Best Affordable Portable Generator

The way that society operates means that even when we want to get away from the world and be at one with the elements, on activities such as camping, we still cannot bear to be completely cut off from the world.

So much security is given to us as human beings through electricity, so if you want to go camping but don’t want to give up the pleasantries of electricity, a generator can be a great option. 

Generators are not only a great purchase if you go camping often, they are also great if you work outdoors, for example on a building site, and even for recreational purposes at home.

When you first think of a generator you may picture a large device that is able to power your whole home, but generators are actually available in a variety of different shapes and sizes.

If you want a generator for camping, working outdoors or recreational purposes, you would be best off buying a portable generator. 

But with so many different types available on the market, it can be difficult to know which is the best for you. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to the best affordable portable generators on the market.

It’s packed full of information to ensure you make the purchase that is best for you without breaking the bank in the process. 

In a hurry?

If you need a portable generator quickly but don’t know which to choose we’d recommend the Honda EU2200i 2200 Watt Portable Inverter Generator.

We’ve ranked this generator the best on the market because it’s packed full of wonderful features that make it excellent value for money, including:

  • The ability to operate multiple different devices simultaneously. 
  • It has an extremely quiet design, operating at between 48 and 57 decibels (quieter than the average conversation between two people).
  • It has excellent fuel efficiency due to the design’s eco-throttle system, allowing it to operate for up to 9.5 hours on one tank of fuel. 
  • It has the ability to operate parallel with another Honda EU2200i inverter generator to provide double the energy through one simple cable.

OUR TOP PICK

Honda 662220 EU2200i 2200 Watt Portable Inverter Generator

Our favorite affordable portable generator is the Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt Portable Inverter Generator.

This device is packed full of excellent features that make it great value for money and well worth the purchase.

This includes, but is not limited to its ability to operate multiple different devices simultaneously through the collection of different power outlets the device offers. 

If quietness is something you’re looking for, this might be a great choice for you. At its loudest, this device will operate at 57dBA, but it will more commonly operate at 48dBA which is incredibly quiet for a generator that produces as much power as this product. 

This device is also an excellent option if you are concerned about fuel usage. In today’s climate, people are growing ever more concerned about the amount of fuel they use, so if you want to reduce your fuel usage this could be a great choice.

The Honda EU2200i operates with an eco-throttle system which reduces fuel consumption and makes the device increasingly fuel-efficient.

If you’re interested in this device but the amount of power it generates is not enough, there’s no need to worry as this product can be used simultaneously with another device of the same model to double the power output. 

With all this in mind, it’s clear that this is one of the best on the market. 

Pros

  • Operate multiple devices simultaneously
  • Quiet design: 48-57 DBA operating noise
  • Eco-throttle system
  • Increased fuel efficiency
  • Operates parallel with a second device
  • Provides stable and clean power from a small, compact device 

Cons

  • No notable drawbacks

EDITORS CHOICE

Generac 7127 iQ3500-3500 Watt Portable Inverter Generator Quieter Than Honda, Orange/Black

We also loved the Generac 7127 iQ3500-3500 inverter generator.

This is a great option if you want a quiet device as it is proven to be up to 40% quieter than its main competitors.

In fact, this device measures up pretty well against its competitors as it also conserves 16% more power than its main competition. 

This device is a great option if you are looking for a generator for either work or recreational use.

It provides lots of power allowing it to provide energy to a variety of different connections at one time through its various power outlets, which includes USB ports. 

This device can be bought alone, or alternatively with an adaptor making it excellent value for money.

It also has the added benefit of a digital wattage meter which allows you to easily check the power that is being used and the runtime left on the device before you will need to refuel. 

With all this considered, it’s obvious this is one of the best options on the market. 

Pros

  • Ultra-quiet design
  • Excellent for work and recreational use
  • 16% more power than its competitors
  • Buy alone or with an adaptor
  • Digital wattage meter
  • USB ports

Cons

  • No notable drawbacks

BEST VALUE

Champion Power Equipment 100307 4375/3500-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator

Another excellent option is the Champion 100307 RV Ready portable generator.

This device is a great option if you want something that is easy to transport as it has one of the best portable designs on the market.

This device is also great if you want a device you can use immediately out of the box, as the Champion 100307 is capable of this. 

Additionally, a great feature of this device is the quietness of the device. At its loudest, the Champion 100307 will operate at 68dBA which is extremely quiet.

It also has a variety of different power outlets which you can choose from and a digital screen which measures all the essential things you need to know for the operation of this device.

This is the company’s ‘intelligauge display’ which measures the voltage, hertz, and run time of the device so you know exactly when refueling is needed.

With all this considered, it’s clear this is one of the best options available. 

Pros

  • Easily portable design
  • Quiet - 68dbA
  • Operate straight out of the box
  • Intelligauge to measure voltage, hertz, and run time
  • Various different power outlets to choose from 

Cons

  • The oil filler can be difficult to reach

RUNNER UP

Pulsar G12KBN Heavy Duty Portable Dual Fuel Generator - 9500 Rated Watts & 12000 Peak Watts - Gas & LPG - Electric Start - Transfer Switch & RV Ready - CARB Compliant

You should also consider the Pulsar G12KBN portable generator. Of all the options on this list, this device produces the most power with 12,000 Watts of power (that’s enough to power your home).

Despite its huge power capacity, this device is easily portable with a dropdown handle and 10-inch handles to help you in the process.

Additionally, the G12KBN has dual-fuel capability allowing you to choose between propane or gasoline to power the device.

One tank of fuel will allow the device to operate for up to 12 hours continuously, and it even comes with low oil shut off to prevent damage to the device or potential fires.

Due to this, there’s no doubt this is one of the best options for a portable generator. 

Pros

  • A huge amount of power - 12,000 Watts
  • Dual-fuel capability - choose between gas and LPG
  • Up to 12 hours continuous use on one tank of fuel
  • Dropdown handle and 10-inch wheels for easy portability
  • Low oil shut off and 3-in-1 meter

Cons

  • Operates better on gas than propane

RUNNER UP

Westinghouse iGen4500 Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator 3700 Rated & 4500 Peak Watts, Gas Powered, Electric Start, RV Ready, CARB Compliant

Finally, you should consider the Westinghouse iGen4500 portable generator.

Similarly to its competitors on this list, the device operates at a low noise level of less than 52dBA. 

It also comes with an economy mode for maximum fuel efficiency.

This device differs however as it comes with an electric key fob which enables the ability for remote starts. It also has a rotating display screen that digitally measures and displays all the important things you want to know about the device, including Watts and run time.

Despite being a bit more basic than some of its competition, there’s no doubt this device by Westinghouse is one of the best on the market. 

Pros

  • Remote start with an electric key fob
  • Great choice of power outlets
  • Rotating digital display measures all the important activity
  • Extremely quiet - operates at less than 52dbA
  • Economy mode for maximum fuel efficiency

Cons

  • The remote key fob can play up

Best Affordable Portable Generator Buying Guide

A generator can be a great way to provide electricity whenever you need it.

Whether you want a generator that can provide enough electricity to operate your home, or a generator to give you electricity while you are camping, there are lots to choose from.

Finding the balance between portability and affordability can be difficult, that’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to the best generators on the market.

It’s packed full of all the information you need to ensure you buy the best generator for you.

We’ve even included a handy FAQ section to ensure you make a fully informed decision. 

Portability

As you are looking for a portable generator, there’s no doubt that portability will be important to you.

While it may seem easy to purchase a device that features ‘portable’ as one of its selling points, some manufacturers will over exaggerate the device’s portability.

It’s all good for the generator to come on wheels, or have a handle for you to be able to carry it. But if the device is too heavy to hold, or too bulky to fit in the car’s trunk, this device really isn’t portable.

As well as looking for a device that is advertised as ‘portable’, you should also check the dimensions and the weight of the generator before making a purchase. This is the only way to determine whether or not the device is truly portable.

What is portable to an incredibly strong person will not be the same for a much smaller person, so you should consider your own situation against the size and weight of the generator. 

Outlets and Power

You also want to consider the outlets that the device has on offer.

These outlets are how you will connect the generator to your devices to provide the electricity, so you must buy a device that has the correct outlets. Most generators will have a couple of 120V AV outlets, and it will also be common for them to feature USB ports.

The number of outlets tends to increase as the power of the generator increases. Generators that have over 4000W of power also tend to feature 240V plugs and GFCI protected outlets.

When you are buying a generator, it is vital that you not only buy one that has the correct power outlets, but also one which provides enough electricity for the things that you want to power.

Many devices will require more power on their initial start-up than while they are running, so it’s important that you buy a generator that has enough power to start the devices as well as continually operate them. 

How often will you use it?

You should also consider how often you will be using the generator, as this will have a big effect on which is the best choice for you.

The main difference between continual and occasional use will depend on whether you are using the generator in a home environment or a commercial environment.

For example, if you are using a generator on a building site, the generator will likely be used every day while work is being completed. Whereas, if you are using a generator at home or for recreational purposes, you will use it a lot more infrequently.

How often you will use the device is important depending on the warranty you buy the product under.

Most recreational generators will come with a long warranty, however, if you are buying one for work on a building site you should do more research into the warranty before buying a generator.

Operating Noise

The operating noise of the generator is either something that will be incredibly important to you, or it won’t matter at all.

Generators are well known for being noisy machines, portable generators tend to be quieter but they will still emit a certain amount of noise while they are operating. 

If you are working on a building site that is near a residential area or has time limits on when you can do work, a quieter generator may be appropriate.

Similarly, if you are using the generator to power something within your home, you may want to buy a quieter generator to keep your neighbors happy.

Thankfully, in recent years, manufacturers have started to include operating noise as a key piece of the design, especially in portable generators.

However, most of the ‘quieter’ generators are the designs that have less power, so if you want a quiet generator you will find it difficult to find a 4000W generator which is also quiet. 

Fuel Tank and Start-Up

Finally, you should consider both the fuel tank of the generator and the start-up process.

After you use the generator it will require re-fueling, a larger fuel tank will allow you to go longer periods between refueling the tank.

At a 50% load, most generators will operate for up to 9 hours, this will increase or decrease depending on the percentage of the available power you are using at one time.

If you are unsure what size fuel tank to go for, it is usually better to choose a larger tank. However, you should remember that a larger fuel tank will increase the weight of the generator if you transport it with a full tank.

You will also likely be given a choice in the material of the fuel tank, plastic is always a good choice as it is not exposed to corrosion like metal is.

You should also consider the startup method, most generators used to be started by pulling a cord, but now it has become a lot more common for them to be started by simply pressing a button.

Electric start generators tend to be more pricey but they have longer longevity and are exposed to fewer issues than a cord pull start generator. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a 12,000 Watt generator run a house?

If you want to buy a generator to power your whole house, a 12,000 Watt generator is a good place to start.

The majority of the time, these generators will be able to power the whole of your home without fault. 

A 12,000 Watt generator should provide enough electricity to power anything in your house which plugs into an electrical socket. However, it doesn’t hurt to buy a generator with more power just in case.

But bear in mind that a portable generator is highly unlikely to provide enough energy to run a whole house.

If you want to power your home you would be better off buying a static generator. 

What brand of generator is the quietest?

It is difficult to determine exactly which brand produces the quietest generator on the market.

Most portable generators are designed to operate while producing the lowest decibel of sound possible, because of this you will find that many portable generators are extremely quiet.

If quietness is something you are looking for, it would be a good idea to check out some of the generators we’ve looked at above. 

Are whole house generators tax deductible?

Despite common misconceptions, whole house generators are not tax deductible.

In order for an electricity source to be tax deductible, it has to operate on green energy and be solar powered. 

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    I'm an environment and energy blogger who teaches outdoor and energy enthusiasts how to be better informed when it comes to purchasing or maintaining a generator, solar panel system, or anything else related to your energy needs.