How to Choose a Portable Generator? Complete Guide

Are you interested in undertaking your DIY projects at home, testing your skills? Or maybe you are seeking out a professional tradesperson to come to your home and complete a large-scale job.

Regardless of the DIY project, a high-quality portable generator is an essential piece of equipment. However, with what feels like an endless list of portable generators, it can seem almost impossible to pick the right portable generator for your needs.

Well, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve collated this portable generator guide, which will allow you to find the right generator for you.

What to Look For

Don’t get us wrong, working out which portable generator is right for you is no mean feat. But it is possible! There are so many different ranges to explore, from small petrol models to 2kW diesel generators. Some generators are sensitive, or ones that are much larger for big projects.

Whether you are on the hunt for portable generators that can keep pace on the job site, or an easily maneuverable one for your home, we have the information you need. We’ve taken the time to gather a quick checklist of considerations you can follow to find the right generator for your task.

Wattage

Before making any generator purchase, you need to ensure the wattage meets your needs. Ensure you work out exactly how much power you need for your job, and check to see if your generator meets those needs.

We get many people asking us what size of portable generator they should choose. Ultimately, the answer to this question will depend entirely on what you plan to use it for. Each portable generator has its wattage level, so you need to consider how much you require your portable generator to produce.

Regardless of what you are using it for, it will not be an efficient purchase if your wattage does not meet your needs.

Domestic or Professional

Some portable generators are ideal for leisure use or DIY hobbyists; some are designed specifically for commercial use.

Most top-quality generator stores or websites will have their ranges split into two categories, one for professional use generators and one for domestic use generators.

Equipment

Do you want to run sensitive equipment like televisions or computers directly from your generator? If so, you need to ensure the generator you choose is suitable for that sort of job.

If you require power for anything that uses a microprocessor, you must choose a portable generator that suits sensitive electronics. This choice is essential as sensitive electrical items should not be run directly for a generator unless explicitly designed for this use.

Petrol or Diesel

It would help if you thought about how much it will cost to own a portable generator. As well as purchase price, which includes how much you will end up paying on fuel.

If you consider both diesel and petrol generators, you might think there is not much to consider here. However, there are key differences you should be aware of, such as the long-term costs and the upfront costs associated with each option.

Outdoor Use

If you are interested in using your portable generator in an outdoor setting, you will need to choose a weatherproof generator or is usable in wet conditions.

Standby and Specialist Generators

Will you be using your generator as a backup power supply for your property? Do you need a specialist generator to complete an industrial project?

Final Thoughts

In summary, if you follow these steps when making your purchase, you should have no trouble finding the right generator for you.

The final step to take once you think you have found the right generator is to look through independent reviews of the product and business to ensure you are getting a reliable and trustworthy generator that will last you a long time.

Whether for professional or casual use, there are so many generators to choose from; so if you’re still unsure, check out this handy list of portable generators that will help you make up your mind!

-our editorial board has reviewed this article and has been approved for publication according to our editorial.

Best Seller List of Portable Generator:

SaleBestseller No. 1
Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator-9500 Rated 12500 Peak...
  • 9500 Running Watts and 12500 Peak Watts (Gasoline); 8500 Running Watts, 11200 Peak Watts (Propane); Remote Start With Included Key Fob, Electric and Recoil Start; Up to 12 Hours of Run Time on a 6. 6 Gallon Fuel Tank With Fuel Gauge
  • Features Two GFCI 120V 5–20R Standard Household Receptacle, One Transfer Switch Ready 120V L14-30R, and One RV Ready 120/240V 14–50R; All Outlets Have Rubber Covers for Added Safety
  • Powered by a Heavy Duty 457cc Westinghouse 4-Stroke OHV Engine Featuring a Long-Lasting Cast Iron Sleeve With Automatic Low Oil Shutdown and Digital Hour Meter. VFT display gives you real time updates with the voltage output, frequency, and lifetime hours
  • Plug-and-Play: Comes With a Propane Regulator, Remote Start Key Fob, 12V Battery Charger, Oil, an Oil Funnel, a Tool Kit, Heat Resistant Plastic Wheels with Never-Flat Polyurethane Tires, and a User’s Manual to Get You Started Right Out of the Box (Minimal Assembly Required)
Bestseller No. 2
Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment WGen3600v Portable Generator 3600 Rated and 4650 Peak Watts, RV...
  • 3600 Running Watts and 4650 Peak Watts; Recoil Start; 4 Gallon Fuel Tank With Fuel Gauge; Up to 14 Hours of Run Time Per Tank
  • Features One 5–20R 120V Household Duplex Receptacle, One RV-Ready TT-30R 30 Amp Receptacle, and One L5-30R 30 Amp Receptacle; All Outlets Have Rubber Covers for Added Safety
  • Plug-and-Play: Comes With Oil, an Oil Funnel, a Tool Kit, and a User’s Manual to Get You Started Right Out of the Box (Minimal Assembly Required)
  • Powered by a 212cc Westinghouse 4-Stroke OHV Engine Featuring a Long-Lasting Cast Iron Sleeve With Automatic Low Oil Shutdown
  • All Westinghouse Portable Generators are Functionally Tested in the Factory and May Contain Minimum Residual Oil and/or Fuel Odor; EPA and CARB Compliant; Backed By 3-Year Limited Service, Labor, and Parts Coverage and Nationwide Customer Service Network
SaleBestseller No. 3
Champion Power Equipment 200951 2500-Watt Portable Inverter Generator, Ultralight
  • ULTRA-LIGHTWEIGHT: At only 39 pounds, this inverter is one of the lightest 2500-watt inverters in the industry
  • QUIET OPERATION: 53 dBA from 23 feet is perfect for camping, tailgating or to backup a few home essentials, featuring 2500 starting watts, 1850 running watts and up to 11.5 hours run time
  • PARALLEL READY: The optional clip-on parallel kit enables this inverter to connect with another 2500-watt Champion inverter to double your output power
  • CLEAN POWER: Includes two covered 120V 20A household outlets with clean electricity (less than 3% THD)
  • CHAMPION SUPPORT: Includes 3-year limited warranty with FREE lifetime technical support from dedicated experts
Bestseller No. 4
DuroMax XP12000EH Generator-12000 Watt Gas or Propane Powered Home Back Up & RV Ready, 50 State...
  • Powerful DuroMax Engine: the XP12000EH is powered by a DuroMax, 457cc OHV engine.
  • Dual fuel technology: the ability to run on propane or gasoline allows the freedom and flexibility of fuel choice. Protects your investment by automatically shutting the generator off when it senses that the oil is low
  • Plenty of power: with 12,000 starting watts and 9, 500 running watts, This unit can handle heavy loads from lights and a refrigerator to a home air conditioner and high amperage power tools.
  • Maximum power: with DuroMax MX2 technology, get the maximum power from each of the 120 volt receptacle. Choose between operating the generator at both 120 V and 240 V Simultaneously, or at 120 only with full power.
  • Powering everyone anywhere: like all DuroMax generators, the XP12000EH is EPA and CARB approved For use in all 50 States.
SaleBestseller No. 5
WEN 56203i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator w/Fuel Shut Off, CARB Compliant, Ultra...
  • Ultralight body weighs in at a mere 39 pounds for easy transport and storage
  • Extremely quiet operation comparable to the sound of a normal conversation according to the US Department of Health and Human Services
  • Produces 2000 surge watts and 1700 rated watts of clean power for safe charging of sensitive electronics (phones, tablets, televisions, computers, etc.)
  • Fuel shutoff maximizes the generator’s lifespan by using up the remaining fuel in the carburetor before shutting down
  • Includes two three-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle, two 5V USB ports, and a two-year warranty
SaleBestseller No. 6
Portable Power Station 300W, VTONCE 296Wh Solar Generator with PD100W USB Quick Charge / 110V AC...
  • 【80000mAh Back-up Power Supply】VTONCE P302 is equipped with a 296 watt-hour(14.8V 20Ah) lithium-ion battery pack, which features 4* AC outlets(110V Rated 300W - Peak 600W) , 1* PD 100W port, 1* QC 3.0 port, 2* USB-A Ports, 4* DC ports and 1* DC car socket. It provides 13 power output ports to charge multiple devices at the same time, such as laptop, phone, drone, car fridge and cameras, etc.
  • 【USB-C PD & AC Fast Charge】The USB-C PD 100W port is transmitted in both directions which can support charging devices or receiving power to the power station. It is 6.6 times faster than a normal USB port. Using an AC charger and USB-C PD port for charging at the same time, it only takes 2.5 hours to charge the power station to 80%. You can charge the power station with AC, USB-C, car outlet, and solar panel(Not included).
  • 【Excellent Safety BMS】VTONCE power station is equipped with the Excellent Battery Management System (BMS), protect devices through temperature control, overvoltage protection, overcurrent protection, and short circuit protection functions. And detects short circuits and overloads when performing incorrect operations.
  • 【Outdoor Backup Power】Designed lightweight-just 6.6 lbs and has a solid handle for easy to carry. Equipped with an 18W bright emergency flashlight on the back, which can project a powerful beam of up to 500 meters and is suitable for large-area lighting. It is perfect for outdoor camping and disaster prevention. There are 4 lighting modes you can easily switch (weak→medium→strong→SOS).
  • 【What You Get】You will receive 1* VTONCE Portable Power Station, 1*AC Adapter & Cable, 1*USB-C to USB-C Cable, 1*Cigarette Lighter Plug Cord, 1*Car Cigarette Lighter Socket, 1* User Manual and 12 months of customer service. Any questions, please feel free to contact us.
Bestseller No. 7
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/200W Pure Sine Wave...
  • BUY WITH CONFIDENCE: The Jackery Explorer 240 portable power station has been featured as the "Best Portable Power Station for use in the outdoors" by Digital Trends. A classic choice for your pick.
  • EASY TO CARRY: This entry-level portable power station is equipped with a 240Wh lithium-ion battery pack, weighing only at 6.6 pounds. The solid handle makes it easy to carry around for outdoor adventures such as Tent Camping, Road Trip, Backyard Camping, etc.
  • VERSATILE POWER SOURCE: 1* Pure Sine Wave AC outlet (110V 200W 400W Peak), 2* USB-A ports (5V, 2.4A), and 1* 12V DC car port to charge your road trip essentials such as smartphones, laptops, cameras, fans, lights and so on. Pass-through charging is supported.
  • GREEN POWER SUPPLY: The power station can be recharged by the Jackery SolarSaga 60 solar panel. Its built-in MPPT controller enables the solar panel to operate at its max power point for the power station to be recharged at its highest efficiency. TWO alternative ways to recharge: through the wall outlet or the car outlet.
  • WHAT YOU GET: 1* Jackery Explorer 240 portable power station, 1*AC adapter, 1* car charger cable, 1* user guide.
SaleBestseller No. 8
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 300, 293Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/300W Pure Sine Wave...
  • SPEED UP YOUR RECHARGEABILITY: It takes only 2 hours to recharge 80% battery of the power station through the wall outlet and 60W PD USB-C port simultaneously. You can also recharge your power station with an AC adapator when at home, through the car outlet during a road trip or simply use a Jackery SolarSaga 100.
  • SAFE & STEADY POWER SUPPLY: Armed with a 293Wh lithium-ion battery pack, the Explorer 300 features 2 Pure Sine Wave AC outlets that deliver stable and safe 300W power. The portable power station weighs only 7.1 pounds. You can simply rest assured in outdoor off-grid activities.
  • POWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS: Featuring 2* AC outlet, 1* PD 60W USB-C port (input/output supported) , 1* fast charge 3.0 port, 1*USB-A port and 1* DC car port, the power station can recharge itself and charge (up to) 6 devices (e.g.Drones, Macbook, Cameras, etc.) at the same time to satisfy your outdoor needs.
  • GREEN POWER SUPPLY: The power station is compatible with the Jackery SolarSaga 100 solar panel. The integrated MPPT controller enables the solar generator set to operate at its max power point, so that it speeds up the battery recharge, making them ideal portable power kits for tent camping, overland journey and etc.
  • WHAT YOU GET: 1* Jackery Explorer 300 Portable Power Station , 1*AC adapter, 1* car charger cable, 1* user guide
Bestseller No. 9
Westinghouse WGen5300s Portable Generator with Electric Start and 120/240 Volt Selector 660 Peak...
4,050 Reviews
Westinghouse WGen5300s Portable Generator with Electric Start and 120/240 Volt Selector 660 Peak...
  • 6600 Peak Watts & 5300 Running Watts; Electric Start; 4.7 Gallon Fuel Tank With Fuel Gauge; Up to 14.5 Hours of Run Time with 120/240V Volt Selector Switch
  • Features One 5–20R 120V Household Duplex Receptacle, One RV-Ready TT-30R 30 Amp Receptacle, and One Transfer Switch Ready L14-30R 30 Amp Receptacle; All Outlets Have Rubber Covers for Added Safety
  • Plug-and-Play: Comes With Oil, an Oil Funnel, a Tool Kit, Wheel Kit, and a User’s Manual to Get You Started Right Out of the Box (Minimal Assembly Required)
  • Powered by a 274cc Westinghouse 4-Stroke OHV Engine Featuring a Long-Lasting Cast Iron Sleeve With Automatic Low Oil Shutdown
Bestseller No. 10
DuroMax XP5500E Gas Powered Portable Generator-5500 Watt Electric Start-Camping & RV Ready, 50 State...
  • Plenty of Power – With 5,500 starting watts and 4,500 running watts, this unit can handle heavy loads, from lights and a refrigerator to a home air conditioner and high amperage power tools.
  • Powerful Engine – The DuroMax 224cc OHV engine is a workhorse that provides plenty of power to handle multiple jobs, from powering high voltage appliances to heavy duty power tools.
  • MX2 Technology - Get the maximum power from each of the 120-volt receptacles. Choose between operating the generator at both 120V and 240V simultaneously, or at 120V only with full power. Ideal for usage with RVs.
  • Low Oil Shutoff – Protects your investment by automatically shutting the generator off when it senses that the oil is low.
  • Fully Featured Power Panel – The power panel includes a wide selection of outlets for maximum compatibility in your applications including: (2) 120V household GFCI outlets, and (1) 120/240V 30A twist lock outlet. The panel also includes a voltmeter and 12V DC charging posts for charging external batteries.

Last Update : 2022-01-13

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