Generac Portable Generator

Last updated date: February 4, 2019

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We looked at the top 1 Portable Generators and dug through the reviews from 1 of the most popular review sites including BestReviews and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Portable Generator you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 33 expert reviews, the placed 0th when we looked at the top 8 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note March 16, 2019:
Checkout The Best Portable Generator for a detailed review of all the top portable generators.

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From The Manufacturer

Overall Product Rankings

1. Briggs & Stratton Powersmart Series Portable Generator
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 6
2. Honda Portable Generator
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 4
3. Champion Portable Generator
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 2
4. Yamaha Portable Generator
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 8
5. Toucan City Ryobi Portable Generator
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 1
6. DEWALT Portable Generator
Overall Score: 7.6
Expert Reviews: 1
7. Durostar Portable Generator
Overall Score: 7.6
Expert Reviews: 7
8. NorthStar Portable Generator
Overall Score: 6.4
Expert Reviews: 2

An Overview On Portable Generators

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.

DYWM 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 Buying Guide

  • 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. The Honda EU2000i Portable Generator is built to run a wide range of appliances, including ovens and refrigerators. The Champion Power Equipment Portable Generator, on the other hand, isn’t suitable for large appliances like stoves and air conditioning units. You’ll also find it lacking when it comes to keeping multiple larger items going at once.
  • For those who live in colder climates where conditions like ice storms tend to cause extended power outages, a unit like the Champion Power Equipment Portable Generator may be a better choice. The Champion builds in Cold Start technology 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. The Briggs & Stratton Powersmart Series generator comes with automatic voltage regulation that 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. The Briggs & Stratton Powersmart Series is a 3,000-watt generator, giving it a leg up over the 2,200-watt Honda EU2000i Portable Generator, the 1,600-watt Yamaha Portable Generator and the 1,200-watt Champion Power Equipment Portable Generator.
  • 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. The Briggs & Stratton Powersmart Series has four 120-volt AC outlets and one USB port. The Honda EU2000i Portable Generator and Yamaha Portable Generator have only two 120-volt outlets. The Champion Power Equipment Portable Generator has only one. If you choose the latter, you’ll need to run one extension cord into your house and rely on a power strip to use multiple appliances.
  • If you’ve ever heard a generator, you know they can be distractingly noisy. Generators are getting better about this, though. The Honda EU2000i Portable Generator is the quietest, at 48 to 57 dBA, which isn’t as noisy as a typical conversation. The Yamaha Portable Generator is only slightly louder at 51.5 to 61 dBA, and the Champion Power Portable Generator drops to 65 dBA once you’re 23 feet away.
  • If you’re looking for an affordable generator, the Champion Power Equipment Portable Generator retails in the $200-$300 range, which is significantly cheaper than the Briggs & Stratton, Honda and Yamaha generators, all retailing closer to $1,000.
  • In the event of an outage that lasts days, fuel capacity will be more important than any other factor. The Briggs & Stratton Powersmart Series and Yamaha Portable Generator have 1.5-gallon tanks that can each run for up to 10 hours as long as you aren’t maxing out capacity.
  • 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. The Yamaha Portable Generator is the most lightweight, at only 44 pounds, followed closely by the Honda EU2000i Portable Generator, at only 47 pounds. The Champion Power Portable Generator is a whopping 170.6 pounds, so it’s far better for stationary use.