So you’re looking to spend a few days in the wilderness, and you’re asking yourself, “Is a portable generator worth it?”. I was in the same situation, so I decided to do some research, and you might be interested in what I discovered.
Disconnecting from the online world is mentally healthy, but it’s still a good idea to have power available when you need it. The obvious reason would be in case of emergencies, to keep in touch with friends, or maybe you want to take pictures. You might also be like me and want to get work done on your laptop while off the grid.
You can charge most of your electronics from your car’s battery, but you probably don’t want to use it all the time.
Besides, maybe you want to power other devices like a laptop or a DLSR camera which require a bit more power than your car can provide. But you already know that. You’re here because you want to know if a portable generator is worth the money.
Is a Portable Generator Worth It?
A portable generator is worth it because it can supply power to your essential home appliances during emergencies such as power outages. Portable generators are also useful for long-term camping trips, tailgating, and other off-grid activities.
Of course, you need to consider the reason you’re looking at portable generators. What is the generator’s primary use? Are you going to use it to supplement the power in your home? Or do you simply want something to keep your devices charged on camping trips?
Recommended Portable Generators:
Budget-Friendly and Lightweight:
The WEN 56235i is a pretty basic portable inverter generator. It can output 2350 watts of clean energy at its peak and it’s very quiet. The linked model is the mini-version which only has a 1-gallon fuel tank. Nevertheless, the Wen 56235i can be used to power electronics on camping trips or even keep appliances in your home.
Bear in mind, it’s a cheaper model, so don’t expect superior performance. Overall, it works quite well. However, you do need to buy oil, and make sure to follow the initial warm-up instructions. The power output isn’t the best at only 2,350 watts but it’s enough to charge phones, laptops, and even a monitor or two.
Quiet, Idle Mode
Looking for a decent portable generator that doesn’t cost thousands of dollars? The SUA-2000iV is worth checking out. It’s a great mid-range generator that can supply a steady 1,600 running watts of safe electricity. The generator uses a powerful 4-stroke engine that’s quiet and even has an idle mode.
As for ports, it has pretty much everything that you would need. There’s a 5V USB charger, 125 V household charger, 120 VAC outlet for RVs and campers, and even parallel operation outlets. While this portable generator is budget-friendly and can power most electronics, it’s not enough for a full-size mobile home.
4650 Peak Watts, Electric Ignition
The Westinghouse outdoor portable generator is a very powerful unit. Right off the bat, there are a few key features worth talking about.
For starters, it’s a dual-fuel unit, compatible with gas and propane. It also has an electric ignition system, so no need to yank a cord. To turn it on, simply press the electric start button – very convenient.
As for connectors, you get two 120 watt wall outlets, one tt-30r outlet, and an L5-30R for RVs and campers. The tank volume is 4 gallons and it can last for about 18 hrs at 25% load. What you need to know is this is not the most portable generator out there.
Weighing at 109 pounds, it’s definitely not the lightest model, but it does provide a steady 4650 maximum watts of power. Not to mention the engine is 212 ccs. If you need lots of power for backup electricity in a home with multiple power-hungry appliances, the WGEN3600DF is worth checking out.
Other Portable Generators…
These are a few of our recommended portable generators, but you can look at some more best-sellers over here.
Are Portable Generators Waterproof?
Most portable generators are not waterproof and should be stored in a safe and dry location such as a shed or under a model-specific generator enclosure. Generator tents or shields can also be used to keep a portable generator dry.
Types of Portable Generators:
The are a few main types of portable generators, and I’ll briefly cover them here so you can have an idea of what to look for.
1 – Portable Power Stations
These are often related to portable generators but they’re quite different. A portable power station does not generate electricity, it simply stores it. You can think of a portable power station as an oversized battery with ports for a variety of electronics.
Portable power stations have to be charged and cannot convert gas to electricity as generators do. These devices are very useful but they do run out of battery eventually, unlike a generator that can continuously supply power, as long as it has a fuel source. You can also use solar panels to charge the power stations.
One portable power station worth a look is the Jackery Explorer 240.
2 – Portable Generators
These are regular generators that require a fuel source to convert into electricity. The most common fuel sources are gasoline or propane. Portable generators are recommended for extended camping trips or to provide power to RVs.
The good news is you can use these generators for backup power in your home. Most of them can power a small fridge and other appliances. I recommend looking for inverter portable generators.
3 – Inverter Generators
An inverter generator changes the engine speed depending on the power demand. It also automatically converts AC power to DC and then a more stable AC. For example, the higher the power draw, the faster the engine will work.
Portable inverter generators are preferred over other generators because they’re more energy-efficient, more portable, and also quieter. The downside is inverter generators are more expensive than others because of the high-end electronics.
There’s also another type of generator called a standby generator which is used as an automatic backup for electrical systems. These are mainly used to power homes or buildings when a power outage is detected.
To summarize, a portable generator is not only an easy way to keep your electronics charged but it can also keep your home and appliances working during emergency situations. In my opinion, every home should have a backup portable generator, especially if you live in an area that has regular power outages.