Best Camping Generator | Safety | Introduction to Generators
Extensive buyers guide to learn about the best camping generator for you, safety tips, along with a great general introduction to generators. Consider noise levels, cost, functionality, everything you need to know. Finishing with product reviews for the best camping generator for your situation, needs and budget.
What is a generator?
Generators are machines that convert energy into electricity. Typical generators convert mechanical energy into electricity. Solar generators convert solar energy into electricity.
Why do you need a generator?
Generators come in handy in applications where there is no access to the power grid. You need electricity for cooking, lighting, communicating, entertainment, heating and cooling your home, etc. Although the power grid is usually reliable, power blackouts are inevitable. Here’s a short discussion of the most common causes of power outages to help you discover why you need to buy a generator.
- Bad weather: Most power blackouts are caused by bad weather i.e. floods, snow, high winds, freezing rain, and lightning. Bad weather is very destructive. Although power lines are built to be tough, they can’t stand severe weather. Strong winds are bound to cut power lines. Freezing rain or excessive snowing tends to damage power equipment. If you live in an area prone to severe weather, you need to invest in a generator to avoid the inconveniences of living without electricity.
- Power equipment failure: You also need a generator when the power equipment connecting you to the power grid fails. For instance, faulty transformers, connectors, switches and lose cables can trigger power outages which can last for hours. If this happens, you must be prepared.
- Accidents: You can also be disconnected from the power grid because of a fire adjacent to your home. Car accidents can also cause outages i.e. when a car hits and damages the transformer serving you. A tree can also fall on your power line.
- Animals: Squirrels, raccoons, and crows can also damage your power equipment causing power outages. If you live in an area with many squirrels, raccoons, and crows, you should really consider investing in a generator.
- Planned interruption: Service interruptions can also result in power outages lasting hours. Power companies usually conduct regular maintenance on power lines. Although the interruptions are scheduled, they may cause serious inconveniences if you don’t have an alternative source of electricity. For instance, your food may go bad. You may also be forced to rely on alternative sources of energy which aren’t reliable.
- When camping or traveling to places with no access to the power grid: Sometimes you need a generator for convenience purposes. There will always be a place where you don’t have access to the power grid. Most campsites, for instance, don’t have access to power. You, however, need electricity to charge your Smartphone, laptop, power your lights, heater, coffee maker, etc. You are bound to have more fun camping when you have access to power.
Why are regular generators unsuitable for camping applications? (Conventional vs. Inverter generators)
You shouldn’t have any doubt about the importance of having a generator at home or when you are camping or engaging in other similar outdoor activities after reading the above information. However, which generator is best suited for camping applications? Why should you avoid conventional generators for camping applications?
- Regular generators aren’t portable: Regular generators are usually big and heavy. You can’t move them around easily. In fact, most regular generators are installed permanently making them perfect for heavy-duty household and commercial applications only. When camping, you want a generator that can be easily carried by hand. Standby generators don’t match this description.
- Regular generators are noisy: Regular generators are also noisy. Generator noise is a huge concern in many applications including camping. Running a standby generator for hours can cause unnecessary disturbances and discomfort. Although most campsites don’t have noise restrictions, generator noise can affect the quality of your camping experience. Inverter generators are the best type of camping generator because they are silent. You can run your inverter generator all night without causing any disturbance or attracting unnecessary attention. Solar generators are also silent making them ideal for camping applications as well. CLICK HERE to read more about generator noise levels.
- Regular generators are riskier: Most regular generators i.e. standby or stationary generators are outdated. Inverter generators are the most advanced types of generators available today. They feature safety features like spark arrestors, low-oil warning, surge protection features, protective casing, name it. The generators also produce the highest quality electricity and fewer emissions. These features get rid of all common generator risks. When camping, you don’t want a generator that can easily cause a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. You also want to avoid generators that can damage your electronics/appliances. Inverter generators are the best in this regard.
- Regular generators are hard to use: Conventional generators are also unsuitable for camping applications because they are difficult to use. You need some expertise to install and use a traditional generator effectively. Inverter generators come equipped with easy-to-use features i.e. USB, AC and 12V ports that allow you to connect and power your electronics, appliances, and lights instantly with ease. Conventional generators have manual features. They also need regular maintenance.
- Regular generators are more costly: Despite being noisy, riskier, harder to use and difficult to move around, traditional generators also cost more. Although the generators tend to produce more power than inverter generators, they are expensive. Furthermore, you can always connect your inverter generator to another identical generator to produce more power. The power produced by inverter generators is, however, adequate enough for typical camping applications and other regular power needs.
In summary, there is no need to spend a lot of money on a generator you will be using for camping and other regular powering applications. There are cheaper better alternatives to conventional generators.
Most important generator features to look out for: Best camping generator features
Generators are available in all shapes, sizes, features and prices. Choosing a suitable generator for yourself is, therefore, challenging when you are not equipped with the right information. Here’s what you must know when selecting the best camping generator for your style of camping or any other generator application.
Generator size is an important factor when choosing a generator for any application let alone camping. Bulky and heavy generators are not suitable for most applications because they are limiting. You need to think of how you will carry and store a big generator. If you are going to spend a significant amount of money on a generator, you want to be able to use the generator for as many applications as possible. You can’t carry around a standby generator every time you go for camping or hunting in the woods.
The best camping generator for you should fit comfortably in your car without taking up space meant for your camping gear. The generator should also fit in regular household storage spaces. If the generator is a bit heavy, it should have features that boost portability i.e. wheels and carrying handles. Although size preferences may differ from one person to another, smaller generators come highly recommended for camping applications.
Generator runtime is another important factor to consider. Longer runtime is always recommendable for camping applications as well as many other generator applications. It’s inconveniencing to keep refueling your generator after a few hours. It’s also risky to keep refueling your generator in a camp setting at night. A runtime of 8 hours or more is perfect for camping applications. The best camping generator can last for an entire night on a full tank of gas.
- Fuel efficiency
A longer runtime isn’t enough. The best camping generator you choose must use fuel efficiently. For instance, some of the best camping generator options can run throughout the night on one tank of gas (approximately 1 gallon). Fuel efficiency is a critical factor to consider because it eliminates unnecessary costs. A fuel efficient generator is also safer since you don’t need to carry a lot of fuel at any given time.
- Noise level
It’s also important to consider the noise level. Different generators have different noise levels. Although generator noise level is usually dictated by the load, some generators are more silent than others. When you are buying a generator for camping or any other application, you must determine what noise level is ideal or acceptable to you.
A noise level of approximately 50 dBA is perfect for camping generators. You can choose a slightly higher noise level since generators tend to be less noisy outdoors. Pay close attention to the noise level at normal load i.e. 25% load since most generators operate at that level during typical applications. It is also advisable to consider generators with additional features like mufflers, soundproof casing, rubber feet, etc., since such features reduce noise level even further.
- Safety features
You also want a generator that comes with advanced safety features that reduce common generator safety risks significantly. For instance, you want a generator that automatically shuts down when the oil level is low since such a feature prevents generator damage and reduces fire risks. You should also consider generators with spark arrestors to reduce fire risks.
To avoid excessive air pollution and carbon monoxide poisoning, choose a generator which is CARB compliant. A carbon monoxide alarm will also come in handy if you want to use the generator for camping and indoor applications. It’s also important to choose a generator that produces high-quality power to avoid damaging expensive electronics/appliances. As mentioned above, inverter generators produce the highest quality power.
- Generator warranty
You also need to consider the type of warranty you will get. Avoid limited warranties at all costs. The warranty you choose should also be longer than one year. The best camping generator you should consider are made to a higher quality, built to last a lifetime, so many manufacturers aren’t afraid to give the best warranties. You should also consider buying generators from reputable generator manufacturers only since such manufacturers have technicians and outlets everywhere ready to address any generator problems you may have. A good warranty will be of little help if it takes months to get your generator repaired or replaced.
- Generator price
You also need to think of the perfect generator price for you. There are many camping generators on sale today in all price ranges. Although the best camping generator are reasonably priced (cheaper than traditional generators), you should buy a generator that is within your budget. You should also focus on value for money.
Depending on factors like generator features, some generators are bound to offer more value for money than others. For instance, generators with automatic features such as automatic start, fuel/oil level lights, carbon monoxide alarms etc. tend to cost more. If you find such a generator which costs the same as generators without such features, you will get more value for your money. It’s also important to consider factors like generator runtime and fuel efficiency since it will dictate how much money you will be spending to run your generator. You should expect to pay more initially for a generator with an impressive runtime. The overall cost of using the generator will, however, be lower in the long term resulting in huge cost savings.
In a nutshell, it’s better to focus on value instead of price. The above information should help you determine if you are getting value for your money or not. Once you determine this, you can proceed and consider the generator that falls within your budget. Your best camping generator should be reasonably priced, fuel efficient, safe, quiet and durable so, there should be no cause concern.
Best Camping Generator Safety tips
Although most modern generators today are generally safe, you must observe some safety tips to reduce all kinds of risks. Since the best camping generator are portable generators, you need to be aware of the risks these kinds of generators introduce as well as ways of dealing with such risks.
Before you use your generator, read the user’s manual from cover to cover. Best camping generator (s) are easy to operate. You should, however, read your manual to find out specific information. For instance, the manufacturer may have unique placement instructions. Most generators should be placed on a level surface that is cool and dry. Manufacturers also offer recommended cable/cord specifications as well as the type of electronics/appliances that can be powered safely. Your user manual will also highlight the generator’s capabilities and risks. Never assume all generators are the same. You must go through your user manual to be able to know how to setup and use your generator risk-free.
If the portable generator is too technical for you, consider seeking the assistance of a generator expert before you start using your generator. It may be costly to do this, however, it can save you a lot of money not to mention the serious safety risks you will avoid. In most cases, you should be able to use your portable generator safely after reading the user manual. However, if you need to do anything that is too technical i.e. connect your generator to another identical generator, add cables/cords, etc., seek expert help.
Carbon monoxide poisoning risks
Generators produce carbon monoxide (CO) gas which is very poisonous. If CO risks are unacceptable to you, consider choosing a camping generator which doesn’t produce any emissions i.e. a solar camping generator. Such generators generate clean electricity from solar power and store it in batteries. The generators, however, tend to have a low output which explains why gas/fuel powered generators are more popular.
To reduce CO poisoning risks, always operate your generator outdoors in open areas. Never run your generator in an enclosed tent when camping. You should familiarize yourself with CO warning signs. A person suffering from CO poisoning exhibits certain symptoms i.e. dizziness, headaches, nausea, fatigue and shortness of breath. CO poisoning symptoms/signs are similar to those caused by a flu/cold or food poisoning. Being aware of such information is important to avoid mistaking common illness with CO poisoning which can cause death.
If you experience any CO poisoning symptom, get fresh air immediately. Please note that CO gas isn’t visible. It’s also hard to smell the gas so you may not be able to determine the extent of CO poisoning. For this reason, it’s advisable to get fresh air immediately as opposed to trying to move the generator. It’s also good to invest in a CO alarm. Some generators come equipped with the alarm. The alarm can also be bought separately. You should consider buying a CO alarm if you want to use your generator for other applications apart from camping.
Handling generator fuel
To avoid fire risks, store generator fuel away from open fires and children. Generator fuel is highly flammable. Considering open fires are abundant in campsites, your generator fuel should be out of sight. You should also refuel your generator when it is off and cool. Generators tend to overheat with time so, don’t refuel immediately. You should also avoid spilling fuel. Use a fuel funnel to make sure you pour all the fuel without spilling. You should also refuel slowly to avoid splashing fuel on the generator and/or on the ground.
This should go without saying; never smoke near generator fuel. You should also label your fuel container clearly. To avoid fuel contamination, don’t leave your fuel container open. Keep your fuel container sealed perfectly in a cool and dry place.
Transporting your best camping generator
Although portable generators are built with portability in mind, this shouldn’t be mistaken to mean you shouldn’t care about how you transport your generator. All generators should be carried in an upright position on a level surface or position to avoid fuel and oil spills. You should transport your generator this way unless stated otherwise by the manufacturer. Generators should also be carried gently. Avoid shaking your generator as this may cause fuel and oil spills which can introduce fire risks.
Avoiding shock hazards
Generators should be placed on dry surfaces to avoid electrocution risks. If your campsite is wet, place your generator on top of a dry platform. You should also have a ‘’roof’’ to make sure your generator doesn’t get rained on.
Generators should also be operated with dry hands. Generators produce a lot of electricity which can cause serious shocks so always dry your hands before handling your generator. You should also use weatherproof cords to connect your generator to your electronics/appliances. The best camping generator (s) are built with harsh weather in mind. The cords you connect to your generator may, however, be ideal for indoor use only. To avoid being exposed to worn-out live wires, use the recommended cords. You should also inspect all cords regularly to make sure they are in perfect condition.
You should also avoid overloading your generator. The generator load should match the rating. Overloading your generator can cause electrical hazards. Always ensure all cords are capable of handling their load. If you need to connect your generator to any circuitry, use a transfer switch i.e. if you are camping in the woods and you have access to a camp house with electrical wiring. Never connect your generator directly to any circuitry.
Avoiding falls among other related generator risks
When using any kind of generator, you also want to think of the risk posed by cords powering your appliances, electronics, lights, etc. Running electrical cords on the ground introduces risks of falling/tripping. You can also knock off your generator. To avoid this, run cords/cables away from footpaths. You should also secure generator cords/cables to ensure they don’t move around freely and cause falls which can, in turn, introduce other risks i.e. when you trip on a generator cable and damage your electronics in the process.
Portable inverter generators are among the top choice as a best camping generator, in every aspect, including safety. You must, however, be informed and take the necessary precautions to reduce safety risks even further. As long as you use a generator, you will always be exposed to some risks. The above information is crucial for ensuring you avoid all kinds of generator risks imaginable.
Best Camping Generator Reviews
1. Yamaha EF2000iSCH
The Yamaha EF2000iSCH stands out from others on the best camping generator list because of the generator’s amazingly low noise levels, light weight, impressive runtime and multipurpose capabilities. Although this generator is perfect for camping applications, it is equally capable of handling a variety of applications thanks to its unique controller (with advanced programming). The 51.5 dBA noise level is perfect for camping among other powering applications such as hunting that require low noise.
You can even use the Yamaha EF2000iSCH as your emergency power backup at home. The generator produces adequate power i.e. 1600 watts ideal for all basic power needs. Considering the Yamaha EF2000iSCH can run the entire night nonstop (runs for 10.5 hours on a full tank of gas) and the generator is compact (measures 2.2 cubic feet) and lightweight (weighs just 44 pounds), this generator clearly stands out. Let’s, however, dig deeper into the main features/specs, top pros, and even cons.
- Engine: The Yamaha EF2000iSCH has a 79cc 4-stroke, air-cooled single cylinder OHV engine with an output of 1,600 running watts, 2000 starting watts.
- Noise: Produces 51.5 dBA at 25% load. Features an inverter system with PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) control. The Yamaha EF2000iSCH also has smart throttle technology which varies engine speed depending on load to maximize fuel economy as well as reduce noise.
- Runtime: Runs for 10.5 hours on a full tank (1.1 gallons). The generator also has a super-quiet muffler.
- Safety: CARB Compliant. The Yamaha EF2000iSCH also features a USFS-approved spark arrestor.
- Weight and Dimensions: Weighs 44.1 pounds. Measures 19.3 inches by 11 inches by 17.9 inches.
- Warranty: Comes with a 3-year warranty.
Yamaha EF2000iSCH reviews: What are people saying about the Yamaha EF2000iSCH?
- Amazing runtime: Many online customer reviews reveal that people love the fact that the generator can run for 10.5 hours nonstop. With such runtime, the generator can provide constant power overnight in the most remote campsites. Unlike most generators available today, you don’t need to refuel after every few hours. The Yamaha EF2000iSCH has a smart throttle that varies engine speed depending on load to maximize runtime.
- Silent: The 51 dBA noise level at 25% load is also impressive according to many Yamaha EF2000iSCH reviews. According to some reviews, it is hard to tell if the generator is on or off when it is placed a few meters away. Considering camping applications can be served at 25% load, the Yamaha EF2000iSCH’s silence is amazing. Many people love the fact that the manufacturer went a step further and installed a sophisticated muffler and rubber feet to get rid of vibration noise. Noise level is very important to be considered a best camping generator. This Yamaha meets that criteria.
- Safe and clean power: People who have bought the Yamaha EF2000iSCH also love the fact that the generator produces safe power ideal for powering all electronics and appliances regardless of the sensitivity of those electronics/appliances. You can charge your Smartphone, laptop, digital camera, tablet etc. while camping without any fears. The Yamaha EF2000iSCH has an advanced inverter system featuring PWM control which guarantees voltage stability (± 1%) and frequency stability (± 0.1 HZ). This is the highest possible electricity quality when talking about generator electricity. The electricity generated by the Yamaha EF2000iSCH has a higher quality that the electricity you get from your power grid. The Yamaha EF2000iSCH also produces very little harmful emissions. The generator is CARB and EPA compliant. The Yamaha EF2000iSCH has also been fitted with safety features such as an oil level warning system, electrical overload breaker and spark arrestor to common generator risks.
- Versatile: The Yamaha EF2000iSCH also comes highly recommended in reviews for its versatility. Many people love the generator’s new controller capable of handling almost all powering tasks you can think off from powering electronics to lights and appliances suitable for camping applications i.e. microwave, coffee maker, blender, etc. The Yamaha EF2000iSCH has the ability to power a wider range of applications compared to most generator on sale today. Furthermore, the generator has parallel connection capabilities making it possible to generate more power for heavy duty powering applications.
- Easy to start: The Yamaha EF2000iSCH’s auto-decompression system has also been praised. This system reduces compression allowing for easier starting. Unlike most generators today, you can start the generator in seconds. The Yamaha EF2000iSCH has an automatic warm-up feature which allows the generator to produce power in seconds on demand even during cold starts. Best camping generator feature = easy to use.
Although most people who have bought the Yamaha EF2000iSCH love every aspect of the generator, there are a few people who have something negative to say. For instance, there are some people who feel the generator is a bit pricey considering it’s almost $1000. Some people have also criticized the limited warranty.
The Yamaha EF2000iSCH is clearly suited for camping applications. The generator is powerful, silent, portable and produces safe and clean power. What more would you ask for in the best camping generator? Furthermore, you can use the generator for any other powering needs when you are not out camping. So, you’re not just buying a generator you’ll be using a few time a year. The Yamaha EF2000iSCH can be used for very many applications. Although the generator appears costly to some people, it is adequate enough for handling all your electricity needs including powering your electronics, appliances, and lights during a power blackout.
2. WEN 56200i
Care to know why the WEN 56200i is among the list of highest rated camping generators today? Well, the generator is among the quietest, smallest and most affordable generators on sale today. When looking for a camping generator, you want one that is silent, portable and cheap. The WEN 56200i is all that and more. The generator produces 51 dBA noise only at normal operation allowing you to camp in peace without causing any unnecessary disturbance or attention. The generator is also sizable i.e. capable of fitting perfectly in small spaces including your car. The WEN 56200i is also cheaper than most similar generators but doesn’t compromise on anything. The generator usually costs less than $500 but doesn’t compromise on anything. The WEN 56200i is powerful, versatile and safe. CLICK HERE for more on the main features/specifications among other important information i.e. reviews. We love the Wen 56200i as one of our best camping generator leaders.
3. Honda EU2000i
The Honda EU2000i stands out one of the best camping generator (s) available today based on factors like; superior output, portability, silence and runtime. The Honda EU2000i’s 1600 running watts and 2000 max output is powerful enough for all kinds of camping applications. It doesn’t matter what kind of electronics or appliances you want to use while camping. The Honda EU2000i will deliver. The Honda EU2000i is also silent (produces 53 dBA at 25% load) and portable. The generator can also run for 8.1 hours nonstop on a full tank of gas (0.95 gallons) which is more than enough time to power a campsite at night. For more information about the Honda EU2000i is a great camping generator, maybe the best camping generator CLICK HERE
4. Goal Zero Yeti 400
The Goal Zero Yeti 400 stands out for many reasons as one of the best camping generators on sale today. The most notable reasons revolve around the fact that the generator comes with a solar panel kit. Unlike most camping generators on sale today, you can run the Goal Zero Yeti 400 solely on solar power. If energy efficiency matters to you more than many other generator features, the Goal Zero Yeti 400 comes highly recommended for camping applications in sunny locations. All you will be required to do is to leave the generator’s solar panel kit outdoors where there is ample sunlight.
What’s more interesting is; you can charge the generator battery using your car or by plugging it into a regular power outlet. The Goal Zero Yeti 400 also stands out for being cheap, silent, lightweight and sizeable. For more information on why this generator is among the best camping generators available today, here are the main features.
- Battery: 300 watt-hour AGM lead acid battery with hundreds of cycles. Charge time of 5 hours using a wall charger, 13 hours using a car charger and 26-52 hours using a boulder 30 solar panel.
- Outlets: Has a 1.5 amp USB, AC and 12V outlets.
- Display: Comes with a battery display, charging indicator light and backlight for display.
- Safety: Safe for indoor and outdoor use. No fumes.
- Weight and Dimensions: Weighs 39.1 pounds (Generator alone weighs 29 pounds) and measures 17.5 by 15 by 12.2 inches.
- Warranty: Comes with a 30-day money back guarantee and 1-year warranty
The Goal Zero Yeti 400 reviews: What are people saying about the Goal Zero Yeti 400?
- Affordable: According to many Goal Zero Yeti 400 reviews, the generator is very affordable. Besides being reasonably priced, the generator can operate solely on solar power resulting in zero operational costs. You don’t need fuel as is the case with traditional generators. You can charge the generator’s battery using sunlight, your car or a regular power outlet at no extra cost.
- Highly portable: The Goal Zero Yeti 400 is portable (small and lightweight). The generator measures 17.5 by 15 by 12.2 inches and weighs 29 pounds only. The solar kit weighs 10 pounds only. This generator has an ideal size and weight. The generator also has a pop-up handle that allows you to carry the generator around with ease.
- Very reliable: People also love the fact that you can rely on the Goal Zero Yeti 400 for all your camping power needs. The generator produces enough power to 12v lights for more than 100 hours. You can also recharge your; Smartphone for more than 30 times, laptop 3-5 times, tablets for 10+ times and TV for 3 hours. According to numerous reviews, the generator provides you with more than enough power.
- Versatile: The Goal Zero Yeti 400 also comes highly recommended for its versatility. The generator comes with numerous ports adequate for powering all electronics/appliances including laptops, Smartphones, lights, name it. The generator has 12C, AC and USB ports. You can power anything you need in a campsite.
- Very safe: The Goal Zero Yeti 400 also stands out as one of the safest camping generators on sale today. First and foremost, this generator is not run by flammable fuel. The generator also produces high-quality power which is safe for sensitive electronics and appliances. The Goal Zero Yeti 400 produces AC (Alternating current) in pure sine wave form. AC power is very clean and safe. The Goal Zero Yeti 400 is also safe given the fact that the generator doesn’t produce harmful gasses like carbon monoxide.
- Very silent: Camping generators don’t get more silent than the Goal Zero Yeti 400 according to many reviews. This generator features superior inverter technology. Furthermore, the generator doesn’t run on typical motors like most conventional generators.
- Chainable: People also love the fact that the Goal Zero Yeti 400 can be connected to another identical generator to offer longer runtime.
Most Goal Zero Yeti 400 owners love every aspect of the generator. A few have however criticized the generator’s long charging time when there is inadequate sunlight. Some people also feel the generator has a low output. It is, however, worth noting you can chain the generator and get longer runtime without the need for charging while camping. Some people also feel the 30-day money back guarantee offered by Goal Zero is too short since people don’t camp multiple times in a month.
Final thoughts – Goal Zero Best Camping Generator
If you plan to go and camp in an area with adequate sunlight, the Goal Zero Yeti 400 comes highly recommended. The generator is, however, ideal for all kinds of camping environments because you can charge the generator’s battery with your car. The Goal Zero Yeti 400 also deserves to be on this list for being portable, silent, safe and affordable. Although the warranty may be short according to some people, the generator is durable according to numerous reviews. It is a suitable product to be on our best camping generator list.
We hope you enjoyed this article on best camping generators. The tips on safety are vital to follow. Best of luck in finding your best camping generator and happy camping!!
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