Best Inverter Generators of 2017 – Reviews & Buying Guide

inverter generatorIf you need a backup source of for emergencies, a supply of electricity for remote work sites or some light on a camping trip, you probably want an inverter generator. A relatively recent development, inverter generators differ from conventional generators. Instead of producing AC power, they produce DC power and then convert it into AC power.

So why would you want an inverter generator? Well, there are several reasons to buy one. One obvious advantage is that they provide a constant flow of current which means no unsafe fluctuations to whatever you’re powering. They’re much quieter than conventional generators which make them ideal for certain environments. The best inverter generator is also small and lightweight, making it both storable and portable. And that’s just a few of the advantages!


The Best Inverter Generators of 2017

MODELPRODUCT DIMENSIONS
ITEM WEIGHT
USER RATINGPRICE
Honda EU2000i
Honda EU2000i
19 x 12 x 21 inches
46 pounds
4.7/5
$$$$$
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Champion Power Equipment 75537i
Champion Power Equipment 75537i
28.1 x 20.5 x 20.1 inches
95 pounds
4.5/5
$$$
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WEN 56200i
WEN 56200i
18 x 11 x 18 inches
48 pounds
4.5/5
$
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Yamaha EF2000iSv2
Yamaha EF2000iSv2
17.9 x 11 x 19.3 inches
44.1 pounds
4.2/5
$$$$
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Westinghouse WH2400i
Westinghouse WH2400i
17.8 x 12.5 x 20.3 inches
43 pounds
4.1/5
$$
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Where are you supposed to start when looking for an inverter generator? We feel it can’t hurt to know about a few of the best products on the market. For this reason, we’ve created a list of inverter generator reviews, complete with pros and cons! And when you’re all done reading those, you’ll find our buying guide which will explain all about the various features to look for in an inverter generator and more!

1. Champion Power Equipment 75537i – Our Top Pick

Champion Power Equipment 75537iWhen you’re seeking the perfect balance between quality and value, we recommend you opt for what we feel is the best inverter generator on the market. The Champion Power Equipment 75537i offers 3100 starting watts and 2800 running watts. On a full tank of gas, it can run for up to 8 hours. One of the standout features of this product is the wireless remote start which operates up to 80ft away with the use of a key fob. Operating at 58 dBA, this is a relatively quiet inverter generator which makes it ideal for residential neighborhoods and on camping trips. In fact, it comes equipped with a 30A RV outlet as well as a USB adapter. However, there are quieter inverter generators on the market.

There 75537i has a number of features which make it particularly portable. Built-in carry handles, a foldaway U-shaped handle and never-flat tires make moving this inverter generator around easy, despite its 95lb weight. Perhaps the wheels could be bigger as they’re currently only useful for hard surfaces so campers could struggle as a result. We like that it comes with a 3-year warranty and that the customer support is generally very good. This makes buying such a product a little less nerve-wracking. Overall, we feel you can’t go wrong with what is a very solid product with a lot more pros than cons!

Pros

  • The remote start is such a convenient feature – no need to brave the elements!

  • A portable unit thanks to the handles and wheels

  • Comes with a 3-year warranty for peace of mind

Cons

  • Wheels are quite small and struggle on soft surfaces


2. WEN 56200i – Best for the Money

WEN 56200iThe WEN 56200i prides itself on clean energy and quiet operation. With an engine that produces 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated watts, it provides more than enough power for camping trips, construction work and power outages. This engine operates at just 51 decibels at a quarter load which is quieter than a window air conditioner. Energy produced is clean and free of voltage spikes and drops so that you can use it with electronics such as smartphones, laptops, and televisions. This is a particularly portable inverter generator since it weighs only 48 lbs and has a carry handle for added comfort.

Another feature of note is the WEN eco-mode which helps maximize fuel economy. There’s also the chance to make a parallel connection with another unit when 2000 watts just isn’t enough. Though in such cases, we think it’s more economical just to buy a more powerful generator in the first place! It’s worth noting that the WEN 56200i comes with a 2-year warranty which is the minimum we recommend. One inconvenient design feature we don’t like is the oil access which involves removing several screws and removing the side panel. Despite this, the WEN 56200i is the best inverter generator for the money, offering great for the price.

Pros

  • The light weight and carry handle make this a portable product

  • It’s a quiet inverter generator, particularly for the price

  • Clean energy means no dangerous spikes in power

Cons

  • The oil access is quite inconvenient and involves removing a side panel

  • We found that the manual included wasn’t particularly clear


3. Honda EU2000i

Honda EU2000iOne of the main selling points of the Honda EU2000i is in its quiet operation. Typically producing between 53 and 59 decibels during operation, it’s at a similar level to the average conversation. Therefore it’s ideal for certain environments where a noisy generator just isn’t possible. Of course, being a generator from Honda, the EU2000i has an impressive engine with a 0.95-gallon fuel capacity and can run just over 8 hours on one tank. Despite the impressive power that this inverter generator provides, it weighs only 46lbs. Small and compact, it’s easy to transport and store away when not in use.

At the price you’re paying for this product, you’d expect it to be relatively quiet and offer high fuel efficiency. So it’s nice to see a number of other advantages. In particular, we feel that this is a very well constructed product which should prove to be durable. After all, this is a very reliable brand and the EU2000i does come with a good 3-year warranty. The only real disadvantages of this product are the lofty price (though we must say that it still offers good value) and that 2000W still might not be enough for some people. If money isn’t an issue and you don’t require more than 2000W, you may well want to consider this product.

Pros

  • Very quiet operation so ideal for certain environments

  • Only weighs 46 lbs and is therefore very portable

  • Has an excellent, reliable motor from Honda

Cons

  • This product is expensive and beyond some budgets

  • 2000 watts may not be enough for some people


4. Yamaha EF2000iSv2

Yamaha EF2000iSv2For powering a wide range of applications for hours at a time, the Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is a great choice. It’s worth us first mentioning that this is the most stylish-looking inverter generator we’ve seen in a long time. Smooth blue and black exterior and rounded corners make it look more like a radio than something that will power your lights or air conditioning! Of course, it’s more than just a pretty face. It has a highly reliable and efficient OHV engine with a smart throttle that varies the speed based on load. This improves fuel economy and reduces noise.

Crucially, this inverter generator from Yamaha also features an excellent muffler and has rubber vibration isolation feet so it is quiet during operation. We mentioned that we like the design of this product and this includes the fact that it’s light and compact. In fact, it weighs just 45 lbs and is, therefore, easy to store and transport. However, this inverter generator is not without its problems. The biggest issue regards the excessive oil consumption which may prove to be problematic, depending on what you’re powering. Also, the online comments regarding the warranty are not the most positive.

Pros

  • We love the compact and stylish design

  • Muffler, smart throttle and isolation feet reduce noise

  • Fairly light and easy to transport

Cons

  • Warranty isn’t the most reliable around

  • This generator consumes oil very quickly


5. Westinghouse WH2400i

Westinghouse WH2400iProducing 2100 running watts and 2400 starting watts, the Westinghouse WH2400i provides power that is both quiet and clean. The gasoline-powered engine can run for 11 hours on a full tank at 25% load. ensuring you have plenty of power for your needs. At 43 lbs, this is one of the lighter inverter generators on the market and it features a built-in handle for easier transportation. In fact, the overall construction of the product is very good and it seems to be durable. We like that it’s nice and easy to setup and even easier to use and maintain.

Where the WH2400i perhaps lets itself down is in the noise levels which may be a little loud for some environments such as camping sites. Despite this, it’s still not as loud as most regular generators. If you’re doubting between this unit and another, you can rest assured knowing that this product comes with a 3-year limited warranty. What’s more, customer service is said to be very good overall. Other features of this inverter generator include 2 USB ports and the ability to connect to another unit for double the power. This is a solid choice if you’re looking for a quality product with high reliability.

Pros

  • Offers an impressively long run time for lengthy power outages

  • Solid construction means that this should prove to be durable

  • Very good warranty and customer service

Cons

  • This is quite a noisy inverter generator


Factors to Consider When Buying an Inverter Generator

Now that we’ve taken you through some of the best inverter generators on the market, let’s take a look at the various factors to consider when buying. With any luck, all of this information will help you make a decision as to which product is right for you!

Advantages of an Inverter Generator

Compact: Inverter generators are relatively new technology and as such have been designed with modern use in mind. This means compact units that you can easily transport as well as store away when not in use.

Lightweight: Not only do inverter generators tend to be compact, they’re also usually light. The advantage of this is that you can easier transport them from place to place. Handles and wheels are common and this makes moving them around much easier.

Quality Power: The process of producing DC power and converting it into AC power means that the quality is higher. This is arguably their biggest advantage. It means that you don’t need to worry about spikes and surges so they’re safe with all sorts of equipment including mobile phones, laptops, and televisions.

Noise: When we say noise, we should say lack of! Inverter generators are quieter than traditional generators because they are not constantly running at full speed. Sound proof housing, insulators, and mufflers all go a long way to reducing the noise that they produce.

10 Inverter Generator Features

Buying an inverter generator is much like buying any other type. There are a number of features to consider:

  1. Power

The most important thing to consider when buying an inverter generator is power. You’ll notice that each product has its wattage listed. The more wattage, the more you can power at once. If you’re only powering a few lights then you probably won’t need a lot. But factor in a fridge, portable heater and air conditioning and the demands quickly add up. Most inverter generators offer about 2000 watts which should be enough for most of your power needs.

  1. Fuel Capacity

Once you’ve established how much power you need, it’s time to look at the fuel capacity. You can do this by investigating the total load of the appliances you wish to power. At the end of the day, you want an inverter generator that offers a nice, long run time. Some products claim to run up to 10-12 hours on a full tank at 25-50% load. Calculating fuel capacity isn’t easy as there are plenty of factors to consider. Be sure to look at the size of the generator, the amount of load and the fuel type.

  1. Noise Level

Noise may or may not be important to you. It really depends on the environment in which you will use your inverter generator. For example, if you’re using your inverter generator on a construction site, noise is less of an issue. But if you’re using it at home during a power outage or on a camping trip, it may be a different story. Thankfully, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue as most inverter generators are much quieter than regular generators. We recommend checking if it has a good insulator and muffler which should help a lot.

  1. Control Panel

Since inverter generators are relatively new technology, you can expect some fairly high tech equipment, particularly on more premium products. A good example of this is the control panel which can really vary from product to product. The best displays allow you to quickly and easily monitor the voltage output as well as the number of hours of operation. There should be various outlets including USB outlets for charging phones and laptops!

  1. Size and Weight

As mentioned earlier in the advantages of inverter generators, the size and weight can be very important. This is particularly the case if you’re planning on moving your generator from place to place such as different camping sites. Even if you’re just using it at home in case of emergencies, it’s still nice to know you’re not going to have to ask somebody else for help in moving it. What’s more, you can easily put it back in storage when needed.

  1. Handles and Wheels

Connected to the size and weight are features such as handles and wheels. These make bigger, heavier inverter generators much easier to handle. But the reality is that most inverter generators are fairly compact and lightweight anyway. Regardless, you may want to look at products and check the size of the handle and wheels. Smaller wheels struggle on soft surfaces (tricky when you’re camping, for example) while small handles may be more uncomfortable or less durable.

  1. Engine Modes

Inverter generators with different engine modes offer you that little bit more flexibility. These provide different levels of fuel efficiency. So if you want to minimize cost and maximize fuel, you should choose the economy mode (or equivalent). Just keep in mind that this won’t let you power quite as much but it should see you through a greater time period which is really useful in emergencies.

  1. Remote Start

Remote start is a feature that is only really seen with the high-end products. This is a great feature that allows you to start and stop your inverter generator remotely. Sometimes this can be done as much as 80 ft away, as in the case of Champion Power Equipment 75537i. Such a feature is obviously very useful as it means that you don’t have to go outside into what might be poor weather conditions. It may not be an essential thing to have, but once you do experience it, you’ll never want to go back to a generator without it!

  1. USB Ports

A sign that inverter generators are keeping up with times, USB ports can be found on many of today’s models. This is great for powering all of your electronic items from mobile phones to laptops to tablets. It’s just another feature that makes these products so incredibly convenient.

  1. Parallel Connection

The ability to connect one inverter generator to another can be very useful. We always recommend that you look into more powerful generators first before deciding to buy two of the same unit. However, it’s nice to have that flexibility depending on the situation. Making parallel connections between generators is typically easy though you obviously have to buy the additional generator. You may also have to buy the connection kit which shouldn’t cost too much.

Quick Inverter Generator Tips

  • Generators emit carbon monoxide which can kill. Keep your generator away from your home and don’t put it in an enclosed space such as the garage or porch.

  • If you’re not confident about servicing your generator, try to buy one from a local dealer. This will make parts and good service easier to come by.

  • Always be prepared for extended power outages. You can do this by stocking up on gas cans when you buy the generator. But remember that fuel typically has a shelf life of 6 months.

  • Because generators produce electricity, you shouldn’t operate them in wet conditions. They’re best placed on a dry, level surface but it cannot be enclosed like a garage.


Conclusion

So there you have it! Inverter generators are a great way to supply backup power in emergencies or when you’re powering a work site or camping trip! They can be small, light and much less noisy than regular generators. There are lots of features to consider but we recommend you look at power and fuel consumption first before looking at luxuries such as remote start and USB charging!

We understand that there are so many products and prices to consider. So we hope that our reviews of inverter generators and go some way to helping you make that all-important decision. If you’re ever in doubt, opt for a product with a good warranty and reputable customer service. Best of luck!