Best Portable Generators of 2024

Best Portable Generators of 2024

Top-Rated & Best-Selling Portable Generators

Dale, the Power Equipment Expert
By 
Power Equipment Expert

Portable power opens a world of possibilities, but it can take time to choose the right generator. What you use for camping isn’t going to be what you use for emergency home backup and vice versa.

After immersing myself in the generator industry for decades, I’m here to walk you through the best portable generators on the market this year. Take a moment to read through the various categories below and find my picks and criteria for the best in each. Be sure to click on the generators to view the product page filled with more features, specs, reviews, and other great resources.

 

The Best Portable Generators 

Best Portable Generator Best Emergency Generator Best Quiet Generator Best Dual Fuel Portable Generator Best Portable Generator for Camping Best Inverter Generator Best Portable Battery Generator

Generac GP8000E

Generac GP8000E  

Westinghouse WGEN12000DF

Westinghouse WGEN12000DF

Champion 100719

Champion 100719

Champion 100297

Champion 100297

Honda EU2200i

Honda EU2200i 

Honda EU7000iS

Honda EU7000is 

EcoFlow DELTA 1300

EcoFlow DELTA 1300


 

How We Picked the Best Portable Generators 

When recommending portable generators, we take five features into account. 

 

Power

This almost goes without saying. Since the whole point of generators is to provide backup power, we consider each generator’s power potential, measured in watts. We look at both surge wattage, which is the extra temporary wattage a generator can produce to start electric motors, and running wattage, which is how much wattage the generator can produce long term. We also consider frequency and whether the generator can safely power sensitive electronics like laptops and cell phone chargers. 


It’s important to clarify, however, that power is relative to one’s needs. If you only need to power a few items around your house, you don’t need the most powerful generator, as that would be a waste of energy and money. That’s why we always consider power in the context of your generator application.

 

Useability

The best portable generators need to be easy to move and operate, whether you or your elderly grandparents are using them. They can’t be so heavy or awkward that you can’t move them. If they are heavy, then there should be wheels, an ergonomic handlebar, or even a lifting eye. After all, portable generators require manual setup. Features like push-button start, a large fuel tank, surge protection, and simple controls can all make the difference between a useable portable generator and an electrical headache. 

 

Noise

Increasing noise regulations around the country are making “loudness” an important factor to consider when evaluating a portable generator. RV parks, municipalities, and homeowner associations can all have their own decibel regulations. On a personal level, you probably want a quiet generator you can run all night without waking up the neighbors. Although not all manufacturers list their decibel ratings, we try to take noise level into account when recommending generators. 

 

Versatility

Versatility answers the question, “How adaptable is this generator to different scenarios?” We consider fuel type, specifically whether the generator has dual- or tri-fuel capability, which means it can switch between gasoline, propane, and even natural gas with a conversion kit.

 

Switching to propane or natural gas can be vital during storms or hurricanes when gasoline is in short supply. We also consider the generator receptacle outlets, which determine what and how much you can plug into the unit. You want a mix of standard household outlets, where you can plug in things like a microwave, and heavier-duty locking outlets that can handle 240 volts. For example, having a 50A 120/240V outlet lets you plug the generator into a manual transfer switch to power your electric panel.

 

Overall Value

We prioritize performance over price, so you won’t necessarily find the cheapest generators on our list. That's why, instead of evaluating a generator on price alone, we look at what you're getting for the price to arrive at an overall value rating. 

 


 

Best Portable Generator: Generac GP8000E 

Generac GP8000E

If you need a workhorse of a generator, this is it. The GP8000E gives you 10,000 starting watts of power, simple setup and operation, and the Generac reputation all in one portable unit. You can back up all critical appliances—fridge, furnace, sump pump, and more—during a power outage, especially if you connect it to a manual transfer switch. 


A foldable handlebar and never-flat wheels make it very manageable for anyone to get the GP8000E into position or storage. Plus, with its electric start button, everyone, from your 15-year-old to grandma, can easily start and use this machine—no pesky pull cord to wrestle with. Once it’s running, you can count on it to stay running for up to 11 hours on a 50% load. It comes with two NEMA 5-20R – GFCI plugs for most of your basic appliances and one NEPA L14-30R plug for use with a manual transfer switch or convenience cord. 


Overall, the Generac GP8000E gets my vote for the best all-around portable generator for its long-lasting performance, robust yet user-friendly design, and applicability to a range of situations, including emergency home backup. All at a great value. 

 

Spec Details Rating
Power 8,000 running watts; 10,000 starting watts; Powers critical appliances; Generac 4-stroke engine 5 Stars
Useability Push-button electric start; Runs up to 11 hours at 50% load; Built-in hour meter; Fold-down handle; Never-flat wheels 5 Stars
Noise 73-75 decibels, or the sound of road traffic 4 Stars
Versatility 2 NEMA 5-20R-GFCI outlets; 1 NEMA L14-30R outlet useable with manual transfer switch or convenience cord 5 Stars
Overall Value Relatively inexpensive for the power and versatility; Overall value makes up for the noisiness. 5 Stars

 

Who It's For:

  • Homeowners looking for basic home emergency backup
  • Those who plan on using a portable generator often
  • Budget-conscious users

 

Who It's Not For:

  • Those who need a quiet generator
  • Those looking to back up sensitive electronics

 

Shop Now

 


 

Best Emergency Generator (Portable): Westinghouse WGEN12000DFWestinghouse WGEN12000DF

 

When severe storms strike, you’ll feel ready with the Westinghouse WGEN12000DF dual-fuel portable generator at your side. Many times, emergency situations result in a run on gas stations and gasoline shortages. With a dual-fuel generator like this, if you can’t get gas, you can switch to propane or vice versa to stay powered.


Once it’s fueled, this Westinghouse puts out up to 15,000 starting watts and 12,000 running watts—more than enough to power your home essentials and then some. In fact, unlike many open-frame portable generators, this one produces cleaner power with less distortion, making it safe for electronics like phones and computers. Smart idle control reduces engine revolutions when they’re not needed, cutting fuel consumption and noise. 


I found using the WGEN12000DF to be a breeze. It comes with wireless control electric start, so you don’t have to run outside to turn it on or off. Move it easily by using its U-shaped fold-down handle and 12-inch wheels. Five different plug types, ranging from a large 50-Amp 120/240V receptacle to little USB charging ports, let you plug in virtually anything. This is the ultimate portable unit for home emergency backup that’ll give you peace of mind no matter what’s happening out there.

 

Specs Details Rating
Power GAS: 12,000 running watts, 15,000 starting watts; LP: 10,800 running watts, 13,300 starting watts; 713cc Westinghouse V-twin 4-stroke engine  5 Stars
Useability Provides clean power for sensitive electronics; Runs up to 11 hours at 50% load; Push-button electric start; Includes wireless remote; Regulates RPMs when idle to save fuel; U-shape fold-down handle; Lifting bracket 5 Stars
Noise 73-75 decibels, or the sound of road traffic; Reduces noise when idle 4 Stars
Versatility Dual-fuel capability for gas & propane; 2 NEMA 5-20R wall outlets; 1NEMA L5-30R; 1 NEMA L14-30R; 1 NEMA 14-50R; 2 USB outlets
5 Stars
Overall Value Significant features and capabilities packed into an affordable unit 5 Stars

 

Who It's For:

  • Homeowners with frequent power outages who need emergency home backup
  • Users needing to power sensitive electronics during an outage

 

Who It's Not For:

  • Those who need a quiet generator
  • Those seeking a lightweight generator

 

Shop Now

 


 

Best Quiet Generator: Champion 100719Champion 100719

Over the past 10 years, I’ve seen a move toward quieter generator engines, and for good reason. No one wants to hear the racket of combusting fuel at night, whether at home or out camping. At only 61 decibels, the Champion 100719 is the portable generator you should pick if you value quiet performance above all else.


Although you won’t get as much power from this smaller unit as you would from its larger cousins, the 7,000 running watts you do get will suffice for powering the bare necessities at home or in an RV. Plus, it comes with several convenient usability and safety features, including electric start, low-oil protection, and CO Shield® Technology, which will turn the unit off if it detects carbon monoxide accumulation. It’s easy to move with never-flat wheels and a folding handle.


The Champion 100719 provides clean power that will safely handle electronics like phones and computers. It also offers a great economy mode that can improve runtime to 14 hours at 25% load. Three different kinds of receptacles include a twist-lock that allows for use with a manual transfer switch. This quiet, versatile unit is the perfect “Goldilocks” solution that offers just the right amount of power and performance at a fair price. 

 

Specs Details Rating
Power 7,000 running watts; 8,500 starting watts; Backs up basic home appliances & RVs; 420cc Champion 4-stroke engine  5 Stars
Useability Provides clean power for sensitive electronics; Runs up to 14 hours at 25% load; Push-button electric start; Regulates RPMs when idle to save fuel; Folding handle; Never-flat wheels; CO detection/shutdown technology 5 Stars
Noise 61 decibels, or the sound of normal human conversation 5 Stars
Versatility 2 NEMA 5-20R-GFCI outlets; 1 NEMA L14-30R outlet useable with manual transfer switch or convenience cord; 1 cigarette adaptor plug
5 Stars
Overall Value Compact unit offering clean, quiet power for the same price as much louder units. 5 Stars

 

Who It's For:

  • Homeowners looking for basic home emergency backup
  • Users needing to power sensitive electronics during an outage
  • RV owners
  • Users seeking a quiet generator

 

Who It's Not For:

  • Homeowners looking for significant home emergency backup power

 

Shop Now

 


 

Best Dual Fuel Portable Generator: Champion 100297Champion 100297

Run large power equipment on the job or home essentials during a power outage with the Champion 100297. Of all the dual-fuel generators I’ve seen, this one is the most reliable, with its 459cc Champion OHV 4-Stroke engine that provides up to 10,000 starting watts and 8 hours of run time on gasoline (up to 9,025 starting watts and 7 hours of run time on propane). 


As I always say, why make up your mind when you can choose dual fuel? In all seriousness, the ability to switch between gasoline and propane always gives you a “Plan B” in case there’s a shortage of one fuel type, which often happens during emergency situations. The Champion 100297 adds to this versatility with never-flat wheels and a U-shaped folding handle that allows for easy transportation and setup.


You also get a push-button electric start and three different types of plugs, including a twist-lock receptacle for connection to a manual transfer switch. It’s also CARB-compliant for those of you in California. Overall, this Champion dual-fuel generator is the best for those who like to keep their options open.

 

Specs Details Rating
Power GAS: 8,000 running watts, 10,000 starting watts; LP: 7,250 running watts, 9,025 starting watts; Backs up basic home appliances & RVs; 459cc Champion 4-stroke engine  5 Stars
Useability Simple fuel selector switch; Push-button electric start; U-shaped folding handle; Never-flat wheels; Low-oil shutoff sensor 5 Stars
Noise 73-75 decibels, or the sound of road traffic. 4 Stars
Versatility 2 NEMA 5-20R-GFCI outlets; 1 NEMA L5-30R outlet; 1 NEMA L14-30R twist-lock outlet useable with manual transfer switch or convenience cord
5 Stars
Overall Value Unmatched versatility for a relatively low price. 5 Stars

 

Who It's For:

  • Homeowners with frequent power outages who need emergency home backup
  • Fuel-flexible users

 

Who It's Not For:

  • Those who need a quiet generator
  • Those looking to back up sensitive electronics

 

Shop Now

 


 

Best Portable Generator for Camping: Honda EU2200iHonda EU2200i

Camping is a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of reality, but you don’t necessarily want to give up all of life’s conveniences. The Honda EU2200i portable generator gives you the power to fall back on when you’re out in the wilderness.


Its 2,200 starting watts is all you’ll really need when camping—enough to power some lights, a mini fridge, and other basic appliances. Its clean power means it’s also safe for powering electronics. The main reason I recommend this unit for camping, though, is due to its stunningly quiet performance (53-62 decibels) and lightweight (less than 50 pounds!) construction. It’s also equipped with Eco Throttle technology, a feature that optimizes engine speed and fuel consumption by only requiring the engine to run as fast as needed. Using this economy mode, you can run the generator for 7.5 hours on less than 1 gallon of fuel.


If you find yourself needing more power, you have the option of buying two EU2200i generators and running them together with a parallel cable. You can also buy a charging cord that offers the ability to charge 12-volt DC batteries. Other features I liked include wireless and Bluetooth controls, CO detection/shutoff, and low oil alert.

 

Specs Details Rating
Power 1,800 running watts; 2,200 starting watts; Backs up light appliances & gadgets; Honda GXR120 4-stroke engine  4 Stars
Useability Provides clean power for sensitive electronics; Runs up to 7.5 hours on 0.95 gallons of fuel with Eco Throttle; Weighs only 46.3 Ibs; CO detection/shutdown technology; WiFi & Bluetooth capability; Low-oil alert 5 Stars
Noise Only 53 to 62 decibels, making this among the quietest generators on the market 5 Stars
Versatility Easily transported for camping, tailgating, and other outdoor activities that require electricity; Can be paralleled with a second EU2200i for extra power.
5 Stars
Overall Value A great value for recreational use. Not for emergency backup. 5 Stars

 

Who It's For:

  • Campers
  • Tailgators
  • Users seeking a quiet generator

 

Who It's Not For:

  • Homeowners looking for basic home emergency backup

 

Shop Now

 


 

Best Inverter Generator: Honda EU7000isHonda EU7000iS

Inverter generators are portable generators designed for cleaner power, quiet performance, and higher efficiency. Of these, the Honda EU7000is is the most versatile. Providing 7,000 watts, you can use it for anything from camping to RVs, to even basic home backup during an emergency. No matter what you use it for, you’ll barely hear its 52-60 decibels of volume. Plus, its Eco Throttle system provides outstanding fuel efficiency—up to 18 hours of runtime at 25% load.


What’s special about the EU7000is versus other inverter generators is its multiple plug types. It has two NEMA 5-20R – GFCI receptacles for common appliances and a NEMA L5-30R and NEMA L14-30R for larger items, including connection to a manual transfer switch or convenience cord. These receptacles let you utilize this generator’s full potential.


Worth emphasizing is this generator’s compatibility with the "My Generator" app from Honda. Using this wireless app, you can remotely start the generator and monitor power output, oil life, engine hours, and more. The app will also send you reminders for mandatory generator maintenance like oil changes.

 

The generator will automatically shut down if it detects too much CO buildup. Finally, a wheel kit and folding handle make it easy to transport. Overall, this time-tested generator will live up to and exceed your expectations for years to come.

 

Specs Details Rating
Power 5,500 running watts; 7,000 starting watts; Backs up basic home appliances, RVs, outdoor events; Honda GX390 engine 5 Stars
Useability Provides clean power for sensitive electronics; Runs up to 18 hours at 25% load with Eco Throttle; CO detection/shutdown technology; WiFi & Bluetooth capability; Low-oil alert; Push-button electric start; Wheel kit & folding handle 5 Stars
Noise Only 52 to 60 decibels, making this among the quietest generators on the market 5 Stars
Versatility 2 NEMA 5-20R-GFCI outlets; 1NEMA L5-30R; 1 NEMA L14-30R twist-lock outlet useable with manual transfer switch or convenience cord;
5 Stars
Overall Value Worth the premium price due to its high wattage that doesn't compromise on noise or clean power. 5 Stars

 

Who It's For:

  • Homeowners looking for basic home emergency backup
  • Users needing to power sensitive electronics during an outage
  • RV owners
  • Users seeking a quiet generator

 

Who It's Not For:

  • Homeowners looking for significant home emergency backup power
  • Users on a budget

 

Shop Now

 


 

Best Portable Battery Generator: EcoFlow DELTA 1300EcoFlow DELTA 1300

If you want a portable generator without a combustion engine that you can run indoors, then you need a portable power station. The EcoFlow DELTA 1300 provides 1,800 running watts of clean power, allowing you to safely power electronics, audio, and video equipment. It’s fueled by a lithium battery pack that can be charged through a wall outlet, car charger, or solar panel. The battery can provide 1,260 watts of power in one hour before needing to recharge.


Recharging time is around one hour using a wall outlet, four hours using solar panels, and under 10 hours using a 12/24V carport. Once charged, it’ll retain power for one year. You get a plethora of receptacles with the DELTA 1300, including six NEMA 5-15R 120V outlets, USB-A fast-charge ports, USB-C ports, and more.


The EcoFlow DELTA 1300 is not for home emergency backup or anything serious. However, it can comfortably power a couple of small appliances in a pinch. Again, you don’t get a portable power station for the power so much as the convenience. This generator weighs only 30 pounds, can be safely run indoors, and is relatively inexpensive. I recommend it for anyone wanting quick, portable power when away from home. 

 

Specs Details Rating
Power 1,260 watt-hour lithium battery pack; 1,800 running watts; 3,300 starting watts; Perfect for light backup power needs 4 Stars
Useability  Provides clean power; Recharges within 1 hr via a wall outlet, 4 hrs via solar panel, 10 hrs via carport.  5 Stars
Noise Nearly silent due to no combustion engine.  5 Stars
Versatility Can safely be used indoors; Multiple output receptacles (13 in total), including NEMA 5-15R, USB-A, & USB-C. 4 Stars
Overall Value Inexpensive power option for those who want minimal portable backup without the hassles of fuel & noise.  5 Stars

 

Who It's For:

  • Outdoor hobbyists
  • Those who want backup power for a laptop or small appliance

 

Who It's Not For:

  • Those who need emergency backup power during an outage

 

Shop Now

 


Portable Generator FAQs

Can a Portable Generator Power a House?

Although portable generators are a great solution for backing up critical appliances like your fridge, lights, and microwave, even the most powerful ones aren’t designed to back up everything in your home. If that’s what you’re interested in, then you should review my picks for best home standby generators.

 

That said, you can connect a portable generator to your house and avoid running a bunch of extension cords outside by getting a manual transfer switch. The transfer switch connects the portable generator directly to your home’s main electrical circuits, allowing you to power even hardwired appliances like your furnace or sump pump. You’ll still need to pick which circuits to back up and which to exclude, but a manual transfer switch can make it much easier to power entire parts of your house. Learn more about how to connect a portable generator to a home.

 

Can You Run a Portable Generator in the Rain?

Since water and electricity don’t mix, running your generator in the open rain can lead to injury, death, or at least damage to the machine. If you need backup power while it’s raining, use a generator cover or canopy to protect it from the water. Do not run your generator in the garage or any enclosed space as this will result in toxic gas buildup.

 

What is the Difference Between Running Watts vs Surge Watts?

You will typically see two different wattages when reviewing the product specs for a generator. The surge watts are higher and refer to a temporary power boost the generator can provide to kickstart electric motors. Air conditioners, refrigerators, hair dryers, and other appliances all need an extra dose of power to start up. Then, once they’re running, their power draw decreases. That’s where running watts come in. They are lower and refer to how many watts the generator can provide over the long haul to keep appliances running. 

 

Can Portable Generators Power Sensitive Electronics?

Whether or not a portable generator can safely power sensitive electronics depends on the stability of the power it puts out. Sensitive devices like smartphones and computers always require stable power. Portable generators are prone to producing unstable or “dirty” power, which can cause surges in voltage and frequency variations that could damage sensitive equipment.

 


 

About Jared 

Jared has decades of technical experience working on generators, cars, and even helicopters. His interest began during childhood, as he watched his mechanical engineer father work on and design machines. These experiences inspired Jared to follow a related course.

 

He began his career attending the Universal Technical Institute, where he earned a degree in Automotive Technology. He also graduated with honors from the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence as a helicopter technician.


Fusing his love of aircraft and generators, Jared spent time working with towable AGPU generators that are powered by jet engines. He is a certified Generac and Kohler installer and has been the electric generator expert at Power Equipment Direct for more than nine years.


When not around wires and alternators, Jared enjoys working on cars and 3D printing.

Dale, the Power Equipment Expert
By 
Power Equipment Expert
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