Photo of Matt Lawrence

Matt Lawrence

Professional Preparedness Expert

Portable Generators

Featured On:

  • MSNBC
Electricity, since man discovered how to harness it, we’ve become more and more dependent on it with every new technological revelation that requires it to run. Now for more than just heat and light, electricity powers virtually everything we use in our daily lives; from the alarm clock that wakes us up in the morning, to the coffee makers, elevators, traffic signals, computers, exercise equipment, and appliances that we take for granted everyday.

So much in fact, we expect it to be there even when we know it’s not. Don’t think so? Go back to the last power outage you remember and think of how many times you walked into a room and flipped the light switch… even though you knew the power was out!

We’re hooked on electricity.

As dependable as the electrical grid our nation is, there are times when it fails and the need for emergency power arises. There are many units on the market from the smallest designed to power computers, video cameras, and equipment on remote location to units permanently mounted outside homes and businesses.

This review is on the portable units, the type most of us can either carry or wheel out of our garages and power up our homes with the basic necessities until our electric company gets us back on line.

It’s important to remember when choosing a portable generator that you figure out exactly what you plan on operating and buy the appropriate sized unit. Most big box stores and websites specializing in generators have a calculator that gives you general amperage requirements for things like refrigerators, televisions, air conditioners, and light bulbs.

With a little planning and some smart load usage, most of us can live comfortably with a medium sized portable generator until the situation is corrected. So, let there be light… even if it’s to the drone of a fuel engine.

Best Portable Generators by Matt Lawrence

The Best You Can Get

  • Honda EU6500ISA

    Matt says: Honda generators are known for their super quiet operation and the EU6500 lives up to that claim. The Honda inverter creates clean power for the most sensitive electronics, yet this model produces enough to back up your home’s power needs! Electric start, circuit breakers, and fuel gauge are standard with an optional remote start kit available.

    • Produces 6500 watts
    • Creates 120/240V
    • Quiet operation producing only 65dB(A)
    • Low oil protection by Honda Oil Alert
    • 14 hrs. run time @ 1/4 load Eco Throttle
  • Honda EU3000IS

    Matt says: About half the power at half the price, but not half the quality! The EU3000 is perfect for smaller load requirements producing clean power that is “equal to or better than your household power” thanks to Honda’s inverter technology.

    • Produces 3000 watts
    • Creates 120 V
    • Quiet operation producing only 49-58dB(A)
    • Low oil protection by Honda Oil Alert
    • 20 hours run time on about 3.5 gallons of regular gas
  • NorthStar TriFuel 8000W

    Matt says: This trifuel generator is perfect for those situations where one or the other fuel sources is more readily available. The easy access control panel has five, push button circuit breaker protected outlets with an electric start, low engine shut down as standard features.

    • 13HP Honda engine
    • Produces 8000 surge watts/6600 continuous watts
    • Creates 120/240V
    • TriFuel operates on LP, natural or regular gasoline
    • 9-hour run time under 50% load capacity at 74.5dB
  • Sears Craftsman 11HP Briggs and Stratton Generator

    Matt says: This reliable, efficient staple in the marketplace features an electric start and a StatStation™ onboard monitoring system that provides services alerts while monitoring the generators percentage of power while in use. The unit comes complete with a 25’ heavy duty, 120v extension cord set eliminating the need to manage multiple cords or connections.

    • 11-HP Briggs & Stratton® OHV Engine
    • Produces 9100 surge/6300 continuous watts
    • Creates 120/240V
    • 13-hour run time at 50% load capacity
    • Illuminated control panel
  • Porter Cable BSI525-W

    Matt says: This affordable, basic generator is the same model that powered my home through the hours after Hurricane Wilma, which devastated South Florida in 2005! Mine has been serviced and is ready and waiting for the next hurricane to strike.

    • Briggs & Stratton 10HP
    • Produces 6,500 surge/5,250 continuous watts
    • Creates 120/240V
    • 8-hour run time at 100% load capacity
    • Low oil engine protection

You will be happy with any of these

  • Honda EU2000I

    Matt says: This lightweight generator produces enough power to run a microwave, hair dryer, or even a small AC unit! It can even be connected in parallel to another EU2000I to increase wattage output.

    • Weighs less than 50 lbs.
    • Produces 2000 watts; creates 120 V
    • Quiet operation producing only 53-59dB(A)
    • Low oil protection by Honda Oil Alert
    • 15-hour run time on about 1 gallon of regular gas
  • Honda EU1000I

    Matt says: Perfect for camping, tail-gating, or any other event requiring a little electricity. This little power house will run fans, TVs, electronics, computers, lights, and small appliances, so bring the Margarita mix and a blender! This system can also be connected in parallel to another Honda EU1000i to increase wattage output. It uses a mere .6 gallons of fuel over an 8.3-hour period.

    • Weighs less than 30 lbs.
    • Produces 1000 watts; creates 120 V
    • Quiet operation producing only 53-59dB(A)
    • Low oil protection by Honda Oil Alert
    • 8.3-hour run time on about .6 gallons of regular gas
  • Gen-Tran Transfer Switches

    Matt says: Transfer switches come sized depending on the generator you’re connecting to them to. Transfer switch panels allow for a safe, convenient portable generator connection to your home allowing you to use existing circuitry rather than extension cords to your individual appliances and lighting.

    The Gen-Tran accommodates 6-to-10 household circuits like your furnace blower (gas only), refrigerator and kitchen circuits, well pump, lights, and television. You can easily expand this transfer switch to up to 16 circuits just by adding more circuit breakers. The enclosure can be surface mounted indoors, and allows hardwired or plug-in generator connections.

    The Gen-Tran Transfer Switch features dual watt meters to help you balance generator loads to prolong generator life.

    It’s recommended that transfer switches be installed by a licensed electrician.

  • Briggs and Stratton Emergency Power Storm Kit

    Matt says: Don’t want to connect your house circuitry through a transfer switch? Another safe way is to use a generator specific extension cord. NOTE: Regular extension cords will not work properly with generators, there is a possibility they will overheat possibly damaging your appliances or generator. The Briggs & Stratton all-in-one emergency storm kit for extended back up power comes with a 30-amp, 25 ft. cord consisting of four 110-volt outlets from 220-volt source. This extension cord will work with any generator having a 30-amp plug. Two extra bottles of oil, fuel stabilizer and an extra spark plug are included for customer convenience. (Spark plugs have a tendency to foul under extreme conditions.) This kit also comes with an extra air filter.

    I also recommended that you purchase a similar, brand specific parts kit based on the model of generator you choose. My personal kit includes extra air filters, oil filters, oil, spark plugs, and fuel stabilizer to keep gasoline fresh. I find storing these items prior to a hurricane easier than finding them afterwards!

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