Table of Contents...
- 1 Editors’ Picks — Best Value Generators
- 2 Westinghouse WGen3600v
- 3 WEN DF475T
- 4 Types of Generators
- 5 Inverter Generators
- 6 Standby (Stationary) Generators
- 7 Dual Fuel Generators
- 8 What’s the Best Generator for the Money?
- 9 Best Generator for the money
- 9.1 Westinghouse WGen7500
- 9.2 DuroMax XP4400E | Best Generator for the Money
- 9.3 Honda EU2200i | Best Generator for the Money
- 9.4 Video | Honda EU2000i
- 9.5 DuroStar DS4400 | Gas Generator **DISCONTINUED
- 9.6 Tips for Buying a Generator
- 9.7 Related posts:
Raw Power or Compact Clean Power?
Westinghouse WGen7500 / 7500W
The beauty of the Westinghouse WGen7500 is in its quality of engineering and how reliable it has proven to be with homeowners. Ready to connect to your home, includes remote start, CARB compliant — able to run up to 16 hours at 25% load, and much more. This is a perfectly balanced gas generator.
Champion 100263 / 3400 Inverter
The perfect compact generator capable of running off of gas or propane. Can run up to 7.5 hours on gas (25% load). RV ready with a 30A outlet, quiet at 59dB. Will start even in the coldest weather. Overall, an excellent inverter generator. With the optional parallel kit you get a 50A outlet. Must buy!
In 2019, What’s the best generator for the money? Do you need a consumer-grade or PRO-grade generator? How much power do you need? What will you be using it for?
We give you our recommendations for some of the highest rated and most reliable generators on the market today. Portable generators typically stay relatively unchanged for years. These aren’t disposable products. If a generator breaks down, you get it fixed. All you have to do is keep up with the regular maintenance and it can last your for a decade.
Consider : Champion 100302 : RV Ready
Champion generators are very well made and packed with features. This 4000W open frame inverter is 50% quieter and 20% lighter than comparable generators. Also, you can run this in parallel and double your power, allowing you to scale your power needs when you need to. Can run up to 17 hours at 25% load. Unfortunately, it does not have GFCI outlets. It’s well-priced and more importantly — it’s reliable and well-made.
Models we Review Later — with New Models for 2019/20
We have a lot of information to share with you on portable generators but if you’re impatient and need to know right now, here’s a sneak peak:
- Yamaha EF2000iSv2 | 2,000 Watt | Inverter (read review)
- DuroStar DS4000S | 4,000 Watt
- Westinghouse WGen7500 | 7,500 Watt (read review)
- DuroMax XP4400E | 4,400 Watt
- Honda EU2200i | 2,200 Watt | Inverter (read review)
- WEN 5613K | 13,000 Watt (read review)
— And we sprinkle a few other models throughout the article to give you a full range of options depending on what your actual needs are. Do you know what size of generator you need? Do you really know or just think you know?
Compare : Small Gas Generators
Westinghouse has been in business since 1886, what else do you need to know? This model is RV ready, powered by a 212cc Westinghouse engine, which can run 13.5 hours at 50% load. CARB / EPA compliant. Reliable and affordable. This is an excellent generator. My only complaint is that it doesn’t have wheels. Weighs 99 lbs.
As quiet as 69 dB, which is decent for a gas generator. Perfect for RV or trailer.
This affordable generator can run on either propane or gas, which makes it more versatile as backup power. Propane can be stored indefinitely. You get a lot for your money, including a 240V option to connect to your home. On propane you get : 4350W starting / 3500W running, a little less than gas.
Ideal for : Camping, emergency backup, tailgating or jobsite.
Emergency Generators | Prepare
We give you the facts so you can make the best buying decision on purchasing a new generator. As you know portable generators are not cheap so it’s a good idea to soak in as much information as you can before making a final decision. We hope you find this generator buying guide helpful.
Briggs & Stratton P2400 — CO Monitoring
Features : Briggs & Stratton P2400
Note : As a word of caution, it’s essential that you prepare for any natural disaster as early as possible, just like hurricane Dorian in 2019, people are always unprepared. It’s inevitable. It will happen again. My theory is to plan “as if.” As if it will happen. You won’t be wrong. People always panic and wait until the last minute before investing in an generator and other needed supplies. I’ve noticed that generators are beginning to sell out even online so we’ve worked hard to keep this article updated and recommend generators that are worth your money and are still in stock.
Here are a few recommendations for generators that you can buy right now and will ship immediately. We have many more displays of available emergency generators throughout the article.
A Portable Generator can Save Your Life!
In 1988, I lived at the end of a long and complex electricity distribution line in rural Vermont. One February night, an extreme storm hit and power went off, as usual. Hours later, the power was still down and I had to wait until the following morning to assess the damage.
When morning came, I discovered that the storm had ripped our electrical poles from the earth and dragged them along the ground, across our driveway. The power line entangled, like a mesh, twisted among ice-coated trees. When the utility company’s crews surveyed the damage, they gave a damning verdict: we had to go without electricity for two weeks! Fortunately, for me, I had a wood stove and a backup generator to lessen my pain.
Reducing the Pain of Power Failure
Power failures can cause real pain and even severe danger when you are unprepared. At the very least, a power blackout will disable your heating and air conditioning system, refrigerators, water pumps, freezers and lighting system. And if the outage lasts for several days, it will quickly turn your home into an uncomfortable and even uninhabitable place.
For instance, without electricity to power your home, the food in your freezer will thaw and spoil, your water pipes will freeze and burst, your security systems will falter, your home business will fail, and your sump pump will fail and flood your basement.
Quiet, Portable and Well-Made | WEN 56200i Inverter Generator
Any such occurrences will quickly become expensive and throw your life into deep misery. But you can cut down the pain of power failure and make your home blackout-proof by buying a generator. With a generator, you will continue to use your appliances and lights and keep your home security system running seamlessly regardless of how frequent or how long power outages take.
What Size Generator do you Need?
Westinghouse has an excellent interactive wattage calculator to help you determine the right generator size for your needs.
In electrical generators, the energy stored in fuel is converted into the mechanical energy of a rotating shaft with the help of a machine called a prime mover. Common types of primer movers are internal combustion engines, steam turbines, water turbines, wind turbines and gas combustion turbines.
Conventional generators have been in existence for many years and their mode of operation has remained fundamentally unchanged. Typically, a generator consists of an energy source, often a fossil fuel such as propane, gasoline or diesel, which is used to power a motor attached to a power-generating alternator. The generator’s motor must function at a constant speed (commonly 3600 RPM) in order to produce the standard electric current required by most households (typically 120 Volts AC at 60 Hertz).
Recommended — Heavy-Duty Generator | Westinghouse WGen9500DF
A few features to whet your appetite : Westinghouse 9500W Dual-Fuel
Read our indepth review on this Westinghouse 9500W dual-fuel and its gas-only counterpart (WGen9500). Two of the very best generators for the money if you need enough power for your home or to get you through an emergency.
Today, many advanced portable generators include inverters in their design. By definition, inverters are devices that draw power from fixed DC (direct current) sources such as car batteries and solar panels and use their electronic circuitry to convert the DC power to AC (alternating current) power. While the converted AC power can be of any required frequency and voltage, the most common combination is taking 12 DC power from a boat, car or RV battery and converting it to a 120V AC power required for most practical uses.
Connect Generator to Your Home | Reliance Controls Corporation 31410CRK
An Inverter Generator is a 3-phase generator which produces AC current in the same fashion as conventional generators, but whose current is then converted into DC and “inverted” back into clean AC power to maintain a single-phase pure sine wave.
Main Components of a Generator
A typical electric generator consists of an engine, alternator, fuel system, voltage regulator, cooling and exhaust systems, battery charger, control panel and main assembly (frame). The engine is the core of the generator and provides the input mechanical energy needed for electricity generation. Generator engines operate on different types of fuels, including gasoline, propane (either liquefied or gaseous), diesel and natural gas, with smaller engines commonly using gasoline while larger engines commonly use diesel, propane gas, liquid propane or natural gas.
Today, overhead valve (OHV) engines have become quite common because of their compact design, durability, user-friendliness, low noise levels and low emission levels. An OHV engine is simply an engine with its intake and exhaust valves located in the engine cylinder’s head as opposed to the engine block.
An alternator is the portion of the generator that converts the mechanical input supplied by the engine to electrical output. It is simply an assembly of moving and stationary parts that have been encased in a container. The moving component (Rotor or Armature) produces a rotating magnetic field through induction, permanent magnets or an exciter while the stationary component (stator) contains electrical conductors that have been wound in coils over iron cores. The rotor produces a moving magnetic field in the area around the stator and causes voltage to flow in the form of alternating current (AC) output from the generator.
Continued after this recommendation…A proven reliable 12KW generator :
Great Value : Dual-Fuel — DuroMax XP12000EH (read review)
Designed to take on heavy loads from devices such as : Fridge, air-conditioner, power tools, home heating system, microwave, lights and much more.
A Few Features you might be interested in — XP12000EH
Back to : Components of a generator —
The Fuel System
The fuel system of a generator is made up of a fuel tank with sufficient capacity to carry fuel that can last at least 6 hours of generator operation. The most common features of a generator’s fuel system are a pipe connection from the engine to the fuel tank, ventilation pipe for the fuel tank, overflow connection from the fuel tank to the drain pipe, fuel pump, fuel water separator (fuel filter) and fuel injector.
Closely associated with the fuel system is the voltage regulation system. As its name applies, the voltage regulation system controls the generator’s output voltage. It is made up of the voltage regulator (which converts AC voltage to DC current), exciter windings (converts the DC current from the voltage regulator to AC current), rotating rectifiers (converts AC current from exciter windings into DC current and feeds it to the rotor) and Rotor (converts the DC current from the rotating rectifiers into a larger AC voltage that is sent out as the generator’s output AC voltage).
VIDEO | Tips When Buying A Generator
The cooling system helps to withdraw the heat produced by various components of the generator. In most industrial and residential generators, hydrogen and fresh water are the most common coolants. However, the generator must also be placed in an open and well-ventilated area so that fresh air can take away the heat and boost its cooling.
A generator’s exhaust system helps to dispose off exhaust gases such as carbon monoxide which are produced by the generator as it uses up fuel. The exhaust pipe must terminate outdoors and lead away from the windows, doors and other openings of a building or house to protect generator users from dangerous gases. Besides, every generator must have a lubricating system to boost the durability and smooth function of its moving parts. Usually, the lubrication is done using oil stored in a pump, but the level of lubricating oil should be checked regularly to make sure it does run out when the generator is in operation.
The start functions of all generators are usually battery-operated. A battery charger is used to supply correct “float” voltage for keeping the generator battery charged. The battery chargers are typically made of stainless steel and are fully automatic. Similarly, every generator must have a control panel with provisions for electrical controls and outlets. While different manufacturers provide different features in the control panel, certain features such as electric start, electric shut-down, engine gauges, generator gauges, phase selector switch, engine control switch and frequency switch are common in most control panels.
Lastly, all generators, whether stationary or portable, must have frames (main assembly/housing) to provide the necessary structural base support and allow for the generator to be earthed for safety.
To learn more about generators read : How does a generator work? and other common questions answered.
Types of Generators
There are 3 principal types of generators: portable generators, inverter generators and standby generators.
— Portable Generators
Westinghouse iGen4500 | Inverter Generator (52dB) — Super Quiet
Generators that can be moved with ease and used to deliver electricity to remote areas without plugging into electrical grids are called portable generators. Most portable generators are gasoline-powered, but a few run on diesel while some have multi-fuel capabilities (running on propane, gasoline and natural gas). These typically small and mid-sized generators are full-featured machines with engine idle controls, GFCI receptacles and 120V full-power switches.
Portable generators deliver 1,000-8, 500 watts and cost $100-$3,000 depending on their wattage capabilities and special features. Nevertheless, if you plan to transport your generator regularly, then you should consider the dimensions, weight, handle style and wheel type before you buy a portable generator.
Affordable Portable Power | Champion 46596 — 4000 Starting Watts
Portable generators can provide adequate power for small kitchen appliances, TVs, power tools, hair dryers, lights and other comforts of modern civilization, and are invaluable in supplying limited emergency jobsite power and storm power. They are also ideal for powering leisure activities such as tailgating and camping.
Portable generators can also be used in construction sites that lack electrical service, delivering clean and reliable power for operating drills, saws, air tools, heaters, paint sprayers, compressors, heaters and other AC-powered tools. Nonetheless, while portable generators are inexpensive and relatively easy to transport (move) and store, they do not supply enough power for heavy drains (like central air conditioning) and require large amounts of gasoline, a hazardous fuel.
Champion 75531i — 3100-Watt RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator
An Inverter generator has a separate inverter stage placed between the generator and the power output. The inverter ensures that the output voltage and frequency is controlled with greater precision. Generally, inverter generators have smaller wattage capabilities ranging from 800-3,000 watts but offer amazingly clean power, efficiency, quietness and fuel economy.
Under low load, the inverter generator’s engine is throttled back and made to run at lower speed, consuming less fuel and producing little noise. Inverter generators are ideal for camping, boating, tailgating and RV’ing where they can be used to power lights, fans, heaters, hot plates, radios, TV, crock pots and smart phones. They are also perfect for job sites and small businesses because of their clean power, fuel efficiency, low noise levels, compact design and low weight. They cost anywhere between $200 and $3,000.
Standby (Stationary) Generators
Briggs and Stratton 40396 | 20Kw Home Standby Generator
Instead of remaining dependent on the utility company to restore power supply after blackouts, you can choose to take matters into your own hands by investing in a standby generator. Standby generators are mini power plants that deliver between 6,000-40,000 watts and can deliver enough power for the entire household, including keeping air conditioners operational during power outages.
Such generators can also be used in manufacturing plants, corporate offices, nursing homes, mining operations, hospitals and data centers to ensure continuity of operations during power outages. Permanently mounted and drawing its fuel supply from an existing line of propane or natural gas, a standby generator will automatically provide power to your home until the power outage is over. To operate steadily, such generators require large quantities of propane or natural gas to operate, and professional installation. They cost $1,800-$40,000 depending on power capacity.
Dual Fuel Generators
Runs on Gas or Propane | DuroMax XP12000EH — Dual Fuel
Dual Fuel generators combine the best of both worlds. As you can tell by the name, they can run with two different fuels making them highly versatile during an emergency when access to fuel might be limited. Typically, they can be powered by gas or propane.
Read our guide on the best dual fuel portable generators to learn more.
Comparing the Features of Conventional and Inverter Generators
Run-time and Fuel Efficiency
Every generator will have a specific running time it can take with a full fuel tank. Therefore, if you think that you will need more run-time or that you will be using your generator in emergencies, then you should buy a generator with a larger fuel tank. Inverter generators are generally fuel-efficient because of their ability to adjust engine speeds to the load at hand. They save up to 40% of fuel compared to conventional generators and their run-times of 8-10 hours is typically more than adequate for most practical uses.
Size, Weight and Portability
A small and lightweight generator is easy to transport and store while a heavy and bulky generator with substantial wheels and metal frame will be difficult to move and store. Therefore, you should opt for a small portable or inverter generator when you are planning for hiking and leisure activities because it will fit in your boat, car or RV with ease.
Conventional generators differ widely from inverter generators when it comes to noise. Inverter generators boast of quieter engines, sound-dampening technology and special mufflers that keep the noise levels low. In fact, inverter generators can adjust their electrical characteristics depending on the appliance being powered, saving fuel and reducing noise substantially. On the contrary, conventional portable generators run at a constant high speed of 3600 rpm, resulting in high levels of noise.
Quality of Power Produced
Inverter generators have their engines connected to efficient alternators with rectifiers and capacitors that smooth out output power, and DC power is inverted into clean AC power (pure sine waves). Besides, the quality of power generated by inverter generators is independent of the engine speed. The power has consistent characteristics and is typically the quality you get from utility companies. Therefore, if you want to power microprocessors, TVs, game consoles, phones, computers, DVD players, printers and even kitchen appliances, you should buy an inverter generator.
On the other hand, a conventional portable generator is simply an engine connected to alternator and running at a high speed capable of producing power of desired AC frequency, regardless of the load. And since the output of a conventional generator is connected directly to the load, the generator is not ideal for delicate equipment like phones, TVs, DVD players and kitchen appliances.
Max Power Output
Conventional generators come in many different sizes, from 500-50,000 watts and higher. On the contrary, inverter generators are focused on portability and quieter operation, meaning that their maximum output capacities is more limited than conventional generators. In fact, inverter generators are only available in the range of 1,000-4,000 watt models.
Simplicity of Construction and Design
Since conventional generators are majorly an alternator attached to a motor, they are simpler machines that are easier to use, maintain and repair. The generators do not have any complicated electronics and controls, and their motor just runs at a standard 3600 rpm, which causes no usage complications. On the other hand, inverter generators are a little more complex in design and construction and slightly difficult to run, maintain and repair. However, they are constructed according to well-tested technologies and show no significant reliability problems.
Honda EU2200i | Run in parallel and double your power
Many inverter generators have parallel capability and can therefore be paired with identical units to double up their power capacity. For instance, you can pair up two small inverter generators to achieve the same amperage and wattage as a larger generator without compromising the portability, quietness and efficiency of each unit. On the contrary, conventional generators have no parallel capability and cannot be paired with other identical units.
The benefits of inverter generators, such as convenience, portability, quietness and fuel efficiency, come at a cost. Hence, inverter generators cost more than conventional generators.
What’s the difference between running watts and surge watts?
When buying a portable generator you’ll typical see different numbers for surge or startup watts and continuous or running watts. What’s the difference?
The running watts is the amount of power the generator can produce continuously, while the surge wattage is the additional power your generator can create only for a short period of time. Many electrical devices require an additional burst of electricity to get them started. Once the device is running, the wattage requirements are reduced. Running watts is the energy your portable generator can produce consistently.
What’s the Best Generator for the Money?
Finally! Here are the details on our picks for the 4 best portable generators on the market — for homeowners:
Yamaha EF2000iSv2 | Best Generator for the Money
Inverter Generator / 2,000 Watts / CARB Compliant / 79cc 4-stroke engine
Pros of Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Generator:
- Produces clean power that is safe for sensitive appliances and electronics.
- Super quiet.
- Fuel efficient.
- Legendary reliability.
- Compact and extremely lightweight.
- Good run-time.
- Great factory warranty.
Cons of Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Generator:
- Has limited power output.
Overview | Yamaha EF2000iS
The parallel port allows you to connect two models together and almost double your power, which makes this a flexible generator to invest in. Your power needs will likely change from day to day so this feature allows you to streamline your usage and minimizes the weight you have to haul around.
Now, in all fairness, most inverter generators have this capability, even on less expensive models. It’s one of the main benefits of using an inverter generator, as well as the quiet operation and many other cool features which we discuss in this article.
Yamaha Sidewinder Parallel Cable | ACC-0SS55-70-01
Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Inverter Generator is an ultra-portable machine with several smart features and amazing performance. Furnished with a high-quality 79 cc 4-stroke OHV engine, the generator produces 1,600 running watts and 2,000 peak wattage, which is enough for powering a refrigerator, camping fridge, TV, microwave oven, sump pump, RV, camping, fishing and other recreational activities, lights and power tools at construction sites, and supporting homes during natural disasters.
The generator has a Smart Throttle feature which automatically changes the engine speed according to electrical demands, resulting in longer run-time on little fuel. And if you need more power for running multiple appliances, the generator’s parallel capability allows you to daisy-chain two inverters together for higher power output.
Watch Video Review
Yamaha EF2000iSv2 relies on the tested Pulse Width Modulation technology to create pure sine-wave voltage and to deliver clean and safe energy that will not damage high-tech appliances, sensitive electronic equipment or power tools. Weighing only 46lbs and occupying only 2.2 cubic foot space — compact and lightweight making it remarkably easy to move and transport.
It can be conveniently transported in the trunk of a car or the back of an SUV. Moreover, the generator has a noise block design the keeps sound levels at just 58 decibels and gives users the whisper-quiet experience that is desirable in camping, boating, fishing and other recreational activities. It comes with a 3-year warranty covering the entire generator.
Not sure which generator size you need? Read Yamaha’s generator size guide.
View or download the MANUAL for the Yamaha EF2000iSv2.
- Fuel Petcock ‐ Prevents stale gas problems and gummed‐up carburetors.
- Fuel Gauge ‐ Allows quick fuel level inspection without turning off the unit and removing the fuel cap.
- Smart Throttle ‐ Varies engine speed based on load, improving fuel economy as well as reducing noise and engine wear.
- Electrical Overload Breaker – Prevents generator damage, in case of overload.
- Oil Watch Warning System ‐ Prevents engine damage caused by low oil, avoiding costly repairs and minimizing down time, adding customer confidence and peace‐of‐mind.
- TwinTech – Hook up two EF2000iSv2 generators for up to 30 amps of maximum power (requires accessory TwinTech II or Sidewinder cable, available for purchase).
- The EF2000iSv2 incorporates a completely new controller with advanced programming resulting in improved output characteristics between 1600w-2000w operation ranges. The addition of the new programming allows the EF2000iSv2 the ability to power a much wider range of applications than previous generation EF2000iS..
- If you need extra power the EF2000iSv2 has you covered—a convenient parallel function lets you connect two generators to deliver up to 30 amps.
- The EF2000iSv2 is powerful, portable and retro-modern and delivers maximum output with minimum effort. It weighs a mere 44 pounds, making it easy to transport. Super Light weight for 2000 watts.
- The EF2000iSv2 is fitted with Yamaha’s most technologically sophisticated muffler. It’s So quiet that you can have a conversation near one and may not realize it is running. (51.5 dBA to 61 dBA – ¼ rated to rated load).
- It is very compact (2.2 cu.ft.) which makes it easy to store and transport.
- Long Run Time – The EF2000iSv2 features Smart Throttle, a load sensing rpm control that allows greater fuel efficiency and noise reduction by automatically adjusting engine speed to match the load. It will run up to 10.5 hours at ¼ rated load on a tank of gas.
- The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Inverter generator supplies clean, high quality power. The EF2000iSV2 – with its inverter system – features Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) so voltage stability is within ± 1%, and frequency stability is ± 0.1 HZ. Its pure sine wave is as clean as or cleaner than public utilities power.
- Yamaha generators have the longest emission engine durability ratings issued by the
- Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.
If you want to learn more read our comprehensive review of this wonderful generator. Yamaha has packed this generator with a wide-range of features. It truly is a professional-grade generator. Or, visit the Yamaha site for additional information.
Budget Inverter Generator
Champion 73536i | 2000W Inverter Generator
- Patented, space-saving stackable design is Parallel Ready and can connect with another 2000-watt inverter to double your output power
- Ultra-Quiet Operation : 53 dBA from 23 feet is perfect for camping, tailgating or to backup a few home essentials.
- 8.5 pounds
- Ideal for camping or tailgating. Power items around the RV like lights or TV or provide backup power for a few basics like lights, microwave, TV, modem/router or phone charger. This unit is not recommended for emergency home backup for air conditioners, stoves, furnaces or sump pumps.
- Power up with the reliable recoil start, plus Cold Start Technology ensures a quick start in cold weather.
- Featuring a patented, space-saving stackable design, this Parallel Ready inverter can connect with another Champion 2000-watt inverter for 30 amps of power.
- Optional Parallel Kit is designed to integrate seamlessly between two stacked inverters and comes with a standard 30A RV outlet.
- 80cc Champion engine produces 2000 starting watts, 1700 running watts
- Up to 9.5 hours run time at 25% load when the 1-gallon tank of gasoline is full.
- Smart Economy Mode, which can reduce the electrical load, providing quieter operation, extended engine life and better fuel economy.
- Designed for safety with a low oil shut-off sensor, this inverter has a 0.4-quart oil capacity and comes with a bottle of 10W-30 oil
- Fully assembled with hassle-free setup, the built-in carrying handles make transport a cinch.
- EPA certified and CARB compliant inverter with confidence – Champion Support and their nationwide network of service centers will back up your purchase with a 3-year limited warranty and FREE lifetime technical support.
✓ Read our full in-depth review on this Champion 73536i generator.
DuroStar DS4000S | Best Generator for the Money
4,000 Watts / 208cc 4-stroke engine / 94 lbs.
Pros of DuroStar DS4000S Generator:
- Good quality construction.
- Inexpensive and well-built.
- Easy to start and operate.
- Its 4000W surge and 3300W rating means good value for money.
- Efficient 7-HP 4-cycle engine.
- Easy-to-read fuel gauge.
- Optional wheel kit.
Cons of DuroStar DS4000S Generator:
- No 240V or DC power.
- No amp or watt meter.
- Not CARB compliant.
- Wheel kit sold separately.
Overview | DuroStar DS4000S
Are you are looking for a trustworthy portable conventional generator for emergency power needs, recreational needs, RV uses and construction work in situations where power needs are not excessive and surge watts do not pull at the top end of the load? If so, then the mid-weight, fuel-efficient and compact DuroStar DS4000S Portable Generator is perfect for you.
Running on a 7.0 HP, 208cc, single-cylinder 4-stroke OHV engine, DuroStar DS4000S has a power output rating of 3300 watts AC, with a starting/maximum surge of 4000 watts, delivering 30 and 20 amps @ 120V at twist lock (1 NEMA L5-30) and 3-prong (2 NEMA 5-20R) outlets respectively. Due to its 4-stroke overhead valve (OHV), the unit offers cleaner fuel burn, lower fuel consumption, higher torque and cooler operation. The generator uses standard unleaded gas and comes with an all-steel 4-gallon fuel tank that will support the engine for 8 hours at half load.
With dimensions of 27x 20x 22 inches, the DuroStar DS4000S is compact enough for storage in most locations, but its weight of 94lbs (and an extra 24 pounds when the gas is added) means you will need a hand truck or some strong guys to move it around. Besides, the generator produces 68 decibels of sound which is relatively quiet (quieter than lawn mowers) and can permit a conversation, but you will need to be closer to each other in order to hear each other. It is backed by a limited 1-year warranty.
View or download the MANUAL for the DuroStar DS4000S.
- Durable Durostar 7 HP, air cooled OHV engine with low oil shutoff.
- Heavy duty steel frame with four point fully isolated motor mounts for smooth and quiet operation.
- Full power panel with oil warning light, volt meter, circuit breaker and power outlets.
- Run time on 50% load: 12 hours
- Full load: 8 Hour Run Time.
- Low oil shutoff protects engine.
- Super quiet muffler reduces engine noise.
- Max AC output: 4000-Watt.
- Rated AC output: 3300-Watt.
- 4-stroke OHV single cylinder with forced air cooling system.
- Fuel tank: 15L (3.96US gal.)
- Heavy Duty Steel Frame with Four Point Fully Isolated Motor
- Mounts for Smooth and Quiet Operation.
- Full Power Panel with Engine Shutoff Switch, Volt Meter,
- Circuit Breaker and Power Outlets: (2) Fully Protected 120V Standard Household Outlets & (1) High Amperage 120V Twist-Lock Outlet.
Best Generator for the money
7500 Rated Watts & 9500 Peak, CARB Compliant
- Push Button Start
- Starting the WGen7500 couldn’t be easier with our Westinghouse Push-Button Start.
- 420cc, OHV Engine with Cast Iron Sleeve
- The WGen7500 portable generator produces enough power to keep you up and running when you need it.
- Long Run Time – runs up to 10 hrs on a single tank
- Westinghouse’s open frame generators won’t need to be constantly refilled.
- Dual 120V Duplex Receptacles and One L14-30 Receptacle
- Two 5-20R 120V GFCI Duplex Receptacles and One L14-30R Receptacle give you multiple outlets to power your items.
- Circuit protected, Low-Oil Shutoff, and more
- The WGen7500 portable generator comes with features for your safety – including overload prevention, and low-oil shutoff.
- Remote start key fob to start your generator conveniently and easily
- The WGen7500 also comes with Oil, Funnel, Tool Kit, Manual, and Quick Start Guide.
- Plug-and-Play: Comes with a Remote Start Key Fob, 12V Battery Charger, Oil, an Oil Funnel, a Tool Kit, and a User’s Manual to Get You Started Right Out of the Box (Minimal Assembly Required)
- 3-Year Warranty
✓ Read our full review of the new and improved Westinghouse WGen7500 and all the other generator in the series which are all excellent generators for the money.
We have covered a lot of Westinghouse generators over the years. Recently they have redesigned many of their models and introduced a wide range of generators that consumers absolutely love, here are a few links to our coverage of those generators.
- Westinghouse WGen7500DF Review | Dual-Fuel Gas Generator
- Review | Westinghouse WGen2000 Gas Generator
- Westinghouse iGen2500 Review | Portable Inverter Generator
DuroMax XP4400E | Best Generator for the Money
4,400 Watts / 200cc 4-stroke engine / 130 lbs.
Pros of DuroMax XP4400E:
- Its electric key start makes it easier to start, just like a car.
- Has a 4-gallon fuel tank and powerful gas motor.
- Its wheel kit makes it easier to transport.
- Has 900 watts extra charge above 3500 running watts.
- Has DC charging capacity
Cons of DuroMax XP4400E:
- Not ideal for sensitive electronics and appliances
- Not CARB-compliant.
Overview | DuroMax XP4400E
DuroMax XP4400E Generator is a reliable, fairly powerful, compact and cost-effective unit. Fitted with a powerful 7 HP overhead valve (OHV) 4-cycle gas-powered engine that delivers a peak power output of 4400 watts and continuous output of 3500 watts, the generator can run for several hours with no problems. With its two 20 Amp 120 Volt standard outlets and one 30 Amp 120/240 Volt twist lock power outlet, the generator can operate all standard household appliances seamlessly.
DuroMax XP4400E has a heavy-duty steel roll cage design that includes isolated motor mounts and wheels, preventing it from creating noisy ruckus. Similarly, it has a noise rating of 69 decibels which is fairly acceptable for a 7HP engine generator. Furnished with an easy recoil cord and an electric start feature, the DuroMax XP4400E is very easy to start, just like starting a car. And while its 116 pounds of weight seems heavy, its transportation kit makes it easy to move around. The generator is protected by a 1-year warranty.
View or download the MANUAL for the DuroMax XP4400E.
- Durable Duromax 7 HP air cooled with low oil shutoff
- Heavy duty steel frame with four point fully isolated motor mounts for smooth and quiet operation
- Wheel kit with front handle for easy transporting
- Full power panel with engine shutoff switch, volt meter, circuit breaker and power outlets
- 2 fully protected 120-Volt outlets and one 120-Volt/240-Volt twist-lock outlet
- Run time (at 50% maximum output): 8 hours
- All steel 4 Gal. fuel tank with ez-read gauge
- Low oil shut-off protects engine
- Requires 10/30 SAE motor oil
- Unleaded gasoline
- Super quiet muffler reduces engine noise
- Idle control holds rpm at a constant level even under heavy loads for fuel savings and noise reduction.
Honda EU2200i | Best Generator for the Money
NOTE : I want to inform you that the older Honda EU2000i was our original choice but it has since been updated and improved. The new model is the Honda EU2200i. It’s quieter, more powerful and costs about the same. Although the EU2000i has been an amazing generator, it’s now even better. This article focuses on the older model. We recommend the newer model as it truly is a better generator.
NEW MODEL — Honda EU2200i — 2200W Portable Generator
- Delivers 10% more power than the EU2000i – enabling you to power more of what you need, in the same lightweight, compact package. Whether it’s an extra refrigerator at home, a larger saw on your construction site, a larger TV at your tailgate party, the EU2200i gives you the power to get more done.
- Powered by the Honda GXR120 Commercial Series engine. The GXR120 delivers exceptionally quiet, smooth, fuel-efficient performance in a small, lightweight package. The size of a generator’s engine directly correlates to how much power it can produce. At 121cc, the GXR120 is at the top of its class – ensuring the EU2200 always produces the power you need to get the job done. Originally developed for heavy duty construction equipment, the GXR120 also delivers superb durability and reliability
- Operates at 48 to 57 dBA, which is less noise than a normal conversation. This makes it ideal for camping, supplemental RV power, and any other activity that requires quiet operation.
- Weighing less than 47 pounds, the EU2200i is incredibly lightweight and portable. Thanks to Honda’s inverter technology, it’s easy to transport and store.
- Runs 3.2 to 8.1 hours on a single tank, depending on the load.
- Two identical models can be paralleled with an optional cable for up to 4400 watts of power. The EU2200i will also parallel with EU2000iK1/T1 models.
- A bigger oil filler opening, longer spout, and larger oil drain gutter make for easier and cleaner oil changes.
- The “Fuel Off” position allows the engine to continue to run until the majority of the fuel in the carburetor is consumed and the engine shuts off. This helps prevent stale fuel issues and is useful when storing the generator.
- Better overall durability : Stamped metal recoil rope insert on the EU2200i – reducing potential damage to the body of the generator. Or the increased ventilation area, resulting in improved cooling of key components. Or the improved stator/rotor configuration, using some of the highest quality and most powerful magnets available.
- Meets USDA standards for areas where spark arrestors are required for operation.
- 3 year residential and commercial warranty
✓ If you want all the details on this excellent 2200 watt generator then read our full review on the Honda EU2200i.
Older Model, now discontinued : Honda EU2000i
2,000 Watts / 98.5cc 4-stroke engine / 45.6 lbs.
The Honda EU2000i is an extremely popular inverter generator. Honda has an excellent reputation for generators — not to mention their other products. Have you ever heard of a Honda Civic? The name Honda is synonymous with quality and this 1,000 watt inverter generator is no different.
I know many people are fanatical about this generator, and for good reason, but the Yamaha EF2000iS is on par with this Honda generator.
The Honda EU2000i has a 98.5 cc engine while the Yamaha ef2000is uses a 79cc engine. Also, the Honda can produce 2000 watts for 30 minutes while the Yamaha ef2000is can only produce 2000 watts (starting power) for 30 seconds. There are other minor differences. The Yamaha is quieter while idling, is more fuel efficient and produces fewer emissions.
Overall, the Honda EU2000i is a fantastic inverter generator — and so is the Yamaha EF2000iS. It might come down to which color you like best — blue or red?
What size generator do I need? Honda provides some guidelines on how to choose the right amount of power for your needs. Visit the Honda site for generator size recommendations.
View or download the MANUAL for the Honda EU2000i inverter generator — one of the best generators for the money, but not the cheapest.
- 2000 watts
- Ideal for TV/DVD, satellite, fridge, coffee pot, and more.
- Whisper quiet.
- Easy to carry – less than 46 lbs.
- Fuel efficient – up to 8.1 hrs on 1 gallon of gas.
- Inverter – clean power is safe for all sensitive electronics.
Video | Honda EU2000i
This generator can power the following common applications. Please note: not all applications can be powered simultaneously.
- Refrigerator or Freezer (Energy Star)
- Microwave Oven
- Incandescent Lights
- Portable fan
- TV / DVD
- Hair Dryer
- Coffee Maker
- Garage Door Opener
- Maximum Ac Output (Watts) : 2000
- Vac Voltage Available : 120
- Maximum Continuous Ac Output (Watts) : 1600
- Max. Rated Ac Amperage @ 120 V / 240 V : 13.3 / –
- Frequency (Hertz) : 60
- Dc Output (Volts / Amps) : 12 / 8.0
- Honda Engine : Gx100t
- Type : Ohc; 4-Stroke; Air-Cooled
- Displacement : 98.5 Cc
- Starting System : Manual Recoil
Learn more : Read our detailed review of the Honda EU2000i — and by “detailed” we really mean it. There’s a lot to learn about this flagship generator from Honda. It’s a classic model with a fantastic reputation for quality.
WEN 5613K | 13,000 Watt Portable Generator **DISCONTINUED
13,000 Watts / 670cc 4-stroke engine / 330 lbs.
If you’ve never heard of WEN, where have you been? The company has been around since 1951. They’ve sold over 50 million units since they went into business. They’re headquarters are in Elgin, Illinois. They may not have the big marketing budgets as many of the larger manufacturers like Yamaha and Honda but in the end, you benefit because their prices are cheaper and the quality is very high.
I understand, many consumers are brand loyal. People stick to what they’re familiar with but when it comes to buying the best generator for the money you’ll stretch your money further if you purchase a WEN generator.
13,000 Watts of Pure Power
The WEN 5613K is a true powerhorse. Rated at 13,000 watts (starting output); and a continuous running output of 11,000 watts, there’s nothing this generator can’t run. Well, it can’t power a nuclear plant but for homeowners this can handle all of your needs.
This generator is designed with great safety features including forced air cooling and a low-oil shutoff system to protect your unit from damage. The automatic voltage regulator creates clean power (pure sine wave) to protect your electronics. The 8 gallon fuel tank provides long-term operation with a 7.5 hour run-time at 50% load while the wheel kit enables you to easily move this 330lb behemoth around.
We live in a time when the weather is becoming more unpredictable. Storms are getting stronger and depending on where you live, earthquakes, tornado’s and hurricane’s might also be a threat from season to season. If you want peace of mind then a larger generator is the smarter choice.
On the other hand, this is also a great choice if you need it for running power tools and other electrical devices on a work site or other construction projects.
An inexpensive way to protect your generator is by using a waterproof cover.
View or download the MANUAL for the WEN 5613K generator.
- EPA III 4-stroke OHV twin-cylinder engine produces 13000 surge watts and 11000 rated watts, more than enough for a reliable source of standby power.
- Includes four 120V 20A outlets, one 120V 30A RV outlet, one 120/240V 30A twist lock, one 240V outlet, and one 12V DC car-charger-style outlet
- Perfect for construction sites, natural disasters, and power outages
- 8-gallon fuel tank provides 7.5 hour run time at half load
- Added wheel kit and handle kit allows for easy transportation and storage.
✓Not every homeowner needs a 13,000 watt generator. As you’d expect, WEN manufactures a full-line of portable generators at various sizes. Everyone has different needs so stick to what makes sense for you. A 3,500 watt generator is one of the most popular size; striking a good balance between price, power and functionality.
WARNING: NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, or other partly enclosed areas. Deadly levelsof carbon monoxide can build up in these areas. Using a fan or opening windows and doors does NOT supply enough fresh air. ONLY use a generator outside and far away from windows, doors, and vents. These openings can pull in generator exhaust.
Read our in-depth article on Wen generators to learn about each individual model in their affordable lineup.
DuroStar DS4400 | Gas Generator **DISCONTINUED
Output: 3500 watt / Starting: 4400 watt / 7 Hp
- Touch Durostar 7 HP, air cooled engine with low oil shutoff.
- AC output rated at 3500-watt / Surge to 4400-watt.
- Epa and CARB approved engine.
- 2 to 120-volt 20-amp 3-prong outlet + 1 – 120-volt/240-volt 30-amp twist-lock outlet.
- Low oil shutoff sensor protects the engine.
- Quiet exhaust rated at 69dba with spark arrestor.
- Heavy duty steel frame with four point fully isolated motor mounts.
- Wheel kit with front handle makes it easy to move around.
- Full power panel with engine shutoff switch, Volt meter, circuit breaker and power outlets.
- 8 hour running time.
- All steel 4 Gal. fuel tank with ez-read gauge.
- All-terrain never flat tires.
- Flip-up stow away handles.
Tips for Buying a Generator
Before buying a generator, you should assess your power needs and identify what you want to use the generator to accomplish. Common generator uses include:
Storm and Emergency Power Supply
If you are planning to buy a generator for storm and emergency power, it is prudent to first identify the most important appliances and electronics you want to power. Do you want backup for the whole house, a number of essential circuits or just a few appliances? If you choose to back up the entire house or several circuits, then you will need to buy a large conventional generator or standby generator. However, if you choose to back up only a few appliances, then you will simply need a portable inverter generator.
Jobsite Power Supply
If you need reliable power supply at your jobsite, a portable conventional generator will serve you well because it is mobile and can power a variety of tools. However, you must still choose a generator with adequate starting and running watts and crucial professional features such as flat-free wheels, auto-idle technology and roll-cage frames.
Leisure and Recreation Power Supply
If you are looking for the perfect generator for camping, tailgating, boating and other recreational activities, an inverter generator is the best. Inverter generators have low Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) and therefore safe for all electronics. They are also relatively quiet and ideal for entertainment and leisure activities.
After assessing your needs, you should make a decision on whether to buy a standby, portable conventional generator or inverter generator. Your decision should be based on your power needs and your budget and desired level of convenience.
Below are important considerations you should make when buying a generator.
There are 2 fundamental power measurements for generators, Starting Watts (also called startup power, peak power or max watts) and Running Watts (continuous watts). Starting wattage is necessary when appliances are running at their highest power consumption levels while running wattage is required for appliances operating at normal load. Before choosing a generator, you should add your total starting and running wattages and pick a model with wattage equal to or more than your total power need.
For instance, you should buy a small portable inverter generator (3,000-4,000 watts) worth $400-$800 if you are planning to power a refrigerator (600 watts), microwave (1,500 watts), sump pump (600 watts), several lights (400 watts) or TV (200 watts). Secondly, you should buy a midsized portable conventional generator (5,000-8,500 watts) worth $500-$1000 if you are looking to power a portable heater (1,300 watts), computer (250 watts), heating system (500 watts), second pump (600 watts) or more lights (400 watts).
Thirdly, you should buy a large portable conventional generator (10,000 watts) worth $2,000-$3000 if you wish to add a small water heater (3,000 watts), central air conditioner (5,000 watts) or electric range (5,000 watts) into your circuitry. But if you want to add a clothes washer (1,200 watts) or electric dryer (5,000 watts) to what you are powering, then you may have to install a large stationary generator (10,000-15,000 watts).
Generators use diesel, gasoline, propane or natural gas. Gasoline is the most common fuel used in generators because it is easy to obtain and boosts the portability of smaller generators.
The intensity of sound produced by a generator is measured in decibels (dB). A decibel is the smallest unit of sound that can be detected by the human ear. Typically, sounds of 90dBs and above are quite deafening and can damage the ear if protective equipment is not worn. For instance, thunder is 120dBs, a nearby train gives 110dBs while a wood saw or lawn mower gives 100dBs of sound. Make sure to choose a generator with low decibels of sound.
Engines and Alternators
When choosing a generator engine, go for a reputable brand name such as Yamaha, McCulloch, Briggs & Stratton, Tecumseh or Honda. Secondly, you should prioritize an OHV (overhead valve) engine because it will start easily, run quietly, give less emission and last longer than a side-valve (pushrod) engine. Thirdly, make sure the generator engine has a cast iron sleeve to reduce wear and extend the life of the engine.
If you intend to buy a generator with a large fuel tank then make sure its engine has a low oil shutdown to make sure the engine will shut down as soon as the oil level falls below safe operation levels. Similarly, you should choose an engine with electric start, pull power switch, idle control, portability kit (such as wheels and handles), hour meter and large fuel tank.
And when choosing an alternator, you should opt for all-metal brushless alternator with Total Harmonic Distortion (THD). A metallic housing will not break or wear out easily, extending the life of the alternator. Similarly, brushless design ensures that the alternator produces clean power and works with minimal maintenance.
The Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) is the measure of quality of electric power, with 6% THD being considered as the upper ceiling of clean and safe electricity. When THD goes beyond 6%, the electric power will cause microprocessors to malfunction, reduce the life of electric circuits and cause faults in furnace controllers. Therefore, you should choose a generator alternator with a THD of 6% or less. Equally, you should get an alternator which uses ball bearings and not needle bearings.
Included Items and Services
When choosing a generator, it is advisable to check whether a model comes with an extended warranty and a maintenance package. You should also check for extra items such as wheels, power cord, oil and funnel.