Table of Contents
- Advantages of Small Generators
- Best Small Portable Generators Review
- Generac GP3500iO Inverter Generator
- A-iPower SUA2000i Inverter Generator
- WEN 56203i Inverter Generator
- Alternatives to Small Gas Generators
- EF ECO FLOW RIVER Pro Portable Power Station
- Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment iGen160s Portable Power Station
- Jackery Explorer 240 Portable Power Station
- Rainier Outdoor Power Equipment R150i Portable Power Station
- Renogy Phoenix 300 Solar Power Generator
- Buyers Guide
Imagine sitting in your living room enjoying a nice moment with your loved one when a disaster strikes and cuts off the main power to your area. To get things back on track, you need to act fast and restore your power supply. To be prepared for emergencies, many homeowners invest in backup generators.
However, these devices are expensive, and you can’t use them everywhere. Small portable generators come in handy in such situations. They provide power anywhere and anytime.
Advantages of Small Generators
Get Electricity Anywhere, Anytime: Nowadays, electricity has become an essential need. We rely on gadgets like laptops, smartphones, cameras, and power tools to get things done and stay connected to the rest of the world. Therefore, we always need electricity everywhere and small generators have been built for this purpose. One advantage of small generators is that they are compact and lightweight in design. These features make them easy to carry and use on the go. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tailgating party, an RV road trip, or a camping trip. You can find small generators to fit your needs.
Emergency Power Backup: If you are connected to the grid, a power outage can happen at any time, especially during natural disasters like storms and wildfires. It is therefore advisable to prepare for disasters and invest in a small home generator. This power supply can support your important electronics such as laptops, internet devices, smartphones, lights, refrigerators, and air conditioners. If you work from home, your backup power supply will help you keep your business running during power outages.
Power Your Tools Off-grid: Another advantage of investing in a small portable generator is that it gives you the flexibility of using your power tools off-grid. This way, you can handle your remote site jobs with ease. For the DIYers, small generators enable you to work on your projects anytime without the fear of interruption by power blackouts.
Avoid Food Waste: It is common for people to stockpile food supplies in their fridges. When power blackouts strike, such foodstuffs can get spoiled and result in huge losses if homeowners do not restore the electricity supply in good time. You can avert such losses by investing in a small portable generator!
Best Small Portable Generators Review
Finding the right portable generator to suit your needs can be tedious, given the hundreds of options available on the market. Luckily, we’ve made your search easier by scouring the internet for the best small power generators for home and outdoor use.
When making our selection, we took into account various factors such as power, price, size, noise level, and ease of use. Continue reading our review and hopefully, you will find a small generator that suits you.
If you are an outdoor enthusiast, then the Generac GP3500iO Inverter Generator is your ideal solution to power your camping trips. This electric generator is RV-ready. Just turn it on and plug it into your RV without the hassle of wiring. It is 50% quieter than most generators in its class, making it an ideal choice for camping and household use, especially in densely populated areas where noise may disturb your neighbors.
If you plan on using sensitive electronics, don’t worry because this inverter generator delivers clean power that is safe for your devices. It has multiple outlets, including two USB ports for directly charging laptops, smartphones, and other electrical devices. You can power most of your household appliances for about 8 hours when you run the Generac GP3500iO at 50% load. If you need more power, you can connect this generator in parallel with a similar model to increase your power.
The Generac GP3500iO has an economy mode that allows you to reduce its power. In this mode, you will get more operating hours. Due to its lightweight, the generator is very portable. With a retail price of only $789, the Generac GP3500iO offers great value for your money. If you use it for about 100 hours per year, it can last for over 20 years.
Fuel Type Unleaded Gasoline Wattage 3,500 Starting Watts Runtime (at 50% load) 8 hours Dimensions 19.3 x 16.9 x 16.4 Inch Weight 74.3 lbs (33.7 kg) Noise Level 40 - 48 dB(A) Ignition System Type Recoil starter Voltage 120 V Engine Type 212cc OHV Output Wattage 3,000 Watts Tank Volume 2.37 gal (9 L) Warranty 90-day limited
Generac GP3500iO Downloads:
The A-iPower SUA2000i Inverter Generator gives you the flexibility to take portable power with you wherever you go. Its super lightweight and compact design make it easy to carry in your hand. It also doesn’t take up much space in the trunk of your car.
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast or live in an area prone to power outages, you’ve come to the right place. With 1,600 watts of running power, this generator can handle most emergency lighting needs for gates, campgrounds, RVs, and homes.
At half capacity, the A-iPower SUA2000i can run continuously for seven hours on a full tank. And if you need to power heavy equipment, this generator supports paralleling with similar models for additional output power.
Inverter technology lets you power sensitive electronic devices like laptops, tablets, cameras, and lab equipment without fear of damaging them. This device is EPA and CARB certified for low carbon emissions, so you don’t have to worry about negative environmental impact. Plus, you won’t have to worry about operating this generator blindly, as it comes with a fuel gauge that allows you to monitor the gas level.
As for safety features, this generator has an automatic low oil shutdown and a 3-in-1 indicator light that warns you when the oil level is low, the generator is overloaded, or it is in the normal operating range. You can own this generator for a price of $380 and meet your basic power needs, especially if you are interested in using lightweight electronics.
Fuel Type Gasoline Wattage 2,000 Starting watts Runtime (at 50% load) 7 hours Dimensions 21 x 12.5 x 19 Inch Weight 46 lbs (21 kg) Noise Level 58 - 68 dB(A) Ignition System Type Recoil starter Voltage 120 V Engine Type 79cc 4 -Stroke OHV Output Wattage 1,600 Watts Tank Volume 1.1 gal (4.2 L) Warranty 2 Years
A-iPower SUA2000i Downloads:
WEN is a renowned US brand with over 60 years of experience in manufacturing power tools, lawnmowers, and generators. The WEN 56203i Inverter Generator is the ideal choice when space and weight are the most important factors. It has a small, compact size that saves you space for other things, especially when you go camping. Also, you don’t have to worry about transporting it from one place to another since it weighs only 36 pounds.
The WEN 56203i portable generator is very efficient. Using only one gallon of gasoline, the unit provides up to 7 hours of runtime at 50% load.
With 2000 watts of peak power and 1700 watts of operating power, this inverter generator can power most household electronics. If you need more power, you can increase the output by paralleling a second WEN 56203i generator. Fortunately, the price of about $400 makes it affordable to upgrade your generator. It has a fuel shut-off feature that allows the engine to burn all the fuel in the carburetor before shutting down.
This feature prevents fuel from sticking, which requires regular maintenance and shortens the life of your generator. The generator has an intelligent eco mode that automatically adjusts its output to match the load. In this way, you save fuel costs and increase the life of your generator.
If noise is an issue, WEN 56203i has you covered. With a noise level of 51 dB(A), this portable generator is quieter than many other portable generators. It also produces less than 1.2 THD, making it an ideal choice for your clean power needs, such as charging sensitive electronics. Other features of the WEN 56203i include multiple outlets, including two 5V USB ports, power/oil level/overload indicator lights, and a 3-in-1 switch.
Fuel Type Gasoline Wattage 2,000 Starting watts Runtime (at 50% load) 10.8 hrs (at ¼ load) Dimensions 17.3 x 11.5 x 17.7 Inch Weight 39 lbs Noise Level 52 dB(A) (at a ¼ load) Ignition System Type Recoil starter Voltage 120 V Engine Type 79cc 4 -Stroke OHV Output Wattage 2,000 Watts Tank Volume 1 gal Warranty 2 Years
WEN 56203i Downloads:
Alternatives to Small Gas Generators
There are alternatives to small gas generators that can provide you with clean, reliable, and noise-free electricity. These include small solar generators, portable power stations, and outdoor power banks. We’ve researched and picked out the best alternatives on the market that will suit your needs and give you value for money. Read on to find out.
EcoFlow harnesses the power of its skilled workforce to develop smart, powerful and reliable off-grid energy solutions. The EF ECO FLOW RIVER Pro Portable Power Station features a sleek, compact, portable, and ergonomic design with a modern look. This design makes the product easy to transport and store, especially in RVs or other outdoor activities where space and transportation are important.
With a power of 600W AC (720Wh battery capacity), it can power most of your household appliances. Its X- Boost Smart algorithm allows you to run appliances up to 1800W, although the company recommends loads under 600W for the best user experience. This way you can brew your coffee, cook a light meal, run your fridge or power your drill from anywhere.
This power plant also provides clean electricity to charge your sensitive electronics like laptops, digital cameras, tablets and smartphones. If you have higher power needs, you can double the capacity of the EF ECO FLOW RIVER Pro to 1440Wh by purchasing an additional RIVER Pro battery. Another cool feature of this product is the built-in EcoFlow X-Stream fast charging technology, which allows you to charge the power station up to 80% in 1 hour and achieve a full charge in 1.6 hours from an AC outlet. It supports Smart Solar charging technology. It takes 4.5 to 9 hours to charge the power station with two 110W solar panels.
Get more flexibility with the EcoFlow app and control this power station from the palm of your hand. Simply download the app from the company website, install it on your smartphone, and connect to the unit remotely. With this app, you can visualize your power consumption and know when you need to recharge the power generator.
For just $650, you can gear up for emergencies and keep your home running with the EF ECO FLOW RIVER Pro. And if you’re an outdoor or DIY enthusiast, you can live your off-grid life without limits with this revolutionary product.
Fuel Type NA Wattage 1,200 Starting watts Runtime (at 50% load) 2-4 hours Dimensions 11.4 x 7.1 x 9.3 Inch Weight 16.8 lbs (7.6kg) Noise Level Silent operation Ignition System Type Electronic Voltage 120V AC/13.6V DC Battery Type Lithium-ion Output Wattage 600 running watts Battery Capacity 720Wh Warranty 2 Years
EF ECO FLOW RIVER Downloads:
Westinghouse is a trusted American brand with over 130 years of experience designing and building power tools and generators. The company also makes power plants like the iGen160s that provide portable power to consumers anywhere, anytime.
You don’t have to worry about fuel, noise, or exhaust fumes that come with gasoline-powered generators because the Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment iGen160s Portable Power Station is powered by a 42,000 mAh lithium-ion battery.
You can charge this power station in four different ways. These include DC13V-25V/2A solar panels, household outlet, generator, and car outlet. These options give you the flexibility to charge the power station from home, on the road, or even in the jungle as long as you have sunshine and solar panels.
The Westinghouse iGen160s Power Station features a small and lightweight design that is ready for adventure. With its ergonomic handle, you can attach it to your backpack or carry it easily. You can use it while camping, hunting, or grilling.
Some electronic devices you can charge with this power station include laptops, phones, power banks, drones, LED TVs, and a mini-fridge. And that’s not all! Owning the iGen160s will only cost you $140. This amount is a fraction of the price of a small portable generator.
The company gives you up to 2 years of limited warranty to assure you of the product quality.
Fuel Type NA Wattage 150 peak watts Runtime (at 50% load) 0.85 hours Dimensions 8.14 x 3.77 x 7 Inch Weight 3.75 lb. (1.7 kg) Noise Level Silent operation Ignition System Type Electronic Voltage 120V AC/ 12V DC Battery Type 155Wh Lithium-ion Output Wattage 100 running watts Battery Capacity 42,000 mAh Warranty 2 Years
Westinghouse iGen160s Downloads:
In 2015, Jackery Inc. introduced the world’s first portable lithium battery-powered power station for outdoor enthusiasts. The company continues to offer green power to consumers with its innovative products. For example, the Jackery Explorer 240 Portable Power Station is a small and reliable power source. It can power a variety of electronic devices, such as phones, tablets, drones, lamps, mini coolers, 60W TV, and most electronic devices with less than 200W rated power. You can charge this charging station in a number of ways. These include plugging into a wall outlet, a car outlet, solar panels, and electric generators.
When using solar panels, the generator provides 100% clean energy with no carbon emissions or noise. This feature makes the Jackery Explorer 240 a great companion for RV, hunting, camping, barbecues, and other outdoor activities. With the Jacker Explorer 240, you can get off the grid and enjoy all the conveniences of modern technology in the woods for a price of $200.
When it comes to equipment safety, the Jacker Explorer 240 Power Station features a pure sine wave inverter that allows you to power sensitive electronics without damaging them. Its LCD unit helps you see the state of the power plant at a glance.
Fuel Type NA Wattage 400 surge watts Runtime (at 50% load) About 2.04 hours Dimensions 9.05 x 5.24 x 7.87 Inch Weight 6.6 lbs (3 kg) Noise Level Silent operation Ignition System Type Electronic Voltage 110V AC/13.3V DC Battery Type Lithium-ion Output Wattage 200 running watts (AC) Battery Capacity 16.8 Ah battery Warranty 2 Years
Jackery Explorer 240 Downloads:
Rainier Outdoor Power Equipment, LLC is an American brand that sells its products exclusively on Amazon. It specializes in manufacturing power generators, portable power equipment, and gas pressure washers.
The Rainier Outdoor Power Equipment R150i Portable Power Station is one of the brand’s emergency power solutions for home and outdoor use. You can use it for emergencies to charge essential devices like phones, lights, and laptops. You can also go off-grid and use the power station for camping, hunting, hiking, RV trips, and other outdoor activities.
The good news is that you don’t need gas to run this power generator. If you hook it up to a solar panel, you can generate clean energy without worrying about the noise that comes with traditional generators. This feature is a big plus, especially in areas where noise is an issue. Plus, you don’t have to worry about routine maintenance. If you don’t have solar panels, you can charge the power station with a car charger or plug it into an outlet in your home.
The Rainier Outdoor Power Equipment R150i has 110 watts of overvoltage and 100 watts of running power, enough to charge laptops, drones, smartphones, GoPro cameras, and other small electronics. It has one 120V AC, three 5V USB, and three 12V DC output ports so you can power multiple devices.
If weight is a factor when choosing small generators, then the Rainer R150i is for you. The unit weighs only 5 lbs (2.27 kg) and features an ergonomic handle. These features make it easy to carry. It won’t take up much space in your trunk. Plus, it offers you great value. For only $140, you can own this product and a one-year limited warranty. Other features that come with this power pack include a flashlight and battery indicator.
Fuel Type NA Wattage 400 surge watts Runtime (at 50% load) 1.7 hours Dimensions 10 x 4 x 6 Inch Weight 5 lbs (2.27 kg) Noise Level Silent operation Ignition System Type Electronic Voltage 120V AC/ 12V DC Battery Type Lithium Output Wattage 100 running watts Battery Capacity 155 Wh (12916.7 mAh) Warranty 1 Year
Rainier R150i Downloads:
The Phoenix 300 Solar Generator is one of the innovative products of the Renogy brand. It is one of the lightest, smallest, and most reliable power generators on the market. With an operating power of 200W, this device can power various electronic devices such as phones, tablets, lamps, and laptops.
Whether you are facing a power outage or camping in the woods, the Renogy Phoenix 300 Solar Generator is sure to power your devices. It also comes with a LED flashlight on its foldable handle for emergency lighting.
You can own this solar power generator for only $400, and it is sure to give you a lot of bang for your buck. For example, it includes revolutionary Power Delivery technology in its USB Type-C ports for up to 60W of high-speed charging. Its USB Type-A port also features Quick Charge technology that supports devices with up to 18 W.
If you are a photographer, then you will love this powerhouse. It comes with a D-port to charge your video and photo devices. Don’t worry about damaging your electronics as this solar generator has a pure sine wave inverter to generate clean and safe power.
When it comes to safety, Renogy has incorporated a battery management system that controls the voltage and temperature of the device. It also offers over-current and short-circuits protection that keeps both the power generator and your electronics safe.
Fuel Type NA Wattage 300 surge watts Runtime (at 50% load) 1.7 hours Dimensions 7.1x6.1x5.6 Inch Weight 6.4 lbs (2.9 kg) Noise Level Silent operation Ignition System Type Electronic Voltage 110V/60Hz/220V/50Hz Battery Type 14.4V 18650 Lithium Output Wattage 200 running watts Battery Capacity 23400mAh/337Wh Warranty 1 Year
Renogy Phoenix 300 Downloads:
Before we delve into the details of choosing a suitable small generator for you, let’s examine a few basics about portable generators and how they work. This way, you can make an informed decision when buying small generators.
What is a portable generator?
A portable generator is a machine that uses a gas or diesel engine to drive an electric generator to produce electricity. Manufacturers incorporate output ports to which users can connect electrical cords to tap and use this power.
Portable generators vary in size and design. Large models are heavy and come with wheel kits for easy transportation. On the other hand, small models are lightweight and easy to transport.
Types of Small Generators
We can classify small portable generators according to the type of power generated and the fuel used. For example, inverter generators use inverters to convert AC to DC. These devices produce power with low THD, which is clean and safe for running sensitive electronics. They also have less noise compared to gas generators.
Most small generators run on gasoline, but some models also run on propane. Gas generators produce more electricity than small propane generators that run on engines of comparable power.
Solar power generators offer a green alternative to gasoline and propane generators. By combining innovative battery technologies, manufacturers can now produce powerful solar generators that rival their fossil fuel counterparts. Most of these generators come with multiple charging options, such as home outlets, car chargers, solar panels, and generators. This way, you can always keep your device ready for use.
How Much Do Small Generators Cost?
The prices of small generators vary depending on their salient features, such as power output, engine type, and integrated technology.
Quality small generators can have 100W to 3000W output wattage. For such, you can expect to spend between $200 and $800.
Are Small Generators a Good Investment?
Absolutely! If you need a power backup solution during power blackouts, then the ideal option is a backup generator. However, if you don’t have the budget for this expensive investment, it doesn’t hurt to look for an option that suits you.
Luckily, most small generators are affordable and have sufficient power to keep your critical electronics running. And if you are an outdoor enthusiast, you get to use it everywhere you go.
How to Choose the Best Small Portable Generator for You?
One of the biggest dilemmas buyers encounter when buying portable generators is choosing the best generator. To determine which model best suits you, you need to consider various factors, such as your needs and budget.
The best small portable generator is one that meets your needs and falls within your budget. If you focus on the price alone, you may purchase a cheap model that can hardly power your appliances. In this case, you will not have met your needs.
So, let’s find out what you need to look out for when shopping for a portable generator:
1. Does it Meet Your Power Needs?
The most important thing to consider when buying a small generator is whether it has enough power to run your electronics.
To achieve this, compute the total wattage of your devices. Now, choose a generator that can produce slightly more power than your needs. This way, you will avoid overloading and potentially damaging both the generator and your electronics.
If you are using sensitive electronics, go for a generator that produces clean power. In most cases, these are solar and inverter generators.
2. Fuel Type
The type of fuel you will use to power your generator is critical. Go for a machine whose fuel is affordable and readily available. If you off-grind, in a remote place where the nearest gas station is several miles away, a solar generator could be a better option for you.
3. Noise Levels
Generators that run on fossil fuel can be loud and often cause noise pollution in neighborhoods.
If you are going camping or live in a highly-populated area, go for quieter models.
Inverter generators are quieter than ordinary models. Their noise levels range between 40 dB(A) and 60 dB(A). Solar power generators are silent and, therefore, you don’t have to worry about noise.
4. Ease of Use
Another critical factor to consider is the ease of use of the generator. For instance, if you’re looking for a power station that you can use while hiking or hunting, go for a lightweight design that you can carry with ease.
Models that are easy to start, especially during cold seasons, are easier to use. If you need a small RV generator, buy a model that is RV-ready. It will save you the money to buy and energy to set up RV adaptors. Also, consider generators that need minimal maintenance to reduce your workload.
5. Small Generator Price
The price of a small generator is a key factor that most buyers use to determine whether or not to buy a product. However, do not use price alone to make your decision. Check the features of a generator and see how they fit your needs.
If the model works for you and you can afford it, buy it. Consider a generator to be an asset that you do not have to buy every day and buy a quality product that will serve you for a long time.
Most manufacturers offer up to two years of limited warranty on small portable generators. This way, you know that you are buying a quality product.
Do not tamper with the generator to avoid invalidating your warranty. Also, buy from companies that offer technical support in your area should you need help with your machine when the manufacturer’s warranty expires.
Small Gas Generator Safety Tips
- Read the Manual Instructions. When you buy a portable generator, it is advisable to read and understand the manufacturer’s manual before operating the machine. Some manufacturers provide instructions on their websites on how to use their products. If you are unsure how to use the product, consult your sales agent or company customer care support for help.
- Don’t use a gas generator inside. Small gas generators produce carbon monoxide, which is a lethal odorless and colorless gas. For this reason, never run a gas or propane generator inside your house. Always take it outside in a well-ventilated area. If it is raining or snowing, get a cover to protect the machine from water. Water can cause electrical wires to short circuit and damage your electronics and the generator.
- Always ground your generator to avoid electrical shock. If you wish to connect your generator to your house mains, get a qualified technician to help you to prevent electrical back feed to the grid. Avoid overloading your power generator to ensure longer life and return on investment.
- Regular check-up. Follow the generator maintenance or recharge schedule religiously to ensure that it is always in good working condition. This way, you will be able to use it whenever you need it.
How to Use a Small Generator Properly
- Safety tips. Follow the safety instructions discussed above and use the generator for its intended purpose. Avoid modifying the device if you are not a professional, as this is not only dangerous but will also void the warranty.
- Check the oil level. Before starting a gas generator, make sure you have enough fuel and oil. Turn on the fuel tap to allow the gas to flow from the tank to the carburetor. Now start the generator and plug your power cord into the appropriate output port, depending on which appliance you want to run.
- Don’t forget to turn it off. When you finish using your device, turn off your appliance and switch off the generator engine. Allow the engine to cool off before refueling.
- Don’t use the generator while it is charging. For solar generators, all you need to do is plug in your device and flip the switch ON. When you are done using it, turn off your device and shut down the generator. Do not use the generator while charging to avoid damaging the battery.
Never. If you want to power your home with a portable generator, get a technician to install a transfer switch.
The ideal generator that can power a home should have an output of 7,000W to 10,000. However, you can use a small generator with a 1,500W to 3,000W to run some of your household electronics.
If your generator has a metallic frame and does direct contact with the ground, you do not need to earth it. Otherwise drive a pin to the ground and connect it to the ground terminal.
A quality portable generator can last between 20 to 25 years when used at a rate of 100 hours per year.
Yes. If you are running low wattage appliances off-grid, then a solar power generator is a great pick. It doesn’t require fuel and produces clean and noise-free energy.