Best Generators – Our Top 5 Picks

The power outages are coming.

The great thing about climate change is that it’s bringing people together. Previously, people in moderate climates would have scoffed at the idea of purchasing a generator. Southern Californians of yore were often heard saying, “As if! Only snow and ice could shut down a power grid for any significant length of time!” Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Heat waves are causing both unexpected and planned power outages on a regular basis, so people from all areas of the country are embracing generators. Now is a great time to invest in one, since they’re much scarcer on the ground when extreme weather on either end of the spectrum is in the forecast.

This guide will:

  1. Walk you through the five best portable gas generators to consider (for all budgets!)
  2. Tell you the honest answer about who really needs a generator and why.
  3. Help you understand how to select the best generator for your needs

If you’re in a hurry, all five are linked below, or you can scroll down for the full details. Need more info before making a decision? Check out the FAQ!

  1. Honda EU2200i
  2. Generac GP8000E
  3. Westinghouse WGen7500
  4. Champion Power Equipment 200988 4500-Watt Dual Fuel Generator
  5. DuroMax XP13000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator

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Best Gas Generators of 2023

Here are our top 5 picks for best generators.

1. Honda EU2200i 2200 Watt Generator (Fuel: Gasoline)

The Honda EU2200i is one of the most popular and highly-rated portable inverter generators on the market today. It is best known for its quiet operation and fuel efficiency. Also, look at how cute it is in its little red jacket!

Price: $1,399

What we liked:

  • Features a 121cc Honda GXR120 engine that delivers up to 2,200 watts of power.
  • Highly fuel efficient. Providing close to 8.1 hours of continuous operation on a single gas tank (at 25% load). Love that Honda MPG!
  • Comes with an eco-throttle system that adjusts the engine speed to match the required load while reducing fuel consumption and noise.
  • Lightweight and compact, weighing only 47 pounds. Also has a built-in handle for effortless transportation. That makes it a great multi-tasker, since you can take it with you when you go camping or have a party at a park!
  • Produces clean, stable power with a total harmonic distortion of less than 3%.  Thus, it is safe for sensitive electronics.
  • Has a low-noise design and produces only 48-57 dBA of noise. (That’s quieter than a normal conversation.)
  • Features a parallel capability that allows connecting two units for double power. That’s the flexibility we like to see in our expensive gear!
  • Has a fuel shutoff valve, which prevents fuel leaks during storage and transportation. Hence, you are less likely to burn down your home!
  • The generator is CARB and EPA-compliant, meeting strict emissions standards.
  • Comes with a 3-year residential and commercial warranty.

The verdict:

The Honda EU2200i is a reliable, fuel-efficient, and portable inverter generator suitable for emergencies, camping, residential use, and outdoor activities. You’ll pay more per watt upfront, but the reliability, efficiency, and flexibility are probably worth the price.

2. Generac GP8000E 8,000-Watt Generator (Fuel: Gasoline)

Price: $1,099

What we liked:

  • Powerful 420cc Generac OHV engine that provides up to 10,000 surge watts and 8,000 running watts.
  • Features an 8-gallon fuel tank suitable for up to 11 hours of continuous operation at 50% load.
  • Has an electric start button with a battery included for easy start-up.
  • Comes with a low-oil shutdown system to protect the engine from damage.
  • Comes with a durable steel frame and never-flat wheels, which ensure easy portability.
  • A feature-filled control panel with multiple outlets, including four 120V 20A GFCI outlets, one 120/240V 30A twist-lock outlet, and one 120/240V 50A outlet.
  • The fuel gauge makes it easy to monitor fuel levels.
  • CARB and EPA compliant, which ensures that it is not environmentally dangerous to use.
  • Comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
  • Suitable for a range of applications, including home backup power and even for job sites.

The verdict:

The Generac GP8000E is a worthy investment for those in need of backup power at home or at job sites. It is an especially solid choice for buyers who need a powerful and dependable portable generator at an affordable price.

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3. Westinghouse WGen7500 7500 Watt Generator (Fuel: Gasoline)

Price: $850

What we liked:

  • Mighty 420cc Westinghouse OHV engine that can offer up to 9,500 peak watts and 7,500 running watts.
  • Comes with a large 6.6-gallon fuel tank for up to 16 hours of continuous operation at 25% load.
  • Includes an electric start button and a remote start key fob included for an easy and convenient start-up. In effect, it’s doing all the work for you.
  • Has a digital hour meter, which helps track maintenance intervals.
  • Come equipped with two GFCI 120V household duplex outlets, one transfer switch ready 120V L14-30R, and one RV-ready 120/240V 14-50R.
  • Sports a VFT Data Center to display volts, frequency, and lifetime hours.
  • Has an automatic low oil shutdown, which keeps the engine safe from any inadvertent damage. So, you can run it into the ground and it will save itself from your neglect.
  • Boasts an intuitive control panel where all the controls are easily accessible.
  • Adhering to rigorous emission guidelines, the generator has been certified by EPA, CARB, and CSA.
  • The generator comes with a 3-year limited warranty that is supplemented with lifetime technical support.

The verdict:

The Westinghouse WGen7500 is an excellent choice for anyone in need of resilient portable power. Its powerful engine, large fuel tank, and multiple outlets make it suitable for both home backup power and outdoor use. And of course, its best feature is its value: its price makes it suitable for most budgets.

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4. Champion Power Equipment 200988 4500-Watt Dual Fuel Generator

Price: $1359

What we liked:

  • Dual-fuel capability allows you to use gasoline or propane, giving you more options for fueling your generator.
  • Quiet operation with a noise level of only 61 decibels. This makes it perfect for camping and other outdoor activities.
  • Comes with advanced inverter technology, which produces clean power suitable for sensitive electronics including laptops and phones.
  • Features an electric start with a battery included. 
  • RV-ready with a 120V 30A RV, two 120V 20A household outlets, and 12V DC outlet with dual USB adapter
  • Incorporated into the generator is a sensor that detects low oil levels and automatically shuts off the engine, safeguarding it from potential damage.
  • Parallel capable power source, which allows connecting two 3000-watt or higher inverters for increased power.
  • Has a run time of up to 14 hours on a full tank of gasoline or 22 hours on a full tank of propage at 25% load.
  • Offers free lifetime technical support and a 3-year limited warranty.

The verdict:

The Champion Power Equipment 200988 4500-Watt Dual Fuel Generator is the perfect choice for RV enthusiasts, campers, and anyone who needs reliable portable power and appreciates a propane option. A great little yellow powerhouse!

5. DuroMax XP13000EH Dual Fuel Generator (Fuel: Gasoline/Propane)

The DuroMax XP13000EH is a dynamic and adaptable portable generator with a versatile selection of features making it exceptional for home backup power, job sites, and outdoor excursions. 

Price: $1499

What we liked:

  • Offers the flexibility to use either gasoline or propane, ensuring convenience and accommodating fuel availability.
  • Herculean 500cc OHV engine, which can produce up to 13,000 watts of peak power and 10,500 watts of continuous power.
  • Electric start makes it easy to turn on the generator with just the push of a button.
  • The generator has a large 8.3-gallon fuel tank, which provides up to 10 hours of continuous operation at 50% load.
  • Features several outlets including four 120V 20A GFCI outlets, one 120/240V 30A twist-lock outlet, and one 120/240V 50A heavy-duty outlet.
  • Sports a voltage selector switch which lets you choose between 120V only, 120/240V, or 120/240V 3-phase.
  • Comes with a wheel kit and handles, making it easy to transport.
  • Incorporates an automatic low oil shutoff mechanism which detects insufficient oil levels and promptly halts the engine’s operation.
  • Designed to comply with the stringent standards set by EPA and CARB, making it eco-friendly and safe for use.
  • Comes with a 3-year limited warranty.

The verdict:

The DuroMax XP13000EH is an ideal choice for buyers who need home backup power during power outages or for outdoor activities. Though a bit pricey, its wide feature set makes it worth the dent in your pocket if you’re looking for a generator that can do it all.

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Do I really need a portable generator?

TLDR: Yes.

According to data from the Department of Energy, the number of major electric disturbances has increased by 13 times in the past 2 decades.

Combine that with instances of severe weather like frigid cold, and disasters like wildfires and hurricanes and you’ll see enough reason in powering up. 

As reported by CNBC in November 2021, American homeowners across states are already doing that.

Trendy!

Now whether you live in an area prone to natural disasters or are just concerned about unexpected power outages, a generator can be a wise investment.

It can power appliances and provide lighting to keep you comfortable. It can also be used to keep phones and laptops powered up to keep you connected. And generators can also keep medical equipment running, which can help you stay alive.

But before you rush out to buy the first life-saving generator you find, know that not all generators fit every requirement. You’ll need some deep digging to identify the right one. 

And the first step is to choose between a portable and a standby generator. All of the options on our list are portable generators, since they’re more accessibly priced and provide the greatest flexibility in emergency situations.

Portable vs. Standby Generators

Comparison Guide: Basics

FeaturePortable GeneratorStandby Generator
Power outputProvides 1,000 to 10,000 watts of power.Provides power ranging from 5,000 to 100,000+ watts.
Fuel typeRuns on gasoline, propane, or diesel.Runs on natural gas or propane.
Run timeVaries depending on the size of the fuel tank and the load placed on the generator.Can run for several days without refuelling as they are connected to a larger fuel source.
PortabilityDesigned to be moved from place to place. Smaller and lighter than standalone generators.Are permanently installed and not designed to be moved.
Noise levelCan be noisy and disruptive due to the small size of the engine and muffler.Tend to be quieter due to their larger size and better soundproofing.
CostLess expensive and a good option for homeowners on a budget.Can be expensive, especially for larger models.

Comparison Guide: Nitty Gritty

FeaturePortable GeneratorStandby Generator
MaintenanceRequires regular maintenance (oil changes and cleaning the air filter)Requires regular maintenance, but it is often easier to maintain.
Ease of useEasy to use, with simple controls and a pull-start mechanism.More complex to operate due to their size and as they are connected to a transfer switch.
Safety featuresIncluded. [Low oil shutdown, circuit breaker protection, etc.]Included. [Low oil shutdown, features for overvoltage and overload, etc.]
InstallationNo professional installation is required. It is important to follow safety guidelines and instructions for proper use though.Require professional installation by a licensed electrician to ensure proper installation and safety.
Backup power capacityProvide enough power to run a few essential appliances, such as a refrigerator or sump pump.Provide enough power to run an entire home/business, including air conditioning, heating, and other large appliances.

When choosing between portable and standalone generators, the choice ultimately comes down to your specific needs. 

For emergencies, we recommend having a portable generator at hand. It also comes in at a lower cost and thus, is better suited for emergency preparation on a budget.

A Note on Generator Types

Generators can also be classified based on what powers them, like gas, electricity, or solar energy. This guide is primarily focused on gas-powered generators. 

Check out our guide on solar generators and electric generators to find the best buying options. 

Now there are hundreds (if not thousands!) of portable generators available in the market today. And choice can quickly get overwhelming. 

This guide can help you out, though. We have the information you need to bring home the perfect generator (within budget!)

About the Author

It takes a village! We are researching, writing and fact checking as a family. Collaboration is the name of the game, whether we’re running from a zombie horde or finding the best way to turn a complex concept into a deliciously digestible set of bullet points.