’ve mentioned above, there are a few other things to consider when selecting the best portable generator for your needs.
First, you want to make sure that the portable generator is easy to use. Consider whether you want a push-button start or whether you can easily handle a more traditional recoil start.
Next, consider the fuel capacity of the fuel tank. Is the tank large enough to power your portable generator for the amount of time you need it for? Remember, your power could be out for 5 hours or more.
Also, consider this if you’re traveling with your generator. You might not have easy access to additional gas supplies while you’re on the road.
Of course, you’ll also want to consider the price. A large generator can be a hefty investment, so only select one large enough to suit your needs. You don’t want to be burning more gas than you have to. On the other hand, don’t skimp either. Otherwise, you’ll find that you might have to upgrade more than once.
When deciding on the best generator to suit your needs in times of blackouts, there are many things you need to consider. First, work out how much power you’ll need for all the appliances in your home, whether the power is out for 5 hours or even a week. You also want to decide whether you want a gas-powered generator or one that also uses propane.
This will help you to narrow down your list of the best generators to choose from. If you have a heavy power demand, you’ll want one that’s easy to move around. Choose a model with a handle and sturdy wheels.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for the best generator to take on a camping trip or to use in your RV, select one that is lightweight and relatively quiet. This will keep your camping neighbors happy, especially if you’re running it for more than 5 hours.
We hope you liked our top picks for the 12 best portable generators. We’ve provided a selection that includes heavy-duty generators for home or work use, as well as a few lightweight generators that are perfect for taking away with you.