In our modern and interconnected society, the one thing that is in every increase demand is power. Sadly, power is not always available when and where it is needed. This is exactly the reason for the portable power generator.
Inexpensive power, on demand for a wide range of uses, from charging electronics to handling heavy duty construction tools. Power generators can supply the power the moves the world. There are plenty of power generators on the market but many manufacturers here in the United States have a long standing history of producing excellent and high quality generators. From compact units to large standby units, generators with the “Made in the USA” label are second to none.
Getting the Right Generator
There are two basic generator concepts, the standard generator and the inverter generator. Inverter generators are small and compact and are great for personal excursions such as camping trips, tailgating and anywhere where power is needed. However, they tend to be more expensive on a per watt basis and usually have to be used in parallel to provide large amounts of power. They are more efficient and produce clean power for modern electronic devices such as tablets and laptops but again require a significantly larger investment.
The standard generator, while not as compact or as quiet as an inverter generator produces a wide range of power and can produce more power per dollar than an inverter. Given their larger ranges, they are great for home backup power or power generation around the home. Although some standard generators are small and compact enough to be used for camping, it all depends on the specific model.
When considering purchasing a generator, consider the roles planned for a generator. A home backup generator or one used for emergency power needs to handle all the appliances that will need servicing and purchase one of the appropriate wattage range. For those primarily interested in camping and perhaps charging devices, not as much power is needed and portability is maybe more important.
Five Quality, Made in the USA Generators
Top 250cc Gas Powered Portable Generator
Briggs and Stratton has been a leading name in outdoor power equipment for generations and it is only logical that they also add a power generation line. This generator – Briggs & Stratton Model #30466 3,500 Watt Generator offers 4,375 Watts of surge capacity and 3500 Watts of continuous power generation. It has circuit breaker protection and rubber covered outlets to keep the elements out.
This unit has two standard AC outlets and one twistlock outlet for 120/240 Volts. In addition, the 4 gallon tank offers 8 hours of run time at half load. This is a great portable generator for home backup power or job site needs.
Best Gas Powered Portable Generator
The Briggs & Stratton Model #30467 5000 Watt Generator is a larger version of the 466 with surge capacity of over 6,000 watts. This gives this generator plenty of power to handle surge appliances such as freezers and refrigerators. It has 4 standard AC outlets and 1 twistlock 120/240 Volt outlet to handle a range of needs. The outlets are covered by a rubber flap to keep out the elements and all circuits are circuit breaker protected.
The larger tank of the 467 gives 10 hours of run time at half load. This is an great emergency backup generator or a portable generator to handle large power demands like pressure washers.
Top Portable Gas Generator USA made
Generac is another leading manufacturer of power generation equipment and has a wide range from portable such as the GP5500 to large, industrial/commercial units. The Generac Model #GP5500 5500 Watt Generator is a general purpose, meaning it can handle a range of jobs at home or on the construction site. It has a surge capacity of 6,780 Watts and a continuous power generation of 5500 Watts. It has multiple outlets, 4 standard AC outlets and one twist lock 120/240 Volt.
In addition, it has a low oil sensor to warn against low lubrication to prevent unit damage. Each circuit is circuit breaker protected and it has a run time of 10 hours at half load. This is a great workhorse of a generator for home use or for anywhere power is needed.
Best Portable Generator for the Money
This US made generator is among the most quiet on the market for the portable, standard generators. This unit, Milbank Model #MPG70002E 7,000 Watt Generator has a special baffle on the muffler to help prevent noise generation. It has 8500 Watts of surge capacity and 7000 Watts of continuous power generation. It also has a hour meter and is electric start.
This means no more backbreaking trying to use a recoil starter. There are 4 standard AC outlets and 1 120/240 Volt twist lock for larger demands. There is also a main circuit breaker for protection and the unit has voltage regulation for clean power.
Best Portable Generators Made in USA
This fully CARB compliant generator has 9375 Watts of surge capacity and 7500 Watts of continuous power generation. It is electric start and has four standard AC outlets and one 120/240 Volt twist lock outlet. The Champion Model #41537 9375 Watt Generator has full overload protection, circuit breaker protection and voltage regulation for clean and stable power. It comes with a two year warranty and is backed by a lifetime of technical support.
This is an excellent generator that will handle a variety of uses, including sump pumps and more, while still providing stable power for modern electronics.
Safety is paramount, so make sure to never fuel a hot or running generator. Allow 30 minutes of downtime before refueling. Make sure to check all fluid levels before using and never store a generator with fuel onboard as the fuel will degrade over time causing engine problems.