Inverter generators are the new wave of portable energy. These generators create power similarly to a standard, traditional generator, turning combustible fuel into electricity that can power devices and machines. However, with the help of electronics, inverter generators are quieter, more efficient, and safer for electronics.
This guide will explain everything you need to know about choosing an inverter generator, from features to safety and more. It will also highlight our picks for the best inverter generators on the market. Keep reading to learn more.
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How We Picked the Best Inverter Generators
Inverter generators are an investment, so it was important to us that any of these models we suggested were truly up to snuff. We drew upon all of our experience with generators to come up with the most important features as well as the right sizes to highlight so users could find the perfect model for their needs.
Once we knew what to look for, we used personal experience with many of these models and research to compare them. We compared prices, features, output, and more to determine if each model provided enough value. Those that did made our list while those that failed were removed.
Best Overall Inverter Generator
DUROMAX 9000-Watt/7600-Watt Inverter Generator XP9000iH
Looking for an inverter generator that produces enough clean power to keep the majority of the home running should check out the DuroMax XP9000iH? This powerful model produces 7,000 watts of regular run power and 9,000 watts of surge power, ensuring it can handle the home’s essential appliances.
This model has plenty of extra features. It runs on either gasoline or propane and switches between the two easily with the built-in switch. It also has a four-wheel design that’s easy to roll and maneuver (a good thing since it’s over 250 pounds!). This DuroMax has a slew of outlets and ports, and it can be wired in parallel with other models for more power. It runs at just 68 decibels and comes with a remote control for extra control.
- Dual-fuel model runs on gasoline or propane
- Powerful enough to run the majority of essential items in a home
- Four wheels design makes it easy to move around
- Runs at just 68 decibels for quiet power
- Wattage: 7,600 watts (running), 9,000 watts (starting)
- Fuel Source: Gasoline or propane
- Extra Features: Remote start, digital control center, parallel capable
Best Inverter Generator for Home Backup and Power Outages
Honda 7000W Standby Gasoline Generator w/ Transfer Switch HP2S-EU7000M
The Honda 7000-Watt Standby Generator comes with almost everything necessary to tie this inverter generator into a home’s electrical panel. It comes with a 10-circuit box, 25 feet of power cord, a 30-amp power inlet box, and a universal transfer switch. Once installed, its 5,500 watts will handle those 10 circuits safely and smoothly, providing survival power when the electricity is out.
This Honda inverter generator produces 5,500 watts of running power and 7,000 watts of starting power. It also runs at just 58 decibels, making it a very quiet full-size generator. It also has Bluetooth, providing wireless remote starts and energy and device monitoring.
- Comes with the components necessary to tie into an electrical panel
- Runs at just 58 decibels, making it a very quiet full-size generator
- Bluetooth compatible for wireless starting and stopping as well as monitoring
- Wattage: 5,500 watts (running), 7,000 watts (starting)
- Fuel Source: Gasoline
- Extra Features: 10-circuit breaker box, standby wire and plug, Bluetooth compatibility
Best Inverter Generator for RVs
Champion Power Equipment 4500W Dual Fuel RV-Ready Inverter Generator 200988
No one wants to fuss around with adapters when things are hot and muggy at the campsite, and this model from Champion makes sure you don’t have to. This model has a 30-amp RV receptacle (TT-30R) that allows users to plug their travel trailers directly into the generator. It also has an electronic ignition, allowing campers to back in, take their generator out, plug it in, and let the fun begin.
This model can run on gasoline or propane, making it ideal for campgrounds with propane refills. It produces 4,500 watts for starting devices like air conditioners and runs at 3,150 watts otherwise, allowing campers to run their entire RV. It also has several receptacles on the control panel, as well as parallel ports for hooking two Champions up in tandem. Also, at just 103 pounds, two people can lift it into a truck bed for transportation to the campsite.
- Features an RV-ready, 30-amp plug that can accept an RV cord without an adapter
- Dual-fuel uses gasoline or propane for flexible fuel sources
- Produces a reasonable 61 decibels for campsite quiet
- Electric start makes firing it up easy
- Weighs around 103 pounds, so two people can lift it if necessary
- Wattage: 3,500 watts (running), 4,500 watts (starting)
- Fuel Source: Gasoline or propane
- Extra Features: Electric start, parallel capable
Best Portable Inverter Generator
DUROMAX 2300/1800W Digital Inverter Generator XP2300iH
DuroMax’s 2,300-watt Digital Inverter Generator is ready to hit the road—whether it’s a tailgate party, a backyard hang-out, or a power outage. This model produces a maximum wattage of 2,300 surge watts and 1,800 watts while running. That’s plenty of power for some lighting, entertainment, and more.
This model has a built-in top-mounted handle which makes carrying the 46-pound generator a little easier. It also has wheels and a telescoping handle, allowing users to roll it instead of carrying it.
- Weighs just 46 pounds and features wheels for easy transport
- Runs on gasoline or propane for fuel-source flexibility
- Produces just 52 decibels so it won’t drown out a tailgate party conversation
- Wattage: 1,800 watts (running), 2,300 watts (starting)
- Fuel Source: Gasoline or propane
- Extra Features: Digital control center, parallel compatible
Best 2000W Inverter Generator
WEN Super Quiet 2000W Portable Inverter Generator 56203i
Sometimes, a basic inverter generator is all it takes to get the job done, and the WEN is a great choice. This model produces a maximum wattage of 2,000 for start-up and runs at 1,700 watts. This makes it a great choice for power tools and other situations where a big generator might not be necessary, but quiet, reliable power is.
The WEN 56203i runs on gasoline and produces just 51 decibels of noise while running. It weighs 39 pounds so it’s easy to carry around, and it can be wired in parallel with another unit to maximize its power.
- Weighs just 39 pounds so it’s easy to carry around
- Produces just 51 decibels of noise while running
- Can be wired parallel with another WEN Unit
- Wattage: 1,700 watts (running), 2,000 watts (starting)
- Fuel Source: Gasoline
- Extra Features: None
Best 3000W Inverter Generator
Honda 3000W Super Quiet Gasoline Powered EU3000is
The 3,000-watt mark is where generators start to get big, powerful, and maybe a little noisy. But that’s not the case with the Honda EU3000is. This generator is plenty powerful but produces just 49 decibels of noise while idling, allowing users to have conversations around it or run it without annoying the neighbors.
This Honda inverter generator is extremely fuel efficient, as well. It runs for up to 20 hours on one tank of gasoline. Also, it features an electric start and an easy recoil start for backup. Strangely enough, it doesn’t come with wheels, so users will have to buy a set or resign to carrying this 132-pound generator from place to place.
- Extremely fuel efficient, running up to 20 hours on one tank of fuel
- Operates at 49 to 57 decibels for extreme quiet
- Electric start and easy recoil starting
- Wattage: 2,800 (running), 3,000 (starting)
- Fuel Source: Gasoline
- Extra Features: Electric start, easy recoil start, low noise
Best 3500W Inverter Generator
Champion Power Equipment 3650W Inverter Generator 201154
- RV-ready port for travel trailers
- Runs efficiently, using 2.3 gallons of fuel for up to 14 hours of run time
- Large capacity should power essential devices and machines in most homes.
- Wattage: 3,650 watts (running), 4,650 watts (starting)
- Fuel Source: Gasoline
- Extra Features: Digital power gauge, parallel compatible, electric start
Champion Power Equipment’s 3650-watt inverter generator is worth a look for anyone looking for a mid-size generator that’s easy to transport and runs quietly. This model features a built-in handle and 5-inch never-flat wheels, which makes it easy to roll the 95-pound generator around. But, two people can still lift it easily, making it a great choice for portability.
Despite its portability, it produces up to 4,650 watts in starting wattage while running at 3,650 watts. And, it does so while producing just 61 decibels of noise and using just 2.3 gallons of fuel for up to 14 hours of run time.
Best 4000W Inverter Generator
WEN RV-Ready 4000W Open Frame Inverter Generator GN400i
WEN’s GN400i RV-Ready 4,000-watt generator might look like a standard, traditional model, but it produces the clean, inverted energy you’re looking for. This model features an open frame design, which helps cut down on weight considerably (it weighs just 66 pounds), making it a fairly portable generator with a lot of power.
This WEN is also pretty good at saving money. First, it’s considerably less expensive than most other 4,000-watt models. Also, it features an eco-mode switch which minimizes fuel consumption to allow it to run 7 hours on a 1.85-gallon tank. It’s worth noting that because it’s an open-frame design, users can expect it to be a little louder than typical enclosed models. However, it’s parallel capable so users can hook two together for a power boost.
- Open-frame design cuts down on weight
- Eco-mode switch maximizes fuel economy
- Low price compared to other inverter generators of this size
- Wattage: 3,500 watts (running), 4,000 watts (starting)
- Fuel Source: Gasoline
- Extra Features: RV ready, lightweight design, parallel compatible
Best 4500W Inverter Generator
Westinghouse 4500W Dual Fuel Inverter Generator iGen4500DFc
Westinghouse iGeen4500DFc is a 4,500-watt generator that runs on both propane and gasoline, providing fuel flexibility when you’re in a jam. This model produces 4,500 watts for starting large devices but runs at 3,700 watts ordinarily. It runs as low as 52 decibels, making the neighbors very happy.
This model has plenty of bells and whistles, including the remote start key fob and the push-button starter. It has a digital display that details run time, temperature, remaining fuel, loud, output, and volts. It’s also quite fuel efficient, running for 18 hours on 3.4 gallons of gas, and it’s parallel compatible.
- Dual-fuel compatibility to provide flexibility in a jam
- Remote start and push-button start make starting this model easy
- Runs at just 52 decibels—very quiet for a model this large
- Wattage: 3,700 watts (running), 4,500 watts (starting)
- Fuel Source: Dual fuel, gasoline or propane
- Extra Features: Remote start, push-button start, low noise, digital gauge, relatively lightweight design, parallel capable
Best 5000W Inverter Generator
Honda Inverter Generator EU7000ISNAN
If power is everything, the Honda EU7000iS inverter generator might be a great fit. This is the same model as our top pick for backup power, but it doesn’t come with the parts for wiring it to the home, so it’s more affordable while still being able to run most of the systems within a home.
This Honda generator produces plenty of power but only runs at volume levels between 52 and 58 decibels. It features Bluetooth connectivity, which allows the user to start and stop it remotely as well as check on run time, service reminders, and other details. It weighs 263 pounds, but it comes with a wheel kit for easy rolling.
- Large power output can run the majority of systems in a home
- Runs extremely quietly at just 52 to 58 decibels
- Bluetooth connectivity allows users to turn it on and off remotely and provides details
- Wattage: 5,000 watts (running), 7,000 watts (starting)
- Fuel Source: Gasoline
- Extra Features: Bluetooth connectivity, fuel efficiency, noise control, digital display, parallel compatible
Best-Selling Inverter Generators
In addition to the generators in our top picks, there are many similar models worth considering. Here are some best-sellers at leading retailers.
Best-Sellers at Acme Tools
Best Inverter Generators Buying Guide
You can’t just go buy the first generator on sale at the local big box store. For an inverter generator to truly meet your needs, there are a few things you need to know.
Power Capacity and Efficiency
Before purchasing an inverter generator, consider how you’ll use it so you can find one with the power capacity and efficiency to meet your needs. A generator for tailgating and camping will have to meet very different criteria than one you’d choose to power a home when a storm knocks out the power.
Understanding Wattage Requirements
The amount of power that an inverter generator can produce is described in watts. The higher the wattage, the more power the generator can produce. It’s helpful to break down wattage requirements into three categories: light-, medium-, and heavy-duty.
- Light-duty generators produce 3,000 watts or less. They’re relatively compact and light, and they’re great for tailgating, tent camping, or even running a power tool.
- Medium-duty generators have a bit more oomph, producing up to 4,500 watts. These generators can often run entire project sites, and RV power systems, and even serve as a backup generator to keep lights on and the refrigerator running during a power outage. They’re often very easy to move around, though they are quite heavy to lift.
- A heavy-duty inverter generator has the most power to offer, producing an excess of 4,500 watts. These generators can run entire homes when the power is out, but they’re often heavy and tough to move around.
Fuel Efficiency and Run Time
Balancing the amount of power an inverter generator can produce and its fuel efficiency can be a tall order. Most of these generators can hold two to 10 gallons of gasoline, while some might run on propane (there are even some that can run on both). Since inverter generators are typically more fuel efficient, they’ll use less fuel to produce the same amount of power as a standard generator.
It depends on the model and the load, run times of 8 to 12 hours are typical for gasoline generators. This is typically what their onboard tanks are sized to provide. Propane generators might consume more fuel than gasoline to produce the same amount of wattage, but since their tanks are external, it depends on the size of the tank,
Portability and Size
Unless you have a dedicated enclosure for your inverter generator, the portability and size are important considerations.
Weight and Handle Design
Compact, lightweight generators are relatively light. They generally weigh between 30 and 60 pounds and can be lifted onto the tailgate of a truck or hauled up a set of stairs. They can go just about anywhere.
Medium-duty and heavy-duty generators are a different story. These models have heavier components and more robust frames, so they usually have a set of wheels and at least one handle. This allows the user to roll their 200 to 300-pound masses around easily, but they’re quite heavy to lift, even with a partner.
Compact Dimensions and Storage
The benefit of a light-duty inverter generator is that they’re small and easy to store. They’re often under 2 feet long and high, and measure under a foot across. They can fit on a shelf when they’re not in use which is perfect for smaller garages low on storage space.
Medium- and heavy-duty inverter generators are compact compared to traditional generators, but storage can be an issue. A smaller model might measure 24 inches all the way around, while a larger, high-output inverter generator can be an entire foot longer. These generators need a dedicated space for storage.
Decibel Ratings and Quiet Operation
One of the things that consumers value most about inverter generators is that they’re quieter than traditional generators. While they’re far from silent, inverter generators use smaller engines and these engines don’t have to work as hard to maintain frequency.
Some of the quietest inverter generators can run as quietly as 60 decibels. Even a very large inverter generator may only produce 70 to 80 decibels. While traditional generators have improved their noise levels in recent years, they’re not nearly as quiet.
Additional Features and Technologies
Some additional features and technologies might make one inverter generator more suitable for your needs than another.
Parallel capabilities refer to a generator’s ability to be wired in with another generator, increasing the generators’ output. Some models are parallel compatible, while others are not. Users will have to buy a brand-specific kit to link two generators, but this is a great way to supplement power needs with smaller generators.
Smart Controls and Remote Operation
Another point to consider is that many inverter generators now come with smart controls and remote operation. These models can report their statuses back to the user while they’re running, allowing the user to track them with an app. Run time, temperature, output, and other readings are available.
Remote operation can be a big plus for folks. Being able to start a generator without heading outside in a storm or another scenario can help keep users safe and comfortable. This is also true for RV generators, which many campgrounds limit the hours during which they can run.
Uses of an Inverter Generator
As mentioned earlier, how you plan to use your generator has a lot to do with choosing the right model. The following are some common uses for inverter generators.
Recreational and Outdoor Activities
Inverter generators are a great choice for recreational and outdoor activities. They can tag along for tailgating and outdoor events to provide power for entertainment, cooking, and charging devices while waiting to get into the game. They can also run lights if the party runs late.
They’re also handy for camping and RVing. Smaller models are perfect for charging devices and running small electronics while hanging out at the campsite. Larger models can power an entire RV’s electrical system, allowing users to stay entertained and comfortable while they’re off-grid.
Home Backup Power
Another popular and effective way to use an inverter generator is for home backup power. When the power goes out, these generators can tie into the home’s electrical panel and supply the entire home with power. Smaller models might not have the power to keep the whole house running, but a few extension cords can keep food from spoiling, provide light, and even run a space heater.
Professional and Job Sites
Inverter generators are indispensable on most job sites. Since they usually don’t have power until well after the structure is “dried in,” crews can use generators to run power tools, power jobsite lights, and more.
And, even if the home does have power, it doesn’t mean it has the type of power the job needs or where it needs it. For example, a generator can be used to power a 240v welder or supply power in a remote part of the property where the homeowner wants some sort of site work or improvement.
Safety Considerations When Using an Inverter Generator
Before you unbox your generator, fill it up with fuel, and fire it up, there are a few safety considerations to understand.
Proper Placement and Ventilation
Most experts recommend placing your generator at least 20 feet from the house. Never run a generator in the home, the garage, or under a window. Also, beyond maintaining a safe distance from the home, the generator should be positioned so the exhaust points away from the house (make sure it points away from your neighbors’ homes, as well!). This will help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Also, a generator needs adequate airflow to run properly and stay cool. Placing a generator out in the open is typically sufficient. However, if it’s tucked in between bushes and a fence, behind a tarped wood pile, or any number of other situations, it might not get sufficient airflow. Many DIYers build their own generator sheds with louvers, intakes, and exhausts for these reasons.
Generators produce a lot of electrical energy, so they must be used safely. For one, don’t overload the generator by plugging too many items in or trying to run everything in the home at once. When this happens, there is a built-in circuit protector that will trip to keep the generator safe. To reset, simply unplug the items, hit the reset button, and plug items in slowly.
Generators should also be grounded to run safely. This ensures that any excess current has somewhere to run (into the ground) rather than damaging the generator or harming the user. A generator can be grounded by driving a steel rod into the ground and then com
Fuel Handling and Storage
When it comes to generator fuel (gasoline, specifically), there are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Only store fuel in approved, self-venting, and safe fuel tanks.
- Store fuel tanks 95% full and at low temperatures to prolong the fuel’s shelf life.
- Keep fuel tanks out of direct sunlight.
- Add fuel stabilizer if the fuel will sit in the tank for several months or at a temperature over 80 degrees.
- Only store fuel tanks in a garage, never inside the house.
When it comes to refueling the generator, follow this procedure:
- Turn off the generator and let it cool for several minutes. Spilled gas can drip onto hot engine or exhaust components and start a serious fire.
- Open the cap on the top of the generator fuel tank.
- With good footing, lift the fuel tank with both hands, pointing the nozzle into the fuel tank opening.
- Press the vent release or nozzle to start the flow of fuel. Be careful not to spill fuel onto the generator.
- Fill the tank, stopping frequently to check the fuel level to avoid overfilling and spilling.
- Lower the fuel tank and replace the cap.
- Give any spilled fuel time to evaporate and dry.
- Restart the generator once it is safe to do so.
Frequently Asked Questions About Inverter Generators
How does an inverter generator differ from a conventional generator?
An inverter generator has electronic chips and processors to monitor the draw and throttle the engine up or down according to the demand.
Also, traditional generators produce straight AC power (the power a home uses), but the quality might not be safe for sensitive electronics. Inverter generators create AC power, convert it to DC power, and then invert it back to clean and stable AC power. In general, this is a safer electrical current.
Can I use an inverter generator indoors?
No. The only inverter generators that are safe for indoors are solar generators, which don’t use combustible fuels or produce emissions. Using gasoline, propane, or kerosene-powered generators indoors can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
How do I calculate the required wattage for my needs?
The process for determining the required wattage for a generator is quite complicated. It involves listing all of the home’s devices, determining each item’s wattage requirements while starting and running, adding these numbers together, and then planning for expansion.
Can I connect two inverter generators for more power?
In many cases, inverter generators can be linked together to increase their output. This does require a brand-specific kit, however, and it can often be less expensive to purchase one large generator than two smaller models.
How should I maintain my inverter generator for a longer lifespan and optimum performance?
Maintaining an inverter generator involves:
- Storing it safely away when not in use
- Adding quality fuel stabilizer to the tank before running the generator out of fuel before storing.
- Change your spark plug and air filter after 200 hours of use or once per year.
- Keep the battery on a trickle charger (not all generators have batteries).
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