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A portable generator is an invaluable tool, providing much-needed backup in the event of a power outage or a dose of comfort in a place without power like a campground. But if you’re an avid tailgater, it can make all the difference between a memorable day of grilling and a disaster. The best portable generators are a worthwhile investment, giving you peace of mind and the ability to operate important appliances on the go.

There are many portable generators on the market, and there are few appliances where it’s more important to make sure you’ve got the right one. The wrong portable generator can fail when you need it most – or worse, malfunction and cause a fire. We’ve put together a list of the best portable generators on the market today. Read on and find the best portable generators to make your next tailgate party one to remember.

Comparison Table

Best Portable Generators FAQ

What Is a Portable Generator and What Can They Do?

What Is the Power Source of a Portable Generator?

How Long Do the Best Portable Generators Run?

Are the Best Portable Generators Safe to Use?

Where Can I Buy the Best Portable Generators?

How We Reviewed

The following portable generators were reviewed based on the following parameters: affordability, safety, ease of use, fuel efficiency, power output, reliability, and customer reviews.

Overall Price Range of This Product (and Similar Products)

The price range of the best portable generators is primarily set by power output. The ten generators on this list range from $$ for a 1250-watt generator to $$$$ for a 17500-watt generator.

What We Reviewed

  • WEN 56200i
  • Champion RV Ready
  • Honda EU2200i
  • Generac 7117
  • Generac 5735 GP17500E
  • Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200
  • WEN 56180
  • Anker Powerhouse
  • Briggs & Stratton 30663
  • Yamaha EF1000iS
WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator, CARB...
  • Extremely quiet operation is comparable to the sound of a normal conversation according to...
  • EPA III and CARB Compliant 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV engine produces 2000 surge watts and 1600...
  • Great for campgrounds, construction sites, tailgates and power outages
  • Produces clean power to safely operate and prevent damage to sensitive electronics such as...
  • Includes two three-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle and one 5V USB port

Features

If you’re environmentally conscious and looking for a generator to match, the WEN 56200i is a good choice ecologically and economically. Its output isn’t the strongest at 2000 starting watts and 1600 running watts, but it burns fuel efficiently and provides more than enough energy during an emergency outage or a camping trip.

It should be more than capable of running your grill at a tailgate for hours. At only 51dBA, it minimizes noise disruption and is one of the safest options thanks to low harmonic distortion. Designed to produce clean energy, it comes with an automatic shutoff when low on fuel or energy to ensure safety.

PROS

  • Clean-burning, environmentally-friendly model 
  • One of the lowest-priced options on the list
  • Provides longer-lasting power at 1600 running watts
  • Quieter than most models
  • Comes with built-in safety features

CONS

  • Lower power than most other models

Warranty

Comes with a two-year warranty.

Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator with Electric...
  • Dual Fuel - Runs on GAS or PROPANE straight out of the box. Engine type: 4-stroke, wheel...
  • 4750 starting watts, 3800 running watts with up to 9 hours run time on a full tank of gas...
  • Powered by a reliable 224cc Champion engine with Touch Start, push-button electric start...
  • Frequency: 60 Hz. Outlets - 120V 30A RV, 120V 30A locking, two 120V 20A household outlets...
  • Champion Support - 3 year limited warranty with FREE lifetime technical support. Refer...

Features

Designed for use in RVs and on camping trips, the Champion RV Ready is a great choice for heavy-duty generator users. It comes with 4750 starting watts and 3800 running watts, and is a versatile generator that’s good during power outages or for longer tailgating parties.

It can run for nine hours on gas or ten and a half hours on propane, meaning you don’t have to worry about interrupting your day to recharge. Easy to use straight from the box, it comes with a battery for a quicker start and a backup power source.

PROS

  • Powerful energy output 
  • Runs on gas, propane, or battery power
  • Runs for most of a day on a full tank
  • EPA compliant in all fifty states
  • Lower noise level than many options
  • Low-priced for its power level

CONS

  • Instruction manual for maintenance must be followed closely

Warranty

Comes with a three-year limited warranty.

Features

If a quiet generator is important to you, the Honda EU2200i is an ideal choice. Providing 2200 watts at only 48 to 57 dBA, it provides solid energy output at only a fraction of the sound. An updated version of Honda’s most popular generator, it comes with safety features including a fuel shutoff valve. This keeps the generator going when the fuel valve is shut off and prevents issues linked to stale fuel. It can run almost ten hours on a full tank, making it an ideal choice for a long day of tailgating.

PROS

  • The most quiet option on the list 
  • Highly efficient, running almost ten hours
  • Includes safety features like a fuel shut-off valve
  • Provides up to 2200 watts

CONS

  • One of the most expensive models on the list

Warranty

Comes with a three-year limited warranty.

Generac 7117 GP2200i 2200 Watt Portable Inverter Generator - Parallel...
  • Quiet, Compact, Easy to use. AC rated output running Watts: 1700, AC maximum output...
  • Truepower technology provides clean, stable power ideal for sensitive electronics, tools...
  • Built-in handle makes it easy to transport and the integrated OFF/RUN/CHOKE knob...
  • Economy mode provides excellent fuel economy and noise reduction while the LED status...
  • Parallel ready allows you to connect 2 inverters together for twice the power (parallel...

Features

If you’re a first-time generator user, you’re going to want one that’s easy to use. The Generac 7117 is a user-friendly model ideal for beginners. Coming with a built-in handle for easy transportation and a simple knob to turn the unit on and off, it’s easy to use right out of the box. An ideal choice for powering electronic devices, its 1.2 gallon fuel tank can provide over ten hours of power when run at twenty-five percent. Comes with an economy mode to conserve power and keep the generator quiet.

PROS

  • Compact and easy to transport 
  • Ideal for powering electronic devices long-term
  • Easy to use thanks to control knob
  • Efficient and can provide up to ten hours of power
  • Mid-priced, affordable model

CONS

  • Less powerful tha
  • Uses up power fast at full power

Warranty

Comes with a two-year limited warranty.

DuroMax Portable Generator, XP12000EH
  • POWERFUL DUROMAX ENGINE: The XP12000EH is Powered by a DuroMax 18HP, 457cc OHV Engine.
  • DUAL FUEL TECHNOLOGY: The ability to run on Propane or Gasoline allows the Freedom and...
  • PLENTY OF POWER: With 12,000 starting watts and 9,500 running watts, this unit can handle...
  • MAXIMUM POWER: With DuroMax MX2 technology, get the maximum power from each of the 120...
  • POWERING EVERYONE ANYWHERE: Like all DuroMax generators, the XP12000EH is EPA and CARB...

Features

If you want a heavy-duty generator, Generac 5735 GP17500E provides the most power on the market at a steep price. With 22800 starting watts and 17500 running watts, it’s an ideal choice for running an entire house. Capable of running a five-ton air conditioner or up to sixteen power circuits, it’s a popular choice for large construction sites. Designed to be durable and long-lasting, it can run up to ten hours on its tank and comes with a backup battery for extended lifespan.

PROS

  • Most powerful generator on the market 
  • Can run an entire house or job site
  • Lasts up to ten hours
  • Designed to be durable and safe

CONS

  • Most expensive generator on the list
  • At 390 pounds, not easy to transport

Warranty

Comes with a two-year limited warranty.

Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 PowerSmart Series Portable 2200-Watt...
  • Quiet and fuel efficient 111 cc OHV engine produces 2,200 starting watts and 1700 running...
  • Produces less than 3% total harmonic distortion making it safe for laptop computers, TVs...
  • 1-gallon fuel tank for up to 8 hours of continuous operation at 25% load, USB port allows...
  • Parallel connector port allows connection between 2 units for more power. Muffler : Super...
  • At 59dB operating volume, it's quieter than a normal conversation (Sound levels may vary...

Features

If you’re using your generator primarily to run sensitive electronic equipment like laptops or gaming systems, there’s nothing more important to you than safety. The Briggs & Stratton 30651 has the lowest harmonic disruption on the list at less than three percent, making it a very safe choice. The one-gallon tank can provide up to eight hours of power at 25% load capacity, and comes with a USB port for charging phones. Operating at a quiet 59 dBA, it’s one of the best generators for home use. Provides 2200 watts, making it powerful enough to run a grill or major appliances.

PROS

  • Ideal for running sensitive electronic equipment 
  • Powerful enough to run grills or major appliances
  • Comes with an attached USB port
  • Quieter than many models
  • Reasonable price point

CONS

  • Shorter run time than other models

Warranty

Comes with a two-year limited consumer warranty.

WEN 56180 1800-Watt Portable Generator, CARB Compliant
  • EPAIII and CARB compliant generator allows for operation in all 50 states
  • Rated amperage 12.5 A.1800 surge watts and 1500 running watts provides power for both...
  • Operational volume (decibel): 63. Lightweight and compact generator runs at half load for...
  • Includes two AC120V three-prong wall outlets and one cigarette-lighter-style 12V DC outlet
  • Low-oil shutdown safeguards the 4-stroke OHV engine from damage while the spark arrestor...

Features

An ideal budget generator, the WEB 56180 is an ideal choice for backup if you’re worried about the food in your refrigerator during a power outage or need a light source while camping. Its 1.45 gallon gas tank can run for seven and a half hours at half-load and provides 1800 starting watts and 1500 running watts. Coming with three outlets and weighing only fifty pounds, it’s an easily portable all-purpose option and comes with a low-oil shutdown feature.

PROS

  • Reasonable price point 
  • Versatile generator is good in all emergencies
  • Comes with safety features

CONS

  • Lower power output than most alternatives
  • Only available from third-party sellers

Warranty

Comes with a two-year warranty.

Anker Powerhouse, Compact 400Wh / 120000mAh Portable Outlet, Generator...
  • The Anker Advantage: Join the 10 million+ powered by our leading technology.
  • Portable Power: Off-grid power supply for camping or emergency backup, capable of powering...
  • Remarkably Compact: PowerHouse is possibly the smallest and lightest 400Wh power supply on...
  • Safety Guaranteed: Battery Management System (BMS) undertakes voltage control, temperature...
  • What You Get: Anker PowerHouse (434Wh Portable Power Supply), 10ft / 304cm AC adapter, 2ft...

Features

If you’re looking for a lightweight project that can provide a much-needed dose of power in emergencies, the Anker Powerhouse is a portable 160-watt generator ideal for smaller jobs. Able to power a fifteen-volt light for over a hundred hours or recharge a laptop fifteen times, it’s ideal for short trips when you want a constant supply of limited power around. Powered by batteries, so no fuel needed

PROS

  • Lightweight and easily portable 
  • Long-lasting output of 160 watts
  • Near-silent
  • Ideal for repeated small jobs

CONS

  • Not suitable for tailgating or grilling
  • Low watt output
  • Expensive compared to power output

Warranty

Comes with an 18-month warranty.

Briggs & Stratton 30663, 7000 Running Watts/8750 Starting Watts, Gas...
  • Clean and instant power to keep appliances and other important electronics running during...
  • Produces 25-percent more surge wattage so you can run large appliances and tools at the...
  • 2100 series OHV 420cc engine
  • 7.5-Gallon Metal fuel tank for an impressive 9-hours of continuous operation at 50-percent...
  • 3-Year limited warranty

Features

If you want a powerful, long-lasting generator, the Briggs & Stratton 30663 is one of the best on the market. With 7000 starting watts, it comes with twenty-five percent surge wattage and can run multiple appliances at the same time. Its 7.5 gallon engine can provide more than nine hours of power at a fifty percent load, and is easy to use thanks to an electric key star. It can also be activated remotely. The 221-pound model comes with conveniently attached wheels, and comes with five outlets and circuit breaker protection.

PROS

  • Powerful energy output 
  • Can handle five appliances at one time
  • Easy to wheel around
  • Comes with safety features including circuit breaker protection

CONS

  • One of the most expensive generators

Warranty

Comes with a three-year limited warranty.

Yamaha EF1000iS, 900 Running Watts/1000 Starting Watts, Gas Powered...
  • 1,000 Watt Maximum AC Output/900 Watt Rated AC Output
  • Noise Block Acoustically designed sound reduction system
  • Long Run Time - Runs continuously for up to 12 hours without refueling
  • Smart Throttle Load sensing throttle control
  • CARB Compliant

Features

One of the longest-lasting generators on the market, the Yamaha EF1000iS provides up to twelve hours of power at 1000 starting watts. Energy efficient, it maximizes fuel energy and is crafted from noise-absorbing glass wool to make it one of the quietest models on the market. The economy mode still provides sufficient power while saving energy and giving you more hours of use.

PROS

  • Lasts longer than most alternatives 
  • Noise-absorbent glass wool keeps it quiet
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight and easy to transport

CONS

  • Lower power than most alternatives
  • Not ideal for heavy equipment like grills
  • Expensive for the power level

Warranty

Comes with a two-year warranty.

The Verdict

generator

Image via Pixabay

All ten portable generators on this list deliver strong performance, efficiency, and safety. They’re all made from high-quality materials that take the worry out of running a generator. But they vary dramatically in terms of performance. Several highly effective generators are unsuited for running a grill during a tailgate. Among the generators capable of running a tailgate, one stood out for its price point, portability, ease of use, and efficiency. We give our endorsement to the Champion RV Ready as the best portable generator on the market today.

Featured Image via Unsplash

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