When was the last time you were stuck in a power outage? Or, have you been camping and wished you had a way to charge your phone without having the car run for a few hours? Though they are very different situations, both can be tough. We have become accustomed to having electricity at our fingertips to the point that when we don’t have it, things can get a bit dicey.
That being said, having a running refrigerator during a storm is important, yet some people need electricity for more urgent needs such as their medical equipment. Also, a working cell phone is typically the only way people have to call for help when there is an issue as landlines are far and few between.
Westinghouse is a brand that many people admire, and their portable generators are among the most popular on the market. You can get all set to make the purchase, but end up with a lot more stress due to the sheer volume of choices in front of you. If you are reading this now, you have probably been there already. Not to worry, we have the answer. We will break down wattage, outlets, runtime, and additional features so you know which is the best option for you! Plus, keep reading for some additional shopping tips to get the most bang for your buck.
|2200 Rated Watts and 2500 Peak Watts||4.95/5|
|3600 Rated Watts & 4650 Peak Watts||4.75/5|
|9500 Rated Watts & 12500 Peak Watts||4.60/5|
|Westinghouse iGen4500||3700 Rated Watts & 4500 Peak Watts||4.45/5|
|Westinghouse iGen2200||1800 Rated Watts & 2200 Peak Watts||4.15/5|
To spare you the suspense, we are hoping right in with the best pick for 2020. This Westinghouse model has inverter technology with less than 3 percent total harmonic distortion (THD) so all of your electronics will be safe while charging.
You can also run some heavy power tools and household appliances with a 2,500-watt starting power and a 2,200-watt running level. Plus, this beauty comes with two standard GFCI outlets and two USB ports for versatility and safety. All four plugs are also covered with rubber keeping them safe from dust and dirt.
To keep this model running at top-notch, you have a low-oil shutdown feature. Not to mention, you can run this unit on efficiency mode to get the most gas mileage. The tank is one gallon and will run for 10 hours at 50 percent power. At 48 pounds, this is a great option for camping, tailgating, emergency home use, and light job site projects.
If you need additional wattage at the job site, this generator has parallel capabilities so you can add another model for more power. The cable is sold separately, though. Finally, this unit runs quietly at 52dB on low power, has a recoil start, and is both OSHA and CARB compliant.
The Westinghouse WGen3600v is the best portable generator for the money. With this model, you can power lights, coffee pots, electric drills, and power radios plus much more. The 212cc OHV engine works with a 120V 20A standard plug, a 120V 30A RV port, and a twist-lock plug. Though all three have a rubber covering, none of them have GFCI protection.
What you do have is a 2,200-watt running power and a 2,500-watt peak. Typically, the difference in the wattage is larger, but this still gives you the ability to run most everyday items. This model is also operated by gasoline and has a four-gallon tank. What’s more, it can run for 18hrs at half power.
As a bonus, this model comes with oil, an oil funnel, and a tool kit. You can keep track of the oil consumption with the low-oil auto shut off. Additionally, this has an easy recoil start, yet it is louder at 69dB on low power. To top things off, this unit is CARB compliant, but not recommended for charging delicate electronics.
If you need a heavy-duty wattage power, the best bet is to spend a little more money on our premium choice. This has a 457cc OHV engine with a 12,500-watt starting power and a 9500-watt running level. This will allow you to use power tools at remote sites, run refrigerators and bigger appliances during power-outages, plus charge smaller items like phones and computers.
You have the option of two GFCI protected 120V 20A outlets, a 120/240V RV plug, and two USB ports which all have the standard rubber covering. This durable model has a cast iron sleeve, a low-oil shutdown, and a digital hour meter for complete control. This generator will also run for 17.5 hours at 25 percent power on the 6.6-gallon gas tank. Also, you can watch the fuel intake with the fuel gauge.
Like the above option, you also get oil, a funnel, and tool kit for convenience, plus a remote start that works from over 100 yards away. Keep in mind though, you can also start it with the electric start or recoil. Although this unit is CARB compliant, it is heavy weighing 220 pounds and is not a great option for moving around. You will also find this option to be louder when in use.
Moving right along we have a 4500-watt starting power and 3700-watt running level generator that uses less than 3 percent THD for electronics protection. As the name suggests, this model is super quiet with a rating of 52dB when used at half power. It also features a remote start, but will only work from 80 yards away.
You can pick from four outlets including a 120V 20A standard plug, an RV ready 120V 30A port, and USB. Though they do have rubber coverings, they do not have GFCI protection so caution is recommended with cell phones and computers.
That being said, you can use this model for 18 hours at 25 percent power. The engine is fueled by gas and has a 3.4-gallon tank. Not as energy-efficient as some of the other models, this unit still has a fuel gauge, and an electric and recoil start along with the remote. You can also take advantage of the LED data center that provides power output, remaining runtime, voltage output, and lifetime hours. Last but not least, this is a CARB compliant model and weighs 93 pounds.
This next generator is similar to the one above, but it does have some marked differences. For starters, this model has a 2200-watt starting power with an 1800-watt run making it not as efficient for heavier equipment and appliances. That being said, the OHV engine is also smaller at 79cc making this model better suited for charging electronics and running smaller items.
The outlets available are two 120V 20A plugs and two USB ports which again keeps the usage to a basic level. As usual, all the outlets have covers, and there is a low-oil shutdown. Additionally, you have an overload and output ready sensor for protection against power surges.
This 1.2-gallon gasoline tank will give you 12 hours of runtime when using 20 percent power which is lower than others. On the other hand, this is a great model for camping, tailgating, or emergency phone and computer charging. One downside is you only have a recoil option for starting the unit. It does have an efficiency mode, nonetheless, and parallel capabilities. Finally, as promised, you won’t hear much from this option with only 52db of sound.
The Westinghouse iPro4200 sports a 4200-watt starting power and a 3500-watt run level. You have the option of six GFCI 120V 20A outlets and two USB ports for convenience. This is a great model for business or office use when the power goes out. It will keep computers, registers, and other electronics running smoothly.
The 212cc OHV engine is not equipped for power tools, yet it can run for 22hrs on 25 percent power. That being said, you have a 2.6-gallon tank which makes this option more energy consuming than others. While that may be a drawback, you will be OSHA and CARB compliant as well as having an overload and low-oil protection.
At 99 pounds, this model can be moved easily for emergency use. This unit is started with recoil and features a digital data center. While you do have plenty of covered outlets to choose from, this option is best used for standard appliances and basic office equipment.
Our next pick is a 212cc OHV engine that has a low-oil shutdown and a tool kit, oil, and funnel included. The 109lb lightweight option can run items that need a 4650-watt starting power and a 3600-watt running level.
Although you can use this option for some heavier equipment, camping or tailgating is where you will find the most use. The covered outlets include two standard options a 120V 30A RV port, and a 120V 30A twist-lock. That being said, this model does not have the power to sustain the RV.
On a brighter note, you do have the option of either a remote, electric, or recoil start. The remote start does work, but you have to be within 50 feet. Also, the 4-gallon gas tank will power the model for 18 hours at 25 percent. You can easily switch between gas and propane, as well. Unfortunately, you do not get as much runtime with propane.
Finally, this model is louder when in use even on the lowest power available. Although it is CARB compliant, the fuel efficiency (even with propane) is not great.
If you need a smaller unit that will charge your electronics, the Westinghouse iGen4200 is a good option. The 212 cc OHV engine has less than 3 percent THD making it a safe way to charge phones and tablets. You can choose from two standard 120V household outlets, a 120V 30A RV port, and two USB plugs. Like the model above, however, the RV port is not strong enough to power the RV’s electrical system.
That being said, you have an overload reset and low-oil shutoff. This is included along with an initial bottle of oil with the funnel and a tool kit. You also have a 2.6-gallon fuel tank which is small for this size. It runs for about 14 hours on 20 percent power, and you will be constantly refilling the fuel tank.
Also note, you can only use the recoil to start this option. It is quiet at 62dB when running at low power, and it is lightweight at 82 pounds. Lastly, this model is CARB compliant as are all the others.
In the second to last spot, we have the WGen200 which has a 212cc OHV engine with a 2,000-watt running level and a 2,500-watt starting power making this the lowest powered option available. This model is only going to tackle charging phones and powering small items. Anything bigger, and the unit will overheat.
You also only have the option of four 120V 20A outlets which does not give a lot of versatility. The 4-gallon tank is also rather large for only a 12-hour runtime. Needless to say, this is not the most fuel-efficient option out there.
To add some good points, the oil, funnel, and tool kit comes included with this model and it is CARB compliant. On the other hand, you will have a difficult time starting it with the recoil, and the low-oil light is not accurate. If you plan to use this for basic items, the 90 pounds does make it easy to transport, however.
Coming in last is the Westinghouse iGen2500. This option has inverter technology and 3 percent THD for charging electronics, yet it doesn’t charge these items well. A typical cell phone that would take two hours to charge will take four hours with this model.
The 2,500-watt starting power and 2,200-watt running level is not strong enough for heavy or even medium-powered items, and like the option above, it overheats. This model has two 120V 20A outlets and two USB ports, but as mentioned they do not work as well, plus the rubber coverings do not fit the ports as they should.
This is a loud model that runs for only 5 hours when using only a quarter of the power. It does have an LED data center for fuel level, power output, remaining runtime, and voltage readings. Keep in mind, though, the readings can be slightly off.
Another interesting fact is this unit does have a camo pattern design but is too loud for hunting. That being said, it is CARB compliant.
There are many things to keep in mind when purchasing a portable generator. One important feature of the Westinghouse model is that many of them have inverter technology. This means that the power is harnessed making them safe to charge your electronics such as computers and cell phones.
Some of the options above have inverters of 3 percent or less THD. This stands for total harmonic distortion. In a nutshell, any electronics that have audio capabilities can have harmonic distortion. When the distortion runs through the volts in the generator, it can cause damage to the item. The higher the THD, the more damage could be done.
When you are looking for a generator that is going to be primarily used to power computers, cell phones, or any audio equipment, you want to look for a low THD percentage and inverter technology. You can also look at the manufacturer’s label on your item. It will give you the THD level the equipment can handle.
Now that we have THD out of the way, we can look at some other important concepts. The first rule of generator purchase is to determine what the generator will be used for. The best way to do this is to consider when it will be most essentially needed. For example, you may want something to tailgate with, yet you also want to be able to use it in case of a blackout.
If that is the case, you want to make sure that the model you pick can handle the worst-case scenario. Trust us, if you have a blast with your generator at camping sites, but find it’s almost useless at home when the power is out, it was not money well spent.
With that in mind, take a look at the appliances or equipment that are most crucial to you. What is their starting wattage, and what type of outlet do they need? Also, can you store gasoline or is storing propane easier? Once these questions are answered, you can move onto the additional features that will make your life easier.
Our top pick is the Westinghouse iPro2500 Portable Inverter Generator. Not only will this option protect your electronics, but it has the power to run many other appliances, as well. For a more affordable option, we recommend the Westinghouse WGen3600V Portable Generator. If you have a stationary unit at home and need something to camp or RV with, this is your best bet.
These reviews are meant to be a guide that points you in the right direction. We hope they have shed some light on the different Westinghouse options, and you now have a better idea of what you need in your portable generator.
Featured Image Credit: Westinghouse iGen4500 Generator, amazon
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!