I’m not saying that all generators made overseas are bad products, but there are a number of reasons why this could be the case for a lot of models made in China.
Firstly, there are different quality control protocols outside of the US, and while some may be on par or perhaps even better than our own, most won’t be.
There’s also the matter of labor and material costs to consider.
Typically speaking, overheads are a lot lower overseas than they are on American soil, so it’s only fair to expect a slight dip in quality, especially as generators tend to be mass-produced in China, meaning each individual generator gets very little attention.
And to top all this off, returns and repairs for generators produced in China can be a nightmare.So, let’s put these sometimes great (but often not) generators to one side for a moment and focus up on Generators made outside the Red Dragon’s lair.
Generators Made In The USA
Let’s begin with the units made in our own backyard.
Founded in 1908, this centenarian American Fortune 1000 manufacturer has been providing the nation with top-quality motors, generators, and other mechanical wonders for longer than we’ve all been alive, and, needless to say, they’ve gotten incredibly good at what they do.They currently have manufacturing bases established in Missouri, New York, Kentucky, Georgia, and Alabama in which 85% of their engines are crafted; however, they are known to source certain components from overseas.
They also report having manufacturing bases in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Netherlands, and China, but all their home standby generators are assembled stateside.
Briggs & Stratton: Popular Generator
One of Biggs & Stratton’s most popular generators is the Q6500 Quiet Power Inverter Generator.
Compact, lightweight, and fitted with wheels, it’s about as portable as portable generators come, and – as the name suggests – it’s insanely quiet!
Champion has been the, well… champion of the power generation market for some time now.
Specializing in high quality, savings account-friendly generators, it’s small wonder why they’ve become such a popular option, yet despite their reasonable price tags, this company is headquartered in Santa Fe Springs, California.They have production facilities in Wisconsin and Tennessee, as well as Toronto, Canada, and have provided the North American public with 2.5 million generators (and counting).
Having said that, many of their models’ motors are assembled in China.
Champion: Popular Generator
The open-frame 100519, 6250-watt inverter generator is one of Champion’s most successful units.
Kitted out with quiet technology, the 69 dBA running volume is very liveable, and the outlets are pretty versatile too!
While DuroMax does delegate some assembly to nations overseas, no matter where their generators are made, they’re made to the specifications upheld in their American facilities in California and their Canadian facilities in Ontario.Specializing in dual fuel generators, DuroMax has revolutionized the portable power industry, producing super versatile models that give users more options in sticky situations.
DuroMax: Popular Generator
Perhaps DuroMax’s most popular unit is the XP13000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator. Powered by both gas and propane, it makes for an amazing essentials backup during power outages.
Gas can become quite scarce in emergencies, so being able to switch to propane can be a real lifesaver when the going gets tough.
With production facilities dotted all over Wisconsin (Eagle, Waukesha, Oshkosh Whitewater, Jefferson) Generac generators are as American as hot dogs at the ballgame.
Even their OHVI motors are designed and manufactured on American soil, something many other companies outsource to cheaper facilities overseas.
That said, their OHV motors are assembled in the Briggs & Stratton production plant in China.
Generac: Popular Generator
The Generac 7127 IQ3500 is the company’s most popular offering. This diminutive dynamo is compact, powerful, CARB compliant, and it looks fantastic!
Featuring IQ technology, it’s capable of powering the brawniest of power tools as well as the most delicate electronics, and it even has a power rush function for momentarily boosting starting wattage.
Mi-T-M are a lesser-known generator manufacturer operating out of Peosta, Iowa, but that’s by no means an indicator of poor quality, rather, they produce higher wattage units for industrial applications.
The only downside is that they may well source the motors from elsewhere.
Mi-T-M: Popular Generator
The Gen-6000-0MM0 ChoreMaster is an example of one of this company’s medium-range options, and it’s trusted by users across the nation.
Much like Mi-T-M, Dayton Electric Co. specializes in high-wattage generators primarily for industrial applications.
Headquartered in Dayton, Texas, they’re known to handle most aspects of production themselves, but the motors within these generators may well be sourced from various nations.
Dayton Electric Co.: Popular Generator
Dayton Electric Co. generators aren’t as readily available to the public as, say, Generac or Stratton & Briggs generators, so you’d have to venture outside the usual easy-purchase spots such as Amazon.
When you do, I’d highly recommend checking out the Dayton 6FYA4, a 12,000-watt 688cc monster of a generator.
Generators Made In Japan
It may be right next to China, but Japan produces some of the most impressive generators on the market!
Honda is widely considered the premium name in power generation technology. Primarily manufactured in Japan, they also run facilities out of the US, France, Thailand, and India.
More recently, the production of generator heads was outsourced to China, but all their motors are made elsewhere (mostly Japan).
Honda: Popular Generator
There are countless amazing Honda generators on the market, but the most popular among the American public is the 664240 EU2200i inverter generator.
It’s a little costly for the capacity, but if you’re looking for ultimate reliability, there’s really no substitute for this model.
Yamaha rarely outsources any manufacturing, preferring to keep things close to hand in Japan.
They may have an assembly plant or two in China, but no actual technical production takes place in this nation.
Competing with Honda has helped them become one of the top generator brands, not just in Japan, but the world.
Yamaha: Popular Generator
Packing an insane 4000 watts in a 33 x 30 x 29” package, it’s no surprise that the EF4500iSE is such a hit in the US.
Capable of powering a 1500 BTU air conditioning unit as well as a 1000-watt microwave oven simultaneously, it may be small, but it’s got some serious muscle!
Mitsubishi takes things a step further than Yamaha, choosing to manufacture every single aspect of the generators in-house at the MHI manufacturing complex in Japan.
They use only the best components and apply rigorous Japanese quality control protocols.
Mitsubishi: Popular Generator
Generators Made In The UK
Now let’s take a trip across the pond!
There are plenty of highly regarded British generator brands, but the only one that advertises the fact that all production takes place on UK soil is Perkins.
Other companies claim to produce UK builds, but most of the time, they’re sourcing their components from Perkins.
Perkins: Popular Generator
Perkins generators aren’t typically available in the States, but their whole house standby units are beloved across their native Great Britain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is China Bad At Making Generators?
Many Chinese manufacturing plants do the work for significantly less money than manufacturing plants in other nations, so, naturally, the costs are cut somewhere.
Whether it’s an underpaid worker taking less care on the assembly line, or subpar components being chosen over the higher quality stuff, Chinese generators almost always fall short when compared to those produced in the US, Japan, or Europe
Should I Buy A Generator Made In The US?
US production doesn’t automatically make a generator good, but thanks to stringent quality control protocols and high quality components, a US generator is likely to be more reliable than one produced in China.So, while I’d always recommend buying US where power generation is concerned, don’t phone it in when it comes to researching individual products.
Should I Buy A Chinese Generator?
Chinese generators are usually quite affordable, which is a definite boon considering how much these things can cost, but, again, for the most part, Chinese generators aren’t as reliable.Now, that doesn’t mean you should completely disregard them. If you’re looking for a casual, small backup, they’re a great option.
It’s only when you need something to power absolute essentials like medical equipment or your home in the event of a blackout that you should definitely consider a premium Japanese, European, or American unit.
Are Japanese Generators Better Than American Generators?
Japan and the US produce a lot of incredible generators.
While Japan’s Mitsubishi and Honda are considered the best of the best, as you can see on this list, the US is home to far more reputable generator brands.
There you have it — 10 generator brands that don’t build out of China… for the most part.
The truth of the matter is that China offers such affordable parts and labor that most brands use their resources to some extent, but as long as the primary components are made in more reputable locations, you can buy with confidence.