Best Portable Generator 2017 – The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

Electricity is not something you can have anytime and everywhere. Despite the advancement in technology, there are times when you need a generator for that undisrupted power supply. Now can you have a huge generator occupying a major part of your back yard? Is it possible to have a generator at your cabin that you visit just once a year? No! It is just not practical. So? What is your option? Portable generators are a blessing in situations like this.

There are a number of generator brands available today. Here is a detailed review of the 5 best portable generators that can save your day.​

Last update on 2017-12-15 PST - Details

Brief Review of Top 5 Best Portable Generators

1. Briggs & Stratton 30663

This 420cc engine generator is a true saviour when you have that unexpected power outage. Not only can it supply more than sufficient power, it can last long too with a huge tank capacity. Now you don’t have to worry about running out in the cold to refill the fuel tank very frequently.

The best is, if you have a requirement to use more appliances at home, you don’t have to switch off everything else; this generator comes with a power surge alternator that provides power to multiple appliances at a time, even if they are large.


Pros

When we used this generator during a power outage, these are the advantages noticed and enjoyed by us:

  • Extended Power Supply – Unlike most of the many portable generators available in the market, this generator has a fuel tank capacity of 7.5 gallon. This enables the generator to run continuously for about 9 hours, provided you are not using it on a full load. When your generator tank is full and you are using it at just 50% load, the generator will run for 9 hours.
  • Powers Large Appliances – unlike many portable generators and other power backup options, we didn’t have to worry about the size and power consumption of the appliances. The power surge alternator ensures you can even use your large appliances, without any trouble.
  • Easy To Start – Starting this generator was very easy. With a key electric start and the choke being remote controlled, there was no trouble starting this machine off within few seconds.
  • Gas Levels – The fuel gauge shows you the levels of all the gasses. This way, you can know the gas levels at just a glance. We found this extremely convenient as we don’t have to worry about what needs to be refilled when. If some needle dips below the required level, all we had to do was fill it up.
  • Easy Transportation – The never go flat wheels that come with this generator, enables you to transport it very easily. All we had to do was grab the handle and drag the generator out. The 12 inch wheel is big enough to pull this weight and we didn’t have to haul it out.
  • Safe Control Panel – the control panel has 4 household outlets and a single locking outlet, both covered in rubber. This ensures you are safe and there is a circuit breaker too, to cut off the power supply. With these outlets, it is easy to choose the power required, either for regular use or when we want to power more appliances.

Cons

While this generator had many advantages, there were a couple of things that had us concerned.

  • The Noise – The noise seemed to be a little too much. If you are in a place where the houses are not too close by, you shouldn’t have any neighbours complaining.
  • Changing Oil – The oil transport container that comes with the generator is not easy to fit under the drain plug. It is essential to get it in the right position, to avoid any leakage and cleaning in the future.

The Verdict

If your requirement is good power supply with flexibility, based on your needs, this generator can be a good choice. The only issue will be the noise generated. Once you have this generator up and running, you can go back into the house, forget the noise and enjoy uninterrupted power supply.​

Briggs and Stratton Portable Generator Reviews (Soure: youtube)


2.  WH7500E Gas Powered Portable Generator From Westinghouse 

This 4 stroke portable gas generator comes with a 420cc overhead valve engine that can be started both manually and electrically. When you start the generator, it runs at 9000 watts and continues to run at 7500 watts.

Even when you have trouble understanding the simple operating mechanisms of this generator, you can always reach the customer support, who are more than willing to help you as they are well educated about their product.


Pros

Now when we used this portable generator, the following features are what impressed us the most.

  • Low Noise – This portable generator is one of the quietest generators ever. No chugging noise that will have the neighbours complaining. The over sized muffler ensures your surrounding is quiet despite a generator running.
  • Easy Start – Starting this generator was very easy as all we had to do press the start button and it chugged to life. The colour coded controls only made things easier for a person like me who is operationally challenged when it comes to machines like this.
  • Know The Limit – The LCD monitor on the generator shows us how many hours will the generator produce power. Now this let us know how long we had until we had to come back in the cold and refill the fuel. Thanks to this feature, we didn’t have to keep checking every few minutes.
  • Well Equipped – When we bought the generator, our package included not only the generator on no flat tires and a handle kit. It included a tool kit for emergency repairs, oil for refills and a funnel to pour in the oil without messing up the place. It was one complete package.
  • Low Consumption – The gas generator efficiency amazed us. The oil consumption is so low, thanks to the cast iron cylinders; we didn’t have to refill the oil every hour like in most generators.
  • Weather Proof – Another feature that really impressed is that the electrical connections were fully enclosed. This along with the steel body makes this gas generator weatherproof and saves us a lot of worry in harsh weather conditions.

Cons

Though the generator itself had nothing major to find fault with, we did face issues.

  • Packaging- When a product is manufactured, it is equally important to make the right packaging for it, to ensure the product reaches the customer as desired. However, the packaging was not up to the mark and resulted in some minor damages. We had to spend a little more to get things back in shape.
  • Not CARB Compliant – If you reside in California, you cannot use this generator as it is not CARB compliant. As California requires the generators used to be CARB compliant, it cannot be used there.

The Verdict

If you want a durable gas generator that is portable and can withstand harsh weather conditions, this is your best option. Not only will you have uninterrupted power supply, but the noise is also so low, that your guests and neighbour my not even notice your generator is running.​

Westinghouse Generator Review (Soure: youtube)


3.  Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Best Portable Generators To Buy In 2017

This portable gas powered inverter can produce 1600 watts and has a maximum AC output of 2000 watts. It is equipped with a smart throttle that can vary the engine speed according to the load.

The high fuel efficiency enables us to use this inverter for hours on end and enjoy uninterrupted power supply. The easy to carry designing of this inverter makes it very convenient to be carried around anywhere you go.


Pros

Some of the features that attracted us are:

  • Efficiency – In a world where the fuel costs are going up, you need a generator that wont consume too much of it. This inverter is highly fuel efficient, thanks to the premium technologies used. It can run up to 10.5 hours continuously, before you have to refuel it.
  • Portable – This wonderful generator is designed in such a way that when you carry it, it is just like carrying a hand luggage or a box. It is designed for comfort and it weighs only 44 pounds. No more lugging around a huge and heavy generator for your power supply.
  • Quiet – This generator uses noise reduction technologies where glass wool is used to absorb the noise generated. Even when the generator is used for heavy operation, the loud noise produced is blocked with the help of this technology. There is also a muffler, to ensure there is no noise when the generator is running. Now that was one quiet environment despite a generator on.
  • Charge Small Appliances – The best thing about this generator’s size and lack of noise is that we can carry it along on our boat and camping trips. We can use this inverter to charge our phones, boat batteries, and other small appliances which are very important for any outdoor activity.

Cons

The drawbacks we found were:

  • Doesn’t Last Long – This small portable inverter is not built to last long. It cannot charge a number of appliances for numerous times. If your usage is low and uniform, it can last long. If you require this unit to charge big appliances, chances are you may never see it charging anything else again.

The Verdict

This emergency generator sizing is so optimal, that it can provide you power to charge your small appliances on your trips. As long as your consumption is low and only to power phones, batteries, etc, this device can be a good investment for you.​

Yamaha EF2000iS Inverter Generator (Soure: youtube)


4. Champion Power Equipment 46539 - Good Portable Generator for RV

This portable generator from Champion Power Equipment is RV ready.

This enables it to generate enough power to rum a 15,000 BTU RV air conditioner. It has a 196cc champion engine that can generate 4000 watts when it starts and continue to generate 3500 watts.

With a 2 year warranty and a technical support, free for lifetime, you have very little to worry about, once you buy this generator on wheels.


Pros

Here are the features that really impressed us:

  • Easy Start – Starting this generator was not challenging at all as it had an electric remote control start. The manufacturers even provide you with the battery for the remote.
  • Reliable In The Cold – When the weather gets cold, portable generators are known to give trouble as the fuel will thicken and may congest the engine. However, in this generator, the 196cc champion engine can be started even in the cold weather.
  • Long Supply – Once you start this generator on a full tank, you can enjoy uninterrupted power supply for the next 12 hours. However, you must run the generator on a 50% load, if you want it to last for so many hours.
  • Protects Your Appliances – When you are using a generator, the voltage is known to fluctuate. This may ruin your appliances. This generator however, secures all the households with volt guard. This protects your appliances from getting ruined by power surges.
  • Auto Shut-Off – When you own such a generator, you are bound to forget refilling the oil on time. Well, it happens quite often with us as we are inside having fun with the continuous power supply. The automatic shut off facility, shuts off the engine when the oil level dips below the required limit, thus protecting your generator.
  • Convenient – When you are facing a constant power fluctuation, this generator enables you to operate it without requiring you to get off your chair every time. Every time the power went off, all I had to was switch the generator on with the remote provided. I didn’t have to get off my comfortable chair to press some buttons.
  • Portable – This portable generator comes with never flat tyres and a handle to help you pull it to the required spot. When you are done pulling it around, you can fold away the handle. So, there is nothing sticking out and being a hazard.
  • CARB Compliant – It is CARB compliant, hence can also be used in states with this regulation. If you are from California, you can go ahead and buy this generator as it complies with the rules by the state.

Cons

Well, this generator has a few flaws too.

  • Draining Is Complicated – When you want to drain out the gas, it is not that easy. It takes you more time than you would like.

The Verdict

This generator is perfect for those on the move, who require powering a number of devices at a time. With this portable gas generator, you can enjoy uninterrupted power supply even in the cold. If you hate the idea of getting off your chair to turn on the generator, this machine will ensure you don’t have to.​

3500 Watt RV Ready Portable Generator with Wireless Remote Start – #46539 (Soure: youtube)


5. DuroStar DS4000S - An Affordable Option

With a power plug configuration of two 120 volts of 20 Amp each and a single 120 volts outlet of 30 Amp, this OHV engine can supply power for 8 whole hours.

It has an EZ pull recoil start and a 7.0 Hp engine.

This emergency generator design guide is such that, there are four separate motor mounts, in order to generate power without much noise.​


Pros

Some of the advantages of this generator are:

  • Noise Free – When we turned on this generator, we were quite impressed with the level of noise or rather the lack of it. It was so low that we had to check twice if the generator was running properly.
  • Small Tank – Yes, a small fuel tank means refuelling more frequently. But, for us, we required a light weight generator and when it can hold only 4 gallons of fuel, it is definitely lighter than the other generators that have a bigger tank.
  • Easy To Gauge – The gauge is very easy to read and helps us keep track of the various levels. We now know how much time we have until the next refill. It is easy to read and there are no complications.
  • Easy Setup – Setting up this generator was neither difficult nor time consuming. And to start it, all we had to do was a single pull and the generator chugged to life instantly.
  • Easy Start – This generator needs to be started by hand. All it requires is just one pull and your generator will come to life and ensure you have enough power supply.

Cons

  • CARB - Not CARB compliant, hence it will not be allowed inside California.
  • Wheels – The no flat wheels need to be fixed to make the generator portable. Once the wheels are fixed, you can drag the generator along, wherever you go.
  • No Meter – There is no meter to tell us what is the wattage supplied. This makes it difficult to understand if the right amount of electricity is produced to meet the house’s demand.
  • Oil removal – When you want to change the oil, removing the oil drain plug is not easy. It takes some time and patience.

The Verdict

If you are looking for emergency generator that is not too bulky or noisy, this will suit you perfectly. The noise produced is so low that none of your neighbours will even realise you have a generator running. Also, if you don’t have a problem refilling fuel every few hours, you can definitely go in for this generator.​

Duro Star DS 4000S Generator (Soure: youtube.com)


Let’s Compare

Of all the 5 best portable generators reviewed, the Yamaha EF2000iS and Champion Power Equipment 46539 3500 Watt are the best. If you want a quiet and comfortable generator which can be turned on by pressing a button on the remote in your hand, you should buy the Champion Power Equipment. It will not let you down even in the cold weather.

However, if portability is your main criteria, the Yamaha EF2000iS is your best choice. It is designed to be carried along easily and also produces very little noise. It is both economical and effective. It also consumes very oil, thereby improving the efficiency.​

Your choice of a portable generator totally depends on you. If you plan to use it in a cold weather, the Champion Power  will be your best option. If you want more convenience, the Yamaha EF2000iS is your best option.​

Buying Guide

When you decide to buy a portable gas generator, there are a few factors to be kept in mind. They are:​

  • The size of the generator is important only if you have a space constraint or plan to carry it along with you on your outdoor trips. If it is going to rest at home and be used only during a power outage, size needn’t be a top priority.
  • The power of the generator. Each generator has a different voltage and this determines what the generator can be used for. If you require power backup for large appliances, you should buy one accordingly.
  • The rate of supply is very important, as this determines how well your appliances are going to work on a generator. An ideal generator should have a high voltage when started, which should gradually reduced to a fixed limit.
  • The load that can be supported by the generator determines if you should really go in for a generator. If it is not sufficient to meet load of the appliances at home, it is not worth buying.
  • The portability is a key factor in portable generators. They should not only be light and less bulky, but they need to have no flat tires along with an easy to use handle bar.
  • Carry the generator before you plan on numerous trips with the generator. If it is too heavy, you can’t pack it along with the luggage.
  • If you live in a storm or rain hitting space, you need to buy a weather proof generator as you don’t want to be stuck with a generator that can’t save you during a storm.

Conclusion

When it comes to standby generator vs. emergency generator, it is your convenience and usage that determines your choice. If you want uninterrupted power supply, you should opt for a standby generator. This generator will automatically generate power during a power failure.

So, how does an emergency generator work? You will have to go and manually switch it on in case of a power failure. Though you can even use a remote control and switch it on from your seat, it requires manual handling.

Hence, if you are okay with manually turning on the generator, you should choose from one of the 5 portable generators that have been reviewed in this article. These generators have been reviewed after personally using them, to understand their features and experience both their positives and negatives.​


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