The 5 Best Generac Portable Generators of 2020

1,805 Ratings
Generac GP3500iO Open Frame RV Ready Inverter Generator - 3500 Starting Watts with PowerRush Technology
  1. PowerRUSH Technology – Delivers over 50% more starting capacity-allowing you to do more with less
  2. Up to 50% quieter – ideal for noise sensitive environments/ up to 25% lighter – for improved portability
  3. True power technology – clean power for sensitive electronics
  4. RV ready – connect directly to RV to power most RV air conditioners up to 15, 000 BTU
  5. USB outlets and parallel ready – connect 2 units together for double the power

700 ratings

Generac 7043 Home Standby Generator 22kW/19.5kW Air Cooled with Whole House 200 Amp Transfer Switch, Aluminum
  1. True power technology delivers best-in class power quality (less than 5% thd) for Smooth operation of sensitive electronics and appliances
  2. Includes a 200 amp NEMA 3 (indoor/ outdoor rated) whole house Smart transfer switch
  3. Generac evolution controller features LED indicators for generator status, utility power presence or maintenance required
  4. Tough, durable all-weather aluminum enclosure offers 3 removable sides for easy access for installation, service and maintenance

33 ratings

Generac G0071780 16kW Home Standby Generator, Bisque
  1. True Power Technology delivers best-in-class power quality with less than 5 percent total harmonic distortion for clean, smooth operation of sensitive electronics and appliances
  2. Generac’s G-Force Engine is a purpose-built, pressure-lubricated engine capable of handling the rigors of generator use, resulting in power that’s more reliable and requires less routine maintenance than any competitive engine.
  3. Generac generators and engines are Engineered and Built in the USA. Built in the USA using domestic and foreign parts
  4. 7 Year Limited Warranty for automatic standby generators.

55 ratings

Generac 5685 Air-Cooled Standby Generator Transport Cart
  1. Compatible with all air-cooled models
  2. Large wheels and a wide handle take the hassle out of transportation
  3. Allows a single person to move the generator without additional people or tools
  4. Is easy to use and lifts the generator through leverage
  5. 2 year warranty

26 ratings

Generac 7127 iQ3500-3500 Watt Portable Inverter Generator Quieter Than Honda, Orange/Black
  1. Ideal for work or play – durable steel enclosure, clean inverter power and easy portability make this the ideal generator for jobsites or recreational activities
  2. 16% more power than Honda, Featuring power rush advanced technology
  3. Digital smart lcd – digital wattage meter, run time remaining display, generator status, hour meter and fuel level
  4. USB ports – charge mobile devices including smartphones and tablets
  5. ULTRA-QUIET – 40% Quieter than Honda*. Advanced inverter technology and enclosure design provide optimal quiet performance (* Over 5 dB(A) quieter than the EU3000is, based on independent third-party testing).

700 ratings

Tips for Choosing a Portable Generator

Portable generators are the most common type of generator on the market. This is because they offer the widest application and flexibility in use. However, choosing one can be difficult.

There are a lot of differences between portable generators. The list of features of fuel powered generators is long. For example, there are three types of starts, three types of fuel, several options for fuel control and the list goes on.

Buying a generator should be an educated choice. There are a number of design features, electrical features and mechanics to think about before purchasing a portable generator.

Below are tips on how to choose the right portable generator for you. This is a detailed guide on portable generators.

In most cases, a portable generator refers to a moveable generator that is powered by either liquid propane, gasoline or an oil/gas mixture. However, a few other types of generators are also sometimes labeled as portable generators. These are the small inverter generator and the lightweight solar power generator. These are given the label of portable generator because they are so easy to carry.

Portable Generator Size

The size of generators is measured by their power, not their dimensions. Portable generators running on fuel can be categorized into 3 brackets. These are less than 2000 watts, 2000 – 7000 watts and 7000 watts or more.

Portable generators with a power of less than 2000 watts are the lightest and are usually hand-carried with a handle. Most of these models are less than 70 pounds.

The dimensions of a portable generator between 2000 watts and 7000 watts vary greatly. These models can be a hand-carry design or built like a cart with wheels.

The more power, the bigger the generator dimensions. The most powerful portable generators are heavy, anywhere from 200 pounds to 300 pounds. These are considered heavy-duty models. They often have a protective design with never flat tires.

Choose a Design that Matches Its Use

Once you have found how much power the generator requires, you can start to think about the design of the portable generator. As mentioned, most designs are closely related to the generator’s power. Meaning, the more power the bigger the generator.

The smaller portable generators are good options for occasional use like camping trips. These designs are easier to carry around and fit easily into a car. If you only need to charge a few personal electrical devices like mobile phones and flashlights then these smaller generators are enough.

An even better alternative for outdoor trips is a solar power portable generator. Thanks to the solar power and rechargeable batteries these generators don’t require any extensive wiring and cords. This saves you even more space and weight.

When you need more power but don’t expect to run an entire building, a mid-size portable generator is the best choice. Portable generators designed like an easily wheeled cart are useful for outdoor work sites or for an RV. These generators have enough power for electrical tools and appliances like a TV or fridge.

If you are expecting to haul around the portable generator frequently, pay close attention to how mobile the design is. Look for sturdy wheels and a comfortable grip on the handle.

The biggest portable generators are somewhat misleading. Yes, the designs have wheels but because of their weight they are not easy pull around. Some designs are over 250 pounds which should not be pulled by alone.

However, their power is sometimes necessary for example during extreme weather conditions. Looking for a portable generator that can act as a backup home generator? Since the generator is to be used for only one place, choose a safe spot for the generator. This way, the generator can stay stationary and the weight is no longer an issue.

Running Power vs. Surge Power

Generators mention two levels of power; the running power and surge power. Both are measured in watts.

Running power is also called the rated watts. This is the capacity of the generator over a continuous amount of time.

Surge power is also called starting power or starting watts. Electrical devices and appliances consume more power when they are turning on. To accommodate this increased need of power, generators also have a surge power. However, this can only be held for a few seconds.

How to Calculate How Much Power a Generator Needs

  1. Make a list of all the electrical devices and appliances to be run on the generator.
  2. For each item on the list, note down the running power in watts. Also include the surge power in watts where possible.
  3. Cannot find the wattage of the item? Calculate the wattage using this simple formula: watts = amps x volts
  4. Add all the running watts. This is the minimum required running power of the generator.
  5. Take the highest value for surge power on the list. Add the additional wattage to the total running watts.
  6. In addition to the minimum required power, add a few hundred watts. This is to ensure that the generator can handle any power fluctuations or additional needs in the future.

Note: Not all devices and appliances mention the surge power. To prevent electrical damage and overloading, add a few hundred watts to the total required running power.


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