Whether your power has gone out during a storm, or you're camping and need a portable power source, you're in need of the best portable generators.
The name says it all, they are a portable power source that generates electricity. This can come in handy in a multitude of situations, making it an essential item in any household.
Not only will portable generators restore your modern appliances in the absence of main grid power, but they are also a fantastic tool for activities such as camping and road trips.
In addition to their mobile convenience, portable generators are an eco-friendly alternative if you're looking to go green, find some of the best models down below!
1. AIMTOM Portable Solar Generator
Suitable for camping, outdoor events or as an emergency power source at home, the AIMTOM portable generator is an asset for every household.
It's lightweight and compact, measuring 19.5* 9*17.1cm and weighing a little over 2kg, so can be taken with you whenever you feel you may need it. A comfortable handle is also built into the unit.
The huge 42,000mAh (155Wh) power capacity gives you enough to charge and power up all small appliances and devices via its three integrated USB ports and three 12V DC outputs.
Use it for phones, laptops, camping fridges, portable CPAP machines, audiovisual equipment and other electrical appliances on the go.
The unit has a built-in flashlight so it can be used around a campsite or for DIY dark spots etc. The built-in power inverter means that it runs quietly and will not disturb you overnight.
The generator is rechargeable by an AC wall outlet, a car port or supported solar panels (purchased separately). It has a charge indicator light to alert you to when it needs to be recharged.
It also has important safety features including a Battery Management System to prevent overcurrent, overvoltage, overtemperature etc.
2. Jackery Portable Power Station
The Jackery Explorer 240 portable power station is an eco-friendly 240 watt-hour lithium-ion battery pack with no nasty fumes or other environmentally damaging by-products.
It features a high 16,800mAh 14.4V power outlet which can be used to charge most small-ish electrical devices and appliances such as cell phones, laptops, drones, mini-fridges (camping type), cameras, camping stoves, musical or audio-visual equipment, etc.
It’s also excellent as a backup power source in the event of a blackout. It will power anything up to 200 Watts. The unit features one AC outlet (240V), 2 USB-A ports and one DC car port for optimal versatility. It also allows you to power more than one appliance at the same time.
You can even further increase your range by plugging in a power board for extra outlets.
Recharging the battery pack is via solar panels (not included with purchase), car DC port or a normal wall power outlet using a DC adaptor. A handy LCD screen shows you the charge/discharge and battery life as well as power readings.
The unit is compact and lightweight (measuring only 23*14*20cm and weighing 2.76kg) so is very portable.
It’s also a very sturdy well-built unit with good vents for air circulation and nice strong materials for durability. Rubber feet on the base mean that it won’t slip around on whatever surface it’s placed on.
The working life of a charged battery depends on the input needs of the appliance(s) or device(s) being powered at the time.
The Instruction Manual does provide a method of calculating that time because, clearly, it is highly variable. This generator complies with Australian Safety Standards.
3. Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator
The high power 250-watt portable generator from Rockpals is a power pack with an output of 250W continuous dual AC outputs, two USB 2.1A and four DC 12V ports.
This is the perfect travel companion on camping trips for powering all those appliances such as mini-fridges, heaters, stoves, lighting etc.
It’s also ideal as a backup power source at home in case of emergency power outages.
Or outdoor events which involve powering audio-visual equipment. It’s also highly recommended for CPAP users who go camping or who do need an emergency backup.
This unit can charge any electronic appliance or device which requires up to 250W power input.
The pure sine wave inverter technology means that appliances like microwaves and fans run faster and cooler and with less noise.
It can be fully recharged in 8 hours from a wall socket or cigarette lighter plug. It also has the capability to be solar charged – panels and other hardware need to be purchased separately.
It’s a compact and lightweight unit – 22.5*10*16cm and weighs 2.7kg – with a built-in handle so is highly transportable.
The generator comes with a 2m AC adapter cable, a 1m car charger cable, a DC to cigarette socket adapter, and User Guide.
4. SUAOKI Portable Power Station
The SUAOKI S270 portable power station is a lithium-ion battery pack which is solar power capable (ie it can be charged using solar panels but does not come with the panels).
It can also be charged using a wall socket or a car cigarette lighter socket (cables supporting those options are supplied).
The generator is designed for use as a portable power source for camping, outdoor events or as an emergency power source in the event of a power outage.
It can also be used as an alternative power source in a campervan. Many vans already have solar panels which can be used to charge up the generator.
Measuring 18.4*10.9*11.9cm and weighing only 1.32kg this is a very compact and lightweight unit.
It’s also very sturdy and durable – made from heavy-duty plastics and rubber which can handle being knocked about. The output options which are on the unit are four USB ports, four DC ports, and a dual 240V AC outlet.
It can power any electrical device or appliance using up to 150W AC. So that includes laptops, phones, cameras, audio-visual equipment, camping equipment, drones, TV, mini-fridge, and much more.
And because of the number of output ports available you can power a lot of appliances simultaneously.
A bright LED torchlight on the front is a useful feature for campsites or car breakdowns.
The S270 has a built-in inverter which keeps the powerpack going even in lower temperatures when other generators won’t function.
5. Gentrax Inverter Generator
Featuring enhanced inverter technology to protect sensitive equipment the Gentrax portable generator is a gasoline-powered generator which is a useful addition to your armoury if you’re away camping without access to solar or electrical input charging sources for a period of time.
The unit does also come with a handy lead to your car battery for charging.
The unit is quite compact and light given that it is a fuel generator. It measures only 42*35*24cm and weighs 9.3kg (empty of fuel).
An easy to understand Instruction Manual tells you how to operate the generator and you will need to read that before first using it as the method of priming the engine before filling the fuel tank, for example, is not particularly intuitive.
And the method of turning the engine on, and off, is also not intuitive and involves several steps.
The tank holds 3 litres of unleaded petrol and will run in economy mode for well over 6.6 hours continuously on a tank of between 2 and 3 litres.
All the controls and ports are neatly assembled on one end of the unit and include the On/Off switch, two operational modes, Economy and Full Power, and several output ports.
These are a 12V DC port, cigarette lighter socket, and USB output ports.
Three warning lights alert you to low petrol, overloading the system, and low oil. Unlike the lithium-ion battery portable power packs, this is not a silent generator.
But it does the job as a backup when you need it. And it's reasonably inexpensive.
How to choose best portable generator?
When it comes to choosing a portable generator, there's a few things to consider.
Electric vs Petrol
Firstly you'll want to choose between electric or petrol powered. Petrol should be used outdoors, far away from your home, due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from the exhaust.
Electric ones can be used indoors, and is probably the best option for homeowners.
Ultimately the more power the better, but this will come with drawbacks such as being more expensive, or heavier. If it's an emergency device, then you may be fine with a smaller device that offers up to 150W of power, more than enough for smartphones and lights.
More demanding use cases such as powering multiple smartphones, fridges, heaters may require up to 250W of power.
Number of Outputs
Most units come with a number of outputs, but you should consider the size of your family and the devices you'll likely be using your generator with.
You can find up to 4 USB slots, up to 4 DC slots and 1-2 AC ports for the output. Of course the more outputs, the lower the power for each, but often the higher the power, the more output slots.
Some units can get quite heavy which can be difficult to carry around, especially if it's suppose to be portable. So you may want to consider the weight of the unit before purchasing.
Why buy a portable generator?
Imagine if your electricity went off and you had no way to charge your phone or connect a light. It's a reality many of us don't actually consider. Gone are the days of keeping candles and matches in case the electric is out.
Portable generators are charged in under 8 hours and can be kept in standby mode until needed, such as when the electricity is out, or you're off-grind and need to power something elecrical.
For the price of them, they are a household item we should all probably have, but few actually have, until they realise they need something like this, but it's too late then.
Some of these portable generators have enough juice to power a home fridge, a TV, a heater or a large number of smartphones.