Portable Generator Reviews & Guide – How to Choose Best Portable Generator?

Portable generators are the most popular type of generator. Coming in a huge range of power capabilities from approximately 1,500W to 13,000W, they suit a broad spectrum of uses.

Whether you want a generator to power a few appliances at home, to power your entire home during a power outage, to take away for recreational uses or at to use at a worksite, portable generators have you covered.

Not only do they offer great flexibility and portability, but they also come at a great cost too. With many models on the market, it can be hard to know what to look for, which is why we have prepared this best portable generator guide. Included you will find all the information you need to pick the best portable generator for you.

Best Portable Generators

Jump to:
What is the best portable generator size for me?
What factors should I consider when picking the best portable generator?
How much do portable generators cost?
Our best portable generator reviews

What is the best portable generator size for me?

The easiest way to determine your wattage requirement is to write a list of all the appliances you want to power. You can then establish what each appliance will need in watts (this information should be displayed somewhere on every appliance), and then add it all together. Now you should have a total wattage requirement which is the minimum needed from your generator.

Note that all generators will have two wattage ratings: ‘rated’ or ‘running’, and ‘maximum’ or ‘starting’. Assuming that you will not turn on each appliance at the same time, you can use the ‘rated’ or ‘running’ wattage as this is the amount the generator will produce continuously over a time period.

The ‘maximum’ or ‘starting’ rating is just the additional power it creates at start-up which only lasts a few seconds. It’s always a good idea to pick a generator that will give you some extra power to allow for the ‘starting’ wattage requirements, as well as any other unforeseen power requirements.

If you decide that you want the ability to power your entire house you will need to reference your utility bill history or contact your utility company directly to establish how many watts you need. Keep in mind your watt usage will vary throughout the year seasonally.

What factors should I consider when picking the best portable generator?

best portable generator buying factors

While they offer the flexibility of being movable, portable generators come in a range of dimensions and weights. Low wattage models may weigh as little as 60 pounds; however the larger, high wattage models weigh over 300 pounds. Ensure that you will be capable of moving the generator without causing injury to yourself or others.

One of the more important considerations to make is the noise level of the generator. Portable generators are generally the noisier type of generators, however they vary in their individual noise levels. Each generator will have a specification as to what noise level it produces in decibels (dB).

As an indication, a thunderclap produces a noise level of 120dB, conversational speech 60dB, and a pin dropping 10dB. Want more information on how the decibel scale works? It is explained nicely here. If sound level is a critical factor for you, see our quietest generators page.

Not all models run of the same fuel. While most portable generators use gasoline, some use propane. Some models even come as hybrid dual fuel generators meaning you can use either gasoline or propane.

For more information on propane generators including the advantages and disadvantages of gasoline vs propane as a fuel source, see our propane generators review guide.

The starting procedure also varies between models. Some require a manual pulling start, whereas some come with a much more convenient and easy electric start.

How much do portable generators cost?

Portable generators have a comparatively low upfront cost compared to the other types of generators. This means you are getting a higher wattage per dollar.

The price will vary according to the size and power capabilities. Generally, smaller models will cost around $200 whereas the larger models will cost up to $3000.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that each generator will also have a different running cost. You need to consider the individual tank capacity and running hours. For example, the Champion 3500W/4000W generator has a 3.8 gallon (14.4 L) fuel tank and will run for 12 hours at 50% load.

Portable Generator Reviews

We have reviewed top 5 portable generators for you. 

1. Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator – Best Portable Generator [Overall]

Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment WGen7500 Portable Generator with Remote Electric Start 7500...

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Westinghouse WGEN7500 generator comes with an electric push-button and a remote start feature. This 7500-watt and 9,500 peak watt generator is convenient and easy to use.

The major selling point of Westinghouse is its run time. Having a load of 25 percent, the 6.6-gallon unit can continuously run for 16 hours or 14 hours at 50 percent. 

According to the consumers of Westinghouse generator it’s powerful, fuel-efficient, and a great value for the price. It owns a 2V battery charger, oil, an oil funnel, and a toolkit.

It is a heavy weight generator with a weight of 200 pounds. Regardless of its heavy weight you can still move it thanks to wheels and a convenient foam grip handle.

Undoubtedly, it is a magnificent dual fuel portable generator possessing an inbuilt remote electric start. The generator is engineered to offer you ease and comfortability.

It can run  both on gasoline and propane. It comes with a key fob remote start and a push-button electric start. You can effortlessly turn it on, without the need of a recoil cord.

PROS

  • Owns a miraculous three-year warranty 
  • It has 11-hour runtime and produces 73 dB noise 
  • The backup recoil starts display informs you about the wattage draw and remaining runtime
  • Remote start
  • Easy setup
  • Can run up to 16 hours

CONS

  • The generator is relatively large and heavy than most of its peers 
  • It has a noise output of 73 dB
  • The generator uses much fuel due to its 6.6-gallon tank
Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment WGen7500 Portable Generator with Remote Electric Start 7500...
  • 7500 Running Watts and 9500 Peak Watts; Remote Start With Included Key Fob, Electric and Recoil...
  • Features Two GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) 5-20R 120V Household Duplex Receptacle and One...
  • Plug-and-Play: Comes with a Remote Start Key Fob, 12V Battery Charger, Oil, an Oil Funnel, a Tool...
  • Powered by a 420cc Westinghouse 4-Stroke OHV Engine Featuring a Long-Lasting Cast Iron Sleeve with...

2. WEN 56200i Super Quiet Generator – Best Portable Inverter Generator [Quietest]

WEN 56200i 2000-Watt Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator, CARB Compliant

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WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000 Watt Portable Generator has a weight of 48 pounds and a quiet operating level of 51 decibels (dB), making it a fantastic choice. It offers 2,000 watts  and features a one-gallon tank that up to six hours of power at a 50 percent load run time.

Two three-pronged 120V inputs, one 12V DC input, and one 5V USB port offer more than enough spectacular features to keep your appliances and portable electronics charged. 

The consumers loved the generator’s eco-mode for its efficient use of gas and low noise level. It also offers both low oil and low fuel automatic shutdown to protect the generator and your devices from damage. 

There’s no perfect generator, so WEN 56200i generator is not an exception either as it has a fairly small fuel tank and does not have wheels and an adjustable handle.

PROS

  • Easy setup
  • Lightweight
  • Parallel Connection Ports 
  • Overload Protection 
  • Eco-Mode 
  • Pull Cord 
  • One 5V USB Port 
  • Low-Oil Shutdown 
  • Two-Year Warranty
  • A very quiet generator

CONS

  • Fairly small tank
  • Does not have wheels and adjustable handle
  • According to users refueling the generator is very difficult 
WEN 56200i 2000-Watt Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator, CARB Compliant
  • Dimensions: 18" x 11" x 18" | Weight: 48 lbs
  • Noise Level: 53 dB operation
  • EPA III and CARB Compliant 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV engine produces 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated...
  • Great for campgrounds, construction sites, tailgates and power outages

3. Honda EU2200i 2200 Watt Super Quiet Portable Generator

Honda EU2200IC 2200-Watt Companion Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator

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The Honda EU2200I has a weight of 48 pounds which owns a built-in handle, making it easy to carry. One of the reasons why it is so light is because of its tiny fuel tank of only 0.95 gallon.

Despite its small tank its runtime is not affected as its fuel efficiency has solved the problem. It has a runtime of 8 hours which is very respectable for such a small inverter generator.

It is very quiet and only makes 48dB of noise. It is a low emission and CARB compliance generator making it a great option for use in nature parks and camping.

The power is quite average for an inverter generator with 1800 watts running power and 2200 watts surge power. In eco-mode it automatically alters the power output to the exact load.

Why Honda EU2200i 2200 Watt Generator?

A key feature worth mentioning is the Eco-throttle system. It allows the engine to run at its best while meeting the demands of the current load.

The generator’s engine is at the right size for its fuel consumption coupled with whisper-quiet operation. Thanks to its inverter technology, the generator powers all the electrical appliances.

Westinghouse iGen4500 4500 Watt Super Quiet Portable Generator

Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment iGen4500 Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator 3700 Rated &...

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It is a compact, lightweight, portable, and a noise-free solution to your power needs in emergency situations and for outdoor activities.

It runs on gas and offers efficient fuel consumption offering an extended running duration up to 16 hours on a quarter load and up to 12 hours on half load with 3.5 gallons of fuel.

It is capable of generating 4500 peak watts and 3700 running watts, which is a considerable amount to fulfill all kinds of power requirements. Thus, it is a perfect solution for backup power in case of power outages.

Why Westinghouse iGen4500?

Reasons to choose Westinghouse iGen4500 is because it is light and compact. Coupled with a built-in telescoping handle and two convenient top carrying handles, it allows for the ultimate hassle-free portability.
It is super quiet, making it a perfect choice for recreational activities and neighborhoods alike. Another to choose this generator is because it is safe for sensitive electronics. It produces clean, stable power (<3% THD) ideal for sensitive gadgets such as computers, televisions, and mobile phones. 

4. Duromax XP12000EH – Best Portable Heavy-Duty Generator [Powerful]

DuroMax XP12000EH Generator-12000 Watt Gas or Propane Powered Home Back Up & RV Ready, 50 State...

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Duromax generator should get some serious consideration if you are searching for high power and high-quality generator for your house, business or leisure activities. This offers peak power of approximately 12 000 watts and constant power of approximately 9500 watts. The peak power capacity implies it can offer sufficient current for the higher power consuming home appliances like fridges, irons, and air conditioners.

It is incredibly powerful generator that can run on both gasoline and propane. It even offers you a longer period for reliable service up to 2–3 years. Unlike other standard gas-powered generators, this machine is versatile and can support you in any situation.  Duromax XP12000EH has low noise levels so that you can use it comfortably in public locations. 

It is super affordable and easy to set up. On gasoline, the engine is strong enough for 12,000 watts transient power and 9500 watts continuous power. On liquid propane, the machine delivers 11,400 watts transient power and 9025 watts running power. 

Besides being great for keeping the essential electronics running at home. Thanks to its heavy duty design and solid-fill wheels for making it suitable as a work site generator. It is equipped with a full-metal frame and a fully isolated motor mounts which provides a protective casing for the machine.

PROS

  • The generator comes with a heavy duty frame and wheels
  • It is a hybrid model by design, running on both gasoline and propane
  • At half power, it runs for ten hours on an eight gallon tank of gasoline 
  • The engine automatically shuts off if the oil is low
  • Owns individual breakers so that you can turn them off to prevent overloading 
  • It starts relatively easily with both a key start and recoil start

CONS

  • Does not have an approachable customer service
  • Heavy 
  • Has a limited mobility
  • Not a quiet generator 

DuroMax XP12000EH Generator-12000 Watt Gas or Propane Powered Home Back Up & RV Ready, 50 State...
  • Powerful DuroMax Engine: the XP12000EH is powered by a DuroMax, 457cc OHV engine.
  • Dual fuel technology: the ability to run on propane or gasoline allows the freedom and flexibility...
  • Plenty of power: with 12,000 starting watts and 9, 500 running watts, This unit can handle heavy...
  • Maximum power: with DuroMax MX2 technology, get the maximum power from each of the 120 volt...

5. Westinghouse WGen9500 Powerfull Portable Generator

Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment WGen9500 Heavy Duty Portable Generator 9500 Rated 12500 Peak...

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Westinghouse WGen9500 is a heavy duty, gasoline powered portable generator with 9500 rated watts and 12500 peak watts. It can power your major appliances such as an air conditioner, refrigerator, and sump pump at the same time. 

It is equipped with a steel 6.6 gallon fuel tank, making it possible for WGen9500 to run for 17.5 hours throughout the night or day. Push-button electric start makes it possible to start the generator as a breeze. The remote start key offers a better convenience to start from a distance of 109 yards. 

In addition, it has an emergency back up recoil start. VFT display keeps you informed regarding with the volt output, frequency, and lifetime hours. It has a feature of transfer switch which allows you to energize all your home’s necessary appliances when you need them the most. 

It is conveniently portable with an included set of heavy duty never-flat wheels, handle, and lift bracket so you can have your house powered in seconds. Moreover, built in automatic voltage regulator, automatic low oil shutdown, and overload protection lets your mind be at ease as well. It is EPA and CARB compliant.


Why Westinghouse WGen9500?

Choosing Westinghouse generator is a good option for many. It comes with VFT display which gives you real time updates with the voltage output, frequency, and lifetime hours. It has a heavy duty engine, a transfer switch to quickly connect from your generator to manual transfer switch during a power outage.

It owns an automatic voltage regulator, automatic low oil shut-down, and overload protection letting you to have a peace of mind.

Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment WGen9500 Heavy Duty Portable Generator 9500 Rated 12500 Peak...
  • 9500 Running Watts and 12500 Peak Watts; Remote Start With Included Key Fob, Electric and Recoil...
  • Features Two GFCI 120V 5–20R Standard Household Receptacle, One Transfer Switch Ready 120V...
  • Powered by a Heavy Duty 457cc Westinghouse 4-Stroke OHV Engine Featuring a Long-Lasting Cast Iron...
  • Plug-and-Play: Comes With a Remote Start Key Fob, 12V Battery Charger, Oil, an Oil Funnel, a Tool...

Conclusion

Regardless of the generator types all of the generators demand maintenance. It is always a good practice to regularly test the battery’s current status and run the generator on a weekly basis at least for 30 minutes under load.

This will charge the battery, remove excess wetness, lubricate the engine and filter the fuel and foil.

If you want longer lifespan of your portable generator make sure you check for leaks, assess oil and coolant levels, glance at the belts and hoses and check the battery terminals and cables. It is important to inspect the oil as well, as it must be changed regularly.

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