Portable Generator Comparison Charts & Generator Buying Guide
We all depend on our powerful generators for our home emergency backup power. During power outages, a generator can keep our house cool in summer and warm in winter. Inverter generators for home use can supply power to vital electronic devices when you’re facing a blackout. Outside the home, small backup generators can provide power for TVs, small appliances, power tools, and lights, in short, all household appliances.
People tend to buy generators around emergencies like major storms or cyclones, That’s when they are prone to making a desperate decision—without a plan for what to do when they get it home. Working by flashlight, in a rush to get the power-up and running, they might skip over critical safety steps during setup. But most of the time we forget the fact that people die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning related to generators.
So if you don’t want to be one of those people, I suggest you read through my blog post and know the things that you need to know before splurging your money on a generator.
Yes, You Need A Generator Buying Guide
Portable generator comparison charts provide useful information for customers. By going through the charts, it is possible to purchase the most useful inverter generator for your needs rather than conventional generators. When there are numerous models in the market- the dual-fuel generators, the gas-powered generator, it is difficult to figure out the best for your needs. In this context, you should want to go through the information, evolution, and comparison compiled by experts to help you shop smart. The features, price, benefits, and pros and cons of various portable generators are compared on review websites. Hence, it is very much important to go through portable inverter generators comparison charts presented on review sites so that you can make the most from your investment.
Benefits of Portable Generator Comparison
When you go through portable generator comparison information presented on review sites, you will come to know the brands and models that are in the market. It is possible to make an informed choice based on your current requirements. The generator that you will purchase should give you great performance. It should efficiently serve the purse. When you go through a generator comparison offered by experts, you can narrow down the selection in an effortless manner.
I like to categorize portable generators into low, mid, and high-range with regards to their running watts. There is no official category for portable generators, so what I say goes! Some generators work efficiently by consuming less fuel and delivering great output for many numbers of hours. Or at least on this portable generator reviews site. The most popular portable generators are in the mid-range. Those that are the most versatile for most uses you would need for your home. That’s why a portable generator comparison chart was made to easily compare the portable generators.
The low-range portable generators will serve the purpose of powering the barest essentials in a power failure, or handy as an on-site power source for single power tools or keeping your food warm while tailgating. And of course, the low end is the most affordable.
The high-end is useful in hooking up to your home’s power during a power outage and will run almost everything you’ll need including your sensitive electronics. But these are a real investment at $1000 and above. So my categories are described as:
Low-range – up to 3000 running watt generators
Mid-range – between 3000 and 7000 running watt generators
High-range – over 7000 running watt generators
You will be able to purchase a generator that produces no noise or negligible noise levels. Thus, you will enjoy great peace of mind over the investment that you will make in a portable generator.
After going through the comparison, you will be able to choose a user-friendly portable generator. Some generators come with numerous features, and there might be a complicated control panel. It will be difficult for laymen to understand all the technical jargon. Such kinds of portable generators can be avoided when you are aware of the functionality and features of the generator. You will purchase a generator that is easy to maintain and which runs at greater efficiency. The controls will be simple and the product will be supported by excellent customer support as well.
Best in a class generator from the best manufacturer can be selected after going through the portable generator comparison presented on review sites. portable inverter If you are looking for a ‘green’ generator, then a solar generator or a portable power station may be ideal for you. You will not be carried away by the marketing tactics adopted by aggressive marketers. The models available in the market can be checked and assessed through portable generator comparison charts. You will select a portable generator that comes with a sufficient warranty, extension cords, easy-to-install, easy-to-maintain, and fuel economy. A portable generator can be selected based on the rating that you need. You will not be carried away by the discounts offered. Portable generator comparison will give you complete information so that you can invest in the best portable generator.
Pros of Portable Generator Comparison
The comparison presented by experts and real customers will give you a clear picture of the portable generators available in the market. Most of the sites will present information about the best brands, best models, and the best deals as well. When you sign for newsletters or emails on such review sites, you will get instant information. You will be the first to grab the discount.
Efficiency It is possible to purchase efficient standby generators that consume less fuel and deliver a greater output. Comparison will provide you objective analysis so that you will not be carried away by the aggressive marketing propaganda.
User-friendly features Portable generator comparison will let you choose a user-friendly generator for your needs. There will be instructions that can be followed by a layman and the company offers the best customer and technical support. The generator will deliver the goods as proclaimed by the manufacturer. You will be able to run the generator continuously so that you will overcome the power outage in your area.
Cons of Portable Generator Comparison
Wrong information portable generator comparison should be verified so that you will not fall prey to wrong information. There are certain blogs and websites which will show favor to some products or brands so that they will be benefited from the promoters. When you cross-check the information with your friends and neighbors, you will not invest in the wrong product. Most of the premium sites will not resort to cheap marketing tactics as the truth will be revealed sooner or later.
Quick purchase When you go through a portable generator comparison, you will be tempted to purchase a portable generator immediately. Instead of placing an order immediately on the website, you should take sufficient time so that you will get facts with little observation and feedback from real customers. You should confirm your decision after going through two or more genuine resources so that you will not invest in the wrong portable generator.
Should You Go Through A Portable Generator Comparison?
Yes, it is required to go through a portable generator comparison so that you will get a clear picture of the portable generator industry, available brands, models, capacity levels, and other options. You can filter generators based on budget, performance, fuel economy, noise levels, user-friendly features, and emission standards. It is possible to settle for the best so that you will enjoy long life and the extended warranty from the manufacturer. You will take enough precautions for the generator so that it will deliver power in the intended lines.
My Generator Buying Guide
Know Your Power Priorities
Firstly, you need to know the amount of power output you need from your home generator. Generators are sold by power output, as measured in watts. The amount of power they deliver determines how many common appliances you can run at once. The quality and consistency of cleaner power a generator produces determine how well it’ll run. Typically to cover the basic needs of a home, I suggest you get a generator in the 2,200-watt range to 4000 watts power rating.
Or you can make a list of things that you want to run with a generator when power is down. Then add up their watts to get a ballpark figure of the wattage range that you need.
Here are some rough numbers for common home appliances.
- Refrigerator: 600 watts
- Microwave: 600 to 1200 watts
- Sump pump: 750 to 1,500 watts
- TV: 150 to 300 watts
- Portable heater: 1,500 watts
- Window air conditioner: 1,000 watts
- Lights: 60 to 600 watts
- Computers: 60 to 300 watts
Use our Generator Sizing Calculator to find out what size and type of generator you need.
One tip that will make prioritizing easier is determining which outlets and appliances are controlled by each circuit breaker in your panel and labeling them accordingly. The easiest way: a small electric device called a digital circuit breaker finder, which you can buy for less than $50.
Pick a more compatible Type
You can choose from four options:
1. Home standby generators-
- Up to whole house protection with the 200 Amp, NEMA 3R (aluminum outdoor enclosure) smart switch
- Smart, User-friendly controls; Generac evolution controller features a multilingual LCD display that allows you to Monitor Battery status and track maintenance intervals to ensure your generator is always in top operating condition
- 240 volts supply
- Receive real time status updates
Last update on 2023-05-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Installed permanently. You can choose the type of fuel cause it runs on natural gas or propane, and kick on automatically during an outage.
- These units cost the most money and should be installed by a professional. An experienced electrician can help with town or municipal permits, sound level, and proper location.
- These start automatically when the power goes out, and typically supply more power than the other four options. You can run every home appliance- TV, refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, mobile device, etc. smoothly.
- They have a self-diagnosis option and let you know when maintenance is needed.
- With this generator, you have your choice of fuel. For my home standby generator, I prefer propane. It is less risky to store than gasoline (which is required for the other models here). You can also use natural gas. And a single tank of gas provides an unlimited supply of power.
- They range from roughly 5,000 to 20,000 watts.
$2,000 to $7,500 without installation, which can double these prices.
Portable and Inverter generators- Can both be installed permanently or moved around, and they come in different sizes and shapes. Some are better for transporting to a tailgate, while others are better kept on your property as a backup power source.
2. Portable Generators:
These units cost less than home standby generators.
- They typically run on gasoline that you may need to store in large quantities.
- A stabilizer must be added to the fuel tanks to keep the fuel fresh for prolonged storage.
- You can use portable generators anywhere on or off your property. But you can not use it in an enclosed space. These models tend to produce deadly levels of carbon monoxide. So it’s important to run a portable generator at least 20 feet away from your home.
- These generators come in so many sizes and shapes. You can also get RV ready portable generator for camping. Also, these are perfect for job sites and construction sites.
- You need to get weatherproof covers for this type as it stays outdoor. If it’s raining, shield your generator with a canopy designed for your particular model.
- Most of these generators have the Eco-Throttle switch that allows the motor to run at optimum engine speed to match the electrical load to save fuel and reduce the noise level.
- Several of these models offer electric starting. The battery bank required for electric start, however, may need to purchase separately.
- Typically can handle 3,000 to 8,500 watts consistent electrical load.
$400 to $2,500
Cost a lot more than traditional portable generators because their engines are more complex.
- Inverter generators are much quieter than their conventional counterparts because they throttle up and down to match demand rather than run at full power all the time. They also have more sophisticated exhaust systems which also help tamp down the noise.
- They are more fuel-efficient and produce fewer emissions, but you should still follow all the same safety features you would with a portable generator.
- Low Maintenance Simply keeps it plugged into the wall or solar panel to extend battery life.
- Typically provide from 1,500 to 6,500 watts.
$300 to $4,000
4. Portable Power Stations:
- HIGH CAPACITY: With 3,032Wh, power your life at work, at home, and on the road. Seven versatile port options allow you to run everything from power tools and refrigerators to electric bikes and wood-fired grills.
- HOME BACKUP: Back up your home with power from your Yeti 3000X. Keep your fridge running for 43 hours and your light bulbs lit for 276 hours.It can be integrated into your home’s circuits for seamless backup power with the Home Integration Kit (sold separately). For an added bonus, you can control your Yeti 3000X with the Yeti App and switch to battery saver mode as needed.
- RECHARGE WITH SOLAR: Maximize your solar input with Goal Zero’s MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking), which increases solar input by up to 30 percent. Turn your Yeti 3000X into a solar generator when you choose from our lightweight Nomad Solar Panels for portability, our durable Boulder series, or our Boulder installation models for semi-permanent or permanent installation.
- DURABLE AND SAFE: Professional grade construction with a heavy duty anodized aluminum enclosure and internal separately sealed battery unit provides years of use at home or off-grid. Goal Zero uses only the highest quality Tier 1 Lithium battery cells, which are protected by an advanced multi-sensor battery management system. Our best-in-class US-based customer service is there whenever you need us, and our 2-year warranty backs the Yeti 3000X for additional peace of mind.
- POWER IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND: Monitor, control, and optimize your power usage from anywhere with the Yeti App 3.0. Features remote control of power in/out, real-time power consumption notifications, and charging profiles to optimize your battery life.
- WHY GOAL ZERO: Our foundation rests on our efforts to present a new way forward in portable power use at home and off-grid, but also in our humanitarian roots and legacy. Since 2009, we have donated our time and products to disadvantaged communities, and our efforts have impacted over 100,000 lives. Our products are engineered with precision here in the U.S. with a real-life use case in mind.
Last update on 2023-05-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
They have large battery types that store electricity for when you need it. The best and only option for someone who lives in an apartment and has no way to safely run a generator outdoors.
- These devices don’t use gas or propane—they’re powered by a battery that you can charge by plugging into an electrical outlet or, sometimes, an included solar panel (you might also see them called “solar generators”).
- Portable power stations are relatively new to the market, and they typically cost more than portable gas generators.
- For those concerned about noise, note that these devices are extremely quiet, as they have no engine.
- These can power phones, laptops, camera equipment, portable fridges, medical devices, TVs, and more. And can also run fridges, lights, medical devices, and other essentials, all with the flip of a switch or the push of a button.
- They don’t produce fuel emissions/carbon monoxide, so you can use them indoors.
- Don’t expect to power as many appliances or run them for an extended period of time, since they don’t output as much power as portable generators and you can’t keep them running without recharging them, either with electricity or solar power.
- There are no issues with starting because there’s nothing to start—think of these power stations as a large battery pack for your cell phone.
- Models we test provide from 1,200 to 1,500 watts.
$750 to $3,000
Don’t Cut Corners When It Comes To Safety.
Read the owner’s manual and instructions for your portable generator. Carefully follow all instructions and warnings to safely start and operate the generator.
*The following tips are merely supplemental and aren’t intended to substitute reading the owner’s manual*
Carbon Monoxide and Ventilation
The exhaust from fuel-powered generators ( gasoline, propane, and diesel generators) produces deadly carbon monoxide (CO) gas you can’t see or smell. So DO NOT run one of these generators indoors or in partly enclosed areas such as garages. Using a fan or opening doors and windows won’t provide sufficient ventilation. You need to keep at least 20 feet away from home – far from windows, doors, vents, and crawlspaces. Even outdoor make sure to keep them in an area where adequate ventilation is available. Also, make sure your home has properly installed carbon monoxide detectors.
Other Features to Consider
Consider these options to get the best generator for your needs.
Automatic CO Shutoff
A portable generator must have this feature and pass CR’s safety tests, to earn a spot on our list of CR recommended generators. This critical safety feature shuts down a generator’s engine automatically if the CO sensor (built-in) detects levels of the deadly gas piling up to certain levels. More brands than ever offer models with this CO safety shut-off technology, including heavyweights like Generac, Honda, and Ryobi.
Look for the terms “CO Guard,” “CO Protect,” “CO Detect,” “CO Shield,” or “CO Sense” to verify whether a generator meets one of these two references on the packaging:
• ANSI/UL2201 Certified for Carbon Monoxide Safety
• ANSI/PGMA G300 Certified Safety & Performance
This is great if you travel a lot or work far from home, and can’t always get there quickly in an emergency. The generator will automatically start when the power goes off.
Several portable models offer this push-button alternative to the hassle of pull-starting the engine. It makes powering your generator easy, anyone can do it.
This is a great feature, especially during long blackouts. Allows you to check at a glance how much fuel remains in your portable generator.
Alternative Fuel Capacity
Most portable models run only on gasoline, though some come equipped to run on a propane tank or natural-gas line and others can be converted with kits.
This is a must-have feature while considering buying a generator. This shuts the generator down if oil falls below minimum levels. This prevents engine damage. Typically a standard feature on stationary generators, it’s increasingly common on portables.
Multiple Power Outlets
Four or more power outlets allow you best use the wattage by spreading the load, though we recommend using these only in an extreme pinch at home, or for when you’re away at a campsite. See the next section on transfer switches.
This connects to the generator so you can plug in appliances without running (potentially risky) extension cords outdoors.
Some Common Fuel Mistakes To Keep In Mind:
- Gasoline is extremely flammable and explosive.
- Some fuel may expand with heat. So it’s wiser to not overfill the fuel tank.
- Caution: Over-filled fuel tank can overflow fuel onto a hot engine and cause a fire or explosion.
Before adding fuel make sure the generator and the engine are entirely cool down. Never add fuel while the unit is running or hot.
- Never store a generator with fuel in the tank where gasoline vapors might reach an open flame, spark or pilot light.
- Don’t smoke near fuel or a generator.
- Many generator parts are hot enough to burn you during operation and while the generator is cooling after turning off. Avoid coming into contact with a hot generator.
Yes, You Need a Transfer Switch
It changes the load from one source of electricity to the other. In the case of portable generators, it changes the mains electricity supply directly to the generator and vice versa. Thus a transfer switch prevents having two power sources feeding into the circuit at the same time. Cause that is extremely dangerous and can even be deadly. In the United States, a transfer switch is a legal requirement for portable generators hooked up to a home or other building type.
But DO NOT attempt to install a transfer switch yourself. Installation of a transfer switch may require local permits but always requires a professional electrician. The transfer switch model will depend mainly on the size of your generator.
I’m James Martin and I live in Arizona. I work as a civil engineer and love the great outdoors. I enjoy being off the grid and survivalist culture fascinates me. Over the years, I’ve used many portable generators as a backup power source for emergencies or the main power source for mobile living and other temporary sounds/light installations. This website was started to share my honest inverter generator reviews and I hope this will help you to find the best portable generator for your needs. Start with the list of my favorite generators!