Power outages are an unpredictable and often frustrating reality of modern life, with U.S. electricity consumers averaging seven hours of interruptions in 2021 alone. As extreme weather events continue to challenge our electrical grids, being prepared for temporary blackouts is more important than ever.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide you with essential tools and supplies to navigate through any power outage situation along with a curated list of the best portable generators on the market today.
- Power outages are becoming increasingly common due to extreme weather events, high demand for electricity, and human errors.
- Essential tools and supplies such as emergency kits and portable generators can help navigate through blackouts.
- The best portable generator for you depends on factors like wattage output, fuel type, size and weight, noise level, and safety features.
- Gas-powered generators are the most common type but emit carbon monoxide while solar-powered ones offer an eco-friendly alternative that is rising in popularity. Dual-fuel generators provide greater flexibility in fuel options during emergencies.
Common Causes Of Power Outages
Storms, fallen trees, animal interference, human errors in power plants or transmission lines, and high demand for electricity during peak periods are some of the most common causes of power outages.
As a homeowner, I’ve experienced firsthand the frustration and inconvenience of power outages caused by storms.
During these events, strong winds can topple trees onto power lines or cause branches to break off and damage equipment. In some cases, even just heavy snowfall accumulating on wires can result in overburdened power systems shutting down.
When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in 2012, millions were left without electricity for days – an unwelcome situation that led many people to invest in portable generators as a backup energy source during future storm-related outages.
Trees are often the culprits behind power outages, creating disruptions that can last for hours or even days. They can cause blackouts in several ways, such as breaking overhead lines due to storm damage or limbs falling on electrical equipment.
To prevent power interruptions caused by trees, it’s essential to engage in proper tree management around your home and neighborhood. This includes regular trimming of branches near power lines and removing any risky trees that pose threats to electrical infrastructure.
By being proactive about tree maintenance, you not only increase the reliability of your local electrical grid but also ensure a steady flow of electricity during storms or other situations where trees might become hazardous.
Although it may seem surprising, animals can be a significant cause of power outages. Squirrels, birds, and even larger mammals like raccoons or deer can damage electrical equipment or lines, leading to blackouts.
To protect your home during these incidents, investing in a portable generator is essential. Whether you choose the best overall option like the Honda EU2200i or an eco-friendly choice such as the Jackery Solar Generator 1000 PRO, having backup power ensures that your family stays safe and comfortable when wildlife interferes with your electrical grid.
Sometimes, power outages are caused by human error. This can include construction workers accidentally damaging underground cables or homeowners inadvertently causing damage to power lines while trimming trees.
Even something as simple as a car accident can knock out power to an entire neighborhood. These types of incidents can lead to significant financial loss and pose a danger to lives, particularly for those who rely on medical equipment that requires electricity.
High Power Demand
During times of high power demand, such as during heatwaves or extreme weather conditions, the electrical grid can become overloaded and cause blackouts.
This is why it’s important to have a backup power option like a portable generator in case of an outage. Portable generators with high wattage output are crucial for running appliances such as air conditioners, space heaters, and refrigerators during extended outages.
It’s also important to consider fuel storage and type when choosing a generator for high power demand situations – gasoline and propane generators are popular choices due to their availability and reliability.
How To Prepare For A Power Outage
Gathering emergency supplies is crucial when preparing for a power outage, including items like non-perishable food and water, first aid kits, battery-operated radios, and flashlights.
As someone who has experienced power outages before, I know firsthand how critical it is to be prepared for emergency situations. In addition to having a portable generator, there are several other essential items that you should keep on hand in case of an outage.
Surge protectors, uninterruptible power supplies, and USB battery packs can help ensure that your electronic devices stay charged during prolonged blackouts.
It’s also important to consider entertainment options during extended power outages. Board games offer hours of fun and don’t require electricity or batteries to play. When stocking up on emergency supplies, remember that preparation is key – having these items readily available ahead of time can make all the difference when the lights go out unexpectedly.
Backup Power Options
One of the most important preparations for power outages is having backup power options in place. These can range from small USB battery packs to whole-house generators, depending on your needs and budget.
For short-term outages, a portable generator like the Honda EU2200i or Wen 56235i can provide enough power to keep your essential devices running until the grid comes back online.
For longer outages or off-grid living, a solar-powered generator like the Jackery Explorer 1000 or Ecoflow Delta may be more appropriate. It’s important to consider factors such as fuel type, wattage output, and portability when choosing a backup power option that works for you.
Types Of Portable Generators
Learn about the different types of portable generators available, including gas-powered, dual-fuel, and solar-powered options. Discover what factors to consider when choosing a generator to ensure you have the backup power you need during an outage.
One of the most common types of portable generators is the gas-powered generator. These generators run on gasoline and are ideal for powering appliances or tools during power outages.
Gas-powered generators vary in size, wattage, and noise level, making them suitable for different needs. For example, smaller generators are perfect for camping trips or RVs while larger ones can power entire homes during blackouts.
It’s important to note that gas-powered generators emit carbon monoxide, so they should never be used inside a home or enclosed space without proper ventilation.
If you’re looking for a generator that offers greater flexibility, then a dual-fuel generator might be the perfect solution. These generators can run on either gasoline or propane, giving you more options when it comes to fueling them up.
For example, if gasoline prices skyrocket or there’s a shortage of gas in your area, you can switch to propane without missing a beat.
One great example of a high-quality dual-fuel generator is the Westinghouse iGen4500DFc 4500 Watt Portable Inverter Generator. With its powerful engine and eco-mode switch feature, this portable generator delivers highly efficient power that you can depend on during power outages or other emergencies.
Solar-powered generators are rising in popularity as a reliable and eco-friendly solution for power outages. Unlike gas or propane generators, solar generators produce power from sunlight, making them a clean and renewable energy source.
Adding a battery storage system to your solar generator can increase its output and reliability during prolonged power outages. With the right setup, you can also use your solar generator to power small appliances or electronic devices while camping or living off-grid.
If you’re considering a solar-powered portable generator, factors to consider include battery capacity, portability, charging speed, expandability, number of ports, car charging capability, and warranty.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A Portable Generator
When choosing a portable generator, there are several factors to consider such as wattage, fuel type, size and weight, noise level, and safety features.
When choosing a portable generator, it is important to understand the wattage required for the devices you need to power or charge. Wattage refers to the amount of power needed to operate an electronic device.
For example, a cell phone charger requires around 5-10 watts while a refrigerator requires 500-800 watts.
It’s critical to choose a generator with sufficient wattage output for your needs without overloading it. Overloading can damage your equipment and potentially cause fires or other safety hazards.
Understanding wattage needs also allows you to prioritize which devices are essential during an outage and provide adequate backup power for those devices.
The type of fuel your portable generator uses is an important factor to consider when choosing a backup power source. Gasoline generators are the most common and least expensive, but they require frequent refueling and can emit harmful fumes.
Diesel generators run more efficiently and can be used in harsh conditions, making them ideal for outdoor use. Natural gas generators are inexpensive and burn clean, making them a popular choice for those concerned about air pollution.
Dual-fuel generators offer flexibility by running on gasoline, diesel or natural gas, allowing you to choose the most cost-effective option based on availability in your area.
Size And Weight
Choosing the right size and weight of a portable generator plays a crucial role in ensuring that it can provide enough power during an outage while still being easy to transport.
The size and weight of portable generators vary depending on their type, fuel source, and dimensions. Inverter generators are smaller and lighter, making them ideal for powering sensitive electronics during power outages.
For example, the Champion Power Equipment 2000 Watt Portable Inverter Generator weighs only 48 pounds, making it easy to move around. On the other hand, larger conventional generators like Ryobi 6500 Watt Portable Generator weigh about 190 pounds but can power more appliances simultaneously and run longer hours in eco-mode with an efficiency boost feature.
As you search for the best portable generator to meet your power needs, it’s important to consider noise level. Most generators produce an average of 50-60 decibels of sound, similar to a quiet conversation or background music.
However, some models boast ultra-quiet operation with noise levels as low as 42 decibels. For example, the Wen Portable Inverter Generator and Jackery Solar Generator 1000 PRO are two great options if you prioritize minimal noise disturbance.
It’s also essential to keep in mind that not all situations require optimal quietness – a moderate sound level may be acceptable when powering tools on a construction site or providing emergency backup during a widespread power outage.
When considering where to use your generator, always prioritize safety over convenience – never run your generator inside your home or an enclosed area where carbon monoxide can build up quickly.
As you prepare for power outages, it is crucial to prioritize safety when using a portable generator. Generators should never be operated inside the house or enclosed space, as carbon monoxide can build up quickly and cause poisoning.
To prevent this danger, generators need proper ventilation to release exhaust gases away from your living area.
It’s also essential to keep your generator at least 20 feet away from windows, doors, and vents since exhaust fumes from the generator can easily seep into your home if placed too close.
Remember always to check the electrical cords of your tools before plugging them in for repair or replacement if found faulty.
Best Overall Portable Generator: Honda EU2200i 2200 Watt Portable Inverter Generator
The Honda EU2200i is the top pick for best overall portable generator due to its superior performance, lightweight design, and efficient fuel consumption.
Features & Description (Honda EU2200i)
The Honda EU2200i is a portable inverter generator that provides stable and clean power for sensitive electronics like phones, laptops, and TVs. With a maximum output of 2200 watts, this generator can run for up to 8.1 hours on a single tank of gas.
Safety features include a fuel shutoff valve, Eco-Throttle system, low oil shutdown, and circuit breaker. The generator is also CARB and EPA compliant so you can use it legally in all fifty states.
Pros & Cons (Honda EU2200i)
With the Honda EU2200i, there are several advantages and disadvantages to consider before making your decision. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of this portable generator:
|Quiet operation, making it suitable for use in residential areas||Relatively expensive compared to other portable generators|
|Lightweight design, allowing for easy transportation and storage||Not compatible with all types of appliances, especially those with high wattage requirements|
|High-quality Honda engine, ensuring reliability and durability||Limited run time, requiring frequent refueling for extended use|
|2200-watt power output, suitable for powering most essential appliances||Gasoline-powered, so it’s not as environmentally friendly as solar-powered generators|
|Bluetooth connectivity, allowing for remote monitoring and control||May not provide enough power for larger homes or multiple heavy-duty appliances|
In conclusion, the Honda EU2200i is a reliable and efficient portable generator, perfect for general use during power outages. Though it may be on the pricier side and has some limitations, its quiet operation, portability, and advanced features make it a worthwhile investment.
Best Budget Portable Generator: Wen 56235i 2350-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
The Wen 56235i 2350-Watt Portable Inverter Generator is an excellent choice for those on a budget, providing reliable power with its efficient four-stroke engine at a lower price point.
Features & Description (Wen 56235i)
The Wen 56235i is a highly praised portable generator that delivers exceptional performance at an affordable price. With a power output of 2350 watts, this generator can provide backup power for your essential appliances during emergencies or outdoor adventures.
One of the best features of the Wen 56235i is its fuel efficiency – it can run up to six hours on a full tank of gas at half load.
This lightweight and compact generator weighs only 39 pounds and has a built-in handle for easy transport anywhere you need it. It also includes two three-pronged 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle, and two USB ports so that you have different options for powering your devices or appliances.
The Wen 56235i also comes with unique safety features like automatic low-oil engine shutdown protection that ensures smooth operation while maintaining longevity in use.
Pros & Cons (Wen 56235i)
I know that choosing the right generator is essential, so let’s dive into the pros and cons of the Wen 56235i Portable Inverter Generator to help you make an informed decision.
|Affordable option for navigating power outages||Limited power output|
|Runs up to 6 hours at 50% load||Short runtime at full load|
|Produces clean power safe for sensitive electronics||Requires regular maintenance and oil changes|
|Lightweight and compact for easy transportation|
|Low-oil shutdown feature and EPA III and CARB compliant|
|Multiple outlets for powering and charging devices|
|Quiet operation at 51-55 decibels|
|2-year warranty and nationwide service centers|
With these pros and cons in mind, the Wen 56235i is a solid choice for those on a budget who need a portable generator for small appliances, electronics, camping, RVing, or as an emergency backup during power outages.
Best Large Portable Generator: Ryobi 6500 Watt Portable Generator With CO Shutdown Sensor
The Ryobi 6500 Watt Portable Generator with CO Shutdown Sensor is an excellent choice for those needing a large portable generator for extended power outages. Its advanced safety features include automatic carbon monoxide shutdown and overload protection.
Features & Description (Ryobi 6500 Watt)
The Ryobi 6500 Watt Portable Generator with CO Shutdown Sensor is a top-of-the-line option for those in need of a large portable generator during power outages.
This impressive generator boasts a powerful 420cc OHV engine, providing 6500 watts of continuous power and 8125 watts of surge power.
The CO Shutdown Sensor is an added safety measure that automatically shuts off the engine in the event of high carbon monoxide levels.
With multiple outlets including four 120V outlets, one 120/240V twist-lock outlet, and one 12V DC outlet, this generator is capable of powering everything from appliances to electronics.
Its durable steel frame and wheelbarrow-style design make transportation easy despite its size – measuring at just over two feet tall and weighing nearly two hundred pounds.
Pros & Cons (Ryobi 6500 Watt)
When considering the Ryobi 6500 Watt Portable Generator with CO Shutdown Sensor, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons to determine if it’s the right choice for your needs.
|High power capacity suitable for multiple appliances and devices||Heavier than other portable generators, making it less convenient to transport|
|Reliable and efficient Honda engine for improved performance||Higher noise levels compared to inverter generators|
|Four outlets, including a 120V/240V twist-lock outlet and two 120V GFCI outlets||May require a transfer switch for safe and efficient use during power outages (sold separately)|
|6-gallon fuel tank for up to 10 hours of runtime on a full tank||Fuel consumption may vary depending on load and usage|
|Automatic voltage regulation for stable and reliable power output||Requires regular inspection and maintenance by a qualified electrician to ensure longevity and safety|
|Added safety features, including a CO Shutdown Sensor||Higher upfront cost compared to budget portable generators|
Keep these pros and cons in mind as you explore your portable generator options, and ensure you’re making an informed decision based on your specific needs and priorities.
Best Lightweight Portable Generator: Champion Power Equipment 2000 Watt Portable Inverter Generator
The Champion Power Equipment 2000 Watt Portable Inverter Generator is the best lightweight portable generator, weighing only 48 pounds for easy transport and storage.
Features & Description (Champion Power Equipment 2000 Watt)
The Champion Power Equipment 2000 Watt Portable Inverter Generator is a fantastic lightweight option for those looking to prepare for power outages. With a starting wattage of 2,000 and a running wattage of 1,700, this generator can power sensitive electronics without risking damage or surges.
Additionally, the Champion Power Equipment generator features both low-oil shut-off sensor technology and an economy mode that conserves fuel and reduces noise levels – making it perfect for use in residential areas or camping trips.
With its quiet operation producing around 58 decibels of sound output, it’s great not only for powering households during extended blackouts but also as an RV backup or emergency backup source when off-grid living.
Pros & Cons (Champion Power Equipment 2000 Watt)
The Champion Power Equipment 2000 Watt Portable Inverter Generator offers a great balance of performance and portability, making it a popular choice among customers. Let’s take a look at its pros and cons to help you decide if it’s the right generator for your needs.
|Lightweight design, weighing only 39 pounds, for easy transport and storage||At 2000 watts, it may not be suitable for powering larger appliances or multiple devices simultaneously|
|Quiet operation with a noise level of 53 dBA at 23 feet, making it neighbor-friendly||Gasoline-powered, which may not be preferred by some environmentally conscious users|
|EPA- and CARB-compliant, making it legal to use in all 50 states||Some users report difficulty in starting the generator|
|Parallel capability, allowing you to connect two units for increased power output||Does not include a built-in fuel gauge, making it difficult to monitor fuel levels|
|Safe for sensitive electronics, thanks to its clean power and inverter technology||Limited runtime of 9.5 hours at 25% load, compared to other generators with longer runtimes|
Keep these factors in mind when considering the Champion Power Equipment 2000 Watt Portable Inverter Generator for your backup power needs during power outages.
Best Dual-Fuel Portable Generator: Westinghouse IGen4500DFc 4500 Watt Portable Inverter Generator
The Westinghouse iGen4500DFc is an excellent option for those who want a dual-fuel portable generator that can run on both gasoline and propane. With a powerful 4500-watt capacity, it’s perfect for powering large appliances during power outages or camping trips.
Features & Description (Westinghouse IGen4500DFc)
The Westinghouse iGen4500DFc is a highly efficient and reliable portable generator that can help you navigate power outages with ease. With its 4500-watt capacity, it’s perfect for running essential appliances such as refrigerators, lights, and AC units during blackouts.
One of the standout features of the iGen4500DFc is its remote start key fob and push-button electric start for easy operation. You can quickly turn it on from inside your home without having to go outside in inclement weather conditions.
Additionally, an LED data center displays important information such as fuel level, power output, and remaining run time so that you are always informed about how the generator is functioning.
Pros & Cons (Westinghouse IGen4500DFc)
The Westinghouse iGen4500DFc is a versatile and reliable portable generator with many useful features. Let’s take a closer look at its pros and cons.
|Dual-fuel capability allows you to choose between gasoline and propane for fuel.||At 105 pounds, it is on the heavier side for portable generators.|
|Remote start feature adds convenience and ease of use.||It has a higher price point compared to some other portable generators on the market.|
|RV-ready design makes it suitable for powering your recreational vehicle.|
|Produces only 52 decibels of noise at a quarter load, making it a relatively quiet option.|
|Digital display provides important information like fuel level, power output, voltage, and runtime.|
|Automatic shut-off feature for low oil and overload protection adds safety and prevents damage to the generator.|
|Backed by a three-year warranty, giving you peace of mind and protection for your investment.|
Considering these pros and cons, the Westinghouse iGen4500DFc is a fantastic portable generator that provides dual-fuel flexibility, remote start convenience, and quiet operation, making it a strong contender for your power outage preparedness needs.
Best Solar-Powered Portable Generator: Jackery 1002 Watt Solar Generator 1000 PRO
The Jackery 1002 Watt Solar Generator 1000 PRO is a top choice for those seeking a reliable and sustainable source of backup power during power outages.
Features & Description (Jackery 1002 Watt)
The Jackery 1002 Watt Solar Generator 1000 PRO is the best solar-powered portable generator for navigating power outages. This powerful generator has a lithium-ion battery of 1002W that can be recharged using solar panels or a wall outlet.
It also features multiple output ports, including three AC outlets, two USB-C ports, and one DC carport, making it suitable for various devices. The Jackery Solar Generator includes an LCD screen that displays battery level and output information plus a built-in LED flashlight ideal for emergency situations.
This versatile generator can power a mini-fridge for up to 66 hours, so you don’t have to worry about food spoilage during extended power outages.
Pros & Cons (Jackery 1002 Watt)
The Jackery 1002 Watt Solar Generator 1000 PRO has several pros and cons to consider when deciding if it’s the right portable generator for your needs.
|High power output of 1002 watts, suitable for various devices||Expensive compared to other portable generators|
|Multiple output ports for simultaneously powering multiple devices||Limited battery capacity, may not last for an extended period of time|
|Lightweight and portable design, perfect for outdoor activities||Requires additional purchase of solar panels for solar charging|
|Quiet operation, making it suitable for indoor use||Long charging time, especially when using solar panels|
|Eco-friendly solar-powered charging option||Not as powerful as gas-powered generators|
Overall, the Jackery 1002 Watt Solar Generator 1000 PRO is an excellent choice for those who prioritize portability, ease of use, and environmentally-friendly power sources. However, it may not be suitable for those who require a more powerful generator or have strict budget constraints.
How To Use And Maintain Your Portable Generator Safely
When it comes to using portable generators, safety should always be a top priority. In this section, we’ll cover proper setup and ventilation, refueling and storage, and regular maintenance to keep your generator functioning safely for years to come.
Proper Setup And Ventilation
As much as portable generators can be life-savers during a power outage, they can also pose serious safety risks if not set up and used correctly. First and foremost, it is crucial to keep your generator at least 20 feet away from your home’s doors and windows, as well as any air intakes.
This ensures that carbon monoxide fumes do not seep into the house and endanger your family’s health. Additionally, make sure to use heavy-duty extension cords designed for outdoor use when connecting appliances to the generator.
And always ensure proper ventilation by keeping the generator in an open area with good airflow around it.
Refueling And Storage
One of the most important aspects of using a portable generator is proper refueling and storage. First, it’s essential to use the right type of fuel for your generator and to only store fuel in approved containers.
Additionally, you should never add fuel while the generator is running or hot, as this can be extremely dangerous.
When storing your portable generator, make sure it’s kept in a secure location that’s protected from moisture and extreme temperatures. You should also check and replace any stale fuel before each use to ensure optimal performance.
As someone who relies on a portable generator during power outages, it’s important to remember that regular maintenance is key to ensuring safe and efficient operation.
Before storing your generator for an extended period of time, be sure to drain any remaining fuel from the tank and carburetor to prevent corrosion. When it’s time to use your generator again, check the oil level, air filter, and spark plug before starting it up.
It’s also essential to ensure proper ventilation and refuel in a well-ventilated area away from open flames or sparks.
According to the Electric Safety Foundation International (ESFI), portable generators are responsible for about 900 deaths per year due to carbon monoxide poisoning and other accidents.
Don’t take chances with your safety or the safety of those around you – follow manufacturer guidelines for maintenance and usage at all times. Consider enlisting professional help if needed, especially when dealing with larger models or whole house backup systems.
Power outages are an unfortunate reality for many of us, but with the right preparation and backup power options, we can navigate these situations more easily. In this article, we’ve highlighted some common causes of blackouts and provided tips on how to prepare for them.
We also listed various types of portable generators and factors to consider when choosing one that suits your needs best. From the Honda EU2200i to the Jackery Solar Generator 1000 PRO, there’s a wide range of options available for you.
Don’t forget to keep important tools like surge protectors and flashlights handy as well.
1. What factors should I consider when choosing a portable generator for power outages?
When selecting a portable generator, you should consider the type of fuel it uses (gasoline, propane, or diesel), its wattage capacity, runtime on a single tank of fuel and noise level while running. It is also important to ensure it has the necessary safety features like overloading and overheating protection.
2. How do I properly maintain my portable generator?
It is recommended to regularly check your portable generator’s oil levels and change them periodically as required by the manufacturer. Also ensure that air filters are replaced or cleaned on schedule to avoid damage caused due to clogging which can affect performance in long run.
3. Can I use a portable generator indoors during power outages?
No – Under no circumstances should you use your portable generators inside an unventilated area like homes,schools or workplaces etc., as this can result in fatal carbon monoxide poisoning from the exhaust gas produced while running.
4. Do all appliances require the same amount of wattage from my portable generator during an outage?
No- The amount of wattage each appliance requires varies depending upon its specifications.For example; refrigerators may need more power than LED bulbs since they have motors which start at different times and thus consume more watts when first switched on.Always refer manufacturer’s manual/guide before operating any equipment with your backup source so that you can be sure that everything runs smoothly,minimizing possible risks involved due to overload or other potential issues related to electricity supply chain management.