Small Generators

Best Bang for Your Buck – Picking a Small Generator at the Best Price

While expensive high-end generators are undoubtedly worth every penny, you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money to get a decent one. If you’re looking for a small generator on a tight budget, it’s good to familiarize yourself with the various reliable and affordable alternative power solutions on the market.

If you are an occasional backup power user with limited or low power requirements and need a cost-effective solution, there are several small generators to choose from. While saving money is the most important benefit of investing in a low-cost generator, you can benefit in other ways as well. Other benefits include much lower operating costs, low-cost maintenance, and repairs on the unit. 

We have created this guide to help you buy a small generator at the best possible price without compromising on features and functionality. Below, we review 10 of the best small generators available on the market and take the time to walk you through a buying guide and the FAQ section. Our goal is to help you make a well-informed buying decision. Let’s get started right away!

10 Best Small Generators at the Best Price

Of the top ten small power generators on the market, we have selected 5 fuel-powered ones and 5 alternatives to fuel-powered generators (power banks) to review. Each of these devices is discussed in more detail below.

First, let’s talk about fuel-powered generators.

FUEL-POWERED SMALL GENERATORS

1. Generac 7677 GP3600 Portable Generator

Engine and Power Output: This machine is equipped with a 212cc OHV Generac engine with splash lubrication. The gasoline-powered engine delivers 4500 starting and 3600 operating watts. The power is enough to run essentials during a power outage, power RVs, and handle outdoor recreational activities.

Tank Capacity and Runtime: This unit offers 9.3 hours of runtime at 50% load with a 3.7-gallon tank. The autonomy time is impressive and offers a tough run compared to other generators in this price range.

Dimensions, Weight, and Portability: The unit measures 24 x 22.5 x 21.3 inches and weighs 105 pounds. It comes with a high-quality set of wheels and a retractable handle. These features improve portability and allow for compact storage. It is worth noting that this is a heavy-duty unit. 

Outlets: This unit has two 120-V 20-A 5-20R outlets and one covered 120-V 30-A L5-30R outlet.

Safety and Noise Level: Generac does not specify the noise level of its portable generators. However, we know from a user experience that it is a little louder than a lawnmower. As for safety, it offers low oil shutdown, overload protection, and covered outlets. 

Other Features: It is a simple machine with a recoil starter, hour meter, fuel gauge, and choke.

Generac 7677 GP3600 Portable Generator

Summary

Fuel TypeGasoline
Surge Watts4500
Running Watts3600
Run time (at 50% load)9.3 Hours
Weight105 Pounds
Starting MechanismRecoil
Warranty2 Years
CertificationsEPA

Generac 7677 GP3600 Portable Generator

Pros

  • 40% more starting capacity
  • Splash lubrication enhances engine life
  • Impressive runtime

Cons

  • No CARB certification
  • Shipping issues
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2. PUOU 4000-Watt RV Ready DH Series Open Frame Inverter Generator

Engine and Power Output: This generator offers a maximum output of 4000 watts and a rated output of 3500 watts. The generator is built around a 212cc 4-stroke OHV 1-cylinder engine, and the engine is powerful enough to provide reliable backup power even under extreme working conditions. It is ideal for small RVs and occasional power outages.

Tank Capacity and Run time: There are no manufacturer specifications for tank capacity for this unit. However, a full gas tank can run for up to 17 hours at a 25% load. This means you can run 2-3 major appliances for 8-10 hours seamlessly.   

Parallel Connectivity and Idle Control: This is an open frame inverter that you can connect in series with other compatible models. It also has an idle control that gives you an economical running cost by adjusting the motor speed depending on the load of the appliance. 

Outlets: This generator offers one 120V 30A RV ready outlet, two 120V 20A household outlets, and one 12V DC outlet with a USB adapter. All outlets are GFCI. The output current has a harmonic distortion of less than 3%. The low harmonic distortion ensures that sensitive devices can run without problems.

Safety and Noise Level:  The noise level is rated at 64 dBA, which is impressive in this power range. To ensure the safety of the engine, it has an automatic low oil shutdown. 

Other Features: The control panel is equipped with a voltmeter, choke, fuse, and parallel connections. You also get a motor on/off switch. This is a rewind start model. Included with the machine are a spark plug wrench, a tool kit, and a user manual for setting up the machine.

Summary

Fuel TypeGasoline
Surge Watts4000
Running Watts3500
Run time (at 50% load)10 Hours
Noise Level67 dBA
Starting MechanismRecoil
Warranty2 Years
CertificationsN/A

PUOU 4000-Watt RV Ready DH Series Open Frame Inverter Generator

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Decent runtime
  • RV ready machine
  • Less than 3% THD

Cons

  • No wheel kit included.
  • Incomplete information by manufacturer
  • No certifications

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3. WEN GN400i RV-Ready 4000-Watt Open Frame Inverter Generator

Engine and Power Output: This device comes with a powerful 212cc 4-stroke engine OHV from WEN and can generate 4000 starting and 3500 operating watts. It is an open frame inverter and perfect for running sensitive equipment outdoors and during power outages. 

Tank Capacity and Run time: With a tank capacity of 1.85 gallons, you can run this unit for up to 7 hours at half load. If you want more operating time with this unit, reduce the load and watch it in action.

Dimensions, Weight, and Portability: This unit is one of the most compact and lightweight machines in its power range. It measures 19.8 x 13.8 x 18.9 inches and weighs only 66 pounds. The wheel kit and handle are not included, but it is still remarkably lightweight and perfect for RVs and outdoor use.  

Outlets: WEN is number one when it comes to outlets. This inverter gives you two 120V 5-20R NEMA outlets, two USB outlets, and one 120V RV-ready 30R outlet. The outlets will not let you down, and you will always have the ability to manage various devices on the go.    

Safety and Noise Level: One of the best things about this unit is its quiet operation (67 dBA). Even at higher loads, the machine will not bother you much. For safety reasons, the unit is equipped with automatic low oil shutdown, surge protection, and indicator lights. 

Other Features: This generator offers parallel connection, eco mode, LED indicators for power, overload, and low oil, choke and ground pin.

WEN GN400i RV-Ready 4000-Watt Open Frame Inverter Generator

Summary

Fuel TypeGasoline
Surge Watts4000
Running Watts3500
Run time (at 50% load)7 Hours
Weight66.1 Pounds
Noise Level67 dBA
Starting MechanismRecoil
Warranty2 Years
CertificationsEPA and CARB

WEN GN400i RV-Ready 4000-Watt Open Frame Inverter Generator

Pros

  • Clean energy
  • Quiet operation
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Versatile control panel
  • CARB compliant

Cons

  • No issues found
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4. TogoPower Portable Lightweight Generator

Engine and Power Output: The TogoPower generator is equipped with a 63cc 2-stroke engine and requires gas to oil ratio of 50:1 to operate, meaning that for every 50 parts of gas, you must add 1 part of engine oil to the tank to run this machine. The machine produces 1000 peak watts and 800 rated watts. It is ideal for camping and running one or two major appliances during a power outage. 

Tank Capacity and Run time: With a tank capacity of 1.05 gallons, you can run this unit for 6 hours at half load. The runtime is pretty decent compared to the tank capacity.

Dimensions, Weight, and Portability: This is a lightweight and compact unit in this price range. Measuring 16.1 x 14.8 x 14.2 inches and weighing 35 pounds, it is very portable and can be easily stored when not in use. The lightweight makes it perfect for tailgating, camping, BBQ parties, and beach festivals.

Outlets: This unit lags behind other generators on our list when it comes to outlets. It offers one 120V AC GFCI outlet. If you want to run more than one appliance on this generator, you’ll need a power extension to get things going.

Safety and Noise Level: The manufacturer does not specify the exact noise level of this generator. However, user experience indicates that its running noise is negligible at a distance of 25 feet. Safety features are not up to date on this unit.

Other Features: This generator is an air-cooled, rewind-start unit equipped with a choke, circuit breaker, and engine on/off switch.

TogoPower Portable Lightweight Generator

Summary

Fuel TypeGasoline
Surge Watts1000
Running Watts800
Run time (at 50% load)6 Hours
Weight35 Pounds
Starting MechanismRecoil
Warranty1 Year
CertificationsEPA and CARB

TogoPower Portable Lightweight Generator

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Super quiet operation

Cons

  • Need to mix oil and gas
  • Only one output
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5. Powermate PM2000 Portable Generator

Engine and Power Output: The machine is equipped with a 98cc OHV Generac engine. Generac is a trusted brand when it comes to manufacturing generator engines. The machine is capable of generating 2000 starting and 1400 running watts. You can run your major appliances during a power outage, run some appliances in RVs and also use this machine while camping.

Tank Capacity and Runtime: The generator comes with a 2.25-gallon fuel tank, and you can run this machine for a maximum of 14 hours at 25% load. The runtime at 50% load is also excellent – you can run it for 7 hours.

Dimensions, Weight, and Portability: the unit measures 19.7 x 15.6 x 17 inches and weighs 62 pounds. The weight to power ratio is a bit high. There are other lightweight models with equal or higher performance; however, they are more expensive. An ergonomic frame design helps with portability. 

Outlets: This unit has two 120V 20A 5-20R outlets. The outlets are enough to power a couple of large appliances, or you can use an extension cord to power more than two appliances at a time. The outlets are protected with rubber covers.

Safety and Noise Level: The exact noise level is not specified by Powermate for this unit. From experience and user feedback, we know that this generator feels like a vacuum cleaner is running 20-30 feet away. It offers a low oil shutdown and covered outlets. 

Other Features: This unit offers a fuel gauge, POWERDIAL recoil start mechanism with on/off/cold start operation setting in one knob, and a fuel shut-off option.

Powermate PM2000 Portable Generator

Summary

Fuel TypeGasoline
Surge Watts2000
Running Watts1400
Run time (at 50% load)7 Hours
Weight62 Pounds
Starting MechanismRecoil
Warranty1 Year
CertificationsEPA

Powermate PM2000 Portable Generator

Pros

  • Powerful Generac Engine
  • Ergonomic frame design
  • User-friendly machine

Cons

  • No CARB certification
  • Low warranty for commercial use
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ALTERNATIVES TO FUEL-POWERED GENERATORS: POWER STATIONS

6. Marbero 88Wh Portable Power Station

Power Output: This power bank has a maximum power of 120 and a nominal power of 80 watts. With this power, you can charge various devices such as tablets, phones, laptops, CPAP machines, mini fans, and drones.

Charging Modes, Battery Capacity, and Backup Time: You can charge this generator via a wall outlet, solar power (solar panel required). It takes almost 5 hours to charge the 88.8Wh from a wall outlet. The bridging time depends on the number of sockets and their wattage. 

Outlets: This generator offers multi-purpose outlets like two QC 3.0 18W USB ports, two USB ports (5V 2.4A), one USB C (PD2.0, 18W Max). The device also offers one DC port, one 2-pin power outlet, and one 3-pin power outlet. You won’t need any adapters or extensions to manage your devices when using this power bank.

Dimensions, Weight, and Portability: This power bank measures 6.49 x 3.14 x 4.6 inches and weighs only 2.2 pounds. The lightweight and compact size make it perfect for backpacking, camping, and personal use during power outages.   

Safety and Other Features: The battery management system in the power bank provides voltage regulation, temperature control, and advanced safety options. The cooling slots protect the device from overheating. It also offers overload protection and features a LED flashlight, SOS mode, and ergonomic carry handle. 

Summary

Surge Watts120
Running Watts80
Recharging Time5 Hours
Recharging ModesWall Outlet/Solar
Weight2.3 Pounds

Marbero 88Wh Portable Power Station

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Very economical
  • A large number of outlets

Cons

  • Slightly low power output
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7. AIMTOM 300-Watt Portable Power Station

Power Output: The generator is capable of producing 600 peak and 300 nominal watts. This power means that you can use any device with a maximum of 600 starting and 300 running watts. It is best suited for laptops, phones, mini-coolers, CPAP machines, blenders, shavers, or any other device that falls within the power range.

Charging Modes, Battery Capacity, and Backup Time: The 280 watt-hour, 25Ah 11.1V battery can be charged in four ways. You can charge it from a wall outlet, solar panel, carport, or generator. With DC /solar power, the battery takes 7-8 hours to charge, and with AC it takes 5-7 hours. The shelf life of a fully charged battery is 3-6 months. You will need to charge the battery every 3-6 months to keep it in optimal operating condition.

Outlets: This unit has four USB outlets (1 A, 2.1 A, and two quick charge outlets), three 12 V DC outlets, one 24 V DC outlet, and one 110 V AC outlet. The number of outlets on this unit is versatile, and you don’t need adapters or extensions to plug in your devices. 

Dimensions, Weight, and Portability: The unit weighs 7.3 pounds and measures 7.5 x 5.5 x 5.9 inches. It comes with a carrying handle for easy movement and portability – you can easily transport this device. These features make it perfect for camping, tailgating, and BBQ parties. 

Safety and Other Features: The built-in battery management system protects your devices from overvoltage, overheating, overcurrent, overcharging, and short circuits. It has 2 LED lights and a full LED display with battery charge, power, current usage, and battery percentage. The built-in MPPT controller enables fast and optimized solar charging.

Summary

Surge Watts600
Running Watts300
Recharging Time7-8 Hours
Recharging ModesDC/Solar/AC
Weight7.3 Pounds
Warranty1 Year

AIMTOM 300-Watt Portable Power Station

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Intensely Bright LED strips

Cons

  • It needs a separate charger
  • Battery drains quickly when slightly overloaded
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8. GOLABS 300W Portable Power Station

Power Output: The GOLABS power plant offers a peak power of 500 watts and a nominal power of 300 watts. This means that any device with a starting power of less than 500 and a running power of 300 watts can be powered by this power bank.

Charging Modes, Battery Capacity, and Backup Time: The power bank comes with a LifePO4 battery. The battery capacity is 299Wh. The advantage of a LifePO4 battery is that it lasts much longer than a lithium battery. You can expect a battery life of about ten years. You can charge the battery via three different modes (wall outlet, 60W PD fast charge, and generator).

Outlets: This device offers two AC outlets, one 60W PD outlet and one 30W PD outlet, two QC3.0 outlets, 2 DC outlets, and one cigarette outlet. The outlets are sufficient for powering various devices outdoors.      

Dimensions, Weight, and Portability: The device measures 12.2 x 10.98 x 8.23 inches and weighs 10.8 pounds. It’s a bit heavier than the models tested above. However, this extra weight is negligible enough that you won’t feel it during transport.    

Safety and Other Features: This power bank comes with standard safety features including sine wave output, overcharge protection, and overcharge protection. The control panel offers features such as a digital battery indicator, hours of use, and power drawn by the device in watts. There is also an on/off switch and an AC on/off switch. Included with the unit are an AC wall charger, carport cable, solar charging cable, and user manual.     

Summary

Surge Watts500
Running Watts300
Recharging Time6-10 Hours
Recharging ModesSolar/AC/Car Charge
Weight10.8 Pounds
Warranty1 Year

GOLABS 300W Portable Power Station

Pros

  • Impressive warranty
  • User-friendly control panel

Cons

  • Costly
  • Slightly heavy
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9. Buture 300W Portable Power Station

Power Output: Buture’s portable power plant produces 350 peak and 300 starting watts. Its peak power is lower than the power banks mentioned above, and it can power small devices such as laptops, phones, mini-coolers, and razors, etc.

Charging Modes, Battery Capacity, and Backup Time: This power bank has a 266 Wh battery that can be charged by solar panel, wall outlet, car charger, and generator. The battery has enough juice to charge smartphones more than 20 times, run a mini-fridge for more than 3 hours, and many other small appliances.   

Outlets: the outlets on this unit include two pure sine wave AC outlets for powering sensitive devices, two USB outlets, one DC outlet, one quick charge input, and one DC input for charging. The outlets are sufficient to power all devices when camping.   

Dimensions, Weight, and Portability: The unit measures 16.3 x 11.9 x 5.7 inches and weighs 7.33 pounds. It comes with an ergonomic carrying handle that makes it easy to transport the power bank. With its lightweight and compact design, it is an ideal power bank for packing bags.

Safety and Other Features: The clean power of this device ensures the safety of your sensitive devices. The control panel is equipped with a digital LCD screen that informs you about the charging and operating status of the device. You also get two buttons for AC and to turn the device on and off.  

Buture 300W Portable Power Station

Summary

Surge Watts350
Running Watts300
Recharging Time5-7 Hours
Recharging ModesSolar/AC/USB C
Weight7.33 Pounds

Buture 300W Portable Power Station

Pros

  • Quick charging USB port
  • Run/charge DC electronics while charging

Cons

  • Not a well-known brand
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10. GOLABS 160 Watts Portable Power Station

Power Output: This model can produce 200 peak and 160 nominal watts. The output is slightly less than the GOLABS model tested above. However, it is sufficient for individual use while camping and during power outages. You can manage your laptops, charge phones, and power medical devices like CPAP machines. 

Charging Modes, Battery Capacity, and Backup Time: This power bank is equipped with a LifePO4 battery, which is far superior to a traditional lithium battery. The battery capacity is 204Wh. You can charge the battery using a solar panel, AC outlet, generator, carport, and PD fast charging adapter. 

Outlets: This unit offers an AC outlet, a PD outlet, a QC 3.0 USB outlet, a traditional USB outlet, and 2 DC outlets.

Dimensions, Weight, and Portability: the dimensions are 7.5 x 6.7 x 4.7 inches, and the power bank weighs 6.51 pounds. The carrying handle makes it perfect to carry around. It is a small device, and you can easily store it in the trunk of your car or in your backpack. 

Safety and Other Features: The power bank comes with the standard safety features as described in the Golabs power bank above. The control panel also comes with the same features as described above. It is equipped with an MPPT controller which allows fast charging of the solar cells.

Summary

Surge Watts200
Running Watts160
Recharging Time4-7 Hours
Recharging ModesSolar/AC/Car Charge
Weight6.51 Pounds

GOLABS 160 Watts Portable Power Station

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Perfect for individual power backup

Cons

  • No flaws in this machine
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Buyer’s Guide

A buying guide will help in choosing the right generator according to your needs. There are some important features that you need to consider before buying a small generator. Our buying guide will take you through all these features so that you can make an informed buying decision.

How to choose the right generator for you?

First of all, you need to figure out the purpose for which you want to use a small generator. If you are looking for an alternative source of power while you are in the house, you should opt for a power bank. If your power needs are high and you need a multi-purpose device, then opt for a small gasoline generator. When choosing a gasoline generator, calculate your power needs to ensure you choose one with the right capacity.

What are your power requirements?

To calculate your electricity needs, make a list of all the appliances you plan to run with the generator. Then determine the starting and operating power of each appliance you want to run with the generator. If the maximum starting power needed to run your appliances is less than the maximum output of the generator, it will meet your needs perfectly.

Other factors to consider:

Portability. Make sure that the device can be moved easily. If you are going to use it on a construction site, you will need to move it frequently. Secondly, if you are using it at home, you will have to drag it outside every time the power goes off. Therefore, it is better to pay attention to such features. 

Noise Rating. Always remember to check the noise level of the portable gasoline power generator. Solar power banks do not produce much noise, and their fan noise is tolerable.

Outlets. Make sure the specified outlets on the generator can accommodate your equipment. Better avoid extensions when working with generators.

Safety. Make sure that the machine offers enough safety measures to give you a tension-less working experience and keep your appliances safe as well.

Budget. All the generators on our list are budget-friendly. However, you must still look for an affordable unit as you will also have to pay for the running cost and periodic maintenance too.

Safety Tips

  • Never operate a gasoline generator indoors and always keep a safe distance.
  • Avoid overloading your unit.
  • Make sure you run your generator for 30-45 minutes every two months.
  • Never move or refuel a hot device.
  • For portable power banks, never overcharge them and recharge the battery every 1-2 months.  
  • Keep them out of direct sunlight and store them at room temperature.
  • Follow all safety and operating guidelines stated in the operating instructions.

FAQs

How much does a small generator cost?

The cost of a small generator varies according to the output, features, and brand reputations.

Where can I buy a small generator?

You can buy small generators online or at physical stores. All the generators reviewed above are available at Amazon at the best prices.

Will a small generator work for my home?

No, a small generator cannot work as a whole house backup unit or powering big appliances. It will only power 4-5 essential during a power outage.

Final Word

Small generators are the way out for people on a tight budget with electricity problems. All the generators/power supplies tested above are the best in their respective product categories.