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The Best Portable Generator - 2021

Last updated on October 13, 2020

We looked at the top 20 Portable Generators and dug through the reviews from 39 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best Portable Generators.

Best Portable Generator

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Our Picks For The Top Portable Generators

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  Best for Camping

Jackery Explorer Pure Sine Wave Portable Power Station Generator, 240-Watt

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Jackery

Explorer Portable Power Generator, 240-Watt

Overall Take

Take With You EverywhereNo matter what type of cord you need to plug in, this portable generator has the input for it all.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.
  Best for Emergencies

Westinghouse iGen4500 Portable Inverter Generator

Westinghouse

Portable Inverter Generator

Overall Take

Easy to UseThis portable generator comes with an LED data center that keeps you apprised of the remaining running time, power output, fuel level and voltage.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.

Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator

Honda

EU2200i Portable Generator

Overall Take

Easy to TransportWith its lightweight design, the Honda EU2200i Portable Generator is easy to grab and attach to your appliances when an outage strikes.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus Consumer Reports, New York Times Wirecutter, Generator Mag, Generator Grid. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" Delivered more than enough wattage to power our test appliances and handled surges very well. Provided especially clean power with consistently high voltage. Especially quiet from a distance of 23 feet. Easy to start and has some helpful features. Has..."
Cons
"The Honda EU2000i lacks a fuel gauge, making it hard to know how much fuel left in the tank. Oil checking and changes are not easy either due to lacking an oil extension tube for proper maintenance It’s..."
  Best for Travel

Anker Powerhouse 200 213Wh/57600mAh Clean & Silent Rechargeable Portable Generator

Anker

Powerhouse 200 Portable Generator

Overall Take

Runs QuietlyThis portable generator is nice and quiet, despite being incredibly powerful.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus Outdoor Command, Power Bank Expert. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" High capacity for the size, Reliable name brand, Clean and silent power"
Cons
"A little heavy and bulky, Cannot be taken on planes, Incompatible with USB-C laptops with input over 30W"
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
27

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the portable generators available to purchase.
20

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

39

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Outdoor Command, Power Bank Expert, New York Times Wirecutter, Rural Living, Best Generator.

22,407

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 20 Portable Generators and also dug through the reviews from 39 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Portable Generators.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

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Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Jackery Explorer Pure Sine Wave Portable Power Station Generator, 240-Watt

User Summarized Score

9.6
1,277 user reviews

Our Take

This portable generator offers an easy-to-move compact generator for all your electrical needs when outside the house. The large handle makes it easy to carry this product from place to place. In addition, it features outlets for AC, auxiliary cables, USB ports and a DC port.


Overall Product Rankings

Westinghouse iGen4500 Portable Inverter Generator

2. Westinghouse iGen4500 Portable Inverter Generator

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 1

Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator

3. Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 6

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer, 167-Watt

6. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer, 167-Watt

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 1

Champion Portable Generator

7. Champion Portable Generator

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 6

DuroMax Dual Fuel Portable Generator, 5500-Watt

8. DuroMax Dual Fuel Portable Generator, 5500-Watt

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 1

Generac GP3000i Super Quiet Inverter Generator, 3000-Watt

10. Generac GP3000i Super Quiet Inverter Generator, 3000-Watt

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 1

Briggs & Stratton Powersmart Series Portable Generator

12. Briggs & Stratton Powersmart Series Portable Generator

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 9

Yamaha Portable Generator

15. Yamaha Portable Generator

Overall Score: 8.1
Reviews Included: 10

Generac Portable Generator

16. Generac Portable Generator

Overall Score: 8.0
Reviews Included: 4

Ryobi 7000W EFI Portable Generator

17. Ryobi 7000W EFI Portable Generator

Overall Score: 8.0
Reviews Included: 3

DEWALT Portable Generator

18. DEWALT Portable Generator

Overall Score: 7.6
Reviews Included: 3

Durostar Portable Generator

19. Durostar Portable Generator

Overall Score: 7.6
Reviews Included: 10

NorthStar 8000 Surge Watts Portable Generator

20. NorthStar 8000 Surge Watts Portable Generator

Overall Score: 6.4
Reviews Included: 3

Our Portable Generator Findings


Jackery Explorer Pure Sine Wave Portable Power Station Generator, 240-Watt

Best for Camping

What We Liked: This portable generator offers an easy-to-move compact generator for all your electrical needs when outside the house. The large handle makes it easy to carry this product from place to place. In addition, it features outlets for AC, auxiliary cables, USB ports and a DC port.


Westinghouse iGen4500 Portable Inverter Generator

What We Liked: With a 52 decibels noise output, you can count on this portable generator to run quietly. When filled with just 3.4 gallons of gas, this unit is able to run for a total of 18 hours. It even comes with an economy mode to help you get the most out of your fuel.


Anker Powerhouse 200 213Wh/57600mAh Clean & Silent Rechargeable Portable Generator

What We Liked: Whether you need a portable generator on hand for emergencies or to plan an outdoor adventure, this model has you covered. It runs quietly and has the ability to recharge using solar power. It’s made to be universally compatible, so you won’t have any trouble powering appliances, electronics or medical equipment.


WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Inverter Portable Generator

What We Liked: You’ll find that this portable generator is environmentally friendly and powerful. It’s safe to operate just about anywhere, including your back yard, a construction site or at a campground. In addition to 120V and 12V DC receptacles, this unit comes with a USB port to charge your electronics.


Briggs & Stratton Powersmart Series Portable Generator

What We Liked: If you plan to run your appliances and devices directly to your generator, the Briggs & Stratton is a top pick. It comes with four 120-volt AC outlets and a USB port. It also has a 1.5-gallon tank that will run for up to 10 hours, which will come in handy in the event of an extended power outage. With 3,000 watts of power, it should easily handle all of your necessities.

Our Portable Generator Buying Guide

It’s never a good time for a power outage. Chances are the weather isn’t ideal, leaving you to either swelter or freeze in your house for hours or, worse, days. You can’t even use a fan or space heater to keep your family comfortable. As you watch the battery on your smartphone slowly die, you continue to monitor your local utility company’s online outage report, to no avail.

A generator can keep you up and running, whether an outage lasts an hour or three weeks. Just fill up a gas can at your local station, bring it home and fill up the generator to get started. Depending on the type of generator you buy, filing up one gas can may be enough to last you multiple days, and refilling is easy.

One decision you’ll need to make before you start shopping is whether you want an inverter or a conventional generator. Although inverter generators are more expensive, they’re generally quieter, more efficient and have a longer runtime than their conventional counterparts. If your home suffers only the occasional power outage, it might not be worth the extra price to have those benefits, but you’ll appreciate them if your power ever goes out for days at a time.

How you’ll connect up your generator is also important. You can set up a small generator in a safe area of your house and individually connect the items you use directly to it. Your generator will need to be at least 10 feet from any openings to your house to keep you safe. At that point, you can run one long extension cord from the generator into your home, and then plug multiple items into that. You can alternately run several extension cords into your home for the different appliances you’ll need to use, depending on the power outlets available on your generator.

The other way to use a generator is to hook it up to the transfer switch for your house. This is the safest method since the cord method requires ensuring you have the correct gauge and length of wire. You’ll need a power transfer system, which will have everything necessary to connect a portable generator to a home. The benefit of these systems is that you won’t have to connect individual appliances. You can run the items you need as you normally would, although you’ll still want to conserve energy to avoid multiple trips to the gas station during your outage.

DWYM Fun Fact

The average power outage lasts only four hours, although natural disasters pushed that number to 7.8 hours in 2017. When natural outages were factored out, though, the average was back to four hours. This can vary by state. California consistently has the most power outages, and Texas and Vermont also topped the list in 2017. The worst power outage in history came in 1965, when more than 30 million people were left without electricity due to human error. One of the strangest power outages happened in 2017, when a truck carrying a load of chickens overturned near a power pole.

The Portable Generator Tips and Advice

  • If your power goes out, chances are you’ll be using your generator for only those things you absolutely need. Still, it’s important to check the capacity.
  • For those who live in colder climates where conditions like ice storms tend to cause extended power outages, a unit with cold start technology helps to ensure you can still run it when the temperature drops.
  • One common issue with generators is a fluctuation in power that can make it difficult to run appliances and electronics. A generator with automatic voltage regulation keeps those fluctuations at bay.
  • When it comes to capacity, wattage is everything. Look for generators with a higher wattage if you’re concerned about keeping your refrigerator going while also intermittently using devices like your stove, toaster and smartphone.
  • If you plan to connect your generator directly to appliances rather than hooking it up to your home’s transfer switch, pay close attention to the electrical outlets included.
  • If you’ve ever heard a generator, you know they can be distractingly noisy. Generators are getting better about this, though. Check the dBA of generators you are considering. The lower the dBA, the quieter the generator will be.
  • In the event of an outage that lasts days, fuel capacity will be more important than any other factor.
  • Before you buy, consider whether portability is an issue. If you plan to leave it in one place most of the time, you probably won’t prioritize that feature.

About The Author

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Stephanie Faris 

Stephanie Faris is a novelist and professional writer. She lives in a beautiful one-acre home in the suburbs on the outskirts of Nashville. Her home and garden work has appeared on popular home sites. She's a true homebody and loves looking at new houses for sale for inspiration on her own home remodeling projects.