Portable generators have many different applications, ranging from occasional use to powering a tool at a job site to using while camping or even powering an entire home in an emergency such as a power outage. While you may not use your portable generator often, it’s important to have a reliable one you can trust to operate properly when you do need it most. With so many options available on the market, some key specifications make the best portable generator in 2023 stand out from the rest. The good news is you don’t have to be an expert to find the perfect generator for your needs.
While the wattage, fuel tank capacity, engine size, and other specifications are important, it’s not critical to get yourself caught up in every little detail right away. In fact, since there are different categories of portable generators, it may be best to narrow down the category you need first and then break down the details. We’ve done all the research for you, with our top picks for portable generators and what makes them worth buying.
With the rise in extreme weather conditions, portable generators have become more popular. Whoever resides in a suburban environment faced with power challenges during storms must be used to the sounds of generators in the neighborhood.
Beyond emergency power backup during power outages, these generators are used in tailgating for a camping trip, construction sites, barbecues, parades, and the like. Unlike before, portable generators are more affordable. This guide will explore all you need to know about portable generators.
Factors To Consider Before Buying a Portable Generator
Before you buy a portable generator, you need to factor in how its design and specifications affect user performance. Here are three factors you should consider before you buy a portable generator.
Many generators are either battery or gas-powered. The gas generators can run significant appliances in the home. Gas generators are the more expensive ones due to their power output.
Battery-powered generators produce less power which is sufficient to charge small devices. Due to their low power, battery-powered generators emit less noise and are more affordable.
If you are very eco-conscious, you may want to consider a portable solar generator. These generators utilize a solar panel and energy from the sun to provide power. Though they may have a high initial startup cost, they can save you money over time since you don’t need to buy fuel.
A portable generator’s noise is caused by some factors such as its power source and running wattage. If you want to understand your generator’s noise level, you should take a close look at the decibels on the one you intend to buy.
Inverter generators are generally pretty quiet because they adjust the engine power to meet the necessary power supply, rather than operating at full power all the time. This also makes them fuel efficient. However, inverter generators can be a bit pricey.
A portable generator’s wattage differs depending on the model and the amount of power it offers. The running watts of portable generators can vary between 200 and 7,500 watts. The choice ultimately depends on your personal preference.
Automatic CO shutoff
This is a vital feature that automatically shuts the generator engine down if the in-built CO sensor detects a deadly gas buildup. A portable generator ought to have this feature and pass the necessary safety tests. There are currently more brands producing portable generator models with this feature.
Low CO engine
One vital safety feature to consider before buying a generator is its carbon monoxide emission in a world where the clamor for environmental safety, the importance of low carbon emission engines cannot be overemphasized.
Whenever your power goes off, the generator will turn on the power supply without you doing anything if you are using an auto-start button. This type of start engine is ideal if you are not always available to turn on the generator.
Also, there are several portable models out there that offer the unique push-button option. You should, however, factor in the extra cost of a battery if it is not included.
Many portable generator models operate solely on gasoline. However, some of them come with the ability to run on natural gas or propane tanks. You should also consider the fuel gauge, especially if you ever have blackouts or a power outage.
How To Use Your Portable Generator
To maximize your portable generator and keep it in good shape for a long time, here are some tips that should help.
If your portable generator is lying idle in a room for an extended period, it can become filthy. The buildups of debris, dust, and mold can mount on your generator. These contaminants do find their way into the generator’s vital components, making it difficult to work well. This is the reason you should keep the generator clean at all times.
Buying a cover
Using these generator covers will help protect the generator, and they also come with some added features such as being water-resistant. Aside from protecting from dirt, they also help protect the generator from cold as insulators.
Empty the tank after use
After using your portable generator, you need to empty the remnant gas in the tank into a container. Although it is ideal you have sufficient fuel in your generator, you shouldn’t leave it idle in the generator tank. Idle fuel in the generator tank causes gum deposits, which affect the generator’s performance.
Keep backup fuel and filters
When using your generator, you need to have enough fuel on standby as power outages may last between a few hours and some days, which is why you should have enough energy to help. Also, ensure you have backup oil and oil filters for emergencies.
Keep an eye on the wattage capacity of the generator
When you are using the generator, you need to handle the voltage plan you want to use. Portable generators vary in terms of function and capacity, and this is why you need to check the manual or labeling to know its wattage.
The maximum rating is the wattage amount that the generator creates within a short period. Because of this reason, starting ratings often have a higher rating. However, this rating should be ignored because your focus should be on the continuous rating. This continuous rating is what determines the wattage over a long period.
This video from Lowe’s shows how to set up and use a portable generator in more detail:
Portable generators help make our lives easier. But if you are to get the best out of generators, you need to understand their dynamics and select and use them. This guide’s content will help make your portable generator selection easier.
If you’re in the market for a reliable and convenient portable generator, you may not find a better one than this Westinghouse model. The push-button electric start is much easier than pulling a string to start it, and it also includes a remote start key fob, which works from up to 109 yards away. It has a powerful 420cc 4-stroke engine that’s air-cooled, and has a 6.6-gallon fuel capacity to allow for continuous use of up to 18 hours. It’s the perfect portable generator for commercial projects or even powering your home in times of need.
While this portable generator is extremely reliable for using tools requiring electricity on a job site, most customers rave about how it saved them during times of emergencies. During powerful storms and electrical outages, customers could rely on this generator for many hours, and sometimes even days, to power their homes. The generator has a great fuel consumption; it’s simple to operate and easy to move around, even though it weighs about 200 pounds. Some of the complaints customers have are with the generator’s construction, but its durability mostly depends on how you intend to use it.
Electric push-button for an easy start
Remote start key works from 260 feet away
Can run for 11 hours continuously on a single fuel tank
The loud sound of the generator can be an inconvenience
The world these days essentially runs on smart devices and smart machines. Having a powerful but lightweight, portable generator that can efficiently charge those smart devices has almost become a must for those long camping or road trips. And when it comes to portable generators, there may be none better than the PowerSmart Portable generator.
Not only does this machine weigh only 40 pounds making it ridiculously easy to carry, but its 2500-watt inverter generator generates enough power to charge your smart devices, including phones, laptops and electric mini cooler, fully, several times over. Its single DC car port is also enough to charge your car’s battery on really long travelling sprees.
Comes with 2 AC outlets and USB-A ports
Features a DC car port
Smart and efficient cooling system
Lightweight for easy portability
Not suitable for heavy loads like an air compressor
Guarantee power in the most difficult situations with the EF ECOFLOW Portable Generator. The 160W solar panels ensure endless power will flow into your house or RV when the power goes out. The 2400W output can power up to 15 devices at once, so you can use the fridge, washer and dryer, coffee machine, and more while you wait for service. It can even power 3400W devices with X-Boost turned on.
The outer design is built for durability, with a waterproof exterior that can withstand harsh winds and rain outside. Use it during an outage, or take it camping or hiking to power your cell phone and other necessities while you’re away from civilization. When it’s out of juice, simply charge it to full in 1.8 hours and you’ll be ready to go! With this package, you get the generator, charging cables for the AC and car, a solar charging cable, and a foldable solar panel.
If you require a portable generator to help you out in an emergency but are on a tight budget, this DuroStar generator is ideal for you. This is a 7 HP engine with a maximum AC output of 4,000 Watts, includes a 4-gallon fuel tank, and can operate for around 8 hours continuously on a 50% load. For being a budget portable generator, this one is extraordinarily quiet with an operation sound of 69 decibels. And while the generator is somewhat compact with dimensions of 20”x27”x22”, it weighs about 90 pounds, so it’s not the lightest item when it comes to portability.
Plenty of people have relied on this DuroStar portable generator to get them through tough storms that have knocked out their power for consecutive hours at a time. When you have the expectations of getting a basic portable generator that gets the job done without having too many bells and whistles, you’ll be much more satisfied with its performance. It’s perfect for powering an entire home or even just using it when you need electricity to power your tools for DIY projects around your house. There aren’t many critical customer complaints for this portable generator, especially when you consider its price and how it’s designed to be used.
Automatic shutoff when oil level is too low
Comes with oil funnel and toolset for easy maintenance
Can easily run from 10 to 15 hours on a single tank of gas
Extremely quiet with an operation sound of 69 decibels
This compact portable generator has plenty of uses and might become one of the quietest generators you will ever own. It’s perfect for handling various DIY projects, RV camping, and even tailgating. The 1.5-gallon fuel tank capacity offers up to 10 hours of use at 25% load. The StatStation LCD is also a convenient feature to show you any maintenance reminders, current power being used, how many hours the unit has been used for, and more. It also has a parallel connector so you can connect another generator to it, giving you even more power without having to use another outlet.
Customers are often surprised at how many items can run off this generator without significantly increasing the load. Many people used this generator during hurricanes that knocked out their power for several days. It was reliable enough to allow them to power all of their appliances with ease. The portable generator is also very quiet and efficient, so you don’t have to worry about bothering the neighbors with the noise. Being a smaller portable generator, you may have to refuel it every few hours depending on the load, but this should be expected in most cases.
Quieter than regular portable generators
Can run for up to 10 hours consistently
LCD screen maintenance reminders
Might require frequent refueling depending on the load
People Also Asked
Q: How does a portable generator function?
Unlike standby generators, portable generators can be moved and started manually. Also, they offer less power output than standby generators.
Q: How much does a portable generator cost?
You can get a decent portable generator for between $300 and $1,000. But note that the cheaper the generator is, the lower the quality.
Q: What is the wattage a generator needs to power a house?
The total number of watts you require to power your house depends on the number of fixtures and appliances you have. If you want to know the wattage you need for your homes, you will need to see the starting watts required to start a motor-driven item.
Q: How do generators work?
Generators have two core components: the alternator and the engine. The engine activates the alternator, which produces AC power through a voltage regulator and produces 240 volts or 120 volts.
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