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Buyers Guide & Information

Best Inverter Generators Reviewed

Enjoy higher quality output and a quiet machine with these top brands!

by

Best Portable Option

No products found.

If you’re on the hunt for a reliable source of portable power, it’s time to start browsing the market for an inverter generator. Inverter generators are lightweight, easy to use, and nearly noiseless, making them the ultimate alternative power source of 2019 and decades to come. They are especially useful for blackouts and power outages, so having one on hand is not just about convenience, but also safety.

Although the best inverter generators all function similarly, each model is different in cost, features, and overall performance. To separate the top-rated models from the rest, this guide can help. Here we have reviewed, rated, and compared the best inverter generators that provide efficient power output and quiet operation for RV, camping, and at-home use.

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Model

Engine Type

Runtime

Check Price

No products found.

Honda EU2200i

Gasoline

4 to 9.6 hrs

Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable...

Champion 3400-Watt

Gasoline/Propane

Gas: 7.5 hrs Propane: 14.5 hrs

No products found.

Atima AY2000i

Gasoline

Up to 10 hrs

Honda EU7000iAT1 7000 Watt 120/240 Volt Super...

Honda EU7000is

Gasoline

Up to 18 hrs

Briggs & Stratton P3000 Power Smart Series...

Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000

Gasoline

Up to 10 hrs

No products found.

WEN 56125i

Gasoline

Up to 7.5 hrs

Westinghouse iGen4500 Super Quiet Portable...

Westinghouse iGen4500

Gasoline

Up to 18 hrs

Pulsar 4,000W Portable Gas-Powered Quiet Inverter...

Pulsar PG4000iSR

Gasoline

Up to 15 hrs

Generac 7129 GP3000i Inverter Generator

Generac GP3000i

Gasoline

Up to 5.8 hrs

How Inverter Generators Work

An inverter generator is very similar to a traditional generator model. It starts by producing high-voltage alternating current (AC) power. Once AC power is created, an inverter generator converts it to another form of power called direct current (DC). It then takes an extra step to convert DC power back to its AC form once again.

So why all the back-and-forth conversions? Switching from AC to DC and back again is an inverter generators way of “cleaning” the power, making it safer for your gadgets and electronics to consume.  Not only is it safer, but the power created from an inverter generator is more consistent, comparing in quality to a home’s central power system.

If you’re worried about investing in an inverter generator that isn’t powerful enough, choose one that comes with parallel capability. Paralleling a generator involves connecting two inverters for double the power output. For this to work properly, both inverters have to be identical in their wattage.


Advantages of Inverter Generators Over Regular Generators

Aside from the fact that a power inverter generator is unable to deliver power to an entire home, it's an amazing alternate source of power. It's the ideal solution for handling power outages or even just bringing along for football tailgating or a weekend camping trip.

No matter how you plan on using your inverter generator, this machine comes with a lot of advantages over regular gas-powered generators, including:

  • Truly portable machine that is easy to store and transport.
  • Better fuel efficiency since they only create the required amount of energy.
  • More protection for your valuable electronics thanks to cleaner energy.
  • Much quieter than the traditional gas generator.

Buying a High-Quality Inverter Generator

Generator Size vs. Power Needs

The first step in choosing the perfect generator is to decide on the generator size. The size of the generator you choose depends on your specific power consumption usage. For selecting the size, look at each particular model's maximum power output. This number varies across the board, but inverter generators are much more limited on power output than conventional generators.

While a conventional generator can have a max power output anywhere between 3,000 and 20,000 watts, an inverter generator is limited to 4,000 to 5,000 watts at its peak. If you're using this as a backup generator, this number is more than sufficient. To give a bit of perspective, a generator that has a power output of 4,000 watts can power 10 LED light bulbs, 4 fans, a microwave, a water heater, and a laptop all at the same time. Most people can get by perfectly with a 2,000-watt inverter generator.

Fuel Type

An inverter generator runs on fossil fuel like gasoline, diesel, or propane. Even while consuming fossil fuels, this type of generator is much more efficient than the conventional gas model. Although a conventional generator produces much more power, it also consumes much more fuel. When choosing your generator's fuel type, the most efficient type is gasoline. Gasoline is more efficient and, therefore, more money-saving than a natural gas or propane inverter generator, but it isn't quite on par with diesel.

Max Power Output

As we mentioned before, a generator’s maximum power output is measured in watts. There are two wattage values for every product, which include starting and running wattage.  The more power you plan on using, the more watts you’ll need. Most people are satisfied with a 2,000-watt inverter generator - this is more than enough if this is meant to be a backup power source. The trick is to figure out exactly how much power you need and then choose a generator based on that number.

Many buyers turn to a generator sizing guide to determine the perfect size. A source called Generator Store says that first “you have to work the amount of watts that the tools/appliances you’ll be running use, and remember that with some appliances or tools the number wattage that is listed on the appliance is not an exact representation of the amount that it takes to run it.”

Noise Level

One major advantage of choosing an inverter generator is that this type is much quieter than the conventional type. A generator’s noise level depends on how the engine is running. With an inverter generator, the engine is designed for minimal movement - which means minimal noise. A conventional gas model involves internal fuel combustion, which is the primary source of all the noise.

That said, some inverter generators make more noise than others. To choose a quiet inverter generator, the trick is to look at the noise rating provided by the manufacturer. This is measured in decibels (dB), and anything above 60dB should be avoided.

Fuel Efficiency, Runtime & Running Cost

Inverter generators are smaller on average than conventional ones, which means they contain a much smaller gas tank. Most inverters have a gas tank ranging from 0.5 to 2 gallons. A model with a larger gas tank, say 2 gallons, will be able to perform for longer than a model with a smaller tank capacity.

The main perk of choosing a generator with a small gas tank is that it is lighter in weight and more portable. Our suggestion is to choose a model that has a higher fuel capacity and longer runtime unless portability is your primary concern. In most cases, runtime and efficiency are more important than a lightweight design.

Build Quality & Durability

A generator that was built with durability in mind will be much more reliable in the long run. In the event of a power outage, reliability is a key feature. Take the Honda 2,200-watt inverter generator as an example. This device is as durable as they come with a sturdy outer casing, improved ventilation for better cooling components, and an oil drain gutter for easier generator maintenance.

Ease of Use

Using an inverter generator is fairly straightforward, but choosing a model with complete user-friendliness is still on the list of buying considerations. There are a few convenience features that can make a generator even easier to use, like a readable gas meter, low oil shut off function, and a low gas shutoff function.

Portability

Investing in a portable power source might mean something different to you than it does to your neighbor. To some, portability means that a carrying handle can easily lift the generator. For others, portability might come in the form of rolling wheels. Just remember that a highly portable generator that is small in size will have a smaller gas tank and a shorter run time.

Price & Warranty

A generator's price tag depends on many things, including the product's power output, size, ease of use, and added features. Whatever you do, try not to be turned off by a higher-than-average cost. In many cases, higher cost means more durability, better reliability, and optimal ease of use. But if you're in the market for a cheap inverter generator, there are some top-rated affordably priced models to choose from. No matter the price you pay, confirm that the product comes with decent warranty coverage.


9 Best Inverter Generators Reviewed

1. Honda EU2200i

No products found.

Best Inverter Generator (Top Pick!)

Engine Type

Gasoline

Runtime

4 to 9.6 hrs

Fuel Tank Capacity

0.95 gallons

Wattage (Starting & Running Watts)

2200W, 1800W

Noise Level

48 to 57 dB

Warranty

3 years

Wondering who makes the best inverter generator? The answer is easy: Honda. The Honda company specializes in a variety of power-producing products, and this lengthy list includes the best inverter generator on the market. The Honda EU2200i can operate a wide variety of home and outdoor appliances. It has an output of 2200 watts, which many people find to be the perfect power rating for a portable backup generator.

Reliable power is now at your fingertips with this Honda inverter generator. It offers 10% more power than the most recent Honda inverter, the EU2000i, but it still provides the same portability at the same affordable price. At the heart of the generator is the powerful GXR120 engine. While operating, this engine is whisper quiet, never exceeding 57 decibels. No more yelling or stress on your ears to hear over loud generator sounds.

The EU2200i is as efficient as it gets, and the main reason for this is the Eco-Throttle System. To conserve fuel, the generator goes into eco-mode whenever it's possible. It can run anywhere between 4 and 10 hours on one single tank, depending on the power load. It can even last through the night during a power outage. If needed, a second EU2200i generator can be connected for double the power.

“Honda's inverter technology means stable, clean power in a smaller, lighter package,”  says Honda. “The precision of Honda's inverter technology ensures our inverter generators produce power that is as reliable as the power you get from your outlets at home.”

Unfortunately, quiet operation and extreme fuel efficiency don’t come cheap. This Honda generator is costly when compared to its wattage, but most reviewers say that it’s worth every penny.

Pros

  • Long runtime
  • Lightweight & portable
  • Parallel capable
  • Eco-Throttle System

Cons

  • Low wattage compared to some
  • High cost

2. Champion 3400-Watt

Best Dual Fuel Inverter Generator

Engine Type

Gasoline/Propane

Runtime

Gas: 7.5 hrs, Propane: 14.5 hrs

Fuel Tank Capacity

1.6 gallons

Wattage (Starting & Running Watts)

3400W, 3100W

Noise Level

59 dB

Warranty

3 years

Investing in a dual fuel inverter generator, AKA a hybrid generator, allows you to use two different types of fuel. This provides more flexibility and versatility when it comes to cost, run time, and storage. Versatility is just one perk of choosing the best dual fuel model, the 3400-watt Champion inverter generator. This is the best dual fuel inverter generator for many reasons, the first of them being the powerful 192cc engine.

This inverter can run on either gasoline or propane. Gas is the standard fuel for generators, but propane is often preferred because it’s cheaper and offers longer running times. Champion dual fuel inverter generator reviews say that when connected to a 20-lb propane tank, this machine can run for up to 14.5 hours at a 25% load. Gasoline operation doesn’t have the same lengthy run time, but you’ll still get nearly 8 hours of use at a 25% load.

Just as Champion 3100-watt inverter generator reviews rave about generator durability, the same goes for the company's 3400-watt model. There's an Economy Mode setting for even better fuel efficiency, but no matter which mode you're in, you can count on the Champion to deliver clean power for sensitive electronics.

Champion says that it comes

"fully assembled with foldaway handle for easy storage and built-in handles and never-flat tires for easy transport."

Another great feature is that the dual fuel inverter is completely RV ready. Whether you plan on powering the house during a blackout or using this generator to power your RV’s appliances, it is completely ready to use straight out of the box. The only negative feedback for the Champion inverter is its slightly bulky design. It weighs just under 100 pounds, so it’s not nearly as portable as some of the models covered on our list.

Pros

  • Long run time with propane tank
  • RV ready
  • Better fuel efficiency
  • Parallel capable
  • Wheels for transport

Cons

  • Slightly bulky design

3. Atima AY2000i

No products found.

Best Portable Inverter Generator

Engine Type

Gasoline

Runtime

Up to 10 hrs

Fuel Tank Capacity

1 gallon

Wattage (Starting & Running Watts)

2000W, 1600W

Noise Level

52dB

Warranty

2 years

The Atima AY2000i portable inverter generator by Yamaha is our top pick for the best portable inverter generator. The main reason for this is the small machine size and compact construction. This 2000-watt inverter generator is all about keeping things simple with plug-and-go functionality and lightweight design. If you're looking for something small yet powerful, the AY2000i is an excellent choice.

This machine is powered by a Yamaha inverter generator engine that is protected by a sleek Japanese design. The combination of power and style is one thing that reviewers love most about this generator, but what makes this the best 2000 watt inverter generator is its portability. It comes with a sturdy carrying handle and weighs just under 50 pounds that makes it easier to transport than traditional generators.

According to the Amazon product description, the

“2000i is meant to be simple to operate. Once running, virtually anyone who can use a standard electrical outlet will be able to enjoy your generator, lasting much longer than battery-powered or propane generators.”

Even if you have no experience using inverter generators, you’ll have no trouble with operating the 2000i. This portable generator was meant to fit your lifestyle, no matter what that looks like. It is capable of powering accessories like blenders, coffee makers, computers, light bulbs, Energy Star certified refrigerators, radios, hairdryers, and microwaves. With a 52-dB noise level, it's quieter than the average household fridge. If you plan on using this for an RV, you'll need to invest in an RV adapter, which is really the only negative feature of the Atima generator.

Pros

  • Top-of-the-line Yamaha engine
  • Included tool kit
  • Ergonomic lightweight design
  • Whisper-quiet
  • Solidly constructed

Cons

  • RV adapter needed for RV use
  • Manufactured overseas

4. Honda EU7000is

Best Inverter Generator for RV

Engine Type

Gasoline

Runtime

Up to 18 hrs

Fuel Tank Capacity

5.1 gallons

Wattage (Starting & Running Watts)

7000W, 5500W

Noise Level

52 to 58 dB

Warranty

3  years

If 2, 3, or even 4000 watts just doesn’t cut it for your power consumption needs, investing in the EU7000is Honda inverter generator is your best bet. Thanks to its immensely powerful 7000-watt engine, this is the best inverter generator for RV use. Of course, it can be used as more than just an RV inverter generator, but it is the perfect solution for bringing power to a recreational vehicle.

The large design of the Honda EU7000is is capable of holding up to 5.1 gallons of gas on a full tank, which is about 5 times more than the average portable inverter generator. This high gas capacity means that the Honda can run for much longer than most generators of its class - up to 18 hours on a single tank. Its fuel-injected design allows for better efficiency and lower maintenance.

Reviews on the Honda Power Equipment website consistently rate the EU7000is with 5 stars. One reviewer says that

“this is one of the best ones on the market. It's extremely quiet, easy to use, and easy to haul around.”

Many buyers assume that hauling this machine around would be difficult (it’s heavy and bulky), but Honda has solved this issue by designing the generator with a set of transport wheels.

For its size, many users are shocked to find that this generator is ultra-quiet. It has a noise level ranging between 52 and 58 decibels, which is lower than the average decibel rating. Aside from the fact that it’s not the most portable generator on the market, the only other drawback of the EU7000is is its high price tag. This is expected for a 7000-watt generator, but you still need to decide if the high cost is worth the extra wattage - most reviewers say that it is.

Pros

  • Convenient electric start
  • Quieter than most
  • Easy monitoring features
  • Fuel-injected for less maintenance
  • Trustworthy Honda warranty

Cons

  • Bulky and heavy
  • High cost

5. Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000

Best Inverter Generator for Camping

Engine Type

Gasoline

Runtime

Up to 10 hrs

Fuel Tank Capacity

1.5 gallons

Wattage (Starting & Running Watts)

3000W, 2600W

Noise Level

58 dB

Warranty

2 years

Only true outdoorsmen (and women) consider bringing a generator along for a camping trip. Camping with a generator allows you to live the rustic life without eliminating all means of power. You'll be able to charge your phone, light your tent, even bring along your portable turntable for a fireside jam-out session.

If this sounds like the ideal way to spend a camping trip, invest in the best inverter generator for camping: the Briggs and Stratton 3000-watt inverter generator. At quarter-load capacity, the B&S generator can run for a maximum of 10 hours. It provides clean, instant power to keep appliances running, even in the middle of the forest or at a remote campsite.

The generator’s 30545s is designed for optimal fuel efficiency, minimal noise, and safe power output. It’s easy to use thanks to the recoil start and single-power control knob.

The Briggs and Stratton company says that the 

"lightweight design and quiet generator operation makes this the best backup power solution for tailgating, camping, and outdoor recreation." 

The LCD screen on the generator's control panel is a nice touch, providing a user with indications for low oil, overload, and other functionality features. There is just one thing we don't love about this generator, which is its low running wattage. Compared to other 3000-watt generators, the B&S has a lower running wattage of 2600. This isn't enough of a reason to say that the 30545 P3000 isn't worth buying, though.

Pros

  • Reduced engine noise
  • Extremely reliable
  • Easy to use control panel
  • Clear LCD screen

Cons

  • Not shippable to California
  • Low running wattage

6. WEN 56125i

No products found.

Best Value Inverter Generator

Engine Type

Gasoline

Runtime

Up to 7.5 hrs

Fuel Tank Capacity

0.7 gallons

Wattage (Starting & Running Watts)

1250W, 1000W

Noise Level

51 to 58 dB

Warranty

2 years

An inverter generator with a low power output of just 2,000 watts is still more power than many people need. For those of you who are looking for the best value inverter generator with a minimal amount of wattage, consider the WEN 56125i. This is, without a doubt, the best inverter generator for the money, and part of the reason for this is this machine's low power output of 1,250 watts. The 1,250-watt operation allows this generator to be quieter than most.

Wen, a company that has been in business since 1951, says that the

 “60cc engine operates at an extremely quiet 51 decibels (at quarter load from 22 feet away), quieter than a window air conditioner or the average conversation. This limits its invasiveness while hunting, camping, tailgating and restoring back-up power.”

The Wen's clean energy is free from spikes and dips, allowing you to power your sensitive electronics (phones, laptops, etc.) safely and reliably - you'll never have to worry about random fluctuations in power. The gas tank is small, holding up to 0.7 gallons at a time, but it still has a half-load run time of 5 hours and a quarter-load run time of 7.5 hours. There's an Eco-Mode throttle for maximizing the Wen's fuel capacity even further.

All in all, this is a great choice if you’re looking for something portable, reliable, and affordable. The 56125i won’t offer the same mileage as a 3 or 4,000-watt generator, but it gets the job done when needed. If you foresee yourself needing slightly more power than 1,250 watts, this model also comes in 2,000 and 2,250-watt options.

Pros

  • Ultimate portability
  • Variety of inputs/outputs
  • Great for sensitive electronics
  • Quieter than most
  • Eco-Mode setting

Cons

  • Difficult access to the oil tank

7. Westinghouse iGen4500

Best 4500 Watt Inverter Generator

Engine Type

Gasoline

Runtime

Up to 18 hrs

Fuel Tank Capacity

3.4 gallons

Wattage (Starting & Running Watts)

4500W, 3700W

Noise Level

52 dB

Warranty

3 years

For an inverter generator that is super quiet, super powerful, and super fuel-efficient, you'll want to go with the Westinghouse iGen4500. This is the best 4500-watt inverter generator on our list of inverter generator reviews for so many reasons. Aside from being easy to use, the iGen4500 comes will loads of added features, like remote start, RV-readiness, and an economy mode setting for better fuel efficiency. The feature we love most is the machine's remote start.

Westinghouse says that this

"is operated by key fob, adding to the convenience starting this generator from inside your home or RV. The iGen4500 also features Push Button Start on its control panel."

With this feature, there’s no longer a need to leave the house, RV, or tent to start the generator. This is an ideal solution for RVs since it comes with all the adapters that are needed for use in a recreational vehicle. It's strong enough to power all the essentials and always provides clean and safe power without fluctuations in voltage or frequency. Oh, and did we mention that the iGen4500 has a run time of up to 18 hours and a noise level as low as 52 decibels?

The only downside is that this is not a parallel capable generator. This means you won't be able to double up on power by connecting two iGen models. Parallel capability is a fairly common feature these days, but this generator doesn't allow for that. The upside is that 4,500 watts is plenty for the majority of people, so it is very unlikely that you'd need more than this.

Pros

  • Low 52-dB noise level
  • RV ready
  • Lightweight yet powerful
  • Long runtime

Cons

  • No parallel capability
  • Crowded control panel

8. Pulsar PG4000iSR

Best 4000 Watt Inverter Generator

Engine Type

Gasoline

Runtime

Up to 15 hrs

Fuel Tank Capacity

3.4 gallons

Wattage (Starting & Running Watts)

4000W, 3500W

Noise Level

63 dB

Warranty

2 years

We've covered a wide range of wattage so far - everything between 1,250 to 7,000. If you're looking for something that falls in the middle of that range, a generator with a wattage of 4,000 is just right. The best 4000-watt inverter generator is the Pulsar PG4000iSR. This model comes with a 3.4-gallon gas tank, allowing it to run up to 15 hours at half-load operation.

Similar to the iGen4500, the PG4000iSR comes with an easy-to-use remote start feature. The wireless remote start allows a user to operate the generator from more than 80 feet away. Another cool convenience feature is the electric push start. No matter if you choose to start the machine from near or far, you can do so with the push of a button.

Pulsar takes pride in all of its generator products, which is made obvious by the company’s PG4000iSR product description: 

“The PG4000iSR Portable Inverter Generator is a versatile and rugged source of alternative power for any occasion. With 4000 Peak Watts/3500 Running Watts and up to 12 hours continuous operation on just 3.5 gallons of fuel, the PG4000iSR is both a practical and powerful choice for your next outdoor event.”

One downside of choosing this 4,000-watt generator is that it is a bit on the noisy side. It’s still much quieter than a conventional gas-operated generator, but the 63-decibel noise level is high compared to other products on this list. Another negative feature is the generator’s weight. This machine nearly weighs 100 pounds, so it requires 2 people to lift. The upside is that it comes with a rolling suitcase design, so lifting the generator is only necessary on stairs.

Pros

  • Rolling-suitcase style design
  • C.A.R.B compliant
  • Parallel capable
  • Stable sine WAVE technology

Cons

  • Louder than most models
  • Heavy 92-lb frame

9. Generac GP3000i

Best 3000 Watt Inverter Generator

Engine Type

Gasoline

Runtime

Up to 5.8 hrs

Fuel Tank Capacity

1.06 gallons

Wattage (Starting & Running Watts)

3000W, 2300W

Noise Level

58 dB

Warranty

3 years

If 2,000 watts is not enough, but 4,000 watts seems like overkill, consider the best 3,000-watt inverter generator, like the Generac GP3000i. This super-quiet machine uses PowerRUSH technology that delivers over 50% more starting capacity (up to 5,500 watts). It has all the must-have features of a portable inverter generator, including an Eco-Mode setting, an easy-to-carry handle, parallel capability, and reduced sound emissions.

One thing we love about the GP3000i is the simple control panel. This is where you’ll find the PowerDial knob that offers 3 integrated settings (Choke, Run, and Off) in one easy-to-use dial. The panel is also equipped with 2 USB ports, 2 120V AC outlets, and a parallel outlet for connecting 2 GP3000i units together for double the power.

Although there is no LCD screen on this generator, the control panel comes with generator status lights that provide “visual alerts when unit is low on oil, overloaded or ready to use.”  Some users prefer monitoring updates from an LCD screen, so if that’s the case you’ll have to look elsewhere. The other downside is that you’ll have to purchase a parallel kit separately if you plan on connecting 2 generators for twice the power.

Pros

  • 3-setting PowerDial
  • PowerRush technology
  • Generator indicator lights
  • Built-in handles for transport

Cons

  • No LCD monitoring screen
  • Parallel kit sold separately

Additional Inverter Generator Features

Fuel Gauge

An inverter fuel gauge is a handy feature that allows a user to read the exact amount of fuel that remains in the tank. With an accurate fuel gauge, there’s no guesswork on how long a generator can run.

Eco-Throttle/Eco Mode

A generator that comes with an eco-throttle feature does not run the engine at a constant speed. Instead, it uses smart-throttling methods to conserve fuel whenever possible. This function can help to reduce fuel consumption by up to 40%.

Remote Start

Similar to remote starting a car, the remote start functionality in a remote start inverter generator allows you to turn the machine on from a remote location. If the generator is located outside and you're feeling overly content on the couch, simply push a button to get the generator up and running.

Parallel/Tandem Operation

Many modern generators have parallel capabilities, which means they can pair up with an identical model to double the power output. Investing in two portable, lightweight inverter generators with tandem operation is a fantastic alternative to buying a heavy and inefficient conventional generator.

Manual Fuel Shutoff Switch

A manual fuel shutoff switch is an important safety feature to look for in your new inverter generator. This allows you to turn off the fuel but also keep the engine running, which prevents damage and issues caused by stale fuel.

Low-Oil Auto Shutoff with Indicator Light

This feature helps you to keep tabs on oil and know exactly when it's time for an oil change. Not only is this a helpful safety feature, but it also helps to keep the generator adequately maintained.


Determining Power Needs - Sizing Inverter Generators

To choose a generator that is the right size for you, the first step is to determine your power needs. We're not talking about coming up with a ballpark figure for the number of watts you think you need from a generator. There is a much more accurate method for calculating your exact power usage and the generator power output that it requires.

Consumer Reports says that when going through the calculations for choosing generator size

“simply add up the wattage of everything you want to power during an outage. Before you bust out the calculator, keep in mind that some appliances—air conditioners, refrigerators, and sump pumps, for instance—draw more wattage momentarily when they're cycling on.”

A 2,000-watt generator is a solid choice if you only plan on using this device during power outages. It's lightweight, cost-efficient, and there is no installation and assembly required. It provides enough wattage to power a fridge, a few light bulbs, and maybe a phone charger. If you plan on powering anything else, you'll want to go with a higher wattage, like 3 or 4,000.


Importance of a Generator Transfer Switch

The purpose of a transfer switch is to switch over your home’s energy supply from the utility company to the backup generator. According to Mr. Electric,

 “it isolates the generator from municipal power lines to protect utility repairmen from power surges caused by backfeeding. This essential piece of safety equipment is required with all wired-in backup generator installations in all 50 states.”

There are two types of transfer switches, automatic and manual. An automatic switch is the better choice since it won’t have you fumbling around in the dark as soon as the power goes out, but a manual switch is much cheaper to install. No matter which one you choose, investing in professional installation is a must - this is by no means a DIY project since it requires electrical work.


Installing Inverter Generators

The first thing to remember when installing your inverter generator is never to use it indoors. Even though it is highly efficient, it still uses gas to operate, so indoor use is a big no-no. The generator should only run while away from the house - even porches and decks are considered off-limits.

According to Popular Mechanic’s home generator 101 guide, the next step after deciding on safe placement is to

 “run an outdoor-rated extension cord from the machine to the appliances you want to power or use a generator cord to connect to a transfer switch like this one.”

This same guide provides some helpful safety precautions, such as:

  • Never use a damaged or undersized cord.
  • Never backfeed (make an extension cord containing prongs at both ends).
  • Keep fuel stored away from the generator at all times.
  • Use a fuel stabilizer to prevent the gas from chemically degrading.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does load sharing mean in inverter generators?

Woodstock Power Company says that generator load sharing is

 “crucial to understand when attempting to parallel generators at any facility...different manufacturers’ load sharing controls may not be compatible and overloading or underloading each unit must be avoided for successful and efficient generator paralleling.”

There are several load-sharing methods, including:

  1. 1
    Cross Current Compensation
  2. 2
    Droop Load Sharing
  3. 3
    Use of Different Operating Modes
What is generator synchronization? 

“the process of matching the speed and frequency of a generator or other source to a running network.”

It is used to connect and synchronize things like voltage and frequency between a generator and a home’s power system. Without synchronization, everything would be out of whack. All modern inverter generators are equipped with an automatic synchronizer, so you won't have to do anything manually.

What does clean current mean?
Clean current is when an electrical current is free from voltage dips and spikes. When a current experiences a significant drop or spike in voltage, this is known as dirty electricity, sometimes called electrical pollution. Unlike conventional generators, inverter generators are known for delivering clean energy that is free from voltage spikes and dips. 
Do I need to ground an inverter generator?
For optimal safety, all inverter generators need to be grounded. If there is ever an excess of electricity running through it, grounding the generator will displace that energy to prevent accidents like fire or electrocution. However, most modern inverter generators already come with grounding mechanisms, so it is very unlikely that you'll have to DIY.
Is an inverter generator better than a conventional generator?
The main difference between inverter vs. generator is that an inverter is much more fuel-efficient. Another perk is that inverters are significantly quieter. It's difficult to say that one is better than the other, though - it depends on your specific power needs. Inverter generators are ideal as a portable backup power source, not for powering a whole home.
Are inverter generators safe?
Yes, as long as they are used properly, inverter generators are completely safe. Just remember never to operate a gas-powered device indoors and to always follow the manufacturer's instructions for use. The good news is that inverter generators are considered safer than conventional models since they specialize in creating "clean" electricity.
Are inverter generators expensive to run?
The initial price of an inverter generator can be costly, but the average cost to run the machine is relatively low. This type of generator is extremely efficient on fuel consumption. Still, the exact running cost depends on the type of fuel (gas, propane, or diesel), the power output, and the load that is placed on the generator at any given time.
How long can you run an inverter generator continuously?
Run time depends on the size of the gas tank and the machine’s fuel efficiency. To give some perspective, the Honda EU2200i 2200-watt generator has a run time of up to 10 hours depending on the load. In comparison, the 4500-watt Westinghouse generator can run up to 18 hours on a single tank. Longer run times are possible for generators that use propane as their main source of fuel.
How long will my inverter generator last before needing to be replaced?
If you invest in the best-rated inverter generator, like the Honda 2200-watt model, it’s possible to get 10+ years of use out of it. Cheap inverter generators are not known for their durability, so you can expect to get about 2 to 3 years out of a low-cost power inverter machine.

Conclusion

To wrap things up with the complete list of inverter generator reviews for 2019, let’s talk about the key features of the Honda EU2200i that make this the top pick for the best inverter generator. The EU2200i is quiet, reliable, parallel capable, compact, and it produces stable, clean power for up to 9.6 hours on a full tank of gas. For something more powerful, either double up on EU2200i generators or opt for a higher-wattage model, like the 4500-watt Westinghouse iGen

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