Best Generators - Reviews & Buyers Guide

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With so many generator models available online today it is difficult to pick out the best generator of 2020. So, we did the work for you and compared the best reviewed and best-selling generators to pick out the ultimate top 10 models.

This list includes the most popular and top quality conventional portable generators, inverter generators and a fantastic home standby generator. These are the best of the best.

There is a generator type for each kind of purpose, from camping to powering an RV or even the whole house. These are the best generators for each of their respective tasks.

Table of Contents

Best Portable Generators

Although there many different types of portable generator, what people usually refer to when they say portable generator is a conventional fuel-powered portable unit. This type has a wide range of output capacity and are also the most affordable generator type.

This type of generator is useful if you need a lot of power and flexible use. It is capable of running basic household electric appliances and power tools but can also be moved for tailgate.

The downside of a portable generator is that they tend to be heavy and bulky so there are some limits to its portability. It also runs quite loud and usually requires more maintenance.

1. Westinghouse WGen9500DF Dual Fuel – Editor's Choice

Westinghouse WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator-9500 Rated 12500 Peak Watts Gas or Propane Powered-Electric Start-Transfer Switch & RV Ready, CARB Compliant

Features

  • Type: Dual fuel portable
  • Running Watts: 9.500 watts (gas), 8,500 watts (LPG)
  • Surge Watts: 12,500 watts (gas), 11,200 watts (LPG)
  • Fuel Type: Gas / LPG
  • Tank Size: 6.6 gal
  • Start Type: Remote
  • Runtime: 17.5 hrs @ 25% load
  • Noise Level: N/A
  • Weight: 220 lbs

The Westinghouse WGen9500DF ticks off all the boxes. It is very powerful, built with sturdy materials, has a dual fuel engine, long run time and is CARB compliant.

This unit is so powerful that you can keep the basic household necessities running during a power cut. Plus, since it can run on LPG it has a lower noise level and releases fewer emissions.

This is a great choice when needing overnight backup power since it has a run time of 17.5 hours on a quarter load. You will have a comfortable night sleep because this is enough capacity for all the lights and either the heater or air conditioner.

Pros

Cons

2. Duromax XP4400E with Electric Start – Most Popular

DuroMax XP4400E 4400 watt 7-Hp RV Grade Gas Generator with Electric Start

Features

  • Type: Portable
  • Running Watts: 3,500 watts
  • Surge Watts: 4,400 watts
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline
  • Tank Size: 3.9 gal
  • Start Type: Electric
  • Runtime: 8 hrs @ 1/2 load
  • Noise Level: 69 dB
  • Weight: 120 lbs

Duromax generators are known for their incredible power at affordable prices and the Duromax XP4400E is a great example. At 4400 peak watts this is a versatile generator with a heavy duty design that is still highly portable.

The main components are protected by a steel roll cage. Meanwhile, the standard design comes with a folding handle and heavy duty never flat tires that makes transporting it easier.

This unit holds enough power for an air conditioner, refrigerator and most other common household appliances. Its good fuel economy and run time make this a prime candidate as emergency backup power for the house.

Pros

Cons

3. Champion 4000-Watt Digital Hybrid – Most Innovative

Champion Power Equipment 100573 4000-Watt DH Series Open Frame Inverter, Wireless Remote Start

Features

  • Type: Digital hybrid
  • Running Watts: 3,700 watts
  • Surge Watts: 4,000 watts
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline
  • Tank Size: 2.9 gal
  • Start Type: Remote
  • Runtime: 17 hrs @ 1/4 load
  • Noise Level: 64 dB
  • Weight: 96.8 lbs

Champion power equipment is a market leader when it comes to innovative generator technology. They release products that are far ahead of its competition.

This digital hybrid generator is the perfect example. This is an advanced open fram inverter design which combines all the best elements of both a conventional portable generator and inverter generator.

It delivers the same power a regular generator but is 50% quieter, 20% lighter and only delivers clean electricity. This unit is RV ready, parallel capable and both EPA and CARB compliant – the perfect portable generator.

Pros

Cons

4. Duromax XP12000EH Dual Fuel – Most Powerful

DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Electric Start Portable Generator, Blue and Black

Features

  • Type: Dual fuel portable
  • Running Watts: 9,500 watts (gas), 9,025 watts (LPG)
  • Surge Watts: 12,000 watts (gas), 11,400 watts (LPG)
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline / LPG
  • Tank Size: 8.3 gal
  • Start Type: Electric
  • Runtime: 8.83 hrs (gas), 7.2 hrs (LPG)
  • Noise Level: 74 dB @ 25% load
  • Weight: 234 lbs

Short of installing a home standby generator, this is one of the most powerful generator models that you can buy today. The Duromax XP models go up to a capacity of 15000 peak watts.

Since this is a dual fuel engine this is a great portable alternative to a home standby generator. It holds enough power for all the heavier loads in the house to keep you comfortable.

A surprising spec of this model is that it is not as loud as you would expect from such a large and powerful generator. It is rated at 74 decibels which is still reasonable considering smaller output generators have similar noise ratings.

Pros

Cons

5. WEN DF475T Transfer Switch Ready Generator – Best Value

WEN DF475T Dual Fuel 120V/240V Portable Generator with Electric Start Transfer Switch Ready, 4750-Watt, CARB Compliant

Features

  • Type: Dual fuel portable
  • Running Watts: 3,800 watts (gas), 3,500 watts (LPG)
  • Surge Watts: 4,750 watts (gas), 4,350 watts (LPG)
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline/ LPG
  • Tank Size: 4 gal
  • Start Type: Electric
  • Runtime: 11 hrs @ 50%  load (gas), 7 hrs @ 50% load (LPG)
  • Noise Level: N/A
  • Weight: 105.8 lbs

If your reason for buying a portable generator is to find something affordable but with good power we recommend this WEN generator. WEN is always a good bet when looking for the best value generators.

This is an affordable dual fuel generator with a power capacity that is versatile in use. It can keep the basic household appliances running while still being portable enough for use at a tailgate or even for an RV.

It comes with a folding handle and large never flat tires for easy pulling. It also has a good fuel economy of about 11 hours on a half load so it is affordable in terms of both purchasing cost and running cost.

Pros

Cons

Best Inverter Generators

Inverter generators have many advantages compared to a conventional portable generator. They run more quietly and are generally more compact and lightweight – perfect for camping or for an RV.

The advanced inverter technology is also what makes it safe for directly connecting sensitive electronics such as mobile phones, laptops and cameras. This type of generator has minimal Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) which delivers very clean electricity.

One limitation of an inverter generator is that they are less powerful. However, this is easily made up for by connecting two units and making use of their parallel capability.

1. Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel Inverter – Editor's Choice

Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start

Features

  • Type: Dual fuel inverter
  • Running Watts: 3,100 watts (gas), 2,790 watts (LPG)
  • Surge Watts: 3,400 watts (gas), 3,060 watts (LPG)
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline/ LPG
  • Tank Size: 1.6 gal
  • Start Type: Electric
  • Runtime: 7.5 hrs (gas), 14.5 hrs (LPG)
  • Noise Level: 59 dB
  • Weight: 95.7 lbs

For our top pick for the best inverter generator we could not resist the great compact design and output combination of this Champion generator. It weighs just under 96 pounds but has an impressive output, especially for an inverter.

Plus, it has the rare feature of having a dual fuel engine combined with inverter technology. This delivers an even better fuel economy, longer run time and lower emissions.

This unit has an electric start with a convenient control panel. The package comes with a wheel kit so you have access to power anywhere and anytime you may need.

Pros

Cons

2. Honda EU3000IS – Most Reliable

Honda Super Quiet Gasoline Portable Generator with Inverter (EU3000IS1A 3000Watt Electric Start Inverter)

Features

  • Type: Portable inverter
  • Running Watts: 2,800 watts
  • Surge Watts: 3,000 watts
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline
  • Tank Size: 3.4 gal
  • Start Type: Electric
  • Runtime: 20 hrs @ 24% load
  • Noise Level: 50 dBA
  • Weight: 131 lbs

When it comes to reliability, nothing beats a Honda generator. They are considered the most high end and trustworthy portable generators that money can buy.

This unit has a compact square design which is great for storage. It also has the most impressive fuel efficiency lasting almost a full day on a quarter load.

This is one of the most quiet running generators making it perfect for outdoor activities such as camping and powering an RV. Unfortunately, it does not come with standard wheels so we highly recommend getting a wheel kit.

Pros

Cons

3. WEN 56200i – Best Lightweight Model

WEN 56200i 2000-Watt Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator, CARB Compliant

Features

  • Type: Portable inverter
  • Running Watts: 1,600 watts
  • Surge Watts: 2,000 watts
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline
  • Tank Size: 1 gal
  • Start Type: Pull start
  • Runtime: 9.4 hrs @ 25% load
  • Noise Level: 53 dB @ 25% load
  • Weight: 48 lbs

For maximum portability we turn to the very popular WEN 56200i which weighs less than 50 pounds. It has the standard 2000-watt capacity for an inverter generator with good fuel efficiency and run time.

This model is both EPA III and CARB compliant making it the perfect companion for camping. With its low THD that is safe for mobile phones, this will keep you connected wherever you are.

We like the closed side panel design which keeps out dust and dirt and the large carrying handle. The only real downside is that there is only one USB port.

Pros

Cons

4. Westinghouse iGen4500DF – Best For RV's

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Features

  • Type: Dual fuel
  • Running Watts: 3,700 watts (gas), 3,330 watts (LPG)
  • Surge Watts: 4,500 watts (gas), 4,050 watts (LPG)
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline/ LPG
  • Tank Size: 3.4 gal
  • Start Type: Electric
  • Runtime: 18 hrs @ 25%  load
  • Noise Level: 52 dB
  • Weight: 104 lbs

Anyone that has done it before knows that installing an RV generator can be a hassle. To simplify this process, the iGen4500DF comes RV-ready right out of the box.

This is another rare dual fuel inverter with all the benefits that come with it. You get a great fuel economy, cleaner and quieter running, and the flexibility to use either gas or LPG.

This is one of the most recommended generators available today because it has all the features that you want. It is perfectly portable, compact and not too heavy but also has a great control panel for monitoring and closed outlets for extra safety.

Pros

Cons

Best Home Standby Generator

A home standby generator is the most user-friendly generator type. It automatically starts when there is a power cut, runs quietly and has advanced technology for monitoring.

Another big advantage is that most units can be connected to a home’s natural gas (NG) supply. This mean that you never have to worry about refueling and the machine also releases fewer emissions on natural gas.

Unfortunately, these perks do come at a cost. On the other hand, there are several more affordable options available today and those experiencing frequent power cuts quickly earn back their investment.

1. Briggs & Stratton 40531 with Transfer Switch – Editor's Choice

Briggs & Stratton 40531 12kW Standby Generator with 200 Amp Symphony II Transfer Switch

Features

  • Type: Standby
  • Running Watts: 12,000 watts (NG), 11,000 watts (LPG)
  • Amps: 50 amps (NG), 45.8 amps (LPG)
  • Fuel Type: NG/ LPG
  • Start Type: Automatic
  • Runtime: Indefinite
  • Minimum Building Distance: 18 in
  • Weight: 318 lbs

Our top choice for best home standby generator is the Briggs & Stratton 40531 with 12000 watts continuous power. This is one of the most compact home standby generators which is perfect for those with less outdoor space.

The commercial vanguard engine is very durable and the Symphony II Power Management automatically manages the load for a better distribution among the connected appliances. No need to go outside since this unit is outfitted with a wireless monitoring system.

This product comes with a 5 year warranty and is transfer switch ready. It is one of the most affordable home standby generators and is well worth the investment.

Pros

Cons

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