​The Best Portable Generator​​ - Reviews of 2018

Updated December, 2018

  • ​42 Models ​Considered
  • ​​​149 ​Hours Researched
  • ​​​​​5Top Picks

​Welcome! Our site is dedicated to providing 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 ​models to our best portable generator reviews, beef up our how to & articles section, provide unmatched information on anything ‘portable generators’. We hope that ​we 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!

​Our ​​5 ​​​​​​​​​​​​​Best Portable Generators of 2018

 

Pros
Cons
Bottom Line
Overall Score
Pros : Dual GFCI outlets and one 120/240v power receptacle make this generator useful right out of the box. Plug and play set up guarantees it fires up when you need it to.
Cons : Limited warranty program in place. Somewhat expensive. Difficult to maintain and repair on your own.
Bottom Line : As far as inexpensive backup generators are concerned, this Westinghouse option makes keeping your home or office always powered on simple and straightforward. Powered by a 420 mL, four stroke engine, this portable generator can run for hours and hours on a single tank of fuel.
Overall Score:
​Portability - 9.3
Power - 9.6
​Noise - 9.1
​Efficiency - 9.7
Pros : Almost silent operation is perfect for home use. Ability to daisychain portable generators together for more power is impressive. Improved throttle system boosts fuel efficiency.
Cons : Plenty expensive, should be combined with other generators for whole house electricity, a little bit on the heavy side of things.
Bottom Line : Honda has been making some of the best portable generators available on the market today, and this option is no exception. Considered by many to be the best portable generator money can buy, it won’t take you long to figure out firsthand exactly why that is.
Overall Score:
​Portability - 9.8
​​Power - 8.9
​Noise - 9.4
​Efficiency - 8.9
Pros : Robust construction materials and engineering make this a favorite on the job site. Eight hour run time on a single tank of fuel ranks right up there with the best portable generators. 4000 W surge and 3300 W continuous power comes standard.
Cons : The brand has had some quality control issues. Oil leaking problems can become commonplace with extended usage. Limited warranty included.
Bottom Line : While not the household name brand that some of the other options on our list are, this particular generator is very impressive – especially for its price point. You don’t necessarily get the legendary reputation for durability or the features premium generators offer, but for a bare-bones and dependable unit it doesn’t get much better than this.
Overall Score:
Portability - 8.4
​​Power - 8.1
​Noise - 7.9
​Efficiency - 9.1
Pros : Ultra quiet operation utilizes a US spark arrestor. Smart throttle technology increases your fuel efficiency. Built in inverter system features Pulse Width Modulation.
Cons : Small form factor generator that won’t be able to power all appliances at once. Will have a problem with oil leakage from time to time.
Bottom Line : As far as compact and small footprint generators are concerned, you cannot spend your money anymore wisely than on this Yamaha option. Powerful, capable, and very friendly to use, it may have a little bit of regular maintenance required for perfect operation – especially when it comes to oil – but this offers plenty of bang for your buck.
Overall Score:
​Portability - 9.6
​​Power - 9
​Noise - 9.5
​Efficiency - 8.5
Pros : Continuous stream of power thanks to the 2100 Series of OHP engine. Increased 25% “surge” power to handle large appliances and at the same time. 36 month warranty from Briggs and Stratton.
Cons : Surge power feature can be unpredictable and consumes extra fuel. Warranty repairs require you to bring this to a legitimate dealer, which may not be available locally.
Bottom Line : Briggs and Stratton have always been responsible for making quality tools, and this generator is a great option for the price. It’s extra large fuel tank allows for nine hours of continuous operation, some of the best fuel economy in the business, though if you run into trouble with this generator getting repairs can be a bit of a headache.
Overall Score:
​Portability - 8.4
​​Power - 9.6
​Noise - 8.4
​Efficiency - 8.9

​Let us help you find the best portable generator with our reviews

Last updated December, 2018

Our dependence on electricity or power is such that life comes to a standstill in case of power cuts or shortage of electricity. At such times, portables generators come handy as a convenient source and power back-up solution. Portable generators depend on fuel, diesel mostly, to produce power for domestic use. In fact, I have used a portable generator for my campsite, house and even while traveling in my RV. So, understanding what goes on behind the scenes, how a portable generator works, or alternatively fails, can definitely help in purchasing a dependable and truly portable unit.

best portable generators

Did you know...

If you ​add all the peak wattage together for every device you plan to backup and also the rated wattage, ​if will give​ you the peak and rated wattage to look for​ before you purchase a portable generator.

Our Picks for the Best ​Portable Generators of 2018

Our Top Pick

9.​4

Editor's
Score

Westinghouse WGen7500

9.​3
​Portability

9.​6
​​Power

​9.​1
​Noise

​9.7
​Efficiency

Why You Should Buy This Generator: Our favorite generator, this unit really has it all. A perfect blend of price, power, and portability, you really can’t go wrong with this Westinghouse unit.

Who’s This Generator Perfect For? ANYONE can make the most of this Westinghouse generator. As comfortable on the construction site as it is tied directly into the circuitry of your home – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg – it doesn’t get better than this.

How much will it cost: ​​Check Current Price

Why We Picked ​The Westinghouse WGen 7500: The price is right, the portability is high, and the reliability of this unit is top notch across the board.

You’ll find out just how easy this Westinghouse portable generator is to you the moment that you go to fire it up for the first time. With both a push button electric start mechanism and a remote start wireless key fob, turning on your portable generator in an emergency is going to be effortless.

Fuel economy with this unit is outstanding, and for the most part this portable generator is going to be relatively maintenance-free. The ability to utilize the “transfer switch” capabilities of this generator – tying it directly into your already existing electrical circuits at home or the office – is outstanding. This feature lets you use your appliances, your lights, and your power outlets at home or at work the same way you would if the power was actively on traditionally.

Combine all of that with a full three year warranty from Westinghouse and you’ll soon see why it doesn’t get much better than this!

​Best ​Portable In​verter Genera​tor

​2. ​​Honda EU2200i

9.​​3

Editor's
Score

Honda EU2200i

9.​8
Portability

​8.​9
​​Power

​9.​4
​Noise

​8.9
​Efficiency

Why You Should Buy This Generator:​ Legendary Honda dependability is exactly what you’re looking for when the power goes down in an emergency. Quiet, capable, and fuel-efficient this unit is relatively inexpensive and operate.

Who’s This Generator Perfect For?​ Homeowners looking for a “pocket-sized” backup generator in an emergency, camping and outdoor adventure enthusiasts, folks with boats, RVs, and farm equipment that needs to be powered on when traditional power isn’t available all the time.

How much will it cost: ​​Check Current Price

Why We Picked ​The ​Honda EU2200i: ​Combine the reputation Honda has for making some of the best generators on the planet with an almost unbelievably small footprint and you are looking at something really special here.

The only thing that really stopped us from putting this on the generator at the top of our favorite portable generator list is the fact that it’s is small and compact, and not always ideally suited for EVERY generator application. Even still, this generator is something fantastic. On the engineers have rebuilt some of their best generators into this ridiculously small footprint, producing a piece of technology that can provide constant and surge power in a backpack style form factor – all while cutting down on the noise emitted from this generator while in use.

Best of all, it’s possible to run this generator for anywhere between four hours and almost 10 hours on a single tank of fuel (depending upon your usage), making it one of the most fuel friendly portable generators on the market today. You’re going to fall in love with everything that this Honda generator has to offer in the odds are pretty good that this will be one of the last generators you ever have to buy. That’s how dependable over the long haul they really are!

Best ​Budget Portable Generator

​8.​4

Editor's
Score

DuroStar DS4000S

​8.4
Portability

​8.1
​Power

7.​9
​Noise

​9.1
Efficiency

Why You Should Buy This Generator:​ ​Offering a similar level of performance as some of the most expensive portable generators on the market, all while being available at a fraction of the price, it’s easy to see why so many people are investing in DuroStar generators.

Who’s This Generator Perfect For?​ ​Homeowners, property owners, construction professionals, and anyone else looking to get their hands on a top-quality generator without breaking their bank account along the way.

How much will it cost: ​​Check Current Price

Why We Picked ​The ​​DuroStar DS4000S: ​​This generator might have a budget focused price point attached, but it isn’t short on specialty features or premium capabilities. You’ll be very impressed by what this generator can handle right out of the box, saving you money right from day one.

It would be a mistake to think that we put this generator this high on our rankings just because of its amazingly low price tag, though the budget price certainly played a factor in our decisions.

Featuring a 7 hp and air cooled OVP engine that can produce between 3300 W and 4000 W depending upon whether or not it’s offering constant or surge power, this generator is plenty capable enough to handle anything at home, at the office, on the farm, or on a job site – in the middle of a natural disaster or a bright, sunny summer day.

There have been a couple of quality control issues with some of the generators produced by this company, and some of the units that they make available have oil leaking problems that need to be addressed. But for the most part, this generator is worth absolutely every penny of its inexpensive price tag and then some!

Best ​Small Portable Generator

​​​​4. Yamaha EF2000iSv2

9.​​2

Editor's
Score

Yamaha EF2000iSv2

​​9.6
Portability

9.​0
​Noise

​9.5
​Power

​8.5
Efficiency

Why You Should Buy This Generator:​ ​​A tiny little generator, there may not be a more portable option on the market than this unit from Yamaha. Impressively, it can offer 10.5 hours of continuous usage on a single tank of fuel – all while remaining just slightly larger than your traditional lunchbox.

Who’s This Generator Perfect For?​ ​​​Anyone on the go, anyone that needs a “backpack” style generator, people that spend plenty of time camping, in their RV, on a boat, or someone that could use on demand power that doesn’t involve running and entire household work tools and appliances.

How much will it cost: ​​Check Current Price

Why We Picked ​The ​​​Yamaha EF2000iSv2: ​​​The portability of this Yamaha unit is second to none, and the capabilities it brings to the table are nothing short of incredible, either. Efficient, effortless to use, and dependable, you’ll really like this portable system.

Certainly not the least expensive of all the portable generator options out there – or even on this list – you’ll inevitably spend full-size generator money for this compact Yamaha unit, but most that have had a chance to try out this unit in real life are happy to make that trade.

Pumping out 1600 W of AC output when set to a continuous stream of energy, but capable of throttling up to 2000 W during surge power, this unit remains quiet and fuel-efficient thanks to its Smart Throttle technology.

The engineering that went into this unit “under the hood” allows it to very the engine speed depending upon the load being placed upon it. There might not be a more responsive unit available right now, though we wouldn’t be surprised if other manufacturers start to copy this kind of technology and weave it into their top-tier generators sooner rather than later.

​Best Portable Generator for RV

​​​​​5. Briggs & Stratton 30663
2000 Rated Watts & 2500 Peak​​

​8.8

Editor's
Score

Briggs & Stratton 30663

​8.4
Portability

9.​6
​Noise

​8.4
​Power

​8.9
Efficiency

Why You Should Buy This Generator:​ ​​​When this generator is working the way it should be, you are going to be able to enjoy some of the best continuous on a single tank of fuel compared to many of the other portable generator options available on the market today.

Who’s This Generator Perfect For?​ ​​​​Contractors, homeowners that want to be prepared for power outages, and preppers looking to make sure they have juice should the grid go down.

How much will it cost: ​​Check Current Price

Why We Picked ​The ​​​Briggs & Stratton 30663: ​For more than 108 years now, the folks at Briggs and Stratton have been producing quality pieces of equipment Americans can trust. As one of the largest suppliers of portable generators in all of North America, this is a company you know you can rely on.

​As we touched on earlier, when this Briggs and Stratton generator is working the way it should be you aren’t going to have anything to worry about.

It’s continuous power system works wonderfully to make sure that your appliances and electrical items have a steady supply of juice to keep them up and running. The surge power system provides 25% more power when you have multiple appliances tools hooked up to the generator, giving you the extra electricity you need on demand.

An easy to use control panel, keyed electric start, and 12 inch “never go flat” wheels make this ideal for less than civilized setups – in the middle of the woods, camping, or on a construction site. The only real “wrinkle” with this Briggs and Stratton generator is when the power surge system doesn’t behave the way it should. When that happens, fuel can be consumed a lot faster than you expected – and is an issue that needs to be remedied ASAP.

Before buying a Portable Generator, here are a few of the best brands for look for...

​​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 the 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.

​DuroMax

portable generators duromax

​Makers of their own engines, a wide selection of power, output and design, greater fuel efficiency, lower cost of operation and longer lifespan make 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.

Read Our DuroMax Reviews...

Generac

portable generator generac

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.


​Read Our ​Generac Reviews...

Champion

portable generator champion

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

Read Our ​Champion Reviews...

​PowerMate

powermate portable generator

​Powerful, sleek and sexy looking, A PowerMate portable generator is probably the wisest investment you can make. Engines from Yamaha, Honda, and others, components built by Subaru and leading designers of the world, everything sourced and developed by leaders in their own industries give 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.

Read Our PowerMate Reviews...

Briggs & Stratton

portable generator briggs stratton

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 and best 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.

Read Our ​Champion Reviews...

​Westinghouse

portable generator westinghouse

​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.



Read Our PowerMate Reviews...

portable generator inverter

​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.

Read Our Inverter Generator Reviews...

Buying Guide: Things you MUST think about before buying a Portable Generator

​Why are you buying 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 an 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 an RV, there are plenty of benefits to 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.

What to shop for when buying a Portable Generator

​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.

  • Portability: ​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 or Wattage: 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 to have to take into consideration the individually 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.
  • ​​Noise Levels: 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 campsite then make sure that it falls under the 75 dBA bracket. Generators with spark arrestors are another requirement for the campsite. 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.
  • ​​Size: ​A largely 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.​
  • Starter: ​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.

Did you know...

​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!

Here are a few pointers to get you started. Remember by no means, am I suggesting that this is a complete buying guide but it should serve as a good starting point.

Wattage

Wattage

I remember from my school days, wattage being defined as voltage multiplied by amperage (current). It is a simple term to understand and correlate for any physics major but with a little practice, you too can learn how to use this rating to your advantage. Most home appliances today have a clear description of the wattage, which is generally of two kinds.

  • Rated, Running or Continuous Wattage – The wattage that the appliance or device normally runs on.
  • Peak wattage – The maximum amount of wattage the appliance or device will use, usually when it starts or stops.

Noise Level

generator noise

​Noise or audible voice is measured in decibels or better referred to with the acronym dBA. When it comes to portable generators it is measured in terms of dBA at an industry-specific distance of about 21 feet or 7 meters. This is the standard measurement. The noise level for generators usually ranges from 55dBA to about 85dBA.

You may be aware of silent generators – these usually have a dBA of 75 or less. Anything above this limit is quite loud in comparison. Just to put things into perspective imagine the ruckus at a subway station as a train enters it. This is about 85 to 90dBA. So a silent portable generator isn’t actually very silent, it is just less noisy than an otherwise naked generator.

So, why is the noise level important? If you are going to use the generator in a domestic setting, it might actually be a big concern. For example, you are organizing a function, gathering or going to a campsite, the noise of the generator can have a dampening effect on the occasion and overall mood of the location or set up. You do not want people exercising their vocal cords, ears in a function or scare away the wilderness when you are out at a camp. Hence, when making a purchase decision know the kind of acceptable noise level and how much you can deviate on either side of the graph. Personally, for me, anything below 80dBA is fine.

Spark Arrestor Mechanism:

​Generators today come with a spark arrestor mechanism that prevents any sparks from escaping through the exhaust. This is essential if you plan on using the genset out in nature, or in your lawn, backyard since it can help reduce chances of potential fire or damage to the nearby floors and walls.

Size and Portability

​Depending on your usage pattern and expected movement of the generator, you will have to make a choice between portability, size and obviously the wattage. The heavier the generator, the more troublesome it will be to move. So, ensure that you assess well in advance how often you would need to move it around and remember that too small the size and you lose out on wattage.

For a typical home, a heavy generator will not be an issue, since you won’t move it around much from its designated area. However, if you are thinking of a campsite, you will need to be able to take it to load/unload from the trailer or RV, haul it to the campsite, fit it into an RV and more. Generators today tend to offer smaller wheels than before. While this reduces the weight, it can make things harder for you out camping. So basically, for homesteaders large sized, smaller wheels are better but for campers, smaller size with pneumatic large wheels are perfect.

​Starting Options

Generators are now available with a button start option or you could stick with a traditional recoil starter. The latter requires much more effort and can sometimes lead to injury. Whereas, a button start or electric start obviously offers ease of use with easy and quick operating mechanism. Yes, it makes things simpler and safer but a dead battery isn’t going to help you out. My advice – even if you get a Start button type portable generator, it should have a recoil cord too.

Other Features to keep in mind:

  • Inverter Or Microprocessor Controls – A few high-end portable generators come with inbuilt voltage and ampere regulators or ICs that provide a steady current output, which is great for your home appliances
  • Number of Outlets – Ideally you should have one high Amp outlet and three low amp outlets. However, more the merrier provided the portable generator can provide power to all of them at the same time.
  • Lightning Bolt
    Fuel Gauge – I never look at portable generators that don’t have a fuel gauge as adding fuel to a generator once it exhausts its tank means you lose power for a while.
  • Lightning Bolt
    Oil Guard – A failsafe mechanism that prevents the generator from starting if the oil level hits a dangerous low. Usually found in stationary units, some portable generators do provide this, especially those with 10,000 watts or more rating.
  • Lightning Bolt
    Alternate Fuel – Most generators operate on diesel, propane or gas. Thankfully, you can convert a few models using a conversion kit to work with propane and natural gas alongside gasoline

Buying Guide Part 2:

Generators are now available with a button start option or you could stick with a traditional recoil starter. The latter requires much more effort and can sometimes lead to injury. Whereas, a button start or electric start obviously offers ease of use with easy and quick operating mechanism. Yes, it makes things simpler and safer but a dead battery isn’t going to help you out. My advice – even if you get a Start button type portable generator, it should have a recoil cord too.

If you are planning to buy or own a generator it is important to understand that a lot of factors play a crucial role in the buying decision. However, the most important and critical factor is to exactly know your total power requirements. Overusing the generator or exceeding it’s suggested limits has adverse effects on fuel efficient and causes irreparable damage to the generator. In certain cases, it also damages equipment feeding directly off the generator.

My advice is to first tabulate the total power consumption that you will require and then add about 15 percent extra just to be safe and factor in peak wattage.


A good way to start and know the exact requirements for any generator is to find the user or owner manual of all appliances add the suggested wattage for each unit to reach a conclusive, yet not exclusive number. If you can’t find the manual or are short of time, refer to the table given below and identify an average wattage for any appliance. This is more of a broad outline rather than an accurate calculation. I have tabulated the wattage based on my home appliance’s user manuals.

​Average Wattage Guide

Appliance Wattage Appliance Wattage
Personal Computer 500-2,000 Broiler 1,400
Planer 300-900 Central Air Conditioning 2,000-4,000
Refrigerator/Freezer 600-800 Chain Saw 1,000-1,800
Router 100-1,300 Circular Saw 1,200-1,600
Sanders (belt, disc, orbital) 250-1,500 Coffeemaker 400-800
Shop Vacuum 700-1,400 Drills (depends on size) 250-1,200
Space Heater 1,250 Electric Furnace 5,000-25,000
String Trimmer 600-1,100 Electric Range (oven only) 5,000
Sump Pump 1,500 Electric Range (one element) 2,500
Table Lamp (tri-lite) 150 Hair Dryer 1,200-1,500
Television 100-350 Heater (radiant) 1,300
3/4 HP Paint Sprayer 1,800 Hedge Clippers 300-1,000
Toaster 1,100-1,700 Hot Plate 1,250
Water Heater 3,000-4,500 Leaf Blower 1,000-1,400
Water Pump 1,000-2,000 Microwave 1,200
Window Air Conditioner 600-1,500 Miter Saw 500-1,000

​Once you have the approximate wattage value, multiple the resultant number with two and then decide on a generator wattage. Once you know the wattage, it fairly narrows down your search criteria and will let you easily compare and buy a power generator.

​Now that you have concluded the total power your home requires, it’s time to select the right class of portable generator. Based on the total wattage, I have classified all portable generators into three categories.

Compact Portable Generators

​Power – 3,000 to 4,000 Watts
Price – $400 to $800
What It Powers –
This sized portable generator powers just the basics such as a refrigerator (600 watts), TV (200 watts), Sump Pump (600 watts), Microwave (1,500 watts) and several lights limited to a total of 400 watts.

​Compact generators with inverter capability is a good standby emergency generator. It even works well as a campsite generator. Small in size, lightweight, ultra-portable nature are its biggest advantage. But, don’t get your hopes up of having this unit power everything in your house. You will have to be picky about the most important appliances.

Midsize Portable Generators

​Power – 5,000 to 8,000 Watts
Price – $550 to $1200
What It Powers –
Can run a portable heater (1,300 watts), computer (400 watts), heating system (500 watts), secondary pump(600 watts), more lights along with a microwave, refrigerator, and television.

Mid-sized generators are an excellent backup generator. Usually no larger than a pressure washer, these generators can be kept in the storage shed and used immediately during emergency situations. They function well as hurricane or storm generators and are portable enough to power RVs and campsites too.

Large Portable Generators


​Power – 10,000 Watts or more
Price – $2,000 to $3,000
What It Powers –
Along with everything that a midsize portable unit can power, Large generators can also power central air conditioners, large electric ranges, small water heats and more.

Large portables are actually harder to move around. So, while you get the ability to power pumps, air conditioners, and large electric ranges, you may just find yourself stuck with a heavy and bulky generator in the shed, unable to take it anywhere. They make a lot of ruckuses and definitely will get you kicked out of any campsite. Don’t buy if you plan on going camping with it.

It is important to understand that there are other aspects of power requirements to be kept in mind. If you are looking forward to increasing the appliances in your house, reserve a bit extra for the changes you can foresee.

The Best Portable Generators on The Market
5
Amazing!
Available at Amazon