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An inverter generator is a device that uses an internally located combustion engine, an alternator, and a DC-AC converter to power up electronic gadgets. These devices are increasingly becoming popular in the country due to their high efficiency, ability to reduce emissions, noise, and the fact that they minimize fuel consumption. Inverter generators work in two simple steps. They first produce DC power and then convert it into alternating current through a microprocessor controlled inverter. Additionally, the production of DC energy is produced as soon as the engine starts powering the machine up, thus lowering the voltage. Low voltage results in reduced power consumption. On the other hand, inverter generators run at a constant speed, which not only leads to cleaner power but also reduces noise pollution.
Continue reading to find out what are the best inverter generators on the market in 2021. Also, get an overview of why inverter generators are in high demand in the market today, their features, and learn how inverters work as well as a comparison between inverter generators and converter generators.
- Generac 7129 GP3000i
- Watts: 3000/2300
- Run time: up to 4.5 hours
- Outlets: two 120V AC standard, one 120V twist lock, two USB ports
- Parallel ready: yes
- Weight: 59.5 lbs
- Noise level: 66 dBA at 20 feet
- WEN 56203i
- Watts: 2000/1700
- Run time: up to 7 hours
- Outlets: two three-prong 120V, one 12V DC, two 5V USB ports
- Parallel ready: yes
- Weight: 39 lbs
- Noise level: 51 dBA
- Champion Power Equipment 200954
- Watts: 4250/3500
- Run time: up to 22 hours
- Outlets: two 120V 20A household outlets, 120V 30A RV, two USB ports
- Parallel ready: yes
- Weight: 75 lbs
- Noise level: 64 dBA
- Honda EU2200i
- Watts: 2200/1800
- Run time: up to 9.6 hours
- Outlets: two 120V AC 15A
- Parallel ready: yes
- Weight: 47.4 lbs
- Noise level: 57 dBA
- Champion Power Equipment 100263
- Watts: 3400/3100
- Run time: up to 7.4 hours on gas/up to 14.5 hours on propane
- Outlets: two 120V 20A, one 120V 30A RV, one 12V DC
- Parallel ready: yes
- Weight: 96 lbs
- Noise level: 59 dBA
- Westinghouse WH2000iXLT
- Watts: 2000/1800
- Run time: up to 13 hours
- Outlets: two 120V 20 Amp
- Parallel ready: yes
- Weight: 43 lbs
- Noise output: 52 dBA
Top 6 Portable Inverter Generators Comparison
Champion Power Equipment 200954 Inverter Generator
The Champion Power Equipment 200954 is one of the most popular inverter generators in 2021. It’s a good choice for those that are looking for higher power output, but not necessarily portability. It weighs 75 pounds, so it’s too heavy for simply picking it up and carrying it around. However, you can additionally buy a wheel kit and after installing the wheels and the handle, you’ll be able to easily move it around.
This inverter generator delivers 4,250 starting watts and 3,500 running watts. In addition to the high power output, the unit also offers efficient operation. It comes equipped with a 4 gallons gas tank and a fuel tank is capable of providing up to 22 hours of run time.
Due to the use of inverter technology, this generator is both quieter and lighter compared to traditional generators. It allows it to pack so much power in such a small unit and it produces a noise level of just 64 dBA. The low noise level is especially important if you’ll be using the generator in your RV since it would allow you to operate it without disturbing the neighbors.
Moreover, the electricity produced by this technology is clean, so you can safely power your sensitive electronics. The 120V outlets that the generator is equipped with deliver power with less than 3% THD.
This powerful inverter generator is perfect for use in RVs. It comes RV ready with a 120V 30A RV outlet. Additionally, the unit offers two 120V standard household outlets and two USB ports.
The generator has also got some features not present in most of the other inverter generator counterparts. For instance, it is parallel ready, which means that you can combine with one or two more generators. And this would allow you to increase power output.
Moreover, the generator offers a few other great features. It includes an Economy Mode that provides more efficient operation while using less fuel and extending engine life. The unit is also equipped with an Intelligauge, which is a display that shows you the voltage, frequency, and operating hours.
Generac 7129 GP3000i Generator
Another highly rated inverter generator is the Generac 7129 GP3000i. With close to complete silence noise produced when the machine is operating, it is an appropriate generator for camps, homes, and offices. It is very light in weight, with a mere 59.5 pounds as its weight. It is also small and compact in design.
When it comes to its power output, it delivers 3,000 starting watts and 2,300 running watts. It’s enough to power most RV appliances, such as the air conditioner, heater, or microwave. It’s also enough to power some of the motor driven equipment and home appliances.
The generator uses Generac’s PowerRush technology, which delivers more starting capacity compared to its competitors. This technology is ideal for starting electric motors as it gives an increased electric current upon demand.
This generator also offers all the benefits of inverter technology. So the unit provides optimal performance while producing minimum noise. The technology also contributes to the lighter weight of this unit. The lightweight design and the convenient carrying handle make this generator easily portable.
Another technology used in this generator is Truepower. It’s designed to produce clean, stable power, which can be used for charging sensitive electronics and appliances.
When using this inverter generator, you can power multiple appliances at once. It provides a variety of outlets, which include two 120V standard household outlets, one 120V twist lock outlet, and two USB ports.
In addition to the outlets, the control panel offers a few other features. It has extra outlets for parallel connection if you would like to connect two generators together. Moreover, the panel features a power dial, which allows you to easily switch between Choke, Run, and Off settings. There’s also a switch for turning on the Economy mode that provides quieter and more efficient operation with adjusted engine speed. Lastly, the control panel includes LED lights that give you visual alerts of the generator’s status. It notifies you if the unit is low on oil, when it’s overloaded, and when it’s ready for use.
Wen 56203i Inverter Generator
Wen 56203i is the smallest inverter generator on our list. It comes in a compact design that has an ultralight body. It weighs just 39 pounds, which makes it easy to transport and store. To make it even easier to move the generator from one place to another, for example, from your car to the campsite, the design features a carrying handle.
Despite its small size, the unit delivers lots of power. It produces 2,000 starting watts and 1,700 running watts. You might not be able to power heavy duty motor tools, but it’s enough for many of the household and RV appliances and electronics.
The 2,000 watt generator provides impressively clean energy with no voltage spikes or drops. So it’s safe for powering laptops, phones, tablets, and other sensitive electronics.
Like many other inverter generators, this model also includes an Eco Mode. It works by automatically adjusting the speed of the motor, helping to save on unnecessary gasoline usage.
One of the biggest advantages of this inverter generator is also its super quiet operation. At quarter load, it produces just 51 dBA, which is the same noise level produced by a normal conversation. So whether you’re camping, tailgating, or in the middle of a power blackout at home, the generator will allow you to enjoy the produced power without the disturbing noise.
The generator offers a few outlets, among which are two three-prong 120V 5-20R outlets, one 12V DC outlet, and two USB ports. On the control panel, you can also find the ports for parallel connection of two generators, LED indicators for alerts, and a 3-in-1 switch.
The size of the gas tank is 1 gallon. Due to the efficient operation of the generator, the full tank provides up to 7 hours of run time at half load.
Another great feature of this generator is the fuel shutoff. With this feature, you can set the generator to use up the remaining fuel from the carburetor. This helps prevent the accumulation of stagnant fuel in the carburetor and the potential blockages caused because of it.
This inverter generator is CARB compliant and it is already approved for sale in 50 states which means that you can easily get it at a retailer near you. Moreover, the product is backed by a 2-year warranty.
Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator
The generator boasts of a powerful Honda GXR120 engine, which provides more power and improved performance. This makes it produce a great chunk of energy capable of powering an average home’s lighting systems plus all its electric appliances and gadgets.
It runs on a 2,200 Watts inverter that produces only about 57 decibels of noise, which is about the noise level of a normal conversation. And depending on the load on the generator, the noise level can be between 48 to 57 dBA. So at a lighter load, you’ll barely hear it, making it ideal for camping.
The maximum power this generator can output is 2,200 watts, while the running power is 1,800 watts. This product is an upgrade of the EU2000i model and one of the improvements is that it delivers 10% more power in the same compact package that weighs just 47.4 pounds.
You can also rest assured that the power produced by this generator for your computers and other sensitive equipment. The inverter technology delivers reliable power that is stable and clean.
Moreover, this generator is equipped with an automatic mechanical decompressor. It allows quicker and easier starting due to the less force being needed to start the engine.
With a full tank that has a capacity of one gallon, the generator can run for up to 9.6 hours. It achieves this efficiency by using the Eco Throttle system, which automatically adjusts engine speed depending on the load. And this optimal level of engine speed results in less fuel being used and quieter operation.
Similar to the above mentioned Wen generator, this Honda model also comes with a Fuel Shutoff feature. So you can have the unit use up all the fuel in the carburetor before shutting off. This means that you’ll have to do less maintenance of the generator since you won’t have to deal with stale fuel issues.
The Honda EU2200i can be used in tandem with a similar machine to double the amount of power produced by one. You will just need to purchase a parallel kit in order to connect the two generators together. The generator also benefits from an oil alert system that protects it from any damages that may occur should oil reduce in the engine. Also, it is equipped with circuit protection to prevent overloading as it runs and a USDA-qualified spark arrestor.
Champion Power Equipment 100263
One of the top rated inverter generators in the market today is also the Champion Power Equipment 100263 model. It delivers 3,400 starting watts and 3,100 running wats, so it’s perfect for those that have high power demands.
What sets this inverter generator apart from other models mentioned on our list is that it offers dual fuel capability. It can run on either gas or propane, which gives you the flexibility to choose the fuel that you have more readily available.
The 192cc engine that is built into this generator provides efficient operation with the capability of running up to 7.5 hours on a full tank of gasoline. And the capacity of the gas tank is 1.6 gallons. Alternatively, you can also connect a 20-pound propane tank and get up to 14.5 hours of operation.
With this generator, you can enjoy a very quiet operation. Its noise output is just 59 dBA, so you can use it at a campsite or at home without disturbing your neighbors.
Moreover, the generator features an easy start. It includes a battery and a convenient electric start. On top of that, it’s equipped with Cold Start technology, so the engine easily starts even in cold weather.
The generator also offers a convenient control panel that offers all the controls in one spot. There you can find all the outlets that include two 120V 20A outlets, one 120V 30A RV outlet, and a 12V DC outlet. It also has all the switches for the fuel selection, ignition, choke, and economy mode. Moreover, the control panel features LED indicators and ports for a parallel connection of a second generator.
Westinghouse WH2000IXLT Portable Inverter Generator
Running on 1800W out of 2200W, this generator produces enough power to light an average home with all its electronic gadgets. Its cost effective parallel technology makes it a good purchase for anyone who wants both power and efficiency. It has a 12V adapter where you can charge cell phones, laptops, and other appliances.
This new generation model generator gives you more power with its simple parallel cable, which is sold separately. The generator is also light in weight, weighing only 49 pounds. The power produced by this machine is clean enough for use in sensitive electric gadgets and appliances as it produces less than 3% THD.
Like the champion 75531i, this generator can be combined with a second Westinghouse 2000IXLT to generate twice the amount of power that one generator can produce.
Actually, the WH2000IXLT is among the best inverter generators there are today, with capabilities of powering a CR2500 or CR5000 climate right. It is widely favored in most inverter generator reviews due to its high quality features, some of which are, a double air circuit and muffler to maintain coolness as your unit runs, a power indicator light, low oil shut down, asymmetrical fans, a sound output, AC overload reset, high efficiency running mode, a tool kit and an oil fill measuring container.
What is an Inverter?
It is an electronic device that converts direct currents from generators, batteries, and other fuel cells into alternating currents. Inverters work depending on several factors, the input voltage, output voltage, and power handling ability. They do not produce any power, but only convert power from DC sources into alternating current. An inverter can either be electronically made or be a combination of rotary apparatus and electronic circuitry. Below are some of the components of a normal operator.
The input voltage of an inverter depends on the design and use of the device itself. There are several examples of input voltage used in several machines and gadgets. A normal 12v lead acid battery, for example, supports a 12VDC input voltage while the input voltage for an electric vehicle battery ranges from 300 to 450 VDC. The input voltage can go up in the thousands if the inverter is part of a high current DC system.
Depending on the type of inverter in question, AC current may be produced by either using a switch boost converter which first produces high voltage direct current and then changes into AC using a line frequency transformer to create an output voltage. The output voltage can however be regulated to equal the gridline voltage.
Note that the runtime of any inverter depends on the DC source power or the power being drawn from the inverter itself as it runs.
How Does an Inverter Work?
Most of the electric and electronic gadgets in our homes are made to run with AC energy. So, if you plan to power up your electronic gadgets with power from a top rated inverter generator such as the Champion or Honda models, or from a simple car battery or other fuel cells, you will need a device to convert the DC energy produced by such devices into alternating current (AC). And that device that converts DC into AC is called an inverter.
Most of the inverters found in retail stores use electromagnetic switches that run at extremely high speeds, flickering on and off as the action moves about in a back and forth action. The power produced in such a way is known as square wave output. However, electronic inverters produce smoothly alternating AC output from a DC input. While electric gadgets don’t care much about the waves used to convert power into them, electronic devices do, which prompted the invention of two distinct types of inverters, a pure sine wave inverter and a modified inverter.
The pure sine inverter uses donut shaped transformers and circuits to convert direct energy into a smoothly varying AC energy, similar to power supplied by normal power outlets. Most top rated inverter generators use these kinds of inverters. The kind of current they produce can power electronic gadgets such as TVs, laptops, video games as well as woofers. A modified inverter on the other hand uses rather simpler electronics to produce not so smooth alternating current. They are therefore only suitable for producing current for hefty electric appliances, otherwise using them on normal home appliances could lead to overheating and potential damage to your gadgets.
Note that uninterruptible power source inverters are capable of storing power by themselves in an electrical form, which you can then use should the power source get depleted.. The inverters store the energy in high speed flywheels.
Inverter Generator VS Conventional Generator
When compared to conventional generators, inverter generators are a recent development, made entirely of high tech magnets and electronic circuitry. They basically output AC energy like all other types of generators do but do it in a 3 phase form. While outputting the AC current, they convert the current to DC form, and then invert it back to AC current while it is pure and smooth, in a pure sine wave. Inverter generators are incredibly smaller in size when compared to their counterparts. They also produce relatively good amounts of power, although conventional generators beat them in terms of fuel storage capabilities, obviously resulting in more power. Don’t get it wrong though, as inverter generators use modern technology to maximize their use of fuel and running time, thereby producing much more power in the long run. They also run at varying speeds, thereby increasing their efficiency.
Conventional generators on the other hand run at a constant speed, but they lack features such as sound dampening technology, quiet engines or mufflers. They also come in varying watts, ranging from 500w to 50,000w with the higher watt generators producing much more energy to run big industries and companies.
Since the late 1800s when inverters were discovered, their functions and applications have multiplied rapidly. They are now found in generators, the machines that help convert DC stored energy into a form that can power up a laptop, a freezer, TV or any other electronic gadget. And while there are efforts to come up with a conclusive list of portable inverter generator comparisons, we believe that the six types of generators described above are simply the best by any standards. Finally, the future for inverter generators looks bright, with engineers and leading manufacturers gearing up to invent super powerful generators that are small in size but consume very minimal amounts of fuel.