What Is The Smallest Generator?
Share this article:
TopNotch Outdoor is independent – we research, test, and rate the top products to help you make the right buying choice. We sometimes use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on your purchase. Learn more…
Let me start with just two words – compact and reliable.
Ever noticed how these are the two favorite terms outdoor lovers use when it comes to selecting camping gear?
So, What Is The Smallest Generator?
What’s more, the top brands have understood these ideas too.
And they’ve extended to the field of gas powered generators.
If you’re afraid they might be complex and noisy pieces of technology, think again.
In reality, modern portable generators are designed to deliver power anytime, anywhere. As a bonus, they’re easy to use.
Naturally, they deliver less running wattage than their bigger counterparts. But the point is, small portable generators are an easy and cost-effective solution for powering up at a campsite.
Now you want to know exactly what a portable generator is?
The TopNotch team has just finished reviewing the smallest portable generator models on the market.
Let’s take a closer look at some important questions.
Related: 10 Best Small Generators
Q . What are the small generators called?
Actually, small or portable generators are also called mini-generators. They belong to a different category than industrial generators.
Get this: Industrial generators are used to supply power to industrial facilities and businesses. They’re also used for mining and farming operations. Obviously, they’re large units designed using high engineering standards.
A small generator set is also termed a ‘Genset’.
Basically, the two main components of a portable generator are the engine (also called the prime mover) and the alternator.
Firstly, the engine converts chemical energy into mechanical energy. In the next stage, the alternator converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.
Now, this is important…
The whole mechanism is based on the principle of electromagnetic induction. This is when the alternator rotor rotates in a magnetic field and generates a voltage.
Note that even the smallest device will need some fuel source.
And you have plenty of options here.
Fuel types can be either gasoline, petrol, propane, or natural gas.
In fact, some generators are a dual fuel type.
The main advantage is the high portability and easy-to-use features. You can simply use them anywhere you want.
At the same time, a typical small generator can have a fuel tank capacity of between one and six gallons. So – refilling is necessary if you want to run it for long.
Also, make sure that you run the device a few times a year and follow a good maintenance routine. That’ll mean you have reliable power whenever you need it.
Q. How much is a small portable generator?
I have to say that selecting the right generator can be quite a task. But to make it simple here’s two basic points you need to know before you buy.
The first one is – your exact power requirement.
How do you find out what that is?
The easiest way is to add up the power consumption of all the electronics you need to run.
But that’s not all…
You need to add some margin for error/ safety to the above figures.
For example – If your power requirement is 2500 watts, you should choose a device that offers at least 3500 running watts.
In case you’re wondering about running watts, bear in mind that the highest peak power output of a generator is not what you’ll get all the time.
Before we go any further, let’s check how many rated watts a typical small home needs…
For running lights, ACs, televisions. and refrigerators in your home, you’ll need a generator to supply close to 5000 watts.
However, for a campsite, the power requirements will be smaller.
So a power output of 1500 to 2500 watts will probably be enough for most outdoor users.
As for the TopNotch team, consensus is that we’d always opt for a light, super quiet unit with a USB port for powering up at a campsite.
But let’s not forget the second point – your budget.
One big advantage of small generators is minimal installation and operating costs.
The price of a generator will depend on the power output, features, run time, and brand. Also, a more efficient inverter generator will be more expensive than an ordinary one.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, top brands like Honda or Yamaha will cost you more.
The good news is: there are plenty of very affordable choices on the market that deliver a TopNotch performance.
Based on all these factors, the price range of a small generator can vary from a few hundred to a few thousand bucks.
In our review of the best small generators, we’ve reviewed a whole range of models for you at price points.
Q.What’s the cheapest generator you can buy?
As I mentioned before, the price of a portable generator can start at around three hundred bucks.
At that price, you’ll get a power output of around 1000 Watts.
Another advantage of choosing a small generator is they’re compact and light enough to carry around.
Generally speaking, the price, as well as the weight, will go up as the power output rises.
In case you’re looking for the cheapest power source, try a solar-powered one.
They’re some of the smallest portable generators around and are a reliable power source.
However, their output wattage is on the lower side and you’ll need to add solar panels to get them functioning.
Don’t compromise quality and reliability by just looking for the cheapest model.
At the same time, there are some relatively cheap choices that offer the perfect balance between price and performance.
We also look for guaranteed performance and all-round safety in a generator.
To help you out, we’ve written our TopNotch Small Generator Review ready to help you select the best inverter generator.
So the final answer is…
The cheapest small generator isn’t the one that comes with the lowest price tag. It’s the smallest device that offers the best value for money while delivering a TopNotch performance.
Let’s make this simple.
Suppose you’re in an off-grid location or there’s been a grid breakdown.
You simply can’t manage without power for long.
This is where a portable inverter generator comes in.
One thing’s for sure…
It’ll provide reliable service for years.
With a quality product, you get excellent fuel economy, great safety features, and low noise levels – all at an affordable price.
When it comes to the cost, we can break it down into three parts – the purchasing cost, maintenance cost, and the running cost.
Obviously, the first will be the highest.
For most compact generators, the maintenance costs are on the lower side.
When it comes to running costs you need to consider both the fuel type and the overall efficiency.
The truth is, this is where design and quality plays a super important role.
So, make sure that you have a good idea of your power requirements.
Next, see that the generator will give you the right level of quality and reliability.
What else to keep in mind?
Just take a look into our in-depth review of the Top Ten Small Generators for the detail.
We’ve made things very simple for you.
Now it’s over to you to decide which will best suit your needs – and your budget, and be a great companion both at home and on the campsite.