The Best 5 Portable Generators [2021 Edition]
17 Min Read
- 1. Honda EU2200i Portable Generator
- 2. WEN 56235i Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator
- 3. Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator with Remote Electric Start
- 4. Champion Power Equipment 76533 Portable Generator
- 5. Westinghouse WGen5300s Storm Portable Generator With Electric Start
- Faqs About Portable Generators
Generators aren’t an easy purchase, and it’s acceptable to be confused when trying to figure out weight, fuel type, tank capacity, peak watts, engine displacement, and cost.
Need help determining which features are best in a generator? Do you have rules and regulations in your neighborhood that limit what kind or size of generator you can have? Wondering whether it’s better to purchase one from Walmart or Home Depot? Is it worth it to buy a used generator?
Need an honest review of generators in the market to help you determine which is best suited to your requirements?
We’ve done all the research necessary, so you don’t have to! Presenting our guide of the top 5 portable generators for 2021.
The Best 5 Portable Generators Of 2021
Lightweight and compact at 46.5 pounds, the Honda EU2200i is the perfect portable companion for your home, job site, and camping trips. It can power a wide range of appliances that include small AC units, refrigerators, microwaves, hairdryers, etc.
Powered by the Honda GXR120 engine, this generator provides 1,800 watts of running power and 2,200 watts of surge power. It is a quiet portable generator with a noise level of 48 to 57 dBA. It’s hard to notice this generator working in the background as you carry on with your conversation or your sleep. With an average load, the 0.95-gallon fuel tank can run for 4 to 9 hours. Its impressive fuel efficiency is attributable to Honda’s exclusive Eco-Throttle system. Another great feature is its advanced Carbon Monoxide Detection System. It automatically detects dangerously high CO levels and shuts off the generator.
All Honda portable generators come with Honda’s advanced inverter technology. This is essential as you want to run your power-sensitive electronic equipment like computers, LED, DSLR, phones, tablets, security systems, etc., on a clean and stable power supply.
Preventing generator issues caused by stale fuel is easier than ever as the Honda EU2200i comes equipped with a fuel shut-off valve. Changing oil is also a simplified process with a bigger oil filler opening, longer spout, and larger oil drain gutter. Since the Honda EU2200i has parallel capability, adding more power is convenient. Now you can get double the power without having to invest in a heavier and more expensive generator. This is a huge bonus as heavier devices are difficult to maintain and operate.
You also get 36 months of residential and commercial warranty on this generator. Its increased durability is due to the high-quality magnets in its rotor, and the metal recoil rope insert. Read more user reviews at Amazon.
The Honda EU2200i has a forced-air cooling system that increases its ventilation capacity. It also comes with an automatic mechanical decompressor and color-coded points that make start-up easier.
Additional safety features of the EU2200i include a USDA qualified spark arrester and an electronic circuit breaker.
- Eco-Throttle system
- Fuel shut-off valve
- CO detection system
- Fuel efficient
- Easy operation
- 3 hour run at maximum load capacity
- No fuel gauge
Weighing in at only 39 pounds, the WEN portable inverter is the best small portable generator on our list. It’s a great generator for camping, tailgating, and when preparing for natural disasters. It is made of a durable all-purpose 79cc OHV engine, the kind commonly used in water pumps, tillers, blowers, vacuums, and generators. Another great thing about the engine is it reduces CO emissions by separating oil from fuel. It also makes the generator more efficient and reliable to use.
A key factor that makes it better than the Honda EU2200i is its 1900 watts running wattage and 2350 watts surge power. We also love that it has a 1-gallon tank and that its fuel economy engine makes it last longer. With its clean power, you can charge all your sensitive electronic devices without worries about surge damage. Like the EU2200i, this generator also has a fuel shut-off valve to help prevent stale oil issues and prevent blockages.
Eco mode helps save gasoline usage by automatically adjusting fuel consumption. It also improves device run time and extends the life of your engine. Parallel connection is also possible with this generator if you’re looking for an additional power source within your comfort. Its runtime is up to 10 hours on quarter load.
It works quietly, creating no more than 51 decibels of noise, which is less than the sound of an electric fan. The product includes outlets like two three-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle, and two 5V USB ports.
The WEN 56235i is CARB and EPA compliant. It is safe to use outdoors and also comes with a spark arrestor for added safety. Read more user reviews at Amazon.
The WEN 56235i includes automatic shutdown for low-oil and low-fuel levels, indicator lights, and built-in overload protection. It also has a circuit breaker system to protect from overloading and short circuits.
- Runs quietly
- Low-oil shut off
- Low-fuel shut off
- Eco-mode feature
- Low maintenance
- Clean energy
- 24-month warranty
- No load or hour meter
- No fuel gauge
- Manual recoil start
The Westinghouse is EPA, CPA, and CARB compliant. And like the WEN 56235i, this one too has a 420cc OHV engine. This translates to greater fuel savings!
It is the heaviest and high-capacity generator with a 6.6-gallon tank capacity and a total weight of 192 pounds. More capacity does come with its benefits, considering you get 7,500 running watts on this machine and a peak wattage of 9,500 watts. The only other generator to match this capacity and quality is the Generac portable generator GP6500 with its 8125 watts capacity.
It also has the highest runtime of 16 hours with a 25% load. Starting this generator is a breeze with its electric one-touch push-button and a remote start key fob. The key fob is very useful for camping trips when you need to start the engine from a 250 ft distance.
It has water-resistant GFCI outlets and four 120V standard household outlets with safety rubber covers. The WGen 7500 has features such as an intuitive control panel with a VFT display that gives real-time updates on lifetime hours, voltage output, and frequency. It is transfer switch ready, meaning you can connect this generator to your home anytime and get a continuous flow of electricity. It also has an onboard battery charger port, so you’re never out of power.
Its noise level of 72 dBA, placing it lower than a dishwasher on the noise scale. Unlike the previous generators, this one has a built-in fuel gauge and a durable casting iron sleeve. It is also compatible with both gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas fuel types.
You can use it to power your travel trailer, emergency home backup generator, and also for weekend DIY projects. It also features a built-in foam grip handle and solid polyurethane wheels to help give the generator some portability.
Buyers get a 3-year residential warranty, 1-year commercial warranty, and lifetime support on purchasing this generator. For a portable electric generator, the Westinghouse holds up very well. Read more user reviews at Amazon.
- Very easy to maintain
- Dual-fuel compatibility
- Backup for home use
- Easy setup
- Increased wattage capacity
- VFT display meter
- Remote start key fob
- Heavier than other types of generators
- Faulty batteries make key fob and electric start-up troublesome at times
The Champion 76533 generator comes in a variety of start-up options like electric and recoil. Like the Westinghouse WGen, it also supports gasoline and propane fuel types with an added safety fuel selector switch. In addition, it comes with a 3.3-foot propane hose, so you can easily connect it to a 20-pound propane tank. The propane hose has an in-built regulator to control gas flow from the tank to the generator.
Depending on the fuel type, you can easily get a 9 to 10-hour runtime on this generator on half load capacity.
It comes with features like a low-oil shut-off sensor, Volt Guard surge protector, and Cold Start technology, along with the added convenience of a one-push electric start. Its power capacity is 4750 watts at startup and 3800 running watts. It’s got a single-cylinder four-stroke 224cc engine that reduces total fuel usage and uses an air cooling system. A circuit breaker ensures no overloading or short circuit causes damage to your appliances. And while we love all those features, the Champion’s sound level is 68 dBA from a 23 ft distance. This means that up close, the generator could be as loud as a radio or washing machine.
At 122 pounds, it is slightly lighter than the WGen Westinghouse. However, maneuvering it is quite simple because of the sturdy wheels and folding handle. Accessories included with the product are a regulator, oil funnel, wheel kit, engine oil, battery, and LPG hose. In addition, a durable cast iron sleeve protects the body of the generator. Another great feature is an Intelligauge 3 mode digital meter that helps users monitor voltage, power output, runtime, hertz, etc.
You can use it to power your RV, an event location, DIY projects, remote work sites, and also during power outages. The outlets included are One 120V 30A RV outlet (TT-30R), one 120V 30A locking outlet (L5-30R), and two 120V 20A household outlets. The Champion Power generator comes with a 3-year limited warranty and free lifetime technical support. It is compliant with EPA and CARB emission standards as well.
Overall, it is the best portable generator with some unique features you won’t see anywhere. Read more user reviews at Amazon.
- Dual fuel type
- Easy to assemble
- High capacity
- Easy storage
The WGen5300s is our second best inverter generator with its 6600 watts (peak) and 5300 watts at running capacity. Some of its features include a 4.7-gallon fuel tank with a fuel gauge and a 4-stroke 274cc OHV engine with an automatic low-oil shut-off feature. Switching on the generator is as simple as flipping a switch. With the electric start manual choke, you don’t have to go through the instructions before using your generator. If you’re in the market for a gasoline-based generator, the WGen 5300s is perfect!
The total 18 hours runtime is as best as generators go, but it can only be achieved at 25% load. This generator also has a Volt selector switch that easily switches between 120 or 240 Volt capacity. It is on the heavier side, though, with a 143-pound body.
The Westinghouse WGen 5300s generators are all EPA and CARB compliant. Like the WGen 7500, this one too has a ready transfer switch that easily connects to your house for an unending power flow. Another important feature is the noise level, which in this generator is a good 68 dBA strong.
The outlets consist of a single 5–20R 120V Household Duplex Receptacle, one RV-Ready TT-30R 30 Amp Receptacle, and a transfer switch L14-30R 30 Amp Receptacle. The TT-30R 30A 120V outlet is your single cord hook-up that gets your generator ready for RV use in no time. All of these outlets are rubber-covered for safety purposes.
This is another generator that has a long-lasting cast iron sleeve, circuit breakers for overloading, and short circuit prevention, along with a VFT display meter.
When you purchase this generator, you get the user’s manual, tool kit, spark plug, wrench, wheel kit, oil, and an oil funnel. This generator comes with an in-built handle and wheels to support easy movement from your RV to your campsite. It comes with a 1-year commercial warranty and a 3-year limited residential warranty. Read more user reviews at Amazon.
- Great price
- VFT meter
- Transfer switch ready
- RV ready
- Convenient Volt selector switch
- Easy to assemble
- The display does not show the wattage in use to prevent overload
- A little more noisy than other portable generators
Faqs About Portable Generators
What Is the Most Important Feature To Check In a Generator?
Wattage capacity. It is important to check the generator’s wattage capacity against the wattage you need to run all your devices smoothly. Why? Simple. The generator’s output will determine how many devices you can run simultaneously. Don’t under or overestimate your home’s power needs by using our tips on calculating your wattage requirements.
How Many Watts Do I Need For My Home?
It depends on how much wattage you’re going to use at once. Check out this appliance energy calculator. Then add the highest wattage requirements of appliances you use simultaneously during peak hours. This will give you a rough idea of the wattage capacity needed to power your house.
What Safety Features Should I Look For?
Some safety features to look for are:
- EPA, CPA, or CARB compliance
- Circuit breakers
- Spark arrestor
- Surge protection
- Low-oil and low-fuel shutdown
What Fuel Type Is Better?
It is generally better to go with a dual fuel type generator. Below are a few fuel types and their benefits.
Diesel: Diesel-type regulators need to be used regularly and are more expensive than the rest. However, the fuel itself is safer to store for long periods. It is low on maintenance and is also the most efficient fuel type.
Gasoline: Gasoline is the most common type of fuel used in generators. It is more efficient than propane. This is why it is easily available everywhere and affordable as well. Drawbacks include:
- Low shelf life
- Gasoline generators need to be refueled often and are higher on maintenance
- Their lower flash point temperature makes them dangerous to store
Propane: Propane is less efficient than diesel and gasoline. However, if you’re the type to use your generator once and forget it, propane is better. It does not degrade as fast as the other fuel types when stored for long.
What Are the Best Generator Brands?
If you’re looking for reliable and well-established generator brands, consider Generac portable generators, Briggs & Stratton, Yamaha, Kohler, and Energizer.
That’s our guide on 5 of the best portable generators for the year. We hope you can now shop for a generator, confident in your ability to understand features and match them to your requirements.