Best Portable Generator – A Complete Buyers Guide (2022)

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A generator is really going to be the only way to power tools and other electrical devices when you don’t have access to electric plugs. This means that they are regularly used in DIY workshops, sheds and even on camping trips if you need to be able to rely on electrical appliances. Traditionally, they would be used more for when people have power cuts – and they are still going to be able to help you with this…even if it is less common! 

Different generators are going to be able to power different tools, which is why it is really important that you purchase the right one. You also need to make sure that you purchase one with the right amount of power to get the job done! 

So if you are looking to purchase a portable generator then we can help – here are some of the best portable generators around and all that you need to know before you buy! 

Best Pick Portable Generator – Böhmer-AG WX7000K-E

Böhmer-AG WX7000K-E Portable Petrol Generator 9.5Kw 12V DC Output Electric Key Start Outdoor 11.5 kVA 16Hp 4-Stroke OHV Engine with 1 UK 240V Standard Plug & a 32 Amp Plug Socket
104 Reviews
Böhmer-AG WX7000K-E Portable Petrol Generator 9.5Kw 12V DC Output Electric Key Start Outdoor 11.5 kVA 16Hp 4-Stroke OHV Engine with 1 UK 240V Standard Plug & a 32 Amp Plug Socket
  • 24 Month Warranty - free to call UK based technical support line
  • Copper Wound Motor - offering unparalleled power and current stability
  • Green & Fuel efficient - offers up to 10 hours run time from a single 25 litre fuel of fuel
  • Helpful Features - easy recoil and electric key start, automatic low oil safety shut down, overload detection
  • Your Power Supply - one 240V 3 pin UK plug and one 16 amp outputs and a 12V DC output to suit a variety of power supply needs

Last update on 2022-04-19 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

In A Hurry? 

Ready to start work but unable to power any of your tools? Or maybe you have a road trip planned but can’t survive without a hob to make a brew and a way to charge your phone? Then look no further! Here are all the essential factors that you need to consider before purchasing a portable generator! 

Type of Generator

The first thing that you need to think about is the type of generator that you need depending on what you are planning on using it for the most. 

Standard Portable Generators

These are the most common types of portable generators that you are going to find. They come in a range of power options so will be able to complete a wide range of jobs depending on what you are looking for which means that not only are they going to be able to power your tools but also your gardening equipment and camping gear! If you are new to generators and are wanting it for relatively “normal” equipment then chances are this is what you need! 

Inverter Generators 

These generators work slightly differently by converting between AC and DC power (and back again). This clever technology helps to ensure that they produce a constant, single-phase of AC power. They are perfect for if you have smaller tools that you are wanting to work with as they are often going to be lighter and use less fuel to get the job done. However, it is worth remembering that they are also going to hold less fuel – which means they won’t be able to work for as long as some of the larger models! 

Large Generators 

There is a whole host of larger generators that are also going to be available to you, but these wouldn’t really fall under the category of a portable generator, nor are they often going to be needed for more domestic uses. They tend to be used more for commercial purposes, if you are working with considerably larger power tools, or if you live in an area where power cuts are more common so you need a large generator to be able to rely on. These models can power up to around 100kW!

Fuel

When looking for the generator that is going to be right for you, you need to think about how it is going to be powered. Models will be powered by either petrol and diesel or gas. There are pros and cons to both so it really comes down to personal preference. Petrol/diesel is arguably going to be easier to come by – so is more readily available for whenever you need a top up – but gas isn’t exactly hard to get hold of and can be cheaper! There are also some models that can be converted to run off LPG for those of you that are wanting to use the generator when camping or caravanning. 

We would also recommend looking at the amount of fuel that your generator is going to be able to hold. The more that it will be able to hold, is generally going to mean that you will be able to work with it for even longer. However, bear in mind that this is often going to make it heavier and bigger, which isn’t always ideal for where you are planning on working. Fuel tank capacities ranged from around 1.5L up to around 6L on most domestic generators, but commercial models can hold considerably more. 

If you aren’t sure that you really need a petrol or gas model and you don’t have tools or appliances that require too much energy then there are much smaller models that are powered differently that could work for you. Some are solar charged and others can just be charged at home or in the car (like a giant phone battery pack) so that they are ready to use whenever you need them. Just bear in mind that they can have quite long charging times up to around 24 hours!!

TOP TIP: Don’t forget to check the fuel consumption of the generator as well. This will determine how much power you are going to get for the amount of fuel that you use, determining how cost effective your portable generator is. 

Best Budget Portable Generator – DKIEI Petrol Generator

DKIEI Petrol Generator 550/600W Hand Recoil Start Portable Generator, 2.0HP Mixed Gasoline 4 Lit
6 Reviews
DKIEI Petrol Generator 550/600W Hand Recoil Start Portable Generator, 2.0HP Mixed Gasoline 4 Lit
  • This petrol generator is the perfect generator for caravanning, camping trips, boating, markets and even for emergency home use thanks to it's compact dimensions, ease of use, portability and impressively low noise output of 69dBA at 7m.
  • Manual recoil start.
  • This power generator can be used in almost any location that does not have a mains supply.
  • Peak Power: 0.8>0.95kw Rated Power: 0.65>0.75kw.
  • The portable generator makes power outages and insufficient supplies a thing of the past.

Last update on 2022-04-20 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Power Time 

It is really important to check how long your generator is going to be able to run for continuously. This is largely going to impact on the amount of fuel capacity – like we mentioned above – but is definitely worth checking for. Some will only be able to run for a few hours whereas others can work for over 10 hours continuously before they need a break and a refuel! 

It is worth mentioning that the power time is largely going to be impacted by exactly what/how much you are powering at any one time. Check what the manufacturers are judging the power time on before comparing models – most will give you a run-time based on “half load” so the generator working at half capacity. This obviously means that if you are working at full capacity you are going to have considerably less power time! 

TOP TIP: The best way to increase your power time is to look out for models that are able to offer some type of eco mode! These are cleverly designed so that they will lower the output of the generator to match the device that they are powering, which avoids wasting power! 

Wattage/Voltage 

Different tools, devices and equipment are going to need different amounts of wattage to be able to work correctly. For most general gardening or camping equipment and most domestic tools, your portable generator will be able to give out plenty of wattage to power the tools. However, for some larger, more powerful tools that you may be working with, you could find that you need a model that is able to cope with a higher wattage! We would recommend looking for at least a wattage of 700W if you want to be sure that you can power most of your appliances. But, if you are wanting to use power tools and other larger appliances then you are going to need even more than this! 

You also need to check the outlets that come with the portable generator to check that these are going to be suitable – smaller models may have a couple of 120V AC outlets, whereas larger models will have 240V outlets as well as 120V outlets. Some also come with USB ports! 

It is also worth checking the stability and consistency of the voltage that your portable generator is going to be able to offer. Many of the best models offer a frequency stability of near enough 1%, which is actually going to be more consistent than the mains power in your home! Some have a voltage of around 230V which will be more than enough to get the job done! 

TOP TIP: Look out for models that come with pure sine technology as these are going to be safe from power spikes which can occur with some other models. Power spikes won’t affect some tools but more sensitive devices (such as phones and laptops) could be damaged. 

The Best Portable Generators 

If you need a generator that you can rely on no matter what, or maybe you have a number of tools that you are looking to power and without them you aren’t getting the job done? Then it sounds like you need one of the best portable generators – so here are some of the features you need to look out for…

  • Size – It may be that your portable generator isn’t really going to be going anywhere…maybe you just want it to use in your workshed or garden. But, if you are planning on taking your generator to different places with you then it is going to be important that you check the size. Generators come in a massive range of sizes and weights so this is really important to check if you need your generator to be truly portable. Some models weigh as little as 9kg, whereas others can weigh considerably more than this. It is impossible to say an upper limit due to the range in sizes but consider what is going to be “portable” for you. 
  • Safety Features – It is really important that you check the safety features that come with your portable generator as you don’t want a tool that involves multiple types of fuel going wrong! Look out for low oil shutdown, spark arresters, power overloads and circuit breakers as standard to ensure that you have a generator that is going to be safe to use! 
  • Noise – Traditionally, you would find that portable generators were quite loud, which can make them quite inconvenient to use in many circumstances. However, there are now many models that are considerably quieter! Models that would be considered “quiet” in the amount of noise they emit have less than 60dB of sound. 
  • 4-stroke engine – Without getting into too much technical detail….generators are going to come with either 2-stroke or 4-stroke engines. A 4-stroke engine is purely going to need fuel for them to work effectively whereas a 2-stroke engine is going to need you to mix petrol and oil which is going to be much more time consuming and gives more opportunity for things to go wrong! 
  • Electric start – If it was up to us, we would definitely opt for a portable generator with an electric start. They are so much quicker and more reliable – you know that you can get going with the job straight away! 
  • Portability – If you are opting for a portable generator then you obviously need to think about how portable it is going to be! Look out for models that come with comfort-grip handles and even wheels if you know that you are going to be moving them around regularly. 
  • Added extras – Look out for added extras that come with some different models such as plug sockets, DC charging leads and adaptor leads for cars and caravans. 
  • Build Materials – Last but not least, make sure to think about the build materials of your generator. If you are going to be carrying it around with you then make sure to consider the strength and protection that the frame is going to offer. 

Best of the Rest

Hyundai 2000w Portable Petrol Inverter Generator, Lightweight & Compact with 3 Year Warranty
120 Reviews
Hyundai 2000w Portable Petrol Inverter Generator, Lightweight & Compact with 3 Year Warranty
  • Impressive Power : The HY2000SI With a massive 2000w / 2kW output and a low noise level of only 58dB you’re assured of a clean, quiet, reliable source of power whether you’re in a caravan, camping or a motor home.
  • Lightweight design: Compact and portable for convenient transportation and storage
  • Pure Sinewave : Like all Hyundai generators, the HY2000Si produces a pure sinewave output, so not only will it power your fridge or lighting. Producing a maximum output of 2kw which will help power appliances such as televisions, laptops, air compressors and much much more
  • Efficient and Economical: The large 3.8 litre fuel tank will give you ample runtime of up to 8 hours, Perfect for those weekend camping trips Power : The 2kw output of the HY2000Si and low noise level of 58db allow you a clean, quiet reliable source of power whether you’re in a caravan, camping or a motor home
  • Suitable for caravans, camping and motorhomes

Last update on 2022-04-20 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Sale
2.8 kVA Portable Petrol Generator
148 Reviews
2.8 kVA Portable Petrol Generator
  • 2.8kVa Output
  • Dual Voltage (110V / 230V)
  • Automatic Voltage Regulator
  • Run a variety of Tools & Hardware
  • Db Rating: 96

Last update on 2022-04-20 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Dealourus T-MAX Portable Petrol Generator 6000W-E ~ 3.4 KVA 8HP ~ Quiet Power Electric Key Start (Electric Key Start/Recoil Start)
55 Reviews
Dealourus T-MAX Portable Petrol Generator 6000W-E ~ 3.4 KVA 8HP ~ Quiet Power Electric Key Start (Electric Key Start/Recoil Start)
  • 24 Month Warranty - free to call UK/IRE based technical support line.
  • Copper Wound Motor - offering maximum unparalleled power and current stability throughout.
  • Dual Electric Key Start & T-MAX EASY Recoil Start
  • Two AC 240V UK 3 Pin Plugs and 12V DC Output
  • 8HP output built along with a silent 69dB Rated Noise Level

Last update on 2022-04-20 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Frequently Asked Questions 

What warranty do portable generators come with? 

All portable generators are going to come with warranties but the best models are going to offer you much more extended warranties. The minimum warranty that you should consider would be 1 year, however many of the best models actually offer 2 years or more! 

How do I power a portable generator? 

There are many different options for how to power your portable generator. Some are going to be powered by petrol or diesel, including LPG, which are all readily available – you just need to consider how you will transport this with the generator. Others can be powered by gas – which is arguably an easier option. There are also smaller models that come with rechargeable batteries and solar power for the easiest power options – just bear in mind that these often offer less power and running times!

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