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!
5 Best Small Generators at the Best Price
Of the top ten small power generators on the market, we have selected 5 to review. Each of these devices is discussed in more detail below.
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.
|Amperage||30A @ 120V|
|Tank Capacity||3.7 gal.|
|Max. Runtime||9.3 hours @ 50% load|
|Dimensions||24″ x 22.5″ x 21.3″|
- 40% more starting capacity
- Splash lubrication enhances engine life
- Impressive runtime
- Not CARB-compliant
- Shipping issues
Generac 7677 3600-Watt Gasoline Portable Generator
Generac 7677 3600-Watt Gasoline Portable 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.
|Run time (at 50% load)||10 Hours|
|Noise Level||67 dBA|
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.
|Engine Type||4-stroke, OHV|
|Amperage||26.6A @ 120V|
|Tank Capacity||1.85 gal.|
|Max. Runtime||7 hours @ 50% load|
|Dimensions||19.8″ × 13.8″ × 18.9″|
- Clean energy
- Quiet operation
- Lightweight and compact
- Versatile control panel
- No issues found
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.
|Run time (at 50% load)||6 Hours|
|Certifications||EPA and CARB|
- 𝑾𝒊𝒅𝒆 𝑨𝒑𝒑𝒍𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏: The TogoPower GG1000 gas generator is a great back up outdoor generator for home use, job sites, camping, and more.
- 𝙀𝙢𝙚𝙧𝙜𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙮 𝙋𝙤𝙬𝙚𝙧: This gasoline powered generator has a starting power of 1000W and a running power of 800W. It can support small household appliances such as blenders, coffee pots, blow dryers, fans, lamps, and more. This generator features 𝟭𝟮𝟬𝙑 𝘼𝘾 𝙤𝙪𝙩𝙥𝙪𝙩 𝙫𝙤𝙡𝙩𝙖𝙜𝙚.
- 𝙃𝙞𝙜𝙝 𝘾𝙤𝙢𝙗𝙪𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙀𝙛𝙛𝙞𝙘𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙮: This generator uses 90# Petrol & Oil mixing (50:1) to provide you with power on the go. This unit can run 𝙨𝙞𝙭 𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙨 𝙖𝙩 𝟱𝟬% 𝙡𝙤𝙖𝙙 when the 1.1 gallon tank is full.
- 𝘼𝙞𝙧 𝘾𝙤𝙤𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙋𝙤𝙬𝙚𝙧 𝙎𝙮𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙢: The reliable 63cc two-stroke 𝙊𝙃𝙑 𝙖𝙞𝙧 𝙘𝙤𝙤𝙡𝙚𝙙 generator can provide plenty of power to handle all kinds of appliances. Portable and Easy To Use: Weighing only 35 lbs, this generator is easy to use and move around. Therefore, you and your family don't have to worry about power consumption outdoors.
- 𝑷𝑶𝑹𝑻𝑨𝑩𝑳𝑬 𝑨𝑵𝑫 𝑬𝑨𝑺𝒀 𝑻𝑶 𝑼𝑺𝑬: Lightweight and mini outdoor generator is easy to move and 𝙥𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙘𝙖𝙧𝙧𝙮 𝙤𝙪𝙩𝙙𝙤𝙤𝙧𝙨 even without the wheel kit. Your satisfaction is our priority and we 𝙨𝙪𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙧𝙩 𝙧𝙚𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙣 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙚𝙭𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙚 without reason. In addition, we provide a one-year after-sales warranty service.
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.
|Run time (at 50% load)||7 Hours|
- Powerdial Recoil Start: Conveniently integrated Off/Run/Cold Start settings into one easy-to-use dial, providing quick and hassle-free operation
- Large Capacity Steel Fuel Tank: Durable 2.25-gallon tank offers an impressive runtime of up to 14 hours at 25% load, ensuring extended power availability
- Generac 98cc OHV Engine: Powered by a robust Generac engine, this generator delivers consistent and reliable power for a variety of applications
- Ergonomic Frame for Easy Portability: The generator features an ergonomic frame design that allows for effortless transportation and maneuverability, making it ideal for camping trips or on-the-go power needs
- Fuel Gauge and Covered Outlets: Monitor fuel levels at a glance with the convenient fuel gauge, and enjoy the added protection of covered outlets that keep debris and dust out, ensuring reliable connections
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.
- 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.
Check Out More Of Our Generator Reviews
Advantages of Small Generators
Buying Guide: Top Rated Portable Generators of 2021
The cost of a small generator varies according to the output, features, and brand reputations.
You can buy small generators online or at physical stores. All the generators reviewed above are available at Amazon at the best prices.
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.
Small generators are the way out for people on a tight budget with electricity problems. All the generators/power supplies above are the best in their respective product categories.