In this post, we are presenting six high quality generator models. This article is a product of deep research and wide consultations. You can, therefore, be sure that all the brands discussed here are actually the cheapest products you can get in the market today.
Best Budget Generators – Our Pick
Westinghouse iGen2200 Inverter Generator
WEN 56203i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
The A-iPower SUA 2000iV Generator
Is it Cost-Saving to Buy a Cheap Generator?
As the wise ones say: ‘You always get what you pay for’. This popular saying is generally assumed to be true. Yet, is it really true?
Well, we recently did some tests that returned some rather interesting results. Yes, we actually discovered that it is possible to buy a high-value generator without possibly breaking a bank!
Nevertheless, is it also possible to know just how affordable some of these popular models can be?
The answer is yes.
From our tests, we found that there are several options of fantastic generators that would cost you a half the price that most people pay to get the better known, more expensive brands.
It Can Save Costs
The facts prove it.
It is really worth it buying some of these cheaper models of portable generators. Remarkably, the overall performance of such machines is not compromised by the fact that they are cheap.
Regardless, just before you rush to the nearest shop to get yourself one of these high-performing cheaper generators, stop for a moment.
You need a little guidance.
Cheap, Not Low-Quality
Take your time. Check out some of our more affordable selection of popular generator models that will make you proud.
Of course, to many people, a cheap generator means a model that was probably manufactured overseas. Even though most of these are Chinese-made, they all claim to be dependable and strong.
Use Our Generator Guide
The harsh reality is that most of these cheaper generators are often low-quality, with components that easily break down at the slightest excuse.
As indicated below, we have determined that there are a few well-performing cheap generators that are available. Not only are they reliable, they are also quite affordable. The performance, in terms of consistency, output and noise levels is most impressive.
Here, below, is a table of some of the cheapest, high-performing generators that you can get today.
It Took Deep Research
It takes much effort to discover anything valuable. In the same way, it took quite some effort, deep research and wide consultations for us to identify the cheapest, high-value portable generators.
Indeed, such a research could not be complete without the input of the leading industry players. We, therefore, took the time to consult a few reputable and trustworthy sources whose word is law, so-to-speak.
Most of these sources have experience in conducting product-testing. Among these were: Top Ten Reviews, Wirecutter and Popular Mechanics. These sources usually review generator models costing over $1,000.
We, therefore, relied on such enthusiast sites and specialty retailers that make comparisons of cheaper portable generators. They also conduct customer reviews on popular retail sites including Lowe’s, Walmart and Home Depot.
As a result, you can expect to dish out approximately $300 to get a small portable generator that is gas powered. This will be capable of running two to three items useful for tailgating or offering back-up power during stormy seasons. Indeed, a more robust model can even power your RV and run all essential home equipment costing up to $600.
If you live in California, be assured that our selection of the best cheapest portable generators are also CARB compliant.
Best Cheap Generators Overwiew
The Westinghouse iGen2200 Generator
Westinghouse iGen2200 is one of the best small inverter portable generators that anyone can get. Indeed, you can carry this machine wherever you go.
The generator is made with a 79 cc engine. It comes with a low-engine shutdown mechanism that is controlled by a switch. This helps to insulate the generator from damage that can be caused by bad lubrication.
When the levels of oil go down excessively, the machine will shut down automatically. It only restarts when the oil levels resume to a proper degree. For this reason, using this generator, ensure first that the oil level is right.
Efficiency Mode Switch
On the generator’s interface panel is the efficiency mode switch. The engine automatically senses the load when this is used and reduces its running speed. This helps to save on fuel.
Of course, when you increase the load, the engine automatically adjusts its speed to run faster, thus delivering more power. The efficiency mode switch has two main functions: It helps to reduce the machine’s noise while also saving on fuel.
One unfortunate thing is that you cannot use all devices with the efficiency mode. This is due to compatibility issues. Moreover, in case the generator reacts too slowly to the powering up of a device, the resultant current drawn in this startup may be too much for the machine’s capacity.
The effect is that either the generator or the device may be tripped. In such a situation it is advisable to reset the default and proceed to use the machine with the efficiency mode turned off.
Valid in USA and Canada
The Westinghouse iGen2200 generators are conveniently EPA, CARB and USFS compliant. Remember that, to satisfy the regulations in California, the generator used must be CARB compliant.
The generator’s muffler has a spark arrester that is specially approved by the U.S. Forest Service. This means it may also be used in Canada. Further, this means you may freely use the iGen2200 generator anywhere in America, including all the forest service areas and parks.
Uses of the Generator
The Westinghouse iGen2200 generator can do quite well running smaller loads. It can be used for entertainment events. It is great for tailgating, camping, working the houseboat and powering devices as emergency backup on the RV.
If you run a business in a small food truck or shop, this generator can keep the point of sales systems running. It can also power a few kitchen units and lights during a disaster.
The A-iPower SUA 2000iV Generator
- 1600 running watts.
- 2000 Starting Watts.
- Bonus RV Outlet.
- Comes with a79cc senci engine.
- It is a single phase 60hz, 120vac, engine with a manual start.
- It is an inverter generator that safely powers your sensitive devices.
- Comes with a multi-switch integration: Features start, run, and stop functions.
- Weighs 46 lbs.
- Quiet operation at 58 dB noise levels, while working at 50% load.
- Has Integrated Parallel kit that is fitted with cables. This means you can combine 2 generators to get double the power.
- Has low idle mode. This means the generator adjusts its engine speed automatically, based on the load.
- Features a light indicator. This has the low oil alarm, indicates the power output, and gives the overload alert.
- Comes with iron cylinder sleeves.
- Offers a maximum 7 hours run time while working at 50% load on a fuel tank with just 1.1-gal.
- Features a low oil shutdown mechanism and oil gauge.
- Has a 12v DC / 8.3A adapter plug.
- Comes with a 30 amp RV adapter.
- You get a 2-year commercial and residential warranty.
- EPA / CARB compliant.
An Affordable Generator
The a-iPower SUA2000iV resembles other quiet inverter generators of modern times. The machines comes in a molded plastic cover just like other recent sound-insulated, lightweight generators.
The a-iPower SUA 2000iv generally comes at an affordable price. The generator reviews and user feedback indicates that the machine has minor issues of quality control, just like other brands. For a machine that is this cheap, the iPower generator is truly impressive. It has an overall good- build quality. In the final analysis, this generator works just as well as other similar generators.
A Little Noisy
The a-Power SUA 2000 iV noise levels averages 58dBA (this is at 50% output, measured 21 feet away. It is, therefore, not the quietest inverter generator in the market. Indeed, when the SUA2000iV generator reaches 75% load, the noise levels will climb to about 68dBA. This is way noisier than the sound produced by the ordinary human voice.
You can be sure things will get worse when the machine works at a full 70 Dba+ output.
The a-iPower SUA 2000iV generator’s control panel features a single household outlet (50-20R 20A 120V), a second outlet ( L5-30R 30A 120V)with an RV plug adapter, and a USB adapter with a final 12VDC outlet.
This is an impressive setup.
It has a single 20A circuit breaker that protects the twin 120V outlets. It also features the usual warning indicator for low oil, the overload and run elements.
WEN 56203i Generator Review
Do you want a portable generator that can power several appliances during a power blackout? Do you desire a machine can be carried along on the next tailgating party or camping expedition?
You may just need to get a 200-watt generator. Such a machine will enable you get the right amount of power that you need to run several appliances or a single large appliance.
Remarkably, you can enjoy all these and still move around easily.
The WEN 56203i generator is the best example of a 2000 –watt compact generator will give you whatever is needed to run several appliances or tools without worrying about the noise levels.
Indeed, this machine was really designed to be among the quietest available generators, ideal for use in residential areas.
Function and Ease of Use
The WEN 56203i generator was obviously made to be portable. You can, therefore, carry it anywhere. It comes with an integrated handle ad a small frame. The handle is ideally located on the top section. This makes it quite easy to carry. The machine weighs just 40 lb.
The control panel on the front is easy to access since it is precisely labelled.
One of the first things to notice about this machine is that it is loaded with several outlets despite its relatively small size. For this reason, it gives you a wide selection whenever you want to plug in your valuable electronics.
The generator has no twist lock outlet but is still convenient and versatile.
Great for Tailgating
The WEN 56203i comes with 2 useful household AC outlets, and a pair of 5V USB outlets which may be used for smaller appliances like cell phone chargers or Go-Pro. Moreover, it has a single cigarette-lighter, DC 12v outlet.
With this machine, you have at least 5 outlets to pick from. This ensures you are perfectly equipped to deal with any power blackout. Even if you are away on your camping trip, this generator will be quite handy.
The parallel connect plugs are some of the most valuable features to be found in the WEN 56203i generator. You can easily link up a second generator of a similar type to get double power. You do this using the convenient parallel kit. Moreover, the parallel kit comes with a built in 12 V AC twist plug and an RV-ready outlet.
Unique Parallel Kit
This means you can easily plug large appliances while running the parallel connection. The WEN 56203i is considered to have one of the rarest parallel setup mechanisms. It also comes with the most impressive engineering genius for a machine of its class.
The WEN 56203i comes with a 4-stroke 78 cc engine. It works at 2000 starting and 1700 running watts. It can run for a maximum 7 hours while working at 50 % load. You can, therefore, do a lot of work using a single gallon of fuel.
The WEN 56203i generator works at an industry- leading 51 decibels. This makes it one of the quietest generators of its type.
- Run Time, working at 50%: 7 Hours
- Starting Watts: 2,000W
- Frequency: 60 Hz
- Running Watts: 1,700W
- Rated AC Voltage: Single Phase
- Tank Size: 1 Gallon
- Weight: 40lbs
The WEN 56200i Inverter Generator
The WEN 56200i is a powerful 2,000 watt generator. It has a robust, 4-stroke 79.7cc engine, clean operation, is compact (48 lbs), noiseless operation at 51 decibels, and is CARB-compliant.
The WEN 56200i is an excellent inverter generator that you can get without needing to break the bank. This machine is affordable, especially since inverter generators are usually expensive. The WEN 56200i is a wonderful bargain, thinking about its overall great features and top-notch build quality.
The WEN 56200i is also a small and light machine that comes with the following ideal dimensions:
- Length: 22 ¼ inches.
- Height: 19 inches.
- Width: 12 inches.
The wonderfully lightweight machine weighs just 54.4 lbs. The design of the WEN 56200i makes it quite portable. Its whisper- quiet operation means that this inverter generator is ideal for use in campsites. For these reasons, the WEN 56200i generator is definitely worth the extra money you pay for it.
- The WEN 56200i generator offers 6 hours run-time while working at half-load.
- At 51 Db, the generator works with whisper quiet operation. Indeed, the machine is overall as noiseless as a normal human conversation.
- ECO Mode: The WEN 56200i generator adjusts its fuel consumption automatically while any devices are being plugged in or get removed from its outlets.
- It is a CARB and EPA III compliant product.
- Has 1600 running watts and 2000 starting watts.
- It is ideal for construction sites, campgrounds, dealing with power outages and tailgating parties.
- Lightweight: weighs 48 lbs. The shipping weight is around 54 lbs.
- Generates clean power. This means it is a pure sine wave product that enables you to power sensitive electronics safely.
- Has twin three-prong 120V receptacles.
- Has one 12V DC receptacle.
- Comes with a single 5V USB port.
- Its Total harmonic distortion is less than 0.3 percent (without loading) and less than 1.2 percent while working at full load.
- Has a low-fuel and low-oil automatic shutdown mechanism.
- Comes with a 2-year warranty.
- You may link two generators using the machines’ parallel kit which is, however, sold separately.
The Champion 3500-Watt RV
The Champion Power Equipment 46539 generator offers excellent value and comes with great features. With it, you get a wireless remote start, 4000 watts of starting power, a CARB compliant machine, and quiet operation, among others. The Champion is a well- built generator that is reliable and generally affordable.
This machine is great for camping and other outdoor activities. It is a most suitable portable generator that would be a darling of outdoor people. It is also highly regarded for its dependability and quality.
When you buy the Champion 46539 generator, you will find it RV ready. You can connect your RV quite conveniently. This saves you from wasting time that can be used for other business.
- 3500 running and 4000 starting watts.
- Has 120 AC load.
- Is RV Ready – TT-30R outlet.
- Quiet operation: It runs at 68 dBA, measured at 23 feet.
- It runs up to a maximum 12 hours while at 50% load.
- Outlets: 120 v 20 A outlets, 120 v 30 A locking,, 120V 30A RV, secured by Volt Guard. This protects appliances from possible power surge.
- Comes with a wireless remote, easy-to-pull recoil start, push/electric button.
- Has a low oil shut-off sensor. This protects the engine when the oil is too low.
- Has a spark arrestor (USDA approved).
- Has a durable steel frame.
- Intelligauge :This Easily monitors the frequency, hours and volts.
- Is CARB and EPA compliant.
Power Delay Mechanism
The Champion 46539 generator gives you other extra features. This ensures you get value and great quality inclusive of a low-oil sensor, overload protection, and a gauge which displays the operating hours.
Another great feature in the generator is a 20-second power delay mechanism. This works well so that you won’t have to unplug appliances every time you want to restart the engine.
The generator is fuel efficient with a usage of about ⅓ of a gallon each hour. The Champion’s 3.8 gallon fuel tank generally lasts around 12 hours while the machine runs at half load.
The Generac 7117 GP2200i
The question may arise: Is the Generac 7117 (GP2200i) a very good generator? Well, there are many great inverter generators of the 2000 W class. It can be a challenge to decide on the right machine to buy.
You should, however, ask yourself just why you need a portable generator of this type. Indeed, is a 1700 w inverter generator good enough for you? Can it supply enough power for your needs? Get the answers right.
- Runs for a maximum 10.75 hours, working at 25% Load.
- Has 220w starting, 80cc — 1700W Running.
- Smaller engine, no 30A outlet, less power but runs for extended time and costs less.
- Gives clean, stable power.
- Runs for a maximum 7 hours, working at 50% Load.
- Is Parallel ready.
- Its simple power dial helps to control the choke, run, and off mechanisms.
- The economy mode is fuel efficient.
- The Status Lights: important for indicating low oil, overload and power levels.
- It is CARB Compliant in 50 states.
Efficient Parallel Kit
One of the greatest advantages of the Generac 7117 is its option that allows users to connect it to a second generator for parallel running. This can almost double the power output to a maximum 4400 starting and 3,230 running watts. Of course, you will have to pay for the second generator.
You can further ask yourself the question: Why shouldn’t I just go ahead and buy a more powerful, bigger generator instead of going for two?
This is certainly a good question.
A Bigger Generator?
Most people would rather buy a bigger generator. In practical terms you can never have too much power. It is, therefore, better to run a bigger generator at a lower load, rather than having it run at a maximum 100% all the time.
Doing this can be compared to running a car at full speed, on the highway, all the time. Having a bigger engine generally reduces the pressure on the engine.
The Generac has only one recoil starter but this is common in most generators of this size. It is not easy to get a smaller generator that has an electric starter. The Generac generally starts easily. It is also easy to operate using its single dial. This moves from the top of the machine and aids the start and choke function.
When is it Advisable to Buy a Cheaper Generator?
Generally, we would be slow to advise anyone to take chances when planning to buy a sensitive equipment like a generator. You cannot take chances with this since no one wants his standby generator failing on the day of the emergency or a natural disaster.
Despite this, there is a high possibility that you can get a good, high-quality generator without having to spend much money.
It is good to determine first, before taking action, how much you are planning to use the generator in a year. Think of this:
Do you need a smaller generator largely for recreational needs, including tailgating parties and camping trips? Or, perhaps, do you wish to buy a generator to help you on singular occasions like outdoor fairs, a single job or during snow storms?
If your answer was ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, then it is okay to go for the best inexpensive generator. Remember: In case you want a generator that you will use just one or two times in a year, it means it will remain idle most of the time.
Most of the generators discussed in this post, for example, can do a perfect job. Indeed, most of them attract positive reviews, meaning they offer good quality.
If you buy a generator from reputable companies like WEN, or Champion, you can save a lot of money. At the same time, you will have a great machine to use at only the fraction of the price needed to buy the more pricey models, like Honda and Yamaha.
When is it a Bad Idea to Buy a Cheap Generator?
On the other hand, when shouldn’t you even think of buying a cheap generator? Think of this: Do you need a generator to help with everyday work at the construction site? Do you want a machine that will last for years? Do you frequently run a generator for hours? Do you find it easy to get a serviceman to repair your generator and wish to access spare parts easily?
If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, then you are better advised to spend a little more and buy the better known generator brands like Yamaha or Honda. They are reputed to be durable and strong- the contractor’s favorite.
Consider issues like servicing. If you buy Honda, for instance, it is easy to fix, any day. These are popular, widely used models, with ready spare parts.
Are you prepared to deal with power outages? A cheap portable inverter generator may not power the entire home during such times, but it can be valuable in providing much-needed power and running essential appliances.
Moreover, these generators are useful for a variety of purposes, including tailgating, camping, boating, worksite, power outages and much more.
Use your discretion to choose the best portable inverter generator without having to spend much.
You are better off doing this to fulfil a variety of needs.