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Do you find yourself dealing with frequent power outages because of storms, or do you spend a lot of time camping and tailgating on nice days? Inverter generators that are portable are a good option for you. While these generators will not power every appliance and device that each member of your family uses, one can help you use your computer, keep food cold and keep your family comfortable during an emergency.
The best model that we came across is the Honda EU3000iS Portable Inverter. This portable model has an electric start that helps it come on automatically and outlets suitable for most appliances. It can power most of the devices in your recreational vehicle or camper, including your stove and AC system.
Get some help learning what questions to ask you search for an affordable model before looking at the top rated models now available. You can then see why we picked the Honda EU3000iS Portable Inverter as the best.
60 HOURS OF RESEARCHING
45 MODELS CONSIDERED
Top 10 Portable Inverter Generators on the Market
10 Best Portable Inverter Generator Reviews (2020)
1. Honda EU3000iS
Inverter generators like this Honda EU3000iS Portable Inverter are suitable for those who want power when camping or spending time outside as well as those who want to keep their loved ones safe during an emergency. While it will not power all major appliances like your electric system does, it will keep your computer and other smaller appliances running.
It has enough power to support multiple electronics at the same time and can even handle the load of most recreational vehicles.
Honda enclosed the motor inside this machine to reduce the sound that it generates. It has a maximum sound rating of just 58 decibels and produces under 50 decibels when used with fewer or less devices. At a little over 75 pounds, it is easy to store in your RV and easy to carry too.
Though it lacks any wheels on the base and doesn’t come with a countdown meter, the EU3000iS can provide you with necessary power during any emergency or outing. One tank of fuel can last for up to 24 hours.
2. Briggs & Stratton Q6500
Though it does not meet the emissions standards in California, this Briggs & Stratton Q6500 Inverter Generator is suitable for those living in any other state. It has a total wattage of 6,500, which makes it one of the most powerful portable models available.
The five-gallon tank on the motor can run for up to 14 hours, and while this may not seem like a long time, this is one of the only models that can power heavy major appliances.
A locking outlet on the front can connect to a transfer switch to use this machine with a specific circuit or breaker in your home, and two smaller USB outlets provide power to computers and similar devices. It also has four 120V outlets that you can use with standard household appliances.
We like how convenient this machine is to use too. It features rugged all-terrain wheels on the base and a telescoping handle that help you move it inside and outside. Briggs & Stratton added an outer shell to the motor that lets it produce up to 60% fewer noises than other models do.
3. Honda EU2200I
Whether camping, running lights during a power outage or setting up a coffee maker at a tailgating party, you’ll like having this Honda EU2000I Super Quiet 2200 Watt Portable Generator with Inverter beside you. The EU2200I isn’t quite as strong as our number one choice, but it does have a rating of 2,200 watts and can power all those smaller appliances that you use for cooking.
Turning on the motor is easy as turning the knob on the side and pulling the cord, though it can take some time before you figure out how quickly to pull that cord.
Two outlets on the end of the portable generator are 120V outlets that can accommodate most household items. It has a recoil starting system that produces just 57 decibels of noise, but this machine actually drops that level down to only 53 decibels or less based on how long you run it and how many appliances you keep plugged into the outlets. An Eco Throttle System makes it more user friendly and gives you over eight hours of use on one tank.
4. Yamaha EF2000iSv2
With the Yamaha EF2200iS Gas Powered Portable Inverter, you’ll have enough power to run the AC in your recreational vehicle and any other appliances that you want to use on a hot or cold day. Designed by Yamaha, this generator provides up to 10.5 hours of continuous power at ¼ rated load.
Using a full load of between 1,800 and 2,200 watts can reduce your overall run time.
If you need more power than the EF2200iS can provide, you just need a second unit and a cable. Yamaha lets you connect multiple units with a special cable to double your power.
5. Champion 100302
The Champion Power Equipment 100302 3500W Digital Hybrid RV Ready Portable Generator is one of the top generators for recreational vehicles and campers because it can work with vehicles that have a total BTU output of 13,000 to 15,000 without failing. Designed to weigh less and run more quietly than other models, it has an Economy Mode that reduces its power output to help you save on fuel.
Though Champion Power Equipment claims that it runs super quietly, many complaints come from customers about how it can reach a decibel rating of 60 or higher.
A 120V 30A outlet on the front lets you plug in one cord from your RV to power all your appliances, but it also has two 120A outlets similar to those in your home. A 12V DC output comes with an adapter that turns this into a USB port for quick charging. When you purchase a Parallel Kit, you can connect this motor to others.
6. Westinghouse iGen2500
With an automatic shut off, this Westinghouse iGen2500 Portable Inverter Generator is a good option for those who don’t want to worry about doing a lot of routine maintenance. This feature shuts it down when it begins running out of oil to keep the motor from seizing.
Though it has a manual pull start, it also has built-in cooling fans that reduce the decibels it produces and keep the motor cool.
Safe for use with laptops and other sensitive electronics, it features a fuel tank that can hold several gallons of gas and run for more than six hours on a smaller load. A lid unscrews from the top of the motor to give you access to that tank, and this lid is just inches away from a convenient carrying handle. Westinghouse guarantees that this machine is easy to move and carry because it weighs less than 50 pounds.
7. Pulsar PG2000iS
With a fuel tank that holds just over one gallon of gas, this Pulsar PG2000iS 2000W Peak 1600W Rated Portable Gas Power Inverter Generator remains lightweight even when filled, which helps you tank it anywhere. When that tank is full, it will run for up to eight full hours on a lesser or smaller load.
An indicator light flips on to alert you to low oil in the tank, but it will also kick itself off when the oil drops too low.
A 12V charging cable comes included with this machine, which has four outlets on the end. Two are 120V outlets like the ones in your living room that can accommodate electronics that need only 13 amps, but there are also two DC outlets on the generator. One of those outlets is compatible with any USB-enabled device.
8. Champion 73536i
Perfect for camping and using at home, this Champion Power Equipment 73536i 2000 Watt Stackable Portable Inverter Generator actually has a protective cage that wraps all around the top and sides. This cage keeps the generator safe on your travels and if any object or debris strikes it during a fire or storm.
You can stack it on top or or underneath another generator of the same model and still have full access to all the outlets.
Those outlets include two standard 120V outlets with a 20A rating and a third DC outlet that you can use with other types of devices. Indicator lights near these outlets warn you when the generator starts to reach an overload point. It also comes with a three-year warranty and has an economy mode to increase gas efficiency.
9. Dirty Hand Tools 800W
This Dirty Hand Tools 800W Gas Powered Inverter Generator is a good choice for those who like getting their hands dirty while outside. It stands just 14-inches tall and has a built-in carrying case for moving around your campsite or home. When you need to add more gas, you’ll find that you can easily unscrew the tank lid.
A panel on the end has UL protection that lets you run all outlets at the same time without the motor overheating or dying. That protection also makes this model appropriate for using with smaller and more sensitive devices like a smartphone. This panel also features a DC outlet, an output for a USB cord and an AC outlet, though you will need to provide your own cords or cables.
With a standard output of 800 watts and a continuous rating of 700 watts, it is good for camping and other trips. When set to a half load, it can run for eight hours before running out of gas.
10. Buffalo Tools Sportsman 1211-GEN1000I
If you need a machine suitable for charging some electronics while hiking or camping in the wilderness, this Sportsman Portable Inverter is a solid choice. While it does not have the capacity necessary for powering major appliances, you can still use it during a storm to stay in touch and to keep the lights running.
It weighs just 18 pounds before you add any fuel and can run continuously while putting out up to 800 watts.
To save on gas without changing the load size, you can use the built-in eco setting. A 120V AC outlet on the motor has a cover that keeps debris out, but it also has a DC outlet with built-in protection. Warning lights alert you of low oil in the engine and when you overloaded the generator.
Our Top Choice
The top option for those concerned about power failures is the Honda EU3000iS Portable Inverter. This portable inverter model has an overhead valve designed by Honda that provides the clean energy that you need. A single tank of fuel poured inside powers the motor for up to a full day and gives you 24 hours or use before you need any extra fuel.
Unlike other models that have an exposed motor, the motor inside this model is completely covered, which significantly reduces the sound level it produces. It produces no more than 58 decibels of sound, even if you use each outlet. That makes this model perfect for using at home, while tailgating or when you go camping.
Though it has a starting wattage of 3,500 watts, the Honda EU3000iS Portable Inverter has a continuous run rating of 3,000 watts and can easily power a computer and most common electronics. If you need more power, you can use a parallel cable to connect two of these generators together to form a chain system.
The EU3000iS also comes with multiple outlets that can accommodate larger appliance cords and an electric start that lets you start the motor and turn it off via the same button.
How to Choose the Perfect One
Find the top portable generator with an inverter design with answers to a few basic questions.
1. How Many Things Do You Need to Run?
Running a refrigerator, dishwasher and other major appliances on a small motor is almost impossible because these models cannot produce the key wattage that you need. With smaller models, you’ll get around 4,000 watts, which is enough to run one or more appliances, supply power to lights and handle other tasks around the house. Portable models can produce more or less watts.
2. What Outlets or Outputs Does it Have?
Many shoppers only look for standard two-prong or three-prong outlets when choosing an affordable machine. Those outlets can accommodate any electronic device you need during an power outage. It’s helpful to look for those with USB outlets too, which can power your laptop and charge your phone or tablet.
3. What Type is Best for You?
Manufacturers refer to smaller inverter generators as either compact, small or medium models. A compact model can only power a small household appliance like a toaster, which a small motor can run two appliances at the same time. Medium models can run multiple appliances and handle several electronic loads too.
If you need more power, you’ll need a large motor. You may find that a standby generator or a whole home model is best for you.
4. How Many Volts Can the Motor Handle?
In the same way that you would check the voltage of an outlet before plugging in your air conditioner or washing machine, you should check the voltage of the motor. Most portable models have 120V outlets that are similar to those in your home. Plugging in an appliance that uses more volts can severely damage the machine.
5. What Type of Start Does it Have?
Once you live through a major power outage that lasts for days or longer after a hurricane or storm, you’ll want a motor that not only provides your home with power but starts easily. Some of the cheaper and less expensive machines come with a pull cord on the side that forces you to start it in the same way you would your lawnmower.
Generators with an electric start are more convenient and easier to use. These models have a push button start that sends a signal to the motor that makes it come on automatically. This cuts down on frustrations during an emergency.