Anyone who camps regularly knows that the great outdoors are just fine until the moment you realize you need electricity. Whether you need to charge a device, run a heater or AC, power RVs, or do anything complex and really useful, a good camping generator will see you through. A quality generator will combine the mobility of camp life with the emergency-ready practicality of modern electrical technology.
Basic camping generators, best used in emergency situations and short trips, may range from $200 to $400 dollars. Larger, more advanced generators that are best used for short trips and slightly longer outings may range from $500 to $700 dollars. The most advanced, efficient, and longest lasting generators that are still practical for camping can range from $800 to $1000 dollars.
For the first item, we're starting with a heavy hitter. Champion manufactures power generation equipment for a vast array of applications, from work and emergency scenarios to camping and recreation.
Their Dual Fuel model 100263 is a compact multi-purpose generator perfect for emergency power in the case of a blackout, general camping settings, and any recreational project that requires power.
The Champion Dual Fuel is right smack in the middle of the top-grade price range for generators of this type, and thus only practical for those who need something top-of-the-line.
The Champion brand prides its products on their broad applications and advanced technologies. At just over 2 feet long and nearly 2 feet in width and height, the Champion Dual Fuel is a highly compact generator.
Additionally, while it does weigh about 96 pounds it has two 5 and a half inch solid wheels which can be pulled via a convenient handle. This makes it ideal for short to moderate hikes out to a campsite across slightly uneven terrain.
The Dual Fuel has all the features you might hope for from a generator at this price point, like an inverter for fuel efficiency, two types of fuel consumption (gasoline and propane), an electric and manual start, parallel capable with 2800-Watts or more, and four outlets.
The Dual Fuel has a 120V RV outlet, two 120V household outlets, and a 12V outlet like the one in your car, with an added adapter that allows for 2 USB devices to be plugged in. With the inverter, the Dual Fuel can safely distribute the appropriate electrical current to the various connected devices, while maintaining about 60 decibels of sound at 23 feet.
The Inverter technology also helps this generator achieve a fuel efficiency of 7.5 hours at 25% load with gasoline and 14.5 hours at 25% with propane. The Dual Fuel also comes with a 3-year limited warranty and lifetime technical support.
This generator is far and way outside the price range of most who want a basic generator for light camping purposes, as it is intended for serious long-term use and is built to be used in a wide variety of scenarios.
Other than that, there are a couple of design flaws that some customers will take issue with and some won't. The generator cannot be started with gasoline in the tank if the battery that the electric start uses to operate is dead. Despite having a pull cord for manual start, the battery needs to be charged to start this generator with gasoline.
The other issue is that the wattage may be a bit low for the price. This is because this generator was designed with compactness in mind, and to get a higher wattage out of it you would need to buy a bigger, heavier generator.
Generac got their start manufacturing home backup generators, which bank on their reliability, and have since expanded into portable, residential, commercial, and industrial generators.
The GP2200i is a blend of residential and portable use, offering the best features from both design philosophies to provide reliability and multi-functionality.
The GP2200i is sufficient for both short and medium length camping trips, sitting at about the middle of the mid-grade price range.
The GP22 is a compact and lightweight general-use engine for powering basic activities, short and medium length camping trips, and the like. It is a little under two feet in length and height and a little under a foot in width, and it is just 47 pounds.
It also has a convenient top handle for easy carrying, and the fully enclosed design reduces the noise output of the GP22 greatly seeing as the generator is not very large to begin with.
The pull start is conveniently located on the control panel, which also houses the various outlets. The GP22 has a 21V DC outlet, a 1.5amp USB outlet, and a 120V duplex household outlet. On the control panel is an easy Off/Run/Choke knob for easy startup.
The GP22 has a switch on the control panel which controls the economy mode as well, thanks to its inverter technology. The fuel efficiency of the GP22 is 10.5 hours at 25% load. The GP22 is also parallel ready, for larger tasks.
This generator is not really suitable for heavy-duty tasks, like running large AC units or other advanced appliances that require a lot of power.
Some customers have complained that this generator had an issue where it would die every so often and be difficult to restart.
Other customers criticized the overall design. One aspect, in particular, was the lack of a drain plug for the oil. You must tip the machine on its side to pour the oil out. Another was that, despite the 'enclosed design', the machine was still fairly loud.
Customers also had issues with customer service and Generac technicians, who some customers felt were unhelpful and somewhat rude.
Westingtonhouse prides itself on its long history of technological manufacturing, over 100 years worth. They manufacture all kinds of technology today and are well known for their portable generators.
The iGen 1200 is one of their smaller, more affordable models for light use in general camping and very basic emergency residential use. This generator sits near the top end of the low-grade price range, so know what you need before you expect too much from this one.
The iGen is almost identical to the GP in terms of looks and is in many ways like a cheaper, somewhat stripped version of the GP.
The iGen is designed for running essential home appliances and charging essential devices in the case of a power outage and can be used for powering some camping appliances, like a heater, if they are sufficiently small enough.
The iGen has about the same dimensions as the GP, but it's 35 pounds vs the GP's 46. Ten pounds in a camping environment is significant because every pound you carry in has to be carried out. The iGen, despite its low capacity, is the most realistic of these first three items as a deep hike appropriate generator.
However, you also need to consider gas. The iGen has a .8 gallon tank and can run at 25% load for 10 hours, which makes it useful for charging some devices and running lights, but there isn't much else a deep hike would need to power.
The iGen has one duplex AC outlet and two USB ports on its front panel. The manual pull start is located on the side, along with the On/Off switch. The iGen has a three-year limited warranty and lifetime technical support.
Much like the GP, the iGen is not really suitable for long-term or intense camping settings. It also has a similar design issue where the oil must be poured out by tipping the generator over.
Customers have complained about two major issues, both of which echoed the GP's issues. Customers had issues with the motor being difficult to keep running, and restarting after dying. In the case of the iGen, some customers reported 5 to 10 restarts before the engine would run properly.
The second issue was with customer service. Several customers found the Westinghouse customer service to be unhelpful, as well as the technical support.
Briggs & Stratton manufactures a diverse range of power supply and outdoor appliance products, with a focus on quality and reliability. The P3000 is one of their high-end personal and residential use generators, suitable for most camping and RV tasks that don't require long treks.
The P3000 is the same price as the Champion Dual Fuel, making it a top-end personal use generator and thus only practical for specific high-volume usages in camping settings.
The P3000 is a heavy duty generator for personal use in residential power emergencies, high-volume use in camping settings, and moderate RV use. It shares a few features with the Dual Fuel but lags behind in a few ways despite the identical price.
The P3000 is parallel capable like the Dual Fuel but is a 3000-Watt generator, which already puts it behind the 3400 Watt Dual Fuel. The P3000 can only use gasoline and doesn't have an electric start, either. Being a manual gasoline only isn't necessarily bad, though, as the P3000 doesn't suffer from the battery woes of the Dual Fuel.
The P3000 also has more outlets. The P3000 has 4 120v household outlets, a car-type 12v outlet and a USB port, giving it two more household outlets than the Dual Fuel. It also has a better fuel efficiency for the wattage and tank size, at 10 hours at 25% load for a 1.5-gallon tank.
As far as transport features go, the P3000 is slightly lighter and smaller and has the same basic handle and wheel type as the Dual Fuel. In terms of comfort, both generators produce the same level of sound, about 60 decibels at 23 feet. As an added comfort feature, the P3000 has an LCD display. The P3000 has a 2-year limited warranty.
This generator isn't practical for those who only need a generator for light camping applications and appliances. While it has a few features over the Dual Fuel, for the price it seems to lack a few as well, like an electric start and a higher wattage.
Customers had two major complaints. The first is about the noise. Despite the advertised 60 decibels at 25% load at 23 feet, many who tested the sound were getting 70 to 80 decibels at lower loads, even with the inverter.
The other complaint was about quality. Many simply had issues with the quality of the construction, experiencing fuel leaks and failed pull cords after only a very short time in use.
Wen has been manufacturing power supply machines and power tools since 1951, and take pride in their legacy as a dependable and consistent manufacturer of quality products.
The 56200i is a quiet, compact, and lightweight mid-grade generator for a wide range of light-use settings. At just over $400 dollars, the Wen 56 skirts the line between the mid and low-grade price ranges.
The Wen 56 is all about being lightweight, compact, and quiet while still being able to handle several different tasks satisfactorily. It shares a lot in common with the iGen in this regard, even though it is about 50 dollars more expensive.
There seems to be a trend in design for generators of this price range from low to mid, although there are a few unique designs out there. This design is popular because it is efficient and likely not patented.
Like the iGen, the Wen 56 is an inverter generator that runs on gas and requires a manual cord to start. The Wen is between the iGen and the GP22 for both price and wattage, which may inform the astute customer about what drives a major part of a given generators price. Extra features may affect price considerably, but ultimately it is wattage that decides if a generator is in the low, mid, or high-grade price range.
The Wen 56 as two 120v household outlets, a car-type outlet, and a USB port, which makes its outlet options a little more diverse thanks to the car-type 12v direct current outlet. The inverter's Eco-mod helps the fuel efficiency in this generator greatly, giving it 12 hours at 25% load on a one-gallon tank.
As for how quiet it is, Wen claims that at a quarter load the Wen 56 runs at about 51 decibels, which makes it the quietest generator on this list so far. At three-quarters of a full load, they claim that the 56 is only 55 decibels, barely louder than most generators on this list at a quarter load.
Then Wen 56 has a 2-year limited warranty and a lifetime technical support guarantee.
This generator is not suitable for intensive use in mid or long-term RV camping, mid or long-term regular camping, and for most larger appliances. It may have some utility as a backup generator for a small home.
Several customers were not impressed with the quality of this generator, citing poor exterior construction and oil leakage after only a year.
Some customers have also criticized the warranty as not offering enough coverage, forcing them to scrap their generators after a short time.
The EU1000i is manufactured by Honda, who is most well known for their cars and motorcycles. Less well-known, outside of the industry, is that Honda manufactures a large number of power supply and lawn care products.
The EU1000i is a compact, lightweight generator designed in very similar terms to the Wen 56. The major difference? The Honda is twice the price, putting it in league with the likes of the Dual Fuel and the P3000.
This is a great product to demonstrate the power that a brand has. When you think Honda, you think about one of the largest and most influential car manufacturers in the world. Everyone knows Honda, and lots of people swear by their Hondas. When that brand is associated with any products, you can bet the price will be affected.
The EU1000i is very similar to the Wen 56. They are about the same size, although the EU is lighter, and they produce about the same amount of noise at a quarter load. Both use a manual start, gas operated, and use inverter technology.
However, the Honda falls short in several areas. It has only one household outlet and one car-type outlet. It has the same fuel efficiency as the Wen, but a smaller tank. It is also a much lower wattage despite being twice the price.
Earlier we talked about how wattage directly influences the price. This product is an example of how certain factors can override that general rule and in the case of the Honda, that factor is brand.
The EU's low weight and small frame make it slightly easier to move and transport for camping purposes and for light use this would be all you need, if it weren't for the massive price tag.
As stated above, the price is way overblown for the features. You're paying twice as much as a superior product for the brand name. This generator is even lacking some features that should be standard at half the price.
Customers shave complained about oil leakage and difficulty starting. For over $700 these kinds of quality issues shouldn't be expected, and customer complaints about these issues are somewhat infrequent, but there does seem to be a concern about the general quality.
Some customers have also stated that you can find this same generator in-store for 100 to 200 dollars cheaper, which is still expensive for what it offers but is closer to a reasonable price.
Yamaha is a very popular electronics manufacturer that makes everything from TVs and motorcycles to lawn equipment and generators. They have a whole division dedicated to generators, which is where the EF2000 comes in.
The Ef2000 is a light and compact 2000-Watt generator that has some utility in light camping and RV settings. It is nearly 100 dollars more than the Honda, and suffers from the same overarching problems.
Yamaha occupies a similar space as Honda, very well known and popular, and offering a wide range of products. This kind of brand power makes the EF far above something like the Wen in price because, as we've already explored, the Yamaha brand extends a much stronger social influence to its customers than Wen does.
The EF2000 matches the Wen in wattage, at 2000 Watts, and is both pull start and gas powered. It is 44 pounds versus the Wen's 36 pounds. It is also less fuel efficient, at 10.5 hours at quarter load for a 1.1-gallon tank versus the Wen's 12.5 hours at quarter load for a 1-gallon tank.
The Yamaha is a somewhat different design than the comparable generators on this list, although it also shares some features like the rubber feet and top handle, and overall differs largely in aesthetic.
The Yamaha is almost exactly as quiet as the Wen at the same load. It has two AC 120V household outlets like the Wen, but lacks a car-type DC outlet, instead opting for a 12V DC outlet designed to charge batteries, for which it provides the necessary cables. The EF2000 lacks a USB outlet.
The Yahama does have a unique Twin Tech feature that allows the parallel set up to provide double the amps. This makes it useful for events and certain camping appliances that require 30amp generators, but you would need to spend over 1600 dollars on the generators and buy the extra cables for the Twin Tech separately.
Like the Honda, you are paying for a brand name with the EF2000. It does almost everything the Wen does, for more than twice the price. It would be suitable for light camping and RV use if it were less expensive.
Customers have complained of serious quality issues, in which the generator would stop working and need to undergo expensive repairs.
Some customers who used this engine extensively reported that after a while, the Ef2000 began to eat up oil like gas. Customers have also complained about the poor customer service provided by Yamaha.
Energizer prides themselves on production consumer-oriented power supply products based entirely in North America. They want to be able to offer the most advanced technology to consumers for the best price.
The eZV2000 is, in design terms, everything the last two engines do right for a reasonable price. It is only a little bit more expensive than the Wen 56, putting it right on the edge of the low and mid-grade price ranges.
The eZV is actually very similar in design to both the Wen and the Honda. It is about as heavy as the Yamaha, which isn't particularly heavy, and is as quiet as all three of the previous items at the same load.
The eZV is 2000 Watts, which is fairly typical at this price point and offers inverter technology, as well. The eZV uses a special dual wave inverter which controls both voltage and current for the safest multi-device use. It has the best fuel efficiency of the three, at 11.5 hours at a quarter load for a .9-gallon tank, as well.
The eZV is about the same size as the last three and has the same style of design as the Wen and Honda. It has the most outlets of the three as well, with 2 120V household outlets, a 12V DC outlet in the design of the Honda's outlets, and 2 USB outlets.
At the weight and features offered by the eZV, it seems to be suitable for light and moderate camping and RV functions, although it isn't capable of parallel use and is limited a little by that.
The eZV has a 3-year limited warranty, which is the best-offered warranty of the three, although the exact specifications of the warranty may not cover everything, as was the case for the Wen 56.
This generator isn't especially capable as a large scale or long-term outing generator, and without parallel capabilities, its function is further limited.
Several customers received generators that failed after a very short time in use, less than 40 hours in most cases. This kind of problem may be chalked up to defective units, but customers who tried to get in contact with Energizer about it had difficulty even getting a hold of a customer service rep.
The external shell is made fairly cheaply, and some customers received partially damaged generators right out of the box.
Here we have another product by Champion. Champion offers a wide range of generators for various purposes, with lots of extra features to help them stand out.
The 75531i is like a smaller residential and light utility version of the Dual Fuel. The 75531i is on the higher end of the mid-grade price range, offering good wattage for its tier.
The 75531i does a lot of the same things as the Dual Fuel and lacks several features in order to cater to a market at a lower price range. The 75531i is a slightly lower wattage and doesn't offer an electric start or propane use. For the reduced features and price, it is suitable for RV trips and somewhat comfortable for camping settings so long as the hike is short.
The 75531i is about 83 pounds, and is fairly large, making it impractical for longer hikes or smaller camping settings. However, it has a 120v RV outlet, two 120v household outlets, and a 12v DC car-type outlet like the Dual Fuel has.
It is also at about the same noise level and can change the output of its engine thanks to its inverter like the Dual Fuel can. The 75531i has 5.5 inch solid wheels and a nifty handle just like the Dual Fuel, as well.
As far as fuel efficiency goes, it can run for 8 hours at 25% load with a 1.6-gallon tank, which is slightly better than the Dual Fuel for gasoline power, but not as effective as the Dual Fuel if you look at the Dual Fuel's propane efficiency.
Like the Dual Fuel, the 75531i has a 3-year limited warranty with lifetime technical support.
This generator is impractical for light camping adventures as it is too heavy and offers too much for what would be necessary. While it has a decent fuel efficiency for its size, it doesn't compare to the smaller generators on this list.
Some customers have reported that the 2800-Watt running capacity that the generator advertises as the capacity under load is too high, and that the decibel estimation provided by champion is too quiet.
Some have experienced mix quality with their generators, although many have commented on the helpfulness of technical support.
Finally, we've come to the Atima SD1000i. Atima is dedicated to providing personal and professional generators that are sleek and modern with top-grade technology.
The SD1000i is one of their flagship budget models, offering everything you'd expect for the price point and more. The SD is similar in price to several other low-end products on this list, skirting the fence between low and mid-grade.
The SD offers all the features you might expect from a generator of this size and price. It is a pull start gas powered inverter generator with parallel capabilities.
The SD is 1000 Watts, which is about a thousand Watts less than some comparable models, but the SD has a higher startup load capacity than the industry standard, 2.5 times its wattage versus 1-2 time for most comparable models.
That means that the SD can power up and run a wider range of appliances than most comparable 1000-Watt models. The SD also offers 9 hours of runtime at a quarter load with a .7-gallon tank. It is also one of the lightest generators on this list, at just about 30 pounds.
Thanks to the fuel efficiency, size, and high startup capacity, the SD is one of the more practical generators for most forms of camping that require a generator and is more than capable of residential use as well.
At the price, despite the high startup capacity, the wattage is a bit low. This makes it impractical for most heavy duty RV camping settings and less useful for most jobs that use power tools.
Customers have complained that this generator is louder than advertised and that the exterior shell is cheaply made.
The best part about being outdoors is being able to enjoy the splendor of nature. That being said, escaping the comforts of the modern world can be difficult or impossible for many, and that's where the portable generator comes in.
Hopefully, in this article, we have been able to give you the knowledge you need to find the generator that works for you. We hope that the provided list of products steers you in the right direction so that you can have the best experience possible for the least work.