10 Best Portable Generators – Small Generator Reviews

Best Portable Generators

Most people don’t think about generators until a storm hits their home and they suddenly lose all of the conveniences of modern life. Now they can no longer keep their food refrigerated, can’t power on the television to see what’s going on or even turn on a light.

All of which could have been avoided if only they had bought the best portable generator when they had the chance.

Top 3 Recommendations

Best on a BudgetBest SellerBest Quality
Champion 3500-Watt RVWEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-WattHonda EU2000I 2000-Watt
Westinghouse iGen2200 Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator (3)WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter GeneratorHonda EU2000I 2000 Watt
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Buying the best portable generator for home use doesn’t have to be difficult, and it certainly doesn’t have to be expensive.

Which is why we’ve decided to give you some portable generator reviews to check out, as well as a detailed guide on how to purchase one for your home.

Best Portable Generator Reviews

#10 Briggs & Stratton 30545 PowerSmart

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The Briggs & Stratton 30545 PowerSmart is a portable unit that has the power to get the job done. It’s a 3,000-Watt Inverter generator that has a variety of outlets that can be used to power various tools or appliances. It has four 120-volt AC outlets, a USB port, a Parallel Port, and a 12-V-5-A DC outlet. This gives the user a number of different options when the power goes out.

This unit has a 1.5-gallon fuel tank that can deliver up to 10-hours of operation when it’s running at a 25% load. The power this unit produces is nice an clean, which is important for electronics, and its engine is less noisy than comparable generators. And finally, it has an LCD screen that gives the user information about how the unit is performing and reminders about its maintenance schedule.

#9 DuroStar DS4000S Gas Powered Unit

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Although this is a fairly small generator, don’t let that fool you. It’s compact, but it does provide a good deal of power. This unit can produce 3,300-Watts of continuous power and can produce up to 4,000-starting Watts. It has two 120-Volt NEMA 5 outlets, one 120-volt out, and has 7-HP of power. It can run for approximately 8-hours on a full tank of gas, has a full power panel with a circuit breaker and an oil warning light.

Another positive of this unit is that it’s pretty quiet for a generator. One of the things not to like about this unit is the oil drain plug that is partially blocked by the frame, and this can make it difficult to change the oil. It’s also recommended that the oil is changed after every 20-hours of use, which can be a hassle to do. Other than those points, however, this unit is a compact generator that works hard and does what it’s supposed to do.

#8 Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Super Quiet

Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Super Quiet

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With 1,800 rated Watts and 2,200 Peak-Watts, this portable inverter generator is able to handle light recreational use or can be used to power a few items in an emergency power outage. It has two 120-Volt 20-Amp outlets, and this unit produces power at less than 3% THD, which makes it suitable for powering even sensitive electronic equipment.

This unit is really quiet, so it won’t disturb the whole neighborhood when it’s running and is pretty fuel efficient as well. Its noise output is only about 52-decibels, and it can run for approximately 13-hours at a 25% load. This unit automatically shuts down when the oil level gets low, is EPA/CARB compliant, and has a 1.3-gallon gas tank. All of which comes together to give the user the power solution they need for their home, worksite or campsite needs.

#7 Generac 6866 iQ2000 Super Quiet

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This portable inverter unit is designed to not only deliver the power that the user needs but to do it in a quieter way. It delivers 1,600-Watts of continuous power and 2,000-Watts of starting power, which is enough power to power a household’s essential appliances. With a 25% load, this product can run for approximately 7.5-hours on a full 1.06-gallon fuel tank.

Since this generator uses an alternator that’s different from most generators, it produces significantly less noise. Other features which make this product pretty decent include a Powerbar that displays the wattage of what it’s producing at the moment, a switch to set the mode of operation (Turbo, Standard, Economy) and a Powerdial that integrates common starting functions.

#6 WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000

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Delivering up to 2,000 Surge Watts and 1,600 Rated Watts, this product is able to power some essential appliances during an emergency power failure. And it produces power that’s clean enough that it can be used to power electronics such as computers, tablets or smartphones.

This unit is EPA II and CARB-Compliant and has two 120-Volt receptacles, a 12-Volt DC receptacle, and a 5-Volt USB volt. This generator can be used at a worksite, at home or at the campgrounds and is designed to deliver a reliable source of power. And since it’s fairly quiet, it can be used just about anywhere a quiet source of power is required.

#5 Westinghouse WGen7500 Unit

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When it’s absolutely necessary to have a reliable source of power, it’s important to get a generator with enough Watts to get the job done, and this generator is such a product. It can deliver up to 7,500 Running Watts and up to 9,500 Peak Watts, which is enough power to power a number of different tools and appliances. It has a 6.6-gallon fuel tank and can deliver up to 10-hours of run time at a 50% load.

This unit has two GFCI 120-Volt outlets and an L14-30R 120/240-Volt twist-lock outlet. All of these outlets come equipped with rubber covers for safety, and this unit comes with a remote start-key, a 12-Volt battery charger, an oil funnel, instruction manual and a toolkit. All of which allows it to be used as soon as possible after its fueled.

#4 Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel Unit

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After reading several champion generator reviews, it became obvious that this product was something that I needed to review and I’m glad I did. This generator has a number of features which makes it extremely useful to just about anyone. It is a dual-power generator, which means that it can not only run on gas but it can run on propane as well.

Its 4-stroke 224cc engine can deliver up to 3,800 running Watts and 4,750 starting Watts, and it can run up to 9-hours on a full tank of gasoline or up to 10-hours on 20-pounds of propane. This unit is RV ready and has a 120-Volt 30-Amp RV outlet, two 120-Volt 20-Amp household outlets, and a 120-Volt 30-Amp locking outlet. And all of these outlets are protected by a built-in surge protector aptly named Volt Guard. All of these features make this unit very handy for just about RV user.

#3 Westinghouse iGen2200 Super Quiet

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2,200 Peak Watts and 1,800 Rated Watts are exactly what this 46-pound unit provides. This gas-powered generator has two 120-volt 20-Amp outlets and two USB outlets, just enough to keep essentials powered during an emergency power failure or for taking to the camping grounds.

This unit is fuel efficient, running for up to 12-hours on a 25% load, and is an extremely quiet generator, with a noise level of only 52-decibels. This unit has a 1.2-gallon fuel tank, and this unit can be used in parallel with other Westinghouse iGen2200 generators when an additional cord is purchased. The last thing worth mentioning about this generator is that it complies with CARB, EPA and USFS regulations.

#2 Champion 3500-Watt RV Ready Generator

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This generator is ideal for RV users but is suitable for just about anyone to own. It delivers up to 3,500 Running Watts of power and up to 4,000 Starting Watts of power. It has a decibel level of approximately 68-decibels from a distance of about 24-feet and can run for approximately 12-hours on a full tank of gasoline.

This product has a 120-Volt 30-Amp RV outlet, a 120-Volt 30-Amp locking outlet, and a 120-Volt 20-Amp household outlet. This unit also has Volt Guard, a built-in surge protector which protects the appliances plugged into this generator from voltage spikes. These features make this generator one of the better portable models available.

#1 Honda EU2000I 2000 Watt Unit

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This unit is not the best portable model available because it delivers the most wattage because it doesn’t. It’s the best because it’s the perfect blend of power, portability and fuel efficiency. This product can deliver up to 2,000 Watts of power and can deliver power for up to 8-hours on a single gallon of gas. This unit is extremely quiet, easy to carry where it’s needed and can be used to power televisions, coffee pots, and other such appliances.

It’s durable enough for non-stop use and is also safe to use. It has two 120-Volt outlets and one 12-Volt DC outlet. It can also be run in parallel with other compatible Honda generators with the purchase of the necessary equipment.  All things considered, this product does what it’s designed to do, which isn’t something that can be said of a lot of other devices.

How to Buy the Best Portable Generators

Now that we’ve gone over some of the top products in our portable generators reviews, it’s time to talk about buying one of the products. A portable generator is a great product for unexpected power failures for two reasons: One, it’s inexpensive when compared to standalone generators.

Two, it can be taken away from the home to provide power for a distant location—for powering a worksite, for instance. Of course, not ever generator is right for every person or for every situation, and that’s why we decided to write this guide. We wanted to give you the information you need to buy the best generators for you.

When you are choosing a generator, there are a number of things you need to think about. You have to decide whether you need a portable or a standalone generator, determine what your particular wattage needs are, and determine what accessories you may need to purchase to operate the generator.

Since you’re reading this guide, we’re going to assume that you have already determined that a portable generator is your best option, so let’s address the rest of the things that you need to consider.

Determine Your Wattage Needs

Portable units are used to supply power for three primary purposes. They are used for recreational use (tailgating or camping), for emergency use (hurricanes and thunderstorms) and for the worksite (powering drills and other power tools).

For each of these activities, you are going to have to decide how much power you’re going to need. And to determine that, you are going to have to know the power that some of your tools or appliances use. Below are some of the more common appliances and tools and how much each of them consumes.

Recreational UseEmergency Home UseWorksite Use
  • Electric Griddle or Grill: 1,200 to 1,600-Watts
  • Am/FM Radio: 100-Watts
  • Box Fan: 200-Watts
  • Inflator Pump: 60-Watts (Plus 150-starting watts)
  • 42-Inch Plasma TV: 240-Watts
  • Refrigerator: 600-Watts
  • Freezer: 600-Watts
  • ½ HP Sump Pump: 1,050 to 1,200-Watts
  • Heat Pump: 4,700 to 5,000-Watts
  • Window AC (10,000 BTU): 1,250 to 1,300-Watts
  • Halogen Work Light: 300-Watts
  • Circular Saw: 1,200 to 2,400-Watts
  • Electric Pressure Washer: 1,200 to 3,600-Watts
  • Electric Drill: 300-Watts
  • 9-Inch Disc Sander: 1,200-Watts

The above wattage amounts are only an estimate, and you should accurately determine how much power your tools and appliances are going to use. It’s also a good idea to look up the starting wattage needs of some of your tools. Some tools draw more power when they first start than when they continuously run.

For example, an electric lawn mower may only use 1,500-Watts when it runs, but it will draw up to 4,400-watts to start. That extra wattage needs to be accounted for when you are determining the wattage of your generator.

Determine the Type of Portable Generators

Portable generators are available in a variety of different types. There are ones that are powered by gasoline, some that are powered by liquid propane (LP) and some that are powered by solar. Determining which type best suits your needs really depends on what’s more practical for you.

Additional Items That My Be Required

It’s also important to make sure that you know what you need to purchase to properly operate your generator. Whole house generators generally need a transfer switch to interface with the home’s wiring, and portable units may require the purchase of additional extension cords to operate various appliances.

While we can’t anticipate what you may need for the particular generator that you purchase, if you do your research, you’ll have a good idea of what you’ll probably need to purchase to operate your generator.

Safety Precautions

The above are the basics of what you’re going to need to buy the best possible unit for your recreational, emergency or worksite needs.

Now, that we’ve covered the basics of how to purchase a generator, we would like to take a few more moments of your time and talk about some of the best practices and safety measures you should use when running your brand new generator.

Always Read The Manual

The first thing you should do before even attempting to use your generator is to thoroughly read the manual and/or instructions that came with your unit.

You should know how to properly operate the generator and should be familiar with all of the safety instructions and warnings they give you.

If there’s a discrepancy between these safety guidelines and your manufacturer’s instructions, you should always give precedence to the manufacturer’s safety warnings.

Never Use the Generator Indoors

Generators are designed to be operated outdoors, so make sure that you never operate them inside your home. You will also make sure that you don’t operate them in partially enclosed areas such as garages or loading areas.

You should also keep the generator away from doors, vents, windows, crawl spaces or other areas where the generator’s toxic fumes can be introduced into a living area. Remember, these devices produce carbon monoxide, an odorless gas which can cause serious injury or death.

Be Careful With Its Fuel

Always be careful when adding fuel to your generator. Make sure that you don’t overfill the tank and that you don’t add fuel to it while it’s running.

Operate on a Level Surface

Before you begin running your portable generator, make sure that it’s on a level, even surface. Also make sure that it’s in an area where it won’t be exposed to moisture, dirt or excessive dust.

Don't Connect to Home Wiring

This is extremely important. Never try to wire your portable unit into your home wiring or through a household outlet.

Doing so can result in electrocution to you or others in the home and may result in a fire.

It can also back-feed into the power lines and cause injury to your neighbors as well. In other words, just don’t do it.

Make Sure the Unit is Grounded

It’s also important to make sure that your unit is grounded according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Don't Overload the Generator

Never try to exceed the wattage rating of your generator. Only use your generator when absolutely necessary and only to power the equipment you absolutely need to power.

Maintain Your Generator

Make sure that you properly maintain your generator, according to manufacturer’s instructions, and that you test it on a regular basis for readiness.

In Conclusion

Now that we’ve covered some of the top reviews, how to purchase a generator that suits your needs and have gone over some safety guidelines, you can now purchase one of these units for use at your house, camping ground, RV or worksite and do it with confidence.