What are the best inverter generators? This isn’t a simple answer, because what constitutes best depends on how much power you need, how much money is in your budget when shopping for a portable generator and what resources you have on hand. We’re going to introduce and review several of the best portable inverter generator models that provide value for money and work in RVs and may support other uses.
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Best Inverter Generator - Review and Buying Guide
1. Champion Power Equipment 100692 2000-Watt Ultralight Portable Inverter Generator
On the front panel of this model, you’ll find two 5-20R 120 volt household outlets and one 12 volt cigarette lighter outlet. The 100692 also supports a parallel connection, sharing power with a second identical generator. Champion offers a standard parallel cable, as well as their ParaLINK kit. The kit has a base that lets you stack one inverter generator on top of another. The base also has built-in L5-30R and TT-30R sockets, making it a great choice for RV shore power. When you’re done using the connection, the parallel cables tuck into the base for easy storage.
Run time for this portable inverter generator is about average for this segment at 11.5 hours under 25% load. The 100692 makes 58 dB of noise at 25% throttle at a distance of 23 feet, which is louder than the noise levels of most enclosed generators in this size class.
When Champion power equipment says this portable generator is ultralight, they aren’t kidding. It weighs just 39 lbs. and measures 17.3 x 11.5 x 17.7 inches. That’s a whopping 8 lbs. less than Honda’s competing model, despite only a modest decrease in performance.
Champion guarantees their models for three years of residential use, or 270 days (9 months) of commercial use.
2. WEN 56203i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter
Is clean power your top priority? The WEN 56203i has the cleanest power output of any portable inverter generator you can buy. This model is a great choice for people whose power needs are focused primarily on sensitive electronics, and those who want a shore power setup that’s safe for all of their devices.
WEN 56203i generators have a pair of 120 volt 5-20R outlets, one 12 volt cigarette lighter socket, and two USB Type A sockets. One of the USB sockets supports up to 2.1 amps for fast charging, while the other outlet is limited to one amp. This WEN 56203i is rated to limit total harmonic distortion to 1.2%, compared to the 3% of most other models on the market. This makes it ideal for powering the most sensitive electronics. A pair of these inverter generators can be connected in parallel. The parallel cable has built-in 14-50R and L5-30R outlets, making it easy to get electricity to your RV.
This WEN inverter generator makes 51 dB of noise under a 25% load. This noise level is about average for an enclosed generator. It can run for up to 7 hours at 50% load, which is one of the longest run time you’ll find for an inverter generator this size.
To help avoid stale fuel problems, this portable inverter generator has two off switches. There’s an emergency switch to cut the ignition, stopping the engine immediately, like most generators. However, if you flip the main power switch, it cuts off the fuel supply. This lets the engine burn off the remaining fuel in the carburetor. That way, there won’t be old fuel breaking down and clogging the jets during storage.
This generator has a dry weighs of 39 lbs. and measures 17.3 x 11.5 x 17.7 inches, making it the among the smallest, lightest inverter generators available.
WEN backs the 56203i with a two year consumer warranty. They're one of the best generator brands when it comes to service, thanks to a dealer network that is surpassed only by Honda and Briggs & Stratton.
3. WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
Most portable inverter generators are focused on lightweight, portable power, so they only make around 2,000 watts. While you can use a parallel connection to link two inverter generators together, it’s easier to use a single generator. WEN’s 56380i is the models for this type of setup. It delivers clean power, yet has a power output high enough for RVs and light home backup use.
The 56380i comes with two 5-20R 120 volt household sockets, a TT-30R high amperage plug, a 12 volt cigarette lighter outlet, and one USB Type A port. Two inverter generators can be connected in parallel. The compatible cable comes with TT-30 and L5-30 outlets, making this setup ideal for RV shore power or even home backup power.
This WEN generator comes with a 2.2 gallon fuel tank that can keep the engine running for 8 1/2 hours at 50% load. Noise levels are higher than smaller inverter generators, averaging 57 dB at quarter load. Turning the generator off engages a fuel shutoff, letting the engine burn off any remaining gas in the carburetor. This helps prevent issues with clogged jets caused by stale fuel.
This is the best portable inverter generator we've found when it comes to user friendly features. On the front panel, you’ll find a digital display with a fuel gauge. This display can also show current load, voltage, wattage and run time. This makes it easier to diagnose problems and keep track of maintenance. It also has an electric starter with a recoil starter backup.
The 56380i inverter generator weighs 110.8 lbs. and measures 23.2 x 18 x 20.1 inches. While you can’t carry it like a 2,000 watt generator, the built-in wheels and handle make it easy to roll around.
56380i inverter generators come with a two year consumer warranty. If you're looking for good after sales support from an inverter generator brand, WEN is your best choice next to Honda and Briggs & Stratton. While not as well known, they have a massive dealer network, putting service and parts for your inverter generator within reach no matter where you are.
4. Generac 7129 GP3000i Inverter Generator
If buzzwords and marketing speak improved performance, the Generac 7129 would be the best inverter generator on the market. Look closer, and you’ll find that where this portable generator really shines is its selection of sockets and higher than average peak power output. This makes the 7129 one of the best inverter generators you can buy for low demand RV power.
Generac promotes their “PowerRUSH” technology, saying their inverter generators can output up to 50% extra power in short bursts as needed. However, the actual starting watts rating is only about 30% higher than sustained output. That’s only a little higher than an average inverter generator. Still, having a little more power available under full load may be enough to start an RV air conditioner without resorting to a larger, heavier model.
The GP3000i has an L5-30R locking plug, which is handy for RV shore power. You’ll need to use that outlet if you want to access this generator’s full output. Instead of the usual 5-20R outlets, this inverter generator comes with a pair of 5-15R sockets. The “15” stands for 15 amps, limiting output to around 1,875 watts from this connection. There are also two USB Type A outlets for charging smartphones and other electronics. One outlet supports up to 2.1 amps for fast charging, while the second is limited to one amp of power.
Run time at 50% is 4.5 hours, which is about average for an inverter generator this size. Generac doesn’t quote any noise figures, however, owner reviews note that these inverter generators are relatively quiet. If it’s inline with the performance of similar inverter generators, expect noise levels to be in the mid 50 dB range at quarter throttle, and a little over 60 at half throttle.
The GP3000i weighs 59.5 lbs. and measures 22.2 x 13.3 x 18.4 inches. While the weight may make it harder to move around, this generator isn’t much bigger than many 2,000 watt class inverter generators.
The 7129 is covered by a one year residential warranty for parts and labor, plus another two years for parts. Commercial users are covered for one year or 1,000 hours of operation.
5. Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt 120-Volt Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator
Honda was the first company to manufacturer a portable inverter generator in the late 1980s. Since then, they’ve maintained a reputation for building the most respected inverter generators available. When it comes to build quality and reliability, the EU2200i is the best inverter generator on this list.
However, that quality comes with a hefty price tag, costing at least twice as much as its competitors. It also has a few quirks that make it a less desirable choice than some of the alternatives.
Power output is available via two 15-20R 120 volt household outlets and one 12 volt DC outlet. The DC outlet uses a t-shaped connection, unlike the cigarette lighter connections found on most competitors. This limits its use to an optional battery charging cable. The EU2200i supports a parallel connection with another EU2200i or its predecessor, the EU2000i. There are no outlets on the parallel cable. If you want a plug for RV shore power, you have to pair an EU2200i with an EU2200i Companion. This special model has one 5-30R outlet and one 5-20R outlet.
This quiet model makes just 57 dB of noise at 50% load and 48 dB at quarter load. It’s important to remember that the decibel scale is logarithmic: most inverter generators this size make at least 3 dB more noise under the same load, which means they’re about 50% louder than the Honda. What’s less impressive is the run time. With a 50% load, this inverter generator will run out of gas after running for three hours and 12 minutes.
The EU2200i weighs 46.5 lbs. and measures 16 x 20 x 11 inches. That’s slightly heavier than other inverter generators in this segment, but it’s mainly due to the added sound deadening and the commercial grade GXR120 engine that powers this unit.
The EU2200i portable generator is backed by a three year warranty for commercial and residential users. Honda’s dealer network is one of the largest in the country, and replacement parts are readily available both online and from physical stores. This makes it the best inverter generator you can buy if reliability and short down-times are a priority.
6. Pulsar G2319N 2300W Portable Gas-Powered Inverter Generator
This generator has a great selection of outlets. There are a pair of 120 volt 5-20R outlets, a 12 volt cigarette lighter outlet, and a USB Type A port. The USB port is limited to 1.5 amps, so you won’t get the full charging speed for high draw devices. Pulsar offers a parallel connection cable that lets you connect two of these generators together for more power. This cable has a built-in L5-30R socket, making it easy to connect to an RV for shore power.
According to the manufacturer, owners can expect noise levels from these inverter generators to be around 59 dB under 50% load. This measurement is taken from 10 feet away, which means the G2319N makes less noise than most of its competitors. Run time at 50% load is just under 5 hours, which is about average for the segment. Turn on economy mode, and the throttle adjusts automatically to match the current load. This makes the engine as fuel efficient and quiet as possible. A low oil indicator light lets you know when you need to add oil before the automatic shutoff engages to protect the engine.
This inverter generator measures 19.7 x 11.2 x 17.9 inches. It weighs 47 lbs, making it one of the heaviest 2,000 watt class inverter generators.
Pulsar doesn’t offer a warranty on this generator for commercial users. Consumer generators are guaranteed for one year.
Inverter Generator Vs Conventional Generator
In the comparison of the inverter generator vs conventional generator, the first thing to understand is the difference between the two. Conventional generators are what we’ve had for decades. The gas or propane powered motor is attached to an alternator that generates AC power, though some deliver DC power. The frequency of the power fluctuates along with the RPM, making this type of generator risky to use to power electronics because power spikes could damage the sensitive electronics.
Inverter generators use an inverter alternator; it produces three phase AC power that is converted to DC power and then inverted back to AC power. The power produced through this process often has less than 3% total harmonic distortion (THD), making it safe to power a modern laptop computer, smart phone or big screen TV. Smart electronics will fry if THD exceeds 6%. It is best to use an inverter generator if you are using it to power sensitive electronic gadgets or equipment.
Inverter Generator FAQ
Q: Is an inverter generator better than a conventional generator?
A: Yes, there are several reasons why people are prepared to pay more for an inverter generator. This is primarily because this type of generator supplies clean power with low Harmonic Distortion (HD). This prevents damage to electronic equipment. Just about all modern appliances have electronic circuits and microprocessors. It’s not just TVs and computers that are sensitive to high levels of harmonic distortion. Most microwaves, refrigerators, washing machines, and air conditioners, have electronic controls. If an appliance has touch pad controls, or an LCD screen, it has electronic components. For this reason, inverter generators are growing in popularity.
Q: What are the advantages / disadvantages of an inverter generator?
A: There are several advantages to using an inverter generator:
A: Though inverter generators are not without their disadvantages:
Q: Do inverter generators use gas?
A: An inverter generator has a gas engine and an alternator like any other. Inverter generators differ in that the Alternating current (AC) power generated by the alternator is first converted to direct current (DC). The inverter then converts this power back into AC. The reason for this is that inverter uses a sophisticated computerized management system to monitor the load and the power output, maintaining a nearly perfect sine wave. So, while many inverter generators may use less gas than conventional equivalents, they all require gas for the engine to run.
Q: What is the best use / application for an inverter generator?
A: An inverter generator can be used in situation where one would use a traditional gas generator. Though they are best suited to powering electronic devices. These generators are popular for emergency home power, RVs, offices, and food trucks.
Q: What is the most powerful inverter generator on the market today?
A: The Honda EU7000iS is the most powerful inverter generator available. It has a peak (surge) power output of 7,000 watts and continuous rated running power of 5,500W (120V/240V). It is also one of the quietest and most fuel-efficient generators on the market. The Briggs & Stratton Q6500 has a peak power of 6500 Watts and running power of 5000 Watts. The Yamaha EF6300iSDE has the same rated (continuous) power of 5,500W, but has a lower peak power output of 6,300W.