There are so many excellent portable generators currently available on the market, and as anyone who has ever found themselves stuck without power will tell you, they really are a lifesaver.
There’s nothing more frustrating than being stuck at home in the darkness which is why you need a portable generator to switch your lights back on or provide electricity to your refrigerator so that all your groceries will not turn.
Portable generators are also great because you can take them on the go with you. If you need electricity for a camping trip, take your portable generator.
If you need electricity for power tools on a building site, take your portable generator. If you’ve bought a new home and you’re waiting for the electricity to be connected, take your portable generator and all of your problems will be solved.
A portable generator is effortlessly one of the most versatile devices around, and an absolute asset if you were to invest in one. But with so many great options on the market, it can be difficult to find the right one for you.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide which is packed with 13 of the best portable generators currently available on the market.
Additionally, we’ve included a buyer’s guide to help you in your search and ensure you find the portable generator that is perfect for you.
In a hurry?
If you need a portable generator in a hurry but are unsure which is the best for you, we would recommend buying the Champion 3400W dual-fuel generator.
This generator is excellent value for money and is packed with brilliant features that make it worth the investment, including:
- Dual-fuel capability so it can be used with either propane or gasoline depending on which you have access to.
- Electric start with a 3 position ignition switch which makes it incredibly easy to use.
- An incredibly quiet operating noise of 59 decibels which is quieter than your average conversation.
- It provides clean electricity for sensitive electronics through a variety of outlets, including an RV outlet, 2 household outlets, a DC outlet, and a USB adapter.
OUR TOP PICK
Our favorite portable generator on the market is the Champion 3400W dual-fuel generator.
As its name suggests, this generator is made with dual-fuel capability so that you can run it using either propane or gasoline depending on which is the most convenient for you.
However, it is worth noting that all dual-fuel generators will perform better on gasoline than propane.
Additionally, it comes with an electric start and 3 point ignition switch for ease-of-use. It also comes with a carry handle for easy portability and has an operating noise of only 59 decibels which is quieter than a conversation.
It provides clean electricity for sensitive devices at a running power of 3100 watts and a surge power of 3400W.
Finally, it comes with a variety of outlets, including AC, DC, RV, and USB outlets, so it is clear why this is one of the best options available.
- Dual-fuel capability: propane or gasoline
- Electric start with 3 point ignition switch and carry handle
- Quiet operating noise of 59 decibels
- Provides clean electricity for sensitive devices
- 3100 running watts and 3400W surge power
- Comes with an RV outlet, 2 household outlets, a DC outlet, and a dual USB outlet
- No notable drawbacks
We also love the Generac 7177 Gp2201i Generator.
This generator is quite different from the last one we looked at as it operates only on gasoline, and has a smaller amount of power.
This device has a running power of 1700W with a surge of 2200W which is more than enough to power the majority of household and camping appliances.
This device is incredibly user-friendly and provides clean and stable power for the most sensitive of electronics.
Additionally, it comes with a built-in handle so that you can easily transport the generator from A to B and also comes with an economy mode to reduce noise and make it more fuel-efficient.
It also comes with safety features including low-oil and overload warnings and comes with a variety of connections including DC and USB outlets.
With all of these great features considered, it’s clear that this is one of the best options available.
- 1700W running power, 2200W surge power
- Incredibly user-friendly
- Provides clean and stable power for sensitive electronics
- Built-in handle makes this device easily portable
- Economy mode reduces noise and fuel wastage
- Safety features including low-oil and overload warnings
- No notable drawbacks
Another brilliant option is the Jackery Portable Power Station.
This is one of those generators that there is still quite a lot of debate around as it is not powered by propane, gasoline, or diesel.
Instead, this generator is charged up using either solar power or regular electricity so that it can provide you with electricity on the go.
Due to this, it has a much smaller amount of power, but it is still a great option for camping trips. It has a running power of 500W and a surge power of 1000W and comes with a variety of wall outlets, car outlets, and USB connections.
From a single solar charge, this device can provide up to 9 hours of electricity, which is why it is such a great choice for outdoor activities.
It is lightweight and portable and provides lots of clean electricity, so it is clear why this is one of the best options available.
- 500W running power, 1000W surge power
- Includes wall outlets, car outlets, and USB connections
- Can be charged via solar power for up to 9 hours of electricity
- Perfect option for camping trips where you only require a small amount of power
- Provides clean electricity perfect for sensitive devices
- Lightweight and easily portable with a handle
- No notable drawbacks
You should also consider the Westinghouse WGen9500 Generator.
This is the most powerful option on this list, and a great choice if you are looking for a generator to use on a building site or to power an RV.
This generator is incredibly powerful with running watts of 9500 and a surge power of 12,500W.
Due to its incredible power, this device can be started using a key fob, an electric, or a recoil start depending on what works best at the moment.
It comes with a variety of outlets including household, switch, USB, and even an RV outlet, all of which come with rubber covers for added safety.
Additionally, this generator comes with a low oil shutdown for added safety when you use it.
Finally, this generator is built with durable cast iron and is coated to ensure it lasts for years to come, so there’s no doubt that this is one of the best options currently available.
- Extremely powerful - 9500W running, 12500W surge power
- Choose between key fob, electric, and recoil start options
- Includes a variety of RV, household, USB, and switch connections
- All outlets come with rubber covers for safety
- Durable build with long-lasting cast iron design
- Comes with low oil shutdown for added safety
- Larger and heavier than some other portable generators
Another great option by Champion is the 100231 Generator.
This Champion device is similar to the Champion generator that we looked at earlier as it also comes with dual-fuel capability so you can use it with either gasoline or propane depending on what you have at hand.
This is a favorite among lots of people as the generator is ready to use straight out of the box, and requires absolute zero assembly.
Another thing that people love about this generator is that it comes with an intelligauge display that allows you to monitor the run time, voltage, and performance of the generator.
It has 5500W running power and 6900W surge power when operating on gasoline, and performs slightly lower when running on propane, but you can easily flick between the two fuel types with the built-in fuel safety switch.
With all of this considered, it is clear why this is one of the best portable generators on the market.
- Dual fuel design - use with either gasoline or propane
- Ready to operate straight out of the box - no setup needed
- Intelligauge display allows you to monitor performance, voltage, and run time
- 5500W running power and 6900W surge power
- Comes with a fuel safety switch to flick between propane and gasoline
- Includes a locking outlet and 4 household outlets
- Performs significantly better on gasoline than propane
Alternatively, you could choose the Duromax XP4400E Generator.
This generator is in the moderate performance range of the options that we have looked at with 3500W running power and 4400W surge power.
Additionally, it comes with an electric start and an oil funnel for ease of use, which makes up for the fact that this portable generator is too heavy to carry for any distance.
But this device is still easily portable as it comes with large, resilient wheels and an easy to pull handle which makes transporting it across a variety of terrains easy.
It is the perfect choice for campsites and building sites alike as it comes with 2 household outlets and an additional twist-lock outlet.
With all of this combined, plus a low operating noise of only 69 decibels, there’s no question that this is one of the best options on the market.
- 3500W running power, 4400W surge power
- Comes with an electric start and oil funnel for ease of use
- Operating noise of 69 decibels
- Includes 2 household outlets and a twist-lock outlet
- Perfect for campsites, building sites, and home use
- Comes with big wheels and an easy to pull handle
- Too heavy to carry, it must be wheeled
We would also recommend the WEN 56475 Generator.
This device is incredibly similar to the last generator that we looked at as it comes with a very similar running and surge power of 3750W and 4750W.
This device is also too heavy to carry between locations but is easily portable thanks to its strong wheels and foldable handles.
Additionally, it also has an electric start option but differs as it comes with a low-oil shutdown feature for safety.
This generator is suitable for use in all 50 states as it meets all required regulations, and also comes with a digital readout option to help you manage its maintenance.
With all of this and the fact that it comes with a variety of output options including RV and household outlets, combined it is clear that this device is easily one of the best on the market.
- 3750W running power with 4750W surge power
- Includes digital readout to manage oil changes and maintenance
- Comes with electric start and low oil shut-down for safety
- Includes wheels and foldable handles for easy transport
- Meets regulatory requirements for all 50 states
- Includes RV, household, and other output options
- Too heavy to carry
Furthermore, you could choose the Durostar DS4000S Generator.
This is a great option if you want to power multiple devices simultaneously as it comes with 3300W running power, and 4000W surge power.
Additionally, it comes with lots of different outputs including household and twist-lock outlets so that you can connect different devices to it.
It produces only 69 decibels of operating noise and comes with an automatic low oil shutoff to protect both the device and you from damage.
While it is on the heavier side, this generator does come with a wheel kit so that it can be easily transported when you need to move it from A to B.
So with all of these brilliant features in mind, there is absolutely no question that this is one of the best options on the market.
- 3300W running power and 4000W surge power
- 69 decibels operating noise
- Includes automatic low oil shutoff for the safety of the device and you
- Comes with 2 households and a twist-lock outlet
- Can power multiple devices simultaneously with ease
- Includes wheel kit for easy transportation
- Wheel kit requires assembly
Another brilliant choice is the Westinghouse iGen2200 Generator.
This generator is designed with its main feature being portability, and because of this, it has a smaller operating power than some of the others that we have looked at.
However, this is still a generator that is powerful enough to run multiple devices as it comes with 1800W running power and 2200W surge power.
This generator weighs only 46 pounds so it can be easily carried from location to location, and also comes with economy mode to ensure that not a single ounce of fuel goes to waste.
It can run for 12 hours on a 1.2 gallon tank of fuel and comes with a variety of household and USB outlets to choose from.
Finally, this generator produces only 52 decibels of operating noise, so there’s no doubt that this is one of the best options on the market.
- Running power of 1800W with 2200W surge power
- Lightweight design weighs only 46 pounds
- Comes with economy mode for maximum fuel efficiency
- Only produces 52 decibels of operating noise
- Comes with 2 household and 2 USB outlets
- 12 hours of run time on 1.2 gallon tank of fuel
- Does not include an RV outlet
A lesser-known brand that is just as great is the PowerSmart PS50A Generator.
If you root for the underdog, then this generator could be a great choice for you as it is by a lesser-known brand but it performs excellently.
This generator comes with 900W running power, and 1000W surge power, and includes both AC and DC outlets for you to connect your devices.
It produces clean power for sensitive electronic devices and is also incredibly lightweight and easily portable so that you can easily take it on trips with you.
On just half a tank, this generator will operate continuously for 5 hours, so just imagine what it can do on a full tank.
So with all of these brilliant features in mind, there’s no question that the PowerSmart PS50A Generator is one of the best portable generators available.
- 900W running power, 1000W surge power
- Runs for 5 hours on a half tank
- Includes AC and DC outlets
- Produces clean power for sensitive electronic devices
- Lightweight and easily portable
- Perfect for both campsites and building sites
- Lesser-known brand
You could also choose the Rainier R12000DF Generator.
This is another great option if you root for the underdog as it is another lesser-known brand, but still an excellent choice.
This generator is incredibly powerful with 9500W running power, and 12,000W peak power which can provide power to multiple power-hungry devices simultaneously.
Despite its impressive power, this generator has a relatively low operating noise of 72 decibels, and it is also able to run for 72 hours continuously on just a 25% load.
As you can probably have guessed, this generator is a heavier and larger option, however, it is still easily portable as it comes with wheels and a strong handle for easy transportation.
So if you are looking for a powerful portable generator, this might be the right one for you.
- 9500W running power with 12000W peak power
- Includes fuel gauge and low oil shutdown
- Choose between the one-touch start and recoil option
- Up to 72 hours run time on 25% load
- Only produces 72 decibels of operating noise
- Comes with wheels and a handle for easy transport
- Too heavy to carry
Another option similar to the Jackery device that we looked at earlier is the ALLWEI Portable Power Station.
This is the least powerful generator on this list, but it is a great option if you are off on a camping trip and simply want a generator that will provide you with enough electricity to keep your essential electronics charged.
This generator has 300W running power and 600W peak power which is plenty to charge your mobile phone and other similar electronics.
It is incredibly lightweight, portable, and has a small build so that you can easily find space for it in your car when you are off on a road trip, and it will definitely prove vital at some point.
It also comes with a built-in flashlight for emergencies and comes with AC, DC, and a variety of USB ports to charge different devices.
With all of this, plus the fact that it provides clean and safe power, there is no question that this is one of the best portable generators available.
- 300W running power, 600W peak power
- Perfect for charging electronics on a camping trip
- Lightweight, portable, and user-friendly
- Includes AC, DC, and a variety of USB ports
- Comes with a built-in flashlight for emergencies
- Provides clean and safe power for sensitive electronics
- Not very powerful compared to other makes and models
Finally, we cannot forget about the Pulsar PG5250B Generator.
This is another generator that is on the larger side of portable, but it is still easy to transport as it comes with “never-flat” wheels and a fold-down handle which is incredibly sturdy.
This generator has a running power of 4250W and a surge power of 5250W meaning that it can power a lot of different devices.
It also comes with dual-fuel capability so that you can run it on either propane or gasoline depending on what you have at hand.
Additionally, it has ‘switch and go’ technology which allows you to flick between gas and propane with the simple click of a button.
This generator can then be used to provide power to lots of different appliances as it comes with a variety of outlet options including twist-lock, household, and even an RV outlet.
So there is no doubt that this is one of the best portable generators that money can buy.
- 4250W running power, 5250W peak power
- Dual-fuel capability: propane or gasoline
- Switch and go technology for easy transfer between fuel types
- Fold-down handle and “never-flat” wheels for easy transport
- Safety features including low-oil indicator and low-oil shutdown
- Includes RV, household, and twist-lock outlets
- Too heavy to carry by hand
13 Best Portable Generators Buying Guide
Finding the perfect generator for you can be difficult, especially when you consider how many different options there currently are on the market.
There are seemingly endless options for a variety of different purposes, which can make it intimidating to make a final choice.
The options that we have looked at above are some of the best portable generators on the market, but if you’re still unsure, we’ve put together this buyer’s guide to help.
It’s packed with absolutely everything you need to know about portable generators to ensure that the one you buy suits your needs perfectly.
Power and Efficiency
The first thing that you need to consider when buying a generator is the amount of power that you want it to generate.
Generators range all the way from moderately to extremely powerful, so you need to consider the functions that you want the generator to complete before you buy one.
Unfortunately, most portable generators tend to be less powerful than stationary generators, but there are a few objections to the rule, some of which we have given you above.
To figure out the amount of power that you will require from your generator, you should add up the running power for all of the main devices that you will use with it.
Once you have calculated this number, add 20% on top and this will be the power of the generator that you should buy. You may also want to consider fuel efficiency, especially if you will be using the generator regularly.
Some fuel types are more efficient than others, so you should think about which is the best for you. For example, propane is better for the environment but less efficient than gasoline as you will have to refill more regularly. This is why considering your options is so important.
As you are looking for a portable generator, you probably will have already considered portability, but let’s take a look at the main features you need to consider when looking for portability in a generator.
As their name suggests portable generators are designed to be moved around, however not all “portable” generators make this easy.
A lot of people are more likely to buy a portable generator, and so some manufacturers will simply advertise their generators as “portable” even if it isn’t the case.
Portable generators tend to be lighter in weight than static generators so that they can be easily carried between locations.
They also tend to be smaller in size so that they can easily fit in the trunk of your vehicle, and more often than not come with either wheels, a carry handle, or both to make it easier to transport them.
The size of the generator tends to go up with the power which is why it is rare that you will find very powerful generators that are also powerful.
If you do want a powerful generator that is also portable, you should be prepared for the fact that it will be more difficult to transport than a smaller portable generator.
Conventional or Inverter
You will also need to consider whether you want to purchase a convention generator or an inverter generator.
Convention generators are the “normal” type of generators, and they are designed to run continuously, whereas inverter generators are designed to alter their power outage depending on the devices they are attached to.
But let’s take a look at some of the other features of these types of generators.
Firstly, conventional generators are designed to provide a constant power supply and speed. Due to this design, conventional generators tend to be the more powerful option and are great if you are providing power to strong devices.
If you plan on using the generator with sensitive devices, you would be better off purchasing an inverter generator. Inverter generators alter their speed to fit the devices that they are powering, meaning they generate clean power which is safe for sensitive devices.
This also means that they are more fuel-efficient and also produce less operating noise which is why inverter generators are a popular choice if you are looking for a portable generator.
Additionally, you should consider the fuel type of the generator that you are thinking of buying. There are a few different types that you can choose from, and they all come with different benefits and drawbacks. So let’s take a look at the main options which you can choose from.
The main options that you have when purchasing a generator are diesel, gasoline, or propane. There has been an increase in the amount of solar-powered generators on the market which can also be charged via utility power, however, there is still a lot of debate about whether or not these class as generators.
Diesel generators were once the most popular type, but since society has switched to focusing on eco-friendliness, the diesel generator has fallen out of power. Gasoline is viewed as “cleaner” than diesel, which is why this is still a popular choice.
But the fuel type that has grown the most in popularity is propane. Propane is a clean-burning fuel, so using a propane generator has no negative impact on the environment which is why they are so popular.
Propane is also man-made so we will never run out of it. You can also get dual-fuel generators which can be run on either gasoline or propane which are another very popular option. You should consider the fuel type that you can access the easiest and buy the one that suits you best.
Finally, you should consider the safety features which the generator has. Generators hold a lot of power and so they can be very dangerous if they are not handled properly.
Thanks to the advancements in generators, most of them now come with safety features designed to protect both yourself and the generator.
These safety features include surge protectors which protect your appliances from a sudden increase in voltage and also protect you from electrocution.
Another common safety feature is a low oil sensor or shutdown mode so that you are notified when the oil needs refilling, and your generator will shut down to prevent any risk of fire or damage.
Finally, a great safety feature that you may not have immediately considered is remote start as this ensures you are nowhere near the generator when it is activated, putting you completely out of harm’s way.
These safety features are not essential, but they are great for providing peace of mind to you and your family.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do portable generators last?
As you may expect, portable generators have a smaller lifespan than stationary generators. This might be unsurprising as portable generators will experience a lot more wear and tear than stationary generators.
Most portable generators will last up to 2000 hours, so the lifespan of the generator will depend on how regularly you use the generator. If you use it rarely, then your generator will probably have a longer lifespan than a generator that is used frequently.
Where do you place a portable generator?
The rules surrounding stationary generators also apply to portable generators, so you must consider this when finding a suitable place for your generator.
As you will probably be aware, you should place your generator at least 20 feet away from your house or from the location where you are using it. It should be placed on a flat surface with its venting pointing in the opposite direction to your living space or home.
What is the difference between an inverter generator and a regular generator?
If you have started the search for a generator, you may have encountered something known as an “inverter generator” and been puzzled by what it is. In general, inverter generators tend to be smaller, quieter, and lighter than regular generators.
This is why quite a lot of portable generators are normally part of the inverter group.
There is not much difference in the design between both types of generators, other than the fact that inverter generators have a built-in inverter which accounts for the difference in their size and noise.