The best portable generators will make the world of difference if you have a power outage. Right here, we’ve collated all the best portable generators for use at home including quiet generators, gas, and battery-powered generators too.
There’s a lot of choice when it comes to the best portable generators and first, you’ll need to decide which type of power source you’d like. Gas generators will run for as long as you need them to, providing you keep topping them up with fuel. It’s worth noting that gasoline generators are noisy though, and they can be quite smelly too.
On the other hand, battery generators are quiet and won’t need any fuel, but they will need charging up so won’t provide endless power. The best portable generators for home don’t necessarily have to be really light, but if you need a generator for an RV or for on the go, you’ll want to consider its weight.
Powerful portable generators will have an output of around 9,000 watts, making them pretty heavy. If you need an easy-to-move option, we’d suggest one of the best portable generators with wheels. Finally, consider the wattage of each generator. Take note of the rating for surge/ starting and running wattage of each portable generator. Normally, the higher the rating, the better.
1. DeWALT DXGNR7000: Best portable generator overall
With its steel frame and rugged exterior it’s clear that the DeWALT DXGNR7000 is designed for on site work or as a backup generator when the power goes out, rather than for camping trips or general use around the home. You get four 120 volt power outlets to play with and a whopping 7,000 watts of running power, so you should find it handles most heavy duty equipment. It’s gasoline powered and quite noisy too, but it does have a built-in starter motor so there’s no need to use a pull cord to start it. You should be aware that this isn’t an inverter generator, so don’t get this if you’re looking for something to power sensitive electronics like laptops, tablets or phones.
What the DeWALT DXGNR7000 lacks in sophistication it makes up for in raw power. One to consider if you’ve got a lot of tools you need to power on a work site.
- Read our DeWALT DXGNR7000 review
2. Ford FG2200iS: Best value portable generator
The Ford FG2200iS is a basic but great value inverter generator that will give you 2,000 running watts across two 120 volt power outlets and a USB port. It’s gasoline powered and needs to be started with a pull cord but it’s a reliable performer and light enough to pick up with one hand. The lack of fuel gauge and the small tank can be a pain and it’s also not as quiet as the Honda EU3000is Handi, but if you’re looking for a gasoline-powered generator to take on camping trips and you don’t mind a bit of noise then this is the generator you’re looking for.
- Read our Ford FG2200iS review
3. Honda EU3000is Handi: Best portable generator motor
The Honda EU3000is Handi is an inverter generator so you can run sensitive electronics and at 131 lbs it’s light enough to port around. You don't need to start it with a pull cord because it has a starter motor built in.
The Honda EU3000is Handi appears quite ordinary when you first look at it. In fact it’s lacking a few features that other generators have. For example, there’s no fuel gauge or USB ports, just two 120 volt power outlets, but it’s what’s inside that matters, and this generator comes with a Honda motor that runs much more quietly than its competitors. The high starting wattage of 3,000 watts means it’s less likely to cut out than other generators when plugged into something power hungry. There’s no electric starter, so you’ll need to pull a cord to get it going. It’s an inverter generator so will work fine with sensitive electronics, it’s just a shame it has such basic features.
- Read our Honda EU3000is review
4. Goal Zero Yeti 400: Best portable generator for home electronics
Not only does the Yeti 400 Lithium Solar Generator look great, but it’s full of surprises. First of all it has a lithium battery, which is much longer lasting than battery-powered generators that use a lead acid battery, it’s also a lot lighter; at just 17 lbs you can take this anywhere.
The Yeti 400 Lithium boasts 3 USB ports and two 120 volt power outlets to give you plenty of options for charging and it’s completely silent in use. Being able to charge via solar power is a big plus, since that’s effectively free energy, however the solar panels are expensive, and you have to use Goal Zero ones.
With 400 running watts you can’t run too many devices at once, but if you simply want to charge multiple home electronics then this is could be the best option for you.
- Read our Goal Zero Yeti 400 review
5. RYOBI 18V ONE+ Powersource: Best portable generator for connectivity
The RYOBI 150-Watt Powered Inverter Generator for 18-Volt Battery is an inverter that connects to any ONE+ battery (which RYOBI also sell) so that you can plug devices into it directly using the 120 volt power outlet or two USB ports.
It’s a bit unfair to compare the RYOBI 150 inverter to a fully fledged generator that runs from gasoline or propane, since it has such a small output wattage, but if your needs are small it’s something to consider because it’s easy to throw into a car and costs a lot less money. This makes it perfect for camping or charging devices when you're out and about.
- Read our RYOBI 18V ONE+ Powersource review
6. Champion Power 75531i: Best portable generator for camping
The Champion Power 75531i is a 1.6-gallon gasoline powered model that’s lightweight, portable and offers enough outlets to keep your devices charged throughout your trip. Its 171cc engine can generate up to 2,800 running watts, which is more than enough for basic items like small televisions, air compressors and even some power tools. It’s also great at keeping devices like smartphones and tablets charged.
You shouldn’t expect it to handle heavy-duty things like full-sized refrigerators or washers. For that you’ll want something a little heftier, like our top pick.
- Read our Champion Power 75531i review
Can I use a portable generator in the rain?
If your portable generator gets wet, you risk destroying it or worse – hurting someone through electric shock or electrocution. Some portable generators have a GFCI outlet, which automatically shuts the device off if it gets wet. If you think you’ll be working in wet locations, we recommend purchasing a generator that has a GFCI outlet.
While it’s best to avoid using your machine during bad weather, sometimes it can't be helped. If you must use it on a rainy or snowy day, try to keep your generator dry by placing it on a dry, flat surface and covering it. Some companies even sell generator tents, like this Champion Storm Shield. Just make sure you get one that fits your generator. Many of these tent covers connect to your generator in such a way that they can resist strong winds up to 70 miles per hour, so they're good for all types of weather.
Which portable generator wattage is best?
When electronics start up they will use more power than they will while running, which is known as the surge wattage, or starting wattage, before then settling down to down to their running wattage. If the surge wattage is higher than the generator can handle, it will cut out. To calculate what you need, add together the running wattage of all the devices you want to use simultaneously, then add on the single highest starting wattage of all the devices. This will give you a wattage number to look for in a generator.