We take electricity for granted until it’s unavailable. Not having power can lead to serious issues, regardless of whether you’re on a camping trip or experiencing a sudden outage. Portable generators make it possible to have power wherever you are.
Many generators are powered by gasoline. Some can run on propane. Its power output level (and the maximum you can use it for), noise level in decibels as well its weight and portability are all important factors to consider when looking for one.
Generators aren’t inexpensive, but that doesn’t mean that you have to spend more on a high-end model.
There are many options for portable generators. How do you choose the right one? We’ve reviewed all of the most popular models and compiled our list of top-rated portable generators for 2022.
WEN 56380i – Best Portable Generator
- Weight: 99.2 pounds
- Power Output 3800 W
- Fuel Type : Diesel
- Running Time: Up to 8.5 Hours (half load)
- Outlets 1x120V, TT-30R R RV, 2x120VAC, 1x12VDC, 1x5VUS
$644.77 Amazon: Shop for it Last updated at 03:31 on 2022-06-16 Best Quiet Portable Generator: Westinghouse iGen2200
- Weight: 46 pounds
- Power Output 1800Watts
- Fuel Type Diesel
- Timeout: upto 12 hours (economy)
- Outlets 2x120V AC & 2x5V US
$499.00 Amazon: Last updated at 03:31 on 2022-06-16 Best Portable Solar Generator: Jackery Explorer 1000 + SolarSaga Solar Pane
Power Output 1,000 watts
- Fuel Type Sun power/electricity
- Runtime dependent of attached devices
- Outlets 3x DC, 1x 12vDC, 2x USB CPD, 1x USB A QC 3.0, and 1x USB–A
$1,649.00 Amazon Buy Last updated: 2022, 06-16 at 08.22 Best Portable Dual Fuel Generator: Champion 5500-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator
- Weight: 162.5 pounds
- Power Output 5500 W
- Fuel Type Petroleum or propane
- Runtime upto 9 hours for gas, 6.5 hours with propane
- Outlets 1×120/240V RV 30A RV (L14-30R), 3x120V AC 20A
$879.00 Amazon, Buy Last updated at 03:31 on 2022-06-16
- Weight: 95 pounds
- Power Output 4500Watts
- Fuel Type Diesel
- Runtime upto 9 hours (gas), 6 hours (propane).
- Outlets 2x 120V 30A RV and 2x 120V 20A A AC
$877.71 Amazon: Last update: 2022.06.16 at 03:31
Tables of Contents
WEN 56380i – Best Portable Generator
The WEN56380i, a portable generator of medium size, is well-suited for many purposes. It’s quiet operation and runtime (at half-load), of up to 8.5 hours make it a great portable generator for home. The compact size and wheels also make it suitable for use on the move. The collapsible hand handle makes it easy to move and store.
This generator has a 3800 watt rating, but you can get other models with up to 8750W. The WEN 56380i has been certified EPA/CARB compliant. This means that it can be legally used throughout the United States.
It’s RV-ready with a 28 amp RV outlet. It also comes with a spark-arrestor, making it suitable for use in many national parks and forests.
The 120V RV outlet has three prongs 120V, one 12V DC and one 5V usb port. A digital wattage meter provides real-time data about voltage, wattage as well as fuel supply and run-time.
The unit’s wattage to weight ratio is its only flaw. The generator’s weight of 99.2lbs is quite heavy considering its power. It is still relatively easy to transport because of its sturdy handle and wheels.
- Moderate in size
- EPA III, CARB Compliant for use across all US states
- Wheels and handles for easy transport
- Running time of up to 8.5 hours with half load
- Quiet operation
- For its size/wattage, it is quite heavy
Best Quiet Portable Generator: Westinghouse iGen2200
Generators are useful, but sometimes they can be very noisy. At campsites you might be subject to a lot of attention; at home you could get complaints from your neighbors. Models like Westinghouse iGen2200 can be quiet because they are specially designed.
This unit’s noise output is only 52dBA. This is roughly the noise level that a refrigerator in a home would produce, according to Yale University. This silent run is this. You can expect noise output to be greater depending on the application and the amount of work you do.
The Westinghouse can run at 1800 watts (peak watts are 2200). This is enough for running the kitchen and other appliances at home, but not enough to power an RV or other energy-intensive activities. There are two 120V outlets as well as two USB ports. This is a little bit of a limitation. These two factors together mean that Westinghouse iGen2200 works best as a portable backup generator or light camping generator.
This model is also extremely fuel efficient. The small tank holds just 1.2 gallons, but it can still deliver up to 12 hour runtime in fuel-efficient “Economy mode.” It weighs only 46 pounds and comes with an extended warranty of three years.
The unit’s downsides include a lack of outlets (it only has USB outlets and 120V outlets), and some quality control issues. There are many reports of issues with the unit making a sputtering sound or rattling, which can disrupt the “quiet” operation.
- Silent operation as low 52 dBA
- You can get up to 12 hours of running time from a 1.2 gallon tank (gas powered)
- You can pair it with select Westinghouse generators to increase the wattage
- 3-year limited warranty
- Some units may make sputtering/rattling or other noises.
- Few outlets of the type and quantity required
Best Portable Solar Generator: Jackery Explorer 1000 + SolarSaga Solar Panels
While most generators are powered by gas, some use propane. But what if the generator you need is off-grid? The Jackery Explorer 1000 can be paired with the Jackery SolarSaga100W panel.
The Jackery Explorer 1000 ( full review here is not really a generator (unless paired to the solar panels). It functions more like an enormous power bank. The Jackery Explorer 1000 can store 1002Wh (or more) of juice, and has a maximum output of 1000W. The Jackery is capable of charging from an AC outlet for up to seven hours and an accessory port for vehicles in around 14 hours.
The Jackery is ideal for use off-grid, but it works best when paired up with solar panels. If you have good sunlight, the Jackery can be charged in about eight hours. The Jackery will charge in 17 hours if only one panel is used. Inclement weather may slow things down.
Despite this, the solar charger is still quite fast, thanks to the use of MPPT technology, which maximizes power generation for all conditions.
The output power is approximately 1000W. This can be sufficient to power most small devices and appliances. However, it is not enough to run an RV, a microwave oven, hairdryer, or induction cook. The downside to this unit is its lower output. However, the cost is another. Jackery can be expensive. If you want to make the most of it, you’ll need the solar panels which can be purchased separately, or in a bundle.
The Explorer 1000 is worth the price if you’re willing to spend more and still get near-endless power while off-grid. Jackery also has other models available at a lower price, but with lower output or capacity.
- Easy to use and set up
- High power storage
- Silent operation
- Power small appliances, TVs, CPAP devices, and many more
- Fast charging from solar panels
- Rechargeable from AC outlet (72 hours) or vehicle accessories ports (14 hours).
- Solar panels are more expensive
- This list has a lower production than other ones
Best Portable Dual Fuel Generator: Champion 5500-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator
Although most generators work on propane or gasoline, the Champion 5500 Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator is able to run on both. This allows for greater flexibility. You can quickly switch to propane when you run out of gasoline, or vice versa.
The patent-pending fuel selector switch makes it easy to switch between fuel sources. Meanwhile, the Intelligauge tracks voltage, hertz, and other data. However, this display provides less information than other options on this list.
Cold-start technology allows the unit to start up quickly even in cold weather. It works by using a manual coil start but doesn’t require too many muscles. The generator is 162.5 pounds heavy, so it might be difficult to move. It is on wheels. However, the lack of long handles makes it difficult to move.
This unit has four 120V 20A outlets and one 120/240V 30-A locking outlet (L14-30R). The generator comes with three-year warranties and lifetime technical support.
This generator’s disadvantages are its noise level (it lists at 74dB, but tests up to 81.5dB when it uses gas), its weight and difficulty of transportation. For camping, the generator’s noise may make it difficult to use.
- Can run on either gasoline or propane
- 3-year warranty and life-long technical support
- Intelligauge keeps track voltage, hertz, and others
- Displays show the hours used. It is useful to keep track of maintenance tips.
- Can be quite loud – listed at 74.1 dB, but can test as high as 81.5 on gas power
Get Us in Your Inbox
Subscribe to our email newsletter for the latest news and tips in travel tech. We will also send you our free 25-page guide with helpful tips and advice.
You can cancel at any moment. Our privacy code explains our handling of your personal information.
Best Portable Generator for RVs & Camping: Champion 4500-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
Generators with RV-specific outputs are required to power RV appliances and electronics. In order to not be annoying other campers, generators should also be fairly quiet.
The Champ 4500-Watt Portable Generator Generator suits the bill perfectly thanks to the 120V-30A RV output.
The Champion is quiet too, with a 61dB rating. The Champion can deliver power for up to 14 hours on a full tank of gasoline (2.3 gal). Depending on how much power is being drawn, there’s an economy mode which can help improve fuel efficiency.
As with the Champion models, this unit also comes with a lifetime technical support and a three-year warranty. The only issue is the unit’s heavy 95-pound weight, which is quite high for a 4500W generator.