What’s the best generator for the money? 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 EF2000iS | 2,000 Watt | Inverter
- DuroStar DS4000S | 4,000 Watt
- Westinghouse WH7500E | 7,500 Watt
- DuroMax XP4400E | 4,400 Watt
- Honda EU2000i | 2,000 Watt | Inverter
- WEN 5613K | 13,000 Watt
— 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?
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.
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. 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.
What is a generator?
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
Types of Generators
There are 3 principal types of generators: portable generators, inverter generators and standby generators.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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:
Inverter Generator / 2,000 Watts / CARB Compliant / 79cc 4-stroke engine
Pros of Yamaha EF2000iS 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 EF2000iS Generator:
- It is expensive (costs around $1,000).
- Has limited power output.
Overview | Yamaha EF2000iS
Yamaha EF2000iS 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 EF2000iS 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 EF2000iS.
- The EF2000iS is powerful, portable and retro-modern and delivers maximum output with minimum effort. It weighs 44 pounds, making it easy to move around.
- Super-quiet muffler with USFS-approved spark arrestor — Only 51.5 dBA at 1/4 load and eliminates errant sparks.
- Compact — 2.2 cu.ft. size is easy to store and transport.
- OHV engine — Includes steel camshaft and valve train components.
- OHV engine with cast iron cylinder liner — Efficient, reliable, powerful providing long life and excellent heat dissipation.
- TwinTechTM capability — Hook up two EF2000iS’s for 3600 watts, 30 amps of maximum power (requires accessory cable available at extra cost). Connect two generators to deliver up to 30 maximum amps.
- Smart Throttle varies engine speed based on load — Improves fuel economy and reduces noise.
- Inverter system with Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) control — Produces a pure sine wave to run products with built-in microcomputers or microcomputer-controlled electric tools.
- 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.
- Fuel gauge — See fuel gauge at-a-glance.
- Auto-decompression system — Reduces compression for easier starting.
- Comfortable grip handle — Easy portability and storage.
- Electrical overload breaker — Prevents generator damage in case of overload.
- Centralized controls — Easy access to controls.
- DC Outlet — 8A 12V outlet for charging batteries (cables included).
- Rubber vibration isolation feet— Absorbing feet for smooth operation and noise reduction.
- Easily detachable side panels — For easier serviceability.
- Noise Block sound reduction system — Very quiet.
- EPA & CARB Emission Engine Durability Rating — Yamaha generators have the longest emission engine durability ratings issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.
- 50 state legal — Meets EPA emissions and CARB regulations.
- Yamaha’s Oil Watch Warning System helps prevent engine damage from low oil and provides added peace of mind.
- CARB Compliant: Meets California’s Air Resources Board and Environmental Protection Agency standards for low emissions.
- 2 year warranty.
Budget Inverter Generator | Porta Source 1G800W
If you’re on a budget but still need a good portable inverter genertor then you should consider the Porta Source 1G800W (formerly Earthquake) 800W generator. It’s light-duty at only 800W, but for small demands, it’s a good buy. It’s very affordable but not on par with Yamaha or Honda inverter generators.
This underrated generator deserves your consideration as one of best generators for the money. If you’re on a tight budget, this is a great choice.
Another good option if you need more power (2,000 watts) at a reasonable price is the WEN 56200i (79.7cc). WEN is a company that manufacturers solid power equipment while still managing to be affordable for the average homeowner. Don’t be put off if you’ve never heard of them. Smaller brands often offer the best value when shopping for a portable generator.
Read our full in-depth review on this generator.
View or download the MANUAL for the Porta Source IG800W
- Outputs include a three prong 120VAC @ 6.5A NEMA 5-15R, and a two prong 12VDC @ 4A
- Quiet and lightweight.
- Economy mode.
- Noise and vibration dampening.
- Forged crank shaft.
- Low oil sensor.
- Pure Sine Wave With Overload Protection.
- CARB compliant.
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.
7,500 Watts / 420cc 4-stroke engine / 201 lbs.
Pros of Westinghouse WH7500E:
- High surge/running wattage
- Great fuel efficiency
- Lots of wattage for its price
- Longer 3 year warranty
- Automatic voltage regulation
- Durable engine and efficient alternator
- Good value for money
Cons of Westinghouse WH7500E:
- Not CARB-approved
- No gasoline drain, DC charging and voltage meter
✓Westinghouse also makes a slightly less powerful version of this generator : Westinghouse WH6500E.
- 6,500 running watts
- 8,000 starting watts
Overview | Westinghouse WH7500E
If you are looking for a portable conventional generator for powering several circuits and meeting upper-level wattage needs, the Westinghouse WH7500E is ideal for you. Furnished with a heavy-duty 12.8 HP 420 cc XP OVH engine, the Westinghouse WH7500E generator delivers 7500 running watts and 9000 starting watts which are sufficient for energizing most essential appliances and circuits during a power outage.
Boasting of a run-time of 12-13 hours at half load, the generator is suitable for many uses including commercial, recreational, jobsite and RV applications. In fact, with a 13-hour run-time, you will rarely need to refill its fuel tank and will have more time sleeping, relaxing or handling other matters.
Westinghouse WH7500E has an all-steel construction, fully enclosed electrical connections, and easy-to-use electric start. At over 200 pounds, Westinghouse WH7500E is quite heavy, but its blend of ergonomically designed dual-folding handles and strong never-flat tires ensures the generator can be moved easily from the store to wherever it is needed. And with its dimensions of 27 x 22 x 20.5 inches, the generator is surprisingly compact.
Its extra-large Noise Reduction Pulse-Flo Muffler helps to reduce its noise levels. In fact, the generator produces only 71 decibels of sound which is quite impressive for a conventional unit so large and powerful. It also comes with a 3-year limited warranty.
- View or download the MANUAL for the Westinghouse WH7500E.
- View or download the SPEC SHEET for the Westinghouse WH7500E.
- Simplified Operator Control Center.
- Easy to start with our Westinghouse One-Touch Electric Start System.
- Iron sleeved engine for long durability and low maintenance.
- Features our exclusive VR System-Voltage regulated power.
- Quiet operation via our Pulse-Flo muffler- creating one of the quietest generators on the market
- Includes everything to get started right out of the box-wheel kit & handle kit (some assembly required) oil, funnel, and a tool kit.
- 9000 starting watts / 7500 running watts.
- Electric start; battery included.
- Westinghouse cast iron sleeved 420 cc engine.
- Outlets: Qty 4 = 5-20R 120-volt; Qty 1 = L14-30R 120/240-volt twist.
- 6.6-gallon fuel tank.
- 11 hours of run time at 50% load.
- Voltage-regulating VR system.
- Noise reduction Pulse Flo muffler.
- 3-year limited manufacturer warranty.
- EZ start color-coded touch points.
- Includes: Wheel kit, oil, funnel and assembly tools.
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.
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
Set-up | Honda EU2000i Generator
How to Operate the Honda EU2000i Generator
Maintenance | Honda EU2000i Generator
- 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
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.
Other WEN generators in the series:
- WEN 56180 | 1,800 Watt
- WEN 56352 | 3,500 Watt
- WEN 56400 | 4,050 Watt
- WEN 56475 | 4,750 Watt
- WEN 56551 | 5,500 Watt
- WEN 56682 | 7,000 Watt
- WEN 56877 | 9,000 Watt
- WEN 5613K | 13,000 Watt
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
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.
Video | See it Live…and listen
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.