Getting a diesel generator is a priority list item for homeowners who require power 24/7. On top of being a backup to your home electricity, you can use it to power equipment in your garage. The portability aspect makes it a reliable source of energy for camping. However, before buying one, there is a need to scrutinize the diesel generators to be sure of the power it is capable of producing, its weight, and other features that may be useful for you.
Since my professional background makes me more conversant with generators, I plan to save you the time and hassle of having to assess all the available models. Therefore, I have compiled this review that highlights seven of the best generators you can find online. By highlighting their features, strengths, and notable weaknesses, this article should help you make better decisions when going to acquire one. The information also will help you understand why a certain brand is common amongst a specific group of people who share similar interests, such as camping.
Also, you need to know whether the generator runs on gas only or if it allows you to use other sources of fuel. Expect to find a discussion of these features in each of the product reviews below.
Reviews of 7 Top Generators
Every generator has unique characteristics. Thus, I will discuss each separately while pointing out its features, pros, and cons to help you select a suitable one.
Durostar DS400S- Best Portable Diesel Generator for Heavy Duty Usage
The first thing that comes to my mind when I look at this generator is that it can be used for tasks that consume a lot of power. It is a generator made with the needs of a small scale and large scale power user in mind. Whether you need it as backup for your home or for performing site jobs such as construction, the Durostar generator will be a reliable power source.
The generator has a surge power of 4000 watts and is capable of providing you with a constant po
wer of 3300 watts. In my opinion, it is enough power to keep your home running without limiting any of your operations. It is also enough power to maintain heavy-duty appliances running. It can also sustain several types of equipment running simultaneously without experiencing a breakdown.
You will also love the flexibility this generator offers you. It has a thirty amperes outlet, and two 120volts outlets commonly associated with household equipment. Therefore, you have the option of hooking the power cables to the outlet that suits the task you are about to perform.
The flexibility also suits the needs of the campers because they can alternate the outlets depending on the activity they perform. For example, you can use the 120volts outlet. However, when using it for simpler tasks, you can switch to the lower power outlets.
Another exciting feature of this generator is that it has a 3.96-gallon capacity fuel tank. Therefore, when at a full tank, you can perform your activities for more than six hours without having to worry about refueling. It also means that you do not have to worry about carrying huge amounts of extra fuel when going outdoors.
The gadget is powered by a 208cc engine that enables it to run for extended hours continuously. Unlike the regular generators you are used to, the Durostar engine can withstand pressure, hence making the generator efficient.
There is no need to feel intimidated about operating the DS400S. The important thing you have to remember is adding oil to the fuel tank. The funnel provided when buying should help make the process easier and less messy. Also, it has an on and off button that shows you when it’s working. Additionally, there is a voltmeter that shows the voltage being produced when the gadget is in use.
I love it also because it has a handle for better operation and moving. The user’s manual will direct you on how to fit the handle to the generator effortlessly. With the handle, you can move the generator around and even travel with it because it has wheels that can get it in the truck.
- It is a heavy-duty gadget that can power most heavy-duty machines without experiencing a hitch.
- It has multiple outlets.
- It is all-metal construction; hence it is durable.
- It has a circuit breaker.
- It weighs 90 pounds, which is heavy, but it is not an issue as it has wheels and a handle that enhances portability.
- POWERFUL DUROSTAR ENGINE: The DS4000s is Powered by a DuroStar 7.0 Hp, air cooled OHV engine w/low oil shutoff.
- PLENTY OF POWER: With 4,000 starting watts and 3,300 running watts, this unit is a workhorse that provides plenty of power to handle multiple jobs from powering high voltage appliances to heavy duty power tools.
- POWER PANEL: Includes a selection of outlets for maximum compatibility in your applications including: 2 120V household outlets and 1 120V 30A twist lock outlet.
- POWERING EVERYONE ANYWHERE: The DS4000s is EPA and CARB approved for use in all 50 states.
- FUEL TANK CAPACITY (GASOLINE): 3.96 GALLONS
DuroMax XP12000EH Portable Generator- Reliable Diesel Portable Generator for Home Use
With the current technological revolution, it is hard to say something cannot be done. How would you have reacted if sometimes back I told you that a generator could run on both liquid propane and gasoline? Many would have dismissed the idea entirely. Well, prepare to be surprised because DuroMax has finally done it with its XP12000EH model. It is a feature whose objective is to ensure a lack of gas should not be the reason you experience a blackout. It also provides affordable alternatives to consumers using this generator.
What amazes me is how much effort DuroMax has put in ensuring that the fuel versatility feature is not a flop. They have taken care of the efficiency aspect too. When using gasoline, the generator is capable of generating 12000 watts of surge power and constant power of 9500 watts. On the other hand, when on propane, it delivers you 11,400 watts of surge power and a running power of 9025 watts. Therefore, you can rely on it to deliver you enough power when using either of the fuels.
One thing you can be sure of is that this generator guarantees you value for your money. The thing with most portable generators is that their capabilities are limited to home use only. Very few can generate enough power for heavy usage. However, this is not the case with the DuroMax XP12000EH model. Based on the power it produces, the generator can comfortably be used in performing site jobs such as construction operations. It also contains a cart to facilitate its movement in such areas. It is enclosed in a metal frame that acts as the generator’s protective casing.
- It has the potential to use liquid propane and gasoline.
- It produces enough power for use in activities other than home use.
- It has individual circuit breakers that help prevent power overload when using this generator.
- It has an external strong metal frame cart for better transport and damage protection.
- The wheel fitted on the cart comes prone to quick damage.
- POWERFUL DUROMAX ENGINE: The XP12000EH is Powered by a DuroMax 18HP, 457cc DuroMax OHV Engine
- PLENTY OF POWER: With 12,000 starting watts and 9,500 running watts, this unit can handle heavy loads from lights and a refrigerator to a home air conditioner and high amperage power tools
- DUAL FUEL TECHNOLOGY: This generator runs on gasoline or propane giving you the freedom and flexibility of fuel choice.
- MX2 TECHNOLOGY: With DuroMax MX2 technology, get the maximum power from each of the 120 Volt receptacles; Choose between operating the generator at both 120V and 240V simultaneously, or at 120V only with full power
- LOW OIL SHUT-OFF: Protects your investment by automatically shutting the generator off when it senses that the oil is low.
WEN 56200i Super Quiet Generator- Powerful Small Portable Diesel Generator
Imagine 2000 Watts of clean energy. More to it, imagine this energy being delivered in a very quiet manner. These are just the very hints of the experience you are about to enjoy once you buy yourself the Wen 56200i portable generator. The US Department of Health and Human Services argued that it produces almost the same level of noise like that of a normal conversation between people.
Technological innovations in this generator have helped it achieve low levels of noise emission. Its minimal level of pollution has enabled it to achieve level III certification from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It has also been issued with a compliance certificate by the California Air Resources Board.
On top of reduced noise, there are other advantages you get to enjoy with this generator. The first of these is that it is very friendly to use with your electronic devices. The generator comes fitted with an advanced electronic circuit system that has almost the same frequency and voltage as a perfect sine wave. In simpler terms, this improved circuitry makes it safe for you to power your sensitive electronics such as laptops and smartphones without fearing they will get damaged. Moreover, among its features is a USB port where you can directly charge your phone and other electronic devices.
If you care for the environment, there is so much to love about Wen 56200i. The company has made an effort to ensure they are a top choice for environmentally friendly generators. Therefore, they have included an eco-mode to this product. When you switch to this mode, the generator’s motor will automatically fluctuate its fuel consumption when you plug or unplug your electronic devices. The whole process helps you save on fuel as it regulates the generator’s engine speed, depending on whether it is working or not.
Its impressive attributes include safety features. The first of these is its oil indicator. The system will notify you when the oil levels are dropping. Also, the generator will automatically switch off when it’s low on oil. Also, it contains an overload protection feature. The components help ensure your electronic devices cannot be damaged even in the event of a power surge.
- It is a very quiet generator; hence there is minimum noise pollution.
- It contains a USB port you can use to charge your electronic devices.
- It has been fitted with an advanced circuit system to make it safer to use with your electronic devices.
- It contains eco-mode features that help save on fuel consumption.
- Customers complain about topping up the engine oil being a challenge.
- Dimensions: 18" x 11" x 18" | Weight: 50 lbs
- Noise Level: 53 dB operation
- EPA III and CARB Compliant 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV engine produces 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated watts
- Great for campgrounds, construction sites, tailgates and power outages
- Produces clean power to safely operate and prevent damage to sensitive electronics such as phones, tablets, televisions and computers
A-iPower SUA 2000- Quiet with 1600 Running Watts for Camping
Are you a fan of quiet gadgets? If you are, SUA 2000 produces a noise of 58 decibels only. Thus, it gives you peace when running equipment in your garage. It is not one of those machines that you will always look forward to turning off. You will enjoy working with it and only turn it off when you have finished your work.
Unlike Durostar and other heavy-duty gadgets, its fuel tank holds only 1.1 gallons of fuel. The fuel is capable of running the generator for four hours when using a hundred percent capacity. When it is running on 50% capacity, it can go for seven hours non-stop.
Of course, it is more than most people can work without going for breaks. It has a fuel gauge that notifies you when you are running out of fuel. That is unlike a regular generator that goes off without sending a warning.
Usually, you will find that even on your busiest day, you will need to take a break to freshen up, grab a snack, or have lunch. During these breaks, you can add fuel to the tank and continue with your job after the break.
It weighs 14.2 pounds only, which is less compared to other generators weighing more than fifty pounds. Thus, you can lift it by yourself without needing extra help. When you follow the manual, you can also get it running even if you don’t have technical skills.
If you are an environmental lobbyist, this gadget might be what you need. It has inverter technology that enables it to produce clean power. Thus, pollution to the environment is minimal. It has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency to run in all the fifty states in the United States.
The generator has a 79cc engine. The engine can power most household gadgets and low to medium duty machines. It is best used for a camping trip where you require power mostly to light and run gadgets such as ice coolers, pizza makers, and camping lanterns. It measures 22 by 13 by 20 inches; hence it can fit in a truck, an SUV, and even a saloon car as it occupies less space.
- It is light, hence portable.
- It produces clean energy. Hence it is friendly to the environment.
- It is easy to run as you can read all directions in the manual.
- It may not be able to power commercial gadgets.
- 2,000 starting watts/1,600 running watts
- 1.1-Gal. Fuel tank. Provides up to 7 hours of run time at 50% load, 4 hours of run time at 100% load
- A-iPower "Low Idle" Technology conserves gas
- 58 dBA – Quiet Operation
- EPA/CARB compliant for 50 State use
Champion Digital Hybrid RV Generator
Part of my road trip dream scenario is camping in my RV in one of this country’s scenic places such as the Grand Canyon. Even when not camping, some people have made temporary homes in their RVs. Have you ever stopped to think about how they get enough energy to power these holiday homes? They are part of the largest market niche for portable generators. I say this because the Champion Digital Hybrid is one of the most loved generators among the RV owners.
There is a reason why it is a popular choice among this group of people. The first is that it is capable of producing 3500 to 4000 watts. You can consider this as enough energy to enable you to have a fun moment in your RV. Precisely it is enough to support functions such as the air conditioner, entertainment units, cooking appliances, and lighting.
Another reason it is popular is because of the low level of noise it produces. I don’t think there is much you can enjoy if you have a noisy generator sitting on your RV. The Champion only generates a noise level of 64 dBa. Therefore, when placed at 23 feet away, you can hardly feel the noise disturbance.
Economization is another of the reasons why it is popular among the campers. Most points for being economical goes to its overall costs. For these features, it is one of the most affordable of all portable generators. Its features make it appear like such a huge bargain. It also scores high points when ranked in terms of fuel consumption efficiency. Under the economy mode, the generator will consume less when the electrical load decreases because the engine will have a lower idling. Still, on the issue of fuel, it has a gas tank that can hold about 3.8 gallons of fuel that can keep it running for twelve hours.
- It is one of the fairly affordable portable generators.
- It is very efficient in fuel consumption.
- It can be started up using a remote control.
- It generates enough power with minimal noise.
- You will have to buy its wheel kit separately.
- Advanced Open Frame Inverter Design: 50% quieter and 20% lighter than a traditional Champion 3500-watt generator, plus our Economy Mode feature saves fuel and extends engine life
- Quiet Technology and Extended Run Time: 64 dBA is great for RVs, tailgating, your next project or home backup, with 4000 starting watts and 3500 running watts for up to 17 hours run time on gasoline
- Clean electricity for sensitive electronics: RV Ready with a 120V 30A RV, plus two 120V 20A household outlets with clean power (less than 3% THD) and 12V DC outlet with dual USB adapter
- Parallel Ready: Increase your power output by connecting up to two 2800-watt or higher inverter or digital hybrid with the optional Parallel Kit
- Champion Support: Includes 3-year limited warranty with FREE lifetime technical support from dedicated experts
Champion 338 with 224cc Engine
It is not every time that you will be in a position to run a generator on gas. During such times, you need a gadget that can run on multiple types of fuel. Champion 338 comes in to fulfill your needs during such times. It can use gas or propane, and it can run efficiently on both.
With a 224cc engine, it can produce 4750 watts at the start and 3800 when running. That is more than the iPower generator can produce. Hence, you can use it to run heavy-duty gadgets in your home, at the garage, or in your small business. It will not disappoint even when running at full capacity.
It has a volt guard that enables you to protect the equipment you are running in case you experience a power surge. Also, it has four outlets with thirty and twenty amperes. These outlets enable it to be used both indoors and outdoors as you can connect different types of equipment and run them efficiently.
It weighs 95.7 pounds and is made of cast iron that can withstand a high level of pressure. Hence, it is durable, and with proper maintenance, it can last several years.
- It is made with durable cast iron.
- It has a volt guard for protection against power surges.
- It can use both gas and propane.
- It may be too loud for some people.
- Dimensions: 26.3" L x 24.8" W x 22.9" H | Weight: 119 lbs
- Noise Level: 68 dBA from 23 feet
- Dual Fuel: Operate your 3800-watt portable generator right out of the box on either gasoline or propane, plus the unit holds 0.6-quarts of oil (included) and has a low oil shut-off sensor
- Electric Start: Power up the 224cc Champion engine with the handy toggle switch, battery included
- Champion Support: Includes 3-year limited warranty with FREE lifetime technical support from dedicated experts
Champion 3500-Watt RV Generator
The 3500 watts Champion generator contains a four-stroke 196cc gasoline-powered engine. When operating at full capacity, it is capable of delivering you a constant 3500 watts of energy. We are talking of enough power to sustain all your household appliances. Therefore, not only is this generator a reliable choice for camping, but it can also be used as a backup in your home.
Everything about this generator speaks volumes about the manufacturer’s intentions to create efficiency. The first aspect of its efficiency is the fact that it contains a typical thirty-ampere outlet. People who use it with their RVs understand that this is good news. It means that you do not have to buy extra cables to use it with your RV.
The other is that it has an incorporated cold start technology. The advantage of this feature is that you can rely on this generator even in the cold seasons. Still, on the issue of efficiency, the generator contains several power outlets. They are mainly based on the functions you intend to use the generator for. Moreover, each of these outlets contains an individual volt guard to prevent potential power overloads.
- It is an efficient alternative for RV users as it comes with a specific 30-ampere outlet for their needs.
- It contains volt guards for all its power outlets.
- It can easily be fired up even under cold weather.
- It has a limited form of warranty.
- Designed for Safety – Includes a low-oil shut-off sensor and has a 0.6-quart oil capacity (recommended 10W-30)
- Reliable and Powerful – At 4000 starting watts and 3500 running watts, enjoy up to 12 hours of run time on a full tank of gasoline with a noise level of 68 dBA from 23 feet
- Outlets – A 120V 30A locking outlet, a 120V 30A RV outlet and a 120V 20A household outlet; Engine Speed: 3600
- Volt Guard – Prevents overloads and keeps your valuable equipment safe from voltage spikes, plus a voltmeter allows you to monitor power output at a glance
- Champion Support – Includes 3-year limited warranty with FREE lifetime technical support from dedicated experts
Should I Go for a Portable Generator?
Absolutely. If you need one, why not choose one from among the above generators? Be sure to check the weight of the gadget. If you are carrying it around, you need one that is easy to lift. Also, you can choose a generator with wheels and a handle for the smooth movement of the gadget.
Another feature you should be looking out for is the capacity of the engine. If you want a generator that will power table saws, lawnmowers, and other heavy-duty machines, you must select a generator with a very powerful engine, for example, the Durostar whose engine capacity is at 208cc or Champion at 226cc.
Also, do you have enough space to store the gadget? If space is not an issue, then it means you can select any of the above generators. In my experience, all of them are efficient, depending on one’s uses and the features that you desire. Have you ever used any of these generators? How long has it served you, and would you recommend it to other people?