Storm season and camping season seem to overlap here in the South. With that comes the need for backup energy or an energy source that can reliably power simple RV components safely. That’s where our need for gas powered portable inverter generators come into play. Developed by Honda in the mid 1960s the portable inverter generator industry has been dominated by Honda and to a lesser extent Yamaha. Were these the best portable inverter generators we tested or did a newer company take the prize? Let’s take a look!
Best Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator
1. Honda EU2000I Super Quiet 2000 Watt Portable Generator with Inverter
The Honda EU2000I Super Quiet 2000 Watt Portable Generator with Inverter is probably the gold standard portable inverter generator. Honda pioneered the portable generator in the 1960s and has built a solid reputation for build quality and innovation since then. This unit runs quiet at about 55 Db(A) on average. This is roughly equal to the noise level of a conversation.
The Honda EU2000I Portable Inverter Generator has a 98 cc engine that puts it towards the top of the 2000 Watt class. It is able to handle max load for 30 minutes which means you can start heavy loading items with ease. This portable inverter generator is able to produce 1600 Watts continuously all day every day.
Honda EU2000I Portable Inverter Generator Specs:
Size – 21 x 12 x 19 inches
Weight – 45.6 pounds
Wattage – 2000
Db – 59 dB(A) @ rated load 53dB(A) @ 1/4 load
36 month warranty
Not as emission friendly as other units
Bottomline: With the Honda EU2000I Portable Inverter Generator you know you are getting a quality product that outperforms all other products in its class.
2. Yamaha EF2000iSCH Gas Powered Portable Inverter
The Yamaha EF2000iSCH Gas Powered Portable Inverter came in a close second behind its long time rival Honda EU2000I. Yamaha may have not pioneered the first portable inverter generator but along with Honda they have pushed the industry forward through innovation.
Where the Yamaha shines in comparison to the Honda is its quiet Db rating at idle, about 3 Db less, its lower emissions and overall lighter body. The Honda will outperform the Yamaha in most other categories.
Yamaha’s Smart Throttle technology controls engine speed based on load which improves fuel economy and reduces noise. The Yamaha portable inverter generator is able to produce clean energy with its Pulse Width Modulation feature that offers voltage stability is within ± 1%, and frequency stability is ± 0.1 HZ. This makes it safe for sensitive electronics like a laptop or medical device.
Yamaha EF2000iSCH Portable Inverter Generator Specs:
Size – 17.9 x 11 x 19.3 inches
Weight – 44 pounds
Db – 51.5 dBA at 1/4 load
Wattage – 2000
Still falls short of the Honda
Bottomline: If you are looking for something that produces less emissions and is a little lighter go for the Yamaha EF200iSCH Gas Powered Portable Inverter.
3. Generac 6866 iQ2000 Super Quiet Gas Powered Inverter Generator
With the Generac 6866 iQ2000 Super Quiet Gas Powered Inverter Generator you are getting one of the quietest portable inverter generator on the market. With top of the line technology that controls gas efficiency you can get quiet operation for up to 7.5 hours at ¼ load. While not as long as the Honda, considering the noise level this is very impressive.
The Generac iQ2000 portable inverter generator was priced considerably lower than both the Yamaha and the Honda unit. Even with the lower price you are still getting great innovations from Generac. The iQ2000 has an electronic fuel gauge, run time remaining display, and status notification unlike the Honda unit. The Generac portable inverter generator also has economy, standard and turbo settings to help control efficiency.
Generac iQ2000 Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator Specs:
Size – 16.9 x 12.6 x 20 inches
Weight – 46.2 pounds
Wattage – 1600 Running Watts/2000 Starting Watts
Not as powerful as Yamaha or Honda
Bottomline: The Generac iQ2000 Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator is our top pick if your most important factor is noise. This portable inverter generator is powerful enough for most applications when camping and that seems to be what Generac was targeting with the iQ2000.
4. Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 PowerSmart Series Portable 2200-Watt Inverter Generator
Briggs & Stratton lives up to its reputation with the P2200 PowerSmart Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator. The P2200 was included in our roundup of the best 2000 Watt gas powered portable inverter generators even though it was rated at 2200. The extra 200 watts did not really make a difference when compared to the Honda or Yamaha units. In fact, we found the Honda was able to handle a heavier load slightly more effectively.
With that being said, the Briggs & Stratton is considerably less expensive. Along with admirable power this gas powered portable inverter generator offers long run times of 8 hours at ¼ load with 1 gallon of gas. It also comes with USB ports which saves you the hassle of carrying adaptors.
Briggs & Stratton P2200 PowerSmart Gas Powered Inverter Generator Specs:
Size – 19.9 x 14.4 x 22.4 inches
Weight – 55 pounds
Wattage – 1700 running / 2200 starting
DbA – 59
Bottomline: The Briggs & Stratton P2200 PowerSmart Gas Powered Inverter Generator has plenty of power, features and a price point that makes this a good overall option.
5. WEN 56200i Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator
The WEN 56200i Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator was by far the least expensive unit that we tested. To be honest I was not expecting much from the WEN 56200i. I was quite surprised when I asked on social media which portable inverter generators we should test and the WEN was easily the top request.
The WEN is really a remarkable product when you consider it is half the cost of most of the units we tested. Right out of the box you can see that the WEN is built with surprising quality. While some of the other units you could tell were cutting weight with cheap plastic materials the WEN seemed very sturdy.
However, the WEN really came up short when we tested it under a heavy load. While it is rated at 2000W starting and 1600W running we noticed it had trouble with reaching and maintaining those levels compared to the Yamaha and Honda. The 3000W option is still priced below the Honda EU2000I and would probably be more comparable.
WEN 56200i Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator Specs:
Size – 18 x 11 x 18 inches
Weight – 48 pounds
Wattage – 2000W starting/ 1600W running
DbA – around 59
Least Expensive Unit
Not as powerful
Bottomline: If you are looking for a gas powered portable inverter generator that can handle small loads for camping at an affordable price then we could easily recommend the WEN 56200i. However, if you are looking for the most raw power consider the Honda or Yamaha.
Best Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generators Buying Guide
Top 3 Things To Consider When Purchasing a Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator
Starting and Running Power – determines how much load the generator can handle when starting and at the normal running rate. If you are trying to start power tools at a job site then you will obviously need to be mindful of the starting power. A better name for starting power would be surge. Running power is basically just how much power it can continue to put out during the whole period of use. Think of this as idle power.
All the gas powered portable inverter generators were rated around the same for both starting and running wattages but you could easily tell the difference during the tests. The Honda and Yamaha both performed the best in terms of starting power. The WEN had a tough time keeping up.
Weight and Portability – since we are considering portable units it makes sense to consider both the weight portability. Most people will use their portable inverter generator as a power source when tailgating, camping or on a job site. While these units might be capable of producing enough power to be a home backup generator we would recommend something with more wattage. If you just need to power medical devices and a refrigerator these 2000 watt gas powered portable inverter generators will suffice.
All the units we tested were about the same weight but some featured extra functions that made it more portable and camping friendly. Most notably the Briggs & Stratton offered USB ports which makes it perfect for charging phones and doesn’t require you to purchase adapters.
Price – Let’s face it if we can get a good deal on something we might give up some features. That is probably true for most portable inverter generator or portable fire pit buyers. Meaning most of the typical uses are not life threatening or saving. However, if you are looking to use a gas powered generator to power medical devices or home power backup I would not skimp.
The WEN 56200i was by far the least expensive option we tested. It would make a great camping unit or even small job site generator. With the reduced costs you will notice the unit having trouble with high loads and starting high powered tools.
Should I Buy A Used Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator?
There is nothing wrong with purchasing used generators if you are confident in the seller’s assessment on how many hours it was used. The year it was manufactured really doesn’t make a difference but the total run time can lead you to buy a dud. Sadly most generators have no indication device to tell you how many hours they have been used.
If you are using the generator for simple camping needs then it might be worth taking a shot at a used unit if you know the seller. You can always keep warm with a portable propane heater or wood burning fire pit. If not, we would recommend purchasing a new unit. With the new unit you have a peace of mind and usually a pretty good warranty in case something does come up.