The top 10 generators occasionally change with the introduction of new models. However, the most reliable generator brands do not change as much since they have gained the consumers’ trust over the decades in the industry. Selecting a dependable power source will be challenging as numerous brands and models of generators are on the market. So, let’s find out who makes the best generators.
Top 10 Generators
Here are some of the most reliable generator brands for you to choose from, according to the generator rating chart. They are selected based on product reviews and user feedback provided under various categories, including popularity, value for money, flexibility of use, and reliability.
Honda is a famous brand that manufactures over 70 types of industrial engines for various machines, including generators. They have won the trust of many users with reliable products of high quality. The most famous generator introduced by Honda is the model EU1000i introduced in 1998, which since then has been improved to bring out more products.
Although these generators are more expensive than the other brands, users are willing to pay the price as the products are reliable. Honda was also the first company to introduce a portable inverter generator to the market, EU2000i. The following generator model discussed below is a developed version of the same.
This generator is very quiet, with only around 49 – 58 dB of noise during operation; this makes it an ideal choice for camping and RVs. This generator also comes with a parallel connectivity kit which allows you to connect two similar generators. Therefore the power output can be doubled up to 4000 watts of running power if needed.
This is the ideal choice if you are looking for the best generator for the money. It is because the special fuel detecting technology adjusts the fuel consumption to the main requirements. This Eco-Throttle system patented by Honda increases fuel efficiency, reducing fuel expenditure. The simple coil recoil start is quite an easy mechanism to start manually.
- High fuel efficiency
- Quiet when running
- Comes with original Honda motor
- Powerful inverter
- No electric starting mechanism
Although certain other companies manufacture generators as a part of their business, Generac only manufactures generators. Their businesses started over 60 years ago with affordable generators for residential use. Generac is another brand among the top 10 generators that give the best value for the amount invested.
They manufacture portable and industrial generators for both residential and commercial purposes. They also have inverters and standby generators starting at $2000. The portable generators have a price range from $500 – $1000. The inverters and portable generators produce up to a power of 8000W.
This quiet inverter generator produces a power output of 2000 starting watts and 1600 running watts. The start and stop functions are integrated into one dial, making the design more appealing. You can identify the remaining fuel with the Electronic Fuel Gauge and the time left for refueling through the Runtime Display.
The run time of this model at a load of 25% – 50% is 5.7 to 7.7 hours per 1.06 gallons. There are three operation modes: Economy, Standard, and Turbo. You can also pair up two identical generators using the parallel kit to double the power output.
- Compact size and light in weight
- Less noise generation
- Efficient in fuel consumption
- Have improved features
- Need more power output
Westinghouse is one of the most reliable generator brands that has been in the industry for over 130 years. The manufacturer is not limited to generators; they also produce power stations and other equipment, including pressure washers and garden equipment.
Westinghouse generators range from small inverter generators of 1200 starting watts to larger ones with 15000 peak watts. You can also find the best generator for the money here as they have an extensive product line for a wide range of customers at affordable prices.
As the name implies, this generator has a power of 7500 running watts and 9500 peak watts. It consists of a powerful heavy-duty OHV engine ideal for emergency power supply and continuous use on construction sites. It can run up to 11 hours on a fuel tank of 6.6 gallons.
The special features include a remote start with a key fob to make it easy plug-and-play and a fuel gauge. All the power outlets have rubber covers for additional safety. All generators are tested in the factory and come with a 3-year limited service, labor, and parts coverage.
- Heavy compared to other generators
Champion is a brand popular in dual-fuel technology and remote starting. Although this manufacturer approached the industry quite later than the others, their innovative designs have dominated the market. They manufacture not only portable generators but also standby generators, inverters, and engines. Most users consider this the best generator for the money as they are affordable.
Champion 3400 Dual Fuel Inverter
A dual fuel generator gives you the advantage of having a longer run time. This inverter generator serves in between compact portable generators and larger heavy-duty generators. It has a low noise level of 59 dB, making the Champion 3400 model an ideal choice for an RV.
Although this generator is light and compact, it can generate enough power to run large electrical appliances. The starting wattage of this model is 3400 watts and has a running wattage of 3100 watts. It is so fuel-efficient that it can even run on a typical propane bottle. It provides clean power, making this one of the best generators for sensitive electronic devices.
- One of the most recommended generators
- A simple button to switch between fuel types
- Remote electric starting
- High wattage
- 3-year limited warranty and lifetime technical support
- Inappropriately small plastic wheels
If you are looking for a durable and reliable generator, DuroMax is the brand to go. In addition to dual-fuel generators, they also make engines, pressure washers, pumps, and other accessories. They run on propane and gasoline, and some can even produce power up to 15,000 watts. DuroMax generators have innovative features such as MX2 power boost technology that can double the amperage to handle heavier loads.
DuroMax Hybrid XP12000EH
This model could be the ideal choice if you are looking for the best portable generator for your home to supply backup power during extended power outages. You can run most of the household appliances on this generator as it produces 9500 rated watts and 1200 surge watts. It runs on gasoline and propane and can run up to 15 hours, depending on the load. Since this is a large generator, it may not be as quiet as other portable generators. This will be a good replacement for a standby generator which costs more for the installation.
- The flexibility of fuel choice
- Can handle large loads
- EPA and CARB approved
- Detects low oil and shuts down automatically
- Quite heavy
- Louder than other portable generators
Wen is among the best portable generator brands due to its high-quality, affordable products. This brand came into the industry in the middle of the 20th century as a manufacturer of electric jigsaws, chainsaws, and soldering guns. The company expanded over the years into making power tools, including generators. The following is a recommended model of Wen, which will serve you the best for the money invested.
This model comes with an original Yamaha engine, another reliable brand. It is very light, weighing only 48 pounds, and allows you to move it around easily. Hence, it is an ideal portable generator for moving around on camping sites. It also offers an operation free of disturbance due to very low noise generation of 51 dB at 25% load.
Since it has only 1600 rated watts, you will not be able to power up many appliances with this. But you can use it to power up the essential devices during power outages. There are various power outlets, including a 5V USB port for charging small electronic devices. Although the fuel tank is relatively small, it can run for nearly 6 hours at a 50% load.
- Low noise generation
- Produces clean power safe for electronic devices
- Ideal for camping, tailgates, and construction sites
- Good fuel economy and long run time
- May struggle at higher loads
Briggs & Stratton
Briggs & Stratton is one of the leading manufacturers that makes the best generators. They are among the largest producers of machines, including pressure washers, lawn mowers, and garden tools. They have a good reputation for producing reliable and powerful engines that can generate up to 9000 watts. They even provide engines for some other popular generator brands. You can choose among portable, standby, and inverter generators.
Briggs & Stratton P2400 PowerSmart Series Inverter Generator
This model gives you the convenience of a digital monitoring system with LED indicators for low oil and overloads. Another special safety feature present in this is the carbon monoxide shutdown technology. This system detects harmful levels of carbon monoxide and shuts down the generator. It offers 2400 starting watts and 1800 running watts within its noise-reducing shell. Smoother power is produced with inverter technology, hence safe for sensitive electronic and communication devices.
- Less noise generation
- Can connect parallelly for more power output
- Compact design
- Ideal for camping and outdoor activities
- Low customer ratings for weight
Yamaha is undoubtedly one of the most famous electrical and electronic appliances brands. They produce the best inverter generators that you will find in the market. They even provide engines for other generator brands, proving once again that they are reliable. Thus, Yamaha is one of the leading manufacturers who make the best generators in the industry.
This model features a modern design with a compact and portable build. It can deliver up to 1800 running watts with its 4-stroke OHV engine and has a power output of 1600 rated watts and 2000 surge power. Although this may not be the ideal generator to power up the whole house, you can easily use it to meet the power needs of camping or workshop. It consists of a super-quiet muffler that reduces 51.5 dB at 25% load.
- Original Yamaha OHV engine
- Solid and sturdy build
- Clean power with pure sine wave
- Quite expensive
This is one of the top 10 generators manufactured in the US. The specialty is their large tanks which support longer runtime. These gas tanks are around 25% larger than the average tank of a generator. These generators are tested for operation in extreme weather conditions too. One of the major issues in this brand has been the loud noise which made them introduce the new Whisper series with lesser noise. You can find generators ranging from 3000 watts to 9000 watts from this brand.
Firman H08051 Extended Run Time Generator Electric Start
This generator has a tank with a volume of 8 gallons and provides a power output of 10,000 watts. It can run up to 12 hours under 50% load. It is an ideal alternative power source for emergency power, job sites, farms, and RVs.
- Ergonomically designed padded handle
- Durable and sturdy build
- Ideal for emergency power requirements
- Suitable for construction sites
- Quite high noise level and weight
Sportsman is another reputed brand with over 50 years of experience in the industry. They manufacture versatile multi-fuel generators for various requirements. They run off gasoline, propane, and natural gas as well. The generators, usually around 4000 watts, are ideal as an alternative power source for homes during blackouts. Outdoor enthusiasts also prefer these generators for camping, RV, and tailgating. Sportsman generators usually have a runtime of 12 hours at 50% load of a 20-pound propane tank.
Although you are now aware of the best generator brands in the market, you also need to know more about selecting the best. Knowing the various types, features, and restrictions will help determine the best generator model for your power requirement.
Types of Generators
There are four main types of generators, out of which you need to choose the type depending on your requirement. It will help you pick the best brand and model of generator suitable for your customized power needs. Let’s identify the various types of generators.
Home Standby Generators
These generators are installed permanently and will start automatically during a power outage. Hence, they need to be installed by an experienced professional with a permit. They are more costly and also supply more power than the other types. The latest models have high-end technology where self-diagnosis tests reveal if or when maintenance is needed. This will be notified to the user or the dealer through email.
You can choose the type of fuel you need, and propane will be the most sought due to less storage risk. However, natural gas will provide an unlimited supply of power. The power output ranges from 5,000 to 20,000 watts, and the typical cost of these generators is from $2,000 to $6,000 without installation.
Portable generators are relatively cheaper and mostly run on gasoline. You need to add a fuel stabilizer for prolonged storage. These generators can be used anywhere because of their compact size and lightweight support portability. However, do not run them in closed spaces since the toxic fumes emitted during operation may be fatal. Store them at least 20 feet away from your home with a suitable structure to protect it from adverse weather. Here’s how to run a generator in the rain. Portable generators usually provide 3,000 – 8,500 watts, and the costs may vary from $400 to $2,500.
Inverter generators cost more than conventional portable generators due to the complexity of the engines. However, they are quieter and provide clean electricity, which is safe for sensitive electronics and communication devices such as mobile phones, smart TVs, and computers. The sophisticated exhaust systems are capable of reducing the noise to favorable levels. Safety precautions, efficient fuel management, and less emission are added benefits of inverter generators. The power output of these generators is from 1,500 to 6,500 watts. Inverter generators have a price range starting from $300 up to $4,000.
Portable Power Stations
These are also known as solar generators as they are powered by a chargeable battery or solar panels. They are relatively new to the market and will be a perfect choice for anyone concerned about noise generation. Portable power stations are extremely quiet as they have no engine like the other generators. Since they run on the charge, you may not be able to run them for extended periods without charging again. They need to recharge with electricity or solar power. These are more expensive and cost from $750 to $3,000 for an output range of 1,200 – 1,500 watts.
How To Choose The Best Generator?
There are some important factors to consider when choosing the best generator. This includes your power needs, construction of the generator, efficiency, and similar features. Let’s learn more about each of them to choose the best generator.
Start by figuring out how much power you need through the generator. Decide the number of appliances you will use and calculate the running wattage. Since the surge wattage is the amount of power consumed at the start of an appliance, it will be higher than the rated wattage. Add up the power required to run your appliances and choose a suitable generator with the rated wattage.
Most people prefer quieter generators, especially when used for outdoor activities. Most campsites and RV parks have limitations on the noise generation level allowed within the premises. Since you don’t want to ruin your night out, it will be best to go for a quieter generator. The latest models have built-in mufflers that minimize the sound levels. Most manufacturers mention the noise level at 25%, which could be way more when operating at a higher load.
You need to choose something affordable within your budget. However, do not go for a generator that is too cheap. You might end up with a low-quality product. If you have a tight budget, you can choose a low-power generator that meets your basic power requirements. To find more about this, refer to: what can you run on a 3500-watt generator.
A reliable manufacturer often guarantees a sturdy build. Therefore, choose a generator with an original engine from a reputed company. This will ensure the product’s quality and give you a warranty with lifetime technical support.
Although most engines may look similar, they have various fuel efficiencies depending on the type of fuel used. Innovative manufacturers use modern technology to enhance the fuel economy depending on the power demand detected. The Eco-Throttle technology of Honda is one such example. This increases the runtime per gas tank without compromising the generator’s performance.
Easy setup, use, and maintenance will make your generator way better than most other features. Most new models have easy maintenance as they self-diagnose to determine the engine’s condition. The electric start, automatic low oil shutdown, fuel gauge, and digital monitoring increase the convenience for the user.
Size and Weight
Choose a generator with the ideal size and weight depending on your requirement. This will be very important if you are looking for a portable generator. You can find much lighter and compact designs from reputed manufacturers offering the same wattage. You can also consider pairing up two generators parallelly to get the desired power output rather than going for a heavy generator.
The number of power outlets available should be considered, especially in portable generators. They should have at least two AC outlets and one DC outlet. This will save the trouble of having to purchase additional power cords and converters.
Although most new generators emit lesser toxic fumes, they are not completely eco-friendly. Therefore, some states will also have regulations on the types of generators, such as EPA and CARB compliant. Propane is cleaner than other fuels, and solar generators are always the best choice due to zero-emission.
The final yet most important concern is how the company will be helping you after-sales. Reliable manufacturers will assist you in providing lifetime technical support. So always choose a manufacturer with responsive customer service. Don’t forget to check the terms and conditions to identify the repairs offered without additional cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Need a Transfer Switch for a Generator?
Yes, a generator used as an alternative power source for a building needs to have a transfer switch. This will be safer and more convenient since the power generated can be supplied directly to the panel rather than powering up individual appliances with extension cords. Find out more about the cost of installing a transfer switch for a generator.
What Is the Best Portable Generator for Camping?
The two models, Yamaha EF2000isV2 and WEN56200i discussed above in the context, will be ideal portable generators for camping. They provide more power with maximum fuel efficiency for a longer runtime.
What Is the Best Portable Generator for Home?
Most portable generators do not provide sufficient output to power a whole house. Instead, you can select a few essential appliances that need to be run in a blackout to determine the power requirement. You can choose a suitable generator from the recommended brands depending on this. Usually, a portable generator with a rated wattage of 7500 watts can run most of the essential appliances. You can size the generator correctly to avoid unnecessary inconveniences caused by under-sizing a generator. If you purchase a generator way larger than your requirement, you will be spending in vain on something you don’t need. Therefore, learn about what size generator to run the refrigerator and freezer?
What Is the Difference Between a Generator and an Inverter Generator?
Conventional generators produce alternating current (AC) using a mechanical alternator. Although inverter generators also use an alternator, the current is converted to direct current (DC) and then alternated back to AC using a microprocessor. This makes the electricity cleaner and safe for sensitive electronic devices powered up.
Which Generator Lasts the Longest?
Diesel generators take the lead when considering the lifespan of the engines. Propane generators have a fairly shorter life than both diesel and gasoline engines. However, when considering the fuel consumption, a propane generator will run longer than a gas one. This will be about three times more when compared to a gas generator.
You have gained a broad knowledge of the brands and models of the most reliable generator brands. Now you know the pros and cons of different models to make an informed choice. Choose a brand that provides a good warranty and supportive customer service even after-sales. Inspect, service, and maintain the generator regularly to enhance its useful lifespan. Read to find out more about: How long can you run a generator, and how long do they last?