5 Best Budget Inverter Generators That Are Actually Good

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Discover the best budget inverter generators so you can reliably get clean low THD power in a relatively cheap way.

Best budget inverter generators top picks

  1. WEN GN400i – Best budget inverter generator (4000 peak watts, likely 67 dBA)
  2. WEN 56225i – Best small budget inverter generator (2250 peak watts)
  3. WEN 56380i – Best quiet budget inverter generator (3800 peak watts, 57 dBA)
  4. Champion 200977 – Best budget dual fuel inverter generator (4250 peak watts)
  5. Champion 100519 – Best larger budget inverter generator (6250 peak watts)

When it comes to good cheap generator brands this list is somewhat one-sided but WEN and Champion just do outstanding jobs in offering a lot of value for the money.

Something else worth noting is that budget inverter generators lower in the list can definitely be the best for your preferences and needs too.

How we selected our top picks

Offering good value for the money is an important detail but I also considered other details when putting together this list of the best budget inverter generators.

Some of these other details include:

  • Run time, power capacity, outlets, portability, noise levels, etc.
  • User reviews
  • Anecdotal reviews from experts
  • Price
  • Brand trustability and reputation
  • The performance categories below

If a pick seems interesting click it to see the online prices.

Brand ModelPower
Capacity
Run
Time
Quiet
Operation
THDReliability
Reputation
Fuel
Efficiency
Ease
Of Use
PortabilityPrice
Category
Current
Price
WEN GN400i87.56<1.2%9978.5$Check Price
WEN 56225i 22506.579.5<1.2%96.579.5$Check Price
WEN 56380i 38007.588.5<1.2%9987.5$$Check Price
Champion 200977 425089.57.5<3%9.58.588$$Check Price
Champion 100519 6250986<3%9.57.587$$$Check Price
Best budget inverter generators performance on a score of 10 in important categories*

*Compared to similar generators and sometimes based on customer input

5 Best budget inverter generators reviewed in-depth

People who know more or less what they could be able to choose between the best budget inverter generators by looking at the top picks and performance table.

That being said, you will likely find it easier to make a decision after checking the in-depth reviews of all the options.

1. WEN GN400i 4000 – Best budget inverter generator

Our top pick for the best budget inverter generator is the WEN GN400i 4000 thanks to the solid features and reliability you get at such a cheap price.

At the same time, you definitely want to know that this inverter generator is very loud.

WEN GN400i

In turn, the WEN GN400i 4000 could be suited for something like powering an RV if you don’t have any neighbors

For busier campings or purposes like tailgating, power backup in a small neighborhood, or boat trips, you likely want to choose the WEN 56380i 3800 instead.

Pros

  • WEN GN400i offers 4000 starting watts, 3500 running watts, 30 amps, and 120 volts
  • Parallel capability
  • Run time of 7 hours at 50% load
  • Nice fuel efficiency
  • Less than 1.2% THD
  • Weight of 66.1 lb (30 kg)
  • Relatively positive customer reviews
  • 2 years limited residential and 90 days limited commercial warranties
  • A lot of customers
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Noise levels of 67 dBA mentioned in reviews (and potentially more in practice) are loud
  • The lack of wheels can be inconvenient

Something else to note is that the WEN GN400i 4000 does not have any wheels.

If you find the 66.1 lb (30 kg) too hard to move, you again want to turn to a lighter cheap inverter generator or at least one with wheels.

Noise levels and portability aside, the WEN GN400i 4000 is still a solid generator.

The run time of 7 hours at 50% load can power sensitive electronics or other devices for nice amounts of time before having to refuel.

In short, if you are on a tight budget, the solid features and low price of the WEN GN400i 4000 could weigh up against the loud noise levels.

Brand ModelPower
Capacity
Run
Time
Quiet
Operation
THDReliability
Reputation
Fuel
Efficiency
Ease
Of Use
PortabilityPrice
Category
Current
Price
WEN GN400i87.56<1.2%9978.5$Check Price
WEN GN400i performance on a score of 10 compared to similar alternatives

2. WEN 56225i 2250 – Best small

The WEN 56225i 2250 can be the best buy for the money if you find the GN400i too loud and don’t need that much power anyway.

With 2250 starting watts and 1800 running watts, you should still be able to run an energy-friendly refrigerator, coffee machine, TV, and laptop.

WEN 56225i

Besides generally being cheaper, smaller inverter generators also have the benefit of being light weight and more compact.

You should not have too much of an issue fitting the WEN 56225i 2250 in the car for a camping trip or something similar and getting the 48.5 pounds in position.

Pros

  • WEN 56225i offers 2250 starting watts, 1800 running watts, 15 amps, and 120 volts
  • Parallel capability
  • Relatively low noise levels of 53 dBA
  • Run time of 6 hours at 50% load
  • Less than 1.2% THD
  • Light weight of 48.5 lb (22 kg)
  • Relatively positive customer reviews
  • 2 years limited residential and 90 days limited commercial warranties
  • A lot of customers
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Uses a lot of oil

Additionally, smaller inverter generators tend to be quieter as you can see from the 53 dBA of the WEN 56225i 2250.

You do want to keep the shorter run time of 6 hours at 50% load in mind. Especially considering this 50% load is already not that many watts.

There are also a few mentions in reviews that the WEN 56225i 2250 uses relatively high amounts of oil.

While you do want to know these things, the WEN 56225i 2250 is still a solid budget inverter generator as the happy customers can confirm.

Brand ModelPower
Capacity
Run
Time
Quiet
Operation
THDReliability
Reputation
Fuel
Efficiency
Ease
Of Use
PortabilityPrice
Category
Current
Price
WEN 56225i 22506.579.5<1.2%96.579.5$Check Price
WEN 56225i 2250 performance on a score of 10 compared to similar alternatives

3. WEN 56380i 3800 – Best quiet

While the previous model is a bit quieter thanks to its small size, the WEN 56380i 3800 still gets the top spot for the best quiet budget inverter generator.

From a high-level view, this is because of the power capacity that is generally more attractive, the other solid features, the reliability, and of course the relatively cheap price.

WEN 56380i

Considering a regular conversation is about 60 decibels, the 57 dBA of the WEN 56380i should not disturb you or your neighbors too much.

Additionally, with 3800 starting watts and 3400 running watts, you can run something like an 11k BTU RV AC with power to spare for an energy-friendly refrigerator and laptop.

Pros

  • WEN 56380i 3800 offers 3800 starting watts, 3400 running watts, 30 amps, and 120 volts
  • Parallel capability
  • Relatively low noise levels of 57 dBA
  • Good run time of 8.5 hours at 50% load
  • Nice fuel efficiency
  • Less than 1.2% THD
  • Electric start
  • Weight of 99.2 lb (45 kg)
  • Very positive customer reviews
  • 2 years limited residential and 90 days limited commercial warranties
  • A lot of customers
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Can be challenging to move over bumpy terrain

The 8.5 hours run time at 50% load may not be enough to get you through the entire night.

However, this is still solid enough to keep the number of refueling sessions relatively low.

One thing to note is that the wheels of the WEN 56380i 3800 are somewhat small for its frame.

This makes it somewhat harder to move this inverter generator around on uneven terrain during something like a camping trip or construction site day.

That being said, it should be clear that this is a relatively small downside compared to all the value the WEN 56380i 3800 offers at its cheap price.

Brand ModelPower
Capacity
Run
Time
Quiet
Operation
THDReliability
Reputation
Fuel
Efficiency
Ease
Of Use
PortabilityPrice
Category
Current
Price
WEN 56380i 38007.588.5<1.2%9987.5$$Check Price
WEN 56380i 3800 performance on a score of 10 compared to similar alternatives

4. Champion 200977 4250 – Best budget dual fuel

Good dual fuel inverter generators tend to be pricier but this Champion 200977 4250 is still relatively cheap for the value it offers.

Additionally, being able to run on propane too could be worth the investment depending on what situations and locations you plan to use the generator for.

For example, one of the benefits of propane is that it typically stores longer than gasoline.

This can be useful if you want a backup source of power that does not require too much maintenance and attention.

Pros

  • Champion 200977 offers 4250 starting watts, 3500 running watts, 30 amps, and 120 volts (gasoline)
  • Parallel capability
  • Dual fuel feature allows you to run on propane (LPG) too
  • Reasonable noise levels of 64 dBA
  • Long run time of 22 hours at 25% load
  • Less than 3% THD
  • Weight of 79 lb (35.8 kg)
  • Very positive customer reviews
  • 3 years limited residential and 270 days limited commercial warranties
  • A lot of customers
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • No wheels so moving the inverter generator can be challenging
  • A few very exceptional cases where the first model customers got had issues

Additionally, if you have a larger propane tank, you can really increase the run time of the Champion 200977.

This can be useful for running something like an RV air conditioner overnight.

You do want to test your Champion 200977 when you get it. There are a few exceptional cases where support has to replace a suboptimal first model.

Besides that, this good budget inverter generator does not have any wheels. You may need some help from a friend to get the machine in position.

In short, while the Champion 200977 4250 may not be the cheapest option on this list, the dual fuel feature and reliability could still be worth the investment.

Brand ModelPower
Capacity
Run
Time
Quiet
Operation
THDReliability
Reputation
Fuel
Efficiency
Ease
Of Use
PortabilityPrice
Category
Current
Price
Champion 200977 425089.57.5<3%9.58.588$$Check Price
Champion 200977 4250 performance on a score of 10 compared to similar alternatives

5. Champion 100519 6250 – Best larger model

So far, the inverter generators on this list are relatively small because they tend to be cheaper.

However, you can also consider bigger models like this Champion 100519 6250 to be relatively budget-friendly for their power level.

Champion 100519

With 6250 peak watts, 5000 running watts, 30 amps, and 240 volts, you should be able to run a 2-ton central AC, a microwave, a refrigerator, and more (if you start them in the right order).

Additionally, the run time of 13.5 hours at 25% load of the Champion 100519 6250 is solid. Especially with the high power capacity.

One thing you do want to keep in mind is that the noise levels of 69 dBA are relatively loud.

Pros

  • Champion 100519 6250 offers 6250 starting watts, 5000 running watts, 30 amps, and 240 volts
  • Nice run time of 13.5 hours at 25% load
  • Less than 3% THD
  • Weight of 121 lb (54.9 kg)
  • Relatively positive customer reviews
  • 3 years limited residential and 270 days limited commercial warranties
  • A lot of customers

Cons

  • Noise levels of 69 dBA are relatively loud
  • Oil change is somewhat inconvenient
  • Slightly pricier than other cheap inverter generators due to high power capacity

In turn, the Champion 100519 6250 is suboptimal for an RV camping with many people, small neighborhoods, tailgating, or similar situations.

Additionally, the oil change can be somewhat inconvenient due to the design.

You likely do want to make this maintenance effort so you don’t have to buy a new inverter generator anytime soon.

People on a tight budget will likely find the Champion 100519 6250 a bit pricey.

However, this inverter generator is still relatively cheap for the power capacity and could be worth the investment.

Brand ModelPower
Capacity
Run
Time
Quiet
Operation
THDReliability
Reputation
Fuel
Efficiency
Ease
Of Use
PortabilityPrice
Category
Current
Price
Champion 100519 6250986<3%9.57.587$$$Check Price
Champion 100519 6250 performance on a score of 10 compared to similar alternatives

Related posts:

What is the best budget inverter generator?

If you are still unsure about what budget inverter generator is the best for you, our top pick, the WEN GN400i 4000 is often a good choice.

You do want to know this is a relatively loud option.

The WEN 56380i 3800 is a quieter inverter generator that is still relatively cheap.

WEN GN400i
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Author:

Mats is the founder and head editor of Generator Decision. With a combination of critical thinking, tireless research, and a healthy interest in electronics he helps people find the right generators and how to use these. At this point in the journey, Mats has done research on hundreds of portable generators.