5 Best Portable Emergency Generators

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Discover the best portable emergency generators so you can avoid trouble when the electric grid goes down.

  1. Best portable emergency generator: Champion 200977 (4250 peak watts, dual fuel, inverter)
  2. Best small portable emergency generator: Honda EU2200i (2200 peak watts, inverter)
  3. Best portable emergency generator for home: Champion 201067 (9000 peak watts, inverter)
  4. Cheap non-inverter option: WEN DF475T (4750 peak watts, dual fuel)
  5. Best portable natural gas emergency generator: Champion 201169 (8125 peak watts, tri fuel, non-inverter)

There are a few large models too but for this list of portable emergency generators, I kept the options more medium-sized.

If you want bigger options, the list of the best portable home backup generators is better.

Brand ModelReliability
Reputation
PortabilityPower
Capacity
Run
Time
Quiet
Operation
THDFuel
Efficiency
Ease
Of Use
Price
Category
Current
Price
Champion 2009779.58.579.57<3%88$$Check Price
Honda EU2200i9.59.55.5610<3%6.58.5$$$$Check Price
Champion 2010679.57976<3%7.58$$$$Check Price
WEN DF475T987.586<15%6.58$Check Price
Champion 201169968.58.55.5High
THD
68$$$Check Price
Best portable emergency generators performance on a score of 10 in important categories*

*Compared to similar generators and sometimes based on customer input

1. Champion 200977

The Champion 200977 is the best portable emergency generator thanks to the combination of solid features, good power level, reliability, and reasonable price.

With 4250 peak watts, the Champion 200977 is big enough to power a refrigerator, freezer, and a few other small devices.

At the same time, it is still small and light enough to be compact and easy to carry around.

With the clean low THD power, you should also not worry about damaging your sensitive electronics with the Champion 200977 4250.

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

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, the Champion 200977 4250 is a dual fuel generator which means it can run on both propane and gasoline.

Propane has the advantage that it typically stores longer than gasoline.

In turn, staying prepared for emergencies requires less maintenance and attention with dual fuel generators like the Champion 200977 4250.

Even if you do decide to use gasoline, the 22 hour run time at 25% load and accompanying fuel efficiency will keep you going for a nice amount of time.

That means the Champion 200977 4250 is not just reliable but makes it so you have time to take care of other things during the emergency.

Brand ModelReliability
Reputation
PortabilityPower
Capacity
Run
Time
Quiet
Operation
THDFuel
Efficiency
Ease
Of Use
Price
Category
Current
Price
Champion 200977 42509.58.579.57<3%88$$Check Price
Champion 200977 4250 performance on a score of 10 compared to similar alternatives

2. Honda EU2200i

The Honda EU2200i is the best small portable emergency generator thanks to its compact size, good reliability, and quiet operation.

These are definitely things you want when you have a refrigerator full of food but no power grid to rely on.

Honda EU2200i

The Honda EU2200i can be the right choice if you conclude that you don’t need as much power as the Champion 200977 4250 offers.

You do want to keep in mind that this quality of the Honda EU2200i comes at a hefty price.

Additionally, the somewhat shorter run time of 8.1 hours at 25% load may not be enough to run a refrigerator throughout the entire night.

Pros

  • Honda EU2200i offers 2200 starting watts, 1800 running watts, 18.3 amps, and 120 volts.
  • Parallel capability
  • Relatively low noise levels of 48 to 57 dBA (at 25% to 100% load)
  • Less than 3% THD
  • Honda My Generator app connectivity
  • CO sensor
  • Honda generator brand reputation
  • Light weight of 47.4 lb (21.5 kg)
  • 3 years limited residential and 12 months limited commercial warranties
  • Very positive customer reviews
  • A lot of customers

Cons

  • Expensive for a small generator
  • Run time of 8.1 hours at 25% load is not that impressive

On the flip side, the Honda EU2200i is also very positive in other areas that improve your experience.

For example, the noise levels of 48 to 57 dBA at 25% to 100% load are some of the quietest on the market.

On top of that, the Honda EU2200i can connect to the Honda My Generator app through BlueTooth.

Through this app, you can track the performance of and even stop the Honda EU2200i from the comfort of your house.

In short, if you want a mobile and compact portable emergency generator and don’t need as much power, the Honda EU2200i could be worth the investment.

Brand ModelReliability
Reputation
PortabilityPower
Capacity
Run
Time
Quiet
Operation
THDFuel
Efficiency
Ease
Of Use
Price
Category
Current
Price
Honda EU2200i9.59.55.5610<3%6.58.5$$$$Check Price
Honda EU2200i performance on a score of 10 compared to similar alternatives

3. Champion 201067

The Champion 201067 is the best portable emergency generator for home thanks to its 50 amp outlet, high power capacity, and reasonable price.

The previous options are mobile but you may not value this detail as much and just want a good home backup inverter generator that offers a lot of clean power.

In that case, the Champion 201067 and its 9000 starting watts, 7250 running watts, and 50 amp outlet could be the right choice.

These amounts should be enough to run certain bigger appliances and tools like reasonably-sized central AC systems.

One thing to keep in mind is that the run time of the Champion 201067 is on the shorter side compared to many other portable emergency generators with 10.5 hours at 25% load.

Pros

  • Champion 201067 offers 9000 starting watts, 7250 running watts, 50 amps, and 240 volts
  • Less than 3% THD
  • Electric start
  • CO sensor
  • Four GFCI outlets
  • Weight of 152.2 lb (69 kg)
  • Very positive customer reviews
  • 3 years limited residential and 270 days limited commercial warranties
  • A lot of customers

Cons

  • Run time of 10.5 hours at 25% load is not the most impressive
  • Noise levels of 72 dBA are somewhat louder

With this many watts, the run time is still a good achievement.

At the same time, it may not be enough to power the biggest devices in your house throughout your sleep.

Especially considering the noise levels of 72 dBA.

That being said, if the run time is good enough for you, the Champion 201067 is definitely one of the best large inverter generators available.

Some of the details that are the reason for this include the convenience of the electric start, extra safety of the GFCI outlets and CO sensor, and the budget-friendly price at this power level.

Brand ModelReliability
Reputation
PortabilityPower
Capacity
Run
Time
Quiet
Operation
THDFuel
Efficiency
Ease
Of Use
Price
Category
Current
Price
Champion 2010679.57976<3%7.58$$$$Check Price
Champion 201067 performance on a score of 10 compared to similar alternatives

4. WEN DF475T

The WEN DF475T is the best cheap non-inverter generator thanks to its low price, solid reliability, and good features.

WEN DF475T

I tend to focus on inverter generators since you don’t want to find out during emergencies that one of your devices can not deal with high THD power.

At the same time, there are still tools like well pumps and sump pumps that can function with non-inverter portable generators like the WEN DF475T (watt needs aside).

One of the main benefits of non-inverter portable emergency generators like the WEN DF475T is that they are more budget-friendly.

On the other hand, besides the high THD power that is not suited for sensitive electronics, you want to keep in mind that non-inverter generators tend to be louder.

Pros

  • WEN DF475T offers 4750 starting watts, 3800 running watts, 30 amps, and 240 volts (gasoline)
  • Dual fuel feature allows you to run on propane (LPG) too
  • Good run time of 11 hours at 50% load
  • Weight of 105.8 lb (48 kg)
  • Has electric start
  • Four GFCI outlets
  • Relatively positive customer reviews
  • 2 years limited residential and 90 days limited commercial warranties
  • A lot of customers
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • 15% THD is not suited for running sensitive electronics
  • Noise levels of 71 dB are somewhat louder
  • Shipping bolts can be hard to remove
  • A few exceptional cases of challenging starts

The WEN DF475T may have a few cases of challenging starts and shipping bolts that are challenging to remove.

However, this portable generator is still relatively reliable overall.

Additionally, the WEN DF475T comes with a dual fuel feature which offers the mentioned benefits of running on propane.

If you do decide to use gasoline, the good run time of 11 hours at 50% load makes it so you don’t have to do refueling sessions that often.

So overall, the WEN DF475T is not the best portable emergency generator for everyone but could potentially fit your needs.

Brand ModelReliability
Reputation
PortabilityPower
Capacity
Run
Time
Quiet
Operation
THDFuel
Efficiency
Ease
Of Use
Price
Category
Current
Price
WEN DF475T987.586<15%6.58$Check Price
WEN DF475T performance on a score of 10 compared to similar alternatives

5. Champion 201169

The Champion 201169 is the best portable natural gas emergency generator thanks to its tri fuel feature, good reliability, and helpful features.

Champion 201169

Propane and gasoline are helpful fuel sources but for your location and situation, being able to use natural gas could be a valuable feature during emergencies.

In that case, the Champion 201169 could be the right portable tri fuel generator if you don’t mind the high THD power or have your own way to “clean” this up.

There are also the Champion 201176 inverter tri fuel generator for clean power and the Champion 100416 if you want to get more power from natural gas.

Alternatives aside, the Champion 201169 stands out from other tri fuel generators in the reliability the positive customer reviews imply.

Pros

  • Champion 201169 offers 8125 starting watts, 6500 running watts, 30 amps, and 240 volts (gasoline)
  • Good run time of 12 hours at 50% load
  • Weight of 197 lb (89.4 kg)
  • Has electric start
  • Four GFCI outlets
  • CO sensor
  • Very positive customer reviews
  • 3 years limited residential and 270 days limited commercial warranties
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • High THD is not suited for sensitive electronics
  • Very exceptional cases where customers got a suboptimal first model
  • Noise levels of 74 dBA are somewhat louder

Additionally, the Champion 201169 is relatively budget-friendly. Especially considering the ability to run this portable emergency generator on natural gas.

Two things to note besides the high THD power are a few very exceptional cases where customers got a suboptimal first model and the somewhat louder decibel rating.

That being said, these things tend to get resolved by support and are somewhat standard at this power level.

If the benefits of being able to create power from natural gas during emergencies outweigh the downsides, the Champion 201169 could be a good investment.

Brand ModelReliability
Reputation
PortabilityPower
Capacity
Run
Time
Quiet
Operation
THDFuel
Efficiency
Ease
Of Use
Price
Category
Current
Price
Champion 201169968.58.55.5High
THD
68$$$Check Price
Champion 201169 performance on a score of 10 compared to similar alternatives

How to choose a portable emergency generator?

To choose a portable emergency generator you need to think about what you want in these features:

  • Reliability
  • Portability
  • Ease of use
  • Run time
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Outlets
  • Noise levels
  • User reviews
  • Anecdotal reviews from experts
  • Price
  • Brand trustability and reputation
  • The performance categories below

Reliability and portability are two of the main important points when choosing portable emergency generators.

Additionally, being able to run on both propane and gasoline gets bonus points too.

Quickly being able to set up the generator quickly in case of of an emergency is valuable too.

Are emergency generators worth it?

Yes, emergency generators are often worth it since they can cost less than the food you would have to throw away otherwise and thanks to the increase in comfort in a challenging period.

In some cases, people mention the investment in an emergency generator was less than the cost of the food in their refrigerator and freezer.

However, emergency generators are not worth it to everyone. You may discover that your budget is currently not at the point where buying an emergency generator makes sense.

You may not mind power outages too much or live in an area where these only last a short amount of time too.

Related:

What is the best portable emergency generator?

The best portable emergency generator is typically the Champion 200977 thanks to its reliability, long run time, dual fuel feature, and reasonable price.

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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.