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.
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.
|3,500 Starting Watts
|Runtime (at 50% load)
|19.3 x 16.9 x 16.4 Inch
|74.3 lbs (33.7 kg)
|40 - 48 dB(A)
|Ignition System Type
|2.37 gal (9 L)
Generac GP3500iO Downloads:
The A-iPower SUA2000iV 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.
|30A @ 120V
|10 hours @ 25% load
|20.9″ x 12.4″ x 19.3″
- Economical buy
- Multiple outlets
- Lightweight design
- Ergonomic handle
- Perfect for outdoor activities
- Impressive run time
- Less noise
- Missing data center
- No DC outlet
- Manual start
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.
|14.1A @ 120V
|7 hours @ 50% load
|17.3″ x 11.5″ x 17.7″
- Economical buy
- Multiple outlets
- Perfect for outdoor activities
- Less noise
- Clean power output
- Missing data center
- External grounding required
- Low power output
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!
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 DC to AC. These devices produce power with low Total Harmonic Distortion (THD), which means the energy supply is clean and safe for running your 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.
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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.