10 Best Camping Generators for Powering Everything You Need

By Emma
best camping generators

Welcome to this review of the best camping generators.

After 20+ hours of sifting through the 15 different products, we have chosen the Honda EU2200i portable generator as the best camping generator.

When you need to power up vital devices on a camping trip, a portable generator is the best option. 

However, balancing the various technical aspects with your budget can be a tough task.

In this review, we have made things easier for you by listing the top products and adding a buyer’s guide.

The Honda EU2200i portable generator is our top choice with its superb performance and undisputed Honda reliability. With 1800 watts of rated power output, low noise levels, and superb performance from the GXR120 engine, it’s a real winner. Add to that a user-friendly design and a 3-year warranty.

If you’re on a tighter budget, the WEN 56200i Portable Generator is a great choice with a rated output of 1600 watts and excellent fuel efficiency from the 4-stroke OHV engine. Add to that a top-notch build quality, low noise levels, and a user-friendly interface.

In case you want something smaller and eco-friendly, check out the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240 with its running output of 200 watts. The battery efficiency is close to 95 percent, and the unit is ultralight at 6.6 pounds. You can easily power it with a solar panel to ensure a noise-free power source for your adventures. 

We have also included a comprehensive buyer’s guide that go over how to select the best camping generator. For those who are new, there’s also a detailed FAQs section.

Best camping Generators – Comparison Table

Running Power Output (Watts)Weight (Pounds)Power SourceNoise Level Fuel EfficiencyPrice
Honda EU2200i Generator180047.4Gasoline48 dBA4.0 to 9.6 hours on a full tank$$$$
WEN 56200i Generator160048Gasoline51 dBA94 hours at quarter load$$
Jackery Power Station Explorer 2402006.6Battery$
Westinghouse iGen2200180046.3Gasoline52 dBA12 hours on a full tank$$
Briggs & Stratton P2400 180050Gasoline58 dBA8 hours at quarter load$$$
Champion Power Equipment 100692 170039Gasoline53 dBA11.5 hours$$
Generac GP2500i Inverter Generator220048Gasoline8 hours at quarter load$$
Goal Zero Yeti 200X Power Station187Wh5Battery$
A-iPower SUA2000iV Generator160048Gasoline52 dBA10 hours at quarter load$$
DuroMax XP4400EH3500122Gasoline or propane11.46 hours at half load on gasoline$$

Honda EU2200i portable generator

  • Performance (30%) – 9/10
  • Reliability (30%) – 9/10
  • Noise (20%) – 9/10
  • Portability (10%) – 9/10
  • Features (10%) – 9/10

Needless to say, Honda has a big reputation when it comes to portable generators. And the EU2200i is considered to be the top choice by many veteran campers.

Admittedly, this is a product that deserves all the praise.

To start with, it offers 2200 watts of peak power output and 1800 watts of running power. The 121cc, GXR120 engine delivers a smooth performance.

Now, the starting watts of 2200 aren’t something the generator delivers continuously. More on that later.

But 1800 watts of power is good enough for most camping equipment including portable fans and electric stoves.

The build quality is top-notch. It has a body designed to reduce any damage from impacts and an extra ventilation area for efficient cooling.

The power delivery is sufficient for any campsite device you can think of. The EU2200i can also power a small refrigerator or a TV set in your RV. 

Since it comes with inverter technology, the power output is ideal for sensitive equipment like laptops and smartphones.

Let’s not forget, the engine offers excellent fuel efficiency. Users mentioned the 0.95-gallon fuel tank can easily run for 3.5 to 4 hours at high loads. By using the “eco-mode”, you can extend the runtime close to 8 hours.

It gets better…

The smooth engine performance keeps the noise level at 57 dBA at the rated power. Perfect for keeping the campsite quiet.

With a dry weight of 47.4 pounds, the generator offers a good power-to-weight ratio. It’s one of the lightest in its category.

Honda has also packed some excellent features in the unit. These include fuel shutoff, low oil alarm, electronic circuit breaker, and a USDA-qualified spark arrestor.

Moreover, there’s also an advanced carbon monoxide detection system.

In fact, the Honda EU2200i is one of the best generators you can pick for a backup power supply in your home.

Sadly, the EU2200i isn’t for budget buyers. But with the excellent reputation of “Honda quality”, we had no doubts about marking it as our number one choice.

Pros

  • A reliable, fuel-efficient engine
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Compatible with Honda My Generator smartphone app
  • Inverter technology for steady power
  • Comes with a 3-year warranty

Cons

  • It’s pricey
  • No electric start

WEN 56200i Portable Generator

  • Performance (30%) – 9/10
  • Reliability (30%) – 9/10
  • Noise (20%) – 8/10
  • Portability (10%) – 9/10
  • Features (10%) – 8/10

What we loved about this product from Wen are its reliability and affordability. Buyers on a budget will love the performance, and it also packs a punch in terms of features.

The 56200i has a surge output of 2000 watts and a rated output of 1600 watts. At its heart lies the 4-stroke 79.7cc OHV that offers dependable performance.

Even though 1600 watts doesn’t look high, it’s good enough for powering all your gadgets and other portable electrical equipment.

Users appreciated the overall build quality of the product and the smooth power delivery of the engine.

The 1-gallon fuel tank can deliver 9.5 hours of power at a quarter load. Most users gave a thumbs up to the fuel efficiency, especially in the economy mode.

Due to the clean energy supplied by the inverter technology, it’s safe enough for sensitive gadgets. Apart from the standard connectors, it also has a USB port

What about noise?

Well, it’s not as quiet as the Honda, but quiet enough. The rated level is 53 decibels at a quarter load. 

The generator is compact and weighs 48 pounds. Portability is good with the carrying handle.

Another big advantage of the 56200i is that it’s EPA III and CARB compliant. In addition, there are safety features like low-oil and low fuel shutdown and overload protection.

Note, you can also connect two units by using a parallel connection kit.

Considering the price, the 56200i offers incredible value. It proves you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a good quality camping generator.

Pros

  • A reliable and easy to use generator
  • Offers great portability
  • Good fuel efficiency at eco mode.
  • Inverter technology delivers clean power
  • An affordable price

Cons

  • Some users found the fueling process difficult
  • The plastic case can get damaged with rough use

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240

  • Performance (30%) – 8/10
  • Reliability (30%) – 9/10
  • Noise (20%) – 10/10
  • Portability (10%) – 10/10
  • Features (10%) – 9/10

Make no mistake about it- the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240 isn’t a traditional generator. It’s a completely different animal that’s a great choice for campers.

Let me tell you why…

The Explorer 240 is an entry-level unit with a 240Wh lithium-ion battery pack.  The running output is 200 watts with a surge output of 400 watts.

Needless to say, it’s not for bigger equipment. But it’s great for powering up laptops, smartphones, or drones.

What’s more, the station delivers a pure sine wave AC output for charging laptops and smartphones.

Users also mentioned that the overall efficiency of the unit is top-notch. Actually, it’s close to 95 percent which is fantastic.

Coming to the build quality, the tough plastic body can withstand rough outdoor use. It also has rubber feet for providing stability on uneven surfaces.

Charging the battery is super simple. When connected to a wall outlet it will charge up within 4 hours. You can also use a car outlet or a solar panel.

Note, the unit has a built-in MPPT controller for optimized solar charging efficiency.

Not to forget, Jackery has also packed with it a range of safety features like over current protection, over-voltage protection, and more.

And the best part is, it weighs 6.6 pounds only. With a carry handle and a compact size, portability is excellent.

Without a doubt, the Explorer 240 offers excellent value to buyers ready to look beyond traditional generators.

Combine it with a solar panel and you are ready for the outdoors for an indefinite period.

Pros

  • Offers excellent efficiency
  • Can be recharged while charging other devices.
  • Quick charging time
  • Ultralight with excellent portability
  • Digital screen 

Cons

  • Not for powering large equipment
  • Lacks USB-C ports

Westinghouse iGen2200 Generator

  • Performance (30%) – 9/10
  • Reliability (30%) – 9/10
  • Noise (20%) – 7/10
  • Portability (10%) – 9/10
  • Features (10%) – 8/10

This product from Westinghouse is easily one of the best options when it comes to portable generators.

What makes this so special?

With 2200 peak watts and 1800 rated watts, the power delivery is good enough for camping trips.

The 4-Stroke OHV Westinghouse engine is not only a smooth performer but also incredibly fuel-efficient. You can get close to 12 hours of runtime at a quarter load. 

Not to forget, it comes with inverter technology and delivers clean power.

The noise output is rated at 52 dBA. It has features like a double-insulated casing and mufflers for noise reduction. 

However, when used at higher loads the noise levels are higher than 60 dBA.

In terms of connectivity, the generator offers plug-and-play functionality. There are dual USB ports and dual 120V 5-20R standard outlets.

The built-in safety features include low-oil protection and overload protection. The product is also CARB compliant.

With a dry weight of 46.3 pounds and a carrying handle, the portability is as good as the competitors.

Also, the price tag hits the sweet spot.

That said, some users mentioned issues with customer support. We feel Westinghouse should do better in that area.

Westinghouse is a brand that comes with a heritage and this generator ticked almost all the right boxes for us. 

Pros

  • Excellent fuel efficiency
  • Inverter technology for clean power
  • Lightweight design 
  • Can be connected parallelly
  • A 3-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Noticeable noise at high load
  • Issues with customer support

Briggs & Stratton P2400 PowerSmart Series Inverter Generator

  • Performance (30%) – 9/10
  • Reliability (30%) – 8/10
  • Noise (20%) – 7/10
  • Portability (10%) – 7/10
  • Features (10%) – 9/10

Not many generators are specifically designed for camping. This one from Briggs & Stratton is.

As per the brand, the two main features of the unit are minimized noise and a lightweight design.

The 4-stroke OHV engine runs on Quiet Power technology that minimizes noise and fuel 

consumption.

Now, the starting watts is 2400, and the running watts is 1800. That’s on par with the top products in this category.

The fuel efficiency is impressive too. Users noted that the generator delivers 8 hours of running time at a quarter load.

Is it quiet?

The noise level mentioned is 58dBA. That’s not the quietest in this category. But in real life, it’s not very loud from a distance of 25-30 feet.

This product belongs to the PowerSmart Series by Briggs & Stratton that comes with inverter technology. As expected, the power delivery is clean enough for powering up sensitive gadgets.

Note, there are five outlets, including two 5V USB ports. That gives you enough flexibility for connecting a variety of equipment.

The other thing users liked was the weatherproof covers on all the sockets.

For safety, there’s a low oil shutdown and a circuit breaker. Plus, the unit has CO Guard technology to detect carbon monoxide levels.

What about portability?

Admittedly, this isn’t the lightest camping generator you can pick. The dry weight stands at 50 pounds and it gets heavier with a full tank.

Besides, some users also mentioned a few issues with the startup coil.

For what it’s worth, the P2400 couldn’t make it to the top three spots. But it has enough good features to stand in the top ten list.

Pros

  • Delivers good fuel efficiency
  • A protective outer shell
  • Multiple outlets and parallel connector port
  • Excellent connectivity
  • CO guard technology

Cons

  • Not the quietest model
  • Some users reported vibrations in the outer shell.

Champion Power Equipment 100692 Portable Generator

  • Performance (30%) – 8/10
  • Reliability (30%) – 7/10
  • Noise (20%) – 9/10
  • Portability (10%) – 9/10
  • Features (10%) – 7/10

If you’re looking for an ultralight gasoline generator, this model from Champion is the right choice.

For starters, the starting watts is 2000 and the running watts is 1700. Compared to the competitors, the running watts are on the lower side.

That said, it’s good enough for small tools and gadgets used for camping trips.

The 79cc 4 stroke engine is a solid performer and delivers a super-quiet performance. The rated noise level is 53dBA at around 25% load. But even at higher loads, the generator doesn’t go much higher than 60dBA.

We noted that the build quality is good and the plastic housing feels robust. The design looks cool too.

With the 1.1-gallon gas fuel tank, the fuel efficiency is good, but not the best in class. You can expect around 5 to 6 hours at half load. But there’s an Economy Mode to improve fuel efficiency.

It also has inverter technology. So, you get a clean power delivery. 

But you know what else?

Champion hits the ball out of the park with its portability. At 39.5 pounds it’s super light. 

There’s a low oil shut-off and a circuit breaker. Besides, it’s EPA and CARB compliant.

The user interface is simple and the ports are covered by plastic covers. We also liked the addition of an LED low-oil indicator. 

Note, there are no USB ports. But Champion includes a USB adaptor in the package.

Budget buyers will also find the price tag to be pocket-friendly.

On the whole, the Champion 100692 is a reliable generator at an affordable price.

Pros

  • A lightweight generator
  • Delivers a quiet performance
  • A reliable engine with low emissions
  • Easy to access control panel
  • 3-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Not the best fuel efficiency
  • Customer service isn’t the best

Generac GP2500i Inverter Generator

  • Performance (30%) – 9/10
  • Reliability (30%) – 9/10
  • Noise (20%) – 8/10
  • Portability (10%) – 7/10
  • Features (10%) – 7/10

Generac has established itself as a reliable brand in the market, and the GP2500i is one of its most popular products.

Designed for outdoor enthusiasts, the unit delivers 2500 starting watts starting and 2200 running watts. That makes it one of the best in this category in terms of power output.

To be honest, fuel efficiency is not as good as our top picks. You will get between 4 to 5 hours of running time at half load. But there’s an economy mode for optimizing fuel consumption.

On the other hand, the noise levels are low. The generator has a fully enclosed design and even at high loads, noise is well controlled. 

For powering sensitive electronics safely, the product comes with Truepower Technology that delivers clean energy.

Users appreciated the functionality of the unit. It’s easy to start and there are light indicators for showing low oil levels or overloading. The inclusion of a USB port also adds to the versatility.

What about portability?

The GP2500i weighs 48 pounds. It’s not lightweight, but compared to the competition, the power to weight ratio is good.

The generator has a low-oil level shutdown feature and is parallel operation ready. However, you need to buy a separate parallel kit for that.

The GP2500i comes with a slightly higher price and power output. We feel it’s a good choice for weekend camping trips.

Pros

  • A reliable performance
  • Truepower technology for smooth power output.
  • Economy mode for optimizing performance
  • LED indicators improve functionality
  • 3-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Users found oil changing difficult
  • Issues with customer service

Goal Zero Yeti 200X Lithium Portable Power Station

  • Performance (30%) – 8/10
  • Reliability (30%) – 9/10
  • Noise (20%) – 10/10
  • Portability (10%) – 9/10
  • Features (10%) – 8/10

This is another battery-based power station that can give fuel generators a run for their money.

The Yeti 200X power station comes with a Li-ion NMC battery with a peak capacity of 187Wh. That means, it can charge a 12 Wh smartphone 16 times or a 50 Wh laptop 4 times.

Goal Zero mentions the high-speed power delivery ports ensure super-quick charging.

The battery also charges quickly. With a 60 W wall charger, you can charge it within 4 hours. In addition, you can also charge it by using a 12V car charging cable or a portable solar panel.

And it has a range of ports for all your gadgets. These include two USB-A ports, one USB=C port, and one USB-C 60W port.

That makes it a versatile option both for charging and connecting a variety of devices.

What we loved is the Yeti supports simultaneous discharge and recharge.

But that’s not all…

The Yeti 200X weighs only 5 pounds. That means you get better portability than any traditional fuel generator. With a length of just 8-inches, it’s also super compact.

Even so, it doesn’t feel fragile in any way. The structure is made from anodized aluminum and there is reinforcement around the edges.

There’s no question of noise generation either. If you want to enjoy noise-free camping, this is the best choice.

Users also mentioned the battery efficiency is around 85 percent. Considering the affordable price tag, the Yeti offers an excellent price to performance ratio.

If you want a simple off-grid power source that needs no supply of fresh gasoline, the Yeti 200X is a great choice.

Pros

  • Easy to use battery power station
  • Wide range of power outputs
  • Interactive LED screen
  • Noise-free operation
  • Quick charging time 

Cons

  • Not for powering large equipment
  • Additional cables need for car or solar charging

A-iPower SUA2000iV 2000 Watt Portable Inverter Generator

  • Performance (30%) – 8/10
  • Reliability (30%) – 8/10
  • Noise (20%) – 6/10
  • Portability (10%) – 7/10
  • Features (10%) – 8/10

A-iPower may not be a familiar name for many, but the SUA2000iV offers good performance at an affordable price.

For starters, it offers 2,000 starting watts and 1,600 running watts. It’s run by a single-cylinder 80cc – 4 Stroke OHV engine that offers good fuel efficiency.

Reviewers found the generator running for 5 to 6 hours at half load. There’s a “Low idle” technology that reduces fuel consumption.

Overall, most users found the fuel economy to be good.

To be honest, you won’t find the engine performance as refined or silent as a Honda. At full load, the noise levels are much above 60 dBA.

But considering it only costs a fraction of the Honda EU2200i, that’s expected.

That said, the noise is well controlled even at high loads.

Anything else?

As expected, the inverter technology delivers clean power that’s safe for electronic devices. In addition, there’s low oil and an overload alarm.

The good news is, the device is EPA and CARB compliant.

Note, the device has two AC outlets and a DC outlet but lacks USB ports.

While most users were satisfied with the overall performance, they wished the unit was lighter. At 48.5 pounds, the power to weight ratio isn’t the best.

Even so, the SUA2000iV stands out with its affordable price tag. If you are looking for a cheap outdoor generator that has all the necessary features, this unit is worth a look.

Pros

  • Good fuel economy
  • EPA and CARB compliant
  • 3-year limited warranty
  • Affordable price tag

Cons

  • High noise levels
  • Lacks USB ports

DuroMax XP4400EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator

  • Performance (30%) – 9/10
  • Reliability (30%) – 9/10
  • Noise (20%) – 6/10
  • Portability (10%) – 8/10
  • Features (10%) -7/10

What makes the DuroMax XP4400EH special is its hybrid design or dual-fuel capability. If you don’t have gas, you can always use propane to run this device.

But there are a few other factors that make it special.

The high power delivery is one of them. With 4,400 starting watts and 3,500 running watts, this generator can easily handle high loads. From home air conditioners to power tools, you can use it for running everything.

Thanks to the 210cc OHV engine, the generator can handle heavy loads effortlessly.

The metal body feels solid and the overall durability is top-notch. 

Besides, the fuel economy is good too. The 3.96-gal gasoline tank can deliver power for almost 11 hours at half load.

When connected to propane tanks, it can easily run for hours. Propane also gives it better shelf life and is more pocket-friendly.

We loved the fact that DuroMax has added an electric start to the XP4400EH. Users mentioned that even in freezing conditions, the unit started up without a hitch.

But keep in mind, the noise levels are on the higher side. At high loads, the noise levels are above 70 dBA.

The generator comes with a low oil shutoff and is also EPA and CARB compliant.

But there’s one problem…

With its high power output, the XP4400EH weighs 122 pounds. Quite simply, it’s not a compact and portable device. 

Thankfully, Duromax has added robust wheels and handles for moving it around.

While this isn’t the best choice for casual campers, regular RV campers will find the unit a solid choice.

Pros

  • Runs on gasoline and propane
  • High power delivery
  • Fully Featured Power Panel with multiple outlets 
  • EPA and CARB compliant
  • 3-year limited warranty
  • Affordable price tag

Cons

  • Noise levels are high
  • A heavy generator

How to Choose the Best Camping Generator 

Buying your first camping generator?

Here are some tips to help you make the best choice.

Power output

Note, the power delivery of a generator is measured in Watts. The power output you pick will depend on your requirements.

Smaller units with an output of 300 to 500 watts are good enough to power small gadgets like mobile phones, cameras, or laptops.

But what if you want to use a portable fan, coffee machine, or a mini-fridge for some extra comfort? Perhaps you want to use additional lights around your tent for safety at night.

This makes generators with around 2000 watts of power output hit the sweet spot for most users.

Obviously, for RV owners planning to use air conditioners or microwaves, the power requirement will be higher. A device like the DuroMax XP4400EH will be the best option for them.

Ideally, you should add up the wattage of all the devices you want to use and pick a generator accordingly. It’s best to oversize it by 20 percent.

Here’s the most important part.

You need to get the peak wattage of the generator right. Basically, the running or continuous watts is the power that the generator can supply continuously. Starting or peak watts is the power it can supply for just a few minutes.

During startup, this additional electricity is required by most appliances to get the electric motor running from a standstill.  This is true for devices like fridges, pumps, fridges, air-conditioners, microwaves, hairdryers, etc.

So, while calculating the generator capacity you need, make sure to consider the starting power requirements of the appliance you will use for camping.

Clean power Delivery

Since you are expected to charge laptops or smartphones during camping, you need a generator that delivers clean power. 

In general, the total harmonic distortion or THD of the AC power supplied should be less than 6%. This is also termed a “pure sine wave”. 

Clean power delivery will keep the sensitive devices safe. High THD can damage components and also affect the performance of a device. Most inverter generators come with clean power delivery to keep the equipment safe.

Fuel Choice and Efficiency

Diesel generators offer excellent fuel efficiency but portable models are hard to find. So, gasoline is the popular choice. If you prefer using an environmentally-friendly fuel, propane is a better choice.

If you want a simpler option, picking a battery-powered station is a good option. They are lighter, easy to store, and need no maintenance.

And get this…

Always check the fuel efficiency of a generator before picking. Manufacturers usually don’t mention the efficiency at full load. In most cases, you should get around 7 to 9 hours of power supply at a 50 percent load.

Obviously, a larger fuel tank will ensure a longer running time. The downside is, a larger tank makes the device heavy.

Noise Levels

Honestly, you don’t want the generator to disturb the peace while camping. Also, noise levels above 60 decibels aren’t allowed in many National Parks.

So, check the noise levels of the unit before buying. Levels between 50-70 decibels are good enough for camping.

Weight and Portability

The weight of a generator is directly related to its power output. A generator with a high-power delivery will be heavier. Most generators with a power output of 2000 watts weigh around 42 to 45 pounds.

If portability is an issue for you, portable power stations are a better option. Otherwise, you can buy an external wheel kit for the generator to improve the portability.

FAQs

What wattage generator do I need for camping?

That depends on your requirements. If you want to run small electronic appliances only, a generator with 100–500-watts of output should be good enough.

Is it better to store a generator with or without gas?

It’s best to store your generator after emptying the gasoline from the fuel tank. Firstly, that prevents any fire hazards. In addition, it reduces the chance of the gasoline turning foul and affecting the performance.

Does a generator need maintenance?

Yes, it does. Keep the unit clean and change the engine oil periodically. Also, empty the fuel after use and change the spark plug and air filter as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

What gasoline is best for a generator?

Unless specified otherwise, use fresh unleaded gasoline with a minimum rating of 87 octane/87 AKI.

Where do you store your generator when camping?

Keep the generator covered when not in use. It’s best to place it in a difficult-to-access area. The easiest way to secure it is by using a chain and lock. You can also use special cables with an anti-cut alarm. 

Conclusion

Time for a quick recap.

Frankly, the best generator is the one that suits your requirements and budget.

However, we will surely recommend the Honda EU2200i portable generator to users looking for reliable performance in the long run. While it’s an expensive product, it’s a great choice for a camping trip and even your home.

The WEN 56200i Portable Generator offers solid value and the compact design makes it great for campgrounds. A perfect choice for generating clean energy in a safe way with minimum noise.

Lastly, the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240 is for those who want a hassle-free device that offers superb portability. In addition, you get an eco-friendly power source at an affordable price.

The choice is yours.

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AUTHOR

My name is Emma, and I’m a city dweller who jumps on every opportunity to get out and enjoy nature! I’ve gone on a number of car camping and backpacking trips over the past few years. I created this site to inspire others to get outside and to make the process easier for you.