Best Portable Inverter Generators: Reliable Power Wherever, Whenever

Never be left in the dark again thanks to these rugged and reliable portable inverter generators.

Best Overall

Briggs u0026 Stratton P2200

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Best Value

WEN 56200i

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Honorable Mention

Westinghouse iGen4500 Electric Start Portable Inverter Generator

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Whether you’re purposely going off the grid or are looking for a clean, reliable alternate power source to run your RV, tailgate party, or favorite power tool, investing in an inverter generator is a great idea. It can be a game changer if you suffer from frequent power outages and need access to electricity in an emergency.

You can use a portable inverter generator to power everything from sensitive electronics to portable refrigerators, power tools, c-pap machines, lights, and much more. No matter your power needs, there is likely a portable inverter generator on the market that will be an ideal solution. To help you sift through the vast array of offerings, I’ve come up with my top favorites, along with a handy buying guide to help you learn exactly what to look for to ensure you get a durable, reliable, and efficient model that won’t let you down when you need it the most.

Summary List 

Our Methodology

When it comes to choosing the best portable inverter power generators, I wanted to provide you with a well-rounded list that features a good variety of reputable manufacturers with solid track records of providing high-quality, reliable products. I included a wide range of price points to suit any budget. I focused on inverter generators that use the latest technology and that feature innovative, compact designs suitable for a wide variety of vehicles and uses. For more information on the selection criteria, click this link to The Drive’s Gear About page, which explains our methodology further.

Best Portable Inverter Generators: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall

Briggs u0026 Stratton P2200

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Best Value

WEN 56200i

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Honorable Mention

Westinghouse iGen4500 Electric Start Portable Inverter Generator

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Most Versatile

Champion Power Equipment 2500-Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Generator

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Best Eco-Friendly

Jackery Solar Generator 1000

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Most Portable

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 300

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Best Premium

Honda EU2200i 2200 Watt Portable Inverter Generator with Co-Minder

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Our Verdict on the Portable Inverter Generators

When it comes to the ideal combination of power, reliability, functionality, and price, our top pick is definitely the Briggs & Stratton P2200. It delivers a decent 1,700 watts of running power and can run for up to eight hours at 25 percent capacity, making it a versatile option ideal for many users. For a more budget-friendly option, the WEN 56200i gives you 1,600 watts and a 9.4-hour runtime at 25 percent load. And, it’s offered an easy-to-swallow price point.

Consider Secondhand

When we start shopping for tools and products, we never overlook the secondhand market. In fact, it’s usually the first place I look. Whether you’re scrolling through Amazon’s Renewed section, eBay for car parts or tools, or flipping through the pages of Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, you have hundreds of thousands of used tools, parts, and gear ready to be shipped to your doorstep. Refurbished to like-new status, they’ll be willing to give you many more years of faithful service all while saving you money. 

If those options don’t have what you need, your local salvage yard is great for car parts, while swap meets are a great resource you should tap. Just Google either and head on down.  

Secondhand Tips

To make your secondhand search easier, here are two tips to finding the best deals and making sure your new-to-you stuff wasn’t destroyed by the previous owner. 

  • When going with an online seller, make sure they have a high user rating and a great reputation among other consumers. 
  • When buying secondhand, do your homework. Shop around and compare pricing between sellers to make sure you’re not getting taken to the cleaners.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Portable Inverter Generator

While there are many similarities between most of the best portable inverter generators on the market, it’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all consideration. There are several important key factors to familiarize yourself with to ensure you’re getting the best choice to suit your needs and that will hold up to the serious wear and tear over time and continue to deliver reliable power when you need it most.

Key Features

Number of output ports 

Naturally, the number of output ports a generator offers will be an important consideration. Smaller generators will have one or two output ports, as well as a few USB ports for smaller devices. Medium to large generators, on the other hand, will have more and will have additional RV-ready outlets. If you need an RV- or marine-ready generator, be sure to double-check the port layout prior to purchase.

Clean Power Delivery

One of the key features of an inverter generator is its ability to deliver clean, consistent, and stable energy. Since the energy is delivered in pure sine waves, it has less harmonic distortion and is therefore safe for powering up sensitive electronic devices such as laptops, TVs, mobile phones, and other gadgets.

Engine Efficiency

Unlike conventional generators that maintain engine speed no matter how many appliances are being powered, inverter generators can adjust their engine speed depending on load requirements. This makes inverter generators much more fuel-efficient than conventional generators. This ability to adjust engine speed also means inverter generators won’t get as much wear as conventional generators over time.

Noise Level 

Many of today’s inverter generators function much more quietly than their larger, less portable counterparts. With noise levels below 60 decibels, most inverter generators fall below the noise ordinances laid out by the National Park Service, making them a great option for camping.

Lightweight Portability

Another key selling point to an inverter generator versus a regular generator is that inverter generators are much more lightweight and portable. Since most inverter generators weigh around 40 to 60 pounds, you can easily take them camping, in your truck, on your boat, or move them between homes as needed. 

Portable Inverter Generator Pricing 

You can get an efficient and decently powerful portable inverter generator that can run small appliances and sensitive electronics for under $500. If you’re looking for power above 1,000 watts and a generator capable of running in parallel, plan to spend between $500 and $900. For a more powerful, durable, and rugged marine- or RV-ready generator with all the latest tech features, expect to pay upwards of $1,000.

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q. What is an inverter generator?

A: An inverter generator is a device that converts mechanical energy into clean, usable AC electrical energy with a Total Harmonic Distortion that is less than 6 percent, making it safe for powering up sensitive electronic devices. 

Q. What is the best portable inverter generator?

A: The best portable inverter generator will have the best balance of price, portability, power output, and ease of use. It will also need to be reliable and come from a brand with a proven track record.

Q. What are the advantages of a portable inverter generator?

A: Compared to traditional generators, inverter generators are typically smaller, quieter, and more fuel-efficient. They also produce stable energy and safeguard against surges which make them safer than conventional generators for powering up sensitive electronic devices.

Q: Are there different types of portable inverter generators?

A: When it comes to portable inverter generators, there really is only one type. That said, inverter generators can vary greatly in size and power production. Some may offer as little as 200 watts of running power, while the largest portable inverter generators can provide upwards of 4,500 watts.

Q: How long can you run an inverter generator continuously?

A: Depending on what you’re powering and the power level at which you run your portable inverter generator, you can expect it to run continuously on a single fuel source for between 6 and 18 hours. If you have a solar-powered portable inverter generator, you can often get 6-24 hours of runtime, again depending on how many devices you have drawing power from it.

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Lisa Conant

Freelance Editor

Lisa Conant has had a varied and colorful career in freelance writing. She's written about everything from healthcare to headlamps. Originally from Canada, she currently hangs out in New Hampshire with her two kids and two freeloading cats.