Whenever the power suddenly goes out, the best portable generator will be your lifesaver. It will continue to power your AC in order to keep your house cool or warm, allowing you to sleep comfortably despite the power outage. With a power generator, you can still cook food in your kitchen, charge your phone and computer, and enjoy light in the middle of the night.
Unfortunately, people will only realize their need for a portable generator when they’re already in the middle of a catastrophe, such as a major storm that has caused a blackout. So before this happens to you, you should start shopping for the best standby generator for home use as early as now. Here’s a guide to help you choose a good standby home generator.
Things to Look for When Shopping for the Best Portable Generator
There are several different kinds of generators that can work for your home. But which of these generators should you choose? When it comes to this, you need to take into consideration some important factors. This will make it easier for you to come up with the best decision when it comes to buying the best portable generator for your home.
PLAN - PRICE
START UP - $ 29
Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator
BUSINESS - $ 49
Champion 3500-Watt RV Portable Generator
ADVANCED - $ 99
WEN 56475 4750-Watt Portable Generator
ADVANCED - $ 99
Champion 3800-Watt Portable Generator
ADVANCED - $ 99
Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Portable Inverter Generator
So here are some of the most important factors and features to consider when looking for a home generator.
Generators have an energy source and this is an important factor to consider when buying a generator for home use. Most generators require gasoline to work. This is the same gasoline that you use for your car. Other models rely on diesel and some propane.
Diesel fuels are usually more expensive compared to regular gasoline but they are capable of burning for longer and will give you more energy per gallon. And as you know, diesel tends to produce a strong smell. Furthermore, diesel-powered generators normally require additional maintenance in order to keep it working.
Another important consideration is the amount of power that the generator is capable of producing, as well as the length of time that it can continue to produce the electricity for. When it comes to this, consider the electricity and appliances that you’ll be using the generator for.
Will you use it to power your TV, air conditioning system, or another device? Or perhaps, you only need it for lighting and some other equipment. Remember that the amount of power that the generator can produce is a very important factor to consider when buying the best whole house generator.
Of course, you need to make sure that you have enough money to pay for the generator you plan on buying. The cost will greatly vary depending on the type of generator that you want to buy. Usually, the cost will also depend on the amount of energy that the generator can produce and the length of time that it can power up your home.
There are portable generators that cost less than $200 but there are also those that cost more than $1,500. The wide range in price is due to the fact that generators have different features and capabilities. Of course, if you go for the cheap models, you can only expect basic features.
But if you are willing to spend more than $1,500, then you can expect a very powerful generator that comes with great features. To make sure that you’ll get the best value for your money when buying the best portable generator for home, choose a generator that’s equipped with features that you know you can make full use of.
The generator’s weight and size are important factors to consider as well. If you need something that you can easily carry around from one place to another, then a portable generator would work best for you.
But if you need to use it to power an entire building and you have people who can help you move it, then a bigger generator might be a better option. Besides, you probably don’t want to spend for an extremely heavy generator and not being able to move it.
If you opt for a gas-powered generator, then you’ll need to do some calculations to determine the running surge power, the power it will be using, and your electrical needs. This can help to ensure that the generator is able to provide you exactly with what you need.
But this is no longer necessary if the generator has a good fuel gauge. Even if the manufacturer claims that a particular generator only uses a certain amount of fuel per hour, it’s always a good idea to check for yourself how much fuel the generator is burning.
The main purpose of having a generator is to get electricity from it and use it to power your appliances. Thus, the outlet of the generator is an important consideration. Most generators only come with two standard 3-prong 110 Volt outlets while others have multiple prongs and much higher voltages.
If you plan on operating emergency equipment like an oxygen machine for a sick relative, then you may need to double-check if the generator has an outlet that matches up with the oxygen machine.
The whole point of buying a portable generator is to have a generator that you can easily move from one place to another. Usually, portable generators are less expensive compared to the built-in home generators. Yet, they are just as reliable.
The key is to look for the best portable generator that’s really worth your hard-earned money. Backup generators could light up your home, however, portable generators will only charge the equipment that you need. This way, no electricity will be wasted.
Diesel and gas-powered generators are the ones that tend to produce a lot of noise when operating, so this is something worth considering when buying a generator. It’s difficult to determine the exact amount of noise that the generator will make but some manufacturers note the intensity of the noise that the generator produces in decibels.
Circuit protectors, more commonly known as circuit breakers, help to ensure that you will not end up damaging your generator when you use a device with a faulty circuit. Whenever a particular device in your home isn’t working well or it exceeds the load that the generator can provide, it is the circuit protector that will shut the generator off, preventing any damages.
Therefore, the best portable generator for home is one that comes with a built-in circuit protector. Getting something that doesn’t have a circuit breaker could potentially damage your generator and will put your home in a dangerous situation.
What Can You Use a Portable Generator For?
Portable generators are used mainly during emergencies. Most homeowners use their generators when disaster strikes. These devices are very useful in the event of a power blackout or when there is power outage due to a storm, earthquake etc.
It’s becoming common to hear news reports about cities being without electricity for several weeks, which is somewhat worrying, especially if you have small kids or a sick relative at home. But aside from emergencies, there are several other ways you can benefit from a portable generator.
Here are some of them:
If you like camping, then you can fully benefit from a portable generator. But when buying a generator for camping, make sure you choose a model that doesn’t make a lot of noise or you’ll end up attracting lots of animals in the wild.
If you own an RV, then you understand how important it is to have a portable generator. With this device, you can use all your appliances and electronics while you travel in your RV.
For those who like hosting parties at the back of a parked vehicle, then a portable generator will surely come in handy. You can use it to power your electric grill, lighting, and other devices.
How Many Watts You Need?
The wattage is an important consideration when buying a generator. This refers to the total amount of power that the generator is capable of producing. Consider the devices that you need to power using the generator in order to determine the watts that your generator needs to have.
There is a wattage chart online that lists down the wattage of some of the most common household appliances so you better refer to that. Remember that older models of electronics normally need more power than what was listed on the chart since they can get less efficient as time goes by.
If you own a device that’s not indicated on the list, compute it yourself using this formula – volts x amps. A load tester is also useful in determining the exact amount of wattage that every individual device in your house needs.
Starting vs. Running Watts
The amount of power that a particular device needs in order to function is the running watts. Electronics such as the coffee maker and light bulbs use about the same amount of power to function and continue to operate. Other devices, known as reactive loads, come with electric motors that need more power to start but less power to continue operating.
Air conditioners, refrigerators, and power tools are some of the best examples of reactive loads. To power up reactive loads, you need to consider the starting watts and the amount of power that you will need from the generator. The amount of starting watts that the generator has is also the maximum amount of watts that it can produce.
Can You Use a Portable Generator with All Your Electronics?
You need to take the time to familiarize with the generator you plan on buying because some models are not safe to use on electronics that are somewhat sensitive, such as the TV or laptop. The power supply that the generator produces is somewhat inconsistent and the surges can trigger permanent damage on your power supply.
Generators that have inverter technology are capable of converting AC or Alternating Current to DC or Direct Current-voltage and invert it back to clean AC voltage. This inversion results in a constant flow of electricity towards your devices. Usually, inverter generators are more expensive. Nevertheless, they are safer to use, especially with devices that have sensitive mechanisms.
How to Safely Run a Portable Generator?
First of all, make sure that you place the generator in a cool and dry area so that it will be able to function at full capacity. It’s important that you are familiar with the proper steps of setting up the generator. Otherwise, you could end up damaging the device and this can be dangerous as it could potentially lead to fire when the generator explodes.
Here are more things to keep in mind
Don’t Run It Inside Your House
Unless you’ve got a spacious open space with lots of open windows, it’s not really recommended to run the generator inside your home. Remember that these devices produce carbon monoxide that could be dangerous to your health when inhaled.
Inspect the Unit
Before you start operating the generator, it’s a good idea to run a quick inspection of the unit. Check to make sure that there are no frayed wires or damaged parts. These could lead to the buildup of carbon monoxide in the chamber and can possibly lead to electrocution.
Check the Ground Wire
To safely operate your portable generator, make sure that you have a proper ground wire. If the output is 110V, the shock will not kill you. However, if it’s 220V, the shock can have fatal consequences. Either way, you definitely don’t anyone getting electrocuted with the generator so make sure that the grounding wire is attached properly on the unit.
Best Portable Generator Reviews
Now that you know a lot of things about portable generators, it’s time to start looking for the best one to buy. To help you in your search, here’s a list of the best portable generators in the market, along with a short review of each of them.
1 – Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator
Equipped with a remote start feature and an electric push button, the Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator is, no doubt, the best 7500 watt generator in the market. This generator is very convenient to operate for everyone and its biggest selling point is its impressive running time. A
t a load of 25%, this 6.6-gallon unit is capable of operating continuously for 16 hours. Thus, it’s capable of powering up all the essential appliances in your home. The Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable generator complies with EPA, CSA, and CARB and it operates in a 420cc OHV engine equipped with an automatic low-oil shutdown as well as a digital hour meter.
Customers who have tried this generator are very pleased with how it works. They find it fuel-efficient and powerful, and the generator can certainly give you the best value for your money.
Capable of operating continuously for up to 16 hours
Easy to set up and use
Remote start feature
A bit heavy
2 – Champion 3500-Watt RV Ready Portable Generator
The Champion Power Equipment 46539 is the best whole house generator to use for emergency purposes, such as when a storm suddenly strikes leading to a power outage.
It features 3,500 running watts and 4,000 starting watts, as well as a wireless remote start that can function even in a distance of 80 feet. Furthermore, this device comes with a backup pull-start lever and can operate 12 hours straight at 50% output.
The output of this generator is only 68 dBA, however, some users complained that it’s a bit louder compared to the other portable generators in this list. Equipped with features like low-oil sensor and Intelli gauge that allows quick glancing at the hertz and voltage, this portable generator is truly worth your hard-earned money.
Excellent running time
Great customer service
Wireless remote could function up to 80 feet
Produces a loud noise
Bulky and heavy
3 – WEN 56475 4750-Watt Gasoline Powered Portable Generator
When it comes to the best standby generator for home use, the WEN 56475 4750-watt Gasoline Powered Portable Generator would be a great choice. It’s powerful and durable enough to be used in a commercial setting.
This generator is in compliance with CARB and EPA III and operates at 4750 Watt with two 120-volt receptacles. It also comes equipped with a 120V RV receptacle (TT-30R). The WEN 56475 4750-Watt portable generator produces 3750 Watts of rated power and 4750 watts of peak power.
This should be enough to power the TV set, refrigerator, lights, sump pump, and other essential electronics at home. The generator also comes with engine oil, a battery and funnel. To use, simply pour the gas on the 4-gallon tank and it should work for 11 hours straight with half load.
Comes with foldable handles which allow for easy transport
Equipped with digital readout
The fuel valve looks cheap
4 – Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator
The Champion Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator is the best standby generator that runs on propane or gas. Unlike other generators of this kind, this device is not too complicated to set up.
After taking it out of the box, put the fuel in and you can now start powering up your electronic devices at home. This generator offers a starting watt of 4750 while the running watts is at 3800. It can operate 9 hours straight with a full tank.
Powered by a reliable 24 cc engine that comes with a Touch Start button and a push-button electric start, this portable generator is definitely a great choice for your home. Its battery self-recharges while the generator is operating and it supports numerous outlets. All these outlets are secured with Volt Guard, which keeps your appliances protected in case of power surges.
Champion offers a generous warranty of three years plus free lifetime technical support. This device is highly recommended for those who need a reliable generator to use in their RV. It’s a convenient and cost-effective solution to power outages and other emergency situations at home.
Can be used to power up sensitive gadgets
Doesn’t produce a loud noise
Easy to set up and operate
Offers excellent power output
Burns a lot of fuel
5 – Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator
When it comes to the best generator for the money, the Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Portable Inverter Generator is a great product to check out. Having a rated wattage of 1800 watts, as well as peak wattage of 2200 watts, the WH2000iXLT is capable of generating more power compared to other portable generators of the same kind.
Furthermore, you’ll enjoy better fuel economy with this device and greater fuel capacity as well. Westinghouse Electric Corp, a brand that’s been around for over a century, is the company behind the Westinghouse WH2200iXLT.
The company specializes in producing compressors including power generators. This model is one of the best portable generators that the company makes. This portable generator is covered by a 2-year warranty so if anything goes wrong with the unit within two years of using it, you can rest assured that it will be replaced by Westinghouse for free.
Ideal for home use
Works very quietly
Needs better warranty coverage
6 – Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 Portable Inverter Generator
When it comes to the best home generator, the Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 PowerSmart inverter generator is another product that stands out. Operating at less than 59 dBA of noise, it’s a great option for those who don’t want a lot of noise with their generators.
It delivers starting watts of 2200 and running watts of 1700. For every one gallon of filling, the device can operate continuously for up to 8 hours. The Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 transformer has a parallel operation capability and is equipped with numerous types of outlets – two AC, one DC, and one USB.
But with a weight of 54 lbs., this transformer is heavier compared to the other portable generators on this list. It’s the best choice for consumers who don’t want to spend a lot of money for the Honda EU2000i but need something more powerful than the WEN 56200i.
Covered with average purchase protection only
7 – Generac 5735 GP17500E Portable Generator
If you are in need of the best standby generator for home use that’s powerful and reliable and can operate all the essential appliances in your home in the event of a power outage, the Generac 5735 GP17500E is the right model to buy. It’s capable of operating several 120 volt-appliances at once.
Featuring running watts of 17,500 and a fuel tank with a 16-gallon capacity, this device is capable of operating for 10 hours straight at a 50% load or less if you prefer to run it in full capacity of 26,250 watts. And although it’s a portable generator, it weighs a whopping 390 pounds, which is really heavy.
When buying this device, you’ll get a 12VDC 365-CCA battery as well as your first oil supply. You’ll also get a maintenance kit and wheel kit to ensure that the generator is in tip-top shape. What’s impressive about it is the fact that it’s capable of powering up your home for 11 days straight.
Built to last for a long time
Comes with oil supply, battery, and maintenance kit
A bit heavy
8 – Champion 3400-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
The Champion 3400-Watt Dual Portable Generator is the ideal choice for RV enthusiasts who need a reliable generator that they can take with them on their adventures. This is a very powerful RV-ready generator that comes with an RV outlet and it’s powerful enough to operate most of the 15,000 BTU RV air conditioners.
The Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator is capable of powering up to two RV air conditioners at 15,000 BTU. This is the perfect generator for RV since it’s very portable and easy to transport. However, with a weight of almost 100 lbs. this device is heavier compared to other portable generators.
Its compact design makes it easy to carry in your RV and tuck away. With a generator this powerful, it’s surprising to find out that it operates very quietly. This feature makes this generator a great device to use when you need to converse with people as the generator operates.
Convenient electric start
Dual fuel design
Excellent customer support
The warranty of the product doesn’t cover the carburetor, which is expensive to replace
9 – Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt Portable Generator
The Honda EU2000i is another great choice for those looking for the best generator for the money. Sure, it might be more expensive compared to the other inverter generators in the market but what it provides you is a one-time economy, which makes up for the long-term cost to operate the device.
First of all, this generator is highly resistant to damage and therefore you are guaranteed that it will last long despite the frequent use. Furthermore, it’s much cheaper to maintain than the other generators in this list, thanks to its durable construction and excellent design. In fact, this product is supported by various service centers around the world and it’s covered by a 3-year warranty.
Another reason why the EU2000i offers the best value for your money is its good fuel economy. If the tank is full, this generator can operate for 8 hours straight. But here’s the interesting part – a tankful is only 0.95 gallons. Depending on where you are from, the cost to operate this generator is only around $0.58 to $0.88 per hour.
As for the noise that it makes, this generator is rated at less than 60 dBA. Furthermore, it comes with overload protection, offers clean electricity, and has a low oil level. The EU2000i also features a compact and lightweight design, which is exactly what you would expect from a portable generator.
Good customer service and purchase protection
Low operating costs
Expensive one-time cost
10 – A-iPower SUA12000E 12,000-Watt Gasoline Powered Generator
When looking for the best 10000 watt generator, the A-iPower SUA12000E might be a great option. This 12,000 –watt gasoline-powered generator is extremely powerful and it is being sold at a very reasonable price.
While this generator comes from a lesser-known brand, it won’t disappoint when it comes to quality. In fact, it works just as good as the more expensive brands of generators in the market.
The A-iPower SUA12000E is no doubt the best portable generator when it comes to quality and affordability. It’s designed to offer 9000 watts of power although it can also comfortably put out 1200 watts to power-up your electrical devices.
This generator is powerful enough to operate most average homes in the event of a power outage. It could power up lights in your home, as well as the refrigerator, air conditioner, fan, TV, all at the same time!
Comes with GFCI protected outlets
Keyless and one-touch push button
12,000 starting watts
Some users have complained that it can’t put out the output it claims
PLAN - PRICE
START UP - $ 29
Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 Portable Inverter Generator
BUSINESS - $ 49
Generac 5735 GP17500E Portable Generator
ADVANCED - $ 99
Champion 3400-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
ADVANCED - $ 99
Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt Portable Generator
ADVANCED - $ 99
A-iPower SUA12000E 12,000-Watt Powered Generator
Of all the generators in this list, it is the Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator with Remote Electric Start that is truly the best. This product is one of the best-rated products online, with a great customer rating score.
This 7500-watt generator is very convenient to use and comes with an impressive running time. With a load of 25%, it could run for up to 16 hours straight, which is truly impressive. Given these features, it’s easy to tell why this product is considered the best portable generator sold in the marketplace.