2020's Best Portable Generator Reviews

OUR TOP CHOICE: Champion Power Equipment 75531i

The versatility and convenience of the Champion Power Equipment 75531i is pretty hard to beat where portable generators are concerned. The output levels and available outlets are comparable to or exceed that of its similarly priced competitors. It has an electric, remote starting feature that speaks to its ease of operation. 

Regardless of whether you are getting back to nature, powering equipment at a arts and crafts fair or desire the security of having backup power, the best portable generator is a valuable investment and an essential survival gear. There are plenty of portable generators to choose from, but which one should you get? Our guide will provide plenty of information to help you make an informed choice and select the right one to fit your needs.

There are other portable generators with various price ranges, output capacities, weights and features available that are worthy of your consideration as well. We’ll take a look at the 12 top performers in a moment, but let’s explore some of the considerations to take into account in making the best selection for your needs before we do.

2020's Best Portable Generator Reviews​

How to Choose the Right One for You

The most decisive factors in selecting any item are what it will be used for and what you are willing to spend in order to have it. Let’s examine the features which add value to your choice and justify spending your money.

  1. Power Output
  2. True Portability
  3. Pollution Factor
  4. Ease of Operation
  5. Gas vs. Solar Portable Generators

Editor’s Choice: Champion Power Equipment 75531i 3100 Watt RV Ready

The versatility and convenience of the Champion Power Equipment 75531i is pretty hard to beat where portable generators are concerned. The output levels and available outlets are comparable to or exceed that of its similarly priced competitors.

Top 12 Best Portable Generators

One of its features is its sleek, durable design on heavy-duty, no-flat wheels. This unit provides plenty of power with options for nearly all applications. It meets or exceeds EPA and CARB requirements for emissions and noise.

The Champion 75537i is an impressive portable generator. It cranks out all the power you need with plenty of outlet options to choose from. It is heavy enough to put on wheels, but still lighter than some non-wheeled units. Its fuel economy and electric start capabilities are certainly pluses and it isn’t as noisy as generators in its class. It is also backed by a solid brand name and 3 year warranty.

Specs:

  • Watts: 2800 to 3100
  • Outlets: (2)-120V, 20 Amp, 5-20R; 120V/240V, 30 Amp, TT-30R; 12V DC; dual 5V USB adapter
  • Weight: 95 lbs. (wheels)
  • Dimensions: 28.1 x 20.5 x 20.1 inches
  • Starting: electric
  • Fuel: 1.6 gallons/8 hours (5 hrs/gal)
  • Noise rating: Mid (58 dB @ 23 ft.)

Westinghouse is certainly a trusted name in appliances and the Westinghouse WGen2600v portable generator is no exception. This unit meets the requirements of all three emissions regulation agencies.

It is constructed of durable steel with rollbars, allows plenty of outlet options for RVing or backup power applications. It is backed by a 3 year warranty as well.

This unit is a little heavy for one without wheels. It cranks out a lot of power, but it also uses quite a bit of fuel. With that said, the price, the warranty and the company name are certainly factors to take into consideration. You would not be making a horrible choice to go with this product.

Specs:

  • Watts: 3600 to 4650
  • Outlets: 125V, 30A, TT-30R; 125V, 30A, L5-30R; (2) 120V, 20A, 5-20R
  • Weight: 104 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 21.3 x 22.8 x 23.2 inches
  • Starting: pull
  • Fuel: 4 gallon (4 cycle)/12 hours (3 hrs/gal)
  • Noise rating: Mid

The Champion 76533 Dual Fuel Portable Generator can be fueled using regular gasoline or propane. It features electric start, has a high wattage output as well as a wide variety of outlet options to choose from. It is made of durable steel and sits on large, heavy-duty, never-flat wheels to make it easy to maneuver through various types of terrains.

The fact that it runs on both regular gasoline as well as propane could be a major selling point, as is the electric start feature and the variety of outlet options.

This thing is heavy and needs the wheels to be portable. Its fuel economy could be better when using gas and it pushes the upper limit of the midrange noise level. It is a Champion with a three year warranty. Meets EPA and CARB requirements.

Specs:

  • Watts: 3800 (gas) 3420 (propane)
  • Outlets: 120V, 30A, TT-30R; 120V, 30A, L5-30R; (2) 120V, 20A, 5-20R
  • Weight: 122 lbs. (wheels)
  • Dimensions: 30.7 x 22 x 22.8 inches
  • Starting: electric
  • Fuel: 3.9 gallon/9 hours (gas-2.3hrs/gal); 20 lb./10.5 hours (propane)
  • Noise rating: Mid – 68 dB @ 23 ft.

This lighter weight unit might attract the attention and the noise level of the WEN 56200i makes it equally attractive.

It also includes an option for reducing fuel consumption, making it economical to run.

The low output harmonic distortion level is also something that will grab your attention.

For regular use, especially with electronic equipment that requires lower harmonic distortion, the WEN 56200i isn’t a bad choice. It is a little underpowered for RV usage. It requires you to mix your fuel and it has a pull start. It is lightweight, has a clean design, allows for fuel economy adjustment and has pretty decent fuel economy. It meets EPA and CARB requirements and is a quiet operator.

Specs:

  • Watts: 1600 to 2000
  • Outlets: (2) 120V, 20A, 5-20R; 12V DC; 5V USB
  • Weight: 48 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 18 x 11 x 18 inches
  • Starting: pull
  • Fuel: 1 gallon (4 cycle)/6 hours
  • Noise rating: Mid – 51 dB

The PowerPro 56101 is a light duty portable generator that you can easily carry with you when you go camping or when you set up at arts and crafts fairs. It is a very lightweight and low profile unit which meets all EPA and CARB requirements, but also includes a spark arrestor that makes it safe out in the woods. It has durable construction with a solid carrying handle and frame.

For limited use, this isn’t a bad unit. It is certainly light weight enough to take anywhere and its small enough to fit in the floor board of a compact car. Its fuel economy isn’t bad and its noise rating is so, so. The biggest problem you will have with this portable generator is the fact that you just can’t power much with it.

Specs:

  • Watts: 900 to 1000
  • Outlets: 120V, 20A, 5-20R; 12V DC
  • Weight: 36 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 13.5 x 12 x 14 inches
  • Starting: pull
  • Fuel: 1 gallon/5 hours
  • Noise rating: Mid – 60 dB @ 22 ft.

The heavy-duty steel design of the DuroStar DS4000S lives up to its name when it comes to durability.

This unit also includes a spark arrestor for safety as well as meeting EPA noise and emissions requirements. 

Because it includes the proper power outlet, you can use the DuroStar DS4000S with your RV. Ease-pull, recoil starting is another feature on this durable machine.

For situations where you need something that is durable, this is a pretty solid unit. It is a little heavy for a non-wheeled unit, but not excessively so. It doesn’t do well where fuel economy and noise level are concerned and it lacks meeting the CARB requirements. With that said, it does crank out quite a bit of power.

Specs:

  • Watts: 3300 to 4000
  • Outlets: (2)-120V, 20 Amp, 5-20R; 120V, 30 Amp, L5-30
  • Weight: 92.4 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 17.5 x 18 x 23 inches
  • Starting: pull
  • Fuel: 4 gallon/8 hours (2 hrs/gal)
  • Noise rating: Mid – 69 dB

If you want to get away from fossil fuels and use a portable generator that is more environmental friendly, you might consider the Wagan EL2546 Solar e-Cube.

This unit has self-contained solar panels and generates up to 1500 watts.

It is set on wheels and comes with a collapsible handle like the one on your suitcase. It can power most AC and DC equipment. It certainly exceeds any and all EPA, CARB and CSA environmental requirements for portable generators.

If you need power in a remote location, but are environmentally conscious, then this is your unit. There is no noise, exhaust or mess from oil and gasoline. It has pretty decent portability and the attached solar panels are certainly a plus.

It is limited in how it can be used. Solar generator technology, at least in portable form, is still a little behind. The price will probably scare you too.

Specs:

  • Watts: 1500
  • Outlets: (2)-120V, 20 Amp, 5-20R; (2)-12V DC; (2)-5V USB
  • Weight: 101 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 23.4 x 17.2 x 21.2 inches
  • Starting: Open up panels
  • Fuel: Solar (requires 18 hours of full sunlight to fully charge)
  • Noise rating: No noise

The DuroMax XP4400E is a heavy duty portable generator which can power just about anything you need it to power. It sets on a rugged steel frame and its bulk is carried on heavy-duty, no-flat wheels.

It cranks out a lot of power and has a number of outlet options to choose from. This is a dependable machine with electric start for when time and dependability are on the line.

You will see units like this providing power on construction sites or powering welders in the field.

If you are in construction or need to power a welder out in the field, this is your unit. It is a little bit bulky and heavy duty for RVing, arts and crafts and camping applications. If it wasn’t on wheels, it would take two people to carry it for any distance. Its fuel economy and noise level are not good and it does not pass CARB requirements. This unit is meant for commercial use.

Specs:

  • Watts: 3500 to 4400
  • Outlets: (2)-120V, 20 Amp, 5-20R; 120V/240V, 30 Amp, L5-30; 12V DC
  • Weight: 120 lbs. (wheels)
  • Dimensions: 24 x 24 x 36 inches
  • Starting: electric
  • Fuel: 4 gallon/8 hours (2 hrs/gal)
  • Noise rating: Mid (40 dB to 80 dB)

Another portable unit with sleek, lightweight design and sturdy construction is the Honda EU2000I. Weighing in at 48 pounds, this unit is pretty easy to carry for most setups.

It can run most appliances overnight on a single gallon of gas and is dependable. It meets or exceeds EPA and CARB requirements and operates quieter than heavier duty generators.

First of all, Super Quiet is a misnomer, though it leans toward the lower end of the midrange decibel level, it is really not a great deal quieter than other models of its kind. It does get excellent fuel economy, has a clean, compact design and can provide decent power for most common uses. It’s not a bad generator and seems to be pretty popular among users. The super quiet claim might be because the price will have you in a coma and you won’t be able to hear it.

Specs:

  • Watts: 1600 to 2000
  • Outlets: (2)-120V, 20 Amp, 5-20R; 12V DC
  • Weight: 45.6
  • Dimensions: 12 x 21 x 19 in
  • Starting: pull
  • Fuel: 1 gallon/8.1 hours
  • Noise rating: Mid (53 dB to 59 dB)

Another quiet running, lightweight and sleek portable generator is the Briggs & Stratton 30651 PowerSmart Portable Generator.

This unit weighs in at under 55 pounds and is encased in a very portable case.

It is well put together for everyday use, provides sufficient power and outlet options for the most common applications.

Тhis is an attractive model backed by a brand name that certainly knows how to build motors. It is a little heavier than some of its comparable competitors, but that is likely due to the durability of the motor. It gets great fuel economy and not too noisy. The added feature of the H style handle allows it to be carried by one person or two people. It doesn’t meet CARB requirements, so can’t be shipped to California, but works most everywhere else.

Specs:

  • Watts: 1700 to 2200
  • Outlets: (2)-120V, 20 Amp, 5-20R; 12V DC; dual 5V USB adapter
  • Weight: 54.6 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 19.9 x 14.4 x 22.4 inches
  • Starting: pull
  • Fuel: 1 gallon/8 hours
  • Noise rating: Mid (59 dB @ 23 ft)

Another option to consider if you are environmentally conscious is the Yeti 150 Solar Generator Kit. This is a clean unit weighing less than 20 pounds.

It has a sleek, compact design and can easily be set up with the portable solar panel that is included. This unit is designed by a company which specializes in providing power to remote locations all over the world and is an innovator in both generator, inverter and solar panel construction.

The specs on this unit a somewhat deceptive, because its wattage output is displayed in watt hours. It is equal to most of the lightweight gas generators presented in this review, but doesn’t have the obvious drawbacks associated with using an internal combustion engine to produce power. Because of the innovations of Goal Zero, there are plenty of expansion options for this unit, making it one of the best options available if you intend to go green. The price will actually surprise you, given the solar unit we reviewed earlier.

Specs:

  • Watts: 150 WH (watt hours) to 168 WH (watt hours)
  • Outlets: 120V, 20 Amp, 5-20R; 12V DC; 5V USB
  • Weight: 19 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 11.81 x 14.8 x 17.99 inches
  • Starting: open up solar panel and attach
  • Fuel: Solar
  • Noise rating: No noise

The Generac 5939 is another commercial grade generator that is built to last and built to take care of high power output needs. Besides its durable construction on heavy-duty, large diameter wheels, which make it able to go over any terrain, the Generac 5939 cranks out 5500 watts of power.

Construction crews and welders will be well pleased with the power and durability available in this unit. This is a commercial generator intended for heavy-duty use. This is not your RVing and arts and crafts fair generator. It is going to be noisy, use a lot of fuel and lifting it in and out of the pickup is going to take a couple of guys.

Specs:

  • Watts: 5500
  • Outlets: (4)-120V, 20 Amp, 5-20R; 120V/240V, 30 Amp, L5-30
  • Weight: 193 lbs. (wheels)
  • Dimensions: 25 x 26.75 x 28.75 inches
  • Starting: pull
  • Fuel: 6.7 gallons/10 hours (1.5 hrs/gal)
  • Noise rating: Mid (50 dB to 70 dB)

Our Verdict

Selecting the perfect portable generator to fit your needs depends upon what you are using it for as well as your available budget and the value the unit provides. The wide variety of generators we reviewed above provide you with a look at plenty of options for weighing your needs.

Best Portable Generator Overall

Based on versatility and convenience the Champion Power Equipment 75531i is pretty hard to beat where the best portable generator are concerned. 

The output levels and available outlets are comparable to or exceed that of its similarly priced competitors. 

This unit’s compact design and a weight that is less than its closest competition, makes it a truly portable option.

Additionally, the Champion 75531i is backed by a trusted name, quality customer service and a 3 year warranty.

If you have questions or comments concerning portable generators, please include them in the section below.

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