Last Updated: February 2020
Best Generator: Our 2020 Consumer Guide
Going off the grid doesn’t always have to mean a blackout and if you want to ensure that you’ll always have a power supply, then take a look at our Best Generator 2019 guide below. Getting a portable generator is a good idea. A portable generator is of course a device that allows you to generate electricity normally from a gas supply so that you can run electrical appliances.
There are lots of reasons to invest in a portable generator but two particularly common ones. One is to allow you to work outdoors and from a DIY perspective that’s why many people reading this guide will be looking at them. Seeing as the most powerful work tools such as Pneumatic Nailers and Miter Saws often require a cable, you’ll need some kind of power outlet that you can take outside in order to use them. A portable generator can provide just that.
Another reason is security and safety. If you have lots of systems in your home running on your mains supply, that gives you one critical point of failure. All it would take is a power outage and you’d be left without heating, perhaps without warm water, maybe without air conditioning… and probably plunged into pitch darkness. This is also a big consideration for offices where a power cut can mean a huge loss in productivity.
There are countless other scenarios where a backup generator can be useful too. For example, if you have some kind of business that requires power away from the mains such as a fairground ride!
Whatever the case, it’s important that you know what you’re getting to ensure that your device will be fit for purpose and that you won’t have wasted your money. Unfortunately, these aren’t cheap machines!
So with that in mind, read on and we’ll take a look at how to go about choosing the best generator 2019.
This section will go into a little detail about how to pick your portable generator. We’ll then list some of the best options available on the market right now and finally, we’ll go over what the different specs and details all mean.
Essentially though, when buying a portable generator there are a few things to look at. Most important of these is the wattage. The higher the wattage, the more that you’re going to be able to do. And as a good guide, bear in mind that a microwave might need about 1,000 watts, while your central heating will need about 5,000 watts. You’ll also need enough power outlets to do everything you want to.
Think too about how you’ll be using your generator. Is this just a backup in case of a power cut? Or is it going to be something you take onto building sites to power your power tools? The two options require different approaches – and the latter will need a solid construction.
Budget of course is also another important concern, as is the build quality and reliability. In this next section, we’ve detailed some very affordable generators that all have great reviews, all offer excellent value for money and all should stand the test of time!
Be sure to read the details though and identify the features that you will be most likely to need. There’s no wrong answers here – just a matter of finding the right generator for your specific requirements!
Knowing Your Options
Use this section as a resource in order to know precisely what the different terminology and specs listed in the below reviews mean. If you don’t want to get too technical, then skip over it – but we do recommend that you have a good idea just what you’re buying!
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Our Best Generator in 2020
With all that said, here are some of our top picks for generators!
This is a gasoline powered portable generator that is capable of offering 3,700 running watts and 4,500 starting watts. This is enough to run a lot of appliances and that’s impressive when you consider the convenient form factor, quiet operation, simple controls and LCD ‘hour meter’. It has a full enclosure to protect from debris too, which makes it well suited to using on campsites. It has a remote start and a push button electric start. Wheels make this even more portable too and it has a good number of outlets. It’s not as affordable as some of the cheaper options on this list but it’s still very affordable for what you’re getting.
This is a far cheaper generator and that means you can expect considerably lower specs. At 3,500 running watts, this is really more suited to powering a few powertools rather than taking over electricity duties for your home. Unfortunately, a lack of wheels makes it a little less convenient for this purpose and there’s no carry handle either. But for the price, you really can’t say fairer – and it also offers an impressive 12 hours of run time on a full tank of gas and has a Volt GuardTM system to protect appliances from power surges.
This is a very affordable power generator and if you just want something to have on standby or to be able to use certain tools – then it will do. It’s only 1,500 running watts but it can run at half load for 7.5 hours on a full tank and has a few outlets. Not terribly convenient due to a lack of wheels and not singing and dancing with features. But what you’re getting here is a solid and reliable device for a very compelling price.
Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt 120-Volt Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator
This is a slightly more expensive portable inverter generator model. It’s able to offer 2,200 surge watts and 1,600 rates watts. It has two 15 amp 120V outlets.
So it’s not the most powerful portable generator and it’s not the cheapest. So what is it? Essentially, this unit is very quiet, very portable (less than 47lbs) and sports a convenient handle. It can also be connected to another inverter generator to provide a bigger 4,000 watts. It’s also highly fuel efficient as it only runs as fast as is needed for the current energy load.
This is a popular option for camping and other such uses and in that respect, it’s a great option.
Yamaha EF2000iS, 1600 Running Watts/2000 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Inverter, CARB Compliant
Fairly similar in price, design and power to the Honda, this is another smaller device that’s great for offering reliable, quiet and steady power in a portable form factor. Once again, you get the smooth and reliable energy that comes from an inverter and it’s generally super convenient – even lighter at just 44.1lbs. The handle is also neat and it has the appearance of an old fashioned boom box! If 1,600 is enough power for you, then this is a great little unit to have to hand.