Find the Best Portable Generator: Top Rated Reviews Guide

Find the Best Portable Generator: Top Rated Reviews Guide

best portable generator

Are you in the market for a generator? You’ve come to the right place. Whether it’s for travel on land or sea, camping or RV, it’s important to compare portable generators to size up the right one for you. So what separates the best from the rest? The answer is contingent upon you.

What are you using the generator for, and what are your priorities for making a purchase? Not sure what you’re priorities are yet? That’s OK too. On this site you’ll find a variety of information – just about everything you will need to know to make the right buy.​

Here you can find a solid portable generator comparison, and we only cover the best of the best brands and models available. We fill you in on what you’ll need to know if you’re shopping for your RV, boat, camper or if you just want a generator that runs quietly. So read on to find out everything you need to know, and explore the site to discover the best portable generator reviews on the internet.  Before that though, be sure to watch this video so you know everything you need to know about safely operating your portable generator.

Portable Generator Comparison Table

Image

Model

Running Watts

Run Time (Hours)

Price

Rating

WEN 56180

1,500

7.5

$

DuroStar DS4000S

3,300

8

$

Westinghouse 10KPRO

10,000

11

$$$$$

WEN 56200i

1,600

6

$

Champion Power Equipment 46597

4,000

12

$

Champion Power Equipment 76533

3,800

9

$

Champion Power Equipment 73536i

2,000

9.5

$

WEN PowerPro 56101

1,000

5

$

DuroMax XP4400E

3,500

8

$

Suaoki VVI5IJBT-01

200

2

$

Different Types of Generators

Let’s go over the different types of product you can get in this portable generator comparison. Although different types of generators may seem similar, each category of use will offer different features and benefits that may sway your decision in one direction or another.

Quiet Portable Generators

Looking for a quiet top rated portable generator? We don’t blame you. A loud generator is problematic and disruptive. If the generator is portable, chances are you’re using it on the go. An insanely loud generator is not going to help you win any popularity contests with your neighbors and friends, and it’s just plain irritating.

In your quest for the perfect generator that’s on the quiet side, you’ll want to pay attention to “noise level data,” usually given as decibels (dBA). To give you a point of reference, let’s cover some common noises and see how they compare with respect to dBA levels.

140 dBA is the equivalent to a shot gun fire – extremely noisy to intolerable. 80 dBA can be likened to the side walk of a busy street – loud. 30 dBA is as loud as the inside of your bedroom at night – quiet.  Meanwhile, 10 dBA is almost silent – literally the equivalent of a pin dropping.  Here's a handy decibel comparison chart for your reference. 

Portable Generators for Camping

When you’re basking in the beauty of nature, the last thing you want to hear is the humming of a noisy generator. (See the discussion above!) But specifically for camping, noise level can be a deal breaker – it’s common for National Parks to limit the sound that’s produced by generators to sixty decibels at fifty feet. So noise level is a definite concern when it comes to making your purchase.

Perhaps the next most important feature is portability. You’re going to want something easy to pack and bring with you. A longer run time is also a must for portable camping generators. If your generator needs to be refilled frequently, you might just find yourself having to get up in the middle of the night to refuel.

Portable Generators for the RV

When shopping for a portable generator for an RV, size is going to be a priority for you. Anyone who has spent a lot of time in an RV knows that every square inch of space is important when you are traveling in a vehicle.  If you're having any trouble making space for your generator, here are some great space saving ideas.

Of course, easy transport will also be a concern for you if you are choosing a generator for the sake of mobility. You might want to pick out a generator with built in handles or wheels and/or a model that doesn’t weigh much.

You will want a quiet RV generator for the same reasons I listed with camping generators, and finally, you will likely want to search for the ability to power a variety of appliances and devices. Therefore, search for a generator that produces clean energy.

Generators for the Boat

If you are looking for a generator to take on your boat, the criteria for a smart purchase remains the same – quiet operation so you can carry on a conversation without interruption, nice clean energy so you can operate smart devices and appliances without worry, and portability so you can haul the unit on or off the boat with ease.

With boats specifically, you will want to look for a generator that can run interrupted for a while without the need to refuel. This is simply because you’ll be out on the water with your portable generator and won’t want to worry about sudden shut downs.

Appropriate size is a key contingency on the water. Purchase a generator that is too small, and you’ll find yourself needing to stop your trip to refuel. On the other hand, choose a generator that is too large and you run the risk of inefficiency and needless use of power and gas.

Best Portable Generator Brands

I’ve noted in my research and reviews a few brands consistently make their way to the top of the list. To help you narrow down your search, here are three solid portable generator brands every consumer should know about:

Champion Power Equipment Generators

The Champion brand originated in 2003 and creates products for the workplace, the home, and for entertainment purposes. Out of lot of generator manufacturers, Champion stands out as the most affordable. Although some might argue Champion is not the most innovative brand, you can consistently find their generators offering the same performance as competitor’s units – at a highly discounted price. Champion produces four lines of generators ranging from heavy duty portables to ultra light portables. They take the time to conduct extensive tests on the equipment they sell and vigorously check each delivery for accuracy. One setback however, is that Champion products aren’t exactly known for longevity. That being said, if you are a value oriented shopper searching for a generator that will last a few years, Champion may be the brand for you.

Westinghouse Brand Generators

The Westinghouse brand is brought to you from the Westinghouse Electric Company, a power and electricity management group that specializes in power generation solutions. The company was founded in the late 1800s, which lends to the brand’s credibility and adds to their reputation. Manufactured in the United States Westinghouse designs portable generators with ergonomics in mind, and is dedicated to improving the technology of power.

In contrast to Champion, Westinghouse generators can be considered pricey by some, while others argue you get what you pay for with this company. With Westinghouse, you can enjoy reliability, a nice option for consumers looking for “a safe bet.” Their products are durable and will last you a while if you are willing to pay more.

Westinghouse also focuses on user friendly designs in their products, making this a respectable choice for a customer who is buying a generator for the first time.

Duromax Brand Generator

DuroMax generators are made by DuroPower, an engine and power tools producer based out of California. What sets DuroMax apart from other brands is the fact that they manufacture their own engines. There are a variety of models to choose from if you are shopping with DuroMax (twenty to be exact) and two distinctive designs for single cylinder, triple cylinder and four cylinder engines.

Each generator produced by DuroPower is built with cast iron sleeves, and every model complies with ETL and MTL standards. Although they hail from California, the company ships direct parts and components to anywhere in the world, which is convenient, and select models are EPA and CARB certified. Thanks to these certifications, DuroMax is a great choice for cross country travelers who need their generators to comply with state standards. If you are also looking for a long shelf life and dependability, look to DuroMax.

Top Five Generators – Portable Generators Review

To understand various product features, look to the best selling generators on the market. You can find this information in a portable generator review. Although each appliance is different, you will notice particular features and benefits that are universal to the best brands, makes and models. Here are the top five portable generators on the market:

1.  WEN 56180, 1500 Running Watts/1800 Starting Watts

The WEN 56180 is both EPAIII and CARB certified, perfect for travelers who need to operate a generator in all fifty states. The generator is powered by 1800 surge watts and 1500 running watts, providing power for recreation or emergency. Small in stature and minimal in weight, this portable generator stands out in its efficiency. It can run at half load for seven and a half hours fueled by only 1.45 gallons of gas. There are two AC120V 12.5A wall outlets and a 12V DC (cigarette lighter style) outlets included in the unit.

When the 56180 gets low on oil it automatically shuts down, which protects the engine from damage, a nice feature that’s user friendly. The spark arrestor allows the generator to be used in forests and natural parks, ideal for campers as well. This generator is versatile; able to run televisions, microwaves, slow cooker, a refrigerator and more while also delivering clean energy to sensitive devices like computers – a smart choice for the job-site or recreational usage.

2. DuroStar DS4000S, 3300 Running Watts/4000 Starting Watts

As its name suggests, the DuroStar DS4000S is a particularly durable generator, built on a heavy duty steel frame complete with isolated motor mounts, enabling quiet, smooth operation. The generator has features to allow for quick and easy maintenance, like automatic low oil shutoff, an air cooled OHV engine and a complete power panel that displays important information like a volt meter and an oil warning light.

This generator is EPA approved – but not CARB compliant. It provides 4000 watt surge power and 3300 watt continuous power for up to eight hours on a four gallon gas tank. There’s a mechanism built in called “EZ-Pull” - a recoil start to make operation easier. The power supply is ample: two 120 volt 3 prong outlets that powers home appliances and a one 120 volt 30 amp outlet design for high power tools. If portability is important to you, you have the option to purchase a wheel kit, and the generator is backed by a one year warranty. These benefits make the DuroStar DS4000S a great option for you to consider.

3. Westinghouse WH2200iXLT, 1800 Running Watts/2200 Starting Watts

Power up this generator anywhere at any time. It’s CARB compliant, lightweight (forty three pounds), and quiet (59 dBa at half load). The clean energy is supplied at 1800 running watts, 2200 starting watts and safely powers sensitive devices like cell phones, laptop computers, tablets and iPads.

A surprisingly lightweight gas tank that’s 1.3 gallons powers for thirteen hours at 25% load, which means that it can run all night. If you choose to, you can combine this generator with another Westinghouse of the same make and model, or a Westinghouse WH2400i model and double your power. The generator is made available with a two year limited warranty, and is EPA certified.

The Westinghouse design is innovative, with unique aesthetics like a dual muffler design, asymmetrical fans and a double insulated acoustic hood. This is an incredible choice for campers and boats because of its fuel efficiency, compact size and quiet operation.

4. WEN 56200i, 1600 Running Watts/2000 Starting Watts

This generator is particularly quiet when it runs – the volume can be compared to the sound of a normal conversation. Specifically, it measures at 51 decibles at 25% load. The EPA III and CARB Compliant engine runs at both 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated watts. The power produced is nice and clean, appropriate for smart devices like androids, iPhones, televisions or laptops. Included are two 3-prong 120V receptacles and one 12V DC receptacle. Additionally, there is one 5V USB port.

This generator is one of the smallest ones on the market – forty eight pounds with an easy to use carrying handle so you can move it easily. You can also link two generators to each other with a connection kit if you require more power.

5. Champion Power Equipment 46597

This generator is ready for your RV. It’s got a 30A RV outlet, and enough juice to run a 15,000 BTU air conditioner. The Champion 46597 can operate for up to twelve hours on a full tank of gas at 4000 starting watts and 3500 running watts. The generator runs on a 196cc engine with a unique feature called “Cold Start,” which means it is optimized for an easy start in cold weather.

Another innovative feature called “Volt Guard,” which secures all outlets from power surges. Additionally, there’s a three year warranty to back the product up. The wheel kit adds mobility to the unit, which is an obvious bonus if you are searching for a generator to power your RV. It’s reasonably quiet at 68 dBA from twenty three feet and has a built in surge protector to ensure safety and clean energy. All in all, the 46597 is the perfect compliment for your RV but would also work well in an emergency or for recreation.

Runners Up – The Next Five Best Products:

The Bottom Line

To recap, there are some key questions you will need to ask yourself when you take the plunge and decide on your next purchase. Where will you be using your generator? What types of appliances would you like to power? Are you looking to use the generator across country? And what are you looking for in a brand? Reliability, affordability or innovation? Get your priorities in order, know what you’re looking for, and you will make the best decision for your situation.

Product Images Sourced From Amazon.com​