The 10 Best Whole House & Portable Generators for 2023


Autoblog may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

A power generator is a fantastic nice-to-have item to keep around the house. After all, losing power in this day and age, even for a short time, can cause some headaches. Keeping a whole-house generator or portable power station ready to go can turn a night that may have been a genuine emergency into just a mild inconvenience. Outside of emergency use, they can also be used for camping, tailgating, and more. Portable generators and power stations can come in a wide range of prices with an even wider range of features, so although everyone has their own definition of the best portable generator, we’ve compiled this list of the best we could find according to user ratings and reviews. Check out our selection of the top power generators for 2023 below.

$810 at Amazon

Key Features

  • “Quiet operation” makes it great for camping, tailgating, RVs or home use
  • Wattage: 4,500 starting watts and 3,500 running watts
  • Up to 14 hours of run time on just 2.3 gallons of gasoline
  • Optional parallel kit allows users to connect multiple inverters together to double the power output
  • Built-in intelligauge allows users to monitor voltage, frequency and operating hours
  • Built-in EZ Start Dial makes startup easy
  • Two built-in 120V 20 amp outlets, a 120V 30 amp RV outlet, 12V automotive-style (cigarette lighter) outlet, dual port USB adapter
  • Includes a 3-year limited warranty with purchase with free lifetime technical support

This generator is one of the best all-arounders out there. You can use it by itself or link it with another to double the power output, built-in gauge lets you know exactly how much time you have left and lets users accurately track voltage, and it also features an “EZ Start Dial” preventing the need for a pull cord. There’s even a quiet operation mode that makes it great for camping or tailgating. Last but not least, you’ll get a 3-year limited warranty with your purchase and free lifetime technical support.


$765.95 at Amazon

Key Features

  • Very lightweight, only 39 lbs 
  • “Quiet operation” makes it great for camping or tailgating
  • Wattage: 2,500 starting watts and 1,850 running watts
  • Up to 11.5 hours of run time w/ gas or 34 hours w/ propane
  • Optional parallel kit allows users to connect multiple inverters together to double the power output
  • Two built-in 120V 20 amp outlets 
  • Includes a 3-year limited warranty with purchase

A portable generator is a great compromise if you don’t want or need to keep a full-sized generator around. Unlike many portable home generators, this one is powered by either gas or propane with up to 34 hours of runtime and it only weighs 39 lbs. Much like the Champion generator above, this one can also be linked to another generator to double the power output, and it also comes with a 3-year limited warranty.


$518.80 at Amazon

Key Features

  • Very lightweight, only 39 lbs 
  • “Quiet operation” makes it great for camping or tailgating
  • Wattage: Using gasoline, this generator features 2,000 starting watts and 1,600 running watts – with propane it provides 1,800 starting watts and 1,440 running watts
  • Up to 11.5 hours of run time w/ gas or 34 hours w/ propane
  • Optional parallel kit allows users to connect multiple inverters together to double the power output
  • Two built-in 120V 20 amp outlets, a 12V cigarette-lighter style outlet and a USB adapter
  • Includes a 3-year limited warranty with purchase

This portable electric generator is a lot like the option above, but it provides a few less starting and running watts. It runs on gas or propane with up to 34 hours of runtime and like the one above, it only weighs 39 lbs. Also like the other Champions in this list, this one can also be linked to another generator to double the power output and it comes with a 3-year limited warranty.


$229 at Amazon

Key Features

  • Wattage: 300 watts
  • Fully charges in 5-6 hours via wall charger or can be fitted with Duracell’s solar panel to charge fully in 4-5 hours
  • Includes LCD screen that shows the battery level and which ports are being used
  • Features 2 USB-A outputs, 1 USB-A QC3.0 output, a USB-C PD output, a 120 AC inverter output, a 12V DC socket port output, 2 DC port outputs and a DC charging port input
  • Solar panel sold separately
  • Weighs only 7.5 lbs

This power station is a great value for homeowners if you’re not looking for full-fledged gas generators. It charges quickly, offers tons of ports and weighs less than 10 lbs. It can power home electronics, mobile devices, lighting, speakers and more.


$999 at Amazon

Key Features

  • Powered by a 4-stroke DuroMax engine
  • Utilizes dual fuel technology – can run on propane or gasoline
  • Wattage: 12,000 starting watts and 9,500 running watts
  • Can choose between operating at both 120V and 240V simultaneously or at only 120V at full power
  • EPA and CARB approved in all 50 states

We can’t get enough of portable power. This 12,000-watt DuroMax generator for a house is larger than some others on our list, so you may not want to take it camping, but it’s a great backup power option to keep at home or at a worksite. It can run on either gas or propane, it has an electric start, and it’s rated for 9,500 running watts so it can handle heavier loads and power things like a refrigerator, home air conditioning unit, and high-amperage power tools.


$839.31 at Amazon

Key Features

  • Wattage: 3,300 watts
  • Features PowerRush Advanced Technology that “delivers over 50% more starting capacity”
  • Quiet Inverter Power reduces sound output 
  • Economy mode automatically adjusts engine speed to save fuel and reduce sound
  • Generator is “parallel ready” and can be connected to another GP3300i to double the power output
  • Lightweight and includes visual alerts to show when it’s running low, overloaded, or ready for use
  • Also includes USB ports for mobile devices and more

Portable generators are great for camping or helping out in a pinch if your power goes out, and Generac is a big name in residential and industrial generators alike. The GP3300i model is a 2500-watt gas-powered unit that features multiple outlets and USB ports for charging things like a small fridge or freezer, tablets and mobile devices. It’s only 59 lbs, so transport and storage is easier than larger units and it features quiet inverter tech that aims to help reduce noise pollution when the unit is running.


$299.99 at Amazon

Key Features

  • Wattage: 300 watts
  • This power station recharges to 80% in 3.5 hours
  • Can recharge via USB-C, wall outlet or car outlet
  • Includes 2 built-in AC outlets that deliver 300W power, 1 USB-C port, 1 fast-charge USB 3.0 port, 1 USB-A port and 1 DC car port
  • Can power up to 6 devices at once
  • Solar panel sold separately
  • Weighs only 7.1 lbs

For those who don’t like the noise and exhaust of a normal generator, portable power stations may be for you. This one from Jackery can be charged from 0% to 80% in just 3.5 hours when plugged into a wall outlet (3.6 hours when plugged into a car) and has enough of a charge to power your phone 31x, a camera 15x and a drone 6x, making it perfect for camping and longer road trips. If you’re going to be outside for a while you can also pair it with a solar panel for charging off the road and off the grid. It may not power your entire house, but it’s extremely handy in a pinch. If the Explorer 300 isn’t exactly what suits your needs the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240 and Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000 are also great picks, worth a look.


$649 at Amazon

Key Features

  • Powered by a 210 cc OHV-V Duromax Engine
  • Utilizes dual fuel technology – can run on propane or gasoline
  • Wattage: 5,500 peak watts/4,500 running watts
  • “Power panel includes two 120-Volt GFCI household outlets, one 120-Volt/240-Volt 30 Amp twist-lock outlet”
  • “Features CO Alert Technology that will automatically shut down the generator if an unsafe level of carbon monoxide is detected”
  • Comes with a 5 year limited warranty

This 5,500-watt DuroMax generator is an RV and home power backup generator that runs on either gas or propane. It has an electric start so you won’t have to break your back pulling a ripcord to start it, a fully loaded power panel with USB outlets, two 120-Volt GFCI household outlets, one 120-Volt/240-Volt 30 Amp twist-lock outlet and “an RV-ready MX2 Switch for double the 120V power,” and it has CO alert tech that can automatically shut the whole thing down if an unsafe level of Carbon Monoxide is detected in the air. Maybe the best part about this deal is that it comes with a 5 year limited warranty from the manufacturer.


$749 at Amazon

Key Features

  • Supports 30A transfer switches for home backup use (consult with an electrician to determine which transfer switch solution will work with your home)
  • Up to 11 Hours of run time on a full 6.6-gallon fuel tank
  • 7,500 running watts and 9,500 peak watts
  • Electric and recoil start
  • Automatic low oil and carbon monoxide (CO) shutdown
  • Remote start key fob
  • Two GFCI 5-20R 120V household duplex receptacle and One L14-30R 120/240V
  • Transfer switches, extension cords, and inlet boxes are all sold separately
  • Backed by a 3-Year limited service, labor, and parts warranty

The Westinghouse model WGen7500c gas-powered portable generator utilizes an electric start system and the engine’s choke operates automatically, making starting as simple as the single push of a button. A remote start key fob allows you to start and stop your generator from up to 260 feet away. The generator can also be started using the traditional recoil start function, for added dependability. With the Westinghouse ST Switch (not included) this generator will auto-start whenever power loss is detected. A great feature to have for your home’s essential appliances like the refrigerator and sump pump. It’s powered by a four-stroke 420cc Westinghouse engine with an air-cooled overhead valve, a design aimed at helping the unit run cooler and more fuel-efficiently. There is also an automatic low-oil shutdown feature that protects the engine when low oil is detected. And the carbon monoxide detection system monitors CO levels. It will shut down the generator before CO levels become dangerously high. This unit meets both EPA and CARB emission level standards.


$1,359.20 at Amazon

Key Features

  • Powered by a DuroStar 500 cc OHV engine
  • Utilizes dual fuel technology – can run on propane or gasoline
  • Features 13,000 peak watts/10,500 running watts
  • Power panel includes “four 120-Volt 20 Amp GFCI outlets, one 120-Volt 30 Amp twist lock, one 120-Volt/240-Volt 30 Amp twist lock and one 120-Volt/240-Volt 50 Amp transfer switch-ready outlet, includes individual circuit breakers, idle control and a low oil sensor”
  • Features CO Alert Technology to automatically shut down the system if too much Carbon Monoxide is detected in the air
  • “EPA and CARB certified: approved for use in all 50-states”
  • Comes with a 5 year limited warranty

This 13,000-watt DuroStar generator “will run your household essentials such as lights, appliances and central AC system with EASE during a blackout, storm or emergency event.” Like the option above, it runs on either gas or propane and also has an electric start function. This DuroStar’s power panel includes “four 120-Volt 20 Amp GFCI outlets, one 120-Volt 30 Amp twist lock, one 120-Volt/240-Volt 30 Amp twist lock and one 120-Volt/240-Volt 50 Amp transfer switch-ready outlet, includes individual circuit breakers, idle control and a low oil sensor.” Like many, it also has CO alert tech for determining if there are unsafe levels of Carbon Monoxide in the air, and will automatically shut down if there are. Like the deal above, this one also comes with a 5 year limited warranty from the manufacturer.


What is the difference between a generator and portable power station?

Usually, generators use some type of fuel such as gasoline or propane to “generate” their power from. Portable power stations on the other hand borrow their power from other electricity sources such as a wall or car charger. 

How do you use a generator?

The most important thing to remember when using a traditional backup or portable generator is not to run it inside your home or garage, as it can give off dangerous carbon monoxide emissions. A portable power pack that has been charged up only using electricity is fine to run in the house. A standby generator is something larger and more complex that would require the input of an electrician to install and use.

How are generators powered?

The way a generator gets its power is unique to each individual device. You can find generators that are gas-powered, solar-powered, or even powered by propane. Ultimately, though, you’ll just have to check the requirements of the specific device you’re looking to buy. 

How to hook up a generator to your house?

While some people do in fact take it into their own hands to install a whole-home generator, it can be a troublesome and sometimes risky process. We always recommend hiring or speaking to an electrician for the task.

What size generator do you need?

According to Consumer Reports, the most accurate way to determine what size generator you’ll need is to “consider the appliances you need to power and add up their wattage.” Home Depot provides a handy infographic showing approximate wattages of common household items you might want to keep running during an outage right here.

What size portable generator is best for a house?

This is highly dependent on how large your house is and how many appliances you’ll need to run, but a good formula for figuring out how many watts you’ll need out of your generator is to add up the running watts of all the appliances in your house you’ll want to run, then you’ll want to find your appliance that needs the highest starting watts and add only that number to your total. Whatever that total number is, you’ll need a generator that produces at least that amount of starting watts, and will also provide at least the same number of running watts as the sum total of the running watts of your appliances.

What size generator do I need to power a refrigerator, TV, lights, and a few appliances?

You can use the same formula as above to figure out what you need here, or reference this handy graphic from Home Depot

What size generator do I need to run a refrigerator?

Again, this will be dependent on your refrigerator. Let’s say your refrigerator requires 600 running watts and 2,000 starting watts, in that case, you’d need a generator with at least 2,600 starting watts and at least 600 running watts.

Pros and cons of using a generator?

The benefits of using a generator or power pack are, of course, being able to keep your electronics charged and working during a power outage. Generators probably have more cons than smaller power packs due to their use of gas or propane to operate, but you may want to be cognizant of the electricity usage while charging a power pack as well.

How much does a whole-house generator cost?

Price can vary pretty significantly depending on how much power you’ll need and what features you’d like your generator to have, but to power your entire home you’re probably looking at around $800-$2,500. 

Which portable generator is the best to buy?

Like so many things, there truly isn’t a “best” generator for every purpose. The portable generator that will best for you will depend on your needs and budget. For instance, if you’re just looking to make sure your phones and laptops stay charge, you’re probably in the market for something like a power pack, but if you need to make sure your refrigerator stays running, you’ll want to invest in something a little more heavy duty like a Champion or Duromax generator.

What is the best generator for residential use?

Again, while there isn’t a definitive “best,” if you’re worried about waking up your neighbors, we’d suggest looking for a generator that features a lower dB (decibel) level, or one that promotes “quiet operation” as a selling point, like this Champion Power Equipment 2000-Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Generator. The same goes for if you’re wondering what size generator is the best for camping.

More top picks

Related post

    Leave a Comment