Which Generator is the Best one for You?
Research has shown that during recessions folks are more inclined to increase food storage and other emergency materials, including portable generators. When I think about losing power I do find it scary, I’m pretty plugged in. But, I do like the idea of having a portable generator on hand, should I find myself in multiple days sans electricity, this has happened to me during a snow storm early in the season, branches were all too heavy and took out the power. Luckily, I was young and had a sibling’s house to go to.
Generators offer more than just assurance in emergency situations. They are a good addition to the garage for various reasons, such as camping, hosting parties outside, or operating a food truck.
Factors to Consider
Depending on what your adventures call for it’ll set the needs you have when looking at which portable generator is right for you. They are portable, useful, and can easily be used by anyone thanks to their easy-to-use interface. But, before we look at construction we should consider:
- Number & types of outlets
- Power source
- Run time
- Owner recommendations
You can easily do your research and look into the pros and cons of each outdoor generator to see which one suits your requirements well enough. But, we have put together the top 5 portable generators on Amazon and done some side-by-side comparison to help you make your decision.
Portable Generator Products
12 hr run time
6.6 gal gas/propane
4 AC; 2 USB; 1 120/240v 50 A;1 120/240v
8.3 gal gas/propane
1 50 A; 2 AC; 1 120/240v twist lock; 1 120/30 A twist lock
8.5 hrs run time
6.6 gal gas/propane
4 AC; 1 AC 120 30 A; 1 120/240 v
How do you want to use your portable generator? Do you want to keep it at the house for emergency purposes? Do you want to have one for all the outdoor parties you host? Do you want it to run a food truck? Are you plugging into an RV?
All of these different activities are going to require different features in your portable generator. For emergency purposes you’re going to want to have multiple outlets offering various voltage to be able to maximize life sustaining devices. Outdoor parties are going to want a couple of hour’s worth of run time, mostly limiting the types of outlets to just AC.
Number & Type of Outlets
Welcome to the nuts and bolts of understanding the different types of electric outlets.
The US electrical service has a 3 phased system, with each phase consisting of 120 electrical degrees apart. Phase 1 power is the day-to-day electrical appliances, using120v. Ironically, 2 phase is not the coined term for the next phase, but is called “split phase”, which is coined due to US homes receiving power from a utility pole, in what’s called a “split-phase.” This phase combines to a 240v power.
- AC/standard AC (120 V) – Most household appliances, technology wall charge plugs
- 120/240 V – washers, dryers, ovens, international electrical grid
- 120 30 A (30 AMP) – air conditioner, electric water heater, microwave, coffee maker, electric skillet, hair dryer, space heaters and a toaster
- USB – tech attachments, other tech devices charge ports
- 50 A – ovens, hairdryers, air conditioners, and multiple lights
Most devices won’t need to be run all the time, or at the same time to limit the number of required outlets. In most cases units offer multiple AC outlets, which is what the majority of units you’ll be utilizing daily.
Each portable generator has a maximum output, or what it will allow. Obviously, the higher the wattage, the more the unit can putout. Again, you’ll want to compare this number with the types of outlets you’ll be interested in using, which ultimately affects the price of the unit.
As energy has to come from somewhere, the majority of these units run on gasoline. Technology is introducing duel energy sources on most of the energy sources, taking us as close to green as we can get. The duel generator source here brings in propane as well as gasoline.
Having duel power source does come in handy. If one isn’t available you can always use the other so your portable generator isn’t useless. However, there is a variable. One will run longer than the other.
Solar generators have the option of an electrical plug and solar panels. One is faster than the other at charging the unit.
The units in the table run off 3-8 gallons of gas, running between 8 and 18 hours, depending again, on their output.
You can put a price tag on how much you’ll need to run what you need based on what you’ll need.
Money. It’s always a factor in things. The units in the table run from $549 to $1,099. I have always been told that I have great taste, and by great that means expensive. It’s almost always the most expensive unit available. That doesn’t mean that I always go for the highest priced items because they are better. In fact, you can often find more superior items in the middle price range.
Don’t be bullied into more power, more voltage, more whatever based on the price tag. If you have a partner, their opinion is the only one you need to consider other than your own.
The Westinghouse WGen9500DF appears to be the most popular among Amazon shoppers. With over 13k reviews and a high star rating it does look like the shinning star in this table. It also offers USB outlets, which opens up space on your AC outlets.
When looking at reviews, a person could get pulled in to just the star rating. While there is a 4.7 rating on the table, it also has the lowest number of reviews. The 12k review difference gives a lot of sway for the rating to drop. There is still potential for the unit to become one of the more popular units, but that doesn’t ensure that the rating will continue as strongly.
Check out some of our other product reviews.