What is the best portable generator

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,006
Sand Lake, NY
The circulators have efficient ECM motors and consume a max of 60 watts each. My theory is that it's probably a heavy duty ignitor.
 

Bioburner

Moderator
Aug 4, 2012
7,317
West central Mn
Fill it up with non booze fuel and a bit of stabil and hope you never need it except to make for more comfortable camping.
 

yrock87

Member
Aug 26, 2014
165
Fairbanks, AK
Fill it up with non booze fuel and a bit of stabil and hope you never need it except to make for more comfortable camping.
How long does the ethanol free fuel last?
 

Bioburner

Moderator
Aug 4, 2012
7,317
West central Mn
My motorcycles,mowers seem to do ok with it and a bit of stabil for 5 plus months
 

chken

Minister of Fire
Dec 7, 2013
1,136
Maine
It looks like my new pellet boiler uses around 1300 watts or so when starting up (igniting). Is that similar to a pellet stove? No option for me to start up without electric ignition, I believe. Not much required once lit though. I'll have to use the juice from the Honda 2000i carefully when the boiler is igniting.
My stove uses 300 watts when igniting, and around 100 watts when running. The blower is what uses the most electricity when it's running, the
I mean... it uses only a third of a gallon of fuel @ full load. How great is that? My father laughed at me when I was talking to him about power backup. He has some large Kohler whole-home propane unit. Propane is a proor backup method because it absolutely chews through fuel (ie... efficiency is poor compared to other fuel sources) and it requires much higher overall maintenance to keep right. Guess whose generator currently needs to be serviced??
Okay, I must be doing something wrong! I've only changed the synthetic oil and filter on my standby propane GE wholehouse generator, annually. Changed the plugs and air filter once too. Anyhow, I've had the unit several years now with no issues whatsoever. Maintenance has been totally minimal.
 

Wilbur Feral

Minister of Fire
Aug 24, 2014
600
Eastern Pennsylvania
How long does the ethanol free fuel last?
Ethanol-free fuel is hard to find in our area, so I've stopped worrying about it. I just fill up in November-December before a big storm, put regular (red) Stabil in immediately, and have yet to have a problem from gas stored at least 8-9 months. I keep about 38 gallons in storage plus 9 in the gen, as we can lose power for a week here (usually the last folks restored due to location on a small branch of the grid). So if we regain power right after I have replenished that supply, I can have a lot of gas on hand for months.

We had our last outage in Feb as I recall, so the gas in the gen has been in there since then, and it still starts up on first crank with the monthly test. I also use leftover gas in various small engines from chainsaw to weed whacker to blower to riding mower, with zero problems all summer and into fall if we have few summer outages. I finally got rid of the last of this winter's gas this week, in our cars - with zero issues. Stabil is great stuff!
 

TonyVideo

Feeling the Heat
Feb 20, 2014
457
Rushville, IN
Love my Honda eu2009i. Harman approved battery backup that bursts the exhaust lasts plenty for me to crank up the Honda. I put an extended 6 gallon marine tank on it and I get 30-40 hours on the combined 7 gallons. Never a problem. Reliable Honda & Harman (I have 2). Also run lights, TV and fridge. I usually keep an additional 10 gallons on hand. Bring on the blizzard.
 

moey

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2012
1,455
Southern Maine
Ethanol-free fuel is hard to find in our area, so I've stopped worrying about it. I just fill up in November-December before a big storm, put regular (red) Stabil in immediately, and have yet to have a problem from gas stored at least 8-9 months. I keep about 38 gallons in storage plus 9 in the gen, as we can lose power for a week here (usually the last folks restored due to location on a small branch of the grid). So if we regain power right after I have replenished that supply, I can have a lot of gas on hand for months.

We had our last outage in Feb as I recall, so the gas in the gen has been in there since then, and it still starts up on first crank with the monthly test. I also use leftover gas in various small engines from chainsaw to weed whacker to blower to riding mower, with zero problems all summer and into fall if we have few summer outages. I finally got rid of the last of this winter's gas this week, in our cars - with zero issues. Stabil is great stuff!
Often the local airport will have ethanol free gas thats about the only place you can find it around me usually higher octane. Its a big stink about nothing in my opinion. Ive never had a problem with ethanol gas and have left it in some yard tools and my boat for years and they still ran. I usually run the carb dry though which I think makes a big difference.

http://pure-gas.org/
 

EJL923

Minister of Fire
Oct 29, 2009
580
Western Mass
I think i can add quite a bit to this conversation. I went through this when we had that October snowstorm and lost power for 7 days. I had no generator at the time, but did need power for my insert. i had a small inverter (200w) i could run off my car. it kept us warm, but couldnt run a fridge and we lost our food. I hated running the car at idle for a long time. In the cold moisture seemed to build up in the exhaust and idling the car for a long time is just overall not a good idea. In an emergency great, but not recommended.

I wanted a cheap solution to run the fridge and stove. After seeing my coworkers burn through $70 worth of gas a day on large generators, i just wanted something fuel efficient for those extended emergencies. Dont get me wrong, a large generator would be nice, but its just me my wife and the dog and we can get my without all of the luxuries a whole house gen would bring.

Anyhow to get to the OP's question. I bought a Honda EU2000, awesome generator. Dont skimp here, you can get them for a few hundred bucks more than the competition and its worth it. One thought about those cheap harbor freights, they are just that. That was my first solution after the power outage. I figured for $100 bucks why not. After about 7 hours of use, it wouldn't produce electricity anymore. Engine ran, but no juice. Called it a loss, moved on and bought a honda.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Skinn and briansol

TheRambler

Feeling the Heat
Jul 29, 2014
478
CT
Only issue with ethanol fuel is it can be harsh on fuel lines or any other non metal part it makes contact with for a long duration. It can cause lines and seals etc to become brittle and crack or otherwise accelerate deterioration . Not a huge concern unless its sitting there for months on end. Best practice is to use an ethanol fuel treatment product and to run your carb dry. You should have no issues if you do that.
 

Skinn

Member
Oct 8, 2008
82
NY
I think i can add quite a bit to this conversation. I went through this when we had that October snowstorm and lost power for 7 days. I had no generator at the time, but did need power for my insert. i had a small inverter (200w) i could run off my car. it kept us warm, but couldnt run a fridge and we lost our food. I hated running the car at idle for a long time. In the cold moisture seemed to build up in the exhaust and idling the car for a long time is just overall not a good idea. In an emergency great, but not recommended.

I wanted a cheap solution to run the fridge and stove. After seeing my coworkers burn through $70 worth of gas a day on large generators, i just wanted something fuel efficient for those extended emergencies. Dont get me wrong, a large generator would be nice, but its just me my wife and the dog and we can get my without all of the luxuries a whole house gen would bring.

Anyhow to get to the OP's question. I bought a Honda EU2000, awesome generator. Dont skimp here, you can get them for a few hundred bucks more than the competition and its worth it. One thought about those cheap harbor freights, they are just that. That was my first solution after the power outage. I figured for $100 bucks why not. After about 7 hours of use, it wouldn't produce electricity anymore. Engine ran, but no juice. Called it a loss, moved on and bought a honda.
This is the thought process that led me to buying my Yamaha! Very happy with it and it meets my needs just fine.
 

EJL923

Minister of Fire
Oct 29, 2009
580
Western Mass
Cant say anything bad about yamaha, i researched them as well and seemed to have just as many happy customers. I teetered on both, but Honda was more readily available to me and found one at a great price.
 

Curtis Morman

New Member
Jun 30, 2015
1
Toronto
Well it depends on a lot of questions whether you have the adequate spacing to place the generator or whether you will be comfortable in maintaining the generator. We had bought a Generlink portable generator( http://www.theshockdoctors.ca/electrician-services/standby-generators/portable-generators/ )for our house at Orillia last year because we had faced acute shortage electricity for a period of 5 days and it was not a pleasant experience. It allows almost anything to run on it without any connection issue and also came with a 7 year warranty. We haven’t face any issues as such till date so if you ask me, I would recommend it.
 

DougA

Minister of Fire
Dec 13, 2012
1,938
S. ON
This is an older thread but I did notice an earlier question on Hyundai inverter generator. I bought 2, a 1000W and a 2000W. I sold both within a year and would not buy them again. One had to be returned to the store for a carb rebuild and the other should have gone with it. I used only hi test gas. The power output was fine but not reliable to start when you needed it.
I bought a Honda 2000i and very happy. I wish I could have bought the 1KW but it will not power a 120v skillsaw or equivalent under a heavy load.
 

Arti

Feeling the Heat
Feb 14, 2014
385
South West Wisconsin
It's not a one size fits all world for sure.
I have a 6500 watt generator and have used it for years. Works great however it consumes fuel at rate that would put a Mack truck to shame.
Was at a garage sale one day and they had a 1500 watts Champion sitting there for 50 bucks guaranteed not to run so I bought it.
Took it home dumped the Water out of the Gas Tank put fresh gas in it and fired it up.
Hooked it to a Pellet stove and it works fine.
Wouldn't want to run the big generator over nite So Much noise any neighbor within 5 miles won't get any sleep and would need a gas tanker attached to the gas tank to make it thru the nite.

Little Generator will run a couple of lights and any heat source in the house on a couple gallons of fuel and is quiet enough that you don't notice it's running. Which is a good thing.
I put an outlet in the hallway that just goes to a cord outside sort of like a permanent extension cord so if the power goes out we plug in the generator outside and have one outlet with power inside we just run an extension cord to the pellet stove and plug in a lamp this takes care of heat and lights. Doesn't need any special wiring because it's not attached to the fuse box.

Here's the problem with the little generator We are in the country with a 220 volt well system without a decent sized 220 v generator we don't have water!

The big generator is hooked to the main panel we get up in the morning and dump in a half gallon of fuel and that will run the refrigerator and pump the pressure tank full of water, sort of an automatic thing when it runs out of gas it shuts itself off! at nite another half gallon of fuel and we are set for the nite. The longest we have been without power is 8 days, Most of the time it is a few hours once in a while it will be a day or a day and a half at the most.

Anyone living in town wouldn't have to deal with the water situation and we could easily get by for a long time without water, Snow in the bathroom ceramic keeps things fresh
Put perishable food in cardboard boxes and set them in snow or in garage etc. takes a bit of work but will save it. so the little gen would be all we need but running water and not having to move food out of the refig is nice.

Almost forgot the point of all this rambling , Evaluate what your needs are before U buy a generator If all u want is heat and lights buy small, if you have a need to run more then buy bigger. just be safe.
 

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,437
Nova Scotia
Said this many times before - but in an extended outage here (next to the middle of nowhere), the priority is not enough juice to run everything, but rather how long can I go on a gallon of gas when I need the juice. I've seen some friends & neighbours go from all happy as heck to a wreck of nerves & frustration from start to end of a long power outage with their big gennies.

I sold a very nice working 5500/8500 Craftsman genny the fall before last, and replaced it with a 3000w Lifan inverter model. Haven't had to use it much since, but it works like a top, gives us enough juice to run everything we need, uses very little fuel - and was very reasonably priced. Home Depot sells them.

As far as 'best' goes though - I would have to say Honda or Yamaha. I would have likely gone with a Honda if we were a regular genny user. And if we were really dependant on one for many long outages, I would likely have gone diesel connected to a big fuel tank.
 

tiger

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2014
346
Seabrook, MD (DC suburbs)
...playing with fire; have had a "portable" (193LB is portable?) Generac for a year, still in box.

Then you'll have to chain your running car down to the ground to prevent it from being stolen
Doesn't everyone? ;lol
 

notshubby

Member
Mar 26, 2015
139
constantia ny
all I have is an older generac 5000w saw it for sale on cl about 5 years ago advertised at 75 bucks with seized up motor. got there took a look at it gave it a half hearted pull liked what I felt offered him 50 bucks. took it home untangled the rope in the recoil cleaned carb fired right up. haven't lost power for more than an hour or so since. go out about once a year start it let it run for a while. I just drained off the gas for the second time and replaced with new. this time I put stabil in it but if it goes 2 or 3 years without being used ill still drain it off and put fresh in.
 

michpelletburner

New Member
Oct 29, 2014
53
Davisburg,MI
I have a 9k generac that i purchased a few years ago, i have it wired into my panel with a plug outside. Works great powers everything including the stove without a hitch( everything electronic is on monster power surge stripes just incase). I did add a battery tender to it to keep the battery charged, and i keep it full and use marine stabil that helps with the ethanol, but it usually gets used every couple months so the gas is fresh.
 

rona

Minister of Fire
Apr 2, 2008
1,015
southwestern Minn
Do you use the generator for other stuff?
I have a Honda eu2000 that I have owned for 10 years. I use it for powering electric chain saws as well as power when we are camping. It has been used for charging batteries on my boat as well as running a corn stove. I use 10-30 Mobile one oil in it as well as adding Sea-Foam to the ethynol gas. I try to run it at least every other month if possible. I guess I am sold on Honda products as I have 4 small engines and have had no problem with any of them.
 

DougA

Minister of Fire
Dec 13, 2012
1,938
S. ON
The OP is asking about 'portable'. Some of the answers here are not portable in any typical sense of the word. Even the Honda eu2000i I own is tough enough to haul around, especially when the power is out.