Top 5 Best Inverter Generators of 2017 Reviewed

Why You Need an Inverter Generator

Say you want to go on a camping trip, but your job requires you to complete some work remotely while you do.

Perhaps you have a construction job located in an office building and cannot disturb the company’s employees.

In each of these cases, a conventional generator will not do.

What you need is an inverter generator.

Figuring out what you need in an inverter generator can be difficult.

With multiple possible features and specifications, determining what best suits you can leave your head spinning.

That is why we have put together this buyer’s guide to aid you in determining what you require from an inverter generator.

Also, we’ve done some extensive testing and compiled to 5 best inverter generators currently available on the market.

Top 5 Best Inverter Generators


Champion Power Equipment 73536i

champion-power-equipment-73536i

The Champion Power Equipment 73536i Generator is a lightweight and quiet inverter generator that is ideal for powering your appliances in the camping site or your RV, like small refrigerators, TV, coffee maker, or slow cooker.

This generator is also perfect for emergency backup power at home, but is not recommended for powering equipment such as sump pumps, furnaces, stoves, or air conditioners.

The generator is designed to be easily hand-carried, with the most noticeable features being the cubic shape and its plastic casing.

When running continuously this generator produces 1,700W, whereas its maximum surge power capability is 2,000W.

The use of inverter technology enables this generator to produce high-quality electricity, in addition to being incredibly reliable.

An effective inverter generator will deliver an output that will meet all your needs for the most appropriate cost.

When the tank of this inverter generator is filled to the brim it will continuously run for 9.5 hours at a cost of 25 cents per load.

This is incredibly awesome, considering that this is a small and compact generator.

Besides, this appliance from Champion Power has parallel capabilities.

It gives you the freedom to connect two similar devices to produce up to 3600W of power.

This stands out as an effective solution, just in case you require more electricity to power your appliances.

The total harmonic distortion of this generator is pretty low.

This enables the generator to produce clean electricity, which can safely power sensitive appliances like printers and computers.

This power protects all your devices from partial and permanent damage.

The Champion Power Equipment is quite compact, at 21.5 by 16.25 by 18.25 inches in dimension.

At only 48 pounds this model is amazingly lightweight. In addition, the cubic shape of this generator contributes immensely to its portability and elegance.

Moreover, the generator features a four-stroke engine which runs on gas.

The engine is quite impressive because it can operate at different speeds.

The variable speed technology makes it easy to switch to the most economical mode at any time.

When you require less power you can set the generator to operate at low speeds, thereby making it highly fuel-efficient.

The variable speed technology also protects the engine from wear and tear. This extends the life of the generator.

Additionally, the generator operates fairly quietly, producing only 53dB of noise.

Pros

    • Produces high-quality clean energy
    • Quiet operation
    • ​Energy efficient
    • ​Compact
    • ​Free lifetime technical support
    • Incredible protection from environmental hazards
    • Portability
    • Durability

Cons

    • Not very versatile

Honda EU2000I 2000 Watt Portable Generator

honda-eu2000i-2000-watt-portable-generator

The Honda EU20001 is one of the most reliable generators on the modern market.

At just 45lbs, this generator is portable in every way, and offers an incredible performance that is second to none in its category.

This generator has been acclaimed as a game-changer in inverter generators, thanks to its durability and user-friendliness.

Moreover, the generator’s noise is undetectable when in operation, because of its superior noise-reduction industrial design.

The generator can deliver 2000W of peak power with a rated output of 1600W.

Another fascinating aspect of this machine is the fact that this inverter generator is made by one of the leading manufacturers in the market.

It is also backed by an exceptional 3-year manufacturer’s warranty, and it’s very easy to see why this generator has won many accolades.

If you are in search of an inverter generator for excursions, camping, or additional power backup at home, then this is an excellent option to consider.

The Honda EU20001 Portable Generator has an easy recoil pull, which is designed to make it start smoothly.

With one gentle pull, the generator will start instantly.

For a generator of its specifications and size, the Honda EU 20001 possesses great power stability and capability.

When operating at peak load (2000W) this generator can run for up to 4 hours, but at ¼ load, it can run continuously for up to 8.1 hours on 1.1 gallons or 4.2 liters (full tank).

It has 2 AC outlets and a single DC outlet, making it flexible in powering an extensive range of appliances.

This generator stands out amongst its competition because it’s made in a compact package.

It has a GX100 engine with 98.5cc, making it one of the biggest in its class.

The large engine makes it easy for the inverter generator to handle larger loads with ease.

Besides, the inductive/startup loads are handled gracefully, which means there will be less protective circuitry tripping.

The portability of this generator is also intriguing.

First, the generator is incredibly lightweight, and is perfect for the on-the-go user (campers and recreational enthusiasts), as it doesn’t cause any discomfort when moving.

Second, it features an integrated ergonomic handle, which ensures that it’s comfortable to carry around.

Its noise-reduction capability is another praiseworthy feature.

At 59dB, this generator makes only a quiet hum when running, and is great for maintaining serenity in the campground.

Pros

    • Very quiet
    • ​Highly fuel efficient
    • ​Light-weight design
    • Advanced inverter technology

Cons

    • Pricey


Coolis 150Wh Portable Solar Power Inverter Generator

coolis-150wh-portable-solar-power-inverter-generator

The Coolis 150Wh Portable Solar Power Generator is a superbly-designed generator, which provides more functionality than a typical generator.

The generator is classified as a multi-functional inverter generator because of its capability to deliver a number of output options for powering an RV and in camping situations.

It has 3 (12V) DC port which provides a limited total of 180V, and features an extra cigarette socket cable.

Moreover, there are 2 (110V) AC outlets that feature an exquisitely modified sine wave, and have a total power output limited to 100W.

Besides, this inverter generator has two USB ports, and one emergency light.

The generator is incredibly powerful and has the capability to produce clean power to run all your sensitive and important appliances, including lamps, laptops, phones, TVs, fans, car pumps, fans, coffee machine, toaster, and mini refrigerator.

As the name suggests, this inverter generator is easily rechargeable via sunlight.

Actually, it has three ways for easy recharging.

First, you can use a special solar panel connector adapter cable like MC4 to DC3.5/1.35mm to recharge this generator by 15 to 20V under a 100W solar panel which is compatible with this system.

Charging via a solar panel may take up to 2 to 5 days to get it to full capacity.

Secondly, you can use the included wall charger to recharge this inverter generator.

It takes a maximum of 7 hours to charge this generator fully via the wall charger. And finally, the inverter generator can be charged by a 12V car charger.

One special aspect of the Coolis 150Wh Portable Solar Inverter Generator is its compactness.

At its size of 175 by 165 by 80 mm, this generator outshines most of its competitors, especially when you consider its high power capacity.

The generator has a grade A lithium polymer battery and has a total weight of 1.9KG, including all its accessories.

The generator also features an LED screen (for monitoring charging and usage) which is covered with a thin film for maximum protection.

It also utilizes the Battery Management System (BMS) which is highly effective in preventing over-current, over-temperature, over-voltage, and improving the battery utilization, thereby prolonging its life.

The size and the general design of this generator bring a lot of benefits in addition to making it look comprehensively modern.

Pros

    • Light-weight and compact
    • Multi-functional system
    • ​Nice design
    • ​LED screen
    • Uses the battery management system

Cons

    • Concerns about its durability


Briggs & Stratton P2200 Inverter Generator

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The Briggs and Stratton P2200 is a new Power Smart Series inverter generator that has incredible parallel capabilities.

This generator is specifically designed for outdoor tailgating, and recreational activity.

All outdoor recreational enthusiasts will be impressed by this inverter generator, thanks to its reliability and consistency in power production.

Furthermore, this generator has the indispensable benefit of quiet operation, an aspect that has made it win the hearts of many campers and tailgaters.

If you are looking for the best unit to run your RV’s HVAC appliances while at the same time charging your phone, keeping the lights on, and music playing, look no further.

This generator is conveniently light-weight, and is strong enough to deliver the additional power.

The Briggs and Stratton has an 111cc OHV engine which runs quietly to produce 2200W (starting) and up to 1700W of running Watts (rated).

When the tank is filled to the brim (1 gallon), the generator will operate continuously for up to eight hours at 25% load.

Its operation is super quiet, at only 59dB of operating volume, which is 38% quieter than a traditional camping generator.

This makes it easy for the generator to blend perfectly into the background.

The sound level can vary depending on the location and proximity; the noise levels were measured at 25% load at 7M for its control panel side.

The availability of the dedicated parallel output means you can connect this P2200 to another of the similar make, or a P3000 series generator, in case you require a stronger power source.

The Briggs and Stratton P2200 features a convenient control panel that has 3 outlets (1 12V DC battery charging outlet, and 2 120V outlets).

There is also the benefit of the USB adapter that offers flexibility to simultaneously run an extensive combination of TVs, lights, tablets, smartphones, blenders, crockpots, and other personal electronic devices.

The generator also uses the amazing inverter technology that enables the user to automatically adjust the engine to variable speeds.

This helps in producing a pure sine wave with not more than 3% of harmonic distortion, making it perfect for all your sensitive electronics like laptops.

The inverter technology also supports the parallel capabilities of this generator.

The featured AC/DC circuit breaker protection is designed to cushion the generator from any damage, thereby increasing its durability.

Pros

    • Whisper-quiet operation
    • ​Highly durable
    • ​Dedicated parallel outlet
    • ​Quiet performance
    • Lightweight
    • Good handle design

Cons

    • Poor oil change system


Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Gas Powered Portable Inverter

yamaha-ef2000isv2-gas-powered-portable-inverter

The Yamaha EF2000iS is a powerful, efficient, and portable inverter generator that is powered by gas.

The unit has a cool retro design, and is super quiet in its operation.

It’s CARB compliant, and features advanced programming that supports a wide range of applications.

This generator delivers 1600W rated AC output, but is capable of delivering 2000W at maximum AC output.

This means it might not be highly effective for powering multiple devices, however, this shouldn’t be a cause for concern because the generator features a Twin Tech capability which makes it easy to hook up two generators.

The Yamaha EF2000iS has a four stroke engine with 79cc in its Overhead Value (OHV) design.

Because of this incredible engine design, this inverter generator is able to run reliably, and dissipate heat efficiently, thereby improving its durability and fuel consumption.

The engine makes use of the effective CDI ignition system, which makes it very easy to start.

The generator has a 1.1 gallon fuel tank that features a gauge that monitors the level of the remaining fuel.

When the tank is full, the generator can run continuously for up to 10.5 hours on economy mode.

Additionally, the generator features noise reduction technology that makes it run at the quietest level possible.

The special sound blocking design has a noise absorbing construction of glass wool that incredibly dampens noise.

When operating at 25% load, the generator is pretty quiet at 51.5Dba, however, this noise range varies depending on the location and usage, but it cannot exceed 61dBA.

One intriguing feature of this generator is the Economy Control Switch (smart throttle).

When the switch is turned on, it helps the economy control unit to manage the engine speed based on the connected load.

This makes the generator more fuel efficient and deliver optimal power, while making minimal noise.

Whenever the economy control switch is turned off, this generator runs at its rated 4500rpm, regardless of the connected load.

This mode is preferred when powering larger appliances, so as to enable the generator to accommodate the surge of the required watts.

The engine also features a good control panel, which has an AC light which is green when the engine is started and power is produced.

The overload indicator lights red when an overload is detected, when its inverter unit overheats, or the set AC output voltage is above the norm.

When the voltage is above norm this AC protector will trip, thereby protecting the generator from damaging the connected devices.

In this case the machine doesn’t stop running, but no electrical power will be produced.

Pros

    • Lightweight
    • ​Extremely quiet
    • ​Twin tech parallel
    • Powers a wide range of devices

Cons

    • Pricey

What are Inverter Generators

Inverter generators are portable devices that allow you to power electrical equipment almost anywhere and on the go.

They are designed to be fuel-efficient, quiet, and portable.

Moreover, they produce energy that is more stable than that of conventional generators for delicate electronics.

Inverter generators convert fuel and mechanical energy into electricity.

They are perfect for use during leisure activities like camping, swimming at a lake, or hanging out at the beach, though they can be used in most situations that conventional generators can’t.

However, inverter generators come in three primary classes, each best suited for a different use.

Compact Generators

Compact generators are the smallest type of inverter generators and produce the least power.

They rarely produce more than 1,000 watts and struggle to run more than one or two appliances simultaneously.

This class of generator is ideal when you are wanting to rough it, but want to keep a few amenities.

Moreover, this generator class is the quietest and most portable, making it ideal for camping.

Small Generators

Small inverter generators offer twice as much power as compact – between 1,600 and 2,000 watts.

This allows the generator to run more appliances simultaneously without having to strain.

If you are throwing a party that requires an onsite generator to run electrical equipment, this is an ideal size for you.

However, small inverter generators are a bit larger and heavier than compact.

As such, they may not be best for camping trips or other scenarios that require traveling on foot.

These generators are also able to power larger single appliances.

Medium Generators

This is the largest class of inverter generator, and consequently, produces the most power.

These generators can produce up to 4,000 watts and run numerous appliances.

Moreover, medium inverter generators can also run power tools and are perfect for construction sites with noise limitations – like green construction.

However, medium generators are heavy and can be difficult to transport.

Whereas compact and small generators can often be carried for short distances, it is not advisable to carry a medium inverter generator by yourself.

Benefits of Inverter Generators

Inverter generators have many distinct advantages over conventional generators.

One of the major advantages that inverter generators offer is volume.

Inverter generators run much more quietly than conventional generators.

In fact, they generally run at volumes between those of a library and a normal conversation.

This makes them ideal for camping or when working outside of an office setting.

Inverter generators are also designed to be portable.

In addition to coming in small sizes, they are also designed with an inherently compact profile.

This allows them to be transported much more easily than many other conventional generators, making them useful for construction job sites, leisure activities, and camping.

Inverter generators are also far more fuel-efficient than conventional generators.

Part of this has to do with the fact that inverter generators are able to run at lower RPMs when the energy demands are lower, and higher RPMs when higher.

On the other hand, conventional generators often run at 3,500 RPMs regardless of the energy actually used.

How Inverter Generators Work

Inverter generators function similarly to other types of generators, with one main difference.

All generators use a combustion engine to turn an alternator.

The alternator is what transforms the mechanical energy of the engine into usable alternating current (A/C) electricity.

However, where inverter generators differ from conventional generators is what happens once this electricity is generated.

Where a traditional generator will simply push the electricity out to be used, the inverter generator uses a component called an inverter.

The inverter converts the A/C electricity into direct current (D/C) before converting it back to A/C and pushing it out for use.

This process ensures that all of the electric current pushed out remains in a static sine wave and does not fluctuate.

This prevents electrical surges which can cause brownouts or damage the equipment powered by the generator.

This regularity is what makes the energy created by inverter generators “clean.”

How to Use an Inverter Generator

Using an inverter generator is pretty much identical to using a conventional generator.

Always make sure that the generator is grounded, clear, and in a well-ventilated space before use.

You first must provide the engine fuel and oil.

Then you turn on the generator, either with a pull cord or an electric start.

At this point, it can get a bit more complicated, as most modern generators will then require you to select the frequency, phase, and other qualities of the electricity.

This will require you to know ahead of time what your equipment powered by the generator requires.

What to Look For in Inverter Generators

While inverter generators provide numerous advantages over normal generators, they also come with distinct limitations.

One of the primary limitations that inverter generators have is the total amount of power generated.

Because they use a 3-phase energy conversion process, inverter generators produce less energy in favor of regularity.

Therefore, choosing the maximum power output is even more important for inverter generators than it is for other types.

Whereas other generators are often able to accommodate more uses inverter generators will usually not be able to an entire household in the event of a power outage.

This is especially true for compact and small inverter generators but is also true for many medium inverter generators as well.

This means that if you need a great deal of power but still require the regularity, quiet, fuel efficiency, and smaller profile of an inverter generator, you will definitely want to purchase a model that allows parallel capacity.

This allows you to hook two, and occasionally more, of the same type of generator together to increase the total amount of power generated without limiting the uses or scenarios the generators can handle.

Regardless of the size, inverter generators are almost expected to be transported.

This may not be much of an issue for the compact variety, but the smaller and medium generators may cause issues.

In this case, you will likely want to ensure that the generator has some feature that alleviates portability concerns.

It should either have wheels built onto its base frame or have the option of being secured onto a peripheral base – though the former is generally preferable for convenience and cost.

Inverter generators are far more expensive than single-phase generators, so ensuring that your inverter generator runs as well and as long as possible should be an important concern.

Since all generators require oil to maintain proper function, it behooves you to know when your generator is running low on oil.

That means when purchasing an inverter generator do not purchase a model without a low indicator just to save a little money.

The difference in price due to that feature is not worth the risk of having to purchase a whole new generator because you were not aware it needed something as basic as an oil change.

What to Avoid in Inverter Generators

Do not purchase an inverter generator to power your home during an electrical outage.

Few modern homes employ so few electrical appliances that an inverter generator is appropriate, no matter what the size.

Moreover, despite that parallel capacity inverter generators allow you to generate potentially more than twice as much energy, this use is not usually advisable.

You will obviously have to invest twice as much as in a single generator, but you will also have to use twice as much fuel.

In case of a power outage, it is still generally better to purchase a standard single-phase generator.

How much fuel you’ll use will also be relevant depending on how long you need to run the generator.

People who use generators to account for potential power outages often live in rural areas where it may take hours or days before the power is fixed by the utility company.

In that case, you need a generator that can run for long periods of time on less fuel.

While inverter generators are noted for their fuel efficiency, they still require more fuel and to be fueled more regularly than other generators, because of their design limitations.

Medium-sized generators should either have a built-in transportation feature, like wheels or be able to be mounted on a wheeled cart.

Considering the power capacity limitations of inverter generators, far fewer scenarios will call for one to be used exclusively at a single site.

The only time that might occur is when noise pollution is a primary factor.

Be sure to know the difference between running watts and surge watts.

Running watts is the amount of power that a generator can consistently produce throughout its full run time.

Surge watts is the maximum amount of power the generator can push in bursts when turning on any piece of equipment.

A generator that can push 4,000 running watts will often not be as useful as one that pushes half as much if its surge wattage is too low.

Precautions

Always run a generator, whether single or triple-phase, in a well-ventilated area.

Never run one indoors or even in a garage unless it is positioned near a door or window, as generators release carbon monoxide that can make you sick or even kill you.

Never operate a generator on an uneven surface.

This can lead to the generator falling, which can result in damage to the generator or injury to a person.

This is especially relevant for inverter generators due to their expense and their likelihood to be positioned off the ground.

Do not connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring, especially via an electric outlet.

This can cause electricity to back feed into your electrical wiring as well as the power lines connected to your home.

Always ground a generator, ensure that the generator sits on a material that is not conductive.

If your generator is not grounded during use, you run the risk of electrocution.

Be careful with the fuel. It will behave differently depending on whether both it and the generator are hot.

Warm fuel expands, so do not fill the tank up all the way.

Moreover, do not refill the generator while it is still in use.

Allow the engine to cool before refueling.

Always provide at least 5’ of clearance on all side when the generator is in use, and never store the generator around any flammable vapor.

Failing to provide clearance can lead to accidents; exposure to vapors can cause a fire or explosion.

Conclusion

Inverter generators are a welcome addition to the personal generator market.

While their power capacity may not be quite as high as that of conventional generators, the best are still competitive.

Moreover, inverter generators produce a more stable electricity that is more suitable for delicate electronics.

They are also much quieter and perfect for consumer use.

Inverter generators are also far more fuel-efficient than conventional generators, though their run times are shorter.

Due to this and to the limitation on their power capacity, it is not advised you use an inverter generator to power your home in the event of an emergency.

Still, where conventional generators are too loud or unpredictable, inverter generators offer a solid alternative.

It is important to be aware that inverter generators are also far more expensive than conventional models, so you need to determine ahead of time what needs it will serve.

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