There are many reasons you might need a generator. From powering medical devices like your CPAP machine to charging your cellphone while camping, generators are one of the most useful things to have on hand in an emergency. Instead of waiting until something happens, consider finding the best generator for your situation ahead of time. It’ll be far less stressful.
To help reduce your stress, I’ve come up with a list of the five best generators for various situations to get you going well ahead of the rush.
Best Generator Comparison Table
|DuroMax XP5500EH Electric Start Dual-Fuel Portable Genetator||Check The Price!|
|Champion 12.5-kW Home Standby Generator||Check The Price!|
|Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500||Check The Price!|
|FlashFish Peak Power Station||Check The Price!|
|PROGENY Portable Solar Power Station||Check The Price!|
Why You Can Trust Us
I first heard of generators as a kid when my family was learning about emergency care and survival skills. Over the years since, I’ve investigated the right types of generators to use at home, while camping, and hiking through the wilderness to keep my smartphone charged for emergencies and communication, and how to use generators most effectively.
In recent years, I’ve also been working with a few different solar energy websites, learning and writing about the differences between types of generators, what they’re used for, and which brands are the most reliable and beneficial for given situations.
I’m thrilled to be able to put that knowledge in a useful format for you today as you shop for the best generator for your own needs.
Best for General Use
A powerful, multi-outlet, 5000W dual-fuel generator for house, RV, or backwoods cabin
Why We Like It: DuroMax is one of the longest, most trusted brands in the business. They’re reliable and powerful, so this one is great for your all-around use, whatever your situation.
The DuroMax generator runs on either propane or gasoline, making it highly versatile, and produces 5,500 starting watts and 4,500 running watts. The unit can handle heavy output loads for running refrigerators and powering lights or power tools without hesitation, even simultaneously.
The power panel on the generator provides two 120V GFCI outlets, 1 120/240V 30A twist-lock outlet, has a voltmeter for easier understanding of your power usage and fuel needs, and a 12V Dc charging post for external batteries.
Who Should Buy It: Anyone looking for an easy generator backup for their home, use in camping, or powering for a remote location will find this generator a beneficial option.
Best for Standby at Home
Why We Like It: This one’s powerful enough to run everything in the average home for as long as you need to keep it going. It can also be hooked up to natural gas for a “no refill” situation for extended periods without grid electricity.
This generator produces 12,500 watts on either propane or natural gas for your most versatile option for running the whole household in case of a power outage. The system is fully automatic when installed properly, giving your home a seamless transition from the grid to backup power. A 100-amp, outdoor-rated automatic transfer switch is part of the package.
The generator is incredibly quiet, thanks to its sound-dampening technology and designed low-tone muffler, making it perfect for residential areas. The system operates during both sub-zero and extreme heat temperatures between negative-22 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit. And there’s a 10-year limited warranty and free lifetime technical support for the generator.
Who Should Buy It: It is great for anyone looking for permanent generator installs for backing up power at home whenever the power goes out.
Best for RVs and Camping
Why We Like It: Jackery is another well-trusted brand in the generator industry.
The power station from Jackery uses a lithium-ion battery pack with 110V/500W AC outlet and easily hooks up to solar panels. The station is built to last with a sturdy frame and long-lasting components.
The 518 watt-hour capacity makes it powerful enough to power appliances on the go, such as mini fridges, cooling fans, air pumps, projectors, lamps, TVs, and more. The station features an AC outlet, three USB-A ports, two DC ports, and a carport for making the most of whatever type of camping you do. It’s small, portable, lightweight, and comes with an AC adapter and a car charger cable.
Who Should Buy It: For people who run an RV or have other electrical needs while camping, this generator is a great choice.
Best for Portability
Why We Like It: It’s perfect for taking along anywhere you’ll need to charge a few small devices or keep as an emergency backup for medical devices.
The Flashfish generator only weighs 4.5 pounds, is extremely compact, and versatile with two AC, two DC, and three USB outlets available for charging or powering devices. It features 150W continuous power and 200W AC peak power, allowing you to charge or run multiple smaller devices at once.
It’s rechargeable through three different options, including a wall outlet, car outlet, and solar panel (not included), and comes with a 12V adapter for the car and a car charger cable.
Who Should Buy It: This one is perfect for campers, hikers, and people looking to back up a single device at home like a CPAP machine.
Best for Emergencies
Why We Like It: In case of emergency, it is perfect for powering your smaller appliances and devices, running multiple devices simultaneously, even while charging.
The PROGENY power station weighs 7 pounds for easy portability and puts out 300 watts of power. You can both charge the power station via solar panel, carport, or AC outlet, and run devices using it at the same time.
The station uniquely provides you with wireless charging capabilities as well, making it exceptionally convenient during certain emergencies or camping. It uses a lithium-ion battery and provides you with a carport, pure sine wave 110V AC outlet, DC power, and multiple USB outlets for charging practically any device mini-fridge sized and smaller.
Who Should Buy It: Anyone looking for a backup for specific smaller devices at home, like a CPAP, laptop, and modem, or similar will find this has more than enough power to get the work done.
How to Choose the Right Generator for Your Situation
Before you click that “buy now” button, there are some things to consider for choosing the best generator possible for your needs.
Determine What Type You Need
First off, you’ll want to determine which type of generator you need.
- Home standby generators – These units are the most expensive, but they provide the most power, enough to power your entire household when the grid goes down.
- Portable generators – These come in a variety of sizes and styles, for use in many capacities. Some are powerful enough to function as a basic backup for key appliances in the home, or small enough that tent campers use them to charge cellphones and fans while off the grid.
- Invertor generators – These generators are similar in function to portable generators, but the system powering them is more complex, and therefore, they tend to cost more than the average portable generator. They are much quieter than standard generators and produce fewer emissions.
- Portable power stations – These don’t use gasoline, propane, or natural gas. Instead, they use either solar power or charge via an electrical outlet/car outlet before being used. They’re portable and maintain the charge given them for a specified amount of time and number of devices charged. Most of the lightweight and smaller portable generators are technically power stations.
Know Your Energy Needs
Part of determining which generator type best suits your needs is discovering your output needs. How many watts you require to power whatever devices and appliances you require the generator to run.
The best way to determine wattage needs is by deciding what devices and appliances you need to power, then looking into the wattage needed for each, and adding those watts together for your sum.
For example, a refrigerator requires approximately 600 watts, a window AC unit needs about 1000 watts, and computers require anywhere from 60 to 300 watts apiece. If you’re relying on these devices to make life bearable while the power is out, calculate these together. 600+1000+300=1900 watts. It tells you the wattage you need in your emergency generator.
Other Things to Consider
While you’re choosing your generator, also keep these things in mind.
- Power Source – Will you need electricity or solar panels to charge, natural gas, gasoline, or propane to power it on-going?
- Warranty – What kind of warranty does the manufacturer provide? Most come with at least three years, but for larger, more costly models, you’ll want to make sure there’s a longer warranty to ensure your investment is worth it.
- Safety precautions – Generators create high temperatures. They run on gasoline, propane, or natural which can be volatile. Make sure there are precautions for overheating, overcharging, automatic shut-offs, and similar to ensure safety for your family. Mike Hanson of Hanson Electric gave us a few important tips when it comes to having your generator installed: the generator needs to be 10 feet away from the ignition source and 16 to 18 inches away from the homes’ structure. Also, it needs to be away from windows to prevent carbon monoxide from entering your home.
How We Picked
To make sure we were suggesting the best of the best, we dug through numerous reviews and information from real-life users. Each generator on the list comes highly recommended by real people who’ve been using them in their homes, RVs, and camping trips. Each one meets our strict standard of quality manufacture, beneficial use in given circumstances, and energy production output needed. Additionally, while creating this list, we also used the knowledge and experience that we gathered through the years.
Finding the Right Generator for You
As you search for the right generator for your home or RV, be sure to consider all the above qualities and assess your specific needs accordingly. What works for one family might not work for you, though if you have any friends with great generators, keep their recommendations in mind as well.
As far as we’re concerned, the DuroMax generator is the best option for most folks looking for a powerful, safe, and high-quality generator. The brand is well-trusted for a reason.