Portable Generator Reviews and Buying Guides

Planet GeneratorsWelcome to PlanetGenerators.com! Our site is dedicated to provide reviews, guides, tips and tricks to help anyone get the most out of their portable generators. If you need a generator for camping or as a backup power source for your home, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know.

It is not possible for us to go through every single generator available in the market, but we try to find those most popular among consumers, review them, and give our own unique take. It is our constant endeavor to add new generator reviews, beef up our how to & articles section, provide unmatched information on anything ‘portable generators’. We hope that PlanetGenerators.com will become a hub for campers, homeowners, RV enthusiasts and contractors to discuss everything related with generators. All our generators have been stringently tested, put through the loops over a period of few months checking out various criteria like noise, power output, reliability, durability, cost to return ratio and more so that you, our readers can make an informed and reliable decision.

You will find low end compact to large powerful inverter generators in our mix, with many more on the way. Besides, our comprehensive buying guide with power selection tool will let you decide on a perfectly sized, powerful generator. So, do visit our buying guide too! Stay a while, browse around and take a look, we are sure you will find a lot of interesting stuff!

Westinghouse WH7500E
Westinghouse WH7500E*Quiet Pulse-Flo Muffler *Strong, Durable 420cc Engine *7,500 Running Watts

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Westinghouse WH7500E

Generac 5939 GP5500
Generac 5939 GP5500*Solid, Wheels Never Flat *Reliable 5,500-watts of Power *7.2-gallon Steel Fuel Tank

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Generac 5939 GP5500

Why Buy A Portable Generator

Generators are usually installed in places where power failure is a normal part of life, or where there is no direct access to power. For example, as a home backup power system, at campsites, RVs and so on. Now a portable generator is one that can be moved around and hence is a great convenience for most. At the same time it is a necessity for people who live in a RV or those who camp out in the woods a lot. There are gasoline operated generators as well as natural gas operated ones but gasoline power is the most commonly available portable generator.

Even if you don’t face constant power failures, don’t go camping or have a RV, there are plenty of benefits of having a portable generator. For starters, hurricanes, storms, torrential rainfall and other natural phenomena disrupt usual power supply and it is in such situations that a portable generator proves its worth ten times over. Basically, you may not use the generator for most of the year but the 1 month you go through a horrible storm, you will be glad that you invested in a portable generator. Moreover, these generators are portable and they are designed for intermittent use. Unlike stationary generators that cost a lot and require expensive installation, planning and rewiring, portable generators are easy to operate, selectively power a few appliances and have a long shelf life.

Just like no two individuals are ever alike, no two generators will ever be the same. Even if it uses the same engine, similar construction, performance will always differ. We have seen that performance difference usually arises out of a variety of factors. Here is a short summary of a few important points you may consider before purchasing a portable generator.

PortabilityPower or WattageNoise LevelsSizeStarter
Size alone does not make a generator portable. The design too plays a crucial role. Handles with a comfortable grip and design, larger wheels, mounted on one end, peg stands on the other, ability to tilt the generator easily on its wheels are a few portability considerations to keep in mind.
Power is the combination of Volts and Amps or Watts = Volts X Amps. Since, the Volt remains constant at either 120 Volt or 240 Volt, a higher wattage portable generator can deliver more Amps and thus power more appliances or heavy tools at once.

When you purchase a portable generator you will come across two related terms – peak wattage and continuous wattage. Now continuous wattage or rated wattage is the power drawn by any device during its normal run but when a device starts or stops, it draws slightly more power, which is called the surge wattage or peak wattage. By convention and for safety purposes never operate a device that has a higher power requirement than the rated wattage of your portable generator. Hence, to find out what wattage your portable generator needs you have to take into consideration the individual rated wattage of all the devices you plan on running and add them together. The same applies to the surge wattage, when calculating the minimum surge power required from your generator.

Do not be under the misconception that portable generators should not make too much noise. They run a gasoline motor unseated and will therefore produce a lot of noise. Typically the noise levels range from 55 dBA to 85 dBA. Those that are quite under the 75dBA mark. If you plan on taking your generator to a camp site then make sure that it falls under the 75 dBA bracket.

Generators with spark arrestors are another requirement for the camp site. They prevent burning embers from escaping out of the exhaust and safeguard your campsite from fire hazards. A simple way to understand how much power is too much is the horsepower of the motor. Higher the HP higher will be the noise.

A large sized generator will be difficult to haul around. So if its mostly for camping and RV needs, get a smaller sized portable generator. However, if you plan on keeping the genset exclusively within your premises to provide backup power to your house then a larger generator would be a better idea.
There are two methods of starting namely – electric start and recoil start. Now recoil starting uses a pull cord that you drag on to kick start the motor. Its kind of similar to what you find in a lawn mower. A quality recoil starting mechanism will be easy to operate but a cheap generator might be difficult to power up by just relying on the pull cord.

On the other hand electric start draws power from an auxiliary battery source to start the generator with the push of a button or by turning a key. This is simpler and much easier to start but it also requires your batteries to stay in good health. Hence, if you run out of battery, you are stuck with no power for the starter mechanism. It is therefore advisable to get a portable generator that comes with both, recoil start and electric start.

Without power you can’t do anything. Batteries can keep your appliances running for a few additional hours but without a power source, you will eventually lose out to darkness. Invest into a portable generator today and stay secured at times of power failure!

Portable Generator Brands Reviewed On PlanetGenerators.com

Like we mentioned before, our reviews are classified based on the brand. Instead of grouping them based on capacity, size or some other criteria we chose brand because brand based performance is what makes the biggest difference. Each brand has a specific price range, pros and cons with varying levels of dependability. Some are designed to last really long but aren’t that efficient while others are super efficient but break down in a couple of years. Likewise, a few cost a lot, others are usually affordable as makeshift solutions. Check out our selection of brands below.

DuromaxGeneracChampionPowerMateBriggs & StrattonWestinghouseInverters
Duromax generator

DuroMax Generators

Makers of their own engines, wide selection of power, output and design, greater fuel efficiency, lower cost of operation and longer life span makes DuroMax an excellent choice for those strapped for cash and hunting for a reliable portable generator.

DuroPower, the parent company of DuroMax now provides power tools, larger stationary generators and engines to various industries and factories around the world. Their commercial line though is geared towards reduced costs and greater returns.

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Generac Generator

Generac Generators

Great on fuel efficiency, eco-friendly by design and superior performance, Generac is probably the oldest portable generator maker in the world. Their designs form the basis for many other brands and the innovations they introduced into the market continue to rule the industry.

From the use of OHVI engines to pressurized oil circulation systems, technology to ergonomics and cost to performance, Generac is one brand name that you can never go wrong with.

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Champion Generator

Champion Generators

Europe’s largest manufacturer of kitchen faucets and other plumbing fixtures, this is one of the biggest companies found anywhere in the world producing high-end solutions for the homeowner, contractor, and tradesmen alike.

Started only in 2003, Champion Power Equipment produces some of the most affordable portable generators today. But affordability has got nothing to do with performance. They ensure that every single generator is hand tested, approved and compliant with US standards before they are shipped from their off-shore production plants. Champion portable generators are usually seen in their bright yellow design.

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PowerMate generator

PowerMate Generators

Powerful, sleek and sexy looking, A PowerMate portable generator is probably the wisest investment you can make. Engines from Yahama, Honda and others, components built by Subaru and leading designers of the world, everything sourced and developed by leaders in their own industries gives PowerMate (Pramac’s power product line) a distinct edge over other manufacturers.

Their portable generators may not have a distinct identity of their own but they are definitely a long haul investment with easy to find parts and replacement components.

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Briggs & Stratton generator

Briggs & Stratton Generators

When a company has proved itself over and over again for well over 100 years, how can you not trust it? Briggs & Stratton is the oldest player in the power product category and while they may have entered the playing field of portable generators a little later, it is their engine quality that differentiates them from the rest.

Higher efficiency, lower emissions and less noise – you can expect all of this from any portable generator that bears the tag of Briggs & Stratton.

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Westinghouse Generator

Westinghouse Generators

The parent company, Westinghouse Electric Company started involving themselves in power related products late in the 20th century but their history predates the 1900s. This brand manufactures excellent power generator products for all levels of society – from countries to individual households. A Westinghouse generator bears the W mark with a cool blue hue that is reminiscent of its decorated past.

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Inverter Generator

Inverter Generators

Inverter generators are a whole new breed of generators that are twice as efficient, have a higher shelf life and are capable of working in tandem with each other to increase power output. These super silent generators are also ultra-portable by design making them great to have around the house for the storm season or if you are in a frequent power failure zone. The only con though is that they cost a lot but in return you get a decent return on investment for a longer period of time.

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