Let Us Help You Find the Best Gas Generator for The Money After 2015
Whether you’re prepping for an emergency or need a power source when you’re out on the road, a gas generator is a worthwhile investment. Unpredictable weather can leave you without power for days, making it difficult to stay warm or cook food. A generator can supply you with the power you need to survive (literally, in some cases).
Our favorite for 2017
DuroMax XP4400E 4
Another great option
A great gas powered portable generator
When it comes to emergency preparedness, you don’t want to take any chances. You need a generator that’s reliable, durable and easy to use. How can you determine which model is the best choice for you? Here are some things to consider when comparing models:
- Power: How powerful is the generator? Power, listed as watts, will give you an idea of whether the generator can meet your needs. It’s always better to have more than enough power than to have too little. With that said, going too far above your needs adds unnecessary costs. Opt for a generator that offers a little more power than you anticipate needing.
- Weight: The weight of the generator is another thing to consider. The heavier the unit is, the more difficult it will be to drag it out of storage when it’s time to use it. Ideally, the generator should be reasonably lightweight and easily portable.
- Run Time: Consider the run time of the generator. Many models offer at least 7 hours of use on 1/2 load, but some may offer more. Choose a model that offers a runtime that meets your needs.
To help you find a generator that meets your needs, we’re going to share our picks for the best models on the market today.
The Top Generator Reviews
WEN 56180 – Considered the best generator brand on the market, WEN generators are durable, reliable and lightweight. The 56180 delivers 1800 surge watts of power (1500 running watts) – enough to power your entire home. This model comes equipped with a 4-stroke OHV engine.
Ideal for emergency and recreational use, this generator is both CARB and EPA III compliant for use in all 50 states. With a light weight, compact design, and a spark arrestor, this unit is ideal for camping.
Using just 1.45 gallons of gas, the 56180 can run for 7.5 hours on half load. This unit includes two AC120V tree-prong outlets and a cigarette-style outlet for added convenience.
The low-oil shutdown adds an extra layer of safety to protect the engine.
If you want a generator that can power your home in an emergency or keep you up and running while you’re camping, the WEN 56180 is an excellent choice.
DuroStar DS4000S – DuroStar’s DS4000S comes equipped with an air-cooled, 7 HP OHV engine that can deliver 4000 surge watts and 3300 continuous watts. The 4-gallon gas tank offers eight hours of run-time, making this the ideal generator for emergencies.
A heavy-duty steel frame improves durability, while the isolated motor mounts allow for quiet, smooth operation. If you’ve ever used a generator, you know how noisy they can be. The DS4000S is exceptionally quiet thanks to the motor mounts.
A full power panel is built into the side of the unit, which includes a volt meter, an oil warning light, power outlets and a circuit breaker. This generator offers two 120-V, 60Hz-NEMA 5-20R, 20-amp outlets; one 120-V, 60Hz-NEMA L5-30, 30-amp outlet.
DuroMax XP4400E – The DuroMax XP4400E is even more powerful than the previous generator, offering 4,400 surge watts and 3,500 continuous watts. The 4-gallon tank delivers eight hours of run-time, so you can power your home for an entire evening.
The air-cooled, 7 HP OHV engine makes this unit ideal for jobsites or home emergencies. EPA-approved, this unit has a 69 dBA rating for quieter operation. The spark arrestor and quiet operation makes this unit suitable for use in national parks.
While this generator is gas-powered, the unit has an electric key start for easy starting. A battery is included for added convenience. You also have the option of using the standard recoil start if the battery doesn’t have enough power.
If you need serious power, the XP4400E from DuroMax is a smart buy.
Westinghouse WH7500E – The WH7500E from Westinghouse is the most powerful generator on this list, offering 7500 running watts and 9000 starting watts. With a 6.6-gallon tank and 12-hour run time at 50% load, this unit is the ideal choice for serious emergency preparedness.
Along with the generator itself, this unit also includes: a handle kit, a wheel kit, funnel, oil and a tool kit. The front panel features four 120VAC outlets and one 12/240VAC outlet as well as a main breaker.
With features like automatic voltage regulation, low oil shutoff and brush excitation, the WH7500E is an advanced generator that is ideal for extended emergency situations.
PowerPro 56101 – The 56101 from PowerPro is a lightweight generator (under 36 pounds) that’s designed with portability in mind. A carrying handle and four rubber pads make it easy to take this generator with you on the go.
Despite its light weight and compact design, this unit can still deliver 900 continuous watts and 1,000 starting watts. This model features a one-gallon tank, which offers five hours of run-time at 50% load.
With this model, there’s no need for oil changes thanks to the gas/oil mix fuel. The spark arrestor and quiet operation also make this unit a good choice for camping in national parks and forests.
CARB and EPA compliant, this generator is great for recreational use.
Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose the Best Generator for You
- Safety Features: All generators have safety risks, but gas-powered models have even more risks. Look for models with safety features that help mitigate these risks. Low oil shutdown will automatically cut the power if oil levels drop too low. If the generator continues running without enough oil, it could damage the engine or pose other risks. Models with voltage meters and spark arrestors also offer added safety.
- Outlets: Consider how many outlets the generator offers and which types. Some models, like the Westinghouse WH7500E, offer four conventional outlets, while others only have two. The first generator on the list also has a cigarette-style outlet, which is ideal for powering mobile devices. Determine how many outlets you’ll need and which types, and find a unit that meets your needs.
- Startup: Some units offer conventional recoil startup, some have an electric key startup, and others have both. Electric key startups are convenient because starting up is as easy as starting a car. With that said, this type of startup requires battery power. If you’d prefer a model with this feature, make sure it has recoil startup as a backup, so you can still get the generator up and running even if the battery is dead.
- Price: The cost of the unit is another important factor, and will likely be the deciding one. While it’s important to set a budget, it’s equally important to ensure you choose a model that meets your needs.