Introduction: Small Inverter Generator
Before listing details on a best small inverter generator (or generators!) on sale today, it’s important to discuss important generator information; from the definition and how generators work to why you need a small inverter generator, how to choose the best small invertor generator and the main generator risks to avoid.
What is a generator?
A generator is an appliance or machine that converts mechanical energy into electricity.
How does a small inverter generator work?
Contrary to popular belief, generators don’t ”create” electricity but convert mechanical energy into electricity. Generators use mechanical energy to initiate movement of electric charges through an external circuit. The resulting flow of electric charges produces electric current. Modern generators i.e. most small generators utilize electromagnetic induction to ”create electricity”. Instead of having typical large motors like conventional generators, the generators induce the flow of electric charges by moving electrical conductors in a magnetic field. The generators feature advanced electronic circuitry and use high-tech magnets which get rid of common problems associated with conventional generators i.e. noise and inconsistent current. Most small generators on sale today are inverter generators (and we are focusing on the small inverter generator).
What is a Small Inverter Generator?
A small inverter generator produces AC current just like conventional generators, but the current is converted to DC current before being converted back (inverted) to AC current. This process results in the production of higher quality electricity which is cleaner and safer for sensitive electronics like Smartphones and laptops. A small inverter generator is also quieter. They tend to have high-tech sound-dampening designs and technology i.e. special mufflers, soundproof casings, etc. The generators also tend to be more energy efficient. In a nutshell, the best types of small generators are inverter generators. Although it is possible to get small regular generators, small inverter generators are the best.
Why do you need a generator?
Every homeowner should take emergency preparedness measures. In the same way you need to have adequate water and food reserves in your home, you also need a backup power source. Generators are great sources of alternative power during emergencies.
Disasters such as earthquakes and extreme weather like hurricanes and tornadoes cause a lot of destruction. During such occurrences, regular gas and electricity supply is usually interrupted. When this happens, life can become unbearable if you don’t have a generator. It’s worth noting that electricity plays a crucial role in our day-to-day life. Without it, you can’t be able to charge and use your cell phone, laptop, power lights, regulate temperature in your house, power all appliances in your kitchen, etc. Electricity is also crucial for running most (if not all) kinds of businesses.
Without electricity, life would be unbearable. This is precisely why you need a generator. You can get disconnected from the power grid anytime due to a natural disaster or bad weather. In case this happens, you will need to be prepared to move on with life as you wait for things to get back to normal.
A generator also comes in handy if you love outdoor activities like camping and hunting. Having a generator in your campsite makes camping more enjoyable because you can continue using your favorite electronics/gadgets/appliances deep in the woods.
Although it is possible to use other sources of energy apart from electricity i.e. using battery powered lights or candles and lanterns during a blackout, these lighting sources are suitable in the short term only. It may take weeks for power to be restored back after a hurricane. In such an instance, generators are more ideal. A generator can be able to power lights and everything else you need for comfortable living during emergencies.
What are small ginverter enerators and why should you choose small inverter generator over a conventional generator?
As the name suggests, small generators are generators which are small in size. Small generators are smaller than traditional generators. The size of a generator is a major factor because it dictates factors like usability. You can’t be able to use a conventional generator i.e. a standby generator for many applications because the generator can’t be moved around easily. Small generators are popular because they aren’t limiting.
The generators are also highly recommended over conventional generators because they are cheaper. Small generators cost a few hundred dollars, yet they have the same capacity as conventional generators. It is possible to get a small generator that produces as much power or even more power than a regular generator. Small generators also produce less noise making them ideal for both indoor and outdoor applications. As mentioned above, most small generators are inverter generators featuring inverter technology which results in less noise. You can’t be able to use a conventional generator in places where noise is a huge concern.
Small generators also produce higher quality power. Unlike inverter generators, conventional generators produce inconsistent power which can damage sensitive electronics. Small generators also tend to be safer in regards to compliance with international generator safety standards. For instance, most small generators on sale today are CARB compliant. They also tend to have safety features like low-oil shutdown which prevents generator risks like overheating and fire.
In summary, small generators are better than conventional generators in almost all aspects from size to safety and application variety. The generators also tend to be cheaper. These reasons should motivate you enough to choose a small generator over a standby or stationary generator.
Choosing a generator: How do you choose the best small inverter generator for you?
There are many different types of small inverter generators on sale today so, how do you identify the best from the rest?
1. How much power do you need?
To find the best generator, you need to determine the amount of power you need. Depending on your reasons for buying a small generator, you can be able to determine the generator output that will serve your power needs perfectly. For instance, if you want a small generator that will be able to power basic electronics, appliances, and lighting in case of emergency power blackouts, a small generator with approximately 1000 running watts will work perfectly. If you need to power heavy-duty appliances i.e. freezers, water heaters, power tools like electric drills and saws (in cases where you need a generator for job site applications), you need to consider a small generator with higher wattage i.e. 3000 running watts and above.
There are however other considerations to make. For instance, you can go for a small generator wattage if you don’t intend to use the generator for many applications at once. In such instances, even a small generator with less than 1000 running watts will serve you perfectly in almost all applications. You can determine your power needs more precisely by adding up the power consumption of each and every appliance/gadget you plan to power with your generator. Ideally, the total wattage of appliances you intend to power should not exceed the generator’s running wattage. Otherwise, you stand to overload your generator.
2. Do you need any special generator features?
It’s also important to determine if you have any special features that must be present in the generator you want to buy. For instance, some people insist on remote starting because it is convenient. Others want a small generator that has parallel operation capabilities i.e. a generator that can be connected to another identical generator to double output. Other people are more concerned about specific safety features like low-oil/low-fuel automatic shutdown.
Always remember that the best generator for you must have all the features you want/need. The importance of thinking about unique generator features beforehand can’t, therefore, be overlooked. If a generator’s noise level is important to you, make sure you have an ideal noise range in mind. You can CLICK HERE to find out more about generator noise levels.
3. What runtime is ideal for you?
Generator runtime is another important consideration. Depending on your application, you should be able to estimate how long you want your generator to run on a full tank of gas. A longer runtime is always better since it guarantees uninterrupted service over a long time. If you need a generator for camping, the generator should be able to run nonstop for the whole night on a full tank of gas. Of course there other factors to consider i.e. the load. However, the small generator you choose should be able to run for as many hours as possible on a full tank to avoid inconveniences.
4. What’s your budget?
Your budget is also a crucial factor to consider when buying a small generator. Luckily, cost isn’t a cause for concern when you are buying small generators because they tend to be cheap. In fact, small generators are the most affordable types of generators available today. Nevertheless, you need a budget. The best small generator for you should be affordable. There is no need of buying a generator you can’t afford.
5. Consider the weight and size
To choose a good small generator, you also need to consider generator size and weight. Although small generators tend to be small and lightweight, the generators come in different sizes and weight. If size and weight are extremely important factors to you, choose the smallest and lightest generator you can find. You should, however, be aware of the fact that generator power tends to correspond with size i.e. the smaller you go, the less power you get.
The best small generators on sale today come with all the extras you need to get the best out of the generator i.e. a power cord, transfer switch, carrying case, warranty name it! If you need a small generator that can be connected to your home’s circuitry safely, you will require a transfer switch. You must, therefore, choose a small generator that comes with a transfer switch/or allows you to use one. A warranty is also a necessity. If you’re going to spend a considerable amount of money, you need to get a good warranty i.e. unlimited warranty for more than 1-year.
7. Generator brand
You also need to consider the generator brand. The best generator brands tend to be those that have been around for years because they have been tested and proven. Although such brands tend to be more expensive, you are assured of getting value for your money. Newer generator models tend to be cheaper but do your research, some break down often defeating the purpose of owning a generator.
Choosing the perfect small inverter generator isn’t easy. You must make various considerations ranging from your power needs and special generator features to ideal runtime, size, weight, budget, extras and brand. Although there may be other considerations, the above information is bound to guide you on the right path.
Generator safety tips: How do you install and operate a generator safely?
Owning a generator is one thing. Knowing how to install and operate a generator safely is another totally different thing. Although small generators come with many safety features, there are many risks that you need to mitigate. Generator safety risks start from the installation stage down to the use. You must know how to install and run your generator properly, reduce shock and fire hazards as well as identify carbon monoxide poisoning signs.
a. Safe installation of a small inverter generator
In most cases, you won’t need to install as small inverter generator since such generators come equipped with ports that are ready for use. Nevertheless, every small inverter generator has an operating manual that must be read before you start using the generator. You need to be aware of information such as ideal generator placement. For instance, where should you place your generator during use as well as storage? You also need to understand how to make safe electrical connections. If you need to connect the generator to your home’s circuitry, you must read and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on such connections. Reading your generator manual to the letter is crucial for safe installation.
In most cases, you can be able to install your generator safely by reading and following the guidelines in the manual. You should, however, seek assistance from an electrician if you feel the installation process is too technical i.e. when connecting your generator to your home circuitry. Although hiring an expert to install your generator may cost you some money, it is better to be safe than sorry. Poor generator installation can cause serious risks such as fire and electrocution. You can also damage appliances and electronics.
b. How to operate a small inverter generator safely
Once you understand how to install your generator safely, you need to shift your focus to operation. Generators must be operated in a certain way to reduce risks such as suffocation. Generators produce carbon monoxide gas (CO) which can cause death if inhaled for a prolonged period. To reduce CO risks, you must first and foremost; read your operator manual to understand the guidelines on ventilation. Different generators tend to have different ventilation requirements. Ideally, you must operate your generator in a properly ventilated area. Your operator’s manual should give you accurate guidelines on ventilation i.e. how to direct exhaust.
Generators should be used outdoors. If you must operate your generator indoors, the location must be properly ventilated i.e. all doors, windows and vents should be open. You should also use a fan as well as a carbon monoxide detector or alarm. CO detectors or alarms are necessary since you can’t smell or see CO gas. Never operate a generator in enclosed spaces even if you have fans. Ideally, generators should be operated outside.
c. Preventing electrical and fire hazards caused by generators
Since generators produce electricity, there’s always a risk of electrocution or shock. You can, however, reduce such risks by taking some precautions. For instance, you should not operate your generator in wet conditions. Since generators should be operated outdoors, you must place the generator on a dry platform away from water if it’s raining or wet outside. The generator should also be placed under a shelter/protected from rain to prevent direct contact with water. You should also dry your hands before touching/operating the generator to avoid electrocution or shock.
Never connect your small inverter generator directly to your home circuitry i.e. plugging the generator into a wall outlet or what is commonly known as back feeding. This practice introduces electrocution and fire risks. You also stand to damage your electronics and appliances since back feeding bypasses household circuit protection devices. Use a transfer switch instead to connect your generator to your home’s circuitry safely.
When connecting any appliances to your generator, use heavy-duty extension cords that have been designed for outdoor use. Regular extension cords are prone to damage when used outdoors introducing electrocution risks. It’s also advisable to ensure the wattage rating for every cord is capable of handling the intended load. Overloading extension cords can cause electrical and fire hazards.
The extension cord you intend to use should also be long enough to ensure the generator is placed a safe distance away. A long cord will also help to reduce accidental tripping or falling. It’s also advisable to inspect extension cords for cuts or tears which can cause electrocution when touched or stepped on by accident. You should also secure your cord from getting crushed or pinched. Cords should also be labeled correctly.
Fire risks should be mitigated by ensuring generator fuel is handled and stored properly. For instance, never store generator fuel inside your home, near a flame or in a place accessible to children. Generator fuel is highly flammable and poses serious fire risks when stored carelessly. Fuel containers should also be labeled clearly. You should also refuel your generator when the generator is off and cool. This practice reduces fire risks which are high when the generator is hot and/or running.
d. Carbon monoxide poisoning warning signs
Inhaling carbon monoxide gas can cause CO poisoning or death in severe cases. Since you can’t smell or see CO gas, it’s important to know CO poisoning warning signs to look out for. These signs include; dizziness, headache, nausea, weakness, and shortness of breath. If you start experiencing any one or more of these symptoms when using your generator, go outside and call emergency medical services. Getting some fresh air immediately helps to reduce CO poisoning risks. Don’t attempt to turn off your generator before you go out to get some fresh air as this increases risks of CO poisoning. You should go out and seek medical help immediately since CO poisoning can cause fainting and death in severe cases.
Top 5 Small Inverter Generator options on sale today
1. WEN 56200i (Weight: 48 pounds, Dimensions: 18 by 11 by 18 inches)
The WEN 56200i stands out as one of best small generators on sale today because the generator measures just 18 by 11 by 18 inches and weighs just 48 pounds. If generator size is an important factor to you, this generator comes highly recommended. The WEN 56200i is small enough to fit anywhere. The WEN 56200i takes up little space and is light enough to be carried around with ease. Size and weight aside, the generator has amazing features ranging from unmatched quietness (produces 51 dBA noise only). The generator is also safe, fuel efficient and affordable. The WEN 526200i is highly rated for a reason.
For more on why the WEN 526200i is among the best small generators, CLICK HERE.
2. Westinghouse WH2400i (Weighs: 43 pounds, Dimensions: 16.5 by 10.7 by 19 inches)
If you’re looking for a more powerful but smaller inverter generator than the WEN 56200i, the Westinghouse WH2400i comes highly recommended. Although the generator is a bit more expensive, you get a more compact, smaller and powerful portable generator. The Westinghouse WH2400i weighs 43 pounds only, measures 16.5 by 10.7 by 19 inches and has a power output of 2100 running watts, 2400 starting watts. The generator is also more fuel efficient than other small generators on sale today. For more information, below are the main features/specs.
- Engine: Gasoline powered 4-stroke engine.
- Weight and Dimensions: Weighs 43 pounds, measures 16.5 by 10.7 by 19 inches.
- Noise levels: 59dBA at 50% load.
- Safety: CARB and EPA compliant. Also, has a low oil shutdown feature and inverter technology which helps the generator produces electricity that is safe for sensitive electronics.
- Fuel consumption: Runs for 11 hours nonstop on a full tank of gasoline (1.3 gallons) at 25% load.
- Ports: Has 2 USB ports.
- Warranty: 3-year limited warranty
Top Pros: What do people love about the Westinghouse WH2400i?
- The generator is small but powerful: Many small generators available today compromise on power. The Westinghouse WH2400i is an exception. With an output of 2100 running watts and 2400 starting watts, the generator can handle all basic power needs in times of emergencies and outdoor applications like camping. You can power your lights, appliances, and electronics at home as well as use the generator for camping power needs. Many people find it amazing that a generator this small and light can handle such power needs comfortably.
- The generator is silent: There are many positive customer reviews on the generator’s unmatched silence. With a noise level of 59dBA only, the generator can be used comfortable in residential applications as well as other applications where noise is a concern.
- Unmatched fuel efficiency: The generator can run for 11 hours nonstop on a full tank of gas (1.3 gallons). Most small generators on sale today aren’t half as fuel efficient as the Westinghouse WH2400i according to numerous reviews. If you’re looking for unmatched fuel efficiency, look no further. The Westinghouse WH2400i can run all night at your campsite.
- Parallel operation: The Westinghouse WH2400i can also be connected to an identical generator to double output. This makes the generator ideal for regular as well as heavy-duty power applications. Considering you can double the output, this generator can handle all kinds of applications including powering heavy-duty appliances as well as power tools.
- Made by a renowned manufacturer: Let’s not forget who makes the Westinghouse WH2400i. Westinghouse is a renowned manufacturer of powering equipment. The manufacturer has been around since 1886. The Westinghouse brand is globally renowned as respected. According to many reviews, the generator is a true testament of industry leading small generator innovation.
- Great warranty: It’s also great that you get a 3-year warranty for a generator that costs less than $1,000.
Some customers wish this smaller inverter generator came with a 3-year full warranty. Some customers also feel the small inverter generator is only ideal for light powering applications.
Although there are concerns expressed on the warranty and output, the Westinghouse WH2400i is durable and has parallel operation capabilities meaning you can always boost the output. With that said, the generator appears flawless. If you’re looking for a small generator made by a globally renowned manufacturer, look no further. You might be required to pay a bit more. However, you will get value for your money.
3. Earthquake 11613 (Weighs: 21 pounds, measures 15.6 by 8.2 by 14 inches)
The Earthquake 11613 can easily qualify as the cheapest smallest generator on sale today. For a low price, you get a generator that weighs just 21 pounds and measures 15.6 by 8.2 by 14 inches. It doesn’t get smaller than the Earthquake 11613 when talking about the smallest generators available today. The generator can fit anywhere. The generator can also be carried around by anyone including children. If you’re looking for a portable generator that will offer you backup power for emergencies, look no further. Here are the main features/specifications of the Earthquake 11613.
- Power output: 700 running watts, 800 starting watts.
- Noise: Inverter technology allowing quiet operation. Also, has a noise suppressing housing.
- Safety: CARB Compliant. Also, has overload protection features i.e. an instant reset circuit breaker. Inverter technology also allows the generator to produce safe electricity for powering sensitive electronics.
- Fuel efficiency: Runs for 14 hours nonstop on one gallon of gas.
- Weight and Dimensions: Weighs: 21 pounds and measures 15.6 by 8.2 by 14 inches
Top Pros: What do people love about the Earthquake 11613?
- Very small and lightweight: Most people who have bought the Earthquake 11613 love the size and weight of the generator. In fact, these features are the #1 selling point according to most reviews. It doesn’t get smaller and lighter than the Earthquake 11613.
- Great price: The Earthquake 11613 is also incredibly cheap. For a few hundred dollars, you get a reliable power source you can carry around anywhere with ease. Unlike most appliances/equipment, you don’t have to save to get the Earthquake 11613.
- Unmatched nonstop operating hours: The Earthquake 11613 has also been praised for offering 14 hours of continuous operation on just 1 gallon of gas. You can run this generator throughout the night and still use it for a couple of hours during the day before refueling. This kind of fuel efficiency is perfect for all types of applications.
- Safety: The Earthquake 11613 is also safe to use. Generator safety is a big issue. Luckily, the Earthquake 11613 is CARB compliant and produces safe power for use by the most sensitive electronics i.e. Smartphones and tablets.
Although most people who buy the Earthquake 11613 are concerned about size before everything else, some people wish the generator would have more power. 700 watts is ideal for typical applications only.
The Earthquake 11613 is a strong buy in regards to size. Portable generators don’t come this small and lightweight. The generator also stands out in other aspects i.e. it is cheap, fuel efficient and safe. The Earthquake 11613, however, has a low output which is understandable given the size. All in all, if your focus is size, buy this small inverter generator. If you want more power output, there are other suitable small inverter generators you can consider.
4. Briggs & Stratton 30651 (Weighs: 55 pounds, measures 19.9 by 14.4 by 22.4 inches)
The Briggs & Stratton 30651 is perfect for you when you care about size as well as output. You may want a small generator, but most small generators have a low power output. If that’s the case, the Briggs & Stratton 30651 will be perfect for you. Although the generator isn’t the smallest generator around, it is smaller than most portable generators. Furthermore, the generator has some excellent features.
- Engine: 111cc OHV engine. 1,700 running watts, 2,200 starting watts.
- Noise level: 59dBA operating volume.
- Usability: Has USB ports for charging portable electronics. Also, has a has a parallel connector port that allows users to connect an identical unit and double the power output.
- Fuel efficiency: Runs for 8 hours nonstop on 1 gallon of gas at 25% load. Also, has a Powersmart mode that boosts energy efficiency.
- Safety Features: Produces power with less than 3 percent total harmonic distortion. Safe for powering sensitive electronics like laptops, video games, and Smartphones.
- Weight and Dimensions: Weighs 55 pounds and measures 19.9 by 14.4 by 22.4 inches.
Top Pros: What do people love about the Briggs & Stratton 30651?
- Powerful but portable: The Briggs & Stratton 30651 produces 1700 running watts which is powerful when you compare the output of other small generators today. Although the generator isn’t the smallest, it is still portable. The generator has a great design and handles. It’s easy to carry the Briggs & Stratton 30651 around according to many customer reviews only.
- Versatile: The Briggs & Stratton 30651’s versatility has also been applauded. The generator has numerous ports including USB and DC ports that make the generator usable for a variety of applications. It doesn’t matter what you need to power with the Briggs & Stratton 30651. Chances are, you’ll be able to power everything from lights to personal electronics and household appliances.
- Quiet operation: People also love the noise level of the Briggs & Stratton 30651. 59 dBA is impressive for a generator with an output of 1700 running watts according to reviews. Furthermore, the generator is quieter in typical applications.
- Parallel operation: Reviews also applaud the fact that you can boost the generator’s output by connecting the generator to another identical generator. If 1700 running watts isn’t enough for you, just buy another identical generator and connect the two. The generator output is, however, adequate for most emergency and outdoor power applications.
- Great manufacturer: Briggs & Stratton is a renowned power equipment manufacturer with over 100 years experience. Many people love the fact that the Briggs & Stratton 30651 belongs to a brand that has been tested and proven. There’s no doubt you will get a high-quality generator when you buy the Briggs & Stratton 30651.
Not everyone thinks the Briggs & Stratton 30651 is great in all regards. Some people wish the generator lasted longer than 8 hours on a full tank of gas. Some people also find the generator to be a bit pricey, bulky and heavy.
Briggs & Stratton Small Inverter Generator Verdict
The Briggs & Stratton 30651 may not be #1 on the list of small generators in regards to size and weight. However, the generator is still small and lightweight compared to traditional generators. Considering size compromises output, the Briggs & Stratton 30651 is perfect when both size and power are huge concerns. The generator may not have the best runtime but 8 hours on 1 gallon is impressive when you consider the output. The price is also fair considering the features, capabilities, and price of most small generators.
5. Honda EU2000I (Weighs: 69 pounds, measures 12 by 21 by 19 inches)
This is another popular small generator in the market today. The Honda EU2000I comes highly recommended in regards to portability among other features like noise level, usability, and runtime. Besides being among the smallest generators on sale today, the Honda EU2000I is also among the quietest generators with a noise level of 53 dBA only at 25% load. The generator also has an impressive runtime of 8.1 hours on a full tank of gas. The generator also provides high-quality power ideal for powering sensitive electronics. For more on why you should consider buying this small generator, CLICK HERE.
Hope you loved the information on the small inverter generator. More Generator information:
Quiet Generators Best to Buy