Best Portable Generator Reviews: The Ultimate Generator Comparison Buying Guide!

Whether you're camping your way across the country in your RV(recreational vehicle) or looking for a suitable way to keep your power going in case of an emergency power outage, a portable generator is the best way to go. It can be used for home, camping, or on sites where electricity options are limited.

So finding the Best Portable Generator may seem like an overwhelming job, especially with so many on the market today. Now we've gathered together information that will give you some help.

Here is a chart of Top Rated 5 Portable Generators that will help you decide what the Best Portable Generator is.

Top 10 Portable Generators On Amazon.comWeightPriceRating
Yamaha EF2000iS 2,000 Watt 79cc OHV 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Generator
Yamaha EF2000iS 2,000 Watt 79cc OHV 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator
44.0 lbs$$$4.7/5.0
DuroMax XP10000E 10,000 Watt 16 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas Powered Portable Generator
DuroMax XP10000E 10,000 Watt 16 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas Powered Portable Generator
129.0 lbs$$$4.2/5.0
DuroMax XP4400E 4,400 Watt 7.0 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas Powered Portable Generator
DuroMax XP4400E 4,400 Watt 7.0 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas Powered Portable Generator
116.0 lbs$$$4.1/5.0
DuroStar DS4000S 4,000 Watt 7.0 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas Powered Portable Generator
DuroStar DS4000S 4,000 Watt 7.0 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas Powered Portable Generator
93.0 lbs$$$4.4/5.0
WEN 56352 3500 Watt 212cc 7 HP OHV Gas Powered Portable Generator with Wheel Kit
WEN 56352 3500 Watt 212cc 7 HP OHV Gas Powered Portable Generator with Wheel Kit
104.0 lbs$$$4.6/5.0

What is a Portable Generator?

A portable generator is a device that runs off gas or diesel and gives a temporary solution in providing electrical power.

Useable energy is created through the turning of a small turbine. They can create a specific amount of wattage that will allow you to plug tools and electrical appliances directly into them. Some people choose to have a generator wired into the sub panel of a home by a professional.

Portable generators are also one of the main tools utilized by construction teams. It allows them to have light and use power tools in areas that are remote and have no electrical power sources. You can also see these portable generators in use by coaches and sports officials when doing night time training, play or running of an electric score board.

Most commonly however, is it's use by small businesses and home after a major weather event has left them without power. It allows them to keep important appliances running like refrigerators and freezers, lights, and even the TV or a radio.

The best portable generator should be able to generate 60hz, which is a standard current for most houses.

Generators need to be run in well ventilated spaces and in dry conditions outdoors. This is because, in small spaces, carbon monoxide can build up via the generator's engine exhaust. It's important to keep the generator on dry ground and with a protective canopy overhead as well, to protect against the elements.

What are the Benefits of having a Portable Generator?

Every home should consider having a portable generator because they can be a great backup for a variety of situations from natural and weather disasters to medical emergencies. They also have other practical uses, such as taking them along on camping trips or other outings that will have you in a remote area.

Following are some of the top reasons for getting the best portable generator you can find:

  • Natural Disasters - It's well known that when a natural disaster strikes, the power goes out. Having a portable generator handy can get you up and running so that you can run a stove, refrigerator, or phones so that you may call for help.
  • Power Outages - It doesn't always take a natural disaster to cause a power outage. An example would be having work done in the home that requires the main electricity to be shut down for a period of time. Having a generator as a backup will make sure you can still function normally in the home.
  • Medical Emergencies - The loss of power can affect people who rely on having a machine running to breath. Whether in the home or in a hospital, a backup generator can save lives in these circumstances.
  • Travelling - Because a portable generator is small enough to carry around, it can come in handy as a backup electrical source when travelling. Many RV and boat owners will have a portable generator on board as a way to save on gas and electricity.
  • Camping - You really can't beat having a generator along on a camping trip to use with plug in grills, especially if you find yourself out in the rain with no wood to start a fire. Just make sure you have tarps to keep the generator dry.

How to Choos a Best Portable Generator?

There are a few things to take into consideration when looking for a portable generator depending on what your needs are for it. Generators are not cheap to come by which makes it important to choose the best portable generator for your circumstances that is efficient and adequate.

  • Wattage - this is the first thing to take into consideration. Lower wattage means a more economical machine. But, if you intend to use it for bigger jobs, lower wattage won't be of much help to you. An easy way to determine the wattage that will be sufficient is to add up all of the wattages of each appliance you plan on using, as if you were running them all at once. Then go for a wattage that is slightly higher than your needs.
  • Fuel- run time and usage of fuel are the next important thing to consider. You will notice that every model of portable generator states a run time and fuel use. Make sure to choose a model that will run for the amount of time you need it for. You also have the option of propane, gas, or diesel for running your generator.
  • Pricing - budget and price are usually the first thing a person considers when shopping for anything. But where a generator is concerned, cheaper is not always better. Be realistic in your goals and definitely shop around to compare prices.

Reviews of the Top Rated 5 Portable Generators on

We've gathered together some of the top rated portable generators to be found on the market today, looking at the pro's and con's, and the opinions of those who have used these machines.

Yamaha EF2000iS 4 Stroke OHV Gas Powered, 2,000 Watt 79cc, Portable Inverted generator

Yamaha EF2000iS 2,000 Watt 79cc OHV 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator

This Yamaha gas powered generator is said to be efficient and powerful, with a maximum AC output of 2000 watts.

It has a very quiet muffler to reduce noise, and a "smart" throttle which will vary the engine speeds based on the load you have on it.

It can run for up to 10 Y. hours before needing to refuel it. The inverter system will also allow you to run delicate equipment. The ergonomic and compact design makes it easy to carry and easy to store weighing 44 pounds.

How does this model rate in reviews?

Many consider this to be a high quality generator with a good design. One of the top qualities is how quiet the machine runs, even when the engine is at full speed, many saying it is quiet enough to run at night without being disturbing. The unit also allows a second unit to be plugged into it to allow for more capacity.

A few of the complaints regarding this model were that it comes without engine oil, there is no dip stick, making it a bit inconvenient when having to check oil levels. Oil changing can be messy due to there not being an easy way to catch the overflow or waste oil.

In all, the con's were more based on personal preferences and not issues with the machine itself.

Click Here to See Pricing, Ratings, and Reviews on ↗

DuroMax XP1OOOOE, 4-Cycle Gas Powered, 10,000 Watt 16 HP OHV Portable Generator

DuroMax XP1OOOOE, 4-Cycle Gas Powered, 10,000 Watt 16 HP OHV Portable Generator

The DuroMax is a gas powered model featuring an air cooled 16hp OHV engine. It is said to create a constant 8,000 watts and 10,000 watts max.

It also has a recoil start and an electric start option. This is a model that is ideal for jobsites and can power most tools such as drills and saws.

It has 2 standard outlets for 120 volts for running household appliances and a 120/240 volt twist lock outlet for running higher powered tools.

There is a 12 volt DC that can be used as a charger for batteries or other devices that can be recharged.

The easy to read volt meter allows you to keep tabs on the generator's output.

It has a steel framed roll cage and motor mounts to help keep the machine quiet when in operation. It also comes with a wheel kit and flip up stowaway handle for easy portability. The tires are said to never go flat and make travelling over rough and soft terrain easier. It runs up to 10 hours at 50% on an 8 gallon fuel tank.

With a low oil shut off to protect the engine and a quiet muffler, this looks to be an economical machine.

How does this model rate in reviews?

Many who have had this generator integrated into their home have said that switching from regular electricity to the generators power was practically unnoticeable. It has been used to run microwaves, a well pump, refrigerator, humidifier, forced air heating system, and a 60g hot water heater all together.

The engine noise does raise a bit when heavier load equipment is on it. It is very quiet when less use is on it, which makes it good for running at night.

One thing that many didn't like was that the company doesn't have a network of servicing centers. Rather, they advise you to take the generator to any small engine shop and then contact the company regarding warranties.

The company does send parts out to you direct if needed and claims that it is easy enough to fix on your own should you wish to go that route. It is also a very heavy machine. Some users found that it won't run heavier duty appliances like a dishwasher and electric stove and seems to not be compatible with running digital clocks, making them slower than usual.

In all this comes across as a good model for many uses with very few negative characteristics.

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DuroMax XP4400E OHV 4-Cycle, 4,400 Watt, 7.0 HP Gas Powered Portable Generator

DuroMax XP4400E OHV 4-Cycle, 4,400 Watt, 7.0 HP Gas Powered Portable Generator

This DuroMax model runs on gas and is a smaller version of the DuroMax XP1OOOOE. It has a 7hp OHV air cooled engine giving off 3,500 watts with a peak of 4,400 watts.

It also features both a standard recoil and electric start. The tires and flip up handle make it easy to move around and it is listed as being rugged enough for jobsites.

It features two 120 volt, 20 amp outlets, a 120/140 volt, 30 amp twist lock for those higher powered tools and appliances, and a 12 volt DC output slot to use as a charger.

The 15 amp circuit breaker guards again overloads and it has a voltage meter which lets you monitor the unit.

How does this model rate in reviews?

One user was able to sufficiently run a refrigerator, lights, small TV, portable air conditioner, and charge laptop and phone batteries with no problem at all with this unit.

Many were pleased that the generator came with the tools needed to assemble and attach the wheel kit. The unit runs smoothly, is fairly quiet, and less polluting than some of the more expensive units on the market.

The only issues that some had were that, overtime, some of the bolts worked loose due to the vibration of the unit.

However, this was easily fixed by tightening them. A few had issues with the unit starting up right away but once it got going it was ok. In all it is considered a good option for light weight use.

Click Here to See Pricing, Ratings, and Reviews on ↗

DuroStar DS4000S OHV 4-Cycle, 4,000 Watt 7.0 HP, Gas Powered Portable Generator

DuroStar DS4000S 4,000 Watt 7.0 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas Powered Portable Generator

The DuroStar unit offers a great option for camping, RV use, job sites, and as a home backup generator. It's a gas powered, 7hp overhead valve engine that is air cooled and has a recoil start.

It puts out 3,300 running watts with a peak of 4,000 watts. It is said to be perfect for a variety of uses and situations.

It's power panel has all main controls including a circuit breaker, start switch, and volt meter. It has two 120 volt, 20 amp outlets (3 pronged) for home and appliance use and a 120 volt, 30 amp outlet for running high powered tools.

It's run time is listed as 8 hours at 50% load and has a 4 gallon tank for fuel. Its steel frame and motor mounts allow for quiet operating. The quiet muffler boasts a noise dBA rating of 69, and the engine is protected by a low oil shut off. It doesn't come with a wheel kit but you can add that as an option.

How does this model rate in reviews?

Most found this generator very easy to set up and easily started. It provides a sufficient amount of power to run a refrigerator, TV, mini AC unit, and fluorescent lighting. The 4 gallon fuel tank lasted around 12 hours with that load.

What most liked about this unit was the inexpensive pricing, ease in operating, ease in reading the fuel gauge, it's compact size, and it's relative quiet sound.

What some didn't like was that, as oil drains, it creates a mess by running along the frame. It is recommended that oil is changed after 20 hours of use, basically needing you to change it every other time you refuel. It also has no watt or amp meter and some found that mounting the wheel kit was a bit awkward. Other than that, no major issues have been reported.

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WEN 56352 3500 Watt 212cc 7 HP OHV Gas Powered Portable Generator with Wheel Kit

WEN 56352 3500 Watt 212cc 7 HP OHV Gas Powered Portable Generator with Wheel Kit

The Wen 56352 model is listed as a good, all purpose portable generator. It's a gas powered unit with 7hp, 212c, air cooled OHV engine.

It puts out 3000 watts running and a peak of 3500 watts. It has a 4 gallon tank that can run up to 11 hours at half load. The roll bars, stands, and wheels help keep the noise down. It is listed as being a good generator for job sites with the ability to power saws, drills, and other power tools.

Also a good option for camping ,sports events, and as a backup for the home.

The generator has two 120 volt, 20 amp outlets (3 pronged), and one 120/240 volt, 30 amp twist lock outlet. Voltage can be easily changed with a flick of a switch.

It also offers a 12 volt DC outlet for charging batteries and running 12 volt DC devices. It features a digital display which shows the used run time to date, allowing you to judge when maintenance will be needed.

The generator has a low oil shut off function to protect engine damage. A wheel kit comes with the generator for added mobility.

How does this model rate in reviews?

Users who bought this unit have said it is a quiet machine and gets good gas usage, having only used 2/3 of a tank after running overnight. The unit is light and easy to move around.

While it may not be burly enough to power a lot of appliances at once, it can run power to the basics such as a refrigerator, freezer, TV, computer, and chargeable mobile phones all together.

There weren't many negative finding aside from a few people reporting that the gas tank leaked from the start.

Also, a representative of the company advised that these units are not meant for transporting around job sites.

Of those who had issues with the unit, it has been advised to check the unit before the delivery person leaves to be sure there is no physical damage.

In all, the unit seems to be a good option for home, RV, and camping. The issues seem to be down to damage during delivery for the most part.

Click Here to See Pricing, Ratings, and Reviews on ↗

Tips for buying a Portable Generator

One thing we came across, when looking for the best portable generator, was that many tried to hook up appliances that were well above the capacity recommended for the generator they had.

This is why it is so important to check your wattage and not go for a cheaper model thinking you can get away with running a larger appliance on its own with no issues.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when purchasing a portable generator:

  • Calculate all of your wattage needs together and then buy a generator that is above your wattage needs.
  • Make sure you purchase any necessary extension cords, plugs, and other accessories at the time you buy your generator. There is nothing worse than having to whip out your generator in an emergency just to find you are missing a much needed cable or accessory.
  • Buy fuel ahead of time so you are not left without it when the time comes to use it. During some emergencies it is common for there to be a rush on gas pumps. Avoid this by stocking up ahead of time.
  • Make sure the portable generator you buy is something that you can manage to move around when needed. Do shop around so that you get the best portable generator for your needs.

An outage or emergency can happen at any time and it's always a good idea to have a backup plan to get you through.

So, if you haven't considered getting a portable generator before, you may want to look into it now.

Finding the Best Portable Generator will help you avoid unnecessary inconveniences and discomforts, and could also save lives.

So please decide what your needs are in terms of power and start researching the best portable generator for your lifestyle today!