The hurricane season has officially begun in the US with the hurricane Barry hitting the southern state of Louisiana. Thousands of people have been left without power for days. If you live in a disaster-prone area you probably already know that portable generators can be indispensable tools in emergency times.
While plenty of people decide to buy an expensive heavy-duty generator which can power multiple large home appliances at a time – a lot of homeowners realize that they only need a small generator to power just the essentials. Getting a small portable generator instead of a big standby model can save you a lot of money, especially if you are only planning to use it only a few times a year.
The smallest portable generator you can get is also perfect for camping or tailgating. You can easily carry it around without worrying too much about logistics. While you can’t expect such a generator to power all your electrical equipment, a good quality unit could easily handle things like portable electronics, speakers or perhaps a portable heater or an AC.
Below you can find our reviews of the best small-sized generators we have found to this date. All of these small portable generators are great choices for campers. However, if you need the smallest generator for certain jobs – some of the generators presented below could be good for you too. If you are unsure how many watts of power you need for power your desired equipment – check out our wattage calculator.
Top 5 Smallest Generators
|Generator||Wattage (Starting / Running)||Dimensions (in)||Weight||Price|
|Westinghouse iGen1200||1200 W / 1000 W||18.5 x 11.22 x 15.75||33 lbs|
|Yamaha EF1000iS||1000 W / 900 W||17.7 x 9.4 x 14.9||27.9 lbs|
|Honda EU1000i||1000 W / 900 W||19.5 x 15.9 x 11||29 lbs|
|WEN 56125i||1250 W / 1000 W||17 x 9 x 12.5||31.6 lbs|
|Jackery Explorer 160||150 W / 100 W||7.4 x 4.59 x 6.73||3.97 lbs|
Smallest Portable Generators – Our Reviews
Westinghouse iGen1200 – the best overall choice
Westinghouse is a 100% American company with more than hundreds of years of history. It is one of the most trusted companies producing electrical equipment including portable generators. Based on our research and experience Westinghouse generators perform extremely well and frequently attract stellar reviews from their users.
On top of that, Westinghouse generators usually cost the fraction of the price of Yamaha or Honda.
Westinghouse IGen1200 is the smallest portable generator manufactured by Westinghouse.
It is a well-designed compact inverter generator ideal for powering portable electronics.
Just by looking at it you can easily tell that it’s a contemporary hi-tech generator.
Inside you will find a 54cc engine delivering 1200 starting watts and 1000 running watts of power.
IGen1200 weighs only 35 lbs which makes it is an excellent choice for camping or any other situation where you need to frequently move the generator from one place to another.
It has 2 x 120V outlets and 2 x USB ports for charging laptops, phones, and other electronic equipment.
IGen1200 can be used in parallel with other small inverter generators (ideally the same model). In such case, you would get twice as much power totaling 2000 running watts.
It is remarkably quiet – it is in fact one of the quietest generators on the market. (if you are curious what are the other ones, read this article).
Overall we think this is the best small portable generator you can find.
Yamaha if the name often used interchangeably with “good quality electrical equimpent”. Yamah generators are universally acclaimed for their excellent engines which pretty much set the industry standards.
EF1000iS is the smallest generator in the Yamaha’s family of inverter generators.
It offers pretty much all the same pros we liked about its larger cousin – Yamaha EF2000isV.
These include great compact design, original Yamaha engine, convenient control panel, excellent fuel efficiency and finally – very quiet operation.
Yamaha EF1000iS provides in total 1,000 starting watt output and 900 running watt output.
While this is certainly not enough to run any larger appliances, it is sufficient for portable electronics and small size electrical equipment such as TVs or portable heaters.
It weighs only 28 lbs which makes it perfect for boats, tailgating or camping.
You can also use it for charging small trailer batteries.
Its total run time depending on the load can reach up to 12 hours on single refueling which is a truly remarkable number.
Any downsides? Well, this is an original Yamaha so unfortunately it costs quite a lot. However if you don’t want to go on any compromises in regards to quality and need a solid small generator from a reliable manufacturer – you can’t really go wrong with EF1000iS.
Honda is a brand which probably does not need any longer introduction. It is without doubt one of the most recognized and trusted automotive brands. Honda generators are also among the most sought-after.
Honda EU1000i is the smaller sibling of an uber-popular Honda EU2000i inverter generator.
It is one of the lightest portable generators on the market. It only weighs 29 lbs making it super easy to carry around.
Its noise levels are reasonably quiet. Even at the highest loads, it doesn’t produce more than 59 dB.
However, since Honda EU1000i’s engine has got only half of the power of EU2000i (or its newer version – EU2200i), I was honestly expecting it to be a bit quieter. Nonetheless, it is still quieter than the vast majority of portable generators.
EU1000is comes with a patented Honda Eco-Throttle system. This mechanism automatically adjusts the generator’s fuel consumption based on the current output.
This can save you quite a lot of money in the long term otherwise wasted on gas.
As a result, Honda EU1000i can run for around 8 hours on a half-gallon of gas, making it a really fuel-efficient generator.
I would recommend EU1000i to those who are looking for an original Honda generator and need something even smaller than EU2200i. Honda EU1000i is one of the smallest generators out there and is certainly one of the top market choices.
WEN 56125i – excellent value for money
Ever since I stumbled across WEN generators I almost immediately became a big fan of them.
Portable generators manufactured by WEN prove that a portable generator does not have to cost an arm and a leg to run flawlessly and offer basically the same capabilities as other top graded generators.
WEN56125i is one of the smallest portable inverter generators currently being on sale. It’s also among the cheapest ones. It usually sells for less than half of the price of Honda or Yamaha.
Numerous users praise how reliable and easy to use it is. It’s not uncommon to see people who were visibly surprised to see how a generator so cheap can be actually that good.
WEN56125i is both EPA and CARB Compliant.
It has a 60cc OHV engine which delivers 1250 starting watts and 1000 running watts of energy.
Just like it is the case with other small generators, you can’t expect it to run multiple large appliances. On the other hand, it is an ideal choice for those looking for a generator to charge their portable electronics.
I particularly recommend WEN56125i for campers or tailgating parties.
Especially since it is very quiet and won’t cause much disturbance.
It is very compact too – its dimensions are 17 x 9 x 12.5 in, which is more or less the same as a school pack.
Overall it is a really good small generator. If you are looking for an inexpensive compact portable generator – this is the one you should probably get.
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 160 – ultra light small portable solar generator
This one is a bit different than the other generators listed in this article.
Jackery Portable Power Station is not a conventional generator per se. Think of it as a large portable power bank which you can recharge either by utilizing solar panels (preferred choice), car outlet or wall socket.
It is a fantastic choice for those who want to spend some time in the wild and needs to carry a very compact power source with them.
For example, if you are planning to spend a few days off the grid in a national park, shooting videos with drones and GoPro cameras and later edit them on your laptop while resting in your tent at night – Jackery can charge all of these portable electronics without a problem.
If you use the solar panels to charge it, in normal circumstances it should take around 8 hours in full sun to completely recharge it. One full charge can recharge the following equipment:
- A laptop (twice)
- GoPro (20 + times)
- Smartphone (12 times)
- Drone (twice)
You can plug in all this equipment at once thanks to a large number of outlets available.
It is also super light. It weighs only 3.84 lbs. You won’t have absolutely any difficulties carrying it with one hand.
Don’t forget though that if you want to power it with solar panels, those have to be bought separately and will add a bit of the weight.
If you charge it using an ordinary wall socket or car outlet, the total charging time will shorten to around 5 hours.
Overall this is a fantastic choice for campers and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Since the total power output is only 100 watts you certainly won’t be able to charge anything large.
However, if you need an ultralight noiseless portable station to charge phones, cameras or laptops – this is probably the smallest and most recommended generator you can get.
If you are curious to learn more about portable solar generators, make sure you check out this article.