There are some people who absolutely need portable generators, especially if they live in the boondocks or the middle of nowhere and have no other source of electricity other than a gas-powered generator. Other people see it as a convenient way to deal with intermittent power interruptions in their area or an outright blackout of sorts. It all depends on the context, really. You should read a lot of home generators reviews in order to know which ones are the best ones for you. These generators allow you to produce electricity in your home using a separate fuel source instead of depending on your electric company to give you power instead. They’re used during blackouts or power interruptions by city folk and as a main power source for people who are far away from city and a centralized distribution method of electrical power, like those who work in the mountains or live in swamplands.
Most generators that are portable run on gasoline, particularly automobile-grade gas. With that said, you can get diesel engine or natural gas engine generators as well if you so choose. Such generators are usually used as a backup power source since most people depend on a centralized agency to handle their power source and electricity needs on a residential or commercial level. You have multiple choices for portable generators, such as the durostards4000s and those outlined below in the review section of this buying guide. Aside from dealing with power failures, these portable generators also see a lot of use as power sources where electric posts and cables aren’t available for connecting, like in RVs or campsites as well as winter cabins when you’re on vacation during the holidays. When deciding which generator is the best generator for your requirements, you should consider the starting mechanism, wattage, portability, size, and noise level.
Best Portable Generator Reviews
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Portable Generator Reviews
- 2 Generator Buying Guide
- 3 In a Nutshell
Yamaha EF2000iS Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator
You can’t go wrong with the Yamaha EF2000iS Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator. As its lengthy Amazon.com title showcases, it’s CARB compliant and ecologically friendly and is a 2,000 Watt 79ccOHV 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator to boot. To go into specifics, the Yamaha EF2000iS follows the California Air Resources Board’s standards on clean air and emission reduction for a gas-powered generator. What’s more, the generator uses an Inverter System with Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) Control, which means it includes an electrical device that converts 12-volt power into 120-volt power. This ensures that your power demands are kept within the 200-watt range. The Yamaha EF2000iS also reduces noise and improves fuel economy with its Smart Throttle that varies the engine speed based on the power load so that it’s not unnecessarily guzzling your gas.
The Yamaha EF2000iS Portable Inverter Generator further ensures a lower decibel range when running through its super-quiet muffler. Meanwhile, the US Forest Service and Smoky the Bear definitely would want the Yamaha EF2000iS around since it prevents forest fires with its lack of sparks thanks to its sUSFS-approved spark arrestor. Finally, the motor specs include an AC output that’s rated at 1,600 watts and 2,000-watt maximum capacity, and 13.3/16.7 amps at 120V. Long story short, the Yamaha EF2000iS is the kind of generator that gives you cleaner electricity due to its powerful inverter system that also ensures you’re getting the most power out of your fuel so that you’re conserving gas at the same time. It’s probably one of the most emissions-reduced and ecologically friendly generators out there currently available.
Westinghouse WH7500E Portable Generator
As for the Westinghouse WH7500E Portable Generator, it offers most of everything you got from the Yamaha EF2000iS 2,000 Watt, besides several issues, such as the fact that it’s not an inverter generator and the fact that it’s non-CARB compliant. What this means is that California residents shouldn’t buy this generator since units sold to that state must be compliant to the standards of the California Air Resources Board. With that said, for any other state out there, the Westinghouse WH7500E Portable Generator delivers the goods in efficient power distribution and noise reduction in an impressive fashion. This portable generator that’s gas-powered has a valve engine that’s 4-stroke and 420cc. It can be manually started or electrically started depending on your preference. While running, it delivers 7,500 running watts.
The starting or surge watts, however, is at 9,000 watts. Meanwhile, it ensures quiet operation that won’t disturb the noise standards of campsites through its signature Pulse-Flo muffler. What’s more, you can operate the generator or check on its status easily with its intuitive and simplified control center and LCD hour meter. Debris and weather won’t affect your generator when it’s placed outside your home (mobile or real estate) thanks to its full enclosure build. It also possesses one 120/240-volt and four 120-volt twist outlets. The unit has been specifically designed with quiet operation, durability, and loads of power in mind. If you have problems with it or questions about it, the Westinghouse Customer Service is ready to field your calls and handle your issues with panache, friendliness, diplomacy, and aplomb. There’s not much to criticize about the Westinghouse WH7500E Portable Generator aside from its CARB compliance failure, to be honest.
Champion Power Equipment 46539 Gas Powered Portable Generator
If you wish for another CARB-compliant solution for your portable generator needs, then check out the aptly named Champion Power Equipment 46539 Gas Powered Portable Generator. It handles power generation like a champ in more ways than one. To wit, the CARB-compliant Champion Power Equipment 46539 is rated at 3,500 watts with a 4,000 watts maximum output. As for outlets, it has one RV Receptacle (TT-30R), one 120-volt TwistLock (L5-30R), and one 120-volt DUPLEX Outlet (5-20R). It’s actually has a higher output than the Yamaha model although it falls short with the non-CARB-compliant Westinghouse WH7500E Portable Generator. With that said, the Champion Power Equipment 46539 Gas Powered Portable Generator doesn’t only have an electric easy start; it has a battery-included electric remote control start!
The generator is powered by the Champion 196ccOHV Engine and comes with a Cast Iron Sleeve for maximum durability even when faced with harsh elements (since most generators are either placed in the shed or out in the back so as not to pollute the indoors with carbon emissions and noise pollution). All of these are California-approved by the way. More to the point, when it comes to actual, imaginable benefits instead of vague specs and figures, the Champion Power Equipment 46539 runs for 12 whole hours on a full tank of gas at 50% load. However, the engine oil is sold separately. It weighs about 140 pounds and it has the dimensions of 28.5 inches in length by 21.1 inches in width and 20.7 inches in height. The parts box include the handle, front feet, and wheels that you can install yourself on the generator to maximize its mobility and portability.
In regards to the WEN 56352 Gas-Powered Portable Generator with Wheel Kit, it comes complete with all sorts of quality specs you’d want to have from a portable generator like a 212cc engine that provides 3,500-watt surge watts and 3,000-watt rated watts. You can also easily transport it anywhere in your home because it includes your requisite foldable handles and a wheel kit. Additionally, the WEN 56352 3500-Watt Gas-Powered Portable Generator also features a long 11-hour runtime at half load and with a full tank of gasoline. If that’s not enough, then how about the fact that it has automatic low-oil shutdown and overload protection so as to make sure your generator doesn’t get compromised whenever it’s low on oil, thus assuring a longer lifespan compared to other generators out there?
Meanwhile, the WEN 56352 Portable Generator also comes complete with a digital readout that assists oil change management and your maintenance schedule. Every safeguard possible to ensure the long and healthy life of your WEN 56352 3500-Watt Gas-Powered Portable Generator has been included in this package deal of sorts. This is the generator you should get if you’re searching for an all-purpose kind of electric generator that has all sorts of rugged utilities mixed in with user-friendly and intuitive controls. You can rest easy in your gas expenditures (since gas costs quite a lot nowadays) when you have the WEN 56352 3500-Watt Portable Generator on hand. It’s one of the most compact and most impactful generators out there with a good 3,000 rated watts of power as its payload. Every time you’re using a power tool or opening the HVAC, the generator gives you that 3,500-watts of surge wattage power.
DuroStar DS4000S 4,000 Watt Gas Powered Portable Generator
While non-CARB-compliant generators like the DuroStar DS4000S Gas Powered Portable Generator do have carbon emission limitations that make them practically illegal to buy within California, these types of generators do have their advantages. In any other state, you can make use of the DuroStarDS4000S Gas Powered Portable Generator in order to acquire 4,000 watts of surge wattage and 3,300 watts of rated or continuous power. Additionally, the generator has an eight hour run time on its four gallon gas tank. In regards to starting it, you have the EZ-Pull recoil start wherein it serves as a new and improved version of your typical pull cord starter.
As for approvals, even though it’s not CARB-certified, it’s legally for sale for the rest of the United States except of California because it’s approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Also, if you’re low on oil and/or you’ve forgotten to oil the generator, the device itself will automatically shut down before it compromises itself by running without oil, thus keeping you out of danger and a thoroughly damaged generator. Aside from its low oil shut-off capabilities, the DuroStar DS4000S Portable Generator can also be relied on when it comes to its smooth and quiet operation as well as its heavy duty steel frame that keeps it running even in rugged conditions, as though it’s an SUV or sports car engine of some sort. What more can you honestly ask for from a non-CARB-compliant portable generator?
Generator Buying Guide
The Wattage of Your Generator
As the formula for watts goes, watts are calculated by multiplying volts with amps. Wattage, therefore, is the function of voltage multiplied by amperage, hence the formula for calculating it. In layman terms, you use watts or amps in order to measure the power draws of electrical devices. This allows you to know how much energy they’ll sap from your generator and how much gas you must have stockpiled in order to deal with their energy consumption. A small portable generator has a limited run time depending on how much fuel you put on it and how powerful your electrical appliances are. The more energy you consume, the faster you’ll need to put more gas into the generator for it to keep on running. The draw is given in amps and you can convert the draw to watts by multiplying them to the volts (usually 110 to 130 volts for the standard household plug).
There are devices that have separated measurements for rated wattage, which is also known as continuous or running wattage, and surge wattage, which is also known as peak wattage. As the device normally runs, the power draw it has is the running or rated wattage. The surge or peak wattage happens during short bursts of power draw that a device can also need when it starts or stops its operation. Meanwhile, the quiet portable generator is also available for an extra cost in case you don’t want a generator that’s loud and waking up everyone on the neighborhood when you’re running your generator at night during a power interruption. These generators are specially designed to lower their normal decibel range to reduce noise pollution and to make your power generation less like you have a truck running in your backyard and revving its engines up or something.
Generator Noise Level and Quietness
Speaking of noise levels, the quietness of your generator can be quite the big deal since early generators sounded like you were living near an airport or airfield due to their sheer loudness and ominous drone. The noise level of each portable generator is measured in dBA or decibels with A-Weighting at a certain distance. The standard the industry sets for measuring dBA for generators is 21 feet or 7 meters away from the device itself. Indeed, quiet generators have a set dBA that go below the typical range of 85 dBA. The fairly silent generators (relatively quiet, anyway) are rated below 75 dBA and can go as low as 55 dBA. The loud ones are those that go beyond that 75 dBA threshold. Indeed, anything within that range is acceptable for most generator applications. To give you an idea of how loud that is, a pin drop is 10 decibels, a whisper is 30 decibels, and talking is 60 decibels.
Meanwhile, a passing diesel truck is 80 decibels and a food processor and average belt sander is 95 decibels. So essentially, a quiet 55 dBA portable generator is about quieter than a diesel truck, food processor, or belt sander, but not literally silent like a whisper or a pin drop. However, it’s only 20 dBA than a whisper (if you’re at a distance of 7 meters away). So no, even the quietest and most silent of quiet generator isn’t so quiet you can hear a pin drop. However, knowing the noise level rating of the generator you’re buying can be important if you’re planning on using it on campsites that have noise level restrictions. This helps maintain the ambiance of nature without damaging the local fauna and flora with excessive noise pollution. You can also check dBA if you simply cannot tolerate too much noise in your home while using a generator.
Size, Portability, and Various Other Considerations
There are two ways a generator can be started: By pull start like what you’d use to start a gas-powered lawnmower or chainsaw and by soft start where all you need to do to make the generator run is by pushing a button. For obvious reasons, the pull start is less expensive than the one-push button start. As for size and portability, that’s one of the main determining factors that a generator would work for you aside from getting the quietest generator around. Its physical size and its portability should be taken into consideration. Many generators have their own wheels so that mobilizing them is easier to do (without a requisite wheelbarrow or trolley to help you out). If you intend to use your generator more often than every camping trip, you might want to look for the smaller varieties out there. You can go big for backup power, but regular usage entails that smaller is better.
That’s because a smaller generator allows you to move it around more effortlessly. The size of the generator should match the space you have in your garage or backyard. As a backup power source for RVs or mobile homes, the generator’s size should match the available space of the recreational vehicle in question. Meanwhile, in contrast, backup home power generators like house generators can be as big as needed because the unit won’t be moved around as often, thus a larger unit may be fine to purchase. It might be wise to measure the space with a measuring tape so you have an idea of what generator size would work best for you. Many generators don’t only have wheels on them but also handles so you can literally lug them around like luggage. These wheels are mounted on one end of the piece of equipment’s frame and a peg stand is placed on the other hand.
In a Nutshell
When buying the best generator for you, make sure they’re as portable as possible and as quiet as possible. You should also learn to calculate wattage of your devices you intend to run on the generator so that you won’t exceed the rated wattage of the power source. That’s the responsible thing to do. Sum up the individual rated wattages of your appliances to calculate the total running wattage. The best portable generator for you should match your specific needs. It should handle the demands of your electrical appliances. Individual device draws will vary and you might have to do extra research on the Internet to get the exact wattages of every piece of electronics in your mobile home or real residence. Also keep in mind that generators have two power output ratings, much like electrical device draws—peak or continuous. The continuous rating is the figure you should be most concerned about.
This is the rating that you should match with the requirements of your electronics and appliances. Meanwhile, the surge wattage rating of your generator should be within the surges of all your devices, or else that will break your generator and/or your various electrically powered possessions. When looking for the right portable generator for you, get the ones with wheels and handles. As many portable generator reviews would point out, the handle is usually mounted opposite the placement of the wheels for the sake of allowing you to tilt the generator to one end while you’re pushing it around on its wheels like a wheelbarrow of sorts. It’s also a good idea to get a generator with a spark arrestor, which is a mechanism that prevents burning embers or sparks from escaping the piece of equipment’s exhaust, which in turn could serve as a fire hazard for your home or campsite.