Our Pick of The Smallest Generators on The Market
The smallest portable generator offers countless benefits. You’ll be able to take your generator with you camping, hiking or even leave it in the car just in case one of your electronic devices needs to be charged quickly.
Honda EU2000I 2000 Watt Inverter Generator
Our favorite for 2020
Chicago Electric Generators 800 Rated Watts/900 Max Watts Portable Generator
A very close runner-up
Powerful but lightweight – only 48 pounds
Generators don’t need to be large and cumbersome.
You’ll be shocked by just how much power these units can provide. When you choose a portable unit, you can expect these units to be able to power and charge:
Any small electronic device will often require a USB port, and some of these models don’t offer one. This is something to consider, but you may also have an adapter to plug the device into a two-prong outlet.
A few of the features you’ll want to compare when choosing your portable generator are:
- Ports: The ports that are available will allow you to charge or run different devices. A three-prong, 12V and USB is the ideal setup, but there are many units that have one or a combination of these ports. Keep this in mind when making your purchase.
- Runtime: How long can the unit run? Since these models run off gas, the runtime is very important. Research how long the unit can run at full load and differing loads. Most users won’t run the unit at a full load for the entire time unless under extreme circumstances.
- Wattage: A higher wattage often leads to a larger unit and higher weight, but a higher wattage can power more devices and devices that demand higher wattage to run or start.
Reviews of Our Top Picks
WEN 56180 Generator – The WEN 56180 is “small” in 50 pounds, but this model is also 1800 watts and can run for 7.5 hours off of under 1.5 gallons of gas at half load. This unit has two, 120V outlets, 12V DC outlet and a 12.5A three-prong outlet.
The unit has a low oil safeguard that will shut down the unit to prevent damage.
Dimensions for this model are 17.1” x 15.9” x 19.9” with a total weight of 50 pounds. You’ll be able to run a multitude of devices on this model, including: refrigerator, computer, sump pump, television, microwave and more.
This is a great, all-around generator that can be used in forests and national parks.
WEN 56200i Generator – The 56200i is a 4-stroke, portable inverter generator that is CARB compliant. Designed to reduce noise production, this model is very quiet, and it is also EPA III compliant. The unit is rated at 1600 watts, but it can reach a maximum of 2000 watts.
The unit has two, three-prong receptacles, one 12V DC port, and a USB port to make charging electronics a breeze.
An eco-mode reduces the impact on the environment when in use, and this unit has a handle with a 48-pound weight, so it’s portable, too. The unit can operate for six hours on just one gallon of gas, making this a long-lasting unit that can power everything from a television to a refrigerator.
Honda EU2000I Generator – A recoil system allows this 2000-watt generator to start and begin producing power. The runtime on a full load is 3.4 hours, while a 1/4 load can operate for over 8 hours. Super quiet, this model offers stable power that can run a computer without any issues along the way.
The dimensions of this model are 11.4” x 16.75” x 20.13”; the unit weighs 47 pounds.
Normal wattage is 1600, but peak wattage is 2000. The unit’s fuel tank has a 0.95-gallon capacity, and the noise production when in operation is between 53 – 59 decibels. This unit is a great buy for a quiet, robust generator.
PowerPro 56101 – The PowerPro 56101 is a 1000 watt starting generator with a stable 900-watt production. Gas powered, this is the smallest gas generator in terms of weight, with just a 36-pound weight. Carrying handles are included, and the unit has rubber stoppers on all four legs.
Oil and gas fuel mixtures work best in the unit and eliminate the need to change oil.
A single gallon of gas can run for 5 hours at half load, and the unit produces 60 dB. The unit is EPA and CARB compliant, and there is an AC out and DC 12V port. The motor runs at 2 HP.
Chicago Electric Generators 800 Rated Watts – The final model on our list is from Generic and is the Chicago Electric Generator. This model produces a maximum of 900 watts of power, but it runs at a steady 800 watts. The two-stroke gas engine runs the unit, and there is a built-in circuit breaker for added protection.
The unit can maintain power for five hours at a 50% load.
Dimensions for this unit are 20” x 15” x 16”. The weight of the unit is just 36 pounds, so it’s one of the lightest models on the market. There isn’t a 12V DC outlet, but the unit does come with a three-prong outlet.
Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose the Best Compact Portable Generator for You
If you want to be able to choose the best compact generator for you, there is a lot of information you need to consider. Every unit has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s up to you to know what you want in a unit.
A good way to decide is to sit down and try to determine what you’ll be running or charging on the generator.
If you need a generator to run a laptop or computer, a small wattage unit will suffice. Running a refrigerator off a generator will demand a unit that has a lot of peak and steady wattage.
A few of the things to consider are:
- Size: The dimensions of the unit are important. If you plan on transporting the unit in an automobile, you’ll need to make sure that it will fit in the trunk of your vehicle if you don’t have a truck. Otherwise, the unit won’t be as portable as you may have hoped.
- Weight: Believe it or not, the weight of the unit must also be on the top of your list. A unit that is 40 – 50 pounds will be quite heavy to carry a half mile or longer to a camp site without some help along the way.
- Price: You can’t put a price on safety, but the range in prices for generators can increase at exponential levels. Seriously sit down and make a realistic budget to try and determine just how much money you can spend on your generator.
If you keep all of this in mind, you’ll be better able to pick a small, portable generator for your needs.