Inverter generators are a relatively new product to the world of generators and have been made possible by recent technological advances. Thanks to the creation of advanced industrial magnets and innovative electronics, these generators are able to deliver a more reliable stream of electricity than conventional generators can usually produce.
They work by taking the unpredictable swings of AC current produced by convention gas-powered generators and convert it directly into DC power. This DC electricity is then changed back, or inverted, back to AC power. This results in a single-phase source of power at the generator’s stated voltage. Which is why many people refer to the electricity produced by these devices as “clean.”
Although these generators usually produce improved run times, better efficiency and are usually quieter than gasoline-powered generators, that doesn’t mean that they’re ideal for every situation. If they’re pushed behind their design specifications or are overworked, then they can produce less than stellar results.
The 3 Best Portable Inverter Generators Reviews
|Best on a Budget||Best Seller||Best Quality|
|Champion 2000-Watt||WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt||Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt|
|Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Attempting to overwork inverter generators can result in the internal circuit breaker being tripped or cause the appliances hooked up to them to fail. Therefore, it’s imperative that these devices be used according to their design specifications as well as the best practices of operating inverter generators.
Having said that, we’d like to help you through the process of choosing one of the best inverter generators for your particular needs. We’re going to do that by presenting the ten best models in our inverter generator reviews and by then giving you all the information you need to not only make an informed choice but also some guidance with how to properly use the generator when you get it home.
The 10 Best Inverter Generators Reviews
#10 Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 Power Smart
Although this product is designed to be a portable unit, it’s still capable of producing a fair amount of energy. It produces 2,200 starting watts and 1,700 running watts of power, so it can be used for a variety of appliances and tools. It can be used at the RV park, at home or out in the workshop and provide excellent results in each situation. It has a 1-gallon fuel tank and can produce up to 8-hours of electricity at 25% load, as long as it’s operating with a full fuel tank.
Another thing worth mentioning about this generator is that is has a muffler which allows it to only operate at 59-decibels, which is far quieter than many of the generators currently on the market nowadays. And since it uses inverter technology, it’s not only quiet but produces a steady stream of clean electricity that can be used for a variety of sensitive equipment. In fact, it produces less than 3% total harmonic distortion, which makes it suitable for game systems, laptop computers or televisions.
This generator has two 120-Volt Household outlets, a 12-Volt DC outlet with a USB adapter and a parallel port. It can be operated alone or ran in tandem with other generators of its type. This allows the user to scale up their power production as their needs dictate. What’s really impressive about this generator, however, is that it only weighs 54.6-pounds.
This fact, along with the fact that it has an H-shaped handle, allows this generator to easily be carried by two people to the location where it’s needed. Although it’s necessary to keep this generator at least 20-feet away from the house when using, it doesn’t produce fumes any worse than any other generator. Overall, this product is a good one for just about anyone looking for a stable source of electricity that’s extremely portable and easy-to-use.
#9 Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000 Power Smart
Anyone who likes to spend their time RV camping or tailgating knows how important a portable generator can be to the success of their trip. A good portable generator, particularly an inverter one, can power an air conditioner in an RV, power a mini-fridge or even power a small television. That’s why the Briggs & Stratton 30545 is such an interesting product.
It weighs only 85-pounds and has solid wheels, so it can be taken virtually anywhere. It also has a telescoping handle like the ones found on luggage to enable the user to pull it to the location where it’s needed. And since this generator has a 1.5-gallon fuel tank, this generator can stand up to 10-hours of continuous operation at a 25% load and uses Quiet Power Technology that allows it to provide power as quietly as possible.
This generator has 3,000 starting watts and 2,600 running watts, so it’s not only useful for recreational purposes but is also a good unit for DIY projects. It has an LCD screen which relays important information on its own performance and gives the user reminders about upcoming maintenance schedules.
Equipped with four 120-Volt household outlets, a 12-Volt DV outlet, and a USB port, this generator can be used to power a variety of different appliances or tools at one time. And since these inverter generators can be run in parallel, the user can scale up their energy consumption needs as necessary. All of these features make this portable inverter model one that can be used in a variety of circumstances and is designed to meet the energy needs of the user.
#8 Champion 2000-Watt Stackable Generator
Like other inverter generators, this product is capable of producing electricity that’s stable, clean and has less than 3% THD. What makes it different than other generators, however, is that it’s stackable. What that means is that it can be not only be run in parallel with other compatible generators but can be physically stacked with these other generators to save space.
This generator is also equipped with a cold-start feature, which allows it to start up quicker in cold weather conditions. And since this product is equipped with two 120-Volt household outlets and a 12-Volt DC outlet, it can be used to power a variety of appliances including microwaves, televisions, phone chargers or lights.
The main thing worth mentioning about this generator, however, is that it has 2,000 starting watts and can provide up to 1,700 running watts. It can run for approximately 9 to 9.5-hours at a 25% load on only a gallon of gas. Other features which can be found on this unit include a smart economy mode which can reduce electrical load, extend the engine life of the generator and deliver increased fuel economy. This generator is also backed by Champion’s own personal support which includes a 3-year limited warranty with free lifetime technical support from the company’s representatives.
#7 Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Super Quiet
Although this generator isn’t the most powerful one available, it is one of the quietest and most portable ones. It has 1,800 rated watts and 2,200 peak watts and delivers power that’s nice and clean. It product power with less than 3% total harmonic distortion, so this power is particularly useful for sensitive electronic equipment. It can be used to power laptops, charge cell phones or tablets or used to power a television.
This generator has two 120-Volt household outlets and one 12-Volt DC outlet, so it can run several appliances at the same time. And like most of the other newer Westinghouse generators, this product is both EPA and CARB compliant. It also only weighs 43-pounds, so it can easily be carried to the location that it’s needed.
One of the reasons this generator is so quiet, with a decibel rating of 52-decibels, is that it has a special muffler which helps to dampen the sound it produces. Another feature that makes this product quieter and more efficient than other generators is that it can be run in Efficiency Mode, which allows it to run for up to 13-hours at a 25% load.
And this alone is fairly impressive considering that it has a gas tank that only holds 1.3-gallon of gas. The final thing worth mentioning about this generator is that is can be run in parallel with other Westinghouse generators. This allows the user to ramp up their energy production as their needs dictate.
#6 Champion 3100-Watt RV Ready Portable Inverter
Champion has long been known as a company that produces high-quality generators, and this particular model once again meets the standard that the company has set. This 3,100-Watt inverter generator uses a single-cylinder 4-stroke engine that’s air-cooled for reliability. One of the main things worth mentioning about this product is that it has a 58-decibel rating, which makes it quiet, although it may not be as quiet as other comparable generators.
Another thing worth mentioning about this product is that it can be remote started wirelessly. This remote start feature is extremely helpful in getting the generator up and running without the user having to run out to the unit and tinkering with it. Another feature worth mentioning is that it provides clean power with less than 3% THD.
The ability to be wireless started from up to 80-feet and quiet operation aren’t the only two impressive features which can be found on this generator. It can also run up to 8-hours at a 25% load.
Other features worth mentioning about this generator is that it has two 120-Volt household outlets, a 120-Volt 30-Amp RV plug and a 12-Volt DC outlet with a dual USB adapter. It also has an automatic shut-off feature that turns the generator off when it’s low on oil and has a cast iron sleeve for improved durability. All of which come together to make this generator quiet, durable and portable.
#5 Champion 4000-Watt RV Ready Digital Hybrid
This generator has an advanced inverter design that’s specifically made to be 20% lighter and 50% quieter than the Champion 3500-Watt generator. Using inverter technology it’s capable of producing up to 4,000 starting watts, and 3,500 running watts and can deliver up to 17-hours of runtime. The power this product produces has a less than 3% THD, so it’s suitable for powering a variety of sensitive equipment from laptops to cell phones to televisions.
It’s also capable of powering a number of appliances and is considered to be completely RV-ready with a 120-Volt 30-Amp RV outlet, two household 120-Volt outlets and a 12-Volt DC outlet with a dual USB adapter. With all of these features, it’s easy to see how it can be used to provide power for an RV, a workshop, garage or home.
Although it could be quieter, with a decibel rating of approximately 64-dBA, it’s not as loud as some other gasoline-powered generators. And since this unit is parallel-ready, it can be hooked up with other compatible generators with the purchase of an optional parallel kit. The final features worth mentioning about this generator is that it can run up to 17-hours at a 25% load.
Which means that it is more than capable of meeting most people energy needs. It’s a workhorse that can be used for a variety of projects and is sure to provide the user with the protection they need in the case of an emergency power outage.
#4 Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready
This 3400-Watt generator is equipped with a 120-Volt 30-Amp RV outlet, two 120-Volt household outlets and a 12-Volt DC outlet with a dual USB adapter. This makes it RV-ready and capable of being used for a variety of different jobs including tools and appliances. And since it delivers clean electricity that has less than 3% THD, then it’s also capable of delivering power that’s suitable for sensitive electronics such as laptops, cell phone chargers, and televisions. This generator has 3400 starting watts and 3100 running watts and can deliver up to 7.5-hours of run time on a 25% load. It also has a decibel rating of 59-decibels, so it’s fairly quiet. This quiet operation is due to its specialized muffler and other unique design components.
What’s truly exceptional about this generator, however, is that it has dual fuel capabilities. That means that it can use gasoline or propane to fun and it has this functionality right out of the box without the need for additional equipment to be purchased. It also has a battery for a push-button electric start, has a U-shaped folding handle for easy transportation and has GFCI protected outlets. And finally, it has a low-oil shutoff feature which can turn the unit off when the oil levels are becoming too low to safely run. These features allow it to be not only a powerful unit but also a very versatile one that can be used in a variety of different circumstances.
#3 WEN 56200i Super Quiet
This generator is designed to deliver clean electricity and do it without many of the voltage spikes that ordinary generators provide. Using a 79.7cc 4-stroke engine that’s not only EPAIII compliant but also CARB compliant, this generator is capable of producing 2,000 surge watts and 1,600 rated watts. This energy can be delivered via one of its three 120-volt household outlets, its one 12-Volt DC outlet or its 5-Volt USB port. The electricity it delivers has anywhere from 0.3% to 1.2% THD. This allows it to be used for powering laptops, for charging cell phones or for running other sensitive electrical equipment. This makes it a generator that can be used for just about any situation.
It’s also important to mention that this product also has a few other features which make it quite useful. It has a low-fuel automatic shutdown system, low-oil shutdown system, and a convenient pull cord. It also operates at only 51-decibels at 25% load, which is just a little quieter than an average AC unit. This generator can also be used in parallel with other compatible generators so that users can upscale their electricity production as needed. This unit also has a convenient carrying handle that allows it to be easily carried to the location it’s being placed.
#2 Honda EU2000I 2000 Watt Generator
Portable, clean power is precisely what this generator is capable of producing. It only uses a gallon of gas, but can be used to provide power for up to 8-hours at a time. It’s extremely portable, able to be carried to the location needed and is powerful enough to power a number of different appliances including laptops, televisions or CPAP machines. It’s also extremely quiet. In fact, it only has a decibel rating of approximately 57 dBA. This allows it to be used in areas where ordinary generators can’t be used, and its noise level won’t cause a needless distraction.
At the heart of this generator is this unit’s Honda commercial series engine. This engine is extremely quiet, runs smoothly and is extremely fuel-efficient. It’s also lightweight, which allows the generator to be as portable as possible. Other features which can be found on this generator include a spark-arrestor muffler, low-oil protection system, and a fuel off button that allows the generator to use up most of the fuel in its carburetor. This allows users to run it dry so that it can be more easily stored away.
#1 Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt Generator
This inverter generator is designed to deliver the user with the power they need and do it in the most efficient and economical way possible. This generator provides 10% more power than what the comparable Honda EU2000I is capable of delivering, although both machines are quite similar in design. The main difference between these two generators, other than the additional boost this generator provides in regards to power generation, between these two generators is this unit’s Honda GXR120 engine. This engine is quieter than the engines in other Honda generators and has a decibel rating of about 48-decibels. And this allows the generator to be used virtually anywhere.
Depending on load, this generator can produce electricity for up to 9.6-hours and this electricity is clean enough to be used for powering sensitive electronic equipment. This allows it to be used for RV power or for running appliances or computer equipment. This generator has two 120-Volt household outlets and a 12-Volt DC outlet. Other features that can be found on this generator include an overload alarm, an oil alert system which can shut the generator off when the oil level becomes critically low. And since this generator can be run in parallel with other generators, it can be scaled up for just about any task. All of which makes it one of the best inverter generators available.
The Difference Between Conventional & Inverter Generators
Since the term inverter has gradually made itself into the public vernacular and is often incorrectly applied to many different kinds of generators, it can sometimes be confusing for consumers to understand the difference between inverter generators and conventional generators. In order to clarify things a bit, we’ve decided to put together this guide which will spell out the pros and cons of inverter generators.
How They Actually Work
Before you can understand the difference between conventional and inverter generators, you first have to know what generators do, what inverters do and what inverter generators are designed to do. Conventional Generators use either gas or propane to power a motor which drives an alternator. This motor runs at 3,600 RPM to generate the 120-Volts required for American households. If the motor jumps up or down, then that changes the frequency of that current.
Inverters draw power from a battery or a solar panel and then invert that power into alternating current. Inverter Generators produce power in the same way as a traditional generator, but it then converts that power into DC current. Why does it do that? So it can invert the current back into AC current. Doing it this way results in fewer frequency fluctuations.
The Benefits of Inverter Generators
Now, let’s examine some of the things that inverter generators are designed to do. Although this technology is still relatively new, there are some things that inverter do really well. Let’s examine some of the top features that generators with inverter technology provide to most users.
Size & Weight: Typically, inverters are generally smaller and lighter than conventional generators. Although it’s not uncommon for conventional generators to be several hundred pounds, most inverter-style generators are 60-pounds or lighter. This means that they are easier to transport than traditional generators and are closer to being portable generators than traditional generators are. This makes these generators suitable for RV usage, for use in garages and for use in homes or workshops.
Noise Level: Another thing that makes inverter-style generators better than conventional ones is the fact that they’re usually quieter. And there’s a variety of different reasons why this is true. Inverter generators take advantage of newly designed motors and noise-dampening mufflers to reduce the sound of the motor. They also don’t have to maintain a constant speed as gas-powered generators do. They can cycle up or down, as demand requires it, and still maintain a constant voltage frequency. When the load is lighter, then the motor can throttle back a little bit. While most generators have a decibel rating of over 70-decibels, inverters usually have a decibel rating of 46 to 60-decibels.
Clean Power: Another advantage that an inverter generator has is that it delivers “clean” power. What we mean by this is that it produces a pure sine wave that just isn’t possible with a conventional generator. They accomplish this feat by inverting the AC current to DC and then back again. Traditional generators can’t reproduce the same stable energy that your home receives from your local electrical utility, but inverters can actually reproduce it quite well.
Fuel Efficiency: Inverter-style generators are almost always more energy efficient than gasoline-powered models. That’s because gas-powered generators have to run at a constant speed to deliver a constant stream of AC power. On the other hand, inverter-powered ones don’t have to run at one speed to deliver electricity. Since they’re converting it into DC power and then back into AC, the device can throttle back according to the energy needs of the user. This results in less gasoline or propane being used to run the device.
Run Time: For the same reasons that inverters are able to deliver significantly reduced noise levels and better fuel efficiency, they are also capable of delivering significantly better run times. In some cases, the improvement can be as significant as 20 to 40%.
Parallel Operation: Unlike regular generators, inverter-powered ones can be attached to one another in parallel. This allows the user to string together multiple units to increase power output. The only downside is that the user usually has to use the exact same models and there’s a limit to how many different generators can be strung together.
Disadvantages of Inverter Generators
Although there’s a whole list of advantages associated with these generators, that doesn’t mean that they’re perfect or they’re ideal for every situation. There are some situations where the user may be better off using a gas-powered generator instead of one with an inverter. Below are some of the disadvantages associated with these generators.
Limited Runtime: One of the main problems with these type of generators is that they have limited runtimes. This is due to the fact that the vast majority of them, if not all of them, have small gas tanks. Although their fuel efficiency is improved over gas generators, the smaller gas tank is no small obstacle to overcome. A smaller gas tank always equals less runtime.
Limited Power Output: Although gasoline-powered models are manufactured with ratings from 500-watts up to 40,000+ watts, there aren’t large inverter generators available. These generators normally are manufactured with power outputs anywhere between 500 and 4,500-Watts. There just aren’t that many models that produce higher voltages, and the maximum voltage amount is somewhat limited with these generators.
Expense: When compared directly to gas-powered units, inverter models generally cost more. Although there may be some inverter models that are cheaper than some gasoline-powered models with the same power output, most of the time the inverter generator is the highest priced model.
Determining Your Needs
Now that you know the pros and cons of these devices, you’ll want to decide what size generator you need to buy. Regardless of whether you want to buy an inverter generator or a gasoline-powered one, you’ll need to determine the wattage generator you’re going to need.
After all, you’ll want to make sure that you have enough power to run the items that you want to run. Below are some common appliances and the amount of power they need to run.
- RV Air Conditioning: 2,800 to 3,000-Watts
- Mini-Fridge: 200 to 350-Watts
- Crockpot: 250-Watts
- Television: 150 to 300-Watts
- Laptop: 250 to 300-Watts
- 20-Inch Fan: 130-Watts
Although the above figures are estimates, they should give the average user a pretty good idea of how much energy they are going to need. Of course, when estimating your wattage needs, you are not only going to determine the cumulative total of all of the power you need, but you are also going to want to factor in at least 10% for a buffer.
For example, if you have a crockpot using 250-watts and a fan using 130-watts, you are going to want to add 10% to those 380-watts. Therefore, you are going to need a generator which can produce at least 418-watts.
Another important consideration to think about is the fuel type used for the generator and what your needs are. There are inverter generators which run on gasoline, some on solar and some on propane.
There are even generators which are a hybrid and can either run on gasoline or propane. You’ll want to make sure you purchase one that fits the type of fuel you need it to run on.
As it can be clearly seen, there are not only a lot of great inverter generators available but there are also a number of reasons to own one. Of course, each individual has to determine how much they can afford to spend and what features they are looking for, but overall, these type of generators have the features that most people are looking for in a generator.