Owning a generator can save you a world of inconvenience and help keep your appliances on in case of a power outage. You’ll only need to wait for a few minutes to get the power on again. In some cases, the generator may even kick in automatically as soon as the power goes out, only if yours is an automatic generator. Portable generators are also useful for outdoor events such as tailgating, camping, and other situations where access to regular power is limited. Fortunately, with the best affordable generator, enjoying all of these conveniences does not have to cost you an arm and a leg.
When it comes to buying affordable generators, there are several options available^^. You just have to know what to look out for to choose the ideal choice for your needs. In this article, we review 6 of the best affordable generators consumer reports for various uses.
We’ll also cover some of the things to look out for to identify the right one. For instance, the best affordable 5000-watt generator as features on amazon is one of the top choices for the money but the best way to go about shopping. We advise you read this article to the end.
- What size do I need?
- How to choose?
- Different types of generators
- Usage and maintenance guide
What size generator do I need?
To fully enjoy the benefits of running a generator safely, you have to ensure that your unit is appropriately sized for your needs. To determine the generator size you need, you have to figure out the starting wattage (also known as surge wattage) of all the appliances and fixtures you intend to power.
Once you have calculated the overall wattage, you must find a generator that can generate enough power to exceed this combined wattage. Bear in mind that the calculated wattage is only an estimate of how much power you need. Hence, the wattage of your generator should be higher than the estimated wattage requirement.
6 of the best affordable generator reviews
Here’s our review of the top 6-low cost generators you can purchase for your home. Our list includes different types of generators suitable for different needs. Read on to discover each generator’s features, pros, and cons.
1. Jackery Portable Power Station
The Jackery Portable Power Station is a 240Wh backup power station powered by a lithium battery. This rechargeable unit is ideal for your outdoor electricity needs. It can be charged using a solar panel as well as a conventional electrical source.
Since the Jackery 240 Power Station is built for outdoor use, it makes sense that it is built to be easy to carry. It weighs just 6.6 lbs and has a solid handle for transporting it conveniently whether you’re going on a road trip, tailgating, or camping.
This unit is a versatile power source that produces pure sine-wave AC power. It is suitable for charging essential appliances such as laptops, smartphones, and cameras. You can also use this jackery explorer 240 to power your fan and lights. The power station features a battery management system that protects it from overcharge, over-discharge, overcurrent, and overvoltage.
If this jackery portable power station explorer 240 review informs about the product, you can check it out or continue with this article to check other options available in this discussion. Meanwhile, here is the senior brother^^ to the Jackery 240 generator.
2. WEN 56380i Portable Inverter Generator
Next on the list, here comes the WEN 56380i super quiet 3800-watt portable inverter generator review. It operates quietly and produces clean and stable power, making it an ideal choice for powering sensitive electronic devices. The WEN 56380i is a good source of secondary power supply, and it is worth’s the investment^^.
This inverter generator has a lightweight design which makes it quite portable. It also features a built-in wheel for easy transportation and a carry handle. The carry handle is collapsible to simplify storage when not in use.
The WEN 56380i generator produces a surge wattage of up to 3800 surge watts and offers a half-load runtime of up to 8.5 hours. One peculiar feature of this unit is the fuel shut-off feature which helps to maximize fuel and safe cost.
3. EF ECO FLOW DELTA Max
The ECO FLOW DELTA is a 1612Wh portable generator with an expandable capacity. It can be used as an emergency backup unit and a power source for your outdoor activities. Charging is through a solar panel but can also be charged with a regular power outlet or car charger.
This unit is a portable power station with a rugged build suitable for camping and other outdoor uses. It features a battery management system built into it to monitor and protect the unit.
This power station has a 1612Wh capacity. But this can be easily expanded by linking the unit to two extra batteries allowing you to achieve a total output of 5644Wh. Without expansion, you can power up to 15 devices simultaneously with this unit. One of the best things about this generator is the fast charging function. It can charge up to 80% within an hour. The dual charging mode allows you to combine solar charging with charging from an AC outlet for even faster charging.
4. Westinghouse Outdoor Power
The Westinghouse Outdoor power generator is a portable dual fuel generator. Depending on your preferences, it can be powered by natural gas or propane. This generator features a remote electric start, making starting and stopping it relatively easy.
The engine of this generator is made from cast iron material which is quite durable. It features a 25L gas tank that can power the unit for 12 hours. There’s a built-in fuel gauge that shows how much fuel you have available at all times. This unit is conveniently portable. Although heavyweight, the heavy-duty wheels, handles, and lift bracket make transportation quite convenient.
Thanks to a push-button electric start remote, starting this generator is a breeze. The unit supplies enough power to power major household appliances, including air conditioners, refrigerators, sump pumps, and entertainment systems all at once. We love the generator’s data center, which displays essential performance metrics.
5. Champion Portable Generator
The Champion Power 100111 portable generator delivers a maximum running wattage of 12,000W and will supply you with power for up to 9 hours on a full tank. It is a heavy-duty generator powerful enough to handle multiple power tools. This makes it suitable for outdoor industrial uses.
This generator is a heavy-duty unit with a durable steel frame. It features a 10.9 gallons generator that will see you through up to 9 hours of outage on a full tank. This unit has several safety features built into it, including a volt guard surge protector and covered outlets. It has a lifting hook for seamless loading and unloading during transportation.
The starting wattage of this generator is 15,000, while the running wattage is 12,000 running watts. This electric start unit has a reliable toggle switch to power it up. You’ll find the unit’s cold-start feature particularly helpful for starting the generator in cold weather.
6. Duromax Xp10000e Portable Generator
The DuroMax XP10000E is a portable gas-powered generator that delivers an output of up to 10000 Watt. This is an easy-to-use electric start unit suitable for use as a home backup generator or RVs and other outdoor services.
This heavy-duty unit features a powerful 439cc DuroMax Engine. This unit features a rugged all-metal build which makes it quite durable.
This unit has a starting wattage of 10,000 stand running watts of 8,000. As a home backup generator, you can use this unit to power your refrigerator, air conditioner, lights, and other appliances simultaneously. You can run the generator on full power with 120V only or a combination of 120 V and 240 V power supply.
How to choose
Options abound even in the world of affordable generators. So how do you differentiate the good ones from the sub-par ones? Well, there are a variety of features to look out for. While some of these features apply to all units, others depend on individual preferences and specific use cases you have in mind for your unit. The following are some of the best features a good generator should have.
A portable generator is particularly beneficial for camping, remote job sites, tailgating, and similar outdoor activities. Portable generators are easy to move around because they are smaller in size. Additionally, they may also have features such as wheels or carry handles that make it easier to move them from place to place. If portability is an important factor for you, you need to look out for these features that make it easier to transport your generator.
These days, some generators can kickstart on their own as soon as the power goes off. This is a convenient feature to have on a generator. Most home standby generators operate like this. They are wired to detect power outages and kick in immediately, so you are not left without power in an emergency. Here is an example of a generator that can kick-start on its own.
Even if your generator does not have an automatic start function, starting it will still be accessible, thanks to the electric start function. This is usually in the form of a push-button on the generator or even a remote control. A generator with an electric start is more convenient to use compared to one with a pull-start engine.
Alternative Fuel Options:
A good number of generator models can run on only one fuel type at a time. But some models are built to run on more than one fuel type. E.g., Gasoline with propane or natural gas. Some units are also easily convertible from one fuel type to the other. This gives you the flexibility of using the most affordable or readily available fuel type at any given time.
With a fuel gauge, you can quickly see how much fuel you have left in your generator without opening the tank. This feature will ensure that your generator does not run out of fuel suddenly and leave you stranded.
Low-Oil Shut off:
This is an essential feature that helps to protect your generator. Instead of the unit to top getting damaged due to low oil, it will simply shut down. This helps to prevent engine damage. Low oil shutoff is a common feature in standby generators but has not become increasingly popular in portable generators.
Having multiple outlets allows you to add plug-in multiple appliances to your generator. In most cases, the outlets are of different types to cater for different kinds of plugs which are essential when you’re camping or at a job site. Having multiple outlets also helps to spread the load on your generator.
The different types of generators
There are different types of generators, each with various peculiarities, pros, and cons. The type of generator to buy depends on where you live, how you intend to use the generator, and your specific needs. The following are the different types of generators that you should be familiar with.
1. Home Standby Generators:
Standby generators are installed in place and will start automatically when a power outage occurs. They are typically the most powerful generator types and are also more expensive than the other types. Standby generators are to be installed by a professional and comply with municipal codes in your area.
2. Portable Generators:
Like their name imply, portable generators can be moved around. Hence, they do not need professional installations like standby generators. They can be used anywhere, both on and off your property. They are also more affordable but supply less power compared to standby units.
3. Inverter Generators:
Inverter generators are designed to provide cleaner and safer power than conventional generators. They have a more complex engine that allows them to throttle performance up and down to match electricity output. Inverter generators are often more expensive than portable generators with similar output. But they are quieter and economical in the long run.
4. Portable Power Stations:
Power stations don’t use gasoline or gas as fuel like regular generators. Instead, they are powered by a rechargeable battery. The battery can be charged by connecting to a standard electrical outlet, solar panel, or car charging port. Portable power stations are perfect for those concerned about noise or carbon monoxide emissions. However, they cannot power your appliances for an extended period like regular fuel-powered generators can.
Usage Safety & Maintenance Tips
It is not enough to buy a good generator. Your generator also needs regular maintenance to stay in good condition. Whether you’re using it now or storing it for later use during winter or hurricane season, the following are important maintenance tips to keep in mind.
1. Keep Your Generator Clean: A build-up of dust, debris, mold and other forms of dirt can accumulate on your generator. If these get into some vital components of your unit, they can affect performance and make it difficult for the unit to function correctly. Thus, regular cleaning is recommended to protect your unit from damage.
2. Cover When Not in Use: One of the best strategies to protect your generator is to keep it covered when not in use. For added protection, buy a generator cover that is weather-proofed or weather resistant.
3. Empty the Tank after Use: Here’s another important tip for storing your unit, especially for long periods. Leaving gas in your generator for a long time can lead to gum deposits in the fuel chamber. This obstructs performance and can damage your unit. Drain fuel from your generator after use if you intend to store it for a long time.
4. Purchase Backup Fuel and Fuel Filters: Power outages can occur suddenly, especially during certain seasons of the year. This is why you should always have fuel on standby around periods like this. You also need to have oil and oil filters available if they require replacement.
4. Monitor the Generator’s Wattage and stick to it: Always make sure that your generator is not being overloaded. Be sure to check your unit’s capacity before making a purchase, and don’t go above this load capacity. Bear in mind that the starting wattage is different from the running wattage. The running or continuous rating (typically lower) determines how much load your unit can handle.
As you can see, buying a portable generator does not have to cost you a fortune. If you need the best affordable generator, any of the products on this list would be an ideal choice for you. Our review covers different types of generators, including power stations, inverter generators, and regular portable generators. Regardless of your final choice, be sure to pay attention to your unique needs to ensure that the generator you choose is appropriately sized for your home and has all the features that are important to you.