Generators

New to Backup Power? These Are The Top Rated Generator Brands for Beginners

Power outages can happen anytime and anywhere. A generator helps keep your life on track during an outage. It can keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer, your phone and laptop charged as well as TVs, security cameras, and other essentials running.

Generators were once considered a luxury, but they are now becoming a must-have item for every household. Weather-related outages have increased by 70% in the last two decades. Moreover, growing trends of working from home in the last couple of years have forced people to buy a generator for running their essential appliances.

The search for a new generator often begins with selecting the best generator brand. A top-rated generator brand will provide top-of-the-range generators for your home, RV, and job site. No matter what your need, it is better to select a reputable brand. These brands offer versatile product lines with advanced features, excellent customer service, and affordable prices.

You would need to do a lot of research to select the best generator from a top brand. You should begin by making a list of all the brands, checking customer reviews, asking for references, and searching the generator’s reputation online. Once you have shortlisted a few brands, you would need to check their top models and evaluate their specs. You would then match these specs to your requirements. All this can get pretty confusing and time-consuming. Unfortunately, no one has time for all of this in their busy day-to-day lives. As a result, people often end up with the wrong machine when they buy a generator without prior knowledge about the brand.

We have created this guide about the top-rated generator brands for beginners to save you from all this hassle and help you make the right purchase decision. We picked the top 8 generator brands in North America and did considerable research on them. In addition, we interviewed homeowners using these brands, checked 1000s of online reviews, and evaluated every feature. We did all this, so you don’t have to. Our guide will help you choose the best generator from amongst the most reputable brands available.

These Are The 8 Top-Rated Generator Brands Available On The Market Today

This article will review the 8 top-rated generator brands for beginners; we have also included 1-2 machines from each brand and highlighted the pros and cons of each machine.

Before purchasing your next portable generator, please remember that most conventional portable generators have a high THD value ranging from 12-23%. This is bad for sensitive appliances and can cause premature damage. On the other hand, inverter generators have a low THD value, usually below 5%. This is safe for sensitive appliances.

Moreover, it is best to use a flexible oil funnel with portable generators to avoid spilling during refilling. Finally, it is a good idea to buy a generator with a recoil starting mechanism if you live in a cold area or if the temperature drops below freezing point in winters. Generators with only an electric start option don’t start quickly in cold weather.   

We will discuss the following brands with you today.

1. Honda

Honda is a common household name globally. Many neighborhoods are full of well-known Honda-related appliances, from cars, boats, and motorbikes to generators and power tools.  Honda manufactures quality products from which you can expect high performance and reliability. 

Honda generators are known for their reliability and quieter operation. In addition, the generators are known for their excellent design, consistency, and high quality. Honda generators don’t have many moving parts, which makes them silent machines.

The only issue with Honda is its high selling price. Its generators are more expensive than other brands. The reasons behind the price hike are outstanding performance, silent operation, and ease of use. Moreover, Honda’s customer service is way better than other top brands.

Honda 662220 EU2200i 2200 Watt Portable Inverter Generator

Top of the Honda range is the EU2200ITAG. It is known for ease of use, silent operation with sound level matching a coffee maker at its loudest. Honda’s 662220 EU2200i 2200-watts portable inverter generator is a sought-after machine. Its noise rating is 48-57 dB (A) which is one of the quietest in the market. There is hardly any other generator in the market which operates below 50 dB (A). Such a low sound rating makes the generator ideal for camping, RV, tailgates, and boats.

We agree that its power output is not ideal for a home, but it is not meant to power your entire home. You can select bigger models from Honda, such as EM5000S or EB5000. They have enough power to run your essentials during an outage. EU2200i is best for outdoor use or running 3-4 appliances during an outage. The starting wattage is 2200 watts, and the running wattage is 1800 watts.

Honda generators come with excellent runtimes. EU2200i can run from 4.0 to 10 hours on a full tank, depending on the load applied. Its auto-throttle mode adjusts the engine’s RPM according to the load on the machine. It provides fuel-saving and keeps your machine cool.

Honda’s EU2200i delivers 10% more power compared to the outgoing model at the same price. The engine in the machine is Honda GXR120, which never underpowers your appliances. In addition, Honda engines are regarded as the most reliable and durable in the generator industry. The engine features a fuel shut-off valve that runs the machine with fuel supply off and helps prevent stale fuel issues as well as carburetor problems.  

Honda’s product line may be limited, but all its machines are high-quality and reliable. They are lightweight compared to other brands and offer maximum portability. You can find a conventional generator up to 5000 watts starting power and inverters with 3000 watts starting power.  

Customers are satisfied with EU2200i. However, the generator doesn’t have too many reviews because of its high price. Price aside, people, who buy EU2200i, term it as a machine they can depend on during power outages and for outdoor use. 

Honda’s EU2200iTAG model offers maximum safety features. It comes with carbon monoxide sensors that shut off the generator when CO levels go beyond the safe limit. In addition, you can control the machine on your smartphone. The app includes stopping the machine and monitoring features.                   

Due to EU2200i’s operational ease, reliability, and silent operation, people are willing to spend more on this generator. Overall, it is an excellent generator and is recommended for people who don’t have budget constraints and need a small inverter for outdoor power.

Honda EU2200ITAG

SUMMARY

Honda EU2200iTAG

Pros

  • Advanced technology
  • Quietest of the lot
  • Reliable engine
  • Easy to service

Cons

  • Expensive than other generators
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2. Briggs and Stratton

Briggs and Stratton are one of the leading manufacturers of small gasoline engines. The company has a reputation for producing reliable and powerful engines for a broad range of equipment. Its engines are so famous and dependable that many small generator brands buy engines from them to make their generators.   

The brand began in 1908 and has a rich history of serving the American people for more than a century. Briggs and Stratton stepped into the generator industry in the year 2000 after it purchased Generac portable product systems. Since then, it has supplied us with the best portable generators for home and outdoor use. 

Briggs & Stratton P2400 PowerSmart Series Inverter Generator

Briggs and Stratton are best known for their energy-efficient compact PowerSmart Series. The P2400 is an example of a quiet, portable, and safe generator. The generator comes with user-friendly controls and a convenient monitoring system similar to Champion generators. In addition, the machine features LED lights for low oil and overload alerts. These features extend the life of your machine and offer convenience to the user. It comes with CO guard technology that automatically shuts down the machine when CO levels increase beyond the maximum limit. Its low THD makes the machine safe for sensitive appliances like laptops, phones, TVs, and gaming systems.

It is powered by a 79cc Briggs and Stratton engine and produces 2400 starting and 1800 running watts. You can also use the generator to run a few small tools at a worksite. The outlets consist of one USB port and two 125V, 20A outlets. The inverter is parallel ready. Please note that the parallel connector kit is sold separately.

The inverter weighs only 56.5 pounds and comes with a convenient carry handle. It is packed in a noise-reducing enclosure to give you a silent operation. The noise level is 62 decibels. It is louder than Honda but still lower than many other brands. The sound-reducing shell which surrounds the engine is the reason behind the generator’s low noise emissions. 

The fuel tank in the P2400 is 1 gallon and can run up to 4 hours at 50% load. This means that a total running load of 900 watts will consume 1 gallon of gasoline in 4 hours. The machine also features automatic voltage regulation and a spark arrestor. It comes with a 3-year consumer and 1-year commercial warranty.  

User review analysis reveals that people like that they can depend on this generator to navigate power outages. Its CO2 guard feature is admired by people who use a generator for pleasure purposes as it keeps the environment clean. However, people miss the electric start feature and express reservations about its low runtime. The overall rating for this generator is 4.4/5, with 85% of the buyers rating the inverter above four stars.

It is the best generator for camping, tailgating, DIY power tools, and sensitive appliances.              

Briggs and Stratton P2400

SUMMARY

Briggs and Stratton P2400

Pros

  • Impressive design
  • Sturdy frame and well-built
  • Reliable
  • Local service support

Cons

  • Low runtime
  • No CARB compliance
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3. WEN

WEN has revamped the American generator industry with its reliable and affordable machines. If you ask us what three words define WEN, we will proudly say “cheap reliable power.” WEN has been doing business since 1951 and has sold more than 50 million units to date, and is still going strong.

The WEN brand is best for people on a tight budget. Its machines offer excellent runtime, user-friendly operation, maximum return on investment, and portability. In addition, WEN caters to the needs of various users. You can find a machine for home use, worksites, RVs, outdoor use, and pleasure purposes. Above all, it offers one of the best warranties in the market.

WEN 56235i Super Quiet 2350-Watt Portable Inverter Generator

One reason many people don’t buy an inverter generator is the high price. You will be fortunate to find a quality inverter generator for under $500. However, WEN is here to offer you an affordable solution. Its 56235i super quiet 2350-watt portable inverter generator is an ideal balance between features and price.

To begin with, it is a CARB-certified machine with 2350 starting and 1900 running watts. It comes with a 79cc OHV engine with an automatic low fuel shut-off and recoil starting mechanism. The tank capacity on this model is 1 gallon, and it can run up to 5.25 hours at 50% load. The runtime is much better than Honda and Briggs and Stratton.

The outlet consists of one 12V DC outlet, two USB outlets, and one 120V 15A AC outlet. Other features include auto-throttle adjustment, parallel connectivity, and low oil, overload, and output lights. In addition, the machine operates at 51 dB (A).  You will get a 2-year warranty on the machine.

Out of the 2,627 reviews, more than 93% are above 4 stars. It is ample testimony that people are satisfied with the machine and like its efficiency during power outages. The positive reviews mention long runtime, user-friendly operation, and high return on investment and portability. In addition, the machine weighs only 39 pounds.

The bad reviews highlight poor customer service and the machine running at a lower wattage than what the company promised.

If we compare WEN 56235i with Westinghouse 2200 inverter generator, WEN is quieter, light, and compact, offers a fuel gauge, and is more affordable. On the other hand, Westinghouse has higher runtime, better fuel average, and higher running and starting watts.

WEN 56235i Inverter generator

SUMMARY

WEN 56235i Inverter generator

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Well-built
  • Detailed control panel

Cons

  • Poor customer service
  • It may get loud at times
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4. Westinghouse

Westinghouse is one of the oldest US companies. It started operations in 1865 and has helped Americans in every phase of their life. Its achievements are numerous, and the company has won many awards for its services.

Westinghouse generators are known for the latest technology, user-friendly controls, fuel efficiency, and maximum value of money. In addition, it is well-known for having a wide variety of generators for every purpose. If you need an inverter, conventional generator, or a dual fuel generator, Westinghouse has got you covered. Its products range from 1200-watts inverters to beasts that can produce 15,000 peak watts. WOW.

You can use Westinghouse machines to power your whole house, worksites, and heavy-duty tools or use them as a supplementary generator for your RVs, tailgates, or campsites.

  1. Westinghouse iGen2200 Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator

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2. Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator

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Westinghouse’s two best-performing machines are Westinghouse iGen2200 inverter generator and the Westinghouse WGen7500 portable generator. We will discuss both these machines with you.

iGen 2200 is the best machine for sensitive appliances. It comes with below 3% THD so that you can run your laptop, TV, and RV appliances without any worries. The inverter is built around an 80cc Westinghouse engine which delivers 2200 peak watts 1800 rated watts. The outlets consist of two 120V outlets and two USB outlets.

It has a slightly bigger tank than the other 2200-watt inverters. The 1.2-gallon fuel tank delivers 6 hours runtime at 50% load. The machine is parallel capable and runs at 52 dB (A). The control panel features low oil, overload, and output indicator lights, an efficiency mode switch, parallel ports, and a grounding port.

Westinghouse iGen 2200 has 88% 4-5 star ratings from 1609 reviews. However, 8% of buyers also gave it a 1-star rating. Overall it is a great buy. Users commend the machine for being portable, super quiet, ease of use, and great value of money. The negative reviews mention poor shipping, defective units coupled with poor purchase support. Poor customer service in such cases has to lead to frustration and anger amongst buyers.

Westinghouse’s Wgen 7500 is an ideal balance between portability and power. If you are looking for a powerful and versatile generator for your home, RV, and worksite, Wgen 7500 is the best deal. It also comes in a dual-fuel variant which eliminates dependability on a single fuel source. Dual fuel generators are best for handling prolonged power outages caused by natural emergencies. In addition, you can use stored propane when gasoline stocks end. Propane has unlimited shelf life compared to gasoline.

Wgen 7500 is powered by a 420cc Westinghouse engine which delivers a 9500 peak and 7500 running watts. The 6.6-gallon tank provides a runtime of 11 hours with gasoline. Its dual-fuel variant promises up to 9 hours runtime with a 20-pound tank.

The outlets consist of two 120V AC 20A, one 120/240V AC 30A outlet, and a USB outlet. Unfortunately, the machine doesn’t have a 50A outlet for heavy machines and running big RVs.  However, the outlets are twist-lock and rubber protected.

It is a highly user-friendly machine that offers a remote start and an electric and recoil starting mechanism. You can keep an eye on running hours through the data center on the machine.

It is a plug-and-play machine as it comes with everything you need to get started. The purchase includes oil, oil funnel, tool kit, user’s manual, and a wheel kit.  

People who bought the machine love how it can handle big appliances without any fluctuations or bogging. People like the inclusion of recoil start with remote and electric start. They mention that it is a lifesaver during cold weather. Some people say that the generator is slightly oversized for their liking and use, but it is good to have a large generator that you can adjust to suit various appliances in a time of need.

The typical pain points are broken wheels, oil leaks, and bad parts. Moreover, poor customer service and slow shipping of defective parts have caused buyers frustration. The generator has an overall rating of 4.5/5, with 90% of the buyers rating the machine 4-5 stars. However, 6% of the buyers give 1-star.

Both machines come with a 3-year warranty for residential and a 1-year warranty for commercial purposes. In addition, every Westinghouse generator is EPA and CARB certified.       

Westinghouse generators

SUMMARY

Westinghouse iGen 2200 and WGen7500

Pros

  • Technologically advanced machines
  • Lightweight and compact generators
  • User-friendly control panels

Cons

  • Poor customer service
  • Costly than other brands

5. Duromax

DuroMax is one of the top-rated portable generator brands in the US. It was founded in 2003 but has become the market leader in the dual-fuel generator industry. DuroMax is known for its reliability and durability. Many buyers still have a 10-year old DuroMax model working in mint condition.

Most DuroMax generators come with MX2 technology that allows the user to run the machine at 120V or 240V to deal with heavy-duty appliances. DuroMax and Champion generators are often compared due to similar features and price ranges. However, DuroMax is more famous with RV users since it comes with 30-watt and 50-watt sockets. Some DuroMax machines have a 50A outlet as well, which is perfect for big RVs and worksites.

All DuroMax machines are EPA and CARB certified and come with a 3-year residential and 1-year commercial warranty.   

DuroMax XP5250EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator

DuroMax has many famous models to its credit. However, the XP5250EH dual-fuel portable generator is best for smaller homes, RVs, food trucks, and worksites. Dual-fuel machines help reduce dependency on one fuel type and make your machine more versatile.

The unit is powered by a 224cc OHV DuroMax engine and delivers 5250 starting and 4200 running watts on gasoline. The engine is a beast and provides flawless power keeping your appliances and machines running without any fluctuations. The peak watts on propane are 5000, and rated watts are 4000. You can use the machine to run refrigerators, water heaters, small AC in RV, and many other appliances falling in its output range.    

The outlets consist of two 120V household outlets and one 120V 30A RV outlet. The machine is RV-ready, and you can just plug your RV in it. The 4-gallon gas tank provides 8 hours runtime at 50% load, and propane runtime is 7 hours on a 20-pound tank.

The machine features a low-oil auto-shutoff, a user-friendly control panel, and a multi-meter for voltage, hertz, and running hours. It also offers surge arrest and overload protection.

The unit is noisy. It operates at 72 dB (A) at a distance of 23 feet. Your neighbors are not going to like it.

User review analysis tells us that more than 89% of buyers are satisfied with the machine and rate it with 4-5 stars. The overall rating is 4.5/5.  However, out of 5118 reviews, 6% rate the machine with 1-star as well. People praise this generator for its durability, as it will last for many years. Many users living in hurricane-affected areas like the machine for its reliability. Many reviews mention that it is easy to use and maintain the machine, provided you change the oil regularly. However, some people have had a terrible experience with this generator and have received a generator with defective parts. Most of these buyers had to solve the problem themselves as the manufacturer was of little or no help.

Duromax XP5250EH dual-fuel

SUMMARY

Duromax XP5250EH

Pros

  • Impressive warranty
  • Electric start
  • Decent runtime
  • All machines come with various accessories

Cons

  • Gasoline spills while refueling
  • Noisy
  • Difficult to change the oil
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6. Champion

Although Champion launched its generator line in 2003, it was quickly recognized as one of the leading generator brands thanks to its innovations in dual-fuel generators and relatively low prices.

From a humble beginning in California, Champion now operates from 3 plants across the US and Canada. Champion has sold more than 2 million generators in North America because of its innovative features and affordable prices.

The most notable feature of a Champion generator is Intelli-gauge. It is an interactive system that allows users to monitor power output and track maintenance hours. As a result, you no longer need to keep written records of your generator’s running hours.

Champion offers inverter generators, conventional generators (single/dual-fuel), and standby generators. Its portable and conventional generators are more popular than standby generators.

  1. Champion Power Equipment 200987 4500-Watt RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator

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2. Champion Power Equipment 100891 9375/7500-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator

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The most famous Champion inverter generator is a 200987 4500-watt RV-ready generator. The standout features of this machine are a remote start, excellent portability, and maximum power. It is one of the most powerful inverters currently available in the market.

The machine draws its power from a 212cc Champion engine and delivers 4500 starting and 3500 running watts. You can run a whole lot of appliances on this inverter. The THD is low, which makes the machine safe for your appliances. You can start the engine with recoil, electric, and remote start.

The outlets consist of one 12V DC outlet, one 120V 30A, and one 120V 20A duplex outlet. The unit misses out on a USB outlet which could have been an excellent feature for plug-and-play appliances. In addition, the outlets are not GFCI protected but are rubber covered.

The 2.3-gallon tank runs for 7 hours at a 50% load. The runtime is impressive and better than other inverters on our list. Compared to the Westinghouse inverter above, Champion’s inverter has dual power, but it still operates at a lower noise level (61 decibels.) In addition, its oil change is toolless, which makes it easy to maintain the unit.

Of the 2196 reviews, 91% rate the machine with 4-5 stars while 5% give it 1 star. Many buyers recommend the machine to everyone looking for a reliable inverter generator with maximum power at an affordable rate. In addition, the unit is praised for being light and highly portable due to its design.

The major pain points are poor tech support and customer service. Some reviews mention that they were shipped a machine with defective parts. The problem was further aggravated due to the company’s poor after-sales support. However, other reviews state they received excellent customer service before and after their purchase; it seems customer service may be a little ‘hit and miss’ at times. 

Champion’s second most famous model is 100891. It is a dual fuel machine that uses a 439cc engine to deliver 9375 peak watts and 7500 rated watts on gasoline. The power output on propane is 8400 starting watts and 6750 running watts. As a result, you’ll never feel limited while using the machine.

The outlets consist of two GFCI 120V 20A duplex outlets, one 120/240 30A locking outlet, and one 120V 30A locking outlet. In addition, the machine features intelligauge, volt guard, and cold start technology.

It has a 7.7-gallon tank that can provide a runtime of 10 hours at 50% load. The runtime on propane is 5.5 hours. You can start the machine with electric and recoil starters.

The machine is best for RVs, medium-sized homes, and job sites. In addition, you can use it to run multiple appliances simultaneously as it delivers even more power than DuroMax.

Out of the 4616 reviews, 91% are above 4 stars, and 4% of people rate the machine with 1 star. The positive reviews mention features such as dual fuel, a sturdy wheel kit, quiet running noise, and excellent value for money.

The negative reviews highlight that unit dies after 300 running hours, poor-quality parts, and poor Champion customer service. 

All Champion generators come with a 3-year warranty and are CARB and EPA compliant.

Champion Power Equipment

SUMMARY

Champion 200987 and 100891

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Excellent runtime
  • Massive power

Cons

  • Poor customer service

7. Generac

Generac is best known for quality standby generators. Many homeowners prefer buying a Generac standby generator due to its advanced features and excellent backup times. If you compare Generac’s machines with other top brands, you’ll find out that they offer the best value on a watt-per-dollar basis.

Generac was founded in 1959, and it has since then revolutionized the standby generator market. Generac not only offers standby generators; its inverter and conventional generators are also highly valued by customers. Generac’s machines are built around the latest innovations and technological advancements.

Generac’s guardian series has created quite a buzz for homeowners. Its standby generators start from 8,000 watts and go up to 25,000 watts output.

Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator

Generac 70432 home standby generator is ideal for large homes, businesses, and other premises which can’t afford power outages.

The machine runs on natural gas and propane. It delivers a staggering 22,000 watts of power on natural gas and 19,500 watts on propane. So power outages will no longer be a problem.

The noise level is 57-67 dB (A), and a 5-year warranty covers the machine. It is also CETL and CUL certified.

The generator is protected by RhinoCoat aluminum casing, providing you with years of peaceful alternate power. It comes with a 200amp automatic transfer switch. So the downtime will only be 2 seconds when the power goes out.

You can connect the machine with your smartphone and receive real-time notifications about running times and maintenance updates. In addition, the multilingual LCD allows you to monitor battery status and maintenance intervals to ensure that your generator always works and remains in mint condition.

Standby generators are costly. A handful of people buy these machines. Out of the 95 reviews, 92% are above 4 stars, while 5% are 1-star. A standby generator is suited to those who don’t have budget constraints and don’t want to go out and set up a portable generator for running essentials. Your life will become a lot more comfortable with a standby generator. Moreover, a standby generator also increases the worth of your property.

Generac 70432 home standby generator

SUMMARY

Generac 70432

Pros

  • Advanced technology
  • Vast product line
  • Excellent customer service

Cons

  • No battery in most of the models
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8. Pulsar

Pulsar is the last generator brand on our list of top-rated brands in 2021. Pulsar generators are known for affordability and ease of use. Its control panel has basic features along with a sturdy design and maximum portability.

One of the best things about Pulsar generators is that you can easily find replacement parts, and most of the machines are EPA and CARB compliant. In addition, some machines come with dual-fuel technology. You can install a dual fuel kit on machines that don’t have this versatility. However, you will need to alter your generator, and its success is not guaranteed.

Pulsar G2319N 2,300W Portable Gas-Powered Inverter Generator

Pulsar’s G2319N is the brand’s most famous machine. It can deliver 2300 peak and 1800 rated watts. You can run quite a few appliances on it if you know how to do load management.

The 1.18-gallon fuel tank delivers 4.8 hours runtime. The runtime is in line with leading brands such as Honda and Briggs and Stratton. The machine is easy to carry around as it weighs only 47 pounds. The carry handle is ergonomic, and you will find it easy to lift and move the machine around.

The control panel features low fuel, overload and output LED lights, an economy mode button, an on/off the dial, one 12V DC outlet, a USB outlet, and two 120V AC outlets. In addition, the machine is parallel-ready and features an auto-throttle mode.

The engine produces safe electricity with THD below 5%. So you can run your sensitive appliances without any worries. The inverter is best for outdoor use, tailgates, campsites, and extra power for RVs.

Its best-selling point is the low price. You won’t find such a high-quality inverter under $400. Out of 756 reviews, 88% are above 4 stars, and 8% are 1-star. People who like the machine praise its super-quiet operation, low THD, and USB outlet. It is a complete package at a low price.   

The negative reviews mention poor customer service and a break-in period after running the machine for 3-4 hours.

SUMMARY

Pulsar G2319N

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight machines

Cons

  • Poor customer service
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FAQs

What is the best brand of portable generator?

Honda is the best inverter generator brand, but it is costly. WEN offers the most affordable inverter Generators. DuroMax and Champion make the best dual fuel portable generators, Westinghouse sells the best gasoline generators, and Generac manufactures standby generators.

What kind of engines does a portable generator use?

A portable generator uses a 4-stroke engine. All the leading brands discussed above manufacture their own engines.

What are the best generator brands for outdoor use?

Briggs and Stratton, Honda, and Pulsar make the best generators for outdoor use?

Which is the best brand for RVs?

Champion and DuroMax are the best brands for RVs.

Which generators are made in the USA?

DuroMax, Generac, WEN and Honda, all have manufacturing facilities in the USA.

Final Word

So now you know everything about the best generator brands for beginners, getting your first machine will be easy. We recommend you give this decision time and consideration when seeking to buy the best machine from reputable brands.  

All the best with your new generator!