Best Portable Generator for the Money in 2018 – Your Complete Guide

There’s not a single moment of our lives when we are not dependent on machines. Without electricity, flamboyant gadgets are nothing but a bunch of lifeless pieces of metals. Beyond any doubt, electricity is an indispensable need. Sudden power cuts due to various reasons puts a halt to the most vital daily activities of life. People who reside in areas where torrential rain, thunderstorm, heavy snowfall are common, know that the struggle is real. Even though whole house generators have emerged as a messiah for this ardently technology-reliant generation, its sheer lack of mobility raked up a huge obstacle for folks who work in factories or travel frequently to places where electricity is rarely available.

From my years of experience with gadgets and hours of extensive research on the web, I have concluded that no two portable generators are alike. The buyer has to know his requisites well before finalizing a purchase. Unless you’re a tech-savvy, choosing the best portable generator for RV or home can be a daunting task for you, given the technical specs would seem Hebrewish to you. So, here I’ve done the hard yard for you, what’s left for you is to grasp the core idea of this appliance, trust your intuition and get the best deal for the money.

Best Portable Generators - Side by Side





Further Details

Editor's Rating

Westinghouse WH6500E
(Our #1 Choice)

6,500 Watts

High End

Duromax XP4000S

(Best Budget Portable Generator)

3,300 Watts

Low End

Champion Power Equipment 46539

(Best Bang for the Buck)

3,500 Watts

Low End

DuroMax XP10000E

8,000 Watts

Mid Range

Briggs & Stratton 30663

7,000 Watts

Mid Range

Generac 6866 IQ2000

1,600 Watts

Mid Range

Honda EU2000I

1,600 Watts

High End

Westinghouse WH6500E Portable Generator - Our #1 Pick

Editor Rating:

The most reliable portable generators of the past few decades have come from the factories of Westinghouse. They have an enviable collection of high capacity as well as affordable generators for RV and average household needs. 

Mobility is not the only criteria to consider here, you will also need to emphasis on other qualities like wattage and practical application of the device. Thankfully enough, WH6500E fulfills all these basic criteria without going heavy on your pocket.

The 420CC engine hard-wired inside WH6500E generates power with four strokes per revolution for optimal efficiency. But what really makes this generator better from the rest is its incredibly low fuel consumption. Even after prolonged period of usage, it doesn’t go overboard with fuel combustion. You have the liberty to switch on the appliance either manually or by pushing the start button. Since the package comes pre-equipped with all the necessary items to run and maintain the machine, it’s less likely that you’ll ever struggle with handling the generator. And finally, this is one of the quietest generators I’ve ever come across. Its exclusive Pulse-Flo muffler prevents the noise-level from exceeding a certain limit.

Duromax XP4000S 4,000 Watt - Best Budget Generator

Editor Rating:

If you’re particularly searching for a portable power generator that is extremely safe to use, offers great functionality along with excellent durability, look no further. The specialty of Duromax lies in its stunning power outlet. The 7.0 HP air cooled OHV gasoline engine adds to the long running time of the machine.

Whenever the engine turns exceedingly hot, it self-cools itself and returns to its normal functioning mode. Moreover, it has an oil shut off function that prevents oil-leakage. What really impressed me is its overhead steel-frame design with a fully separated motor.

The power panel of the generator is a techie’s true delight. It comprises of a volt meter, an oil warning light, and circuit breaker and a power outlet for smooth and effortless operation. The oil warning light turns on automatically at the moment the engine is about to run out of oil. The self-cooling feature enables the engine to supply power for 8 hours continuously, running several devices without the slightest disruption. The structurally compact and lightweight generator can be easily relocated from one place to another.

Champion Power Equipment 46539 - Bang for the Buck

Editor Rating:

Here comes another value for money product from the house of Champion Power Equipment. This unit is like a heaven-made companion for power tools used at construction sites and modern recreational devices. Its ultra-compact, futuristic design makes it a perfect fit for camping, outdoor parties and RVs. 

The fuel efficiency is irrefutably great. It is capable of producing up to 4000 wattage of power. This unit can tackle various devices like television, air conditioner, computer, refrigerator without any disruption.

Two eight-inch wheels are added at the bottom of the machine for the convenience of portability. Like any expensive model, this moderately priced appliance is remote-controlled. Due to its wireless function, the remote can operate from even a distance of 80 feet. For optimal safety at any occasion, it comes equipped with indispensable safety features like overload protection, oil sensor and volt meter. To further testify the high standard of the product, each Champion Power Equipment 46539 matches the EPA carburettor standards applicable in California.

DuroMax XP10000E Portable Generator

Editor Rating:

This 10,000 Watt 16 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas Powered Portable Generator has an unmatchable capacity to act as an alternative power source at homes during unexpected power cuts, construction sites, outdoor camps as well as RVs. 

A wide variety of household electronic devices like T.V, refrigerator, light bulbs, AC, kitchen appliances as well as electrical musical instruments can also be powered for 10 hours by its special 16 horsepower engine. The in-built fuel tank holds a capacity of 9 gallons. There’s also a low oil shut-off switch that automatically cuts the power when the unit is running short of oil.

Briggs & Stratton 30663 7000-Watts Gas Powered Portable Generator

Editor Rating:

The normal power output of a humongous 7000W makes it one giant of a generator in terms of functionality. With a dimension not exceeding beyond 240 pounds, Briggs & Stratton stands moderately heavy. 

It devises a quality 420cc engine which allows nearly 10 hours of run time, however, I have slight qualms about the fuel efficiency which is not at par with my expectations. Nonetheless, the mind-blowing power output of 7000W makes up for this. At this capacity, you can run almost any appliance with it.

Starting the generator feels like a breeze, thanks to the key electric start. In an effort to ward off the dust and dirt, the makers have wisely included a rubberized cover over the socket. Coming to the cost part, I would rate it as a reasonably priced product, going by its stellar functionality, abundance of features and an ergonomically sound design. The initial cost might be a bit out of your budget but the exceptional durability it promises to deliver will ultimately save you big moolahs in the long run.

Generac 6866 IQ2000 Portable Inverter Gas Generator

Editor Rating:

Gas engine powered generators are infamous for creating loud noises which often irks the displeasure of everyone living within a close proximity of it. When you have a portable generator which performs its assigned task with optimal effectiveness, that too in a calm and peaceful manner, your life is sorted, I tell you! It can be easily used as a backup power source at homes, RVs and camp sites.

The set-up won’t take more than 5 minutes. You just have to place it at a safe corner of the house and leave the rest up to it. This relatively small inverter type generator isn’t devoid of any of the attractive features of its higher end counterparts. It is equipped with a cool LED dashboard which displays the remaining battery life, fuel status and wattage use. Plus, it offers a PowerDial for effortless and secure operation.

Why a Portable Generator?

Portable generators, as the name suggests, move with you wherever you go. Portable generators aren’t just designed for emergency cases. You can also use them for entertainment purposes while traveling in an RV, at camp sites and during outdoor gatherings. Also, these are essential for supplying electricity to outdoor power tools like pressure washers and lawn mowers.

High wattage equipments are frequently used for powering tools at factories and construction sites. Another massive benefit of portable power generator is realized when a natural disaster hits a city or town. After a devastating blow of earthquake or tornado, you have to manage without electricity for days. Having an alternative power bank can really make a huge difference during such emergencies.

Features to Consider in a Portable Generator

Solid Power Output and Fuel Efficiency

It is important to keep in mind that portable generators are not meant to act as an alternative power source for your house or RV. It generates power only for emergency cases like power cuts or when you have to run electronic devices which are located at a distance from the available power socket. Power generators have two power ratings, namely, running wattage and surge wattage. The surge wattage is essentially the amount of power output (or surge) the generator can handle when the motor is first switched on. It can be two to four times higher than the actual power need of the appliance. The running wattage denotes the power the generator can cope up with on a normal basis.

The amount of wattage you’ll need is determined by the kind of appliances you use. Do you need a portable generator to run light tools, general recreational devices like DVD player and a few other equipments? An ideal running wattage for moderate RV users is 2000 watts. A generator with 2000W capacity should effectively switch on an air-conditioner as well. Even if your requirements are nominal, I would still suggest settling for a higher power output, rather than less. As far as fuelling is concerned, opting for a generator that procures energy from a propane over the one that uses a gas engine is a less expensive and more eco-friendly option. Don’t forget to check the manufacturer’s quote on fuel efficiency meanwhile. Long run-time is one of most critical aspects of a quality portable RV generator.

Noise free Operation

When you’re indulging into some entertainment, the grunting noise of a generator is the last thing you’d like to run into. A generator that emits a sound above 75 decibels is not particularly beneficial for your reputation in your neighborhood. Moreover, if you live in a city which has strict rules about noise limit, you may end up paying a fine for it. Do I need to produce more reasons to validate why you need to look for the quiet portable generator? Finding a machine that runs noise-free operation is not as hard as it sounds. Anything below 50 db rating should be silent or at least tolerable for you as well as people around you.

Choose an Inverter Type Generator

No, I am not deviating from the main topic. Inverter type generators have a critical advantage over conventional portable generators. People travelling in RVs naturally use modern gadgets like flat screen HD television, DVD players, advanced MP3 players and many more. The sine wave these inverter style generators create are highly compatible with such advance devices. However, if you’re using it only for light bulbs and ceiling fan, this option is not for you.

Strong Safety Features

You should always prioritize safety over any other feature every time you’re dealing with electricity. No matter how promising the product seems, the quality of the Ground-fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) should be the biggest determining factor for you. It is basically a type of sensor that measures the AC current moving back and forth in the generator. The GFCI prevents the risk of electrocution by cutting the power supply when the electricity tends to flow through an alternative way to the ground.

Control Panel

The control panel is the actual powerhouse of a generator where all the major activities occur. Many upscale products also utilize add-ons like a voltage selector switch, a voltage monitor which provides flawless readouts of the amount of voltage used and running time. The best portable generators include an electronic ignition which helps starting the generator with just a push of a button. You should always keep a recoil ignition handy in case the battery goes dead. Any branded appliance will feature at least a twist-locking 120/240 volt AC outlet for large-scale industrial purposes coupled with four standard household plugs.

Brand Value

The biggest advantage of purchasing a branded product is that they are always eager to extend customer support whenever needed. Any recognized brand generally provides a minimum of 3 years' warranty. They are also expected to have a dedicated website of their own where the customers can visit for product details, technical specs, maintenance guide etc.

Conclusion – So, What’s the Best Portable Generator for You?

The portable generator reviews above are solely my personal choices. Point of view varies from men to men. You can always consider more choices and compare them to the ones from my preference list. I wrote this article with a single motto in mind, which is to guide you through your quest to find the most reliable product in the market. Hopefully, by now, portable generators don’t sound like an alien concept to you.