Table of Contents
- Portable Generator Buying Guide
- 5 Best Portable Generators for the Cheapest Price
As people continue to rely on technology for their daily survival, electricity has become an essential need. Unfortunately, not all areas are connected to the grid. Moreover, power supply by utility companies often suffers disruption, especially during disasters such as storms and wildfires. In these cases, backup generators come in handy to save the day.
However, standby generators are pricy and not all people can afford them. Also, they are difficult to transport and therefore you cannot use them for outdoor activities. In such situations, going for a cheap portable generator is the best option.
Nevertheless, the portable generator price shouldn’t be the determining factor when or not to buy a particular product. Instead, focus on how well a portable generator suits your needs before paying for it.
Finding the best portable generator for sale is not an easy task considering the hundreds of options available in the market. Lucky you, we have done the tough job for you and researched the five best portable generators for the cheapest price. Hopefully, you will find one that works for you!
Let’s examine these portable generators and explore their features.
Portable Generator Buying Guide
As stated earlier, portable generators offer an affordable option for household emergency power supply and outdoor activities. Before purchasing a portable generator, it is wise to find out various facts about these products. This way, you will make informed decisions. Let’s find out what you need to know in the next section.
How Much Does a Portable Generator Cost?
The price of a portable generator can range anywhere between $300 and $2,000. Various factors, such as power output, technology, and ease of use, contribute to the price of a portable generator. These features determine how well a portable generator suits your needs. Therefore, as you shop for a cheap generator, do not just focus on the price alone. Consider your needs first and then see which cheap generator model best meets your power needs.
Why Buy a Portable Generator?
Wondering whether a portable generator is worth investing in? Well, it depends on you and how badly you need electricity. For instance, if you work from home and live in an area that experiences frequent blackouts, you will need a reliable power backup solution to keep you working when your grid apply is off. In this case, a backup generator would be ideal. However, if you cannot afford it, a portable generator is a viable alternative.
This machine can power your computer and critical appliances such as television, refrigerator, smartphones, lights, and cooking appliances. This way, it saves you huge losses by preventing your food from going bad. On the other hand, if you are an outdoor enthusiast and love camping or tailgating parties, then portable generators will give you the flexibility of generating your electricity from anywhere, anytime. And if you are working at a remote site, you can run your power tools with a portable generator.
How to Choose the Right Cheap Portable Generator for You?
A cheap portable generator may lack the whistles and bells of a high-end model. However, your ultimate pick should never fall short of your primary needs. Here are important features to look out for when shopping for a portable generator.
Your primary concern should be how much power a generator produces. Here consider its surge power and running wattage. The surge power of the portable generator should be higher than the peak wattage of your appliance with the highest power rating. On the other hand, the running wattage should be higher than the total running wattage of your appliances.
Find out whether if the output is AC or DC. If you intend to use the generator to run sensitive electronics such as computers, television, and lab equipment, it is advisable to buy an inverter generator with clean power output. However, most cheap inverter generators have a low output. In case you need to run more appliances, you may have to buy a generator that is parallel-ready. This way, you can connect an additional generator in parallel and double your power output.
Most portable generators run on gasoline. However, other models run on both propane and gasoline. Dual fuel portable generators give you the flexibility of using propane in case of a gasoline shortage, especially during emergencies. This way, you can continue to run your critical appliances such as medical devices as you search for your preferred fuel.
Fuel Tank Capacity
The size of your generator fuel tank determines its runtime. Most cheap portable generator fuel tanks have a capacity of 1 – 2 gallons. An efficient model can run for an average of eight to ten hours at 50% load. This way, you can gauge how long the machine will run before refueling.
The control panel of a portable generator features the dials and buttons that allow you to operate the machine. It also houses the power outlets and monitoring indicators. Advanced models have LCD units that allow you to see the generator power output, runtime, and frequency at a glance. Cheaper models, however, come with LED indicators that show you whether the generator is overloaded or running on normally. Always go for a model with a control panel that is easy to use.
As you shop for a portable generator, it is crucial to find out any safety features that come with a model before buying it. For instance, the best models come with low-oil/fuel auto-shutoff features. These protect the generator from getting damaged. Other safety features to look out for include surge power and overload protection.
A manufacturer’s warranty acts as a measure of product quality. The best brands in the market offer consumers longer warranties and customer support. This way, you have the confidence that you will get value for your money. Always go for portable generators with a manufacturer’s warranty and service centers in your locality.
Safety Tips for Using Portable Generators
While portable generators provide you with electricity anywhere, anytime, they can be hazardous if not used properly.
- Generators that run on fossil fuels can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, which can lead to death. Also, improper grounding can expose you to electrical shocks which can be deadly. Here are useful tips to help you operate your portable generator safely.
- For starters, avoid operating your generator in a closed environment such as a house or a tent. Always place it in an open space that is well ventilated. This way, you will protect yourself and your loved ones from carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Ensure that you place your generator on dry ground and use a shade during wet weather. This way, you will prevent water from getting into the generator terminals and cause electrical shocks. Also, avoid using frayed power cables as they cause electrocution or sparks that can start a fire.
- Do not overload your generator. If you do not know how to determine the wattage of your devices, get help from a qualified technician. Avoid connecting your generator directly to your household mains. Instead, work with a qualified professional to install a transfer switch.
- If your generator is low on fuel, shut it down and allow it to cool before refueling. This way you will avoid possible explosions from the highly flammable gasoline.
How to Use a Portable Generator Properly?
Once you receive your generator from your seller, read the owner’s manual thoroughly to understand the product design and how it operates. Also, read through the warranty clauses so that you are aware of what to do to avoid invalidating the warranty contract. Once you understand how the generator works, you can start the installation process.
Add engine oil to the recommended level. Now move your portable generator outside and fill the fuel tank with gasoline. If you have a dual fuel model, choose your preferred fuel source. Ground your generator and start it. You can do so manually for models with the recoil start mechanism or simply push the start button for generators with electric start.
Wait for your generator to warm up a little and then connect your appliances. Please note that these steps may vary slightly depending on your generator model.
5 Best Portable Generators for the Cheapest Price
A-iPower is renowned for its tough and reliable power equipment, such as the SUA2000iV 2000 Watt Portable Inverter Generator. This small portable generator features a lightweight design of 46 pounds and an ergonomic handle for easy portability. One person can easily carry this generator as easily as they would carry a briefcase.
For a price of under $400, the A-iPower SUA2000iV delivers 1600 running watts allowing you to experience comfortable living anywhere. With this affordable generator, you can say goodbye to boring camping and outdoor activities. It can power music systems, televisions, lights, and cooking appliances. It comes ready with RV compatible 30 Amp adapter for easy setup. And that’s not all. If you need additional power, this generator is parallel-ready, allowing you to connect with a similar model and double your output. You can still use this generator for emergency power backup at your home during blackouts.
The A-iPower SUA2000iV Inverter Generator features a total harmonic distortion of less than 3% thereby producing safe electricity to power sensitive electronics such as laptops. It also comes with a 5V USB outlet for quick smartphones or tablet charging. Other features that come with this affordable portable generator include a decent 7-hour runtime at 50% load, low noise level, and a 2-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
|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|
|Engine Type||79cc 4 -Stroke OHV|
|Output Wattage||1,600 Watts|
|Tank Volume||1.1 gal (4.2 L)|
Champion Power Equipment has earned the reputation of a top power generation tools manufacturer for the American market. The Champion Power Equipment 100307 Portable Generator is an example of their ingenious product design. This generator comes with a dual fuel capability allowing users to run it on either propane or gasoline. This way you will have an option should one type of fuel become scarce.
When running at 50% load, this generator will give 10.5 hours and 9-hour runtime on gasoline and propane, respectively. Its intelligauge gives the running voltage, frequency, and runtime at a glance for quick monitoring. It doesn’t matter whether you are interested in an emergency backup supply for your home or to power your RV. This portable generator comes with a 120V TT-30R outlet for your instant RV connection as well as two 120V 5-20R ports for your household needs. And if you live in a cold area or want to use the generator during winter, you won’t have to struggle to power it up because it comes with a cold-start design.
When it comes to safety, the Champion Power Equipment 100307 comes with a Volt Guard technology that protects against power surges. The gives you 3 years limited warranty as an assurance of the product’s high quality. It is also CARB and EPA certified for a clean environment-friendly operation and has a medium noise level of 68 dB(A). The features make this generator an excellent pick when shopping for a portable generator under $600.
|Wattage||4375 watts/3950 watts|
|Dimensions||23.2 x 19.1 x 20.0 Inch|
|Ignition System Type||Recoil start|
|Runtime (at 50% load)||9/10.5 hours|
|Voltage||120 V AC|
|Noise Level||68 dB(A)|
|Engine Type||224 cc 4-stroke OHV|
|Output Wattage||3500 watts/3150 watts|
|Tank Volume||3.4 gal (12.87 liters)|
Pulsar Products is renowned for low-cost and quality generators and power tools. For instance, the Pulsar PG2300iS costs less than $400. It is an excellent alternative to expensive inverter generators. This generator weighs only 47 pounds and features a compact briefcase design that is easy to carry and store. It produces a pure sine wave electrical output which is safe for sensitive electronics.
The control panel is easy to use and features two 120V AC, one 12V DC, and 5V USB outlets. Its economy switch allows the engine to adjust its RPM and match the power output with the applied load. This way, you save on fuel and extend the life of your generator. The Pulsar PG2300iS comes with a low-oil shutoff and an automated voltage regulator which protect the machine from getting damaged.
This generator offers you a reliable power supply for your tailgating, camping, and household use. Should you require more power than it can offer, you can always get a similar generator and connect the two generators in parallel to double your power output.
|Wattage||2300 Surge Watts|
|Dimensions||19.7 x 11.22 x 17.91 Inch|
|Runtime (at 50% load)||4.8 hours|
|Noise Level||59 dB(A)|
|Ignition System Type||Recoil start|
|Voltage||120V AC/ 12V DC|
|Engine Type||80cc 4-stroke, OHV|
|Output Wattage||1800 running watts|
|Tank Volume||1.18 gal|
If you are shopping for a powerful inverter generator for under $450, then the WEN 56200i 2000-Watt Portable Generator is an excellent choice. This generator is ideal for your camping and household needs. When on full load, the WEN 56200i has a THD output of less than 1.2%, making it ideal for running sensitive devices such as computers, smartphones, and cameras.
The WEN 56200i has a low noise level of 51dB(A) making it one of the cheapest quiet generators in the market. It is ideal for camping, tailgating, hunting trips, offsite construction works, and emergency household power supply. Its lightweight design and ergonomic handle make it easy for one person to carry. You don’t have to worry about storage for this machine because it features a compact design that doesn’t take up much of your space.
In case you need more power, this inverter generator is parallel-ready. You can connect another WEN 56200i generator in parallel and double your power output. When it comes to efficiency, this inverter generator can adjust its speed to match its power output with the applied load. This way, it conserves fuel and runs for a longer period. To achieve this, just turn on its Eco Mode.
|Runtime (at 50% load)||6 hrs|
|Dimensions||17.3 x 11.5 x 17.5 Inch|
|Ignition System Type||Recoil starter|
|Engine Type||4 stroke, OHV|
|Output Wattage||1,600 watts|
|Tank Volume||1.19 gallons|
|Noise Level||50 -55 dB(A)|
The Westinghouse brand has over 130 years old reputation of design revolutionary engines and power generation solutions. It’s no surprise that the iGen2200 Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator is one of the most efficient generators for under $600. It doesn’t matter whether you are going camping, or using this generator to run your appliances at home during a power outage. The Westinghouse iGen2200 is perfectly designed for these situations. For instance, its 52dB(A) noise level allows you to run the generator in populated areas without being a nuisance to your neighbors.
Its lightweight design makes it highly portable and suitable for outdoor activities. Should you require more power, the Westinghouse iGen2200 comes with a parallel connection which allows you to hook up a similar model and double your power output. On the other hand, if you have a load that is lower than the running wattage of the generator, you can turn on the Efficiency Mode button. This way, the iGen2200 slows down to match its output to the load. In this mode, the generator burns less fuel and runs for a longer period, thus saving you money.
This inverter generator produces clean electricity with a THD of less than 1.2%, which safe to power computers, televisions, and other sensitive electronics. It comes with two 5V USB outlets that you can plug and charge your devices with ease without the need for adaptors. When it comes to safety, the iGen2200 has a circuit breaker that limits the current flowing through its NEMA 5-20R outlet to 15A. It also turns off automatically in case of an overload. This feature protects the generator from being damaged.
|Wattage||2,200 Surge Watts|
|Runtime (at 50% load)||8 hours|
|Dimensions||19.8L x 11.4W x 17.9H|
|Noise Level||52 dB (at a ¼ load)|
|Ignition System Type||Recoil Start|
|Engine Type||80cc OHV 4 stroke|
|Output Wattage||1800 Running Watts|
|Tank Volume||1.14 gal|
On average, it will cost you at least $500 to hook up a generator to your home. However, it is important to note the price increases depending on the size of the generator and the accessories required for the installation process.
The average home requires 7,000 to 8,000 watts to run. However, you can use opt to run critical appliances only such as the refrigerator and air conditioner during an emergency with a small portable generator.
Yes. However, it is advisable to install a transfer switch in your house instead of connecting your appliances directly to the generator.
It is a good practice to consult a professional when installing electrical infrastructure on your building. This way you will avoid accidents associated with poor installation.
The best small generators cost anywhere between $300 and $800. As you purchase a portable generator make sure that it meets your power needs.