Do you enjoy camping but don’t want to trade in complete reliance on electricity?
Wherever you might find yourself if there isn’t an electrical outlet for miles your best bet is to invest in a portable generator.
Portable generators are perfect for everything from tailgate season to outdoor construction projects.
However, with so many generators on the market today, you may have no clue what the right generator for your personal needs is.
That’s why we’ve put together the 14 best portable generators for every budget.
Whether you’re new to the world of portable generators or you have some basic experience with the equipment, there are a handful of specifics you’ll need to keep in mind when shopping around for the right portable generator.
With so many options out there it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but that’s why we want to give you the features to consider and what to look out for.
Prices can vary drastically when it comes to portable generators. Typically the price point will affect the amount of energy the generator produces and the length of time it will last (although this isn’t 100% the case, just a general guideline).
You can pick up a portable generator for under $200, or you can spend well over $1,500 on one. With such a wide price spectrum unless you know what to look for and what will satisfy your needs you may not have a clue what to go with. You don’t want to buy an inexpensive generator only to find it doesn’t power the equipment you want to run, and at the same time, you don’t want to overpay for a generator that offers more power than you’ll ever need.
So as you go over the other points of importance make sure to keep in mind the price and what you can afford.
2. Energy Source
Every generator has an energy source. Many generators will use regular gasoline (the same gasoline you purchase at a fuel pump). However, others might run off of diesel, while a handful will use propane. Diesel fuel costs more than regular gasoline, yet it often burns longer and gives you more energy per gallon. Of course, if you’ve been around diesel engines before you know it creates a unique odor. It also requires additional maintenance to keep it running.
Whatever you end up going with, it’s important to keep in mind how the generator creates the energy.
3. Power Production
The amount of power a portable generator produces (and the length of time it can output the electrical current) is important. You may want a portable generator to work with an electric grill or television at a tailgate. Or you may want it to power large lighting rigs and construction equipment. The amount of power the generator creates is critical.
You should have a basic idea as to what you want to use the generator will. Do you want to use it to power some basic handheld electronics, or do you want it for a specific job? Keep all of this in mind when you’re looking for the right generator.
Lastly, keep in mind the size and the weight. If it’s just you and you want a portable generator, you may want to go with something smaller that you can carry on its own. However, if you’re working with a team and have the vehicle capable of moving it, something larger may be just right. After all, you probably don’t want to buy a 75-pound generator pre-fill-up and not have the ability to move it (or the vehicle to secure it in).
The Champion Power 76533 is perfect for powering up your home as well as your work site. The generator is portable, packaged in a durable steel frame, and has a folding handle and strong tires for easy maneuvering and transportation.
The 76533 model includes a volt guard to protect your appliances from power surges and potential damage. It also features a cold start technology, meaning its functionality won’t be affected by cold weather.
With a 3.4-gallon fuel tank and over 10 hours of runtime either on propane or gas, it will conveniently power as many as 2 refrigerators, 2 freezers, fabs, a TV, heating, indoor lamps, and a coffee maker, all with power to spare.
Starting it up is pretty simple for anyone, thanks to the electric start feature. It is easy to assemble but at 68 decibels, might be a little noisy depending on how close it is to you. Aside from the noise, there’s no reason not to give this dual fuel generator a chance to power your needs.
Some of the features on the Champion power 76533 include:
When you want an electrical generator that gives you additional power options, the Jackery Portable Power Station Generator Explorer 240 may just be the right generator for you.
This is more than just a generator to keep in your car. It uses a rechargeable lithium power pack that has enough energy to last while you’re camping.
You can charge smartphones 18 times before the pack runs dry. This is great if you want some basic electrical devices running while you’re camping, or if you live in an area that is often hit by storms for extended periods of time.
The Jackery Portable Power Station Generator Explorer 240 recharges through a single power outlet. It even has a solar panel (purchased separately) that lets you charge up the generator after 10 hours of full sun. This makes it a reusable generator when outside camping (and why it’s such a great device to travel with).
The Sportsman GEN 2000 is a medium-sized, compact and fairly quiet portable generator. It can power common household appliances and, due to its size, is perfect for camping and tailgating parties.
It is also useful for getting work done onsite and saving the day when there are power outages. This model will run some heavy appliances like refrigerators and deep freezers as long as you’re ready to fuel it consistently.
If you’re on a worksite and need a portable generator to run electrical appliances like toasters, microwaves, coffee makers, and ovens, then you should try out the Sportsman GEN 2000.
It is easy to carry, easy to start, and can be used to power up your cabin during short and long visits.
Some of the features to consider on the Sportsman GEN 2000 include:
When it comes to power while you’re outside, the Pulsar 1,200W Portable Gas-Powered Generator is a solid introduction to the world of generators. It features a 1.1-gallon fuel tank that will provide up to five hours of continuous operation (at half load).
The Pulsar 1,200W Portable Gas-Powered Generator comes with two 120V outlets and 1 12V DC output. This makes the generator good when you want some electricity during a cookout but don’t need anything massive drawing power.
Uses a 2.2 HP 2 Stroke Engine.
The Pulsar 2,000W offers an easy to carry design while moving away from the electrical charge and into the world of gas powered.
In order to increase power output, you need to purchase a gas powered generator. An electrical charge generator is great for small devices and emergency settings, but if you need to power larger devices (or for longer periods of time) you’ll almost need to go the way of gas powered.
The Pulsar 2,000W is an especially quiet generator for a gas-powered option. It offers a 1.18 fuel tank and, while it is designed to be carried thanks to the handle (it looks and feels like a laundry detergent container) it does weigh 47 pounds. So while it’s portable, you may not be able to carry it for long distances depending on your physical strength level.
In terms of gas generators, you’ll be hard pressed to find something quieter. In fact, it produces just 59 dB, which means it’s nearly impossible to hear just 10 feet away. If you run a small tailgate or have an outdoor cookout away from any power outlets this is a fantastic investment.
The Pulsar 2,000W comes with 2 AC 120V outlets, plus 1 12V DC outlet and 1 5V DC USB outlet.
In all, it is a very compact design, so you won’t have a bulky device you struggle to move about.
At only 39 pounds, WEN 56203i is an extremely quiet and portable inverter generator that serves your electrical home appliances as well as your gadgets. It can function as an emergency electricity source and can power up your camping trips and other fun outings to provide adequate lighting.
You can prolong the life of the WEN 56203i generator by taking advantage of the fuel shut-off feature, which helps utilize the remaining fuel in the carburetor before shutting off automatically. The fuel management system is supported by the eco-mode switch which adjusts the consumption of fuel automatically. It is also easy to carry and move around.
This generator was designed with you in mind. Everything has been put in place to ensure the highest possible working efficiency.
Some of the unique features of WEN 56203i are:
The WEN GN400i was designed to serve efficiently and for a very long time. It has high maintenance features that prevent unnecessary gasoline consumption with eco-switch mode and provides clean energy that’s suitable for charging any electronic gadgets you own.
It has an easy setup and can be connected to RVs or used at home as a backup power supply.
If you happen to have two of these generators you can easily link them up with the parallel connection kit provided by WEN (separate purchase) and allow them to share the power supply to your intended equipment. It has a reasonable sound level that allows it to run through the night without disturbing your neighbors.
The GN400i has a very solid, sturdy, and modern build. This portable inverter generator is a bit heavy but comes with a pull-out handle and wheels for moving around. This eliminates the weight issue, as long as you don’t need to load it into a car.
It has plenty of power outlets to run as many home appliances as you may need as an individual or a group of people: mobile devices, box fans, monitors, laptops, a coffee maker, and some other electrical necessities for a typical day in.
Some of the features to consider on the WEN GN400i portable generator include:
The WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator is just a few dollars more than the Pulsar, and it produces the same 2,000 watts of power, so you’ll be directly comparing these two options.
It is especially quiet. In fact, it runs at just 51 dB, making it quieter than a window air conditioner.
The WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator also comes with a more rugged design and offers 2 120V outlets, 1 12V DC outlet, and 1 5V USB port.
The generator does come with a 1-gallon fuel tank, which gives it a half-load runtime of around six hours, which is suitable, although it isn’t all that different from other options that are less expensive (you’re paying for how quiet and durable this generator is).
The generator is also much lighter than some of the other options at just 48 pounds.
The Champion power 100692 is one of the few portable generators that is more reliable for outdoor activities than for household electricity backup. At 39 pounds, this is one of the lightest 2000W portable inverter generators available. It features an easy recoil start system and cold start technology that ensure it will suit any site, regardless of weather.
The Power 100692 also manages fuel consumption, reduces the electrical load and provides you with a comfortable noise level. If you’re looking for something that is lightweight, has a high runtime, good fuel economy and real portability, the Champion power 100692 is worth considering.
It is easy to carry, easy to start, and easy to merge with another champion generator model to double the power output. It will also provide you with safe and clean energy to charge your gadgets without harmful power surges.
Some of the Champion Power 100692 features to keep in mind include:
If you’re an avid tailgater and have been on the lookout for a portable generator that packs a punch and is quiet, the Westinghouse iGen 2000 Inverter Generator is a great option.
The Westinghouse iGen 2000 Inverter Generator is just 46 pounds, making it one of the lighter portable generators in its class.
It also has a 1.2-gallon gas tank, which is slightly larger than other options in the class, which helps increase runtime. In fact, you’ll squeeze out a 12-hour runtime, which is perfect for most tailgates and other camping activities.
With the Westinghouse iGen 2000 Inverter Generator, you have two 120V outlets and two USB outlets. It doesn’t have any 12V outlets, which is a bit of a downside, but if your car is around you can use the 12V from the car, so this outlet is often not necessary.
Creates just 52 dB of sound, making it one of the quietest gas generators on the market.
There are easy to ready controls on one side of the generator, including lights for low oil, overload, and output ready. You can also change the efficiency mode, plus you have control of a 20A circuit breaker, and overload reset.
For generators like this, we do recommend investing in a funnel so you can easily pour in the gallon of fuel without spilling.
If you’ve been around generators that smell like burning fuel you’ll appreciate the Westinghouse iGen 2000 Inverter Generator. It has a built-in air filter, which removes the fumes and allows you to enjoy the smells of your tailgate instead of a gas generator.
Whether you’re preparing for emergencies or a recreational outing, the WEN 56235i Super Quiet 2350-Watt portable generator is an ideal option to consider. At 39 pounds, it is a lightweight inverter generator that is easy to move around, making it perfect for camping. It is also safe to run vulnerable electronic gadgets like laptops, mobile phones, and tablets. It is easy to start, can run at night since it’s not very noisy, and is very economical in terms of fuel usage.
The WEN 56235i Super Quiet 2350-Watt is great for battery charging, lights, watching TV, fans, fridges, toaster ovens, and even a microwave oven.
You’ll be getting value for your money as it can power an RV, serve as a household backup, and go camping with you.
Some of the features to note about the WEN 56235i include:
The Champion power portable generator was designed with the ability to power a recreational vehicle and whatever electrical accessories it may have, including an air conditioner. It features a volt guard that protects against power surges, and a cold start to ensure ease of use during cold weather.
This generator includes maintenance features like the intelligauge to let you monitor the power output and track its activity. There’s also a sensor that shuts off the generator when the oil level is low.
This is one of the portable generators that you can use for powering your home, worksite, and any other activities. It can even power refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners, all at the same time.
The Champion 100307 is a little on the heavy side, weighing over 100 pounds when it’s empty. It also doesn’t have a carrying handle so you might need to purchase the wheel kit to make it easier to manage.
This generator has a dual fuel feature that works with either propane or gasoline, and you can easily switch between both tanks as you wish. It will give you the chance to survive any power outages in comfort and make your life much easier.
Some of the features to consider on the Campion 100307 include:
The Briggs & Stratton P2400 PowerSmart will be your best friend during camping trips and other outdoor adventures. Its lightweight design ensures that you can take it wherever you go.
Thanks to its inverter technology, this generator is perfectly safe for smaller electronics like phones, laptops, and gaming systems and even includes USB ports for charging. But more importantly, it is also safe for you due to its CO Gaurd technology that shuts down the device as soon as harmful levels of carbon monoxide are detected.
The generator is enclosed in a protective shell that also reduces noise to 58 decibels, ensuring that you and your family can use all your electronics without bothering fellow campers.
We would recommend the P2400 PowerSmart as a great solution to your electrical travel needs, but this generator can also come in handy during power outages at home.
Features of this model include:
The DuroMax XP2300iH is a hybrid portable inverter generator with a digital control center featuring an LCD display that allows you to monitor gas level, runtime in hours, voltage output, and load level. It also has an automatic shut off system for when the oil level is low. This is great for longevity.
It is suitable for camping, tailgating parties or site work. This is a dual fuel generator that gives you the choice to run either on gas or propane and the generator has economic fuel consumption.
With the DuroMax XP2300iH, you have two 120V standard power outlets and two USB outlets. It also has minimal noise level at only 52 decibels which is a little quieter than most window air conditioners. If you’re looking for a light and quiet generator that offers standard 120V options, then this might be a good fit for you.
Some of the features you’ll get to enjoy from DuroMax XP2300iH include:
The Firman P03608 is a powerful portable generator that is great for camping and other outdoor activities. It has a volt tank that regulates the power output and protects all plugged in appliances and gadgets. It is durable, compact and has high maneuverability. It is also easy to start with the remote which makes it ideal for any user.
The generator uses a 5-gallon gas tank that runs for a whopping 14 hours at 50% load. Its biggest limitation is its weight, as it stands at 119 pounds, making it a little difficult to load in and out of a truck if the need arises. But the wheels and foldable handle with ergonomic grip are great features to balance out this limitation.
Some of the features of the Firman P03608 include:
When you want a powerful generator that is still portable, the Westinghouse iGen4500 Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator is a great purchase.
It features a number of easy to read LED displays, including remaining run-time, power output, fuel level, voltage and lifetime run hours.
It has two 120V AC outlets, a 120V AC 30A outlet, which is a must when you want to connect an RV, two 5V USB connections, plus a number of control features to give you optimal control over your generator.
Despite the size, the Westinghouse iGen4500 Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator runs at just 52 dB and has an 18 hour run time with its 3.4-gallon gas tank. Of note, you can also purchase it in the state of California, which is great when you want a powerful generator and live on the West Coast.
The generator does weigh in at 98 pounds, but the handle and wheels make it easier to travel with.
The Craftsman C0010030 3000i 50 St/CSA Inverter Generator is an easy to start, gas powered portable generator that provides clean energy for your electronics. It weighs about 60 pounds when it’s full and has a built-in handle which makes it easy to move in and out of a truck when using it for outdoor activities.
The generator will effortlessly power your microwave, refrigerators, and television while remaining extremely quiet with only a slight rise in decibels as the electric load increases. This Craftsman inverter generator is of high quality and great build and, despite its size, still fits into the portable generator category.
With proper maintenance practices like changing the oil after the first break-in and storing it under the right conditions, the generator is sure to serve for a long time. You can use it for camping, power outages, boondocking, and powering your tool house. If you’re looking for a super quiet, lightweight, powerful generator with excellent units and good power, then this is the best portable generator you’ll find within this price range.
Some of the features of the Craftsman C0010030 include:
If you’re looking for a portable generator that has a fun look to it, gives you a number of power options and yet is still as quiet as possible, the Yamaha EF2000iSV2 is the way to go.
The Yamaha EF2000iSV2 runs at just 51.5 dB, making it probably the quietest generator you’ll find with this kind of power (at full power the noise is 61 dB).
It also uses an easy to use, yet elegant dial on the front to control energy output. It looks more like a classic radio than a generator.
The generator only weighs in at 45 pounds, so it is easier to carry and yet still packs a punch. It also has a 10.5-hour runtime at 25 percent load.
The Yamaha EF2000iSV2 has two 120V AC outlets, one DC outlet. It also has a 1.1-gallon fuel tank. Which for its size and weight is surprising it would be this large.
So if you’re looking for a generator that has a number of connection options and yet looks more retro cool than like a standard generator, you can’t go wrong with this option.
The Champion power 100573 is an advanced, inverter style portable generator with a wireless remote key that lets you operate it at up to 80 feet. It features an on/off button as an electric start option, cold technology for easy starting in cold weather, and quiet technology to reduce the noise to an impressively low level.
The Power 100573 has high maintenance features that allow it to monitor power output, reduce the electric load, and reduce fuel consumption. It is easily compatible with a recreational vehicle and generates clean power that is safe to charge any electronic device with.
For RV camping, the remote start is simply amazing and has enough power to run the AC, microwave, and some small items all at the same time. The generator is easy to load into any truck and it’ll hold enough gas to last you at least a weekend of fun.
Some of the top features the Champion Power 100573 offers include:
The EGO Nexus Portable Power Station was designed for indoor and outdoor use as an alternative to gas powered generators. You can take it camping or tailgating to power cookers, fans, light bulbs and griddles. You can use it at home to run your refrigerator or microwave as well as laptops and mobile devices.
The generator features a bright and easy to understand display system that gives you updates on its working status. Paying attention to this feature should help you better understand how best to use your EGO Nexus; what works well and what doesn’t.
You also have access to different USB ports for your devices, and four different batteries to supply you with enough juice for at least a day. The only limitation to this power station is that it can’t serve for very long during a power outage, because it requires charging to function.
EGO Nexus Power Station, though a little on the heavy side, is of great build quality, easy to use and perfect for emergency power supply.
Some of the great features of the EGO Nexus Portable Power Station include:
The Honda EU2200i takes quiet to the next level, as it produces just 48 dB at 25 percent load. The runtime on the device will span between four hours and 9.6 hours, depending on running at full or at 25 percent load time.
The Honda EU2200i weighs just 47 pounds and is an exceptional generator option. You can also parallel it with a second generator if you’d like.
The generator comes with a single DC 12V outlet and two USB ports. You’ll also find two AC 120V outlets as well.
The easy to carry handle and red design gives it the look of a gas tank, but at its size, it is the perfect RV companion.
The BLUETTI Portable Power Station is the ultimate portable generator that can guarantee you confidence during emergency blackout situations. At full charge, you can make use of your laptops, electric drill, chest freezer, heaters, microwave, and other appliances you may have installed in your home that is below 2000W. It is also suitable for powering camping activities, workshop tools, and RVs.
The BLUETTI power station features a touch-sensitive LED screen that allows you to monitor the amount of power you’re consuming as well as the temperature of the generator. You can also track faults by following the prompts on the screen to get a better understanding of your generator.
This generator has the ability to shut down automatically after recording a total output load of less than 50W for four hours, though this might be a little annoying if you’re only powering an electronic unit with very little load such as a minifridge.
You can fully recharge this generator within five hours or less, depending on the number and kind of adapter you choose to use. The two 15W wireless chargers mean you don’t have to worry about getting a cord for your mobile devices, especially if you’re using it outdoors.
All features considered, this generator offers capabilities that are well worth the price tag.
Some of the features that stand out in the BLUETTI Portable Power Station AC200P include:
If you’re in search of a strong and powerful portable generator that generates pure energy to a wide range of electrical appliances and devices, anywhere and anytime, then this might just be your last stop. The EF ECOFLOW EFDELTA Solar Generator is a solar powered generator that was built to power you through all kinds of weather conditions. It is waterproof, which makes it perfect for hiking, camping, and any other fun activity you can think of without worrying about rain damage.
This generator is compatible with any model of solar panels and can also be recharged by cars and AC cables. It has high energy conversion efficiency and multiple outlets that’ll keep your devices alive and running for hours of use. It might be a little heavy to be used for backpacking adventures, but aside from that, it’s an incredible power station.
The EF ECOFLOW is a perfect choice for home emergency blackouts, professional use when powering high power gadgets, workshops, work sites, RV lighting, and for outdoor activities. You can’t possibly go wrong with this reliable and speedy charging generator.
Some of the top features of EF ECOFLOW EFDELTA include:
You really can’t go wrong with any of these generators. Whether you want something that’s perfect for emergencies or you can take with you on outdoor hiking trips all the way to extremely powerful generators designed for epic tailgates, there’s something for you.
Did any of these portable generators catch your eye? What did you like about them? And what do you want to see in your own portable generator?
Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear your perspective.
Disclosure: The product recommendations are not sponsored and are chosen by our editorial staff. We may earn an affiliate commission when you purchase an item through our links.
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