Best Generator for Emergency Preparedness


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If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best generator for emergency preparedness is, then we recommend the Honda Power Equipment EG2800IA 2800W Portable Inverter as the best one. 

If you live in an area that frequently suffers from natural disasters, a generator is a must to keep your household functioning normally when the storm hits. 

And even if you don’t experience power outages frequently, a generator can do wonders to keep your critical stuff functioning when that outage hits you.

Choosing a generator is best done before you get into an emergency. That way you won’t be in a panic and will be able to make an informed, rational decision. 

But before you can decide which generator is the best for you, there are a few things to consider.

In this article, we’re going to review the following generators:

Quick Summary

Image
FUEL EFFICIENT & QUITE
Honda Power Equipment EG2800IA 2800W 120V Full Frame Portable Inverter Gas Generator, Steel
LONGER RUN-TIME
Durostar DS4000S Portable Generator, Yellow/Black
EASY TO RUN
Champion Power Equipment 100554 4375/3500-Watt RV Ready Portable Generator with Wireless Remote Start, CARB
Generator
Honda Power Equipment EG2800IA 2800W Portable Inverter
DuroStar DS4000S 4000 Watt Portable Generator
Champion Power Equipment 3500-Watt Portable Generator
Generator Type
Inverter
Standard Portable
Standard Portable
Output Power
120V 2800W
120V 4000W
120V 3500W
Start Type
Recoil
Recoil
Wireless Remote, Recoil
Fuel Type
Gasoline
Gasoline
Gasoline
Fuel Tank Capacity
2.1 gal.
3.96 gal.
4.7 gal.
Run Time per Tankful
5.1 hrs @ rated load
12.3 hours at 50% load
up to 12 hrs
Item Weight
67 lbs
94 lbs
120 lbs
Noise Level (dBA)
67 dB(A)
69 dB(A)
68 dBA
Engine Displacement
186 cc
208 cc
208 cc
Dimensions (L x W x H)
16.9" x 17.6" x 18.9"
24" x 17" x 17"
28.5" x 21.1" x 20.7"
CARB Compliance
FUEL EFFICIENT & QUITE
Image
Honda Power Equipment EG2800IA 2800W 120V Full Frame Portable Inverter Gas Generator, Steel
Generator
Honda Power Equipment EG2800IA 2800W Portable Inverter
Generator Type
Inverter
Output Power
120V 2800W
Start Type
Recoil
Fuel Type
Gasoline
Fuel Tank Capacity
2.1 gal.
Run Time per Tankful
5.1 hrs @ rated load
Item Weight
67 lbs
Noise Level (dBA)
67 dB(A)
Engine Displacement
186 cc
Dimensions (L x W x H)
16.9" x 17.6" x 18.9"
CARB Compliance
LONGER RUN-TIME
Image
Durostar DS4000S Portable Generator, Yellow/Black
Generator
DuroStar DS4000S 4000 Watt Portable Generator
Generator Type
Standard Portable
Output Power
120V 4000W
Start Type
Recoil
Fuel Type
Gasoline
Fuel Tank Capacity
3.96 gal.
Run Time per Tankful
12.3 hours at 50% load
Item Weight
94 lbs
Noise Level (dBA)
69 dB(A)
Engine Displacement
208 cc
Dimensions (L x W x H)
24" x 17" x 17"
CARB Compliance
EASY TO RUN
Image
Champion Power Equipment 100554 4375/3500-Watt RV Ready Portable Generator with Wireless Remote Start, CARB
Generator
Champion Power Equipment 3500-Watt Portable Generator
Generator Type
Standard Portable
Output Power
120V 3500W
Start Type
Wireless Remote, Recoil
Fuel Type
Gasoline
Fuel Tank Capacity
4.7 gal.
Run Time per Tankful
up to 12 hrs
Item Weight
120 lbs
Noise Level (dBA)
68 dBA
Engine Displacement
208 cc
Dimensions (L x W x H)
28.5" x 21.1" x 20.7"
CARB Compliance

Last update on 2020-10-25 at 10:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Begin by Assessing Your Power Needs

To figure out what size generator is best for your needs, you’ll have to do some simple calculation. 

Generators come sized by wattage, and it’s best to buy one that is rated a bit higher than your calculated total. 

This puts in a safety margin and allows some room for expansion.

  • Add up the wattage on critical electrical circuits, e.g. sump pumps and medical equipment
  • Then add the conveniences you don’t want to do without, such as fridge and microwave
  • Multiply your total by 1.25 to get a reasonable safety margin

Deciding on the Type of Generator

portable generators

There are different ways of categorizing generators. Here we’ll look at them as falling in one of two broad categories; standby and portable.

Standby generators are larger, permanent, and require professional installation. They are very powerful but quite costly. 

Portable generators are smaller and easier to move around, and you can usually set one up on your own. 

Although not as powerful as the standby versions, they’re much more affordable.

  • Do you experience frequent, prolonged outages? Then if the budget allows and your area doesn’t experience floods, a standby generator can power the whole house. Still, if you’re only interested in keeping the basics running, a larger portable generator will also work.
  • Are your outages infrequent, lasting a few hours at most? A standby generator is a likely overkill for such a scenario. A reliable portable one built to withstand several hours use at a time will do nicely.
  • You rarely, if ever, have outages, but want to be prepared. Then a basic, no-frills portable generator that you can store out of sight and use recreationally is ideal.

Fuel Options

Generators come powered by gas or propane, and diesel

Diesel engines are generally more powerful and will last longer. Most portable generators, though, run on gas and/or propane. 

With gas and propane-powered generators, you often have the option to use a stand-alone fuel tank or connect to a gas line. 

A gas line is available 24-7 and doesn’t require you to store any fuel on your premises. 

But it can quickly become unavailable in the event of a natural disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake.

Do You Have Sensitive Equipment?

Are you planning on running things like mobile phones, laptops and plasma screens on your generator? If so, you’ll need so-called ‘clean’ power. 

With any generator rated higher than 6% THD, you’ll have to look for ways to clean its power output up, such as UPS units.

Functionality

Decide which features on a generator matter to you, and which you can do without. Here are some good ones:

  • A push-button electric start, but with a manual recoil backup
  • Inbuilt automatic voltage regulator for cleaner power output
  • Longer run-time
  • Inbuilt carbon monoxide sensor
  • Automatic low-oil shut-down and fuel gauge
  • Multiple types of outlets with weather-proof covers
  • Can run on gasoline and at least one other fuel source
  • Low noise emission
  • Overall ease of use
  • Portability
  • CARB compliance for lower pollution levels
  • Remote-controlled power on from a distance

This list is not exhaustive, and you may find yourself adding and removing features to suit your particular needs. 

But as you go on making your decisions, don’t forget to consider overall quality and durability. 

Look for good value for money, regardless of your budget.

Our Top 3 Generators for Emergency Preparedness Reviews

Honda Power Equipment EG2800IA 2800W Portable InverterFuel Efficient & Quiet Generator

Honda Power Equipment EG2800IA 2800W 120V Full Frame Portable Inverter Gas Generator, Steel

Click the image to view on Amazon

Rated at 2800 watts and 120v, this durable, reliable generator is popular with many people, both for emergencies and recreational use. 

With this wattage, it will not be able to power your whole house, but will easily take care of the essentials.

Designed to power 120v circuits, it will easily handle your basic conveniences for prolonged periods. 

Your lights, fridge, freezer, TV, fan, and even a smaller AC unit for one room will run well on this little Honda.

Being an inverter generator, it produces stable, clean power. Your more sensitive electronics, like mobile phones and laptops, will run without any problems.

Quiet and fuel-efficient, this generator comes with many ease-of-use features. It’s quite pricy, but offers the best reliability in its class, and is overall excellent value for money. 

A few things that real users had to say:

Here’s a link to see this generator on Amazon

Pros

  • Has both electric and manual pull-start
  • Very quiet
  • Fuel-efficient
  • Inverter technology so generates clean power for sensitive electronics
  • Very compact and portable
  • Durable steel casing and quality parts
  • CARB-compliant
  • Has automatic low-oil shutoff function
  • Long-running hours
  • Spare parts and maintenance instructions are easy to find

Cons

  • Premium price tag
  • Doesn’t come with an hour meter
  • Several useful features like wheel kit, 12v cable, and in-line fuel filter are not included
  • Oil capacity is only 18oz, so frequent changes are necessary

The Bottom Line:

This portable gasoline-powered inverter generator from Honda is one of the best in its class. 

Much of the price tag comes from the fact that it is an inverter model. But the advantage is that you get clean power without purchasing any additional clean-up devices.

There is a multitude of positive reviews for this Honda EG2800IA, with many users running it regularly for 10 hours + at a time without any issues. 

If you have to put up with frequent and prolonged power outages, this is a solid, reliable generator that will serve you well for years.

DuroStar DS4000S 4000 Watt Portable GeneratorLonger Run-Time Generator

Durostar DS4000S Portable Generator, Yellow/Black

Click the image to view on Amazon

Rated at 3300 running watts, this DuroStar is more powerful than our number one pick, the Honda EG2800IA. 

This is a conventional, traditional gasoline-powered generator, but the output is nowhere near as clean as that of the inverter Honda above.

Having said that, it is a solid workhorse and will perform as reliably running heavy-duty tools in your home workshop as powering your basic appliances during an outage. 

It’s not the best for running sensitive stuff like laptops and mobile phones but will do a great job on lights, fridges, freezers, AC units, and the like. 

The 4-gallon gas tank will run anywhere from 10-15 hours, depending on the load. If being able to run your delicate electronics is not an issue, the DuroStar is much more affordable than the Honda EG2800IA. 

But at 69dB, it’s also much noisier. And it requires a manual recoil start, which while dependable, is not as convenient as an electric start.

A few things that real users had to say:

Here’s a link to see this generator on Amazon

Pros

  • Affordable 
  • 4-gallon gas tank
  • Durable and reliable
  • Long-running hours
  • Has low-oil shutoff function
  • Selection of outlets for maximum compatibility
  • Comes with a voltmeter for measuring output
  • Durable steel casing

Cons

  • At 69dB, rather noisy
  • Power is not clean; not suitable for running sensitive electronics like mobile phones
  • No electric start

The Bottom Line:

This is a basic, no-frills traditional gasoline-powered generator that will do the job, and do it well. Respected by customers for its long lifespan, it is also easy to maintain. 

Add-ons like wheel kits are easy to find and affordable. 

Some users have complained about the instruction manual not being as intuitive as it could be, but the generator is still easy to install, even if you have no experience.

Read the user reviews on Amazon to find out more details.

Champion Power Equipment 3500-Watt Portable Generator – Easy To Run And Start Generator

Champion Power Equipment 100554 4375/3500-Watt RV Ready Portable Generator with Wireless Remote Start, CARB

Click the image to view on Amazon

This generator from Champion is rated at a solid 3500 watts, making it enough to run a 15,000 BTU RV conditioner.

It goes then without saying that it should be plenty to run your basic home conveniences during an outage.

Weighing in at almost 145 pounds, this generator is on the heavier side (our top pick weighs less than 67, for comparison). 

And being a traditional gas generator, it’s also substantially louder than our number one choice, running at 68dB. 

The company provides a volt guard with the generator, but reviews about it haven’t been too great, and we wouldn’t risk running any sensitive appliances like mobile phones without a UPS unit or similar in place.

One great feature of this generator is its multiple types of covered outlets, making it compatible with almost anything you can think of. 

It also has a nice cold start feature, making it easy to electrically start the generator even in freezing temperatures.

A few things that real users had to say:

Here’s a link to see this generator on Amazon

Pros

  • Affordable
  • 3500 wattage rating can handle a lot of stuff
  • Has electric start, cold start, and manual recoil
  • Multiple outlet types for maximum compatibility
  • LED readout that shows volts, frequency, running time for the session, and overall run time
  • Long-running hours
  • Easy set-up

Cons

  • Rather noisy
  • Heavy
  • Volt Guard not very reliable
  • Customer service is not the best
  • Not the most durable in its class

The Bottom Line:

If you want a portable generator with a bit more power and are not bothered about it being on the heavier side, this is a good pick. 

With its reasonable price tag, it offers good value for money and should take you easily through the occasional outage.

The multiple covered outlets make it really easy to power your home up, and the generator is very easy to set up. 

We wouldn’t recommend using it to power your delicate equipment without cleaning up its power output first, though. 

See Champion Power Equipment 3500-Watt Portable Generator on Amazon

What’s The Best Generator for Emergency Preparedness?

Having a generator on-hand is the single best way to prepare for an outage. 

That way, no matter the weather conditions and amount of time you have to spend without power, you’ll at least have basic conveniences working.

What type of generator you choose depends on your needs, and every household is different. Once you work out just how much power output your generator should have, you can start looking at the features. 

From smaller conveniences like electric starts to larger ones like clean power for sensitive electronics, it’s up to you to choose.

Check out the Honda Power Equipment EG2800IA 2800W Portable Inverter. Rated at 2800 watts, it’s strong enough to power most critical household appliances, yet at 66.6 pounds, remains lightweight and portable. 

Being an inverter, it’s very quiet and fuel-efficient. It puts out clean power that you can safely use for any device and is user-friendly. 

This durable generator is reliable and will work when you need it the most.