Gas Generators – An In-Depth Review Of The Best Available

The Most Powerful – Briggs & Stratton Q6500

The Briggs & Stratton Q6500 was designed mainly to be used as a backup or standby home generator. However, it is portable to coming with wheels fitted as standard. It’s also an inverter generator, making the power that it delivers safe for use with all appliances. We’ll take a closer look at the inverter shortly in the review.

The Q6500 is a powerful generator that has a maximum starting wattage of 6500 watts and provides thereafter 5000 watts of power continuously. Since it was designed mainly to be used as a backup generator, it is efficient.

One tank of fuel in the Q6500 is 5 gallons of gasoline. These 5 gallons are able to keep the Q6500 running at a quarter capacity for up to 14 hours.

There’s a control panel mounted on the side of the generator that’s easy to both read and use. Some of the features here include a power usage meter and a fuel gauge. Whilst you might think that these are common features, they are not necessarily. A lot of generators come without them, unfortunately.

The fuel gauge on the Q6500 ensures that you can easily and quickly see how much fuel is remaining in the tank. This helps to avoid unexpected power loss, especially when you most need it.

The power meter shows how much of the generator’s power you are using at the current time – particularly helpful so that you can see whether or not there’s enough power left to power another appliance for example.

The Briggs & Stratton Q6500 is fitted with a very advanced inverter. This inverter ensures that the power that is produced by the generator is clean, safe, and reliably stable. The current that comes from the Q6500 is safe for use with all appliances, even the smallest and most sensitive. This is due to the fact that it has less than 6% harmonic distortion.

Key Features

  • Maximum wattage of 6500 watts
  • Running wattage of 5000 watts
  • Efficient – the Q6500 uses an economic throttle system to ensure that the engine is only running as fast as it has to in order to output the current power required. This makes for an engine that can return up to 14 hours of power from a single tank of gasoline.
  • Power Usage Meter
  • Fuel Gauge
  • Inverter – the power output by the Q6500 has less than 6% harmonic distortion, and is, therefore, safe for use with all devices and appliances
  • Quiet and Refined – the Q6500 operates at only 66 decibels when being used at a quarter capacity
  • Portable – it comes fitted as standard with a fold-down handle and wheels that are designed to never go flat
  • Automatic low-oil level detection and shutdown
  • Overload Protection
  • Circuit Breakers

 Downsides

  • Not exactly light at 128 lbs
  • No electric starter
Sale
Briggs & Stratton 30675 Q6500 Inverter Generator -...
119 Reviews
Briggs & Stratton 30675 Q6500 Inverter Generator -...
  • Quiet, portable inverter generator delivers 6,500 starting watts of reliable home backup power
  • QuietPower Series inverter technology and a noise-reducing shell give you power that's more than 60% quieter than a standard generator (66 dBA at 25% load)
  • Design is 45% more compact & 30% lighter (128 lbs) than a standard portable generator. Start Type: Recoil
  • Highly-efficient 306cc Briggs & Stratton integrated engine/alternator provides up to 14 hours of run time at 25% load
  • Power a wide variety of electronics & devices at the same time with (4) 120V-20A outlets, (2) USB outlets & (1) 120V-240V locking outlet. Use of RV adapter in the twist lock outlet provides 2500W of continuous power (120V / 20.8A)

 The Quietest – Westinghouse iGen1200

The Westinghouse iGen1200 from Westinghouse is the quietest and smallest generator on our list of best gasoline generators. It weighs a tiny 33 lbs and has a carry handle on top making for extremely easy transportation and great portability. It can be easily lifted by anyone.

It’s got a starting wattage of 1200 watts, and a running wattage of 1000 watts. It’s a gas generator that’s great for a number of uses – it can be used for working in and around the house, tailgating, or camping. It’s not, however, got enough power for something like home backup support.

It’s a very quiet unit, running at only 52 decibels when it’s at a quarter of its load. The engine of the iGen1200 is in a heavily insulated enclosure.  It’s fitted with mufflers too to ensure the operational sound of the generator is kept to an absolute minimum. It’s a very refined unit.

There’s a good variety of power outlets on the Westinghouse iGen1200 as well. There are two 120V standard household outlets fitted, as well as two USB ports that can be used at the same time as the larger outlets.

The good variety of power outlets make the iGen1200 a great choice if you’re planning on using a number of smaller appliances at once. For example, you could charge your phone and camera from the USB ports at the same time as making use of one of the household outlets.

The iGen1200 can be connected in parallel with any other generator from Westinghouse’s iGen series. It’s easy to do, and only takes the use of one cable. This is particularly good for the iGen1200 since it doesn’t have a particularly large maximum power output.

Key Features

  • Portable – the iGen1200 is fitted with a carry handle and weighs only 33 lbs
  • Starting wattage of 1200 watts
  • Running wattage of 1000 watts
  • CARB compliant – it can be used anywhere in the USA
  • Quiet operation – it runs at just 52 decibels when at 25% load
  • Efficient – it can run for up to 9 hours
  • Good variety of power outlets

Downsides

  • Not enough power to power larger appliance
  • No electric start
Westinghouse iGen1200 Super Quiet Portable...
754 Reviews
Westinghouse iGen1200 Super Quiet Portable...
  • 1000 Rated Watts and 1200 Peak Watts at Less Than 3% THD - Weighs Only 35 Lbs. - Gas Powered - Two 120V 20 Amp Outlets
  • Great Choice for Home Use as an Emergency Backup in a Power Outage - Strong Enough to Run Most Home Essentials
  • Extremely Quiet, Extremely Fuel Efficient: 52 dB Noise Output and Up to 10 Hours of Run Time on a 0.8 Gallon Gas Tank - Features "Efficiency Mode" for Maximum Fuel Efficiency
  • Parallel Capable - Combine Your iGen1200 with the Westinghouse WH2200iXLT, iGen1200, iGen2200, and iGen2500 to Increase Available Wattage and Amperage (Requires Westinghouse Parallel Cord)
  • Three Year Warranty and Free Lifetime Technical Support at 1-855-944-3571 - EPA, USFS, and CARB Compliant (Legal for Sale in California)

The Cheapest – DuroStar DS4000S

The DS4000S from DuroStar is a powerful gasoline powered generator. It has a maximum output of 4000 watts and a running wattage of 3300 watts.

As with all generators, there are some good things as well as some points that could be improved. Fortunately, the DS4000S has a great number of points that make its place on our list of the best cheap generators well-earned. The DS4000S has a number of great features that are often found on more high-end units.

The DS4000S is fitted with a traditional recoil start that has been designed to be as easy to use as possible. The recoil start on the DS4000S is of high quality and has been designed to start as easily as possible on cold days, and after long periods of non-use.

It’s fitted with all of the safety features that you would expect from a high-quality generator as well. It is fitted with a system that automatically detects when the oil level in the engine becomes too low.

In the event of low oil, the generator automatically shuts down to prevent major engine damage. This also helps to avoid large repair bills in the future.

There’s a very well-designed control panel mounted on the front of the generator. The DS4000S features both a voltmeter and a fuel gauge.

These are handy features to have as you will be able to see how much power you’re using, and how much fuel you have left. Assuming that you keep an eye on their fuel gauge fitted, you won’t have any problems with an unexpected loss of power.

The DS4000S from DuroStar is a generator that has been designed with rugged use in mind. It isn’t particularly lightweight, weighing in at 94 pounds. This is however due to the sturdy steel encasing that allows it to be moved around without concern of breakage. If you would like to make the generator even easier to move around, there is also an optional wheel kit available for purchase.

Key Features

  • A maximum power output of 4000 watts
  • Continuous power output of 3300 watts
  • Portable – the DS4000S can be fitted with a wheel that makes it very portable
  • Economical – the 4-gallon fuel tank on this generator will allow it to keep going for up to 8 hours when being used at 50% of its load.
  • Good Selection of Power Outlets – The DS4000S comes fitted with a variety of different power sockets, including 2 3-Prong 120V sockets, and another 120-volt twist-lock socket
  • Powerful 7 HP air-cooled engine
  • Provided with a 1-year limited warranty as standard

The Cons

  • Quite heavy at 94 lbs
DuroStar DS4000S, 3300 Running Watts/4000 Starting...
718 Reviews
DuroStar DS4000S, 3300 Running Watts/4000 Starting...
  • 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.

 Dual Fuel – Champion 76533

The 3800-watt RV-ready Champion generator is a good source of power for pretty much anything you would like to use it for. The more powerful generators that champion offer in this range are very highly rated, but so too are these are small or dual fuel generators. They offer all of the same high-quality features that you would get on one of Champions more expensive and more powerful generators.

This dual fuel generator can be powered by either gas or propane gas. It’s got a maximum output wattage of 4750 watts, and a running power of 3800 watts. It comes with more than enough power for the large majority of appliances that might be used in a portable situation. The 76533 is RV-Ready as well.

The 76533 comes with a good selection of power sockets – two 120V sockets, one designed for use with an RV and one locking socket.  All of the power outlets are fitted with surge protection as well, a great feature for added safety and the safeguarding of the generator and any appliances that are plugged into it.

This 3800-watt dual fuel generator has a single-cylinder engine that’s very highly rated by those that have used it. It can be easily started by an electric start button and is too easily started when the weather’s cold. It has cold tart technology by Champion installed.

It’s not a particularly heavy generator either at just over 100 pounds in weight. However, if you’d rather push the generator instead of lifting it, it comes with a wheel kit and “never flat tires” as standard. It’s also got a handle fitted to the top, making pushing and pulling the generator very easy indeed.

It’s got a respectable runtime too, providing up to 9 hours of power when fuelled by gasoline, and 10 and a half hours of power from propane gas.

It’s got an automatic low oil level detection and shutdown, preventing long term engine damage as a result of the engine becoming burnt out. On the control panel is a gauge that informs you of how much power’s being output, as well as giving maintenance advice such as service advice.

Key Features

  • Camping and RV-Ready – fitted with an RV-specific 120V 30A socket
  • Electric start – no need to worry about constant recoil starts with this generator
  • Dual Fuel – the two fuels can be easily and quickly switched between
  • CARB Compliant
  • Well-priced

Downsides

  • Difficult for one person to lift
Sale
Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable...
419 Reviews
Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable...
  • Dual Fuel - Runs on GAS or PROPANE straight out of the box. Engine type: 4-stroke, wheel diameter: 8.0 inches
  • 4750 starting watts, 3800 running watts with up to 9 hours run time on a full tank of gas and up to 10.5 hours on a 20 lb. propane tank
  • Powered by a reliable 224cc Champion engine with Touch Start, push-button electric start (battery included).Gasoline Starting Amps at 120V - 39.6A.Gasoline Running Amps at 120V - 31.7A.Propane Starting Amps at 120V - 35.6A.Propane Running Amps at 120V - 28.5A
  • Frequency: 60 Hz. Outlets - 120V 30A RV, 120V 30A locking, two 120V 20A household outlets all secured by Volt Guard, protects your appliances from power surges
  • Champion Support - 3 year limited warranty with FREE lifetime technical support. Refer instruction manual before use.

 All-Round – Briggs & Stratton 30545

The Briggs & Stratton 30545 is, in our opinion, a fantastic all-round gas generator. It’s, in fact, one of our favorite generators in general. This is largely due to the massive number of potential uses that it has.

The 30545 P3000 from Briggs & Stratton is a powerful generator that remains very portable. It’s got a maximum wattage of 3000 watts, and a running wattage of 2600 watts. This good amount of power makes the P3000 a generator that’s suitable for powering a huge amount of appliances and tools.

If you’re looking to power tools and some larger appliances in and around your home, the P3000 will be able to cater to this easily.

What’s great about this Briggs & Stratton unit is that it’s especially portable for its size. It’s not common for a generator with a maximum wattage of 3000 watts to be able to be easily lifted by and moved around by one person.

The P3000 weighs only 84 pounds and is fitted with a double carrying handle on top. If two people are available to lift the generator, it can be easily and comfortably carried.  If you’d rather not carry the generator or are unable to, it’s fitted with extremely durable tires that can be pulled over all terrains without becoming punctured.

The P3000 uses technology from Briggs & Stratton to ensure that it is as efficient as is possible. When operating at its most economic, the P3000 is able to return more than 9 hours of power from only 1.5 gallons of fuel.

Being a high-end generator, this unit has got quite a few luxury features. It’s fitted with an LCD screen that shows information such as a voltmeter, fuel gauge, and an estimation as to the number of operational hours that are left in the current fuel in the generator.

The screen on the unit also shows recommended service intervals of the generator, as well as maintenance advice such as oil change intervals.

Key Features

  • Inverter – the inverter that’s fitted in the P3000 ensures that power output has very minimal harmonic distortion.  The power is safe for devices and appliances of all sizes.
  • Efficient – the generator idles automatically, and even when running the engine only runs at the speed which is required for the power output at the time
  • Maximum wattage of 3000 watts
  • Running wattage of 2600 watts
  • LCD screen displaying service intervals
  • Voltmeter
  • Fuel Gauge
  • Portable – the P3000 only weighs 84 lbs and comes fitted with a handle and wheel kit

Cons

  • Can be loud at times
Sale
Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable...
419 Reviews
Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable...
  • Dual Fuel - Runs on GAS or PROPANE straight out of the box. Engine type: 4-stroke, wheel diameter: 8.0 inches
  • 4750 starting watts, 3800 running watts with up to 9 hours run time on a full tank of gas and up to 10.5 hours on a 20 lb. propane tank
  • Powered by a reliable 224cc Champion engine with Touch Start, push-button electric start (battery included).Gasoline Starting Amps at 120V - 39.6A.Gasoline Running Amps at 120V - 31.7A.Propane Starting Amps at 120V - 35.6A.Propane Running Amps at 120V - 28.5A
  • Frequency: 60 Hz. Outlets - 120V 30A RV, 120V 30A locking, two 120V 20A household outlets all secured by Volt Guard, protects your appliances from power surges
  • Champion Support - 3 year limited warranty with FREE lifetime technical support. Refer instruction manual before use.

Conclusion

The Briggs & Stratton Q6500 is the most powerful generator on our list. It’s also got the most features and is very well-reviewed by all that have used it. It does suffer from the lack of an electric starter, however.

The Westinghouse iGen1200 is a great little unit. It’s small, very lightweight, and is very portable. It’s well suited to camping, or when you might just have one or two small appliances to power. It’s got features such as USB sockets too, allowing small devices to be powered and charged whilst larger ones are being used. It isn’t, however, all that powerful – with a running wattage of only 1000 watts.

The DuroStar DS4000S is a good generator that’s rough and well-built too. If you’re looking for a generator that’s going t be primarily used somewhere like a construction site, it’s a great choice. It’s not a good choice if you’re looking for something to directly power small devices, as there’s no inverter. The lack of inverter could result in a power output that’s unsuitable for sensitive electronics.

The Champion 76533 is an RV-ready dual fuel generator with some impressive runtimes, being able to run on either propane or regular gasoline. It is however fairly large and is difficult for one person to lift. It does come with wheels though and is CARB compliant meaning that it can be used anywhere in the USA.

The Briggs & Stratton 30545 is a fantastic generator. It’s easily portable, is powerful, and has a huge number of fantastic features – both safety and luxury. In our opinion, it is truly one of, if not the very best gas generators available. It’s difficult to find a fault with the 30545.

Last update on 2019-06-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API