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Two workers repair a portable generator. Credit: Skynesher / Getty Images

The Best Portable Generators of 2022

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Two workers repair a portable generator. Credit: Skynesher / Getty Images

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Product image of Westinghouse WGen9500DF

Westinghouse WGen9500DF

This dual-fuel generator can power all your critical appliances, is easy to start, and is relatively easy to move around. Read More

Pros

  • 12,500W peak wattage
  • Electric start
  • Dual fuel

Cons

  • Confusing instructions
  • Heavy
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Product image of Honda EU3000IS

Honda EU3000IS

This powerful, compact, quiet generator is a bit heavy, but delivers hours of reliable power in a pinch. Read More

Pros

  • 3,000W peak wattage
  • Quiet operation
  • Fuel efficient

Cons

  • No wheels
  • Heavy
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Product image of Champion Power Equipment 200951

Champion Power Equipment 200951

This portable, lightweight generator weighs less than 40 pounds, but can power a critical appliance like a fridge for hours on end. Read More

Pros

  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Limited power
  • Manual start
  • Small gas tank
4
Product image of Westinghouse WGen3600DF

Westinghouse WGen3600DF

This affordable generator has a large tank and delivers plenty of power to run an RV or critical appliances like a fridge, microwave, or air conditioner. Read More

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Runs on propane or gas
  • 4,650W peak wattage

Cons

  • Big for the amount of power
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Product image of Champion Power Equipment 100111

Champion Power Equipment 100111

This massive genny delivers enough juice to power an entire home—air conditioning, a refrigerator, and plenty more. Read More

Pros

  • 15,000W peak wattage
  • Dual fuel operation
  • Electric start

Cons

  • Very loud
  • Heavy

When a power outage strikes, you want to get up and running as fast as possible. A portable generator can keep your critical devices—including your refrigerator, microwave, CPAP machines, and phones and laptops—humming for hours on end.

Not only that, but a portable generator can be the perfect companion for RVing, camping, tailgating, or anywhere else that you want to run electric devices without power present. To find the best portable generators, inverters, and chargers on the market, we spent hours reading thousands of the best (and worst) user reviews and trying a few out for ourselves. The result? Our picks for the best portable generators you can get right now.

Just note that all of the generators that run off fuel—both gasoline and propane—need to be operated outside, away from dwellings and open windows. Operating a portable generator inside, or even too close to an open window, is incredibly unsafe due to the emissions the engines create.

Editor's Note

The recommendations in this guide are based on thorough product and market research by our team of expert product reviewers. The picks are based on examining user reviews, product specifications, and, in some limited cases, our experience with the specific products named.

Product image of Westinghouse WGen9500DF
Westinghouse WGen9500DF

This dual-fuel generator has just about everything we were looking for in a generator: it’s on wheels for portability, runs on propane or gas, features a large-capacity tank, and can be started easily with a simple switch.

Reviewers were particularly impressed with this generator’s efficiency, able to operate a fridge for more than 10 hours on a single tank of gas in addition to other small devices. If you don’t want to rely on gas, the ability to quickly hook up a propane tank is invaluable, making this a potent, flexible generator.

Best of all, it can deliver up to 12,500 peak wattage, meaning you can power a huge range of appliances at once, including a refrigerator, microwave oven, air conditioner, and more. It can only sustain about 9,500 watts at a time, but that’s more than enough for all those appliances and more if you stagger when you start them up.

No matter how you slice it, this is one of the best generators we’ve found. It’s an exceptional value, delivering efficient and clean power to your most important household appliances when you need it.

Pros

  • 12,500W peak wattage

  • Electric start

  • Dual fuel

Cons

  • Confusing instructions

  • Heavy

Product image of Honda EU3000IS
Honda EU3000IS

When it comes to small engines—in just about any form—Honda is the name to beat. That’s also true for portable generators, where Honda typically reigns supreme. You’ll definitely pay less for other brands, but nothing matches Honda for reliability, service, and durability in small engines.

This particular generator is a bit larger than some other Honda models, with a 3,000-watt running capacity. That’s more than enough to run a small air conditioner or full-size refrigerator. This inverter-style generator is relatively lightweight and compact, with quiet operation, meaning you can use it when camping, tailgating, or other times when you want portable power but don’t want to drown out everything for 50 yards in every direction.

Honda claims this generator can run for up to 20 hours on single tank of gas, though most reviewers pegged it at closer to 15 hours with typical usage, and dipping to around eight hours if you really push it. The inverter offers two 120-volt outlets on a 20-amp pair of outlets and about 30 amps on a 220V-type outlet, powering both simultaneously.

A couple notes from reviewers: You’ll need to read the manual, especially to connect the battery, which is not initially hooked up for shipping. The generator also doesn’t come with oil, which it needs to run, and none is included in the box. Get past that and you’ll be golden, with one of the best small generators on the market at any price.

Pros

  • 3,000W peak wattage

  • Quiet operation

  • Fuel efficient

Cons

  • No wheels

  • Heavy

Product image of Champion Power Equipment 200951
Champion Power Equipment 200951

If you want a relatively small, compact generator, this model from Champion Power is an affordable option. Like other small inverter generators, it’s lightweight, can power a critical appliance like a fridge or TV easily, and is easy to move around and start up.

The main thing to know about this generator is it only runs off of gasoline, and it only delivers enough power to run a standard 20A circuit through two 120V plugs. It will run for about seven to eight hours on a tank, according to reviewers, and it’s relatively quiet. But if you want to power your entire house, a larger generator may be called for.

If you really want a generator this small and compact, and you need more power, you can opt for a “parallel kit” that hooks up two of these generators side-by-side. It’ll use up twice the fuel, obviously, but you can then deliver more power to your house or RV at once.

Pros

  • Compact

  • Lightweight

  • Affordable

Cons

  • Limited power

  • Manual start

  • Small gas tank

Product image of Westinghouse WGen3600DF
Westinghouse WGen3600DF

If you like the larger, wheeled generators but don’t need enough power to run your entire house, this affordable Westinghouse model is a great alternative. It’s big and heavy, but it’s dual-fuel compatible, has an electric start, and it still delivers up to 4,650 watts on startup, letting you run a bunch of appliances like a fridge and freezer with ease.

Again, it likely won’t run your whole house at just 3,600 running watts, but you can keep a few circuits running along with your most critical heating and cooling appliances while you wait for your power to come on. The only downside here is the noise, as this model can be quite loud compared to the smaller inverter generators that deliver nearly as much power in more compact packages.

Pros

  • Affordable

  • Runs on propane or gas

  • 4,650W peak wattage

Cons

  • Big for the amount of power

Product image of Champion Power Equipment 100111
Champion Power Equipment 100111

If you really want to power your entire house with a portable generator, this behemoth from Champion Power will get you there. It can deliver a peak of 15,000 watts (12,000 running watts), which is an unbelievable amount of power. That’s enough to run a whole-home central air conditioner, your fridge, and likely every light in your house.

As you’d expect, that amount of power will tear through gas in no time, though this model does support both propane and gasoline. Reviewers claim it will run about eight hours at full load on a single tank, so if you’ll be out of power for a while, expect to make a trip to the gas station.

The main drawback we found with this is that it is extremely heavy and loud, so you’ll want to make sure that it’s located somewhere safe that you can easily access it when need be. You definitely won’t want to have to lug this around in the middle of a snowstorm.

Pros

  • 15,000W peak wattage

  • Dual fuel operation

  • Electric start

Cons

  • Very loud

  • Heavy

What you need to know about portable generators

Before you start using your portable generator, it’s important to note a few important differences between our picks. The most obvious one is fuel. Most of our generators run on gasoline, with an internal tank that is burned to create electricity. (Hence why they need to be operated well away from your house, where it’s safe for them to emit carbon monoxide).

Since each generator (except the rechargeable power stations) is a small engine, you also need to properly maintain it. That means adding oil before running it for the first time, making sure the oil level is where it needs to be, and draining it dry before storing it for an extended period of time. If you plan to have your generator for years, expect to have to do some routine maintenance and cleaning.

Mostly, the fuel differences come down to how you plan to use them. Gasoline is relatively efficient when powering a generator for hours on end, but it’s not something you want to transport regularly or store for months without using it. Propane is much more stable when stored, and easy to transport, meaning you can break out a propane tank with your generator in a pinch without needing to worry about the same problems you might if you are relying on gasoline.

Meet the tester

TJ Donegan

TJ Donegan

Executive Editor

@TJDonegan

TJ is the Executive Editor of Reviewed.com. He is a Massachusetts native and has covered electronics, cameras, TVs, smartphones, parenting, and more for Reviewed. He is from the self-styled "Cranberry Capitol of the World," which is, in fact, a real thing.

See all of TJ Donegan's reviews

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