The Best Portable Gas Generators Will Power Everything You Need
Portable gas generators can provide backup power during an emergency, you can take them camping and use them on jobsites. Find out which models are the best.
With the summer quickly approaching, many people are searching for portable gas generators. Perhaps you are planning a camping trip with the family, or maybe you have an outing scheduled for hunting or fishing. For many people along the coasts of the United States, summer brings the inevitable hurricane season along with its anticipated power outages. In other areas, thunderstorms and tornadoes are a common occurrence, and people frequently need an alternate power supply for necessary appliances like a refrigerator or medical devices. In any case, portable gas powered generators are now affordable and widely available to supply these and a wide variety of power supply needs on the go.
Why A Portable Gas Generator?
You have several options when it comes to selecting a fuel type for your portable generator. Gas and electric models tend to be the most popular although you can also choose from propane, diesel, natural gas, and solar power. All of these power sources have their advantages and disadvantages and the best choice for you really depends on your particular situation and your planned usage for the generator.
Gas, the standard unleaded kind that you find at any gas station, is easy to find and transport. Most gas engines are relatively easy to maintain and will provide a lot of power to crank out some serious water pressure to clean up the most stubborn stains. Gas engines provide more raw power and wattage than any of the other fuel sources. The drawback to gas is that you can’t store it for very long without adding some stabilizer. Plus, if you get hit with a really big disaster in your area, gas stations may shut down.
The other fuel sources are good options if you already have some infrastructure set up at your home. For example you may have natural gas lines already running to your home, in which case you can opt for a natural gas generator. The same goes for propane tanks which can be delivered and easily stored on your property as a fuel source. These fuel sources are not as portable though as carrying a tank of unleaded gas in a little canister around with you. So if you plan on using your portable generator on the road camping, in your RV, or on a jobsite, and not just as a backup power source to your home, then gas is clearly the best option.
General Advantages of Portable Gas Generators
Portable gas generators, as the name suggests, are gas-powered current generators to provide energy anywhere you may need it. Power generators are offered by a variety of manufacturers and can be found with different capacities. Portable gas generators offer some notable advantages that make them great to use for a variety of different uses.
- No permanent installation required – Setting up a portable gas generator is easy. You basically just pull the cord to start the motor and then plug in appliances that you want to run. You have the option of connecting a portable generator to your home using a transfer switch, but you don’t have to.
- Affordability – Portable gas generators come in a wide range of price options so you are certain to find a machine that is within your budget.
- Efficiency – Gas generators are really able to put out a lot of power for the amount of gas used. Of course some machines are more efficient than others. One of the criteria you should look at when choosing your generator is how fuel efficient it is.
- Portability – You can take a portable generator basically anywhere you go where you’ll need a power source, from your home to a jobsite, to a vacation.
- Wide range of sizes and power output levels available – You can find a small gas generator with under 4,000 watts of output that will power a couple of essential appliances, or you can move up to a big boy generator at 15,000 watts or more that can be used to power your entire home.
- Some models are very quiet – Inverter style portable generators are very quiet; low enough that you can comfortably hold a conversation nearby.
- Energy supply at home during power outages – Probably one of the main reasons people buy portable generators is to have a backup in times of emergencies. If you’ve ever been without power for several days in the middle of a snow storm, or in the middle of a hot, humid southern summer, you know how miserable it can be. Plus all of your food in the fridge will spoil and you won’t be able to take a hot shower. It pays to be prepared with a backup generator ready to go.
A Few Disadvantages To Keep In Mind
The advantages of a gas generator greatly outweigh the disadvantages; however there are a few negatives that you need to keep in mind.
- High flammability – Gas can be dangerous so you need to be careful around it, which means no open flames or anything that can create a spark. Also because it’s so flammable, you should not store gas in large amounts.
- Possible lack of fuel availability during energy outages – If there is a serious emergency, then you may find that there’s been a run on the gas stations, or that refueling tankers can’t get through. If that’s the case then you may not have access to more fuel when you need it.
- Gasoline has a reduced shelf life when stored – You can add some stabilizer to increase the shelf life, but over time, gas will lose its potency if you store it too long.
Features to Look Out For
When it comes to choosing which type of gas generator to buy, there are key features you may want to consider in order to select the best alternative for your specific needs. The first thing you need to consider is the output capacity. You should look at your potential energy requirements to determine the watt output you should seek in a portable generator. Additionally, different generator sizes have varied run times on a full load, so the time it needs to run without having to refill should also be taken into account when picking a particular model.
If level of noise is a concern, some generators have mufflers that reduce the noise from the engine. Although portable, these generators can still weigh quite a bit. Models may have a handle across the top of the unit so they can be carried about, while some models have a wheel kit that allows you to haul it around and move it with greater ease.
Perhaps the best way to determine the right model of portable gas generators for your needs is to read consumer and professional reviews on the ones available for your price range. Price alone should not be the determining factor, but rather the beginning of your research to identify possible units within your price range. After that, carefully selecting models with features you will benefit from or must have will be easier.
The Best Portable Gas Generators
Before you buy a generator you need to know how you plan on using it and have a pretty good handle on your wattage requirements. It’s not hard to figure out what size generator you’ll need after adding up all of the appliances you plan on using during a power outage or while you’re out camping or on a jobsite. Keep in mind that you can swap appliances out so you should really look at what you’ll be using at the same time. I have a chart in my article on Choosing A Portable Generator that lists some common household appliances and their wattage requirements. Some appliances will surge when they start, which means they need more power starting than running. The motor in your refrigerator is one example. When calculating your power needs be sure to add in the surge wattage for the two largest appliances you plan to run. Adding two is plenty because it’s highly unlikely that more than two appliances will start at the exact some time.
After you’ve figured out what wattage generator you’ll need, you can start looking in the appropriate category. Here are my best picks for two popular wattage categories, 4,000 to 7,999 watts, and 8,000 to 10,000 watts. If you want to look at some other categories including the best inverter style generator and the best small capacity model, then head over to my article on the Best Portable Generators.
Champion 46534 – The Best Portable Gas Generator 4,000 to 7,999 Watts
This 4,000 watt model is very flexible, meaning you can use it around the house for backup power, on the road and out camping, as well as out on construction sites. It’s also CARB compliant so it’s highly fuel efficient and meets the strict low emission requirements of the state of California. At 4,000 max watts and 3,500 running watts you’ll be able power up your television, refrigerator, 10,000 BTU window unit air conditioner, and laptop computer all at the same time.
The Champion 46534 has several different receptacles to choose from including a 120 volt, 30 amp twist lock, a 120 volt dedicated RV (recreational vehicle) receptacle, and a 120 volt, 20 amp plug. The Champion is also easy to move around with a nice extendable handle and wheels. In addition to that, run time is excellent with the Champion. You’ll get 12 hours of continuous operation on a full tank of gas at 50% load.
As for the quality of the Champion 46534 you just need to look at owner reviews. It gets an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 with nearly 40 reviews just on Amazon.com. Over 86% of owners rate this model a 4 or 5. You can check out more reviews and get the latest pricing information on the Champion Power Equipment 46534 Portable Generatorby clicking here. I also have a detailed Champion 46534 Portable Generator review on this site where you can find out even more information.
ETQ TG72K12 – The Best Portable Gas Generator 8,000 to 10,000 Watts
The big selling point with the ETQ TG72K12 is that it has a special design that makes it safe to use with sensitive electronics like your laptop or DVD player. Its clean sine wave alternator technology creates a low level of total harmonic distortion that is very close to what comes from your power company. With that clean power you get a tremendous amount of wattage, 8,250 max watts and 7,250 rated watts. You’ll be able to power almost all of your essential home appliances with this machine, including a 3,000 watt, 40 gallon water heater (so no more cold showers), a small portable heater, your computer, TV, and microwave.
The ETQ TG72K12 is also easy to move around with wheels and a carry handle. It has multiple options for outlets including 2 GFCI 120 volt 20 amp outlets, a 120 volt 30 amp receptacle, and a 240/120 volt 30 amp twist lock receptacle. The control panel on this generator is also easy to read and includes an hour meter and a fuel gauge. As for run time, you’ll get 10.5 hours at 50% load on a full tank of gas, and 6.5 hours of run time at 100% load.
The ETQ TG72K12 also gets rave reviews from owners. Out of over 80 customer review, this model gets 4.2 out of 5 stars with 78% of the ratings coming in at 4 or 5 stars. Everyone talks about how sturdy and dependable this model is and how easy it is to set up and use. It has an electric flip switch start which is really popular. Most owners also comment on what a good deal this machine is for the power it is able to output. You can read my in-depth ETQ TG72K12 portable generator review on this site. To find the best price for the ETQ TG72K12 Portable Generatorclick here.
A portable power generator is a highly useful way to carry the power you need to have with you on work sites and recreation outings. Furthermore, it may even be a life-saving unit during emergencies for those who depend on medical technology at home. There are many alternatives available today, and with recent technological improvements, units are more efficient and powerful. Portable gas generators are a sound investment most households can benefit from having available.