Best Portable Generator 2017

Many couples, families, and friends get together to go on outdoor camping excursions for a rustic vacation experience. Camping is so popular because it allows you to get away from it all, it’s inexpensive, and it’s a great way to see all of the beautiful things nature has to offer. However, while some people prefer completely “roughing it” with very few modern conveniences, others like to have a few comforts of home along for the ride.

Whether you’re camping in an RV, a pop-up camper, or staying in a tent on a campsite, you might want to consider purchasing a generator for your next outdoor adventure.

Compare: The 10 Top Rated Portable Generators

11Champion Power Equipment No.75531i Inverter GeneratorChampion$$$$4.9
22DuroStar DS4000S 4,000 Watt 7.0 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas Powered Portable GeneratorDuroStar$$4.6
33Champion Power Equipment 42436 1200 Watt Multi Purpose Portable GeneratorChampion$4.8
44Earthquake IG800W Model 11613 Portable 800-Watt Inverter GeneratorEarthquake$$4.5
55PowerPro 56101, 900 Running Watts/1000 Starting WattsWEN$4.3
66DuroMax XP4400E 4,400 Watt 7.0 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas Powered Portable GeneratorDuroMax$$$4.7
77Sportsman GEN4000LP, 3250 Running Watts/4000 Starting Watts, Propane Powered Portable GeneratorSportsman Series$$$4.7
88Duromax XP4850EH Dual Fuel Propane/Gas Powered Portable Electric Start Generator, 4850-wattDuroMax$$$$4.8
99Pulsar PG1202s 1200W Peak 1000W Rated Portable Gas-Powered GeneratorPulsar$4.3
1010Briggs & Stratton 30466, 3500 Running Watts/4375 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable GeneratorBriggs & Stratton$$$4.5

Our Portable Generator Reviews

Champion Power Equipment 42436 – Best Cheap Portable Generator

Low price, low weight, but high power define this model from Champion. This is one of the best generators you’ll find for less than $400 and it is rated for 1,200 watts, so it gives you enough power to turn on your TV, lights, or appliances in your RV. With a weight of just 56 pounds, it’s easy to load in and out of your vehicle and transport as needed around your campsite.

It is equipped with an 80cc OHV engine, and it runs for a full ten hours at 50 percent load on just one tank of gas. It has one 120-volt outlet for your convenience, and it operates quietly at just 65 Dba.


It has a warranty. It is EPA approved. It is CARB approved for all 50 states. It has a low oil sensor and voltmeter. It has overload protection. Free technical support is offered for the life of the product. It is inexpensive.


It can be difficult to start. It does not put out as much power as more expensive models.

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DuroStar DS4000S – Best Camping Portable for the Money

You can run your heat, lights, appliances, and many electrical devices with this mid-priced generator that has a maximum output of 4,000 watts and will continuously put out 3,300 watts of power. It has an eight hour run time at 50 percent capacity on just one tank of gas, and the DuraMax 7.0hp engine is designed for power and efficiency.

This model is equipped with lots of great features, including a control panel with voltmeter, start switch, and a gauge that’s easy to read. It has a total of three outlets, one 120-volt 20-amp outlet and two 30-amp outlets to power just about anything while you’re camping or even for use at home. It measures at 69 Dba, so it’s quieter than other large models, and it is one of the best generators you can find for under $500.


It is powerful. It has a long run time. It is quieter than models of a similar size. It has an optional wheel kit for portability. It is equipped with low oil shut-off feature to protect the device.


It is quite heavy. It is not CARB-compliant, so it cannot be used in California. The wheel set is sold separately and may be difficult to install.

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Champion Power Equipment No.75531i – Best Portable Generator Overall

You’ll be able to crank up the AC and enjoy your camping trip in comfort with this powerful model, which has a maximum output of 3,100 watts. It will run for eight straight hours on one tank of gas at 25% load capacity, so you can enjoy using your appliances, watching TV, or running your heat and air without worry. It puts out clean power, so you can even use it for your electronics.

The variable speed engine reduces noise, operating at just 58 Dba. The 171cc engine is powerful and efficient, and it has two outlets, including a 120-volt duplex outlet, a 12-volt DC outlet with cables, and a TT30 receptacle, so it’s ready for use in your RV. It is lightweight, and it also comes with wheels and a handle so it’s easy to transport from place to place.


It has a 2-year warranty. It is quiet. It is efficient. It is EPA and CARB-approved. It is very powerful. It is lightweight and easy to move. It comes with lifetime support from Champion. It has a low oil sensor and overload protection. It has an efficient mode.


It is more expensive than many other portable generators.

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Our Top Rated Portable Generators


Best Overall1

Best For The Money 2

Best Cheap 3

What Is A Portable Generator?

A camping generator, also known as a portable generator, helps you generate electricity while you’re outdoors. These generators are smaller and generally quieter than those you would use at your home in the event of a power outage or out at a job site, and they also typically are not as powerful.

These generators are powered by liquid gas, like propane, or regular gasoline. They can be used in an RV, a camper, or anywhere on a campsite where electricity may be needed.

What Are The Advantages Of Owning A Portable Generator?

A generator is always good to have when you are camping if you ever need electricity. This could be to charge your cell phone for an emergency or even just to power a TV when the kids get bored with fishing, swimming, and exploring the wilderness. In some cases, like when traveling by RV, these are necessities for powering cooking appliances, as well as air conditioners when the temperatures are extremely hot.

Portable inverter generators aren’t just restricted for use on campsites, either. You can take them with you while you tailgate, use it for emergencies at home, or take it anywhere with you. These generators are smaller, lighter, and quieter than other generators, so you can use them anywhere without disturbing others around you.

What Are The Different Types of Portable Generators?

If you camp out often, you may find that there are times when you may need electricity. For that purpose, a generator should always be packed in your RV or vehicle, even if just for emergency situations. Before you run out and buy the first generator you see, understand the different types that are available for purchase.

  • Onboard generators – These generators are frequently installed in recreational vehicles, and they are permanent options that are designed to generate lots of power for things like appliances (stoves and refrigerators), as well as air conditioners and televisions. Most campers come equipped with a generator, although you may choose to have a backup installed or you might need to replace a broken or outdated one. These are typically fueled by liquid propane, diesel, or gasoline.
  • Inverter generators – These are smaller than onboard generators, and they are portable. These are used for any type of vehicle or campsite that does not have electricity, and it is typically fueled with regular gasoline. These are the most common type of generators that are purchased.

Considerations for Choosing the Best Portable Generators

Buying a generator for your camping adventures isn’t as simple as simply picking one from hundreds of models. Instead, you’ll want to do your research to make sure you get the power you need at a price that fits within your budget. Before you shop, consider these points to make sure you get the best value for the generator that best fits your needs.


Even the smallest generators can cost several hundred dollars, so you want to make sure you make the right purchase the first time around. Before you buy, set a price range that fits your budget while also keeping your “must-have” features in mind that may raise the price a bit. If you opt to go with a cheaper model, you may have to forego some of the power and additional features found on more expensive models.


Because a generator is an investment, you want to protect that investment. The best way to do this, other than taking care of your product, is with a manufacturer’s warranty. While warranties generally do not cover damages caused by dropping or misusing the generator, if there is an issue that was overlooked during the production process that leads to problems, the manufacturer will cover the expense of repairs or a replacement.


How much power will you need during your trip? If you just want to power something small for a minimum of amount of time, you won’t need to invest in a very powerful generator. However, if you intend to run appliances, televisions, or other products that you plan on using for extended periods, or if you’d like to use your generator at home for power outages and other emergencies, you’ll want to choose a model that offers maximum power and run time.


If you plan on moving your generator around quite a bit while you’re camping, you want to get a lightweight model that’s easy to transport in and out of your vehicle and around the campsite. Look for models that have wheels, folding handles, and a manageable weight.


Camping is a great time to get outdoors and leave all of your stresses behind, but sometimes, you still want modern conveniences that remind you of home. If these things require power, a generator is a great and efficient way to run your appliances, heat and AC, and other electrical devices.

If you want the perfect mix of efficiency, power, and portability, the Champion 7553li should be on your list of things to pack along for your next camping trip. This generator has all of the power you need in a light, compact package that’s durable and built to last for years of outdoor adventures.

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