The Best Portable Generators in 2016
Hello, my name is Bruno and I feel proud to have you as a visitor to this page of my website that is dedicated to the best portable generators. We all know that life without electricity is like a train without an engine, which comes to a halt in case of a sudden power failure. Despite being technically advanced, it is a fact that several places are still infamous for frequent power cuts. Moreover, natural strikes in the form of thunderstorms and heavy snowfall also tend to take away power from our routine life.
With that in mind, it’s clear how significant the role of a portable generator can be! Well, I am a retired contractor with over 25 years of experience in selling generators of diverse brands. In the latter part of this period, I realized that more people preferred portable generators to the standard ones because of the benefit of a moveable unit to power items located at different places.
However, I believe that no two portable generators are the same! Each differs in terms of capabilities, features, durability, limitations, and price. Therefore, it is advisable to analyze each of the recommended generators by mapping their features and functionalities to the requirements and budget. However, this requires a lot of research, which can be time consuming and tedious.
Therefore, I decided to publish this site on basic to advanced generator information and top portable generator reviews to help you select the best generator in a quick and effective manner. This site aims to share information, not to promote any specific product.
My Top 4 Picks
Listed below are the top 4 portable generators with superb features. They are ranked in the prescribed order only after a careful analysis from reliable sources. Click on any of the links to view them on Amazon or read the reviews down the page:
- Westinghouse WH5500 Generator
- Champion Power Equipment 46539
- WEN 56352 with Wheel Kit
- DuroStar DS4000S Generator
All these five portable generators are reviewed below so you can analyse the features and benefits according to your needs, expectations, and budget.
Overview of Portable Generators
A portable generator is a unit that you can move anywhere, which adds to your convenience and makes it an ideal choice for those living in a RV or wishing to camp in the woods. Designed for intermittent use, such a unit proves to be 10 times handier than other types during storms, hurricanes, torrential rainfall and other mishaps disrupting the power supply. Due to its many benefits, a portable generator is a smart choice.
Running on natural gas or gasoline, portable generators are more economical, easier to operate, and are more durable than the stationary generators that need a costlier installation.
Westinghouse WH5500E Portable Generator
Powered by 420cc from the XP Series engine, this model with its overhead valve design and muffler ensure super quiet performance with just a push of a button. The efficient engine runs for 13 hours at 50% load, cast iron cylinder sleeves ensures low oil consumption, and a manual recoil handle and compression release guarantees comfortable use. The all-steel construction and fully enclosed connections make the unit to face any kind of harsh environment.
Features / Specifications
- Dimensions: 27.2 l x 20.5 w x 22 h inches
- 4-stroke, 3600 RPM, 420cc overhead valve engine
- Electric and manual start
- 7,500 running watts and 9,000 starting watts
- Pulse-Flo muffler, Simplified control center, LCD hour meter
- Full enclosure for protection from weather and debris
- Four 120-volt and one 120/240-volt twist outlets
- 6.6-gallon fuel tank
- 12 hours run time @ 50% load
- Hour meter for monitoring time and oil changes, Low oil auto shut off, Overload protection
Includes: Never-flat tires, tool kit, high-leverage handles, one liter bottle of oil, funnel, instructions
- Sturdy built
- Easy and quick to assemble (5 minutes)
- Easy to start by pushing just a button
- Terrific output
- Safe performance with over current protection and secure connection controls/parts
- High efficiency with low fuel consumption
- Adjustable to any kind of weather
- Simple to use with easy controls
- Quiet and safer operation with monitoring and auto running functionalities
- 3-year warranty
- Cheap price tag
- Oil included
- A bit pricey
- A bit bulky although highly portable to move around on wheels
- Not for Californians, as not CARB-compliant
This generator is ideal for powering the entire home or a small office for hours after been hit by a natural calamity or longer retaining power outages.
Champion Power Equipment 46539 Gas Generator
This champion offers dependable power for running devices at your home, camp or job location. With its high range of output, the unit can run sump pump, TV, lights, and refrigerator simultaneously. Powered by 196cc OHV engine with iron sleeve, the generator runs incessantly for 12 hours on a full tank at 50% load. Usually, 4000w is copious to run a big freezer, LCD TV, two refrigerators, two sump pumps, DVD player, and half dozen lamps, toaster oven, and a phone.
- Dimensions: 28.5 l x 21.1 w x 20.7 h inches
- 3500 watts rated, 4000 watts maximum output
- Full durable frame
- 1- 120V DUPLEX Outlet (5-20R), 1 – 120V Twistlock (L5-30R), 1 – RV Receptacle (TT-30R)
- 8-inch wheels
- Low oil sensor, overload protection, and Intelligauge offering volts, hertz and operating hours details
- Battery-powered remote control start
- 196cc, OHV, 4-stroke engine with cast iron sleeve
- EPA/CARB compliant
- 2-year warranty
Includes: Battery and engine oil
- Ergonomic design
- Low noise operation
- Remote startup
- Easy to set up, start (in 2 minutes), use, and maintain
- Reasonable cranking noise
- High efficiency
- Reliable due to safety features and decent power output
- Very affordable
- Heavy in weight but wheels make it transportable easily
- Not 100% portable due to a bit of pain in dragging wheels with handle
- No 240v receptacles
- Little bit odd placement of handle
- Tight gas cap
Get this generator if budget is a constraint to run 2-3 power tools at RV or campsite via a remote control that should be effective even while being 80′ away.
WEN 56352 Gas Generator with Wheel Kit
This all-purpose portable generator with air-cooled OHV engine turns the alternator to deliver 3000 watts at 3600RPM. It can activate power tools and equipments at sporting and social events, U.S. National Parks, and outdoor recreation spots.
For almost 11 hours at half load, the generator can easily run sump pump (periodicity), mobile/ iPad chargers, DVD surround system, some CFLs, two refrigerators, and 50″ plasma. Just turning off a refrigerator can make you run an oil furnace.
Features / Specifications
- Dimensions: 24.4 l x 17.7 w x 18.5 h inches
- 3500 peak, 3000 running watts
- Manual starting method
- 7 HP, 212cc, 67dB @ 23, 4-stroke, OHV ft engine with forced air cooling
- 4-gallon fuel tank with fuel gauge
- Muffler, spark arrestor, automatic low oil engine shutdown, hour counter
- Two 120v, 20A, 3-prong; one 120/240V, 30A twist lock; and one 12V DC 8.3A
- Mobility kit
- Voltage indicator lights
- Voltage selector switch, not found in many other generators
- 2-year warranty
- Start with the first pull
- Low noise operation
- No overheating
- Safety controls
- Not for Californians due to non-CARB compliance
- Little louder than noiseless ones
This generator is designed to fulfill the power needs in emergencies but do not expect it to power a ton of things simultaneously.
DuroStar DS4000S Gas Generator
This one is designed for camping, sporting events, RVs, job sites, and home back-up purposes. Thanks to its air-cooled overhead valve engine cranks 3,300 constant watts of power for eight hours at 50% load and 4-gallon filled tank.
The heavy-duty frame in steel comes with 4-point isolated motor mounts that ensure quiet and hassle-free operation. The power panel has the main controls, while outlets supply power to all home appliances as well as high-powered tools.
By connecting 30-amp RV adapter to a plug of 30 amp as well as the camper, the unit easily powers 27″ LCD TV, microwave, lights, fridge, Jensen stereo with 6 speakers, and a vent fan simultaneously. Alternately, you can run a few lights, two refrigerators, a furnace, and a small freezer at once.
- Dimensions: 23 l x 18 w x 17.5 h inches
- 7 HP, air-cooled, OHV engine with a recoil start
- 4000 Watt Surge/3300 watt continuous
- Super quiet muffler with 69 dBA rating
- Power panel with start switch, circuit breaker, and volt meter
- Two 120-volt, 20-amp, 3-prong outlets (NEMA 5-20R) and one 120-volt, 30-amp outlet (NEMA L5-30)
- EZ-Pull recoil start
- Automatic low oil shut off
- 1-year warranty
- EPA Approved
Include: Wheel kit for easy portability and instructions
- Sturdy construction
- Easy to use
- Low oil usage
- Relatively quiet
- Not for Californians, as it is not CARB-compliant
- Difficulty in changing the oil
- Small hardware
- A bit messy, as the frame obscures oil drain
- No spark arrestor
The generator is an effective unit to buy for the money it asks to charge up a few appliances at home.