Best Portable Generator for Home Use 2015
Whether you're looking for a power source while you are out camping or want a home power backup in case of a loss of power, a portable generator can fill your needs.
That being said you'll need to decide not only capacity, but also whether you want to go with a gas or propane generator. Knowing ahead of time what type of equipment you plan should help you in deciding what type of generator you need.
Top Ten Portable Generators for the Money in 2015
Under $300 - DuroStar DS4000S Portable Generator
The features a 7.0 horsepower, air-cooled, OHV gasoline engine which produces 3300-watts continuous power and up to 4000 watts surge. It has a 4-gallon gas tank, with an easily readable gauge, which provides about 8 hours of continuous run time. The DuroStar is mounted in a heavy-duty frame with four point fully isolated motor mounts to keep it running smooth and quiet. DuroStar DS4000S
The DuroStar has a super quiet muffler that produces a 69 db. rating. It also features an automatic low-oil shut off to protect the engine. The front power panel features the start switch, a voltmeter and the circuit breaker as well as two 120 volt, 20 Amp 3 prong outlets and one 120 volt, 30 Amp outlet. It has a manual recoil pull start. Weighing in at about 93 lbs. and measuring 20" x 27" x 22" it can be a bit hefty to move. It does not come with wheels but DuroStar does offer an optional wheel kit. The DuroStar is backed by a 1 year limited warranty. It is not CARB-compliant.
Best Cheap Portable Generator - Under $400 WEN 56352 Gas Portable Generator
The Wen 56352 has a 6.5 horsepower, single cylinder. OHV engine which generates 3000 running watts of power with a 3500-watt peak surge. The 56352 will run continuously for up to 15 hours on the four gallon gas tank.
The tank has an easy to see fuel gauge. Features include a 120-volt outlet, a 120/240-volt NEMA outlet and a 12-volt cigarette style DC receptacle. It also has an engine operation hour counter, an automatic voltage regulator and a circuit breaker.
The automatic low oil engine shutdown can save the motor if the oil runs low. Starting is a breeze with the transistorized ignition and manual pull start. The Wen comes complete with handles and wheels for easy moving. It is not CARB-compliant and is not for sale in California.
Under $500 Briggs & Stratton 30466 Gas Portable Generator
Includes Wheel Kit
Briggs & Stratton has been a trusted name in small engines and outdoor equipment for over 100 years. The 30466 is a high quality portable generator featuring a 250cc, 1150 series, OHV, B & S, fuel-efficient engine. Measuring 26" x 18" x 23" it weighs in at 133 pounds. The B & S comes complete with a wheel kit featuring 8-inch flat free tires so it can be moved easily and a fold down t-handle makes for easy storage. It produces 3500 continuous watts with 4375 watts of surge power. That's plenty of power to keep your essentials up and running during a power outage without breaking the bank. The four-gallon gas tank holds enough fuel to run for 8 hours.
The fuel shut-off valve is a nice touch. The B & S has both 120 and 240-volt outlets. The outlets have rubber covers for foul weather protection. All outlets and controls are conveniently located on a single sided control panel. Low oil shutdown protects your engine in case of a low oil emergency. The 30466 carries a two-year consumer warranty. It is non-CARB compliant. Briggs & Stratton does not supply decibel ratings for this generator.
Best New Gas Portable Generator
The ETQ TG32P12 is a compact powerhouse weighing in at 110 pounds. A wheel kit with solid never flat tires is included for ease in moving. The ETQ features a 7 horsepower air-cooled 207cc 4 cycle gasoline engine. It has a low oil shut down to protect the engine. This generator produces 3250 running watts of power and a peak of 4000 watts.
The 4-gallon fuel tank provides about 13 hours of run time at 50% load and has a top read fuel gauge. The ETQ has two 120-volt 14A ground fault interrupt receptacles and one 240-volt outlet. The ETQ delivers clean and steady Sine Power making it great for sensitive electronics. It has an easy pull recoil start and starts with ease. Noise is limited with its large muffler producing a 69 db. rating. The ETQ comes with a one-year manufacturer's warranty. This generator is non-CARB compliant and is not for sale in California.
Top Portable Generator for Homes
Champion Power Equipment 46561
If you are looking for a generator that is easy to start, look no further than the 46561. This generator's 196cc
4-stroke OHV air-cooled gas engine comes equipped with a wireless remote electric start. The battery is included and it can be remotely started from up to 80 feet away. A nice feature for those cold snowy nights when the power goes out or when you don't want to leave your RV to start the generator. It can also be started with the electric start switch on the front panel or the manual recoil start.
This generator is rated at 3500 continuous watts with 4000 watts maximum output. It has one 120-volt duplex outlet, 1 120-volt twist-lock outlet and one RV receptacle. The four-gallon gas tank provides 12 hours of run time at 50% load without refueling. Champion includes a side panel "intelliGauge" display that displays volts, hertz and operating hours information. It has low oil shutdown and over voltage protection.
It comes complete with a wheel kit and a folding handle for ease of movement and weighs in at 135 pounds. Rated at 68b db. at 21 feet, the Champion is non-CARB compliant and not for sale in California. The 46561 has a limited two-year warranty with the first year covering parts and labor and the second year labor only. Champion also provides lifetime free technical support.
Best Generac Portable Generators - Propane and Gas
Generac is a well-known name in the industry that defines quality and long-term reliability. They're also number 1 in our portable generator manufacturer poll. Here are a few of their top rated models.
Generac 5939 GP5500 6,875 Watt 389cc OHV Portable Generator
This is a portable gas-powered generator with 389cc OHV engine. It a reliable 5,500-watt power supply (6,875 surge). It also feels solid and has never-flat wheels like you'd find on your wheelbarrow, but it's also easy to store with its ergonomic fold-down handle. Runs 10 hours at 50% load.
Generac 5747 XG8000E 10,000 Watt 410cc OHV Wheel Kit Electric Start
This professional-grade portable generator is a reliable 8,000-watt power supply with 10,000 surge watts. Features include an illuminated panel, 9-gallon steel fuel tank with gauge, advanced 410cc OHVI engine, electric start, and full-wrap frame tubing.
What's the Best Brand/Manufacturer for Gas or Propane Portable Generators? - Reader Poll
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Each of these generators can give you peace of mind in case of an emergency. Although any of the generators listed above would be sufficient as your RV or a small home backup power source, I would recommend the Briggs & Stratton 30466 if you're budget is under $500. The B & S is made mostly in America and with the company's trusted reputation for quality engines. Above $750 I'd recommend you go with a Generac model.
What portable generator do you use or plan on buying? Leave a question or comment below.