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10 Best Portable Inverter Generators of 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews

hand plugging in A-iPower Portable Inverter Generator

These little generators are excellent sources of portable power. While they don’t provide enough power for a whole house, they’re usually plenty for tailgating and camping trips. If you’re considering choosing one of these for your portable power needs, it can be challenging to know exactly which portable inverter generator to choose.

To help you on your quest, we reviewed some of the best portable inverter generators on the market. Below you’ll find our reviews, along with some vital information you may need to find the perfect inverter generator to fit your needs.

A Quick Glance at the Winners of 2020

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator
  • Eco-mode
  • Easy to use panel
  • Quiet
  • Best Value
    Second place
    A-iPower SUA2000iV Portable Inverter Generator A-iPower SUA2000iV Portable Inverter Generator
  • Works with sensitive electronics
  • Very quiet
  • Low idle technology
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Portable Inverter Generator Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Portable Inverter Generator
  • Extremely clean energy
  • Smart throttle
  • Oil watch warning system
  • Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Portable Inverter Generator Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Portable Inverter Generator
  • All units are tested
  • 1800 rated watts
  • Very quiet
  • Champion 100263 Dual Fuel Portable Inverter Generator Champion 100263 Dual Fuel Portable Inverter Generator
  • 3100 watts
  • Can run on gasoline propane
  • Low oil sensor
  • The 10 Best Portable Inverter Generators

    1. WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator – Best Overall

    WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator

    This WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator can produce up to 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated watts, which should be more than enough for some power outages, camping trips, and outdoor parties. It produces clean power and can safely be used alongside sensitive electronics like phones, tablets, televisions, and computers.

    It has two three-pronged 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle, and one 5V USB port. This leaves you with plenty of places to plug in your devices and electronics.

    This machine truly is portable, unlike some of the other options on the market. It is decently lightweight, so you should be able to move it without too much of a problem. It also operates quietly, so you won’t annoy your neighbors or ruin the serenity of the forest. It even has an eco-mode, so you can rest assured that you’re producing clean energy.

    The control panel is easy to access and use. It does not take an expert to use this generator in the least. The average person can pick it up and start using it right away.

    Pros
    • Eco-mode
    • Easy to use panel
    • Quiet
    • Lightweight
    Cons
    • Lower wattage than most

    2. A-iPower SUA2000iV Portable Inverter Generator – Best Value

    A-iPower SUA2000iV Portable Inverter Generator

    The A-iPower SUA2000iV Portable Inverter Generator is very similar to our number one choice. However, it is a bit cheaper, which makes it more suitable for those on a budget. This is the best portable inverter generator for the money.

    It can produce 2000 starting watts and 1600 running watts, which is the same as the generator we previously reviewed. This should be enough for most single-family uses. If you just need a small portable source of electricity for the campsite, this machine is perfect.

    It can also be used with sensitive electronics. It will not ruin your phone’s battery or short out your television.

    It is also extremely quiet. It operates at around 58 decibels. That is about the same level of noise as your average household refrigerator. That should be plenty quiet for practically all uses. We also loved that this machine was decently lightweight. It weighs only 46 pounds, which should be easy enough for most people to use.

    For an extended runtime, this machine features A-iPower’s low idle technology. This allows the generator to run for longer, so you never find yourself without power when you need it.

    Pros
    • Works with sensitive electronics
    • Inexpensive
    • Very quiet
    • Low idle technology
    Cons
    • Not as powerful as other options

    3. Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Portable Inverter Generator – Premium Choice

    Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Portable Inverter Generator

    This Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Portable Inverter Generator is costly. It is double the price of most inverter generators we reviewed. It is going to be out of most people’s budgets. However, if you need a premium generator, this is the one to get.

    It doesn’t produce more power than any of the previous ones we reviewed. It has a 2000 watt maximum power output with a 1600 watt rated output. However, it does come with many other features that make it worth the extra money.

    For example, it has a smart throttle, so it only uses as much energy as it needs to at any given point. This improves its fuel economy and reduces the overall noise it makes – which are both great for you. You’ll save money on fuel in the long run and won’t get noise complaints from your neighbors. This machine can run for 10.5 hours on a tank of gas if it is only being used at ¼ power.

    Furthermore, it produces about the cleanest energy you can get. The frequency is exceptionally stable – more so than most public power. This makes it especially suitable for sensitive electronics.

    Pros
    • Extremely clean energy
    • Smart throttle
    • Oil watch warning system
    Cons
    • Expensive

    4. Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Portable Inverter Generator

    Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Portable Inverter Generator

    This Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Portable Inverter Generator is a bit more powerful than the others we reviewed thus far. It can run 1800 rated watts and 2200 surge watts. That’s quite a bit. However, we doubt the average person is going to notice a significant difference in only a 300-watt increase. Still, this machine is strong enough to run all of your home essentials during a power outage.

    This machine runs at only 52 decibels, which is plenty quiet to be used in almost every neighborhood. It can run for up to 13 hours on just over a one-gallon tank. If you need to save fuel, this generator comes with an economy mode, which allows it to stretch its fuel even further.

    One of the best parts about this machine is that it is parallel capable. If you get two, they can work together to increase the available wattage. For some people, this feature by itself is enough to offset the increased cost.

    This company also tests all its generators. Because of this, some generators might smell used when you get them. However, this does not mean they have been used, just tested.

    Pros
    • All units are tested
    • 1800 rated watts
    • Very quiet
    • Economy mode
    Cons
    • Extremely expensive

    5. Champion 100263 Dual Fuel Portable Inverter Generator

    Champion 100263 Dual Fuel Portable Inverter Generator

    If you need some serious power, the Champion 100263 Dual Fuel Portable Inverter Generator may be your best option. However, you’re going to be paying for it. It is quite expensive. This machine also has quite a few features that we loved, though we still aren’t sure if the extra cost is worth it for most users.

    This machine can run on either gasoline or propane. It can also hold quite a bit of oil and has a low oil sensor. This prevents you from accidentally tearing up the machine by running it with too little oil. In all, this machine features 3100 running watts and 3400 starting watts. As you might expect, this is plenty of most users. We can’t think of a situation where the average user is going to need more power than this. If you want to run most things in your home during a power outage, this machine can do it.

    This generator also produces decently clean energy, so it can be used to run and charge sensitive electronics. It comes with plenty of outlets for you to use as well, so you can plug in whatever you need to.

    Pros
    • 3100 watts
    • Can run on gasoline propane
    • Low oil sensor
    Cons
    • Very expensive
    • Warranty does not cover everything

    6. Briggs & Stratton P2200 Power Smart Series Inverter Generator

    Briggs & Stratton P2200 Power Smart Series Inverter Generator

    The Briggs & Stratton P2200 Power Smart Series Inverter Generator is okay. It isn’t the best, but it does create power. It can produce 1700 running watts and 2200 starting watts, which is a bit higher than average. It is quiet and fuel-efficient. These two features save you money in the long run and will prevent you from being overpowered by the noise.

    The USB port allows you to charge your phone and other small devices directly into the generator. This is very helpful for camping trips and similar situations, where you won’t be plugging the generator into a house. This generator is safe for laptops, TVs, and gaming systems. It produces less than 3% distortion, making it decently clean.

    The one-gallon tank can run for 6.5 hours at a ¼ load. This is a bit shorter than most of the other generators we’ve reviewed. This is one of the reasons we marked this generator down to sixth place. If you have two units, you can connect them for even more power. Because this generator is decently cheap, this may be practical for some users.

    We also found this machine decently quiet, though it was a bit louder than some of the others we reviewed.

    Pros
    • 1700 running watts
    • Safe for electronics
    • Quiet
    Cons
    • Short run time
    • Heavier than most

    7. Briggs & Stratton 30675 Q6500 Inverter Generator

    Briggs & Stratton 30675 Q6500 Inverter Generator

    Let’s be clear about the Briggs & Stratton 30675 Q6500 Inverter Generator: it is only portable because it has wheels. However, it is so significant because it produces a whole lot of power. It can deliver 6500 starting watts, making it an extremely reliable form of home backup power. While this machine is quiet for producing so much power, it is a bit louder than the others on this list. It still shouldn’t upset any neighbors, but it is going to be a bit louder than most refrigerators.

    This generator can run for up to 14 hours on ¼ load. This is a bit longer than most of those we reviewed, and ¼ load for this generator is still quite a bit. As you can probably guess, you’re going to get more power for a more extended period with this generator than you would with others.

    However, you sacrifice a lot for this power. On top of being heavier than most, it is also a lot more expensive. It is significantly more expensive than most generators on this list. The only real benefit you’re getting for your money is the extra power.

    Pros
    • 6500 starting watts
    • 14 hour run time
    Cons
    • Heavier than most
    • Goes through a lot of fuel

    8. Generac 7117 Gp2200I W 50St Inverter Generator

    Generac 7117 Gp2200I W 50St Inverter Generator

    We found the Generac 7117 Gp2200I W 50St Inverter Generator to be pretty average. It is quiet and compact. Most people should be able to transport it around pretty easily. It is also quite easy to use. The control panel is pretty straightforward, and even someone who has never seen a generator before should be able to figure out how to use it. It can produce 1700 running watts and 2200 starting watts. This may allow it to work as a source of backup power for some homes. It is possible to use it at outdoor parties and camping trips.

    This generator has a 1.2-gallon tank and can run for 10.75 hours at a ¼ load. That is a long time by any standards, though it is a few hours shorter than some of the larger generators we reviewed. Still, for its size, this quite a long time.

    Starting this generator is very easy thanks to the integrated knob. Even someone who has never started a generator before should be able to figure it out. We liked the economy mode, which allows it to produce less fuel and reduce the amount of noise it produces.

    Pros
    • 75 hour run time
    • 1700 running watts
    Cons
    • Surprisingly high percentage of units are defective
    • Warranty does not apply to most situations
    • Louder than most at 85 decibels

    9. Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator

    Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator

    Honda generators are pretty popular in most circles. However, the Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator left us underwhelmed. It produces about 2200 watts and is parallel compatible. You can plug two of these generators together to get more power. But these generators are costly. Most people are not going to have the budget to purchase two of them.

    This machine runs a maximum of just over 9 hours on a single tank. As you might imagine, this isn’t very much. Compared to other generators we reviewed, this is far lower than average. You’re going to find yourself refilling this generator a lot more than usual.

    One thing we did like about this generator is that it is tiny. It is pretty easy to move around at the very least.

    We were disappointed that this machine doesn’t include a gas cutoff switch. Most machines today include this simple feature, but this one does not. It also can’t take propane for fuel, which some other generators we reviewed could. In the end, the lack of basic features left us disappointed.

    Cons
    • Short run time
    • Lacking basic features
    • Lack of customer service

    10. Rainier R2200i Super Quiet Portable or Inverter Generator

    Rainier R2200i Super Quiet Portable or Inverter Generator

    The Rainier R2200i Super Quiet Portable or Inverter Generator is not the best generator by far. It is cheap. However, you’re going to miss out on quite a few features. This machine is decently hard to start. It takes at least five pulls. While this isn’t a problem for everyone, it is going to be a serious issue for others. Tripping the overload is also surprisingly easy, even when you’re running low-power tools and other essentials. Oil changes are incredibly messy – far messier than most generators. Plan to get dirty when it’s time to change the oil.

    We also didn’t like how noisy this machine was. It is incredibly loud. Much louder than the others we reviewed. If you have neighbors, this is going to be a problem. It also probably isn’t suitable for campgrounds or anything like that.

    The exhaust odor also smells very strongly, so you don’t want to be standing right next to this generator.

    With this generator, you’re getting what you pay for. However, you could spend that same amount of money and get a better generator. Our advice? Just skip this one and head back up for our top picks.

    Pros
    • Lightweight
    Cons
    • Messy oil changes
    • Hard to start
    • Strong exhaust odor
    • Loud

    Buyer’s Guide

    Portable generators can be essential for some situations. No one wants to be caught without power, which is why choosing the correct generator is essential.

    This decision can be somewhat complicated. There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the correct generator. To help you find the best model for your situation, we’ll go into detail about some of these factors below.

    What is an Inverter Generator?

    An inverter generator can throttle its engine up and down. This allows the generator only to produce as much energy as it needs to, lowering the overall amount of fuel the generator goes through. It also decreases the sound by quite a bit, since the machine isn’t always running at full potential.

    Inverter generators are suitable for most users, especially if you care mainly about noise production. They generally produce less power than regular generators. They often average at far less power than your usual generator. They have smaller fuel tanks because of this as well, which makes them substantially more portable. Most people are not going to be moving a regular generator around by themselves, but most inverter generators can be moved easily.

    Because inverter generators are quite portable, they are usually designed to comply with most EPA guidelines, including those that are active in national parts and the state of California. They’re made to comply with EPA guidelines anywhere, which typically makes them more eco-friendly than most other generators.

    Output

    The most significant decision you’ll need to make is how much energy you need to be produced. Most people far oversell their energy needs. You probably don’t need as many watts as you think you do. With that said, it is better to purchase a generator that creates too much power rather than one that creates too little. One that doesn’t fit your energy needs is probably not going to be very useful.

    Keep in mind what you plan on using this generator for when purchasing it. If you just plan on taking it camping, you probably don’t need much wattage at all. If you’re planning on powering your house, however, you should plan on getting a decently powerful generator. Where you’re using the generator will play a significant role in how much energy you need it to make.

    Consider Doubling Up

    Many inverter generators get around their low power output by being parallel capable. This means they can plug into each other and create more power that way. If you simply must have a portable generator but need more power than more inverter generators offer, this may be a reliable option.

    Of course, this does mean you’ll end up spending even more money. Still, this is always a possibility if it is in your budget. Even if you can’t afford it now, you may be able to afford the second generator in the future. With these inverter generators, it is always an option.

    Portability

    Most inverter generators are portable. But some are more portable than others. If you need to move a generator around by yourself with little help, be sure to look at the weight of the generator and whether or not it has anything like carrying handles or wheels. These factors will play a significant role in how portable the machine is.

    The more portable the generator, the smaller it often is. Because smaller generators often produce less power, you may have to give up some output if you’re worried about portability.

    Because of this, you should only get as portable of a generator as you need. Otherwise, you’re going to be sacrificing power that you may find useful.

    We reviewed the top 5,000-watt generators – Click here!

    Noise

    Some generators are noisier than others. Luckily, inverter generators tend to be pretty quiet overall. Still, you’ll find that some inverter generators are much quieter than others.

    For some buyers, how loud a machine is will matter tons. If you have neighbors close by or plan on using it while you’re camping or something similar, you should likely avoid one that is significantly noisy. After all, you don’t want to upset the neighbors or drown out everyone’s conversations around the campfire.

    Despite what you may think, there doesn’t seem to be a direct correlation between the amount of power a generator produces and the amount of noise it makes. Some decently powerful generators we reviewed were decently quiet, while others that made little energy were very noisy. Instead, it seems to be more of a question of quality.

    man carrying Wen 56200i Portable Generator

    FAQs

    Below, you’ll find some common questions about inverter generators and their answers. If you have any last questions, see if it has been answered below.

    Can an inverter generator run a refrigerator?

    It depends on how much power a particular inverter generator produces. Some do not produce very much at all and would not be able to run a refrigerator. However, others produce a lot and are perfectly capable of keeping your food cold.

    It all depends on how much power your fridge needs and how much power your inverter produces.

    What can a 2000-watt inverter generator run?

    If you have a 2000-watt inverter generator, you can likely run any common household appliance. You’ll be able to run portable light sources, charge your phone, and keep a small space heater going. You may also be able to run your fridge running, including a small freezer. Most microwaves can run on this amount of power, as can dishwashers and pressure cookers.

    What size generator can power a house?

    Realistically, most houses need at least 3000 watts to be powered at all. This does not mean you’re running all of your home’s appliances at once. If you just want the basics, 3000 may be enough (unless it is unusually cold or hot where you are; then, you’ll need more just to keep up with the temperature). To run everything in your house like usual, you’ll need closer to 8000 watts. For most people, plan on getting something around 5000 at the least, unless you plan on significantly dialing back your energy usage while using the generator.

    Related buying guides:

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    Conclusion

    There is a surprising variety of factors that go into choosing the perfect inverter generator. You need a generator that can produce enough power to fit your needs, while also remaining portable enough as well. We hope this guide helped you figure out the correct model for you based on your current situation.

    For most users, we recommend the WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator. This generator provides enough power for most uses, like lighting up a portable light while camping. However, it is also inexpensive and portable. It has all the features you need and none that you don’t.

    If you need something a bit cheaper, the A-iPower SUA2000iV Portable Inverter Generator is another reliable option. This machine is extremely quiet and is safe for sensitive electronics. It produces a decent amount of power as well – plenty of the campsite or tailgating party.

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