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Best Portable Generators

These are our picks for the best portable generators available at These picks are made by our in-house generator expert, Jim Baugher.

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Best Portable Generators

Best Portable Generators

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Many homeowners would like a standby generator, but they don't want to install an unsightly propane tank in their back yard. Their only option is a portable gasoline-powered generator with a big gas tank. The Generac GP17500E - 17,500 watt generator is the preferred choice because it's the largest portable generator available, generating enough juice to run a 5-ton air conditioner and a bunch more appliances.

Contractors love it because it can power an entire job site. It includes nearly every type of plug imaginable, ranging from an ordinary household outlet to a powerful 50-amp straight-blade plug. Good luck trying to find a generator this big in stores. Better yet, good luck trying to bring it home in a tiny sedan. This generator was designed to be delivered directly to your door.

Its engine was designed specifically for generators. It out runs competitive generator engines with an engine life that is three to four times longer. It also has an electric start engine for easy start up. It's sturdy. It's powerful. It's capable of tackling tough jobs or simply providing backup power to your home.

It is specifically designed to start stubborn, high surge electric motors such as those found on rooftop air conditioners. Until now, a person typically had to resort to a more expensive 3,000 watt inverter generator to muscle through this start-up load. Yamaha claims the new EF2400iSHC will successfully start and run most 13,500 BTU air units. In addition to its' brute starting strength, the EF2400iSHC features an economy mode for quieter operation and enhanced fuel conservation.

Yamaha EF2400ISHC EF2400iSHC - 2000 Watt Inverter Generator

There is a third party that tests generator engines for engine life. Yamaha is the only inverter generator we offer on our site that is rated as "extended" with a 500 hour engine life. All others are rated at 250 or even 125 hours. This engine life rating does not mean the engine will stop running at 500 hours but more that the engine seals and parts will start to show their age.

Yamaha EF2000IS EF2000iS - 1600 Watt Inverter Generator

With the Eco Throttle system the engine only has to run as fast as needed for the given load. If you need more power you always have the option to buy two and a parallel cable and run the two together. You can also buy a charging cord that will give you the ability to charge 12-volt DC batteries. You really can't go wrong with a trusted name like Honda and we rate this model in the good position for it's quiet and reliable power.

The Generac XP series are engineered specifically with contractors and construction sites in mind. All models have the Generac OHVI® engine. These models are built to withstand extended job site use. We were lucky enough to open up one of these units and really get in there and check it out. It is a very high quality machine. Even the way the accessories are packed in the box tell you how much attention is given to this premium Generac portable line. This truly is a professional generator.

If your power application is going to involve many hours of operation OR if diesel fuel is your only fuel source option then a diesel powered generator set is best for you. A diesel powered generator requires a little more attention to operate and maintain versus a gasoline powered generator. But if you are going to need power for several hours at a time, we feel this is the only way to go.

The Generac XP series are engineered specifically with contractors and construction sites in mind. All models have the Generac OHVI® engine. These models are built to withstand extended job site use. The XP Series comes with impact-resistant cast metal corners and a heavy-duty, hardened steel tube cradle. They even come with integrated handle supports and brackets that are engineered as part of the casting for even more durability.

Generac manufactures a 5000 watt and 5500 watt portable generator. We sold a bunch of the 5000 watt version last year during hurricane season. The generators ran like a champ. Very solidly built at an affordable cost. This year, Generac came out with a 5500 watt version for the same price. So, instead of carrying last year's version, we decided to discontinue it and carry this model with an extra 500 watts. You can find cheaper generators, but no where near the quality of Generac.

This is a new Honeywell 5500 watt model for this year, now made by Generac. This generator has enough power to back up your refrigerator and sump pump and even a few lights. If you are looking for a generator to be there in an emergency when you need, this Honeywell model can give you peace of mind that your most important appliances are covered. You may even have enough power to watch the big game!

Honeywell 6036-0 5500 Watt Portable Generator

If you are looking for a small generator to run the basics like a refrigerator and sump pump, then you have picked the right model. This is our smallest generator and will power a few small appliances to get you through the storm. For this price you can get peace of mind that if you are home you can keep the food cold and the basement dry, but that's about it. If you want to add a few more small appliances we recommend you take a step up.

Generac 5982 GP3250 - 3250 Watt Portable Generator

It comes with Yamaha's Pulse Width Modulation technology giving it that clean power when needed for those sensitive electronics such as your computer or laptop. Some of the other reasons this inverter comes in at the top is the 120/240V selector switch, electric start, remote start option and standard wheel kit. The Yamaha EF6300iSDE is their most advanced inverter generator ever that quietly cranks out up to 6300 watts of pure sine wave inverter power at 120 or 240 volts.

We recommend the EF3000iSEB because it features "Boost Technology". Basically, it has the ability to generate a surge of extra electricity for 10 seconds. Why is this important? If you plan to run an RV air conditioner, the extra boost is often needed to jump start the air conditioner. If you don't plan to power items with motors, the other Yamaha EF3000iSEH will serve you well. It's also a little cheaper.

This 2800 watt inverter provides super-quiet power capable of running many types of small appliances. This machine is powerful enough to power most 13,500 BTU RV air conditioners. This inverter also offers the benefits of Honda's Eco-Throttle and can run up to 20 hours on a single tank of gas depending on the load! This is the smallest inverter that Honda offers with electric start, probably not necessary at this wattage, but a nice bonus and peace of mind.

Honda EU3000IS EU3000iS - 2800 Watt Portable Inverter Generator

It comes nicely equipped with an electric start Briggs & Stratton engine. Plus, it features an extra large, 7-gallon gas tank, which provides power for up to 9 hours at half load. The new 30471 also features a single side-mounted control panel with rubber covers protecting the outlets from the elements. This Briggs & Stratton generator is ideal for the homeowner looking to restore power to the majority of the house, minus the central air conditioner. A great generator.

We like the Generac 7500 watt portable generator for four reasons. 1. Electric Start Generators are often hard to start with a recoil rope. This Generac generator comes conveniently equipped with an electric start button and a battery. Simply press the button, and it starts. 2. It's Affordable 3. Low Tone Muffler This feature reduces the noise level. If you have ever been near a portable generator while it's running, it can be very loud. 4. Large fuel tank for long run times

The Honeywell product is made by Generac. It has the Generac OHV Engine just like most of the other Generac portables. This model also comes with electric start for ease of starting. This is a great emergency back up unit because you can get about 8 hours of run time on one tank of gas if you run it at half load. That means fewer trips out to the generator to refill it. With it's sturdy wheel kit it makes moving this generator out of the garage much easier.

We recommended Coleman Powermate camping generators for years. Now, those little Mega Pulse generators are equivalent to dial-up Internet service. New Inverter technology is making the traditional camping generator obsolete. They are smaller, quieter and produce cleaner electricity. Until now, they've been expensive too. Yamaha is one of the best when it comes to inverter generators. Consider this little 900 watt version as the "broadband" of new camping generators.

Honda inverters are known for being very quiet. Just like our good compact recommendation this inverter gives you the power to run a few small item, like a couple lights, a laptop, a fan or TV. Another nice feature about this compact inverter is how quiet and lightweight it is. Next time you are headed outside for a tailgate or a camping trip just remember that you don't HAVE to be totally roughing it!

This Generac inverter is very compact and significantly less money than the competitors. With an 800 watt inverter you can power a few small items for a decent price. Most people that are looking for a generator this small plan to run it at the campsite or to power a few lights, a laptop, a box fan or even charge a battery. One of the benefits of inverters are the clean power they produce. Another attractive feature to an inverter this small, is size. This item weighs less than 28 pounds.