10 Best Small Generators
Definitive Review (Buyer’s Guide) 2023
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Here you have our TopNotch team comprehensive Review and Buyers Guide for the very best Small Generators in 2020.
In this guide we’ll show you:
- The three best generators this season
- A comparative review of the top 10
- Important features to consider
- Expert tips for buying
- Lots more…
Do you want to know about differing noise levels you must consider when you’re choosing a small generator for your next camping trip?
(Some campsites actually stipulate acceptable noise levels – so beware).
Keep scrolling to learn more about that.
Let’s dive in and get started
I’m sure you realize that either during an emergency at home or on an outdoor trip, small generators are an invaluable piece of kit.
- Best Portable Small Generator
- Best Small Generator For RV
- Small Generators For Camping
- Best Small Dual Fuel Generator
- Best Small Inverter Generator
- Best Boat Generator
- Best Small Generator For Home
- Cheap Small Generators
- Best Small Quiet Generators
- Best Small Gas Generators
- Buyers Guide:
- How To Choose The Best Small Generator
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Our Analysis, Comparisons & Test Results
- The Final Verdict: Best Small Generator
- Conclusion: Best Small Generator
From powering up the refrigerator at home, trips with the RV, or even charging the smaller electronic appliances, these are designed for versatile use.
We chose the top 10 models on the market and headed out for our outdoor testing trips.
We took them through a series of tests to judge the overall performance.
Whilst all of them are small, portable and feature-rich, we tested them in detail to find out how good they are as a super dependable source of power.
Frankly, we don’t want a noisy generator..
We also paid a lot of attention to choosing the best small quiet generators for this review.
It was a fun testing trip, but…
…it turned out that choosing between these closely matched products wasn’t as easy as we first thought.
They all have more pros than cons.
By a Country Mile…
So let’s get down to business and see what we have in store for you.
Best Portable Small Generator
1 – Durostar ds4000s – (4000 Watt Generator)
- Manufacturer: DuroStar
- Dimensions: 7.70 x 6.70 x 3.50 in
- Weight: 3.50 lbs
- Capacity: 155Wh/42000mAh,3.7V
- Charged Time: DC15V/2A: 7~8 hour
- Output Frequency: 50/60Hz
Bottom Line : A durable and stable power source for indoor as well as outdoor appliances
- A fuel-efficient engine
- A durable construction
- Offers stable power delivery
- Comes with a spark arrestor
- Very easy to operate
- An affordable price
- It’s a bit heavy
- The noise rating could have been better
To sum it up, the DuroStar DS4000S 4000-Watt offers stable power and excellent performance at a pocket-friendly price.
Want to run your refrigerator or the HVAC unit of your RV?
With 3300 watts of running power and 4000 watts of peak power that’s no problem at all.
Moreover, with a full tank of gas (4 gallons) it can run for 8 long hours at 50% load.
In addition, we found the recoil start system very easy to use, making this a great pick for older people.
And there’s more to add…
The steel frame is super durable and the generator also comes with a one-year warranty.
On the whole, if you’re looking for a cheap small generator that offers great bang for your hard-earned buck, this is the one for you.
Read Full Review: Durostar ds4000s Generator Review
Best Small Generator For RV
2 – Wen 56200i – (2000 Watt Inverter Generator)
- Manufacturer: Wen
- Dimensions: 18.00 x 18.00 x 11.00 in
- Weight: 48.00 lbs
- Load Runtime: 9.4 Hours
- Wattage: 1,600 Watts
Bottom Line : This super-silent generator is a portable powerhouse with top-class fuel efficiency
- A Lightweight Design
- Very quiet operation
- Optimized fuel consumption
- Ideal for laptops, tablets, and mobiles
- Comes with a USB port
- Two years of warranty
- Refilling engine oil takes time
- A carburetor filter would have been better
Read Full Review:
So, here’s the deal.
The Wen 56200i 2000 Watt Inverter Generator offers clean power and super quiet operation making it a great choice for outdoor lovers, hunters or using in your backyard.
The good news is…
… The 4-stroke engine in this generator is also EPA III and CARB Compliant.
Moreover, with just one gallon of gasoline, it performed six hours for us at 70% load.
In addition, there’s also an eco-mode that optimizes fuel consumption.
Another interesting feature is the auto shut down when the oil levels are low.
We loved the compact form and carrying handle that offers excellent portability.
Finally, the affordable price makes this small gas generator great value.
Looking for a generator that looks cool and offers a solid overall performance?
That’s a definite ‘yes’ for the Wen on both counts.
Read Full Review: Wen 56200i Generator Review
Small Generators For Camping
3 – Honda eu2000i
- Manufacturer: Honda
- Dimensions: 16.70 x 20.10 x 11.40 in
- Weight: 45.60 lbs
- Load Runtime: 8.1 hrs
- Wattage: 2000 Watts
Bottom Line: A top-class product packed with features and offering the usual Honda reliability
- Consistent power delivery
- Highly fuel-efficient
- Excellent portability
- Low noise levels
- Extremely versatile
- Comes with a 3year warranty
- Some may find the maintenance an issue
- The power output could have been higher
Read Full Review:
The question is, is this best-selling model from Honda really that good?
We put it through its paces on our RV road trip where we tested our top generators – we think it’s up there on design and price.
The Honda eu2000i offers 2000 watts of power and the fuel consumption is ridiculously low due to the innovative Eco-throttle control system.
In our tests, it ran for 8 hours with 1 gallon of gas at 25% load.
That’s hard to beat.
Moreover, the generator is pretty much silent – and along with the lightweight design, it’s one of the best portable small generators around.
The recoil starter works smoothly and there’s also an eco-mode to decrease fuel consumption.
There’s even more…
The Inverter technology ensures the power output is ‘clean’ enough for charging sensitive electronics – no need to have to think twice about it.
In case you need more power, you can also connect it in parallel with another EU2200i.
On the whole, a great little package.
Read Full Review: Honda EU2000i Generator
Best Small Dual Fuel Generator
4 – Champion Dual Fuel Inverter Generator (3500w)
- Manufacturer: Champion Power Equipment
- Dimensions: 18.30 x 25.10 x 17.30 in
- Weight: 95.70 lbs
- Load Runtime: Propane: 14.5 at 1/4 Load (h.) Gasoline: 7.5 at 1/4 Load (h.)
- Wattage: 3400 Watts
Bottom Line : A reliable performer with excellent safety features and an extended warranty period
- A dual fuel generator
- Offers high wattage
- Ideal for use in freezing temperatures
- Very good running time
- A built-in surge protector
- A three-year limited warranty
- It’s not the quietest we tested
- The price is a bit high
Read Full Review:
Your search for the best small dual fuel generator can end right here with the Champion Dual Fuel Inverter Generator – if you wish.
Firstly, the 500 Watt output supplies enough juice for your RV or appliances like pumps and refrigerators.
And the good news is…
…it’s equally safe for smartphones and laptops.
It has safeguards to protect against voltage fluctuations and power surges.
Next, it runs for 7 hours on gas and for 12 hours on propane at half load.
An impressive result.
Heading for colder temperatures?
It’s equipped with cold start technology for an easy start after a freezing night.
Honestly, while this generator is not the cheapest among those we tested, it emerged as one you can trust to deliver reliable power for longer.
Read Full Review: Champion 3500watt Generator
Best Small Inverter Generator
5 – Wolf 800w Generator
- Manufacturer: Wolf
- Dimensions: 16.73 x 16.77 x 9.06 in
- Weight: 18lbs
- Load Runtime: 6 Hours
- Wattage: 800 Watts
Bottom Line : A user-friendly and reliable generator with a pocket-friendly price tag
- Automatic voltage regulator
- Low noise emission
- Has overload protection feature
- Very good portability
- An affordable price
- The noise levels are slightly higher
- Not for power-hungry devices
- Can emit black smoke when overloaded
In our tests, we found the Wolf WP950 800w model is a top small generator for camping or RV trips.
Let me explain in detail.
To start with, the 2.6HP – 4 stroke gasoline engine is a powerful and reliable performer.
With a full tank (4 liters) it ran more than 4 hours at full load.
In addition, there’s also a facility for 12V battery charging.
A thoughtful addition we liked.
With the lightweight design and a carrying handle, it’s super portable.
And another thing…
The advanced technology leads to a stable voltage and frequency at all times.
So charging your laptop or tablet won’t be a problem.
Overall, a great generator for all-round use at a very affordable price.
Read Full Review: Wolf 800w Generator Review
Best Boat Generator
6 – Yamaha EF2000is v2 – (2000 Watt Generator)
- Manufacturer: Yamaha
- Dimensions: 17.90 x 19.30 x 11.00 in
- Weight: 44.10 lbs
- Load Runtime: 10.5 Hours
- Wattage: 1600 Watts
Bottom Line : A fantastic combination of smooth power delivery and portability
- Delivers clean and stable power
- Top class fuel efficiency
- Oil watch system
- High-quality muffler for quiet operation
- Comfortable handling
- EPA and CARB compliant design
- The price is on the higher side
- A USB port would have been nice
To be honest, the Yamaha EF2000is v2, 2000 Watt Generator has the wow factor.
Yamaha has done a great job with the aesthetics.
But what about performance?
Indeed, it’s a very impressive performer.
This is one of those great small generators that can run longer even at a higher load.
It makes running power-hungry appliances look like a walk in the park.
Moreover, it’s one of the quietest generators (shh) in this list.
On top of that, the Yamaha has innovative design features like the load sensing rpm control and a smart throttle.
What about portability?
The lightweight design and the ergonomic handle mean it’s a highly portable good looking powerhouse.
We have to admit though – it’s a bit on the pricey side.
But if you’re looking for the best combination of good features and stellar performance, it’s worth every dime you’re about to invest.
Read Full Review: Yamaha EF2000is v2 Generator Review
Best Small Generator For Home
7 – Briggs and Stratton Inverter Generator
- Manufacturer: Briggs and Stratton Power
- Dimensions: 19.90 x 22.40 x 14.40 in
- Weight: 55.00 lbs
- Load Runtime: 8.0 Hours
- Wattage: 2200 Watts
Bottom Line : With great features and a noiseless performance this product represents an excellent choice
- Effective inverter technology
- 3-LED indicator lights
- Quiet operation
- H-handle enhances portability
- Comes with 2 years warranty
- An electric start would have been better
To put it straight, with a 1700 Watt of running power output, this is one of the best small inverter generators offering reliable power to campers and RV owners.
But dor you need an emergency generator for small appliances in your home?
Then the Briggs and Stratton Inverter P2200 Generator is a perfect choice. It’s designed to provide total safety for sensitive devices.
Beyond that, we loved the user-friendly design with lightweight build and dual handles.
The tank has a capacity of 1 gallon of gasoline and it runs for 8 hours at 25% power.
Fair enough, but is it a quiet performer?
We found the Quiet Power Technology cuts down noise considerably – even at higher output levels.
But, att full load, it did cross the 60-decibel limit.
And the best part is…
… it comes with a USB adapter.
Smartly designed, super quiet and highly reliable – this generator turned out to be one of the most balanced generators we’ve tested.
Cheap Small Generators
8 – Westinghouse Portable Generator
- Manufacturer: Westinghouse
- Dimensions: 15.75 x 18.50 x 11.22 in
- Weight: 33.00 lbs
- Load Runtime: 10.0 Hours
- Wattage: 1000 Watts
Bottom Line : A competitively priced generator that balances ease of use with a super safe power supply
- Lightweight and portable
- Safe for sensitive devices
- Comes with 2 USB outlets
- High fuel efficiency
- Comes with a 3-year warranty
- Very easy to use
- Cold weather can affect the starting
- Changing the oil can be tricky
- The customer service can be improved
Small and efficient, the Westinghouse iGen1200 inverter generator is perfect for a remote campsite or as backup in your home.
First off, it comes with inverter technology and has very low harmonic distortion that makes the power delivery super stable.
Moreover, we found the noise level at 50% load pretty much matched our normal conversation.
Hold on, there’s more.
When it comes to the “weight to power ratio” this is one of the lightest models we tested.
Another advantage – it’s super easy to handle and operate.
To tell you the truth, it’s one of the few models we managed to start with a single pull almost every time.
And lastly, it comes with a U.S. Forest Service approved spark arrestor that makes it safe for outdoor use.
To sum it up, we think that this is one of the best portable small generators this year, – it offers excellent value as a reliable power source.
Best Small Quiet Generators
9 – Earthquake ig800w – (Portable Inverter Generator)
- Manufacturer: Earthquake
- Dimensions: 14.00 x 15.60 x 8.20 in
- Weight: 21.00 lbs
- Load Runtime: 14.0 Hours
- Wattage: 800 Watts
Bottom Line : A small and inexpensive generator that beats some of the heavyweight competitors hands down with its great value
- Comes with inverter technology
- A lightweight design
- Very low sound levels
- Safe for sensitive electronic devices
- An inexpensive choice
- A fuel gauge would have been a good addition
To start with, the Earthquake ig800w portable inverter generator offers a steady supply of 700 watts and has a simple, portable design.
Anyone looking for a small generator that offers high fuel efficiency and an attractive price tag will find this generator ticking all the boxes.
As a bonus, you’ve got the inverter technology improving efficiency and making it run much quieter.
What about the weight?
Just 21 pounds!
Crazy, isn’t it?
In addition, there’s overload protection and low-oil shut off as added safety features.
Having said that, we found it’s not the right choice for power-hungry equipment.
But when it comes to charging phones, laptops or small power tools, it’s a super choice.
Read Full Review: Earthquake ig800w Generator Review
Best Small Gas Generators
10 – Yamaha ef4500ise
- Manufacturer: Yamaha
- Dimensions: 28.70 x 33.30 x 29.80 in
- Weight: 194.00 lbs
- Load Runtime: 7.4 Hours
- Wattage: 4500 Watts
Bottom Line : With great features and TopNotch performance you can’t beat it
- Delivers 4500 Watt of peak power
- Electric start
- CARB compliant
- Very low noise levels
- High fuel efficiency
- Comes with four wheels
- A costly generator
- The heavy weight makes lifting difficult
Yamaha is well known for producing quality generators and the ef4500ise is no exception.
It’ll give you 4000 watts of continuous output making it a great choice for RV owners who need a good source of juice.
The super powerful engine runs at ultra-low speeds that help reduce noise and prolongs engine life.
But there’s one feature we loved…
…the smooth electric start.
Beyond that, there are advanced features like an automatic choke, a low-oil indicator, and a power meter.
To top it off, we found the fuel efficiency one of the best in this category.
Even though its weight is on the high side, the four wheels help to make it easily portable.
Bottom line: If the high price isn’t a primary issue, this small gas generator is a superb choice for those looking for best-in-class performance.
Read Full Review: Yamaha EF4500iSE Generator Review
Why Trust Us?
When it comes to testing products, our TopNotch team doesn’t believe in shortcuts.
We brought each of our generators outdoors to test every parameter thoroughly.
The next steps involved sifting through the detailed product specifications, connecting with long term users, sending queries to manufacturers and analyzing the details.
Our small generators review team consisted of two experienced campers, one seasoned trekker and two seasoned RV owners.
Then, the entire team undertook a three-day-long camping trip to judge the capability of each product.
With years of experience in using similar generators between us, we could easily point out the subtle differences that separate our top 10 choices.
Moreover, we’re passionate about sharing every detail so you’ll have the knowledge to make a great decision on which of the top 10 is going to be best for you.
In line with our set standards, we’ve rated the products against our carefully chosen metrics that cover all the various important features.
At the end of the day, we’re here to help you choose the best of the best.
How To Choose The Best Small Generator
Whether you’ll be handling an emergency situation during a hurricane or heading off-grid for your next adventure, having a steady and reliable power source at hand is going to make life a whole lot easier.
Considering the wide range of products on the market, selecting the best small and quiet generator isn’t necessarily a walk in the park.
Ever noticed how some products offer deal-breaking features at one end while compromising in other key areas?
But, with a well-defined set of guidelines, making the right choice can be quick and easy.
So what do we have here?
We’ve outlined all the important points – from the power factor to portability – that’ll help you to learn more about what to look for when you’re choosing your next small generator.
What Are The Different Types Of Generator?
When it comes to small generators, there are four main options to choose from.
- Home-based standby generators are permanently installed and run on natural gas or propane.
- Portable generators that you can carry anywhere, other than an enclosed space.
- Inverter generators that offer more efficiency and quieter performance.
- Portable power stations that consist of a battery that needs to be charged.
Now, your choice will depend on your purpose, as well as your budget.
For indoor use, the first option is the best. These offer the highest power outputs – but the costs are higher too.
On the other hand, for campers and RV owners, the small portable models are a great choice.
Next comes the inverter generators that offer better efficiency and advanced exhaust technology that suppresses noise.
They’re portable but are priced higher.
Lastly, if you want noiseless, emission-free power, the power stations are the best option.
But note: Their power output is limited and periodic recharging is also necessary.
Features To Look Out For
Most of the small generators come with a whole range of features.
Here are a few you need to check out…
- To start with, the fuel tank size of a generator is a super important factor to consider. The larger the size, the longer the time interval between refueling. We’d advise you choose a model that offers at least 6-7 hours of running time when delivering 50% of the peak load. Do keep in mind, with a larger tank, your generator will also be heavier.
- You need to determine the number of outlets you’ll need from your generator. For that, you’ve to check out the number of appliances you’ll be connecting at one time. Most models come with 120V AC outlets along with one or more USB ports.
- Make sure the generator delivers steady power that’s safe for sensitive electronic equipment like tablets and laptops. Sudden power surges and voltage fluctuations can be damaging for smaller pieces of equipment.
- Most importantly, the design of the generator should give you good portability. Check the product weight to make sure your generator isn’t too heavy for your intended use. Ergonomic carrying handles are provided on most of the models. For easier transportation over rough outdoors, wheels are a better choice.
Product & Specifications Explained
When it comes to generators, there’re quite a few specifications that manufacturers use in the datasheets. It’s best to have some understanding of these before you make your choice.
- The Continuous Rating is the amount of power in Watts the generator can supply continuously for a few hours. The Maximum Rating is the power it can supply for brief intervals which can range from 5 to 15 minutes depending on the model. This is often needed to cover the starting load for electrical motors
- The engine displacement, the RPM and the BHP should be marked by the manufacturer. Other components of an engine include a governor for speed control and a lubrication mechanism with an oil filter.
- The load on the generator should never be more than its power output. Loads can be classified into two types. Resistive loads don’t have an electric motor and they include items like coffee makers, stereos, toasters, and TVs. Reactive loads are more complex as they come with an electric motor. Appliances like air conditioners, refrigerators, compressors and well pumps have reactive loads.
Things To Consider
Once you’ve learned about the main features of small generators, there are a few minor things to consider too…
Firstly, you need to determine your power requirements. Portable generators can vary between 900 to 5,000 watts and the possible output also impacts the price.
Determine whether you need power for your home appliances during an outage or for just a few electronics on a camping trip.
For this, you’ll need to find the running wattage of all your appliances running simultaneously and also the highest starting wattage.
Next, you’ll need to consider the noise factor and decibel levels at peak power.
Keep in mind that a generator with an advanced muffler design will operate more silently for you.
Fact check: A diesel generator will be louder than a gasoline operated model.
Fuel type is also an important choice to make. While gas generators are more common, diesel generators offer higher efficiency.
Other options include a dual fuel generator or a small propane generator.
If pulling a recoil cord is not something you’d look forward to, a generator with an electric start will be a perfect choice.
However, you’ll have to pay a higher price for this very useful feature.
Power – The generators produce an AC voltage and the power is rated in Watts.
The simplest way to check the peak power is to look at the model number.
As an example, if we take the ig800w model number, note that it delivers 800 Watts of peak power.
However, a generator should not be run at its peak power for more than a few minutes. So it’s mostly run at the rated power which is 90% of the Peak power.
Voltage regulation – Basically, this describes the ability of a generator to maintain the voltage output (within a narrow band).
It’s generally expressed as a percentage above or below the rated voltage.
The generators offering better regulation are a good choice if you have sensitive equipment. They do come with a higher price tag though.
Inverter technology – So what’s so special about an inverter generator?
Actually, these use three steps to deliver their output power with less harmonic distortion. The AC power from an engine is converted into DC through an alternator.
This is then converted back to AC by the inverter.
The output of these small generators is more controlled which in turn leads to better efficiency.
If you want to explore this deeper, check out this link.
TopNotch Top Tips
Last but not the least, here are a few great tips for choosing the right generator.
- While choosing the best small generator for an rv, keep in mind that higher power delivery comes with bigger dimensions. So, if you want to carry it around, you’ll need to compromise between power and weight. However, if you keep it stationary, weight isn’t an issue.
- Note that a generator requires maintenance to help it run smoothly and last longer. Check for detailed maintenance schedules and procedures from the manufacturer. Also, check for the guidelines about selection of fuel oil and lubricating oil.
- Let me stress the fact that generators must be operated with attention to safety. Check the model you choose has adequate features for safe operation. Operating the generator in the right environment, preventing overloading and minimizing refueling hazards are some other essential aspects you need to be aware of.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q What is the best small generator?
Honestly, there’s no one specific answer to that question. The choice depends on your requirements and budget. The amount of power you need and your intended use will also impact your choice.
In this review, we’ve presented the top ten generators – taking into account every feature and specification. You won’t go wrong choosing any one of these small generators.
Q What size of generator do I need?
Simply put, the size you choose will depend on what you’ll be using your generator for. If you need the generator for outdoor trips, you can simply add the wattage of all the appliances you need to charge.
Keep in mind that appliances like pumps, air conditioners, and refrigerators need more power (surge wattage) as they’re starting up.
For home use, take into account the nature and duration of power outages in your area. If you live in an area affected by frequent blizzards and hurricanes, a generator of larger capacity would be a better choice.
Q What size generator do I need to run a refrigerator and freezer?
As mentioned earlier, these appliances draw larger power while starting up as they have an internal motor. While starting up a refrigerator consumes around 1200 Watts, a 10,000 BTU air conditioner will draw around 2200 Watts.
A good rule of thumb is that the best small diesel generators are those that deliver slightly more power than your needs.
This will not only reduce the chances of your generator overloading but it’ll also operate more quietly.
In general, small generators with a capacity between 2500 to 3500 Watts will be a good choice for running a refrigerator.
So here you are with all the information to help you choose the perfect generator at your fingertips.
We’ve done all the hard work by carrying these around two National parks for several days to deliver our very favorite three top choices in this category.
So whether it’s a prolonged power outage or the next camping trip you’re needing it for, we’re ready to offer you the best power solutions.
Check out the next section to see the comparative analysis of our top products under each metric.
Running short of time? No worries.
We’ve mentioned the top three products at the start as well as the end of this review. Check those out!
Our Analysis, Comparisons & Test Results
Value for Money
We all want products that offer great features but won’t stretch the pocket.
While our small generators all offer very good value, there are a few premium ones that come with a higher price tag.
But, we’ve taken into account price versus performance to find our favorite TopNotch generators. At the same time, we checked out their overall weight and portability.
Value for Money Rating
The Durostar ds4000s generator comes with a friendly price tag and also packs a range of features that’ll make you smile.
The Earthquake ig800w generator runs neck to neck. If your power demands are not so heavy, this generator is another great option at a low price.
No wonder both these products sit at the top of the list.
Sharing the stage with them, the Wen 56200i is an equally affordable option that impressed us overall.
The Honda eu2000i, the Briggs and Stratton Inverter P2200, and a few other products scored the same marks. They’re versatile devices and great options whether at a campsite or at home.
Both the Yamaha generators stood out as superb performers under some of our metrics. However, their higher price tag kept them at the lower end of the table for Value For Money.
The fact is no one wants their generators running out of power during an emergency. So whether you use a small generator as a backup power source or for a camping trip, steady power delivery is a must.
The versatility of a small generator depends on its ability to deliver power to a variety of electronics with ease.
Hence, we not only checked their overall power output but also noted their surge power outputs.
Output Power Rating
Because that’s an essential factor when you’re trying to run heavier appliances.
The Yamaha ef4500ise is the clear winner when it comes to output power. With the stellar inverter technology and a surge power of 4500 Watts, it’s a great generator.
Want something a bit less expensive?
The Durostar ds4000s, the Honda eu2000i 2000 and a few others are equally good options.
While the Durostar ds4000s is ideal for high power demands, we loved using the Honda eu2000i as it’s perfect for charging sensitive electronic devices.
The Westinghouse iGen1200, the Earthquake ig800w, and the Wolf 800w Generator are great options for outdoor trips.
However, they’re not the best choice for power-hungry appliances.
Lastly, the Wolf 800w is one of the best portable small generators you’ll find but the small capacity can restrict its overall use.
Now, after investing a significant amount on a small generator, you’re definitely gonna want it to last for years.
We went extra lengths to test the durability of each product in outdoor conditions. We started with the overall construction and took into consideration the expected necessary maintenance.
Here’s how our small generators fared under this metric.
Durability/ Workmanship Rating
The Honda eu2000i emerged as our team favorite not only because of its durability but also because of the special Eco-Throttle system that optimizes fuel consumption.
Scoring the same marks, the Champion dual fuel inverter generator is one of the best small generators for RVs with its solid construction and very useful, cold start technology.
We also found the steel frame of the Durostar ds4000s plenty robust enough to protect the motor during outdoor use.
Next, the Westinghouse iGen1200 had the advantage of being extremely lightweight but we did question its long-term ability to withstand rough handling.
Dependability and Reliability
During an emergency, a dependable power source is what you want.
We checked each product in a variety of load conditions to determine the reliability.
Moreover, we also considered the maintenance, warranties, and safety aspects.
During our testing, the TopNotch team also judged the capability of a generator to provide “clean power”.
Dependability and Reliability Rating
Because no matter how much power a generator supplies, it should be able to charge your sensitive electronics safely.
Frankly speaking, evaluating these top-end products under this metric wasn’t an easy task.
So let’s see how they performed.
Actually, we spent quite a few hours (along with a few drinks) judging between the Yamaha ef2000isv2 and the Honda eu2000i.
In the end, it was declared a tie.
Both generators offer Top-Notch reliability, great features and are easy to use.
Most of the other models went neck to neck with their overall dependability. While the Yamaha ef4500ise offers smooth electric start the Westinghouse iGen1200 has the most reliable recoil starter.
The Durostar ds4000s and the Briggs and Stratton generator offer excellent safety features like low oil warning light and low oil shut-off sensor.
On the other hand, our team found a few issues related to oil handling in the Earthquake ig800w and the Wen 56200i generators.
So even though they’re competent performers, we had to place them at the lower end of our ratings for Dependability and Reliability.
Let’s take a closer look to determine how much noise is too much.
In reality, a normal conversation ranges around 60decibels and continuous exposure to 85 decibels of sound can seriously damage your hearing.
Most National Parks do not allow generators to exceed a noise level of 60 decibels.
The good news is, the top models come with special muffler design features to control the noise factor. So let’s take a look at the performances under this metric.
The Honda eu2000i and the Wen 56200i were the top performers in the category and both turned out to be pretty silent generators.
In our tests, the eu2000i generator stayed below 60 decibels at peak loads.
The 56200i measured 52 decibels at a 25% load.
Admittedly, the levels went up with higher loads but never actually crossed the 60 decibel mark.
What about the rest?
Among the other models, the Earthquake ig800w was the quietest one with a measurement of 59 decibels at 10 meters.
The Yamaha ef2000isv2, the Yamaha ef4500ise and the Champion inverter generator are quiet and great for domestic use.
However, at full loads, they did cross over 65 decibels – this may restrict their outdoor use.
The Final Verdict: Best Small Generator
Phew…That was a long one!
So now you’re ready with an unabridged TopNotch Buyers Guide to help you choose the best small generator.
Up next, we’ve all the ten generators lined up for you with total scores based on their overall performance.
Even though all are extremely competent we had to categorize some as winners.
It’s time to check the final results.
Conclusion: Best Small Generator
Once upon a time, you might have thought selecting the best small generator was a challenge right?
But after reading through this comprehensive TopNotch review, you’re now more than equipped to make the perfect choice of generator for all your needs.
In reality, a capable generator is not only a dependable source of clean power but can also be a life-saver during emergencies.
So our team left no stone unturned to deliver you a thorough review of the top generators available this season.
Whether you’re looking for small generators for camping or for your RV, we’ve got you covered in terms of performance, durability, value, and dependability.
In the end, the tried and tested Honda eu2000i emerged as our Top Pick. No surprises there.
The Durostar ds4000s stood out as our Editor’s Choice with its great overall performance.
We chose the Wen 56200i as the TopNotch Best Value product.
Now that’s a surprise hit for sure.
We hope you enjoyed reading our article.
We have to admit we enjoyed the testing trip as much as we love bringing this review to you.
So our choices of the top three small generators are all here.
Go ahead and take your pick…