Best Inverter Generator in 2018 – With Great Portability for Camping

Considering that we rely heavily on electricity to function in modern society, it’s imperative that we have access to power on a regular basis. However, most of us take things like outlets for granted. What happens when the power goes out? Also, what can you do if you want to power electronics outside, nowhere near a plug?

In that case, you would want to use an inverter generator. Unlike traditional generators that just create AC power with an alternator, these models are designed to be both ultra quiet and more efficient. As a result, you can usually expect your inverter generator to be smoother and easier to operate overall.

So, with that in mind, we want to show you some of the best inverter generators on the market today. Whether you’re looking for something to take camping or tailgating, or you want a backup generator for your home or RV, these machines are built for convenience and reliability. 

Best Inverter Generator - Comparisons 

10 Best Inverter Generator Reviews

1. Yamaha EF4500iSE, 4000 Generator

Although you can use your generator for anything you wish, some models are built for a particular purpose. In this case, the Yamaha Inverter is designed to work for RVs as an additional source of power. With a whopping 4000 running watts, you can operate multiple devices at once without any issues.

What we like about this inverter generator is that it’s designed for high output. Most other generators can produce between 1000-2500 watts, so having 4K at your disposal means that you can do a lot more with a single device. To that end, this generator comes with three plugs: two 20-amp versions and one 30-amp outlet.

To help ensure that you don’t run out of fuel, this generator comes with a power gauge that shows you how many hours are left. This ensures that you can stay on top of refueling and keep your devices running at peak performance all day long.

Yamaha EF4500iSE, 4000 Generator

Although this generator is massive at almost 200 pounds, it comes with two lifting bars (one on each side) and wheels to help you move it around. It even has a built-in parking brake so that you can place it on an incline without worrying about it running away from you. You can also buy a wireless remote so that you can control it from afar if necessary.

What we liked

  • 4000 running watts
  • Optional wireless remote with 66-ft range
  • Electric start
  • Power meter indicator
  • Wheels for easy maneuvering
  • Two standard outlet plugs
  • One 30-amp plug
  • Quiet operation
  • Gas-powered inverter generator
  • Low speed running (2600 rpm)
  • Low oil warning system
  • Twin lifting bars for convenience
  • Parking brake built-in

What we didn't like

  • More expensive than other models
  • In rare cases, the unit can burn through gas rapidly

2. Yamaha EF2400iSHC, 2000 Running

When it comes to high-quality generator brands, Yamaha is right up there with the best of them. As we mentioned, most inverter generators are designed to deliver between 1000-2500 watts, and this model is no exception. With a running power level of 2K watts, you can operate multiple devices with ease. It comes with two standard outlets to ensure that you get the best performance while it’s running.

What we really like about this particular unit is that the motor adjusts the load capacity based on how much energy you’re using at any given time. This ensures that you get maximum fuel efficiency so that you’re not burning through gas when you don’t have to.

Low oil levels can usually damage inverter generators, but this model has a built-in sensor that warns when the oil is getting low so that you can change it in time. However, if you wait too long, the whole thing will shut off automatically to protect the internal components.

Although this model doesn’t have wheels, moving it is much easier than the Yamaha Generator above. It still comes with two lifting bars, but the whole thing weighs just 75 pounds, which is much better than most other generators of this size and output.

What we liked

  • 2400 starting watts
  • 2000 running watts
  • Improved air conditioner starting
  • Automatically adjusts engine power to match load
  • Shuts off when oil is low to prevent damage
  • Quiet operation
  • Two lifting bars for easier portability
  • Rubber feet for stability
  • Two standard outlets built-in
  • Relatively lightweight at 75 pounds
  • High-quality emission ratings
  • Fuel gauge on the side
  • Durable aluminum die-cast frame

What we didn't like

  • Rope pull start can be difficult for some users
  • In rare cases, the motor may stay in economy mode

3. Champion Dual Fuel RV Inverter Generator

Once again, we have a generator that’s built for RVs and camping more than anything else. With an operating power level of 3100 watts, you can run multiple electronics at once without any issues, or use the generator to power one big machine, such as an air conditioner or heater.

What’s unique about this particular model from Champion is that it comes with a dual fuel design. This enables you to work with either gasoline or propane to make the generator work. Best of all, the unit will automatically detect which one is in use at any given time, ensuring that you don’t damage anything by selecting the wrong fuel type.

Otherwise, this generator comes with all of the standard features that you would come to expect. Moving it is a breeze, thanks to its two lifting bars and large rear wheels. One other feature that we appreciate is the electric switch start. This is much easier to handle when compared to a rope pull machine (like the Yamaha above), ensuring that more customers will be able to get it up and running without any problems.

One interesting thing to note is that the power level changes depending on which fuel type you use. With gasoline, you can operate at 3100 watts. However, when you switch to propane, that drops to 2790, so be careful if you’re trying to run the same equipment.

What we liked

  • 3100 running watts
  • Dual fuel system (gas or propane)
  • Large wheels and lifting bar for moving
  • Low-oil shutoff sensor
  • Three position ignition switch for easy starts
  • Two standard outlets on the side
  • Operates at 59 dBa
  • 7.5 hours of runtime on gasoline
  • 2790 running watts on propane

What we didn't like

  • In rare cases, the unit may shut off unexpectedly

4. Honda EU3000iS, 2800 generator

Honda-EU3000iS-2800

If you have a Honda car, then you know that the engine runs smoothly and reliably. Not only that, but it comes with fuel efficiency that you can’t find with other cars, which ensures that you save time and money in the long run. Fortunately, Honda brings that level of attention to detail to this generator, so you can be sure that it will work wonders for you.

Although it’s not the highest in wattage (2800), it still has power where it counts. What we like about this model is that it uses a high-efficiency overhead valve engine, which not only starts and runs like a pro but will last a long time on a single tank. In fact, you can operate this generator for up to 24 hours before having to replace the gasoline inside.

Other than the high-performance engine, this generator comes with all of the standard features that you would expect from such a device. It provides you with two usual outlets, as well as one 30-amp version for plugging in your RV.

Honda EU3000iS, 2800 Generator

Although we prefer models that have wheels, this generator is only 75 pounds and comes with two lifting bars so that you and a friend can move it with relative ease. This generator is quiet and has some of the best fuel economy that we’ve seen. 

What we liked

  • 2800 running watts
  • High-efficiency overhead valve engine
  • Ideal fuel economy
  • Lasts up to 24 hours on single tank
  • Side lifting bars for maneuverability
  • Quiet operation
  • Two standard outlets 
  • One 30-amp outlet
  • Rubber feet for stability
  • Relatively lightweight at 75 pounds

What we didn't like

  • No time gauge built-in

5. Honda EU2000I 2000 Watt

As we get further down this list, we’re going to start seeing generators that are more compact and generate less power. So, if you’re still looking for a workhorse that can power multiple high-energy devices, you won’t be able to find a model that works for those kinds of applications. However, if you want something lighter and easier to use, then you will appreciate this model from Honda.

As we saw above, Honda is more than capable of building a high-performance and energy efficient generator. What we like about this one is that the whole thing is compact enough to carry by hand wherever you need to go. At 45 pounds, it will feel heavy, but not prohibitively so.

As far as performance goes, here’s what this generator has to offer. It provides you with 1600 watts of running power, two standard outlets, a 12-volt outlet, and a single lifting handle. The fuel-efficient motor can last for up to eight hours on a single gallon. As with most other inverter generators, this one is extra quiet as well. 

What we liked

  • Compact design
  • 1600 running watts
  • Top lifting handle for convenience
  • Two standard outlets
  • 120-volt power supply
  • Rubber feet for stability
  • Extra quiet operation
  • Fuel efficient design
  • Lasts up to eight hours on one tank
  • Weighs only 45 pounds

What we didn't like

  • Rope pull start can be difficult for some users
  • In rare cases, the unit may not start properly

6. Yamaha EF2000iSv2, 1600

If you’re a big fan of Yamaha generators, then you’ll be happy to know that the company offers such a wide selection of different sizes and power levels. As we move down the list, we’ll be seeing more and more compact models that provide more versatility and convenience. In this case, we’re looking at a 1600 running watt model. This is more than enough energy to power many appliances, including a microwave and/or a hairdryer. TVs usually draw less electricity than that, too, meaning that you can always watch your favorite shows with this inverter generator.

One thing that we like about smaller generators like this is that you can usually connect them via a parallel line. This means that if you need more juice to power larger devices, all you have to do is combine a couple of these generators and you won’t have any issues.

Overall, we really like what this model has to offer, and it adheres to the quality and craftsmanship that you can find with Yamaha generators. It operates at a quiet level, it’s fuel efficient enough to last up to 10.5 hours, and it weighs less than 45 pounds, so moving it wherever you want to go is easier than with other generator models.

What we liked

  • Compact design
  • 1600 running watts 
  • Top lifting bar for convenience
  • 120-volt power
  • Rubber feet for stability
  • Super quiet operation
  • Smart Throttle varies engine output based on load
  • Pulse width modulation control
  • Two standard outlets
  • Weighs less than 45 pounds
  • Lasts up to 10.5 hours on a single tank
  • Parallel function enables you to connect multiple generators
  • Automatic engine warm-up
  • Fuel gauge on the side

What we didn't like

  • Rope pull start can be difficult for some users
  • Goes through oil more rapidly than other models

7. Champion 3100-Watt RV Inverter Generator

Next, we have another high-capacity generator that is built for RVs and camping. This model from Champion is designed to provide you with a lot of power in a compact and fuel-efficient setting. Also, it comes with all of the high-end features that you would expect from a brand as well respected as Champion.

When talking about performance, this generator produces up to 2800 running watts, which is more than enough to run multiple appliances at once. It comes with an automatic smart economy mode that enables you to increase the engine’s overall efficiency so that you can last longer on a single tank. This generator can go for up to eight hours before needing refueling.

As with other inverter generators, this model is both quiet and powerful. It comes with two standard outlets as well as one 30-amp plug, and it has indicator lights for when the oil or the gas level is getting low.

Moving this generator is relatively easy, thanks to its wheels and top lifting bar. Also, it only weighs about 80 pounds, making it lighter than other generators in its class. 

What we liked

  • 2800 running watts
  • Rear wheels and top lifting bars
  • Low oil shut-off sensor built-in
  • Operates at 56 dB
  • Two standard outlets
  • One 30-amp outlet
  • Smart economy mode for better fuel efficiency
  • 12-volt outlet 
  • Ultra clean power
  • Runs up to eight hours on a single tank
  • Cold start technology 
  • Relatively lightweight at 80 pounds

What we didn't like

  • In rare cases, it may stay in economy mode
  • On rare occasions, the unit may shut off unexpectedly

8. Generac 7117 GP2200i Generator

As far as generator brands go, we’re not that familiar with Generac, but this model seems to provide a lot of the same great features that we’ve found in other brands, which is why it’s on this list. What we like most about this model is that it produces a lot more energy than you think it would, based on its overall size. At less than 50 pounds, it can still generate up to 1700 watts, making it a workhorse that is both reliable and versatile.

The other feature that we appreciate about this generator is the Truepower technology. This ensures that the electricity it produces is super clean and won’t damage or overpower your electronics. Even compared to other inverter generators, this model is high-quality.

Other features that you can find with this model include the ability to connect multiple units together to make more energy. It can last up to 10.7 hours on a single tank of gas, and it has LED indicator lights for both low fuel and oil. Finally, it’s super quiet, and it is lightweight and easy to carry. 

What we liked

  • 1700 running watts
  • Top carrying bar for convenience
  • Parallel connector to hook up multiple generators
  • Truepower technology for cleaner energy
  • Lasts up to 10.7 hours on a single gallon
  • LED indicator lights for oil and fuel level
  • Quiet operation
  • Rubber feet for stability
  • Economy mode for better fuel efficiency
  • Two standard outlets
  • 12-volt and USB connectors
  • Weighs less than 50 pounds

What we didn't like

  • In rare instances, the generator may not work with parallel operations
  • Can be hard to start with the rope pull system

9. Yamaha EF1000iS, 900

Next, we have our most compact and energy-efficient inverter generator. If you’re looking for something small and portable, then this is your best bet. Although it only produces 900 running watts, you can rely on this generator to pull through for you time and time again during its lifespan.

As with most other Yamaha generators, this model comes with the Smart Throttle feature. This system adjusts the engine’s power output based on how much energy you’re using at any given time. Best of all, it does this automatically so that you don’t have to worry about whether you’re being fuel efficient or not. With this system, you can last up to 12 hours on a single tank of gas.

Other features that are included with this generator are a noise block that keeps the whole thing running quietly, two standard outlets, and a model that weighs less than 30 pounds overall. In the end, this is one of the best compact generators you can find.

What we liked

  • 900 running watts
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Noise block for quieter operation
  • Runs up to 12 hours on a single tank
  • Two standard outlets
  • Smart Throttle senses and adjusts load
  • Weighs less than 30 pounds

What we didn't like

  • Rope pull start can be tricky
  • In rare cases, the unit may shut off unexpectedly

10. Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Portable Generator

Westinghouse-WH2200iXLT-Portable-Inverter-Generator

Our final generator model is from the tech company Westinghouse. Most of our experience with this brand has been high-performance electronics, so it kind of makes sense that they would try their hand at portable generators as well.

For its size and weight, this is one high-energy model. It produces up to 1800 running watts, which is more than enough for most electronics (including those from Westinghouse). Not only that, but the motor is fuel efficient enough that you can run this machine for up to 13 hours before refueling.

As with some other portable generators, this unit has a parallel connector, which enables you to link multiple machines together to get more power. Linking is helpful for a lot of different situations, so it’s nice that you have that capability.

Other features that you can expect from this generator include two standard outlets, a 12-volt power outlet, LED indicator lights for oil and fuel levels, rubber feet for stability on the ground, and a low-emission design that is highly rated by several clean air boards. Also, it’s super quiet when compared to other generators in its class. 

What we liked

  • 1800 running watts
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Weighs just 43 pounds
  • Quiet operation
  • Enhanced fuel efficiency
  • Runs up to 13 hours on a single tank
  • Parallel connector built-in
  • LED indicator lights for oil and fuel level
  • Two standard outlets
  • 12-volt power outlet
  • High-efficiency run mode
  • Low emission design

What we didn't like

  • In rare cases, the unit may shut off unexpectedly
  • Waiting for repairs can take a long time

Final Verdict

Because there are so many fantastic inverter generators on this list, and because they are all designed for different purposes, we’re going to suggest a brand rather than a specific model. In this case, we really like what Honda generators have to offer. Since this company makes fuel-efficient engines that work reliably, it makes sense that they would also build some of the best generators on the market as well.

Although we like Yamaha, the dependability and performance aren’t always there, particularly on the brand’s compact models. We really appreciate everything that the Yamaha EF4500iSE has to offer, but because it’s so expensive, it can be prohibitive for many consumers.

Overall, if we had to pick a single generator out of all of the ones on this list, we would suggest the Honda EU3000iS. It comes with a ton of power, a quiet and fuel-efficient engine, and the kind of performance that you would expect from the car company.

Sean J. Stone
 

Sean has been a woodworking enthusiast for 8 years, and in that time has written huge resources on woodworking and tools.

>