Portable Generators: Ratings of Sources
In this report, editors test 8 stationary generators and 33 portable generators of 4,500 to 7,500 watts. After running a variety of test loads with the portable generators, editors rate each generator on user-friendliness, power quality, power delivery, run time, and noise. Full details are available to subscribers.
There are hundreds of portable generators here, and the top models have hundreds of reviews from the site's customers. The site's product experts add a brief review of generator models they recommend, but these appear to be based primarily on features and brand reputation rather than testing. The site also provides a handy summary of reviewers' top pros and cons for each generator.
There are more than 250 portable generators for sale at HomeDepot.com. The top-rated models here are all gas-powered, and nearly all of them are from the Generac brand. We found a total of seven portable generators ratings of 4.5 out of 5 stars or better after at least 100 reviews. However, like many online retailer sites, Home Depot picks up many of its reviews from the manufacturers' websites.
Walmart.com sells a smaller selection of portable generators than other retail sites – about 175 models in all. It's a little tricky to figure out which models have the best reviews, since the site doesn't always list brand and model numbers on the main search page. We found three generators with ratings of at least 4.5 stars out of 5 from 100 users or more - but, again, some of these reviews are pulled from manufacturer websites.
We found lots of reviews for generators at Amazon.com, including more than 1,500 here, plus additional units -- intended for camping and RV use -- elsewhere on the site. While there is some feedback for propane-fueled generators, gas models are more popular and several earn ratings of 4.5 stars out of 5 after from 250 owners or more.
Editors compare three small inverter generators: the Generac iX2000, Yamaha EF2000iS and Honda EU2000i. They test each one's power and performance at powering a coffeemaker and a space heater, measure noise levels and fuel consumption, and compare weight and ease of use. The article doesn't give formal rankings, but it lists the pros and cons of each generator and concludes that the Yamaha is the best overall value.
Popular Mechanics tests four 2,000-watt generators in this comparison, conducted "even as Hurricane Sandy raged through our area" in October 2012. The Honda EU2000i is named the best overall, followed by the Yamaha EF2000iS. Editors say the Generac iX2000 and Briggs & Stratton P2000 are also very good small generators. However, they provide few details about their testing methods.
In this free article, Ed Perratore discusses small 1,000- to 3,000-watt inverter generators (which aren't included in Consumer Reports' generator rankings). These are handy not only in power outages, but to take on the road for camping and tailgates. He lists the features of two Briggs & Stratton models, but without testing them or picking a favorite.