Choosing the Best Camping Generator: Top 5 Generators on the Market
A camping generator is a great thing to have in your home regardless of whether you actually go camping. An extra power source for emergency blackouts is a necessity for everyone today as we are all reliant on electronic devices. As there are many power tools on the market, choosing which to buy is difficult because you need to understand the pros and cons of each. This guide would help you find the best generator for camping depending on your personal requirements.
|Small (18x11x18in)||Gas||Medium (6hrs)||Very Low (51 dBA)||Medium|
|Small (16.5x10.7x19in)||Gas||High |
|Medium (59 dBA)||Medium|
|Goal Zero Yeti 150||Low |
|Very Small (7.6x6.8x5.8in)||Solar / Power Bank||Low (150Wh, 14000 mAh)||Noiseless||Low|
|Small (19x15.9x11in)||Gas||Medium (8.3hrs)||Low |
|Small (17.9x11x19.3in)||Gas||High (10.5hrs)||Low |
Why Buy the Best Camping Generator
In order to decide what kind of generator you need, you have to determine what exactly you need it for. This will allow you to outline the technical features you need to focus on when comparing small camping generators available on the market. You can use this WATTAGE CHART to estimate how many watts you may need.
Answering the following questions would help you understand your needs better:
- How many devices do you need to power with your camping generator?
- How long do you need it to run on a single tank of fuel?
- What kind of fuel do you prefer to use?
- Where would you install this device?
- Do you plan to use it as a camping generator only?
- What kinds of devices you would need to power up (which outlets you need)?
There are three main reasons why people buy small generators for camping. The first is camping, and in this case, you need to look for a quiet and lightweight model. Aside from this, these power tools can be used as a backup power source for home and as a portable generator for construction sites. In these situations, the power output would be the most important feature.
What Makes the Best Generator for Camping
When you know exactly what you need from your camping generator, choosing one would be much easier. You just need to understand the characteristics of these devices so that you can pick which matches your specific needs.
The main features of a generator are:
For small and quiet generators, the usual power output level is between 1,000W and 2,000W. The lower this number, the quieter the device. You should study the user manuals of the gadgets you plan to power up with the camping generator and calculate their power consumption rate. Then you need to determine what would be sufficient for you.
Note that manufacturers usually list running time on a single fuel tank at ¼ or ½ of the load. This means that on full load the time of work would be much shorter. You must keep this in mind when doing your energy calculations. Otherwise, you would have to get up in the middle of the night to refuel the device.
The best camping generator is not necessarily the quietest. All devices in this class have the noise level at about 60 dB or a little lower. This is the best you can hope to find as no motor in a generator is completely silent.
The best camping generator of today must be equipped with an inverter that keeps the power output stable. This allows you to plug sensitive electronic gadgets directly into this power source. Note that if you try to charge your smartphone directly from a regular generator, the device might literally burn down as power surges would damage the microcomputers.
Small generators for camping usually have 120V AC and 12V DC outlets, although some of them even come with USB ports. Technically, this isn’t the most important feature as there are adapters that can help you get the exact kind of outlets you need. However, if convenience is important, look for a device with the right default features.
The size of the fuel tank on a small camping generator is around 1 gallon nowadays. This is enough to keep it running through the night. You should look for models that offer a high level of fuel efficiency to get the most of the gas as well as reduce your carbon footprint.
Other Camping Generator Considerations
The price of the camping generator also plays an important part in your choice, although you shouldn’t let it be the deciding factor. Bear in mind that this kind of power tool can serve you for years. This is why you should buy trustworthy equipment.
You can try studying camping generator reviews to see whether the model can be trusted as even renowned brands sometimes produce unreliable pieces. Going for the manufacturer’s reputation is a good call when shopping for a camping generator as top-brands are definitely more reliable.
Don’t forget that this device has a motor and runs on flammable fuel. Therefore, it’s a fire hazard by default. Buying a top model would increase your personal safety as reputed brands usually include a variety of extra features that protect the device and reduce the risk of the fire or malfunction.
These additional features also need to be considered when you shop as they often set the model apart from its competitors. These are the ‘personal’ touches that might make a particular camping generator better suited to your needs.
Top 5 Camping Generator Reviews
WEN has been producing exceptional power tools for years and the WEN 56220i model is an admirable addition to their product line. This is the best camping generator for everyone who values efficiency and reliability in a tool. It can provide you with power for 6 hours straight when running on half the load.
The 79.7cc inverter engine is top-notch and very quiet, which is essential for camping generators as they mustn’t be noisy so as not to interrupt your sleep. It only produces about 51 dB of noise when running at a quarter load. This is only a little bit noisier than the rustling of the leaves (40 dB) and quieter than a regular conversation (60 dB).
The WEN 56220i has a 1-gallon fuel tank and weights only 48 pounds, which means it’s easy to take it with you on a trip. Note that this camping generator has the Eco-Mode feature that helps you save fuel by automatically adjusting the tool’s performance to the required output.
As the WEN 56220i is an inverter camping generator, you can charge any sensitive electronics directly from it. The generator offers 2,000W surge and 1,600W running power.
WEN 56220i outlets:
- One 12V DC 8.3A
- One 5V USB Port
- Two 120V 20A 3-prong
Check out the current Amazon price for the WEN 56200i.
The WH2400i from Westinghouse is one of the best small generators for camping because it’s highly fuel efficient and durable. Westinghouse is a reputed manufacturer of generators that has proven the reliability and quality of all their products over the years. They’ve always been focused on ensuring maximum power, and this is exactly what the WH2400i offers. This is the best camping generator for you if you need to get more than the average 1,600W. This model can provide 2,100W running power and 2,400W surge, which sets it apart from the competitors.
This power, comes with a price, which is the higher level of noise. However, even when running on half the load, it generates only 59 dB of it. This is close to the level of regular conversation and very similar to the characteristics of similar but less powerful devices.
The fuel tank on this camping generator is 1.3 gallons and it can have the engine running for 11 hours on a quarter load. The engine itself is highly efficient as well as CARB and EPA compliant.
- One 12V DC
- Two USB
- Two 120VAC
- High-efficiency run mode
- Works for 11 hours on a single fuel tank at 25% load
This extra-small camping generator from Goal Zero is indeed perfect for camping and hiking. It’s very small and weights only around 12 pounds. In essence, it’s an extra-durable battery that can power up all your most important gadgets while you are away from the grid. Note that unlike the vast majority of small generators for camping, the Yeti 150 doesn’t run on gas. It’s an electrical battery that needs recharging from the grid or a car (12V adapter).
However, if you purchase a compatible solar panel, you’ll be able to charge it directly from the sunlight. The device would take about 17 hours of sunlight for a full charge. This might seem too long, but if you are an environmentally-conscious person, this would be the wisest solution.
As the Yeti 150 is an inverter generator, it’s perfectly safe for sensitive gadgets, such as smartphones, laptops, GPS navigators, and even cameras. You won’t need any extra equipment to ‘adapt’ the power output from it, so you’ll only have to take a suitable charging cord with you on a trip. The device’s capacity is 14,000 mAh.
Yeti 150 outlets:
- One 120V AC port
- Two USB ports
- One 12 DC
- 150Wh, 14000mAh capacity
The Honda EU1000i is a tiny power tool only capable of providing 1,000W of power. However, it’s the fact that the device is so small that makes it such as huge hit among the best generators for camping. This device is one of the most mobile of its kind as it only weighs 29 pounds and has a great handle that makes carrying it around easy.
The fuel tank capacity in this camping generator is only 0.6 gallons, but its overall power efficiency is so high that it can run over 8 hours on this small amount of gas (at a quarter load). Due to its small size and low power output level the Honda EU1000i is also very quiet with its highest noise level being 59 dB and the regular (1/4 load) 53 dB.
The Honda EU1000i is equipped with an inverter, so you can charge smartphones and laptops from it without the risk of them getting damaged with power surges.
The device has the Eco-Throttle feature that allows for efficient energy saving and a top-quality Honda motor that is sure to serve you well for years.
Honda EU1000i outlets:
- One 12V DC
- Two 120V AC 3-prong
- 1000 watts, 120V
- Runs for 3.8-8.3 hours on a single tank, depending on the load %
Yamaha is a well-respected name on the power tools market and their generators are always top-notch. The EF2000iSv2 is a fine example of this tradition and definitely the best generator for camping if you are looking for one that is as stylish as it is efficient. Its power output is on par with the majority of tools in its class, meaning it offers 2,000W surge and 1,600W running power.
However, unlike many models with similar characteristics, the EF2000iSv2 is truly super-quiet and features a specialized muffler that cuts down its noise level to 51.5 dB.
The high-quality motor is sure to perform for years and this camping generator reviews state that the device is extremely reliable. It has the Smart Throttle feature for increased fuel efficiency as well as an advanced PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) inverter control. Therefore, you can be perfectly sure that your gadgets run by microcomputers are safe when you charge them from this camping generator.
The EF2000iSv2weighs 45 pounds and has a great handle for easy transportation. Its retro design is amazing and it can run for 10 and a half hours on a single fuel tank (1/4 load).
- One DC
- Two 120V AC
- Runs for 10.5 hours at ¼ rated load on a single tank of gas
Conclusion: How to Buy the Best Camping Generator
When shopping for the best camping generator, you should determine what features matter the most for you first and seek a model that meets your personal requirements. Decide how much power you will need and go from there as output is the most important characteristic of any power tool.
You also need to take the fuel capacity and efficiency into account, because this determines how long your generator would be able to run.
It’s always best to look for small generators for camping developed by reliable manufacturers. This way, you can be sure in their durability as well as the quality of the service should you require it. Studying camping generator reviews also helps determine which model you can trust.
We’ve developed this guide specifically to help those who are looking for the best camping generator. It highlights a variety of top models in different classes as we hope this would help everyone find exactly what they need.