Best Generators Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Generators are a great source of electricity when you’re moving around in your RV, outdoor camping, or when the main grid power goes down. With portable generators, you’ll still be able to and charge your appliances and devices regardless of whether you have the main power or not. We’ve compiled a list of the best options currently on the market. On our list, we’ve shown you different types of generators, including low-duty to heavy-duty lists to cover all your power needs. Following that, we’ve created a buying guide to help you figure out which generator suits your lifestyle the best. Lastly, if you have any questions, you might find them being answered in our frequently asked questions right at the end.
- Westinghouse WGen7500
- DuroStar DS4000S
- Briggs & Stratton Q6500
- Champion 3500W
- DuroMax XP12000EH
- Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt
- Pulsar 5,250W Dual Fuel
- CHAFON 288WH 500-Watt
- Rockpals 12,000-Watt
- CAT RP12000E
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Generators
1. Westinghouse WGen7500
Heavy-duty powerful engine
Cast Iron Steel Frame provides protection
Easy start and running with the remote key start, electric start, and manual recoil
Runtime of 10+ hours on a single tank
Heavy (weighs just over 200 lbs.) -- making it not easy to transport or store
Not quite enough for simple outdoor tranquility time and camping trips at 64-decibels
Westinghouse’s has been known to create high-quality portable generators for over 130 years. The WGen7500 makes it easy for you to use a generator. With its one-touch push button electric start through the included remote, you can quickly start up your generator. In addition to its features, it also requires easy maintenance once in a while.Read more
Remote Electric Start
WGen7500’s remote start key fob allows you to save time when starting up your generator. It also offers you a more convenient way to do so. You can use the key fob to start the generator from up to 109 yards away.
Transfer Switch Ready
It features a convenient L14-30 30A 120/240V outlet that allows you to integrate your home through WGen7500’s transfer switch. The twist lock outlet allows you to easily power all the necessary appliances whenever you need them.
Cost and Value
Westinghouse is a trusted name in the electric product market. They’ve built their reputations through excellent service and quality craftsmanship over the years. In terms of this list, the Westinghouse WGen7500 comes at fifth place with its price.
2. DuroStar DS4000S
Easy to operate
Contains a powerful engine
Great value for its size
Does not come with wheels (weighs 94 lbs.), but there is an optional wheel kit available.
High fuel consumption and requires frequent oil changes
DuroStar DS4000S generator uses a seven HP air-cooled OHV engine that pumps out a total of 3,300 running watts and 4,000 surge watts. It’s a rugged power machine that's ideal for a variety of uses, from getting you through a power outage to running your power tools on your remote projects. The heavy-duty steel frame of the DuroStar DS4000S, you can eliminate rattle, which then allows for a quieter operation.Read more
Full Power Panel
The DuroStar DS4000S is equipped with a full power panel, which makes it easier to use the recoil start. The power panel also comes with power outlets, voltmeter, circuit breaker, and warning light indicators.
Low Oil Shut Off
The DS4000S comes with a low oil shut off features that prevent any damage from being caused to its 7 horsepower air-cooled engine when you are running low on oil. It also has a 4-gallon gas tank which allows it to be run for 8 hours at half load.
Cost and Value
The DuroStar DS4000S is an efficient and affordable option for anyone. It is ranked at the number one place in terms of its affordability due to its price and versatility.
3. Briggs & Stratton Q6500
Large, 5-gallon gas tank
Has a fuel gauge and power usage meter
All-steel frame protection
Sound level is 66 decibels at 25% load from 23 ft. away
Suitcase style telescoping handle
It is not CARB compliant or parallels capable
Does not have an electric start
Developed to offer you with a reliable source of power during power outages and emergencies, the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 Inverter Generator. In comparison to its competitors, the Q6500 is 30% lighter, 45% more compact, and 60% quieter. It is full of cutting-edge features that put it above its competition and place it firmly on the list of the top inverter generators.Read more
Highly Efficient Engine
The Briggs & Stratton Q6500 features a highly efficient 306 cc. air-cooled 4-cycle OHV engine. It also has a gas tank of 5 gallons, which allows it to provide fourteen hours of run time at a quarter load.
All Steel Frame
The all steel frame of the Q6500 keeps the internal components of the generator protected while also helping to minimize the noise level. The compact design also makes it easier and lighter to move this around.
Cost and Value
The Briggs & Stratton Q6500 Inverter Generator is designed to offer all the primary needs of a house backup power. However, with its price being quite high, it is ranked number ninth on our list according to its affordability.
4. Champion 3500W
Volt guard feature protects connected appliances
Power cuts off a few seconds before the engine actually stops (protects all connected appliances)
Includes IntelliGauge which shows the volts, hertz, and hours in use.
Wireless remote start
Cast iron cylinder ensures that it lasts longer
Lacks a gas drain - makes it difficult for oil changes.
Does not have a 240V outlet
The Champion 3500 Watt Portable Generator is a powerful generator that can be a great addition to your RV camping trips. In addition to it being a semi cost-effective, it’s a convenient solution for emergency situations, like power outages. The 4000W starting power and 3500W running power are enough for you to be able to power multiple applications at once.Read more
Reliable 4-Stroke Engine
Champion 3500W’s engine is a reliable 4 stroke OHV single cylinder. It runs at 3600 RPM on a 6.5 horsepower engine. With a full tank of gas, capacity of 3.8 gallons, running at half load, you can get up to 12 hours of power.
Remote Electric Start Button
The Champion 3500W comes complete with a remote start button that allows you to start and stop the generator from up to eighty feet away. It also features an electric start button and the regular recoil.
Cost and Value
In terms of affordability, the Champion 3500W ranked at number three on our list. Though it might not be the most portable option, it comes with wheels to offer it some semblance of mobility.
5. DuroMax XP12000EH
Simple panel design
In case of overload, the circuit breaker shuts off the generator
Able to choose between propane and gas
Prevents overheating through its low-oil warning
Propane evaporates below 40 degrees
After constant use, there is a likelihood of oil leaks
The DuroMax Hybrid Dual Fuel XP12000EH is a big investment, but if you’re in the market for a lot of power, then this generator has plenty of it. It has 12,000 peak watts and 9,500 running watts which allows you to power your home if you need it as a backup power source. It can run for around 48 hours when it’s being run at 1000W load. It is quite heavy, but with the pull handle and wheels, it does become more portable.Read more
The overall operation is actually quite user-friendly in comparison to some other models. It features an electric start but also has a backup recoil starter. The engine also shuts down automatically if the oil level gets too low.
It’s very unlikely for a dual fuel generator of this size to be very quiet. However, the spark arrestor and muffler reduces the noise considerably. Though it doesn’t meet California’s strict emissions guidelines, it is EPA approved for use in the National Parks.
Cost and Value
In terms of the affordability, the DuroMax Hybrid Dual Fuel is ranked on eighth place. Though it is on the fairly pricier size, the sheer capacity of this generator ensures that it will last for a lot longer.
6. Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt
Known to be an outstanding quiet generator
Advance internal cooling
Has a one-gallon gas capacity
On a single tank, it can work on full capacity for 3 hours
It has a powerful engine
Some report of it being expensive
There isn’t a fuel gauge to show remaining fuel
A popular choice among RV owners, the Honda EU2200i allows users to run various appliances at once while you are on a working job site, at home, or even on your travels. As it states, it’s an extremely quiet generator, which means that you won’t disturb your neighbors when you turn it on. If you need additional power, then you can simply hook up around EU2200i.Read more
Honda’s EU2200i Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator you get great fuel efficiency. Depending on the load, it can run up to 4 to 9.6 hours on a single tank. This makes it great for long-time applications or overnight power.
The inverter technology used in this Honda EU2200i means that there is clean, stable power in a lighter, smaller package. The precision of this technology ensures that the power produced is just as reliable as your home outlets.
Cost and Value
In terms of the affordability, the Honda EU2200i is ranked at seventh place, but it sure packs a punch for such a small bodied generator. The power that it can produce at that level of quietness, is unbeatable.
7. Pulsar 5,250W Dual Fuel
Easy to move around and store
It can provide power for a wide range of devices
It can work on full capacity for up to 12 hours
It is easy to assemble
It works with gas and propane
It is known to be quiet loud
It is known to shut down randomly for no reason
The powerful portable generator by Pulsar features a 224cc engine that can handle more than twelve hours of continuous operations, even at half load. This makes it perfect for those that have bigger energy needs. It comes complete with a built-in ‘Switch & Go Technology’ that allows you to switch between Gasoline and LPG with easy.Read more
Switch & Go Technology
Along with its recoil pull start capabilities, the Pulsar 5,250W Portable Generator comes with the ‘Switch & Go Technology’ that allows smooth and seamless transitions between gasoline and LPG fuel sources.
Mobility and Easy Storage
The Pulsar 5250W is designed with two never flat wheels and a fold-down handle to increase mobility along with adding additional storage. It also features a 3-in-1 digital meter, low oil indicator, and low oil shutdown - leading to fewer worries for the user.
Cost and Value
In terms of the affordability, the Pulsar 5250W is ranked at number fourth place with a decent price and size which make it worth the price it's set at.
8. CHAFON 288WH 500-Watt
It is easy to use
It is designed well
It is compact
Perfect for camping
Known as a silent generator
It has been reported that it stopped working after 6 months
Doesn’t have that many color choices
If you’re looking for a handy generator that will be good for emergencies, outdoor use, power outages, and blackouts, then the Chafon Portable Generator 288WH Backup Battery Pack is a great option. It features a 110V AC output and a 12V DC input. The Chafon Portable Generator can generate around 5900 watts to power small items, such as small refrigerators, fans, game consoles, cameras, phones, small TVs, laptops, and more.Read more
Built-In Surge Protector
The Chafon Portable Generator comes complete with a built-in surge protector which helps to keep your electronics and devices from undercurrent, over current, under voltage, and over voltage.
It designed with compactness in mind. At 7.36 lbs., it is also the lightest model on our list. It is easy to use and very silent which makes it a great all-rounder.
In terms of affordability, the Chafon Portable Generator is ranked at second place, which means that it’s definitely on the lower end of the pricing scale. It’s also quite small and mighty, which make it worth its price point.
9. Rockpals 12,000-Watt
Large fuel tank
Comes with a compact funnel
Extra accessories are included with the generator
Is able to handle all your household needs
Quite heavy (220 lbs.)
Some reports of it not having enough power to get the A.C. compressor working
For a fuel generator that meets all of your backup power needs, the Rockpals 12,000W Dual Fuel Portable Generator is the way to go. Whether you are at your RV, a worksite, or at home during an outage, Rockpals 12,000W generator has you covered. The versatile generator can run on propane or gasoline, plus allows you to switch between both easily. On gasoline, it has 12,000 starting watts and 9,000 running watts. On LPG it has 10,800 starting watts and 8,100 running watts.Read more
The Rockpals 12,000W features an oversized muffler that helps to reduce it’s noise, thus resulting in a quieter operation. It has a noise level of 78 dBA from around twenty-three feet away.
Safe and Reliable
It is designed to be as safe and as easy as possible for you. The Rockpals 12,000W features a user-friendly that is as simple as starting up a machine. The solid tires are also ensured to never run flat.
Cost and Value
In terms of affordability, the Rockpals 12,000W Dual Fuel Portable Generator is ranked at sixth place due to its price. Though it might be higher up in price in comparison to some models, the Rockpals version does have a lot more power to offer, therefore making it worth its price.
10. CAT RP12000E
On a single tank, it can work on full capacity for up to 11 hour
Motor idles when not in use
There are nine outlets, for devices that use between 20 - 50 amps
The instructions are clear and easy to understand
Very heavy at 347.6 lbs.
Harder to move
For those that are looking for a portable motor, the CAT RP12000E Gas Powered Portable Generator is a great option to look at. First and foremost, it comes from a company that’s well-known for making some quality construction equipment. In addition to that, it has 15,000 starting watts that let you power all your major appliances while the 12,000 running watts keep the engine from overheating.Read more
The CAT RP12000E Generator is ideal for those who want the flexibility and features that portable generators offer them. This generator can help you keep running AC units, furnaces, hammer drills, air compressors, belt sanders, table saws, and more.
High Fuel Capacity
The generator has 13.2-gallon fuel capacity, that has a run time of 11.7 hours at half load. It features a 670 v-twin engine along with 9 covered outlets and 120/240V outlets.
Cost and Value
In terms of affordability, the CAT RP12000E Generator is ranked at the number tenth (last) place. This is simply due to its high price, which makes it the highest product on our list. However, it does have a lot to offer you.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When you’re looking for a new generator or whether you’re looking to replace your current one, it’s important to factor in how it’ll be used according to your skill level. If it seems like the generator might be too complicated to use, then the upkeep of the generator might be difficult for you.
So, you can look at certain features to ensure that you will have an easier time using and maintaining the generator. These include tech-based features, fuel tank capacity, and noise levels.
Technology is continually advancing, which means that all the fields that use technology are having to keep up with this rapid change. These new features are then reflected in the latest version of generators. Some of the features are:
You can start your generator when you are meters away.
Receiving a warning when the oil levels are low or in some case allowing the generator to shut down if the oil levels get lower than the recommended amount.
Some generators have a LED display to show how much fuel is left and how much you have used, so that you may know how to use the remaining fuel efficiently. Others are now programmed to automatically adjust themselves so that the fuel isn’t wasted but used effectively. This feature will help when there is a blackout or when camping and you have to use the fuel carefully.
Some of the older generators used to make a lot of noise however with the advancement of technology there are generators nowadays that make little to no noise. Generators making little to no noise are great camping in an enclosed area or even if there are people living nearby. The less noise the generator makes, the more it's going to be preferred by people.
Occasional or Everyday Use
Whether you’re frequently traveling or you take occasional trips in your RV, you need to have a generator that is there whenever you need to have power. You will need to take additional upkeep and maintenance in order for it to always be ready when you want it to me. But, after that’s done, you’ll continue to have a reliable source of power ready for you whenever you need it.
Emergency Situations and Power Outages
If you reside in an area which has a history of suffering from adverse weather conditions or frequent blackouts, then a generator can help to provide you with hours worth of power while you wait for yours to come back. It simply means that you won’t have to go without modern conveniences.
Lightweight and Portable Power
In the modern world, connectivity is everything. Having a source of power can allow you to access anything from anywhere. For example, if you’re on an RV trip and you need to run appliances or power up electronics, you need to have power. Portable generators give you that ability without taking up too much of precious space.
Portable generators can serve as various things in a home. However, where and how you intend to use the generator can determine the power rating that you need to get. The power requirement for homes is different to that of a construction site or on a camping trip. For each situation, you’ll need to have generators with different power settings.
Appliances are usually rated in their running and starting wattages. The running watts are the amount that’s needed to continuously run the appliance. The starting watts are the amount of power that is necessary to initially start the appliance. Power consumption is usually the highest at the starting points.
Generators often simply come in two basic types, which are standby and portable. In addition to those, there are also inverters, which are not generators but they are able to meet your needs. The source of your backup power simply depends on the factors which you choose are important along with your power requirements.
Standby Generators typically run around 7,000 to 20,000 watts in order to offer your home and/or business with 24/7 blackout protection. They are programmed to automatically provide power until the outage is over. These types of generators are professionally installed. They draw their supply of fuel from an existing line of propane or natural gas. Standby generators can cost anywhere between $1,800 to $40,000, plus they require professional installation along with permits.
Portable generators are best used to supply limited power for leisure (like tailgating and camping), job site power, or emergency storm power. For these, it’s important for you to consider mobility, size, runtime, and wattage when choosing which generator is best for you. Portable generators can often range anywhere from 1,000 watts to 10,000 watts. Their prices can then range from $100 to $3,000 on the wattage capabilities, special features, and brands.
Lastly, there are now inverter generators. These are mainly ideal for RVing, boating, camping, or tailgating as they have smaller wattage capabilities. However, due to their clean power, efficiency, quietness, and size, they are becoming more and more popular. Typically, these generators can range from 800 watts to 3,000 watts. Their prices can also range from $200 to $3,000.
You’ll find that many generators are not waterproof. Some might not even state whether they are waterproof or water resistant in their product descriptions. So, many generator owners choose to buy high-quality water resistant covers for their generators.
This way they are able to protect their generators from the elements without having to worry about sun, rain, snow, or wind damaging the generator. You should also strive to place it in a place where they are partially covered.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
There are a lot of things that you can do as a homeowner to make sure that you and your family will be kept safe in the event of an emergency. Making sure that you have a first aid kit and a stash of emergency food stocked up is one of the first steps you should take. Having a generator like those on our top ten list is another great step forward in preparing for an emergency. A generator will provide a source of power in case you experience a blackout and can keep some of your home appliances going and maybe even provide some heat for you if it's winter.
Other Factors to Consider
When you’re planning on purchasing a generator, it’s important to know what you’ll be using it for so that you can have a better indication of how much capacity you need. Whether that's storm and emergency power, leisure and recreation, or for use at your job site - it’s important to factor in the location beforehand.
You’ll also need to consider the ports or outlets on the control along with the included cables. The outlets can then let you know what sorts of things can be plugged into your generator.
In order for a generator to truly be considered portable, it should weigh below fifty pounds in order for it to be moved easily. If it weighs more than that, it’ll be hard for it to be moved without any help, such as wheels.
Most generators that weigh above fifty pounds just come with wheels attached. If they don’t, then they most likely have an optional add-on that you can purchase separately.
Generators with various outlets better allow you to use your generator as optimally as possible. However, please do be advised that it is not recommended nor is it advised for you to use all the outlets on your generator at once. This is because doing so will strain the generator and put its longevity into question.
We recommend that you only use the outlet in situations of emergency or when the appliances you need the outlets for use low wattage.
Generators that run too loud can be a nuisance to your neighbors and cause hearing damages. Therefore, you should buy a portable generator that is as quiet as possible. If that isn’t possible for your budget, then you can simply purchase long cables to allow you to set the generator further away.
The acceptable noise level is 60 decibels or less. At this noise level, you are able to hold a conversation and not be a disturbance to your neighbors, campsite, or at your business premises.
Some examples of noise operation are:
Blender: 80 bB.
Vacuum Cleaner: 70 dB.
Operating Refrigerator: 50 dB.
Whisper Talking: 30 dB.
One of the first steps in choosing the right generator is to find a scenario that best matches your own.
If you experience frequent power outages…
These can sometimes even be prolonged. Usually, this means that you live in an area that is prone to severe weather, such as hurricanes, ice storms, and blizzards. For this type of weather, you should consider a home standby generator, large inverter generator or a portable generator. All three of these will have enough to power your entire house.
If you have occasional outages…
In these situations, you might occasionally encounter some outages, but nothing that would convince you to splurge around $10,000 on a home standby generator. With these types of locations, you should probably look at large inverter generators or portable generators.
If you rarely lose power…
But you’d like a generator for peace of mind, then you should look at either recreational inverter generators or mid-sized inverter generators. These have enough power in them to run a space heater, window A.C., and a fridge. They are also small enough to place on the back of a pickup truck or even to simply power a cooktop and TV at a tailgate.
Frequently Asked Questions
As stated on the Total Energy Solutions website, using a home generator is more beneficial as it can come in handy in emergency situations. These emergency situations can be anything from power outages to natural disasters, such as typhoons or hurricanes. It just adds a sense of security for our power needs. So, if there is ever a need for a generator, you can rest assured that you have it there with you.
Propane is available widely than normal gasoline. Propane generators require less maintenance because they deposit less carbon to the environment. There is plenty of propane, but it’s limited in potential as it’s a byproduct of refining petroleum. One of the main advantages of using propane is that it’s a relatively cost-effective option. However, it is combustible, which means that it can be quite volatile.
On one hand, gasoline is by far the more readily available and the type of fuel to obtain. However, it is more expensive and toxic. In addition to that, gasoline is also easier to spill, which might cause problems later on. Gasoline does work better than propane in extremely cold conditions.
On the other hand, liquid propane gas (LPG) has a number of advantages. It is cheaper than gasoline and nearly impossible to spill - which already puts it above gasoline. It’s also a cleaner burning fuel so there is less wear on the engine over time. Generally, an engine running on LPG is quieter as less carbon monoxide is being released in the air. LPG can be stored safely for a long time, whereas gasoline cannot be stored safely for more than a few months at a time.
If you are using a dual fuel generator, you use it to power most of the house appliances. If you want a generator that will power your whole house, you should try and aim to purchase one that has 5000 watts or more. Even if you’re not able to run your entire house on your generator, you will still be able to run the most important appliances during power outages.