Camping in the great American outdoors is one of the most liberating ways to spend your free time. Not even the most luxurious five-star hotels can beat the feeling of spending a night in the million-star hotel – your tent set somewhere high up in the mountains or in the desert.
However, if you really want to make your camping experience as comfortable and rewarding as possible, you need one important thing – electricity. Laptops, mobile phones or electric barbecue grills – all these things need some source of power to recharge and run.
That’s where the camping generator comes handy. Unlike the conventional loud contractor’s generators, these small generators are much quieter, smaller and lighter. This makes them ideal companions for all camping trips. They usually offer between 1500 and 2000 running watts which is more than enough to charge most of the stuff you’re gonna use at the campsite.
In the following roundup review, you will find the best camping generators currently on sale.
(Start / Running)
|Honda EU2200i||2200 / 1800||48 dB||47 lbs||Check Price|
|WEN 56200i||2000 / 1600||51 dB||48 lbs||Check Price|
|Westinghouse iGen2200||2200 / 1800||52 dB||46 lbs||Check Price|
|Yamaha EF2000iSv2||2000 / 1600||51.5 dB||44 lbs||Check Price|
|Pulsar PG2000iS||2200 / 1800||59 dB||47 lbs||Check Price|
|Generac 6866 iQ2000||2000 / 1600||54 dB||46.2 lbs||Check Price|
|Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 160||100||0 dB||3.84 lbs||Check Price|
|Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator||300||0 dB||16.0 lbs||Check Price|
1. Honda EU2200I
The Honda EU2200I is often quoted as one of the best portable generators ever made.
It is the direct successor to the incredibly popular EU2200i model.
Ask around the construction or RV forums and pretty much everybody will tell you that this is the best gen you can get.
EU2200i offers slightly more wattage than EU2000i.
It has 2200 running watts and 1800 starting watts.
You can run most of the popular camping equipment with it, including some larger electric appliances such as an electric skillet or a camping fridge.
It is also the quietest generator you can find. (check out the other ones here)
Its noise level at 25% load is only around 50 decibels (depends on how far away you measure it).
This is quieter than an idling car engine.
Even at the maximum load, it stays well below the 65 dB threshold – the maximum generator noise limit imposed by most campgrounds and RV parks in the US.
EU2200I comes equipped with an original Honda GXR12o engine.
This engine is pretty much an industry-standard in the market of portable generators.
As you would expect from Honda, all the finishing is made of the strongest materials.
This is the generator made for intensive continuous use.
Plenty of people have used its older version – EU2000i for many years without running into any serious problems.
However in case you need to get it repaired – there are authorized Honda dealers and stores selling spare parts all around the country.
This is one additional plus of buying a generator from a reputable manufacturer. You not only get quality product but also good long warranty (3 years), solid customer service and the peace of mind knowing that if anything fails you can get it serviced fast.
Depending on the load you could run this generator for up to 9 hours on a single 1 gallon tank of gas.
It can be also paralleled with another unit doubling your total power output.
The only thing I don’t like about EU2200i is the lack of electric start. Manual recoil is your only option. On the positive side, the generator usually starts easily at a single pull.
Overall this is by far the best camping generator. You can also use it for plenty of other purposes such as tailgating, boats or emergency home backup too.
If you want to know about EU2200i, check out my full review.
2. WEN 56200i
WEN 56200i is a very inexpensive generator and a popular choice for camping.
It is widely regarded as the best low-cost alternative to Honda EU2200i (see above)
It is one of the quietest and most portable inverter generators in the market.
Its noise level is around 51 decibels at a 25 % load. This is more or less as loud as two people having a convo.
That’s what makes it one of the most popular choices for camping.
WEN 56200i offers 2000 surge watts and 1600 running watts of power.
It’s enough to handle all of your typical camping equipment.
It’s an inverter generator which means that you can safely use it to charge portable electronics like smartphones or computers.
It has dedicated USB ports specifically designed for that purpose.
The generator is very light and easy to carry with one hand.
Its long run time is another big selling point.
One single refueling should get you around 6 hours of continuous run depending on the load.
The materials used for finishing are not as strong as in the case of the Honda. This is totally understandable given its much lower price tag.
However, for occasional recreational use such as camping, you can’t really go wrong with WEN 56200i.
3. Westinghouse iGen2200
Westinghouse is an American electric company with more than the hundred years of market presence.
It is specialized in producing quality electric equipment and their generators are no exception.
As far as the camping generators go, the iGen2200 is in our opinion their best offering.
It’s one of the best portable generators suitable for camping you can find.
Especially the camo version looks very attractive and is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts.
What makes this gen good though is obviously not the looks but its performance.
It delivers 2200 starting watts and 1800 running watts of power – enough to power your camping equipment including more demanding appliances such as barbecue grills or refrigerators.
It is also remarkably quiet. At 25% load it only makes around 52dB of noise. This makes it one of the quietest gens you can find.
The tank has got the capacity of 1.2-gallon. Depending on the current load you should expect it to run uninterrupted for several hours.
IGen2200 has got two USB ports which you can use to recharge your phone, camera etc.
It also sells for half the price of the Honda making it a truly excellent value for money.
If you are looking for a quality generator for camping, iGen2200 comes highly recommended.
4. Yamaha EF2000iSv2
Yamaha is one of the most reliable producers of portable generators. Especially their engines are heavily sought-after as you would expect from this well-known Japanese brand.
The EF2000iSv2 is one of the most popular inverter generators made by Yamaha.
It is a very hi-tech inverter generator with clean design and nice modern touch to it.
It’s one of the most silent gens out there. It makes less than 52 decibels of noise at quarter load.
Even at higher loads it’s still definitely quiet enough to make it a good choice for camping.
This generator is also good at conserving fuel. You could it run for around 10 hours at half load.
The startup is very easy thanks to the decompression system which makes the generator ready to use within seconds.
While is this certainly not the cheapest gen out there, its overall high quality design and good performance justify its price tag.
Check out my full detailed review of EF2000iSv2 here.
5. Pulsar PG2000iS
Pulsar PG2000iS is a very sturdy inverter made especially for camping, tailgating and boats.
It has 2200 starting and 1800 running watts which is the same as in the case of its main competitors like Honda EU2200i, Westinghouse iGen2200 etc.
PG2000iS has got an 80cc OHV engine providing 6 hours of constant run time at half load.
The control panel has got a variety of outlets designed for different purposes.
It has a dedicated USB port for charging portable electronics.
Unfortunately, it only has one such output compared to many of its competitors which offer two.
This generator is a very affordable alternative to pricier units.
While Pulsar is not as well known brand as Honda or Westinghouse, it is a very solid company with proven track record.
Too bad that this generator comes only with a 1-year warranty for servicing and parts. That’s one downside which I don’t particularly like.
Despite that, it’s a very solid gen and a very good option for camping.
6. Generac 6866 iQ2000
Generac is a very well known name in the American market of generators. Their standby generators are the most popular choice for home backup. Contractors around the country also use the Generac generators a lot.
Generac also makes several inverter generators made specifically for situations when portability and the quiet operation of the generator are a must such as camping.
Generac 6866 iQ2000 is to this date the most popular model and one of our personal favorites.
It is a very quiet generator, producing on average between 50-60 decibels of noise. This makes it a very good silent generator for camping.
IQ2000 is very simple to use. The control panel has got the nicely designed “speedometer style” displays similar to the ones you can find in the cars. They’re there to inform you about the current fuel level and the engine load.
The gen is easy to start. Most of the users report it to switch one with just one single pull.
It’s one of the campers favorite choices for good reasons. It is well made, comes from a well-known brand and is relatively inexpensive.
There are a lot of authorized Generac dealers and servicemen all across the US so you won’t have to worry about having any problems with repairing or getting service parts.
This is one overlooked aspect of portable generators and something which makes the Generac worth consideration.
Are you looking for a 100% environmently friendly and noiseless portable power solution? Than you might have just found it.
Jackery Explorer 160 is a very solid portable power station which you can either charge using your car outlet or portable solar panels.
It is one of the most compact portable power stations out there. It’s roughly the size of a typical women’s handbag.
It weighs only 3.84 lbs making it super easy to carry single-handedly.
You could even take it for a little trek without much effort.
Note that this power station is designed for charging only small electronics and certainly won’t provide enough power to run anything larger such as freezers or anything like that.
However, if you need a camping generator to charge only your portable electronic equipment like laptops, cameras, smartphones and camping lights or stoves – this can be an ideal choice for you.
Especially if you are planning to stay off the grid for a while and can’t rely on having a fuel tank with you – Jackery can be your best choice if you couple it with portable solar panels.
In typical circumstances, it would take it 8 hours in full sun to recharge and get ready for powering your electronics. One charge can provide enough energy to charge things like:
- A laptop (twice)
- GoPro camera (20 + times)
- Smartphone (12 times)
- Drone (twice)
It comes up with 1 x AC 110V Outlet and 2 x USB-A, 1 x USB-C and 1 x DC Port. This basically allows you to plug in all those small devices at once.
Bear in mind you need to purchase the solar panel separately. The good news is that they are very lightweight and portable too, weighting only slightly more than 8 lbs.
Overall if you want to spend some time camping off the grid and be able to charge your electronics – you should definitely consider the Jackery Explorer 160. It’s a very solid built power station and an interesting alternative to conventional camping generators.
8. Goal Zero Yeti 400
The Yeti 400 from Goal Zero is a portable power station designed for charging things like laptops, camping lights, cameras and small camping appliances like electric stoves.
It is primarily designed to be used along with the portable solar panels made by the same manufacturer.
The generator provides 400 watts of power – enough for a lot of camping applications.
It features a 1.5 amp USB port and a built-in 300-watt power inverter, which converts the solar power into the AC electricity.
You can also a standard wall outlet or car charger to recharge this solar generator.
It weighs less than 30 lbs making it easy to move around.
GoalZero is one of the biggest brands in the portable solar power industry. Yeti400 is one of their flagship products and it usually attracts five-star reviews from buyers.
If you are looking for a 100% noiseless and green alternative to conventional generators – you might wanna have a look at this one.