Top 10 Best Portable Generators Reviewed In 2017
From household to campsites to job-sites, the constant flow of power needs to ensure productivity and efficiency. You might require outside power connection to a place that does not have electricity connection or there might be power crisis due to the natural disaster or connection problem. In any case of natural disaster or power crisis, generators are worthy as a life saver. When it comes to portable generators, the value gets multiply as the portable generators possible to remote places such as campsites and RV camping places. The portable features make carrying the quiet generator lot easier than you may think. Besides, such devices predominantly come with CARB compliant features so that you can run the best generator in most of the states of California. We processed various best portable generator reviews for your best choice.
All in all, portable generators have become immensely popular among customers because of its ease of usage. However, there are so many portable generators from different generators of various manufacturers. It’s very confusing to find the best deal among a lot of options. That is why we have come up with a list of best Portable generator reviews. you can take your purchase decision as per your requirements and choice to the best portable generators available in the market.
№1 – WEN 56200i, 1600 Running Watts/2000 Starting Watts
The WEN 56200i is the most popular portable generator for camping. This is because it offers much more than simply electric power. Our research has proven that it is the best-selling generator online today.
The generator is extremely quite when operating, and it is comparable to the sound of a normal person conversing with another. This is according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Apart from this, it is EPA III and CARB compliant. The Engine power is 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV engine, producing 2000 surge watts and 1600 operating watt.
The WEN 56200i generator has been designed to mirror pure sine wave and this generator limits total harmonic distortion to under 0.3% at no load and under 1.2% at full load. This is the main reason, why this generator produces clean power that can be used on sensitive circuits like that of a laptop, computer, Phone, and even tablet.
The generator has the ability to limit its speed automatically according to the load. What does this mean? Well, it simply means that it will consume gas that is needed, making it economical.
№2 – Champion Power Equipment 46539 3500 Watt RV
The Champion Power Equipment 46539 is a portable generator one must have. This is because it comes RV ready. What does this mean? Well, it simply means that it comes with wireless remote start function, which means you do not have to be close to it. It is cost effective and convenient solution for power outages, camping, site jobs and much more.
The generator has the ability to produce 4000 starting watt and 3500 running watts. The remote start and stop feature works up to 80 ft. away. It comes travel-ready, with a standard 30A RV outlet, with enough power to power everything in an RV, including the cooling system. It does also make a great solution for backup power during an emergency and will power essentially all items you need in the power outage.
№3 – Westinghouse iGen2500 Portable Inverter Generator
Anytime you want to go camping, then Westinghouse iGen2500, gas powered generator is the perfect choice. The generator provides safe and reliable power that can support sensitive circuits such as those found in a computer. Moreover, the engine speed of the Westinghouse generator is digitally regulated to match the load that is being used or needed.
You cannot get this feature on conventional generators, which run at a constant speed with no variation to engine speed. This makes the generator efficient, economical, and worth buying. It comes with a 2 year limited warranty and access to a nationwide network of support professionals.
№4 – DuroStar DS4000S, 3300 Running Watts/4000 Starting Watts
The DuroStar DS4000S is a great generator for camping, sporting events, RVs, Job sites, Home back up, and much more. This product has a 7.0 horsepower air-cooled overhead valve engine. It has also a recoil start that provides 3,300 constant running watts of power and 4,000 watts peak wattage. This makes the generator perfect for almost anything (i.e. the best for a various uses even in an emergency.
It can run for 8 hours continuously, with one full tank. It has been fitted with a 4.0-gallon fuel tank. When the generator has low oil, it will automatically shut-off to protect the engine from damaging. The power panel features the main controls, which include start switch, voltmeter, and a circuit breaker.
№5 – Yamaha EF2000iSv2, 1600 Running Watts/2000 Starting Watts
The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 portable generator has the ability to run wide range of appliances for a long period, while still maintaining stability. It comes with a completely new controller with advanced programming, which gives its users the ability to power a much wider range of applications compared to its earlier versions or models.
It weighs less than 45 pounds, compact, and lightweight, which makes it easy to carry and store while going for camping. The generator can run up to 10.5 hours continuously without refueling and uses premium technologies to maximize fuel efficiency. Thanks to its innovative inverter system, the generator is able to generate up to 2,000 watts of clean AC power.
№6 – WEN 56180, 1500 Running Watts/1800 Starting Watts
The WEN 56180 is another portable and lightweight generator that is perfect for camping, job sites, and emergencies. It provides reliable power whenever and wherever you require it. It offers 1800 watts surge power and 1500 running watts. In other words, it is a powerful product with the ability to run your home microwave machine, TV, sump pump, computer, refrigerator, blender, slow cooker, and other home appliances.
If you need power when there is an outage, the WEN 56180 has you covered. It delivers 98 cc of power, with an internal cooling system. It is EPAIII and CARB compliant.
№7 – Champion Power Equipment 73536i 2000 Watt
The Champion Power Equipment 73536i 2000 Watt Stackable Portable Inverter Generator is perfect for camping. It is not only quiet and lightweight but also a great addition to your RV when going camping. The inverter produces 1700 watts when running and 2000 starting watt.
Remember: This unit is not recommended for emergency home backup power. Moreover, it does not have the power to run an air conditioner, stove, sump pump, or furnace. However, one has the ability to connect it parallel to another Champion 2000 Watt Inverter to produce an output of 30A.
№8 – Suaoki 220Wh/20,000mAh Portable Generator Power Source Power Supply with 100V/110V/60Hz, Max 200W
Suaoki portable generator is like no other. It offers up to 200 watts when running and 240 Watt starting power. It is silent and offers zero emissions. Its power source is electric charge, which may come from a solar panel or any other power source. It does not require any electrical know how to simply charge the unit. If you are using it with a solar panel, then it is wise to use an input power that is equivalent to or more than 30 Watt.
Through its 20,000mAh high voltage battery capacity, this power generator has the ability to meet different electric demands, and it can be used almost anywhere without worrying about noise or pollution. This generator can be used to jumpstart your vehicle, use it for lighting under emergency situation as well as power up devices such as phones, tablets, camera and others.
№9 – Honda EU2000I Super Quiet 2000 Watt
The Honda EU2000i inverter generator is a super quite generator, which produces 53 to 59 decibels of sound when operating. You have to admit that this is impressive and the noise is much less compared to other generators. With this product, when camping, you do not have to worry about the noise and it affecting the serine surrounding the whole idea of nature. It comes with a powerful Honda GX100 engine with a 0.95-gallon fuel tank capacity.
This generator can operate for about 8.1 hour non-stop, on just one tank of fuel. It weighs only 46 pounds. It is also small and compact. The benefit of it all is that this generator is capable of delivering clean and reliable power that of a standard household outlet, using the inverter technology.
№10 – PowerPro 56100 2-Stroke 1000-Watt Generator
The PowerPro 56101 gas generator is proof that indeed good things can come in small packages. The generator delivers 900 watts when it is running and 1000 watts of starting power. It is small, portable, and only weighs 36 pounds. The generator can be used for camping, tailgating, and even used in homes as a backup power source. This two-stroke power generator features an engine ON/OFF switch, a 12 Volt DC receptacle, a 12 Volt three-prong receptacle, a voltmeter and an individual circuit reset buttons.
It does not matter if you are going to a job site, camping site, or the big game, the PowerPro 56101 gas generator is what you need. It is easy to carry, and works perfectly. This generator surpasses both EPA and CARB standards. It includes spark arrestor, which makes it safe to use in forests and parks.
What is a generator?
In electrical generators, the energy stored in fuel is converted into the mechanical energy of a rotating shaft with the help of a machine called a prime mover. Common types of primer movers are internal combustion engines, steam turbines, water turbines, wind turbines and gas combustion turbines.
Conventional generators have been in existence for many years and their mode of operation has remained fundamentally unchanged. Typically, a generator consists of an energy source, often a fossil fuel such as propane, gasoline or diesel, which is used to power a motor attached to a power-generating alternator. The generator’s motor must function at a constant speed (commonly 3600 RPM) in order to produce the standard electric current required by most households (typically 120 Volts AC at 60 Hertz).
Today, many advanced portable generators include inverters in their design. By definition, inverters are devices that draw power from fixed DC (direct current) sources such as car batteries and solar panels and use their electronic circuitry to convert the DC power to AC (alternating current) power. While the converted AC power can be of any required frequency and voltage, the most common combination is taking 12 DC power from a boat, car or RV battery and converting it to a 120V AC power required for most practical uses.
Main Components of a Generator
A typical electric generator consists of an engine, alternator, fuel system, voltage regulator, cooling and exhaust systems, battery charger, control panel and main assembly (frame). The engine is the core of the generator and provides the input mechanical energy needed for electricity generation. Generator engines operate on different types of fuels, including gasoline, propane (either liquefied or gaseous), diesel and natural gas, with smaller engines commonly using gasoline while larger engines commonly use diesel, propane gas, liquid propane or natural gas.
Today, overhead valve (OHV) engines have become quite common because of their compact design, durability, user-friendliness, low noise levels and low emission levels. An OHV engine is simply an engine with its intake and exhaust valves located in the engine cylinder’s head as opposed to the engine block.
An alternator is the portion of the generator that converts the mechanical input supplied by the engine to electrical output. It is simply an assembly of moving and stationary parts that have been encased in a container. The moving component (Rotor or Armature) produces a rotating magnetic field through induction, permanent magnets or an exciter while the stationary component (stator) contains electrical conductors that have been wound in coils over iron cores. The rotor produces a moving magnetic field in the area around the stator and causes voltage to flow in the form of alternating current (AC) output from the generator.
The fuel system of a generator is made up of a fuel tank with sufficient capacity to carry fuel that can last at least 6 hours of generator operation. The most common features of a generator’s fuel system are a pipe connection from the engine to the fuel tank, ventilation pipe for the fuel tank, overflow connection from the fuel tank to the drain pipe, fuel pump, fuel water separator (fuel filter) and fuel injector.
Closely associated with the fuel system is the voltage regulation system. As its name applies, the voltage regulation system controls the generator’s output voltage. It is made up of the voltage regulator (which converts AC voltage to DC current), exciter windings (converts the DC current from the voltage regulator to AC current), rotating rectifiers (converts AC current from exciter windings into DC current and feeds it to the rotor) and Rotor (converts the DC current from the rotating rectifiers into a larger AC voltage that is sent out as the generator’s output AC voltage).
The cooling system helps to withdraw the heat produced by various components of the generator. In most industrial and residential generators, hydrogen and fresh water are the most common coolants. However, the generator must also be placed in an open and well-ventilated area so that fresh air can take away the heat and boost its cooling.
A generator’s exhaust system helps to dispose off exhaust gases such as carbon monoxide which are produced by the generator as it uses up fuel. The exhaust pipe must terminate outdoors and lead away from the windows, doors and other openings of a building or house to protect generator users from dangerous gases. Besides, every generator must have a lubricating system to boost the durability and smooth function of its moving parts. Usually, the lubrication is done using oil stored in a pump, but the level of lubricating oil should be checked regularly to make sure it does run out when the generator is in operation.
The start functions of all generators are usually battery-operated. A battery charger is used to supply correct “float” voltage for keeping the generator battery charged. The battery chargers are typically made of stainless steel and are fully automatic. Similarly, every generator must have a control panel with provisions for electrical controls and outlets. While different manufacturers provide different features in the control panel, certain features such as electric start, electric shut-down, engine gauges, generator gauges, phase selector switch, engine control switch and frequency switch are common in most control panels.
Lastly, all generators, whether stationary or portable, must have frames (main assembly/housing) to provide the necessary structural base support and allow for the generator to be earthed for safety.
Portable Inverter Generators
Inverter generators are a relatively recent development, made possible by advanced electronic circuitry and high-tech magnets. These are generally 3-phase generators that output AC current like most traditional generators, but that current is then converted to DC, and then “inverted” back to clean AC power that maintains a single phase, pure sine wave at the required voltage and frequency.
You may ask the question “Are all generators inverter generators?” and the answer is no. Traditional generators produce AC power, at which the motor must run at a consistent speed (usually 3600 rpm) to produce the standard current that most households require (usually 120V AC). If the engine fluctuates, so will the electrical output, so the power isn’t very “clean”.
Inverter generators are also known as “3-phase generators” that convert the AC power to DC power, and then back to AC power that maintains a single phase, pure sine wave at the required voltage and frequency. So the power output is much more “clean”.
The benefits of an inverter generator include: higher quality power output, lighter and smaller size, quieter operation, parallel capacity and higher fuel efficiency.
What the best portable generators have
Reliable performance. Above all else, your generator has to run when you need it to run. The bitterest complaints about generators come from people whose units wouldn’t start up when the power went out. Once it’s up and running, the generator should deliver smooth, consistent voltage.
Easy starting. Ideally, the generator should fire up on the first or second pull of the starter cord. Some portable generators include a push-button starter, which is easier to use than a cord. These run off a battery that’s often sold separately.
Adequate run time. Some generators can run for over 16 hours on a full tank of gas (or a 20-pound tank of propane), while others conk out after as little as 4 hours.
Low emissions. Portable generator engines that meet CARB (California Air Resources Board) requirements, sometimes called 50-state compliant models, pollute the least.
Economy mode. In economy mode, or “eco” mode, the engine speed drops to meet the electrical load. This further reduces emissions and fuel use when you don’t need the generator’s full power.
Basic safety features. Low-oil shut-off protects your generator’s engine from damage if it runs too low on oil. Outlet covers protect plug-ins from the elements. GFCI outlets protect you from electrical shocks in wet conditions.
Maintenance gauges. A fuel gauge shows you how much gas is left in the tank, so you know when to top it up. An hour meter tracks how long the unit has run, so you know when it’s due for an oil change or other maintenance.
Low noise. All generators make noise when you’re standing right next to them, but the best ones aren’t obtrusively loud when you’re indoors with the generator running outside.
Wheels. It isn’t really possible to move a 200-pound generator without wheels – yet not every model comes with them. When wheels are sold separately, they can add as much as $150 to the price of the generator.
A two- or three-year warranty. This is typical for all but the least expensive generators. Familiarize yourself with the terms of the warranty so that you understand what it and isn’t covered.
Know before you go
What’s your peak-wattage load? Check the owner’s manual to determine an appliance’s peak wattage. This is how much power it takes to run at its highest level of power consumption, usually when appliances are first starting up. To determine whether your portable generator has the juice it needs to power up your appliances simultaneously, add the peak wattage of all the appliances you want to run. The sum is the peak output your portable generator needs to be able to start everything up at once.
What are your running-wattage needs? You may not need to start your appliances all at once, but your portable generator definitely needs to provide a steady stream of electricity to keep everything on. To calculate your continuous or running wattage needs, check your owner’s manuals again. This time, add up the running wattages of all the appliances you need to run. If you don’t have the manuals for all your appliances, you can estimate your needs with an online calculator like this one at ConsumerReports.org.
How will you hook everything up? If you want a generator to power your whole home, it’s best to get one with at least four electrical outlets to distribute the load. For camping or emergency use, you can connect your appliances to the generator with heavy-duty extension cords. However, if you have a portable generator of 5,000 watts or more, and you expect to be using it on a regular basis, experts recommend having an electrician install a transfer switch. This allows you to connect the generator to your circuit board with a single cable, safely. When you want to run the generator, you just connect this cable and then flip a few switches to route power from the generator instead of the grid. switches. A transfer switch is also necessary to run anything that’s hard-wired into your home, such as a well pump, furnace, or electric water heater.
Will you need to power sensitive electronics? Ordinary generators can create power surges that will fry delicate electronics like computers and flat-screen TVs. For these, it’s best to choose an inverter generator; these are usually smaller and more expensive, but they provide smooth, continuous power.
Where will you have your generator serviced? Most generator manufacturers require you to use approved service centers for warranty repairs, and they won’t pay for the cost of transporting a generator to and from the service center. In other words, you’ll either have to pay the repairman to come to you, pay for the service company to pick up your generator and then return it, or set aside the time ot make the trip(s) yourself. So before you buy a portable generator, check to see where you can get service for that brand.
Portable generators pose three main safety risks: carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electric shock, and fire. The American Red Cross offers these tips for using one safely:
Never run a portable generator indoors. This includes garages, sheds, basements, attics, and crawl spaces, as well as living areas. Even in a well-ventilated area, CO from the exhaust can build up. To avoid letting CO into your home, don’t place the generator near any windows that might be opened to let in fresh air.
Keep portable generators high and dry. Like any electrical appliance, portable generators pose a potential electrocution hazard if they’re exposed to water. Keep your generator and cords dry and sheltered from the elements, and never handle them with wet hands. You can protect your generator from rain by installing an open, canopy-like structure over it, such as a tarp suspended on poles.
Handle fuel safely. Keep the fuel for your generator in an approved safety can. Store it outside your home’s living areas, in a locked shed or other protected area. Check with your local fire department to see how much fuel you’re allowed to store on your property. Never store fuel near any fuel-burning appliance, such as a natural gas water heater.
Use the right cords. If you can’t plug appliances directly into the generator, use a heavy-duty extension cord rated for outdoor use. Make sure the cord is rated to handle the total wattage or amperage of the appliances you’re connecting with it. Extension cords should always be grounded (with three prongs) and free of cuts or tears.
Let it cool. Make sure to let the generator cool down before adding more fuel. Spilling gasoline onto a hot engine is a recipe for a fire.
Don’t backfeed. Never plug the generator into one of your home’s wall outlets. This practice, known as backfeeding, creates an electrocution risk for utility workers and neighbors who use the same utility transformer. It also puts your own home at risk by bypassing built-in safety devices.
Choosing the Best Portable Generator
What kind of criteria goes into making a list like this? You must consider the specifications (engine size, power output, weight, etc). Features are also important. There are other important details like design and aesthetics that play a part. It’s important to know what makes each of these generators different. It’s also important to understand what qualities are important for you and your goals.
Who Needs a Portable Generator?
Everyone. Well, not everyone. But most people could use the added security they provide. If you lose electricity in your home, a generator will allow to you run essential appliances, ensuring your family can continue to take care of itself. A power outage will disable your air conditioning, water pumps, freezers and lighting. If the outage lasts for a few days, your home could become uninhabitable. They can easily be stored in case of a rainy day.
Portable generators are also great tools for campers and outdoors lovers. They are a great tool for charging devices and powering things when no source of electricity is present.
Realistically, wattage should be one of the first or second things that you look for. Wattage is a measure of overall power output. The higher the wattage number, the more capable the generator is. Bigger appliances, like air conditioners and refrigerators, require a higher wattage amount. Generally speaking a wattage of around 2,000 is enough to handle mini-refrigerators, TVs, and space heaters. For larger appliances, you’ll need more wattage. On the other hand, small acts like charging a cell phone require much less wattage and can be accomplished with much smaller generators.
Every generator reviewed here is of course portable. However, there is a wide range of sizes for to choose from. Some can be carried with one hand and some may be best suited for being carried by two people. This is another instance where knowing exactly what you need and why you need it can come in handy. If you plan on traveling often, you should consider the size and weight of a generator. You should also look out for handles and wheels to assist in moving it. Generally speaking, as the wattage goes up, so does the weight.
Running time refers to how long the generator can run for on one full tank of gas. This is another area where the generator’s purpose matters when determining how much you need. Many portable generators offer between 5 and 10 hours of running time. Some of the bigger models can go up to 20 hours on a single tank. If you’re buying a generator to also serve as your back-up at home, you might want the longer running time.
On The Job Site
Portable generators can also be found on construction sites. They are very useful on projects where electricity is unavailable or limited. They provide a consistent, reliable source of power for hand tools like drills, saws, etc. Essentially, any AC powered tool would work fine with a generator.
Portable Generator Buying Tips
Determine Your Power Needs
Before buying any type of generator, you need to determine just how much power you will need. Take inventory of every appliance and device that you will potentially be powering with your generator. In any case, you’ll only be able to power a few items at a time. Once you’ve figured out the items you’ll be powering most often, you can determine your generator requirements.
If you’re buying your portable generator as a backup in case of emergencies, this is especially important. You’ll likely be using it to power a microwave, mini-fridge, or space heater. To find the information regarding power consumption for your items, check their owners manual.
Even if you are using your portable generator for recreational fun, you still need ample power. It would be a big let down to finally make it into the woods for your camping trip only to find your generator is underpowered to run the big screen TV you brought along.
Not all generators are built the same. Different types can run on quite a few different fuel sources. Each source has their own advantages and disadvantages.
Gas fueled portable generators are the most common compared to other fuel sources. Gas is less efficient than other fuel sources, but the plus side is availability. Gasoline is easily accessable. For this reason, gas fueled models are popular for emergency and recreational use alike. In most cases, fuel is never very far away.
Electric fueled generators use an electric starter, making them easier to operate than manual start models. The starter runs off a battery (usually lithium-ion) this is rechargable. These generators still use fuel, usually gas or propane.
The ‘clean’ burning propane is a popular fuel source for many generator owners. Like gasoline, it is easily accessible. It’s a consistent and efficient fuel source as well. Propane models run the gamut from small to very large. If propane is your preferred fuel source, you are sure to find a model you’ll like. Some models can accept more than one fuel source, usually propane and gasoline.
While rare, solar powered portable generators are growing in popularity. Some are built fully relying on solar power, and some models offer solar attachments. They do offer a few benefits. They are extremely quiet, and the fuel is as ‘clean’ as you can get. Another benefit is you don’t need any additional room for fuel storage. The downside is they can take a long time to charge and they’re not meant to power large appliances.
- Diesel is more efficient than gasoline. Diesel engines also don’t have to worry about spark plugs or carburetors. On the other hand, diesel does not burn clean.
- Top Features To Look Out For in a Moveable Generator
Sometimes a company will go the extra mile to provide the best products possible. This extra mile is all of the helpful and useful features that make some models better than the rest. Here are a few of the best and most useful features to look out for when choosing a portable generator.
Low Oil Shut Off
An engine without oil is a recipe for disaster. Let’s be honest, forgetting to check oil levels is a pretty common oversight. It happens to the best of us. But when it does happen, it can result in your engine seizing up and becoming useless. A low oil shut off mechanism cuts power to the machine when oil levels are low, preventing any catastrophic damage. Most models with this feature also have a light that illuminates to signal the mechanism is activated.
Each generator has a different configuration of outlets. They tend to have between two and three. Some models also have USB ports, which are good for charging phones or tables. Ideally they are GFCI outlets, which prevents electrocution from any water that comes in contact.
Here’s a feature that saves wear and tear on your arm and your machine. A convenient electric start button will activate your generator without having to yank on any pull cords.
Noise Reducing Frame
To be honest, generators can be loud. Even smaller, portable models. Luckily, there are ways to cut down on this noise to an extent. The quality of a generator’s frame and mounting hardware goes a long way towards reducing noise. Thick, dense metals that are strong are less likely to rattle around. The frame mounts, and feet, are often made using thick rubber. The rubber can minimize noise caused by vibrations.
Dual Fuel Capability
Most models run on a few popular fuel choices: gas, propane, diesel, electric. But a few models offer the ability to use more than one, most commonly gas and propane.
The spark arrestor’s job is to catch any sparks or hot carbon and prevent it from doing any damage. The best portable generators surely have spark arrestors. They’re essential for outdoor or camping use, because an errant spark could easily case a forest fire.
Keeping an eye on fuel levels is important and must be done. Having a gauge that can quickly and accurately present fuel levels is a nice convenience feature. This way, you’re never taken by surprise when fuel is low or empty.
A time meter records that amount of time your portable generator is running. This is important for maintenance first and foremost. A generator must be maintained and serviced properly to continue operating in peak condition.
Portable generators aren’t inherently dangerous, but they are fueled by substances that require respect and attention. It’s important to know the safety concerns that come with using, maintaing, and storing a generator.
Preventing Shocks or Electrocution
Never, ever connect your generator to a home outlet. It can feed back into you or your neighbors power lines, causing damage to the power lines and the homes they connect to. If you ever plan on connecting a generator to your own home’s circuit board, use a transfer switch to do so.
Before plugging anything into your generator, make sure it is running for a few minutes. Once it’s up and running you can plug your desired items in. Of course, be sure not to overload it (you won’t do this, since you’ve checked your item’s power requirements). When it’s time to turn your generator off, be sure to have unplugged everything prior to doing so.
Another thing: make sure your generator is grounded. Not being grounded is a main contributer to electric issues.
- Following the above will go a long way to preventing any electrical issues that could harm you or your generator.
- Fuel Safety
Portable generators run on common fuels. But these common fuels can be dangerous. Proper care must be taken when using, storing, and handling them. Propane can be explosive. Gasoline is very flammable. They should be treated with respect when dealing with them.
Do not overfill your generator. When fuel is heated, it expands. Allow a bit of room for expansion when filling up your tank. Overfilling can cause fuel to leak and come in contact with the hot engine. This is one reason you never want to add fuel while the generator is on or still warm from prior use. When filling up, make sure the unit is completely cool.
A portable generator can generate heat quickly and become very hot after a short period of time. The engine and parts surrounding it can easily burn your skin if you come in contact with them. It’s best to avoid moving or handling your generator until the unit has had time to cool. Furthermore, kids and pets should be kept at a safe distance away from a running generator to prevent an accidental burning.
Your portable generator relies on fuels that release nasty things into the air around them. More specifically, carbon monoxide aka the silent killer. Carbon monoxide is a deadly by product of burning gasoline, and usually goes undetected until it is too late. It’s very important that your generator has the room to ventilate properly. Proper ventilation will ensure the air you’re breathing is safe and not contaminated.
A major no-no is running your generator indoors. A garage or enclosed driveway are bad ideas even if you open every window possible. Fans and open doors will not do the trick either. Proper ventilation means outside. The further from walls and buildings, the better.
Usage and Storage
The way you use and store your portable generator is important in determining the longevity and usefulness that you receive from it.
As discussed above, generators are only to be used outside. And when they’re on and running, they need to have room to operate. Having a few feet of clearance on all sides goes a long way in preventing accidents. Make sure the surface is relatively level, and robust enough to support the unit.
Before and after using your generator, give it a quick inspection. There is maintenance to be aware of, like spark plugs, oil changes, etc. If something needs a repair, you can take note of it and fix it quickly. It could be a disaster if your unit is in need of repair for something that could easily have been spotted and fixed with routine maintenance. All generators come with manuals, and the manual can guide on what needs to be done at various usage intervals. Regular maintenance will keep your warranty intact and your unit working at maximum efficiency.
- For storage, pick a dry and secure place. Protect the unit from the elements, and it should hold up fine. Follow the owners manual in regards to fuel draining, etc.
These are ‘portable’ generators, after all, but what does that mean?
A portable generator has to be easily stored, handled, and set up. That’s why they are so versatile. The smaller models have handles, and some can be carried with one hand. They offer ultimate portability and they don’t take up too much room. Medium sized models can usually be carried easily by the frame. The larger models usually come with wheels to make transporting easier. Portable generators are made for the average home-owner or recreational user. They are pretty simple in design. Their simple design paired with the efficient portability make them an extremely useful tool.
Portable Generator Types
As all kinds of devices, portable generators could be subjected to basic differentiation based on various different qualities. For instance, you can create a list based on the fuel they require, the electricity output they are capable of providing, the running time on one full gas tank and so on and so forth. However, for the sake of being greatly beneficial, we are going to provide you with the most basic yet informative differentiation which is based on the way portable generators are going to resolve your emergency electricity problem. With this in mind, these are the two types.
Plug-in Portable Generators
These are generators that are usable with extension cords. They are the simplest and least expensive solution for your backup power supply. You are advised to keep the generator at least 10 feet away from your home in order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
This is the most basic technology that you could use to satisfy your backup power solution. You should run the generator in your yard and simply plug in the extension cords which come from the desired appliances. This is also the cheapest option because you won’t be required to hire a specialist that would take care of the electricity issues. The major drawback of this particular solution is that you would have to run those extension cords literally everywhere you would want power.
You should also keep in mind that these portable generators usually have a limited number of outlets so you would only be able to plug in a few appliances at a time.
When the power goes out you should place the generator out on a flat surface, far enough from the house. Make sure that the area is dry because you are operating with an electricity source and as you may know electricity and water are not a great combination. However, once you have made sure that it is properly set up, simply turn it on and plug in the extension cords and you would have your electricity supplied.
Standby Portable Generators
This particular type would automatically turn on once the electricity is down and you won’t be required to do a thing. However, not all of these devices are portable and in fact, most of them are designated to be used as stationary solutions. Nevertheless, they offer great convenience due to the fact that you won’t have to bother setting them up every time your electricity goes down. In any case, these generators are far more expensive than the plug-in alternative and you have to be prepared to spend a substantial amount of money if you want to equip your home with such a solution.
Dual fuel portable generators.
Make sure that you properly identify the need of electricity back up before you make your final decision. Don’t overspend on standby generators if you don’t live in an area where electricity blackouts are not very common because you won’t be able to take the most advantage out of them. Go for the plug-in option instead because this would surely save you some initial money.
Identify your need
The first step towards buying the appropriate portable generator is to properly identify the particular need you have for alternative power supply. There are quite a few scenarios.
If you need a portable generator that you are only going to use when you have no electricity due to a black out, you should determine how often these situations occur. If you live in an area where electrical blackouts are common you should consider buying a bigger portable generator with a larger fuel tank that you can use for a longer period of time. The best thing you could do is to get a standby generator that would turn on automatically. However, if you don’t have or you don’t want to spend that kind of money, a normal portable plug-in generator would also do the trick.
If electrical blackouts are not something common, you should definitely buy a regular plug-in portable generator in order to save some money. Try to figure out the approximate duration of those blackouts in general and shop accordingly. You won’t need a generator with a huge fuel tank if the blackouts are rather short.
If you want to power up tools because you are commonly working on building sites that do not have electricity provided, you should consider buying a portable air generator that is capable of delivering a bigger rated wattage. You should also consider the outlets because most industrial tools require specific outlets that normal portable generators won’t be providing.
As you can see, identifying your need could definitely do a great difference when shopping for such a device.
Figure out the pros and cons of the units that you have in mind
Keep in mind that the first section of this guide is offering a detailed review of the top portable generators on the market during 2017. You can use it to properly compare the advantages and disadvantages of the different types and opt to get the one that would properly accommodate your particular demand for electricity.
Decide on a budget
Of course, this is the most important thing you should do. In fact, this is also the first thing you should do. Setting up a budget in advance is going to automatically eliminate the options that are exceeding this budget and thus limit the choice you would have. However, there are a lot of flexible offers out there that you would need to consider. Of course, you might have limited your budget simply because you don’t have the need to buying a generator that is extremely expensive because you wouldn’t be able to find proper applications for it.
Keep in mind that in this particular area quality is not necessarily related to the price. There are excellent portable generators that come in quite cheap when you compare them to others. And the fact is that they are going to provide the same amount of electrical supply. The difference comes from the overall performance of the unit. More expensive ones tend to perform a lot smoother and quieter, but if you can’t afford them, this is not something that should concern you that much. After all, a portable generator is always only an alternative.
Pay attention to technical specifications
There is a huge difference between a portable generator that is capable of delivering a rated wattage of 3000 and one that it is capable of delivering 7500 watts. This is why you must be aware of what those things actually are. We advise you to take a look at the section that explains how exactly those devices work in order to properly understand the importance of the parts that are involved in the production process and why is it important that they come with the right specifications.
For instance, you shouldn’t buy a generator that doesn’t have speed regulators. The speed regulator is going to limit the maximum spins that the generator shaft is going to be working with in order to prevent the whole thing from overheating. Improper usage of the generator might cause the whole thing to go south in the blink of an eye so make sure that you have purchased a unit that has as many display gauges as possible. This would enable you to keep track of everything that goes into that box without being left out and without having to make annoying and difficult maintenance checks.
Best Portable Generator Brands
When it comes to manufacturers of portable generators there are several companies that definitely stand out and ring a bell. Their logo on the device alone is a proof of quality and durability, so let’s take a look at some of the top portable generator brands out on the market.
Duromax is aware that the criteria for choosing the right portable generator would greatly hide within the particular usage that you have in mind as well as the amount of total wattage that you would require from the engine when running. This is one of the main reasons for which this company has thrived to produce such a large variety of different portable generators.
The company has a unit designated to satisfy all of the potential needs for a portable generator. The devices range from small and portable generators designated to power up a couple of electrical appliances during an emergency, all the way through generators capable of powering up heavy duty industrial instruments.
The Generac company is considered to be one of the leading names in the field of home backup generators. It was founded in 1959 and it was the first manufacturer to engineer an affordable home standby generator. Now the company is the number one producer of conventional and easy to operate backup generators.
The company provides all sorts of electrical backup solutions capable of answering to every possible demand of the client. Their products are built to last and to satisfy a variety of different needs for both domestic and industrial applications.
Since 2003 Champion Power Equipment has made a name for itself of designing as well as manufacturing some of the finest power equipment on the market. The original headquarters of the company are in Sana Fe Springs in California but due to the increased workload, they have expanded to include facilities in Jackson Tennessee, Milwaukee Wisconsin as well as Toronto in Canada. This fast and broad expansion really speaks about the demand of generators they are capable of meeting.
This also signals the customer about their quality because where there is huge demand there is also a corresponding quality. The company has sold over 2.5 millions of generators in North America alone, and it has quickly grown to become of the leaders in the power equipment field of expertise.
Powermate is also one of the world’s leading portable as well as standby generators manufacturers. The versatile line of portable generators these guys offer makes it possible for every customer to find a proper solution to their backup electricity problems. The activities that you can get covered using a device manufactured from this brand range from recreational to industrial. You can find a generator that would allow you to go camping without worrying about electricity as well as to find a solution that would enable you to properly handle a DIY project.
In any case, the wide range of generators that is provided by this company has a great effect on customers. They also meet the highest expectations in relation to quality standards.
The company was founded in 1886 and for more than 125 years, which is quite a significant period of time, Westinghouse is a brand that stands for reliability and innovation. The company has merged with the Westpro Power Systems and the resulting synergy enabled the engineers to study, manufacture as well as to market a whole line of perfectly designed portable generators.
This is an example of how working as a unit could enable you to achieve greatness. The broad and extensive experience that this company has alone is an enough evidence of the quality that hides behind this brand.
Briggs and Stratton
With a reported sales in the fiscal 2014 of 1.9$ billion, Briggs and Stratton is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of gasoline powered engines for outdoor power equipment. The company has its headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The products of this company are designed, manufactured, sold and maintained in over 100 countries across six continents.
If this isn’t a sign of a reputable company then I don’t know what is. If you find the stamp of the company on a product, this is a clear mark of high-end quality and durability.
Portable Generator Troubleshooting
Troubleshooting relates to the process of repairing simple yet common problems related to various technical solutions. Portable generator troubleshooting directly relates to repairing your generator. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the few things that you need to know in order to operate your portable generator as intended without any flaws.
Understand the field flash technology
This is the technique that is used if your portable generator fails to start as it should. The method could be executed in two different ways:
Utilize a battery and connect the wires from the portable generator directly to the battery. Make sure that you are attaching a negative port to another negative one and a positive to a positive port. The wires are generally going to be color coded for your further convenience. Get rid of the spark plug from the generator and make sure to pull the starter cord in order to get it up and running again.
- The other method would require you to use an electric drill in order to attach the 120-volt receptacle of the generator and start the latter.
- Make sure you have checked your generator for overload
It is possible and even highly likely that from time to time the generator is going to be running by you wouldn’t get any power. If this is the occasion some internal setting could have been changed or the motor itself might have been damaged. In order to check this out, make sure to obtain a voltmeter and an ampmeter.
The first thing you want to do is to open the user manual of your portable generator and see what the right settings should be. Use the listed devices in order to check if the generator has a similar reading. If it doesn’t you are most likely facing an internal issue. If this is the situation you should definitely turn to a professional. You might have to spend some money but it would definitely help to get your generator up and running once again.
If the problem is of this particular nature, hiring an expert is almost mandatory. This is due to the fact that you are going to have to operate with electrical system which is a potential hazard. You don’t want anything to go wrong when using such heavy machinery so let the professionals do the job.
The best way to prevent things like this from happening is if you properly maintain your portable generator. Make sure that there is always lubrication in between the moving parts in order to ensure a smoother electricity production, a safe working environment as well as a longer engine life. Remember to use good quality oil as well as fuel because these substances circulate throughout the entire system and you definitely don’t want to get it filled with dirt.
Portable Generator Safety Tips
No matter how many advantages portable generators bring to the table, it is important to understand that these devices could be quite dangerous if used without the proper precautions or against the user manual. Regardless of their portable dimensions, most of the generators are capable of delivering a significant amount of electricity and this should be accounted for. With this in mind, here are some safety tips to ensure proper and sage usage.
Do not use them indoors
That’s right, portable generators should not be used indoors. This includes a garage, basement or basically any enclosed or partially-enclosed area. Even if the area is thoroughly ventilated, you should avoid using the portable generator inside it. This is due to the fact that the engine operates on fuel which exudes a lot of CO. This could lead to fast full incapacitation and even death if there isn’t anyone to help you.
Allow the device to cool off before storing it away
- This is due to the fact that in order to generate such a high wattage, the generator is absolutely going to get heated up, significantly.
- Provide proper maintenance
Make sure to cover it with something in order to prevent dust or moisture to get inside. You should also make sure to properly lubricate the moving components that are within your generator in order to ensure longer engine life and to prevent any malfunctions that might cause a potential health threat.
You should always perform a dry run of the portable generator in order to be fully familiar with its specifications. This would also allow you to properly utilize it during a power outage.
To finalize, any time you get out your cash in exchange for any product, it is always important to ask yourself if the product you are buying is worth the value of your money. Consider looking at it as a major investment. This means that it should add value to your life and enable you to make more money by using it especially in your business setting. This is why Generac 5982 GP32 generator is worthy consideration. Although it is not ideal for everyone because of its relatively low wattage, it should definitely perform well enough in a home or RV setting. Especially since its price tag is also quite attractive, making it one of the most affordable generators currently available on the market.
So, TOP10 of portable generators:
- №1 — WEN 56200i, 1600 Running Watts/2000 Starting Watts
- №2 — Champion Power Equipment 46539 3500 Watt RV
- №3 — Westinghouse iGen2500 Portable Inverter Generator
- №4 — DuroStar DS4000S, 3300 Running Watts/4000 Starting Watts
- №5 — Yamaha EF2000iSv2, 1600 Running Watts/2000 Starting Watts
- №6 — WEN 56180, 1500 Running Watts/1800 Starting Watts
- №7 — Champion Power Equipment 73536i 2000 Watt
- №8 — Suaoki 220Wh/20,000mAh Portable Generator Power Source Power Supply with 100V/110V/60Hz, Max 200W
- №9 — Honda EU2000I Super Quiet 2000 Watt
- №10 — PowerPro 56100 2-Stroke 1000-Watt Generator
by Don Oliver | Last Updated November 1, 2017