Top 5 Best Inverter Generator – (2020) Buying Guide & Review
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Inverter generators come with a series of benefits over fuel powered alternatives. They are mostly designed with portability in mind, so if you need one on the go, chances are this option will make your life easier. At the same time, they come with impressive fuel efficiency.
If you have used a classic generator before, you probably know already how loud they can get. Things change with an inverter option because the noise level is much lower. Other benefits include parallel capabilities, extra power and the clean electricity – great for the environment.
Now that you are convinced, what is the best inverter generator on the market? This question has multiple answers because what works for some people will not work for everyone else. At this point, your necessities will dictate the final answer, so you have to figure out exactly what you need.
Just like for anything else in life, it pays off going with a reputable brand. You know it has a good reputation and most of its products are proven to be efficient. At the same time, a top rated product is praised by hundreds of thousands of buyers, so chances are it will provide great capabilities.
Some products are better than others – but on the same note, people’s needs vary widely. The more specialized your choice is, the better your results will be. As a direct consequence, you have to start this venture with your potential needs in mind.
On the same note, there are certain products out there designed with general uses in mind – simply put, they will match pretty much everyone’s necessities to a certain point. Take a look at some of these top rated products and check out their highlights.
It is compact and comes with a bunch of protective features.
It is incredibly quiet for its size and comes with lots of extras.
It has a compact design and a straightforward control panel.
It is very powerful for its size, but also quiet.
It is compact and comes with a bunch of protective features.
It is incredibly quiet for its size and comes with lots of extras.
It has a compact design and a straightforward control panel.
It is very powerful for its size, but also quiet.
Top 5 Inverter Generators
#1. WEN 56125i Super Quiet 1250-Watt
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WEN’s best inverter generator will provide clean energy without the classic voltage spikes or drops you normally get from classic generators. In other words, your electronics can be safely powered in a reliable manner – no more risks to get them smoked, especially the sensitive ones.
The generator allows plugging in the most common electronics and appliances. You can plug in a computer, your phones and others without having to worry about damage and power fluctuations. Despite its capabilities, the generator is compact and runs quietly. It does not need the volume of a classic alternative, so it is great for unexpected power outages, barbecues, camping trips, small jobs and so on.
You can come up with 1,250 surge watts and 1,000 watts in power.
Given the compact appearance, the generator is obviously lightweight too. The lightweight profile adds to its portability. Its tank measures 0.7 gallons – not so much, you might think. However, when full, it will provide almost six hours of running time if half loaded.
It runs with a 60cc engine. Despite its size, it only puts out 51 decibels when loaded at 25% – the measurement is given for a distance of about 20 feet. It will feel louder if you sit next to it though. All in all, from this distance, it feels like a low profile air conditioning system.
The inverter mirrors a pure sine wave. When fully loaded, the harmonic distortion is limited to not more than 1.2%. When unloaded, the percentage is set to 0.3. In other words, it is ideal for vulnerable stuff, such as a laptop or a computer.
Now, what do you have in terms of connectivity? The panel is quite overwhelming and brings in a couple of 5V USB slots, a couple of 120V receptacles (three prong models) and parallel connectivity ports. Just like you have probably guessed already, indicator lights are also included in the panel.
If fuel economy is your primary concern, you have the option to make it your priority. The generator has an Eco Mode Throttle mode. Once you turn it on, the motor will adjust to the number and type of items plugged in. The motor will adjust naturally, whether you add or remove some of the items. It practically prevents energy waste by using unnecessary fuel.
What if energy is your priority? If your priorities change overtime and you need more energy, you do not have to upgrade. Simply get another WEN inverter generator. They are all compatible one with another. You will have to purchase a WEN 56421 parallel connection kit – not included in the package – and link them up for twice as much power.
When it comes to safety, the generator features a low oil automatic shutdown feature. The same rule applies when the fuel goes low. Basically, indicator lights will turn on and the unit will go off automatically. You still have a bit of time to fix the problem once the lights go on.
Another similar feature covers the overload protection, which will take care of both your inverter generator and electronics plugged in. If the unit overloads, it will simply shut down by itself. Your electronics will lose power, but at least they are safe.
It is worth noting that the motor of this inverter generator is EPA III and CARB compliant, meaning it is safe and legal to purchase pretty much everywhere.
Finally, the generator measures 17.25x9x15 inches and weighs just under 32 pounds. It is relatively lightweight and easy to move around when in need. The warranty may vary from one seller to another, but WEN brings in a couple of years, as well as a friendly customer service.
- Extremely quiet when operating, especially when compared to other similar alternatives
- Excellent for more applications – power outages, tailgates, construction areas and camping sites, among others
- Clean power in order to prevent damage to all the electronics plugged in
- Lots of different connectivity options
- Not suitable for indoor uses, as it can endanger people and pets
#2. WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt
WEN does not need too many presentations in this industry. Rated as one of the leading manufacturers of “generators inverter”, you know you can leave yourself in good hands – as long as the generator can match your personal needs and expectations, of course.
The 50200i model is the best inverter generator if you want reliability and power. The unit features a solid four stroke 79.7cc engine – one of the largest and most powerful in this price range. You can hook up more electronics without having to worry about fluctuations.
When you see a powerful engine, you inevitably expect lots of noise too. It is perfectly normal. However, WEN is known for keeping the noise levels under the limits. This unit puts out 51 decibels when it operates at 25% of its capability. Put it up at 75% of its power and it will only produce 55 decibels – way less than the average of this segment.
Simply put, the noise it generates can be compared to a small air conditioning system or a regular conversation. Since you are less likely to keep it right by yourself, chances are it will not interact with your outdoor activities.
The silent running capabilities make this generator excellent for power outages, camping trips (no need to worry about disturbing others) or hunting trips. At the same time, it is EPA III and CARB compliant. Its energy is clean and environmentally friendly.
The generator replicates a pure sine wave. What does that mean? The harmonic distortion is limited to under 1.2% when the generator runs at full capacity. When not in use, the distortion is under 0.3%. In other words, you no longer need to worry about the power source of your computer, your laptop or tablet. Delicate electronics are safe and less likely to get smoked now.
In terms of connectivity, you have just enough for most of your basic needs. There is one 5V USB slot, as well as a 12V DC port and a couple of 120V receptacles. The 120V receptacles come with three prongs. Although there is only one USB port, you can use the classic outlet or the DC port to hook up other electronics that can only be charged via USB.
As for its sizing, the machine measures 18x11x18 inches. It weighs 48 pounds. It is heavier than other units in this range, but given the capacity and engine, it is lighter than similar generators. Simply put, it is compact and portable – just throw it in your recreational vehicle and you are ready to go camping.
Whether you are worried about the impact on the environment or you do not feel like polluting your backyard, this inverter generator comes with an economic mode. This kind of feature will also help you save some money in the long run. Basically, it lets the generator adjust the power and fuel consumption by itself. As you plug or remove electronics, it will adapt automatically in the attempt to prevent fuel waste.
To help you get an idea about what to expect, the generator will run for around four hours at full capacity and six hours at half of its capacity – with one gallon of fuel only. A quarter load will keep it running for just under 10 hours, so it can easily outweigh its competition.
Priorities change with time though. Today’s best inverter generators might be completely useless tomorrow. If you feel like you need more power, you do not necessarily need to sell it and buy a bigger one. Instead, you should know that most WEN generators are compatible one with another. Simply get another generator and hook it up to the main one. You would have to purchase a WEN parallel connection kit though.
Safety could not be overlooked by such a solid brand either. You have a low oil indicator light. It is not an emergency light, so you still get a bit of time to sort the problem out. Other than that, as the fuel goes low, the unit will automatically turn off.
The same rule applies if it encounters an overload. In order to protect both the generator and the electronics hooked in, the overload protection will turn it off should such unexpected issues arise. Whether it comes to the limited harmonic distortion or the overload protection, the design aims to keep your electronics safe. Moreover, the clean energy has the same purpose.
The maximum power output is set at 2,000 watts, while the running output goes up to 1,600 watts. It is good to know that WEN provides a two year warranty for most of its inverter generators too, so you can leave yourself in good hands.
- Lots of protective features for both the inverter generator and the electronics hooked into it
- Extremely silent operation for the size of its motor
- Eco mode to prevent the waste of fuel, energy and money
- Compact, portable and well put together
- Quite heavy for its size, but understandable, given its power
#3. Yamaha EF2000iSv2 1600 Running Watts/2000 Starting Watts
A portable inverter generator is an excellent tool to have, whether you live in an area with extreme weather conditions and power outages or you simply enjoy camping trips with your friends and family. This is when Yamaha’s EF2000iSv2 kicks in to make your life easier.
If you have used inverter generators from Yamaha before, you might be used to this unit already. As its code name clearly states it, this is the second generation of the inverter. It brings in a bunch of improvements, as well as a few new features to keep it up to date with the latest technology innovations.
The package is complete and does not require any separate purchases. While you may never need it, the inverter generator has a spark plug tool, which is excellent for maintenance every once in a while. At the same time, you have a 12V battery charge cord – unexpected situations.
Is this the first inverter generator you are using? Nothing to worry about. The control panel is right there in front of you. Everything is intuitive and buttons are clearly marked. The design is user friendly and intuitive. At the same time, you will be surprised by how quickly and easily it starts.
Worried about sensitive electronics? Forget about potential damage and issues, as the inverter is fitted with PWM control – Pulse Width Modulation. The power is clean and safe for delicate electronics.
The overall design of the device will impress you. It looks like a retro radio and measures 19.3x11x17.9 inches. It weighs just over 44 pounds. It is compact, but heavy and solid. Furthermore, it is EPA and CARB compliant, so it is safe and legal in most parts of the world.
The engine is OHV and air cooled. It features a single cylinder and a cast iron cylinder liner. The maximum power output is set at 2,000 watts, while the running output is 1,600 watts. The generator has a fuel tank capacity of 1.1 gallons.
It will shutdown by itself if the oil levels are dangerously low or it runs out of fuel. Normally, you will get an indicator light regarding both of these problems. If you ignore them for too long, the generator will automatically shutoff.
If you are worried about the outlets, your options are basic, but they cover the most common needs. There are a couple of 120V AC outlets, as well as a classic 8A 12V DC outlet. There are no USB slots. You can always improvise though – after all, most USB charging electronics come with a plug as well.
The EF2000iSv2 is excellent in capacity and gas consumption. For a portable inverter generator, you will be surprised. Fill the tank and the unit will run for about eight hours when on a 500 watt load. If you run the generator a quarter load, the capacity will exceed 10 hours. It also has a 0.4 liter oil tank. It should be replaced on a regular basis – 100 hours of use or six months, whichever is first.
Then, how noisy can this generator get? Generators are normally noisy, but the good news is that many brands focus on solving this issue and Yamaha seems to lead the way. When running at a quarter load, the generator will barely produce 51 decibels. It feels like a conversation or a low profile air conditioning system. Unless you are right next to it, you will not even hear it.
It is important to know that the generator does not come with oil. Therefore, you will have to add some oil yourself before using it for the first time. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions from the manual. Also, the generator comes with a three year warranty, but it can be voided if you cannot complete proper maintenance.
- Incredibly quiet for its size and engine capacity
- Good gas consumption and capacity at various loads
- Lots of extras in the package, including a spark plug tool and a battery charge cord
- Easy to transport due to its compact design, weight and handle on top
- No oil in the generator, so make sure you put some in before you run it for the first time
#4. Pulsar 2,000W Portable Gas-Powered Quiet
Pulsar is one of the most reputable brands when it comes to generators. While often known as a heavy duty manufacturer, it also features a few delicate inverter generators suitable for all kinds of residential applications, such as power outages or camping trips.
The unit will start at the peak of 2,000 watts. It will then settle for 1,600 running watts. Its fuel tank can take 1.18 gallons. When running at half load, it will keep going for around eight hours. The lower the load, the more time it will run for.
The generator measures 19.7×11.2×17.9 inches. It is quite compact, yet it is not lightweight. It weighs 47 pounds. However, it is rated to be portable and looking at its design, you will soon realize it is easy to carry around. It comes with a proper suitcase design, so it also features a handle on top.
The control panel is conveniently located on the front side of the generator. Even if this is the first time you rely on an inverter generator, you will have no issues getting used to it. Simply go through the manual of instructions and keep in mind that buttons are labeled. Everything is intuitive and there is no room for mistakes.
If you are worried about the noise, forget about it. The generator will produce 58 decibels from 10 feet away. It is a bit louder than other similar inverter generators, but it is still rated to be silent. Your air conditioning system might be louder than that. Besides, since you are less likely to stay right next to it, you will not even hear it running.
Now, how about sensitive electronics? If you have used old school generators in the past, you probably know already how harmful fluctuations can be. This one comes with a stable sine wave technology. In other words, its energy is clean and pure, meaning delicate electronics like laptops or computers will not be affected.
In terms of outlets, you can use a couple of AC 120V 13A outlets – a 5V DC USB outlet and a 12V DC 8A outlet. You can, therefore, power multiple devices simultaneously.
With time, your personal needs might change. This is the main reason wherefore buyers are advised to buy an inverter generator that can take more than what they need. If somehow you need more power, you should know that you do not have to find a new generator. Instead, get a second unit from Pulsar.
The generator has parallel capabilities, so you can connect two units for twice as much power. At the same time, you should know that you can find the exact same generator in a different capacity, so make sure you assess your needs upfront.
You would have to buy a parallel adapter though. You can also get a whole combo kit with two different generators and the parallel adapter. The point is you do have options.
- Compact design resembling a suitcase with a handle on top for easy transportation
- Stable sine wave technology to ensure extra protection for delicate electronics
- Quiet operation, especially from 10 feet or more away
- Straightforward and intuitive control panel located on the front side
- Keep the manual, as some informative stickers on the generator are likely to peel off
#5. Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Super Quiet
Westinghouse has been around for decades and its appliances are extremely diversified. Its extensive line of inverter generators is quite popular, mostly because they are varied and they can match anyone’s necessities.
On another note, Westinghouse’s best inverter generator is reasonably priced and comes with great value for money. Besides, it is a front runner in power management, durable and reliable, which is exactly what your backyard, recreational vehicle or camping trip needs.
The WH2200iXLT inverter generator has a power rating of 1,800 watts. The peak power can go up to 2,200 watts, which is way above you can normally find in this price range. Despite the power, it only weighs 43 pounds – way under its competition. It is portable and easy to move around.
In terms of safety, you have a low oil shutdown function. In other words, the generator will notify you when the oil level goes under the limit. It will not shutoff right away, but if you fail to add some more oil, it will go off. This feature prevents the unit from overheating and frying. At the same time, you no longer need to keep an eye on the oil – handy if the generator runs during the night.
Starting the generator is fairly simple. You have two different options. You can use the pull start or the electric start. If it does not charge the battery, you can still turn it on with the pull. However, this is a good backup solution (or a matter of personal convenience). At the end of the day, it underlines a problem that needs to be addressed.
Parallel operation is one of the greatest aspects of this generator. It is almost a standard feature these days, especially in this price segment. Basically, you can link this generator to another one – the same brand or the same model for compatibility. This kind of feature prevents the inconvenience of having to sell your generator for a larger one. Besides, two small generators connected are quieter than a large powerful generator.
The tank is just over a gallon in size. It is a common size for this range. It will keep you going for up to 13 hours, depending on the loading percentage. You also have an efficiency mode feature. Basically, the generator will adjust the power and fuel consumption based on the electronics hooked in. It will adjust as you remove or plug in electronics. This way, it can prevent energy waste.
Make sure the tank always has some fuel in it. While it will stop running if there is no fuel, this kind of issue will cause wear and tear. It will also reduce the lifespan of the generator, so avoid having it dry. It is perfectly fine to have it dry when not in use though. In fact, the manufacturer recommends storing it without any fuel.
The model is not just super efficient, but it is also quiet for its power. It produces about 52 decibels – quieter than less powerful alternatives. You will hear the amount of noise you normally get from a human conversation if you are next to it. Since you are less likely to keep it running by your side, the noise will be insignificant.
Like many other generators from Westinghouse, this one makes up power with under 3% total harmonic distortion. This is a user’s biggest concern – if the harmonic distortion is higher than that, you risk smoking delicate electronics like laptops, computers or smartphones.
Finally, it is worth noting that the generator has a three year warranty. You also have lifetime technical support. It is CARB and EPA compliant, meaning it is safe and legal to buy in most countries. The long warranty gives you a well deserved peace of mind should any unexpected situations arise.
The control panel is displayed on a side. All buttons are intuitive. Even if you have never used an inverter generator before, buttons are clearly labeled for your convenience. However, the manual of instructions is quite detailed as well.
At 43 pounds, you would expect this inverter generator to be relatively large. It measures 20.3×12.5×17.8 inches though. It is compact and well built. It also comes with a sturdy handle on top, so portability should never be an issue.
- Great power for its size and price
- Great option for power outages, camping trips and recreational vehicles
- Extremely quiet for its power
- Easy to move around and keep in a standing position
- The engine accelerates slowly when a sudden heavy load is applied, so you should turn the eco mode off before
What To Look For In The Best Inverter Generator
There are more aspects to look for when hunting the best inverter generator. At the end of the day, what works for you will not match everyone else’s needs. While you might need a generator for power outages – your smartphone, a coffee maker and a microwave, someone else might need a generator for a television set and air conditioning.
All in all, assuming that you know what you need from an inverter generator, here are the most important considerations to pay attention to. Furthermore, find out how they can affect your final decision and experience in the long run.
The electric start is almost a standard these days. Lots of inverter generators come with an electric start – you basically have to push a button to turn the generator on or off. However, the pull mechanism is still there and it makes a great backup option should any unexpected situations arise.
Now, what about the battery? Does this feature require a battery? Is it included in the package? Take it in consideration if not, as it will also add to the price if you have to purchase it separately.
Most inverter generators work with gasoline – there are no other options for most models. Practically, you cannot use alternative fuels. However, an alternative fuel represents a plus at times. Some units are designed to work with propane gas or natural gas – you can simply fit a tank in.
You can also convert some generators if you really want to make the change – you might need to buy a special kit for the conversion though. Plus, not all generators accept such a conversion.
The fuel gauge is often overlooked because it is less likely to affect the overall performance of your inverter generator. But then, it is worth some attention, as its presence will most likely add to your convenience.
The primary role of this fuel gauge is to check the fuel level without too much hassle. This option is handy when you face a long power outage or you are out camping for days.
A removable console is one of the best features to have in an inverter generator. What does it do? Simply put, it lets you plug appliances directly – no need to rely on extension cords. While a new and qualitative extension cord will not really affect electronics, there is always a risk, so it might be wiser to avoid cords if you can.
Many inverter generators are designed to be portable. Practically, they are designed like suitcases and feature solid handles for transportation. But apart from the handle, you might want to consider wheels too.
Wheels help with the portability. Not everyone is able to lift a generator weighing over 40 pounds. Whether you have back problems or you are old, wheels will help in the process.
Some inverter generators can be fitted with wheels, but if you have to buy them separately, make sure they will not drain you. Some wheels are specifically designed for particular generators and you cannot choose other options. They may add to the final price of your investment and they are not cheap at all.
Low oil shutdown
This is another feature that is slowly becoming a standard in this industry, but it is not a general rule. Its role is self explanatory. If the oil runs low, the generator will turn off automatically. First, you will get a warning light, which will give you some time to top the oil up. Ignore it and the unit will shutdown by itself.
There are other similar safety features that may turn the generator off under certain circumstances – more safety features are ideal.
Number of outlets
How many outlets does your generator have? More is better. The more you have, the better you can use the wattage, as the load will spread around all of them. At the same time, remember that you should avoid using all outlets, unless you face an emergency or you are taking a long camping trip.
Reviews and ratings
Do some research regarding your potential best inverter generator. Opt for a reputable brand with multiple products and research the product of your choice. Find out if people find it useful or of it is likely to break within a few months.
Bottom line, choosing the best inverter generator may seem difficult at first, but it becomes a piece of cake once you are aware of your needs. Measure your power requirements for outages and camping trips, then get a bit more power and you should be alright.
Editor Side Notes: Is your backyard unorganized? or even needs a trim? here is a guide on the best hedge trimmer as we reviewed multiple hedge trimmers to help you trim those unwanted grass away.
People often face lots of trouble when choosing the best inverter generator. Here are some of the most common questions you might ask yourself in the process.