Pros / Engineering improvements make this model powerful and long lasting.
Cons / It is a loud machine when compared to other models.
Verdict / Functionality plus price make this the best overall choice for portable generators.
The Generac GP550 is our best overall choice for the portable generators category. It has a gasoline-powered OHV engine, long-lasting fuel tank, heavy-duty steel frame and enough outlets to power your devices and appliances for several hours. It also produces a generous amount of power with 6,875 starting watts and 5,500 running watts. This generator will likely meet the needs of most homeowners.
The OHV engine on this portable generator is great for several reasons. Chief among them is that it places the values above the cylinder head instead of the flathead engine – like those found in a conventional piston engine. This engineering improvement means that the engine is smaller, less complex and longer lasting. The engine also features splash lubrication which prolongs the overall life of the generator.
One of the most important aspects of any portable generator is what you can hook up to it. The control panel on this model has four common household outlets and a single industrial locking outlet for appliances. This isn’t a comprehensive array of outlets, but enough for most people needs.
This portable generator’s 7.2-gallon gasoline fuel tank provides power for up to 10 hours on a 50 percent load, making it one of the longest-lasting portable generators that we reviewed. Of course, if you decide to buy a higher-powered, more expensive model from the GP line, you’ll get a longer run time. But for a generator of this size, it’s an excellent run time.
The overall design of this generator offers several benefits. Its reinforced steel frame makes it durable, strong and resilient to damage. It also features never-flat tires which make it more useful if you take it on the road to environments where regular tires might get punctured and require replacement.
One of the big reasons this became our top choice is because of its price. At the time of this writing, this product costs about $700 – about mid-range among all the models we reviewed with the most expensive being the Honda EM500S. If price were not a factor, that Honda generator would be our top choice. However, we feel that the power and utility you get from the Generac GP550 for this price overpower the extra features offered by the more expensive models.
This generator weighs in at 170 pounds, which is a bit heavier than the category average of 132 pounds. And while it’s not nearly as easy to transport as models such as Champion Power 75537i, you can get it around without much trouble. Additionally, its fold-down handle makes it easier to move around and store when not in use.
Producing about 71 decibels of noise, this is one of the louder generators we evaluated. The loudest we saw was only two decibels higher. But you’ll still probably be able to hear conversations over it, especially if you’re not standing too close.
This generator puts out an impressive amount of power: 6,875 starting watts and 5,500 running watts. That’s enough juice to power not only small devices like computers, heaters and lights, but also more demanding items like power tools, air conditioners and refrigerators. You can even use this portable generator to power an RV or provide backup power to your home. Larger and more expensive generators will provide more wattage – but this is still a great value and should fill many, if not all, of your power needs.
The Generac GP550 is our top choice for portable generators. It has a great design, provides ample power and lasts a long time. If you’re looking for a backup power supply for your home, or just a generator to take to a jobsite or on a camping trip, this product is definitely worth your consideration.