Best 10 Outdoor Electric Generators
As Of July 2022
We did the
Go Camping With The Best Outdoor Electric Generators
Do you plan a camping trip or live in an area with often power outages? These can be quite annoying since they strike unexpectedly. For instance, extreme weather events such as storms are known to cause power outages in suburban areas. And, if you live in these areas, you might be familiar with the sound of generators humming throughout the entire neighbourhood. These generators help keep the house warm in winter and cool in summer, charging your phone, power bank, and laptop when the power goes out. And you can bring along your electric cool box, too! They provide emergency backup power to get you back in action even when the whole area goes dark. Set it up by your tent on the ground or the camping table and enjoy the power of power!
But, we understand that not every homeowner has the experience to work with generators. They require a bit of technical know-how before operating them. Besides, the last thing you want is to skip over critical safety steps while setting up your generator. It can be risky. That’s why it is essential to be informed on generators and their use before choosing to buy one. So, if you are looking to purchase the best outdoor electric generator but are not sure what to look for, be sure to find all the answers you need in this article.
What are Outdoor Electric Generators?
If you have ever planned for an outing in the great outdoors during summer, you likely understand that generators are not only useful during power failures. Outdoor electric generators provide electricity by running a gas-powered engine that turns an onboard alternator to generate electrical power. The unit has power outlets to plug electric-powered tools, appliances, and extension cords into it.
A great outdoor electric generator has the potential to bring out all the differences to your outdoor activity, irrespective of how big or small it is. You can be sure to power on your music players, festive lights and even hook up an electric spit on the grill if you need to do some serious cooking.
Why do you need Outdoor Electric Generators?
Outdoor electric generators offer a wide range of uses at home, construction sites, and even while you are out on a camping trip with friends or your family. Here are a few reasons why a tremendous outdoor electric generator may make a worthy investment in and out of your home:
They are portable generators.
One of the most critical uses of generators is to provide power to tools and appliances, especially when you need additional electricity. Portable generators run on diesel, gasoline, or propane and typically have at least two electrical outlets. You can take them with you anywhere as they don’t take up too much space and have power any place you go!
They can charge an electric car.
Power blackouts not only leave most people in the dark but also pose a significant challenge to electric car owners. And if you own an electric car, you definitely can’t underestimate the importance of having a portable generator. It will ensure that you drive to work, rush to the emergency room, hit the grocery store, or at most travel elsewhere with ease and have peace of mind that you will not run out of power in the middle of your journey.
They are great for camping trips.
Do you enjoy sleeping under the stars and enjoy staying outdoors? A great outdoor electric generator can add to your camping experience with the ability to charge your phone, laptop and keep drinks cold in a mini-fridge. All you want to do is enjoy all your modern conveniences while you are out camping.
Work as a backup power source.
In the midst of cooking while the power went off? Or were you in the middle of an important meeting when the power is cut? A simple power blackout could mean no lunch or a complete work shutdown if you run a home business. Unless you have a reliable generator in your backyard, you are more likely to incur losses with your internet, PC, and printers all down due to a lack of stable power supply. And be left hungry on top of it all! But you can gain more run time with a home generator.
What to look for when buying Outdoor Electric Generators
Whether you have some essential experience with generators or you are utterly new to this equipment, you should keep in mind different specifics when shopping around for the best outdoor electric generator. Not all generators will be a great addition to your home if you don’t make the proper selection out of the dozens the market offers. So, you should be on the lookout for these factors before buying your next outdoor electric generator:
1. Power Supply/Production
It is essential to keep in mind what you want to use your generator for. Whether you want the generator to power large lightning rigs and construction equipment or work with your TV at a tailgate, the amount of power the outdoor electric generator produces is very critical.
2. Energy/Power Source
Did you know that every generator has its energy source unique to the purpose it serves? While many generators will use regular gasoline (the same gasoline you buy at a fuel pump), a handful might run off diesel or propane.
Diesel is more expensive than regular gasoline and often burns longer to give you more energy per gallon. But, diesel engines require additional maintenance and are known to create a unique odour. So, whichever energy source you end up picking, keep in mind how your outdoor electric generator creates the energy.
Before deciding on a generator, consider its size and weight. Be sure to buy a piece of equipment that you can freely move without any inconveniences. For instance, if you are working with a team and maybe have a vehicle, you can consider a more significant generator. Otherwise, go with something smaller that you can carry on its own for better mobility. But, size might not be a big deal for home purposes, especially if you can have the generator installed in your backyard.
4. Noise Level
When you are looking for the perfect generator, make sure you pick one that isn’t too loud but keep in mind that they are not super quiet. If the decibels are high, then your neighbours might be annoyed. Also, a low noise level will ensure that you will get a good night’s sleep if you decide to bring the generator on your next camping trip. In any case, a loud generator will pose a problem not only for you but for the people around you. So, pick wisely while checking the decibel levels.
Price is undoubtedly one of the most important things you need to keep in mind to stay within your budget. Typically, the price point will often affect the amount of energy the generator produces and the length of time it will last -- just a general guideline. The last thing you want is to overpay for a generator that provides more power than what you’ll ever need or go for an inexpensive generator that does not power the equipment you want to run. Therefore, we highly recommend going for the best outdoor electric generator you can afford while keeping a keen eye on one that will precisely fit your needs.
What are the types of outdoor electric generators available?
You can go one of four ways when looking for the best outdoor electric generator for your home. And while there are different types of generators, each type should undergo similar generator maintenance for long-term usability. Besides, care safety precautions need to be adhered to reduce the dangers or hazards posed by the operation of the generators. Here are the four types of home safes available:
Home Standby Generators
As some of the most powerful generators, they are permanently installed and connected to a home with systems that monitor power supplied by a utility and start automatically in cases of power outages. They typically give more power (roughly 5000 to 20000 watts) than any other type of generator.
It is highly recommended that a home standby generator should be installed by an experienced electrician who can help with municipal permits, proper location, and noise restrictions. Luckily for you, you have the choice of fuel -- like propane which is less risky to store than gasoline required for the other types, or natural gas, which offers an unlimited power supply.
These are sometimes referred to as backup or gas generators. They are used to provide temporary power when and where it is needed. Of course, you should know that some are more portable than others. For example, the smallest models can easily be picked up and carried with wheels and a handle for easy mobility.
They also have standard ac outlets on the front control panel where you can directly plug appliances or power tools. Moreover, most models have a twist-lock plug that can provide up to 240 volts and power circuits in a home via a manual transfer switch.
The best portable generators typically run on gasoline that you may be required to store in large quantities -- a stabilizer must be added to your fuel for more extended storage. And while you can use these generators anywhere, avoid using them in an enclosed space. They can quickly produce harmful levels of carbon monoxide, and we advise that you always run a portable generator some meters away from your home and direct the exhaust away from your home or any other structure.
While they are typically portable, we choose to classify them under their category since they are technically different from other generators.
They provide 120-volt or 240-volt AC power and generate AC like most generators. But, the AC is converted to DC (Direct Current) and then inverted back to AC. Circuitry acts as a filter, controls the conversion and inversion, flattens surges, and cleans up the electrical current's pure sine wave (oscillating wave). These models have more complex engines and tend to cost more than the traditional portable generators of comparable output.
Portable inverter generators are less noisy than their conventional counterparts since they throttle up and down to match demand rather than run at full power all the time. Additionally, they run more efficiently and generate fewer escaped gas. But be sure to keep in mind all the same safety precautions involved with portable generators while working with these inverter generators.
Portable Power Stations
Unlike the other models, portable power stations don’t use propane or gas. Instead, they are powered by a battery; usually, a lithium battery can be charged by plugging into an electrical outlet, or at times, have an included solar panel. Hence the name “solar generators”. Relatively new in the market, these devices are super quiet as they have no engine.
The most common downside of portable power stations is the inability to power as many appliances or run them for an extended run time. This is because they don’t have much power and can’t keep running without being recharged with electricity or solar power. Ideally, think of these power stations as a large battery pack for your cell phone. Besides, you can use them indoors because they don’t produce fuel emissions/carbon monoxide.
How many watts do you need to power your house?
Generators are sold by power output measured in watts. Different types of generators deliver different amounts of power with high regard to their quality and consistency. The amount of ac power determines how many lights and appliances you can run at once.
Ideally, a typical home needs about 5000 to 7000 watts to power on essential items. You can choose to list down the things you don’t want to go without in case of a power blackout and add up their most miniature watts to get you up as usual. In addition, ensure that you determine which AC outlets and appliances are controlled by each circuit breaker in your control panel and label them appropriately. This should not cause you headaches when you can get yourself a digital circuit breaker online or any electrical store in your neighbourhood.
To effectively determine your needs, sum up the wattage of the items you would like to run simultaneously to get the number of continuous or running watts your generator should supply. You will then have to select the most significant number of starting watts assigned to the items you wish to use. Lastly, be sure to total these two numbers to find out the amount of power (watts) to meet your needs in the event of a power cut. This way, you’ll make sure you get a powerful enough watt portable generator to cover all your needs!
How much should you spend on Outdoor Electric Generators?
The amount you should spend on the best portable electric generators dramatically varies with the type, features, size, and purpose which the generator is meant to serve. Most importantly, ensure that you are not cutting costs on essential elements because you will likely end up with a generator that can’t sustain your needs. Likewise, avoid shelling out money for a heavy-duty portable generator when you only use it on rare occasions while camping. Check out these three categories to figure out the different price ranges of outdoor electric generators:
Affordable Outdoor Generators
A portable backup unit requires less money upfront, unlike a large, permanently installed standby generator. You can get the cheapest outdoor generator to get you back in action in the event of a blackout, for about £150 to £500 versus up to five figures for standby power.
High-end Outdoor Generators
On the high-end, you would expect most home standby outdoor generators to cost more than any other type of generator out there. On average, high-end generators cost around £500 and more. These are usually quiet and have extra features with more ac outlets to help you power your next outing without hassle.
One of the best outdoor electric generators can be a great addition to homes, job sites, or while out on a camping trip. There are plenty of types to choose from. Ensure that you are only picking on the best electric generator to meet your needs. And if you are aiming for extra portability, pick one with a wheel kit!
Whether you are a novice, have basic knowledge, or an expert with generators, this guide has all the answers and everything you need to know about the best outdoor electric generators. We cover the ins and outs, factors to look out for, types, wattage and amp, and how much you should spend on the best outdoor electric generator. Don’t be caught off guard the next time power goes out in your home.