Too often, people envision portable generators as a massive, heavy power tool that isn’t very portable unless you are only moving it from the garage to the driveway. People don’t usually think of it as something you can pick up and put in the family car. They are too big and too heavy, not to mention the noise and the gallons of gasoline you must cart along with them. Few people take them anywhere once they get them home.
Why drag all that weight around to run some lights, charge a battery drill or cell phone, or make the morning coffee? You don’t have to. Not anymore. Small engines and alternating units combined with inverter technology make it possible to fit more power into a small package while keeping it quiet and easy to move.
Small portable inverter generators can fill your recreational power needs or bring power to that backyard corner where 100-foot extension cords won’t reach. These units are lightweight, but provide enough power for tools, small appliances, and lights.
Inverter Generators offer easy portability, superior fuel economy, quiet operation, and excellent power quality. If you need a small, quiet portable generator for camping, RVing, picnics, or tailgating, an inverter generator fits the bill better than larger and noisier generators.
If size and weight are limiting factors, it is hard to beat the Generac iQ2000 for portability. Weighing in at 46 pounds, this inverter generator packs 1600 watts of power in a small package just 20 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 17 inches high. The one-gallon fuel tank provides 5.7 hours of run time at half-load and 7.7 hours at one-quarter load.
This easy-to-lug portable powers small appliances, most hand-held power tools, and has enough capacity to start and run a small refrigerator, a crock pot, or a string of lights around your campfire. For those times you need more power, it can run in parallel with a second IQ2000 for up to 3200 watts—enough to start and run a rooftop air conditioner in a trailer RV plus lights and cell phone chargers or small television.
Features include low oil shutdown, three-mode idle control, two 120-volt receptacles with circuit breaker, Power Bar to display current load, electronic fuel gauge, and a 3-year limited warranty for residential or commercial use. Inverter technology provides clean power and keeps engine speed and noise to a minimum.
This portable inverter weighs just 45 pounds, but it packs more power into less space and has a longer run time than similar models. Powermate rates this inverter generator at 1700 continuous watts and 2200 starting watts. It runs for almost 11 hours at one-quarter the rated load on 1.2 gallons of gasoline in a case that measures 18 inches wide, 18 inches high, and just 10 inches wide.
The Powermate PM2200i puts all the controls at your fingertips with the 50-state CSA panel. Status, start-stop switch, and fuel economy selector, plus two 120-volt 20-amp outlets, 1.5-amp USB outlet, and 12-volt DC outlet. Charge your cell phone, run your laptop, plug in a small refrigerator, or watch the game, the 2200i fits all your outdoor recreation needs, plus it is parallel ready to double your available power.
Powermate features include clean, stable power with just 3% harmonic distortion, fully enclosed case for quiet operation, low-oil level shutdown, covered outlets, and integrated Off/Run/Choke knob for easy starting. The Powermate PM2200i includes a 2-year residential and 1-year commercial limited warranty.
Briggs & Stratton PowerSmart 2200
The PowerSmart 2200 portable inverter generator features 1700 continuous watts—just short of the standard capability of most household lighting and convenience circuits. With a 2200-watt surge capacity, it will start and run most refrigerators and freezers or supply some smaller appliances. The P2200 compares to other inverters in its class. The inclusive 21-inch long, 12-inch wide, and 17-inch high package weighs 54 pounds.
The one-gallon fuel tank offers up to eight hours of run time at one-quarter load. The unique dual handle makes carrying this unit easy for two people, but the weight keeps it luggable for one person. The PowerSmart 2200 inverter provides clean, AC power with less than three percent total harmonic distortion to supply computers, game consoles, and other electronics.
In a departure from other portable inverter generators in this class, the Briggs and Stratton PowerSmart 2200 can parallel with another PowerSmart 2200 OR a PowerSmart 3000. Most inverter generators only parallel with the same model and capacity generator.
PowerSmart 2200 features include two, 15-amp 120-volt outlets, one 5-amp 12-volt outlet for charging batteries, a USB outlet for electronics, a Quiet Power Technology switch for fuel economy, Briggs and Stratton 111cc OHV engine, low-oil and overload alert, and quiet operation. Two-year consumer warranty.
Briggs & Stratton PowerSmart 3000
When you need plenty of power in a small package, the PowerSmart 3000 is ready to go. Not quite the heaviest portable of this featured lineup, it weighs in at 90 pounds but is still small enough for easy transport. Briggs and Stratton designed this portable inverter generator to go anywhere and features a dual handle for carrying by two people, plus a telescoping handle for easy rolling mobility on the rear wheels. The 1.5-gallon fuel tank offers up to ten hours of run time at one-quarter load.
At just 59 decibels—quieter than normal conversation—this portable makes less noise than the usual camping generators one encounters in national parks and campgrounds.
The PowerSmart 3000 supplies up to 2600 continuous watts or 3000 starting watts. Need more power? This unit is parallel capable with the Powermate 2000 or a second PowerMate 3000 for a total of 5200 watts of continuous power or 6000 watts of surge power. A single unit can start and run a 15,000 BTU rooftop RV air conditioner. The generator delivers clean, smooth power for even the most sensitive of electronics.
Feature-rich design includes LCD screen for power use and hours, USB charging port, four 120-volt receptacles, 12-volt receptacle, and 30-amp, RV-ready 120-volt locking receptacle. Low oil and overload indicators. Two-year limited warranty.
The feature-rich Champion 3400 offers exceptional power for a quiet, fuel efficient generator available in two different models—The Champion 3400 weighing just 79 pounds, and the Champion 3400 with Electric Start weighing 95 pounds. Both models include easy portability with handles and wheels for a take-anywhere design. They are EPA and CARB compliant for sale in all 50 states.
Electric Start includes remote starting capability from up to 80 feet away. Rated for 3100 continuous watts and 3400 running watts. Parallel ready for use with a second Champion 3400. Exceptionally quiet operation at 59 decibels measured at 23 feet.
Receptacles include one 120-volt 30-amp RV type, two 120-volt 20-amp household, one 12-volt DC charger, and one 12-volt DC automotive style.
Features include USDA spark arrestor (required for national parks,) low-oil shutdown, wireless remote or push-button electric start (electric start model only) or easy-pull recoil start, 7.5 hours of run time at one-quarter load on 1.6 gallons of fuel. The Champion 3400 comes with a two-year limited warranty.
Updated September 30, 2019 by MJ
The P2200 replaced the Briggs and Stratton P2000 Generator
Updated February 19, 2018 by SB