A portable generator is a nice product to have on-hand because you can transport it easily from point A to point B as you need it. Great amenity to have in the backyard or when you are out and about. You can choose from a large range of prices and wattages, and there are numerous high-quality brands available. A portable generator is a must if you live in an area that routinely sees bad weather because they can help you out if you lose power for a short amount of time. They’re also very lightweight, and this makes it easy to toss them into your car and go if you like to camp out in more rural areas. But how do you pick out the correct one?
Since there are so many portable generators on the market, narrowing down your choices can seem like an overwhelming task. This is especially true if you’ve never bought one before and you have no idea what to look for. To save you time, I’ve picked out the best portable generators and reviewed them for you so you know what examples of quality products are. I’ve also put together a short buyer’s guide that will outline everything you need to know about these products at the end.
A generator is a nice thing to take when you go camping because it allows you to charge your smaller electronics any time you want, and it doesn’t take up a lot of space in your pack. It’s also lightweight enough to carry along.
1. Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Portable Inverter Generator
The first portable generator on our list comes from Westinghouse. You get 1,800 rated watts and 2,200 peak watts with this model, and it offers two 120-volt amp outlets with gas power. It weighs in at just over 40 pounds, and this is light and compact enough to easily store in your garden shed until you need it. It works well as an emergency backup for any power outages because it has enough power to easily run all of your essential appliances for a few hours. You get 13 hours of run-time on a single 1.3-gallon of gasoline, and it puts out a very quiet 52 dBA of noise that allows it to run in the background.
There is an economy mode on this portable generator that will help to save your fuel if you run short. You can combine two of these generators to double the power, and it works well with iGen1200, iGen2200, and iGen2500 models. They are factory-tested before they leave to ensure they’re all in excellent working condition, and they’re compliant with regulations set by the USFS and EPA. There is a three-year limited warranty on parts and labor, and the customer service team is nationwide.
- Easy to get in touch with customer service
- Has a three-year limited warranty
- Able to connect two generators to double the power
- Requires a fair amount of maintenance
- Runs slightly loud on higher settings
- Warranty is very limited and strict
2. Champion Portable Inverter Generator
Champion’s portable generator has dual fuel capabilities that runs on propane or gasoline right out of the box, and it’ll hold 0.6-quarts of oil. The low oil shut-off sensor prevents you from damaging the engine by running out of oil, and you should use 10W-30 for the best results. It has a starting watt rating of 3,400 with a 3,100-watt running rating, and this allows it to run for 7.5-hours on gasoline before you need to refill it. This is an RV-ready model that has 120-volt 30A RV plugins, and it also has two 120-volt 20A household outlets with clean electricity. You get a dual USB adapter and a 12-volt DC outlet too.
The ultra-quiet operation on this portable generator only puts out 59 dBA of noise when it runs, and this allows you to use it when you tailgate, in the RV, or as a backup power source for your home. There is free lifetime technical support and a three-year limited warranty from the date of purchase on this item, and there is a three-position ignition switch. This setup makes it easy to start the generator, and you get a Quick Touch Panel that lets you access every control all in one space. There is a battery included with this product.
- Dual fuel capabilities
- Comes with an ultra-quiet operation
- Gives you lifetime technical support
- Can clog and stall
- Customer service is difficult to contact
- Can leak fuel
3. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer
Since 2012, Jackery has excelled in providing green power solutions like this portable generator to customers around the world. This generator comes equipped with a 167-watt hour lithium-ion battery pack. This means that you won’t need any gasoline or fuel to run it, it doesn’t clang, and there is no fumes. This allows you to run it in enclosed spaces like your garage when you build it without an issue. You can take it out to rural locations easily because it only weighs 3.84-pounds. It works very well to charge tablets, phones, Go Pros, laptops, and a host of smaller electronics.
There is one AC outlet, one USB-C port, two USB-A ports, and a standard DC 12-volt port included on this portable generator. The built-in LED flashlight with SOS mode is nice to have if you get lost while you’re hiking or camping, and there is a solid carrying handle with an ergonomic design to help keep you comfortable. When you order this product, you get the generator, a car charging cable, an AC adapter, a user guide, and one DC car adapter cable. This is everything you need to get your unit up and running and ready to take with you on you next adventure.
- Very lightweight and compact
- Has an ergonomic handle
- Runs on a battery pack
- Not suited for larger electronics
- Can get very hot with extended use
- Fan is noisy
4. A-iPower SUA2000iV Portable Inverter Generator
A-iPower’s portable generator gives you 2,000 starting watts and 1,600 running watts of safe and clean power that is perfect for more sensitive electronics. You can use it with laptops, phones, televisions, and other types of electronics without fear of them shorting out or not being powerful enough to charge. It has a quiet operation with only 58 decibels when it runs, and this allows you to run it overnight close to you without it interfering with your sleep schedule. It weighs 46 pounds, and this makes it very compact and easy to pick up and carry or store in your care between uses.
If you want to extend the run time of this portable generator, you can switch it to the low idle technology. This will reduce the strain on the fuel source, and it works well for RVs, tailgating, and camping. This unit runs on gas, and you get several hours of run-time on a single gallon. All of the controls are on one side of this generator to make it easy to use and adjust as you need, and the sleek black and red coloring makes this generator highly visible in a broad range of backgrounds.
- Powerful enough to charge several electronics
- Sleek black and red color scheme
- Very user-friendly design
- Can burn through fuel quickly
- Access panel is very flimsy
- Can be confusing to set up
5. FF Flashfish Portable Power Station
You get multiple charging outlets with this portable generator that use a 11-volt AC output, two DC outputs, two QC 3.0 quick-charge USB ports, and one regular USB port that allows you to plug in your electronics while you’re outside enjoying movie night on your outdoor movie screen. You can’t use and charge this unit at the same time, but it works well for CPAP machines, tablets, phones, tablets, laptops, and more. It weighs in at just over four pounds, and this makes it an extremely portable option that can fit in the back of your car or camper for those times you need an emergency backup system.
There is a multifunction LCD display that will show you how much power you have left when you use it on this portable charger. It’ll also show you the AC output and DC devices at a glance, and you can see the health of your battery pack without any additional light. The lithium-ion battery pack can use solar energy to power it when it dies, and there is also an AC wall adapter and a car charger included in each purchase. There is a full year warranty from the date of purchase on this generator to protect you from defects and damage.
- Several charging ports
- Charges with solar power
- LCD display is very bright
- Will not last the advertised 40 hours on one charge
- Solar power takes a long time to charge
- Body is flimsy
6. TACKLIFE Portable Power Station
This portable generator by Tacklife has a 500-watt capacity because it uses a lithium-ion battery for the power source. This is enough power for use on RVs, outdoor camping, power outages, and emergency situations. You can take it hunting, fishing, camping, and on road trips, and it charges with solar power to give you an added convenience and flexibility. You’ll never have to worry about it dying. You do have to purchase the solar panel separately to charge it, but it comes with a maximum power point tracker that helps the device charge up to 40% faster when you use it.
You get 110-volt AC outlets that provide stable power on this portable generator, and there are also two DC ports and a car port with a maximum voltage of 120-watts. You can use a car pump or vacuum with it, and there are five USB ports with one 45W PD Type-C port that allows you to charge more electronic devices. The pre-installed wireless charging pad will give you up to 10W charging speeds for watches, phones, and anything that is Qi-compatible. You get a 24-month extended warranty with a 24-hour customer service line available when you purchase this product.
- Charges up to 40% faster
- Car charging cord included
- Very stable base
- Not suited for larger appliances
- Battery can drain quickly
- No 12-volt socket included
7. Honda Portable Inverter Generator
Honda’s portable generator can operate a large range of appliances, and this makes it great for use when you’re relaxing under your pergola, out on your patio, hunting, or camping. This unit operates between 48 and 57 dBA, and this makes it a quiet choice to have running close to wherever you’re sitting or sleeping, especially when you’re RVing. You can easily add a second generator to give yourself a power boost, and you can parallel two identical models for up to 4,400 watts of power with no time-consuming setup process. The small feet make this a very stable unit that sits slightly off the ground.
The eco-throttle system offers you a very high rate of fuel efficiency. This portable generator will run between 4 and 9.6-hours on a single tank of gas, depending on the load. You get clean and stable power in a lighter and smaller design with this generator, and the goal is to give you power that is just as stable as you get from an outlet in your home. It comes with a user-friendly interface that has all of the controls in one location for an easy access point each time you use it.
- Has a quiet operation
- Can hook dual generators up at once
- Runs up to 9.6-hours
- Doesn’t put out a lot of power
- Buttons are prone to sticking
- Eco-throttle system doesn’t work well
8. BALDR Portable Power Station
This portable generator by Baldr gives you a 297wh power capacity that allows you to power electronics longer than you would on batteries alone. You can use it for camping, travel, or home to charge your tablets, computers, phones, GoPro, walkie talkies, holiday lights, drones, and CPAP machines. You get three easy charging methods with this product, and it’ll work with any 100w solar panel. It can charge using solar power to 100% in five to eight hours, and you can charge it in seven to eight hours by plugging it into a 12-volt socket. It only weighs 7.1 pounds, and this makes it very portable.
This portable generator gives you one standard AC power socket, three QC 3.0 USB ports, one C-type port, one vehicle port, and two C ports all located on one side to make access very quick and easy. There is a battery management system on this generator that helps extend the battery life by offering overcurrent protection, short circuit protection, overload protection, overheating protection, and overvoltage protection. There is a multi-mode flashlight built into the design, and it doesn’t give off any fumes from gasoline or oil when you run it.
- 24-hour customer service
- Comes with a two-year warranty
- Has a 30-day refund guarantee
- Battery reliability can drop over time
- Can’t charge several things at one time
- Long charging time
9. Rainier R2200i Portable Power Station
Rainier’s portable charger gives you 1,800 rated watts and 2,200 peak watts with up to 13 hours or fun time on a single 1.3 gallon of gas. It has a four-stroke engine with a recoil start that is very easy to access, and the economy fuel mode will help you conserve energy while giving you maximum fuel efficiency. The 52 dBA output is very quiet, and this gives you a stable power source when you’re out in your hot tub enclosure relaxing. You can use it to charge computers, televisions, tablets, smartphones, and other small electronics quickly and easily, and it gives you a reliable power source.
The control panel on this portable generator has an overload alarm, low oil alarm, output indicator, one 12-volt 15 AMP DC outlet, two 5-20R 120-volt 20 AMP household outlets, reset and stop buttons, and one neutral floating grounding port. The built-in handle is very ergonomic, and the entire setup weighs 44 pounds. It’s compliant with regulations set by the EPA and CARB, and you get a three-year limited warranty against defects or damage when you purchase it. The ultra-compact design makes it easy to pick up and take with you on your next outing.
- Backed by a three-year limited warranty
- Ergonomic handle and lightweight design
- Runs on gasoline
- Oil changes are a hassle
- Has a very noticeable exhaust odor
- Slightly noisier design
10. BEAUDENS Portable Power Station
Beaudens’ portable generator uses a lithium-ion phosphate battery for a power source, and this is a more environmentally-friendly and safer option than other fuel sources. It lasts through 2,000 charge and discharge cycles, and it has an eight-month long standby time. The battery will last up to 10 years, and this is a high-capacity power station that comes with one QC 3.0 quick charge USB port, two DC outputs, a 110/150-watt AC output, and two USB 2.4A Auto ports. These ports give you the capability of charging several different electronic devices without an issue.
You can charge your items three ways with this portable generator. It has built-in MPPT technology, a car charger, and a solar panel port. It’ll take four to five hours to go from no battery to fully charged, and it’s ROHS, PSE, FCC, CE, and UL certified. The standby energy consumption level is very low, and there is protection against short circuits, overheating, overcurrents, overloads, overvoltage, and undervoltage to keep your generator working in top shape for years at a time. There is a two-year warranty from the date of purchase on this item.
- Eight-month standby time
- Battery can last 10 years
- Has a two-year warranty
- Not enough power for big appliances
- Need to buy the solar panel separately
- AC outlet can slip
Portable Generator Buyer’s Guide
Portable generators come in different styles, brands, sizes, and power levels. Finding one that will match all of your needs can be challenging, but this short buyer’s guide will help you find the perfect portable generator to suit your needs.
Pick a Type
One of the first things you do is decide on a type of generator, and they come in five main styles. Picking one from the start will help you narrow down your choices and make it not seem so overwhelming. The five main types of portable generators include:
- Solar – Solar panels are popular on houses, but they’re also a popular charging option for generators. There is no fumes, noise, or gasoline involved with using this type of generator, and this makes them a nice choice for camping or use in areas with no primary power source.
- Recreational Inverter – A recreational inverter generator is popular for camping, and they pack in a lot of technology. Tailgates and RV enthusiasts love these small but powerful models for their miscellaneous power needs.
- Emergency – An emergency generator has more powerful and larger engines with a bigger fuel tank. They’re meant to power big appliances like lights, televisions, sump pumps, and refrigerators for hours at a time, and this makes them more expensive.
- Semi-Professional – Contractors with a lot of power needs and homeowners with high-end taste like semi-professional generators. They’re powerful enough to run tools on a job site, or you can restore your power to your entire home during a blackout.
- Professional – The final category is arguably the most expensive, and this is the professional category. They use commercial-grade components that will run for a full shift on a daily basis. They have components like GFCI outlets, lifting eyes, and hour meters.
It’s a huge safety concern if your phone dies and you’re out at a rural site with no way to get in contact with someone if something goes wrong. Smaller chargers fit into your pack and can last for hours at a time, and you can recharge some of them depending on the type with solar panels.
Take a look at the fuel source your generator runs on. Many of the portable options run on solar power or batteries, but some run on gasoline. Generally speaking, you’ll get more run-time out of a system that uses gasoline as a fuel source than you will with a battery, and it’s easier to keep it running if you have gasoline with you ready to put in. Battery and solar-powered generators are good for using in short bursts around the house like charging you tools to use in your raised planter boxes.
How many different outlets will you need to charge your various items? Four or more outlets gives you the best wattage across them because it helps to spread the load. You should only use more than one or two in extreme circumstances because it can really drain the generator, and your items may not charge nearly as quickly as they would if there was only one plugged in. Also, all of the outlets should be easily accessible on the front or side of the device.
The generators on my list are all small enough to carry with you when you go hiking without adding too much additional weight. You can easily slip them right into your backpack, and they should have enough outlets to plug your various items in.
How much power does your generator have to put out to satisfy your needs and wants? Most of the generators on the list maxed out before they hit 5,000 watts because they had a much smaller size. Ideally, you’ll get one that has more than enough power to charge your devices when you need it without draining the power source itself. This simple calculator can help you decide.
You want to know when you’re running low on fuel like gasoline or oil, but you should also have an indicator when your batteries are dying and need charging. The generator you pick should have warning lights that are easy to see and understand. This will ensure that you don’t accidentally damage the motor or any parts of it by running it without the correct fuel levels.
Extremely large generators are common in machines, but they use professional-grade parts and materials that can withstand daily heavy use. The portable options are going to be slightly less durable than these ones, but they should both last for years.
All of the generators on the list will help you restore some power in a pinch. The highly portable designs are nice for putting them in your car and taking them camping, RVing, or even carrying them around your yard. You can read the reviews and use the buying guide to narrow down your choices. When You find the best one for your needs, you can ship it straight to your door so it’s ready to go when you need it.