When planning your next road trip or camping adventure, consider bringing along a portable generator. If you only need to charge small devices such as smartphones and flashlights, a small portable power station may do the job. However, the best portable generators offer more wattage and faster charging.

You’ll need a generator if you want to power RV appliances, sleeping aids such as a CPAP machine, camping lights, coffee makers, or electric cooktops.

We’ve researched numerous portable generators suitable for camping trips and roadside use. We’ll explain how to select the right generator for your needs, and we’ll explore some standard features of the best portable generators.

#1 Editor’s Pick: Champion Power Equipment 200961

The Champion Power Equipment 200961 is a 1,850.0-watt dual fuel portable generator, meaning you can power it with gasoline or propane. This may be convenient when you don’t have access to gasoline. This generator comes with oil, an LPG hose (for propane power), and a 12.0-volt carport to dual USB adapter.

The 200961 features two 120.0-volt A/C outlets and one 12.0-volt D/C carport outlet. It includes a three-year warranty and a lifetime of technical support, which customer reviews indicate is robust and helpful.

While this portable generator has 1,850.0 running watts, you can increase that number by hooking together two 200961 generators for parallel power. The reliability, light weight, and power output make this an ideal portable generator for camping, RVing, and other road adventures.

Our Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Key Features

  • Approximate cost: $785.00
  • Running watts: 1,850.0
  • Weight: 39.0 pounds
  • Fuel type: Gas or propane
  • Full tank run time: 6 hours on gas, 17 hours on propane at half load
  • Warranty: 3 years

What Customers Are Saying

The Champion Power Equipment 200961 generator has an average Amazon review score of 4.6 out of 5 based on over 4,300 ratings. About 80 percent of reviews rate this portable generator a full 5 stars.

Positive reviews typically mention the value of this generator. While it is priced mid-tier for a portable generator, this product generates many watts – enough to power an RV air conditioning unit.

In reviews, users frequently mention that other qualities are the generator’s ability to start easily and run quietly. Customer service agents are reportedly reliable and helpful.

Some users say it’s difficult to change the oil for the 200961. Removing the panel that covers the oil input can be particularly challenging. Some customers also complain of oil leaks, and others mention the 200961 being hard to start on propane power alone.

#2 Best High-Wattage Portable Generator: Generac iQ3500

Despite weighing over 100.0 pounds, the Generac iQ3500 is relatively light (though we wish it included a wheel kit) for a 3,000.0-watt portable inverter generator. As an inverter generator, the Generac is safe for small electronics (such as smartphones) and runs quietly.

The iQ3500 features a remote electric start and offers two engine speeds, depending on your power needs. It has two 5.0-volt USB ports, two three-prong 120.0-volt ports, and a 30.0-amp twist-lock outlet.

The Generac is a durable gas generator ideal for campers who need to power electronics and appliances in their RV. It has a long run time and lasts some customers well beyond the three-year warranty. Because it offers so many running watts, the iQ3500 is also a good choice to back up your home electricity during power outages.

Our Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Key Features

  • Approximate cost: $1,000
  • Running watts: 3,000.0
  • Weight: 109.0 pounds
  • Fuel type: Gas
  • Full tank run time: 8.9 hours at half load
  • Warranty: 3 years

What Customers Are Saying

The Generac iQ3500 has an average Amazon review score of 4.6 based on more than 3,800 ratings. Eighty-one percent of reviews give this portable generator 5 stars.

Satisfied reviewers often say the iQ3500 runs quietly and efficiently. Many have used this product for camping, and one reviewer says it runs well in any season and even at very low temperatures.

One customer says his Generac overheats too quickly, but this isn’t a common issue in other reviews. The most frequent complaint is that the Generac doesn’t have wheels, making it difficult to move around, considering it weighs just over 100.0 pounds.

#3 Best Solar-Powered Portable Generator: Goal Zero Yeti 1000X

The Goal Zero Yeti 1000X is a green portable generator option, running on a lithium-ion battery you can charge using solar panels (not included). This generator has two USB-C ports, two 5.0-volt USB ports, two 6.0-millimeter ports, a 12.0-volt carport, a 12.0-volt high-power port, and two 120.0-volt A/C ports.

You can charge the Yeti using solar panels, a wall outlet, or a 12.0-volt carport. You can even draw power and charge the Yeti simultaneously. A 200.0-watt solar panel can fully charge the Yeti’s battery in about six hours. This generator has under- and over-voltage protection to ensure your devices are safe.

This lightweight generator is ideal for campers who need a big wattage output. While a gas-powered generator can produce even more wattage, a battery generator isn’t as loud and preserves the tranquility of nature.

Our Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Key Features

  • Approximate cost: $1,500
  • Running watts: 1,500.0
  • Weight: 31.7 pounds
  • Fuel type: Lithium-ion battery
  • Full charge run time: 983.0 kilowatt-hours
  • Warranty: 2 years

What Customers Are Saying

The Goal Zero Yeti 1000X has only around 20 Amazon ratings, yielding an average score of 4.6. About 80 percent of reviewers award this generator 5 stars.

Positive reviews often mention that the Yeti is durable and can run a lot of equipment. Users appreciate that it’s solar-powered, allowing them to recharge it for free. However, you must purchase the solar panels separately, increasing the cost of this already expensive option.

Some customers report battery issues, with a few reviewers claiming their battery pack suddenly stopped charging. Others claim they experienced slow response times from Goal Zero customer service.

Several reviewers also lament that there’s no way to expand the Yeti’s battery capacity. Some other Goal Zero generators feature larger batteries with more capacity.

#4 Best Gas-Powered Portable Generator: WEN 56200i

The WEN 56200i is a solid all-around generator that provides enough power for camping at a modest price. While you can find cheaper generators with the same wattage, these aren’t inverter generators suitable for charging small electronics. They’re probably also too loud to respectfully use at a campsite or parking lot.

The WEN is EPA III and California Air Resources Board (CARB) compliant, meaning it meets strict guidelines for fuel efficiency and emissions. It includes a 5.0-volt USB port, a 12.0-volt DC receptacle, and two three-prong 120.0-volt ports.

Our favorite WEN 56200i feature is eco mode, which adjusts fuel consumption to provide only the power necessary to run any attached electronics. Running in this mode, the WEN can last up to nine hours (if using 1/4 load) on its one-gallon tank.

You can connect the WEN to another WEN generator to double power output if you need more power.

Our Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Key Features

  • Approximate cost: $430
  • Running watts: 1,600.0
  • Weight: 48.0 pounds
  • Fuel type: Gas
  • Full tank run time: 6 hours at half load
  • Warranty: 2 years

What Customers Are Saying

Over 1,400 ratings on Amazon give the WEN 56200i an average of 4.6 stars. About 78 percent of reviews rate the portable generator at 5 stars.

Positive reviews typically praise the eco mode, which is very quiet and powerful. One reviewer used it to run a TV, small refrigerator, and a fan. Many say this portable generator is ideal for camping, and one person claims they’ve owned a WEN 56200i for almost five years and it still runs like new. According to several reviews, the included instructions are easy to follow, and this generator is simple to operate.

The few negative reviews of the WEN tend to focus on faulty products. Some dissatisfied customers received faulty generators that broke down after a few uses or failed to start out of the box. Fortunately, the WEN includes a two-year warranty. Another commonly mentioned critique is that this generator can be difficult to start, requiring multiple pulls.

#5 Best Budget Portable Generator: Jackery Explorer 240

The Jackery Explorer 240 is a good option for a low-priced generator that doesn’t require fuel. This generator uses a lithium-ion battery for power and is chargeable using a solar panel. You can also charge this generator with a 12.0-volt carport or an A/C outlet.

The Jackery Explorer doesn’t include a solar charger, which you must purchase separately for around $180. The relatively low power output (200.0 watts) also means this generator isn’t suitable for larger appliances such as a refrigerator, air conditioner, or heater. Use this generator to power small electronics such as phones, computers, and tablets. It could also power a TV or a slow cooker, but your typical blender is out of the question.

This generator is capable of 400.0 peak watts, has one 110.0-volt A/C outlet, two 5.0-volt USB outlets, and one 12.0-volt D/C outlet (carport).

Our Rating: 4.3 out of 5

Key Features

  • Approximate cost: $220
  • Running watts: 200.0
  • Weight: 6.8 pounds
  • Fuel type: Lithium-ion battery
  • Full charge run time: 240.0 kilowatt-hours
  • Warranty: 2 years

What Customers Are Saying

The Jackery Explorer 240 is a best seller on Amazon, with an average review score of 4.7 stars based on more than 15,100 ratings. About 85 percent of reviewers believe this product is 5-star worthy.

Most positive reviews say the portable generator simply works as intended. Users like how it’s portable, can power all their small devices, and is chargeable with a solar panel. Some use it for tailgating.

Negative reviews sometimes criticize the Jackery for its low wattage output, noting that it doesn’t work to power heaters or other larger electronics.

More Highly-Rated Portable Generators

Need more options to weigh? The following generators have also earned largely positive reviews from Amazon customers for charging power, efficiency, and overall value.

EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station

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Key Features

  • Approximate cost: $600
  • Running watts: 600.0
  • Weight: 17.0 pounds
  • Fuel type: Lithium-ion battery

Lightweight in design, the EF ECOFLOW is a battery-powered generator that can be charged in a wall socket or via a solar panel (sold separately). It boasts an especially fast charge rate (taking about 3 hours to fully charge).

What Amazon reviewers appreciate most about this battery is its small size and lightning-fast charging speed. Most seem impressed with how quickly this device can be topped off. It is also very durable to boot, with at least one reviewer claiming it survived a tumble onto the highway.

Honda 2200-Watt Inverter Generator

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Key Features

  • Approximate cost: $1,130
  • Running watts: 2,200.0
  • Weight: 54.0 pounds
  • Fuel type: Gas

Honda’s inverter generator offers a reliable and powerful package. This is the type of generator to keep around for emergencies and which can deliver enough power to suit most demands. Performance can even be monitored via the Honda My Generator application.

Customer reviews for this portable generator suggest that it runs quietly and for a long time. Many appreciate the carbon monitoring safety feature and report that the app works well.

Westinghouse WGen 3600

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Key Features

  • Approximate cost: $480
  • Running watts: 3,600.0
  • Weight: 105.0 pounds
  • Fuel type: Gas

At more than 100.0 pounds, the Westinghouse WGen 3600 generator is rather heavy, though it does include wheels. This may not be the easiest generator to load into a truck, but the design makes it manageable and at least somewhat portable. The WGen 3600 is a powerful generator that’s built to last. The engine features a cast iron sleeve as well as an automatic low oil shutdown feature.

According to Amazon reviews, this powerful generator is reliable and starts easily. Many use it for emergency power because it is consistent and powerful. However, this generator can get pretty loud.

DuroMax XP13000E

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Key Features

  • Approximate cost: $1,400
  • Running watts: 10,500.0
  • Weight: 236.0 pounds
  • Fuel type: Gas

At over 200.0 pounds, the DuroMax XP13000E pushes the definition of “portable.” While it does include wheels, this is certainly the least portable of the generators we recommend. However, the XP13000E outputs a massive amount of watts. It features many outlets to power any type of tool or piece of electric equipment. This generator is also EPA- and CARB-compliant.

Based on more than 6,000 reviews, this generator has an average Amazon rating of 4.6 stars. The DuroMax generator seems to be popular as home backup power for those who live in areas with frequent power outages. Some note that this generator may require more calibration and maintenance than other generators, so it may not be the best choice for those looking for a simple option.

Portable Generator Pricing

Portable generators can cost anywhere from around $100 to upward of $1,000. Typically, the higher the wattage output, the more expensive the generator. Solar-powered and inversion generators can also cost more. A heavy-duty, powerful generator with a large fuel tank will typically cost closer to the $1,000 mark.

For powering many appliances or even a full house, you’ll need a generator in the $1,000 range. Portable generators suitable for camping or only powering a few RV appliances are available for between $400 and $600.

Portable Generator Buyers Guide

When seeking the best portable generators for your needs, you’ll want to consider power output, fuel source, noise level, and extra features.

Power Output

Portable generators have two power output ratings: starting watts and running watts.

  • Starting watts are the maximum number of watts the generator can produce in a short time.
  • Running watts are how many watts the generator can produce continually, and this number is typically lower.

Figure out how many watts you’ll need to power all your devices and make sure to select a generator capable of producing that much power. To be safe, try to pick a generator that can power everything you need at 90 percent of its capacity. For example, if you want to run 900.0 watts worth of equipment, select a 1,000.0-watt generator.

Power Source

Most portable generators run on gasoline, but you can also run a generator on propane or a lithium-ion battery. Some generators can run on both gasoline and propane.

  • Gasoline: Gasoline provides more power, but it’s a less stable fuel source. Gasoline degrades over time, meaning it doesn’t store well for long periods.
  • Propane: Propane is more stable than gasoline, and it can be effectively stored for longer. This makes propane a good fuel source to have for emergencies.
  • Lithium-ion battery: Battery-powered portable generators typically have a lower wattage than gas-powered generators, or they cost much more. You must charge the batteries before use, but you can often charge them with solar power, reducing the need for fuel. These generators are also the quietest because they don’t rely on combustion.

Noise Level

Some generators can be very loud. If you plan to use your portable generator in a parking lot during a road trip or at a campsite, a loud generator may be a bad idea. Inversion generators tend to be much quieter than standard generators. While it produces fewer decibels, this type of generator is more expensive.

Extra Features

Some portable generators include safety features such as an automatic shutoff. Other extra features include parallel power (connecting two generators to double power output) and overcharge protection for your devices.

Safety

Whichever portable generator you purchase, be sure to use it safely. Any gas-powered portable generator produces carbon monoxide, meaning you should only use it outdoors and at least 15 feet away from any building or structure. You also want to keep your generator dry while it runs.

Our Review Standards

Before choosing the five portable generators in this review, our team searched Amazon for top products, looking at factors such as customer ratings, prices, superlatives, and Prime shipping eligibility. We also scoured message boards and online communities to find the most popular portable generators.

We chose a range of products and price points to accommodate different customer needs and budgets. Each generator we recommend in this article is relatively quiet, portable, safe, and reliable.

FAQ: Best Portable Generators

*Data accurate at time of publication.