Best Small Generator For Camping
Gone are the days when camping strictly meant reconnecting with Mother Nature. Camping nowadays can involve a lot of gadgets: cell phones, tablets, laptops, microwave cookers, small refrigerators, and of course, lighting, among others. This means you need to carry portable power that is reliable and safe to power such devices.
The best generator for camping is small, portable, quiet, and reliable. Can you find a generator that ticks all these boxes?
You definitely can.
For those in a rush:
The WEN 56200i is our topic pick for best small generator for camping. It’s not as reliable as the Honda EU3000i Handi or the Yamaha EF2400ISHC but it gives the best value for money when all factors considered – and has incredible features.
The criteria for selecting the best small generator for camping go something like this:
A generator that runs quiet gives you absolute peace of mind as you connect with nature. You don’t want something that’s going to be disruptive to other campers. A quiet generator allows you to a have normal conversation without raising your voice.
Additionally some campground regulations restrict noise levels from engines and other motorized objects. A quiet generator ensures that you’re playing by the rules during your camping trip.
A typical campsite setting requires moving things from place to place. This shouldn't be an issue if your power source is lightweight and portable enough. Usually this means a unit must be small enough to be carried by one person. In addition, portability should include a wheel kit where necessary to minimize the lifting.
If you’re going for a group camping trip, your power needs may increase. In this case having a scalable generator makes a big difference. Scalable means you can boost a generator’s output by connecting a compatible generator in parallel.
While the power needs at a typical campsite are relatively small and needed for short periods, having a reliable generator is a must. You want a generator that guarantees a steady output for at least 4 hours. This time is usually enough to get most of your electronics charged. It’s also sufficient to make meals to last you the entire day.
In the rest of this post, we’re going to review the 5 best small generators for camping.
WEN 56200i 2000 Watt Inverter Generator
- Clean Output
- Perfect for high altitudes
The WEN 56200i inverter generator is tailor made for campgrounds, tailgates, and RVs. This highly portable unit runs extremely quiet and is perfect for high altitudes (you need to separately buy a high altitude kit).
The 56200i produces 2000 surge watts and 1600 running watts of clean power free of errant surges and drops. You can safely plug in your delicate gadgets with total peace of mind.
The motor enabling all this is a 79.2cc 4-cycle OHV engine that operates at only 51 decibels. This is identical to a normal conversation, which means you’ll be able to freely interact with other campers without screaming at the top of your lungs.
You can get up to 6 hours of run time at 50% load on a full tank of gas (1 gallon). As you probably know 6 hours at a campsite is more than sufficient to get all your devices charged. So the WEN is actually very economical.
With a dry weight of just 54.4 lbs, you can carry this generator by one hand. In other words it is portable in the true sense of the word.
The control panel matches the flexibility built into the generator. It includes two 120V 3-prong outlets, one 12 Dc outlet, and a 5V USB port.
The WEN 56200i is our topic pick for best small generator for camping. It’s not as reliable as the Honda EU3000i Handi or the Yamaha EF2400ISHC but it gives the best value for money – all factors considered – and has incredible features.
- Sleek compact design
- Amazingly powerful
- Very reliable
The Honda’s biggest advantage is its huge power potential that it delivers reliably. Beyond camping and tailgating, the EU3000i Handi is the perfect portable generator for off grid living.
Lightweight and quiet, the EU3000i Handi is one of Honda’s best inverter generators ever built. What’s more, it is future proof both in terms of technology (built with advanced inverter technology) and power production: you can connect a second Honda unit using a parallel kit. So if your power needs increase in future, simply get a second Honda unit and connect it in parallel.
At peak output, the EU3000i Handi generates 3000 watts and at rated output you get 2600 watts. The Honda’s biggest difference, however, is that it can sustain peak output longer than most of its competitors. Precisely speaking, the EU3000i Handi can reliably generate 3000 watts for approximately 8 minutes before the overload system trips. This is important when you need to connect appliances whose starting wattage maxes out the generator.The control panel is equipped with a 12V 8.3A DC outlet, a 125V 20A duplex receptacle and another 125V 30A locking receptacle.
The EU3000i Handi weighs 78 lbs, slightly heavier than the average inverter generator but still lighter than a similar conventional model (120-130 lbs). The offset handles and built-in wheel kit make it easy to move the generator. Lifting it into your car’s trunk, for instance, should not be a problem too.
- Extremely lightweight and portable
- Compact design
- LED display for increased convenience
The Westinghouse iGen2500CAMO inverter generator is another great portable power unit that you’ll love to carry along on your next camping trip. It supplies clean power that’s safe for your laptops, cell phones, and cameras.
Weighing just 48 lbs, the iGen2500CAMO is the lightest generator on our list and one of the lightest in its class. It’s tailor-made for the outdoors and offers lots of convenience.
The iGen2500AMO is powered by a 98cc 4-stroke engine that generates 2500 surge watts and 2200 running watts. It runs for 8 hours on a full gallon of gas at 25% load. At the same load, the rated noise level is 52 dBA, perfect for camping situations as there’s less disruption.
The iGen2500CAMO also has parallel capability, a nice feature in case you need to scale up your power supply. You simply can't go wrong with this generator. It ticks all the boxes for a great camping generator and it’s not hard on your pocket.
- Proven reliability
- Sleek portable design
- Clean output
This is frankly one of the best 2000-watt generators your money can buy. It is the ultimate small generator engineered for any type of application but especially for camping and any outdoors pastime.
Whatever appliances you carry to your camping trip, the EF2400ISHC can easily power them. The best part is that you can safely charge your sensitive devices without any worry as the output generated is in pure sine wave form.
Speaking of output, the Yamaha pumps out 2400 surge watts and 2000 running watts courtesy of the 171cc 4-stroke, single cylinder OHV engine. At maximum output, it will be revving at 3400 rpm and can do so for up to 2.75 hours on a full tank of 1.6 gallons. Of course the runtime will increase as the loads reduce.
The EF2400ISHC weighs 75 lbs (without gas) and the noise level is rated at 53 to 60 dBA at 25% load. This is fairly quiet but you’d want to keep your load down most of the time to ensure you stay on the quieter side of things.
- Clean instant power
- Compact design
- Very portable
The Briggs & Stratton 30651 is the newest model in the company’s Power Smart series of ultra quiet inverter generators. Official claims from Briggs & Stratton suggest that this particular model is 38% quieter than a typical camping generator with a noise level is rating of 59 decibels. No doubt this is quiet enough for camping and tailgating situations but there’s a chance the generator may be louder when at full load.
This unit is compact and lightweight. It’s built to go anywhere and that’s what you want in a camping generator. The H-design handle is easy enough for one person to carry the generator but also flexible to allow two people share the load. But 54 lbs is surely light enough for one person to move.
The 30651 offers big campsite power potential, delivering 1700 running watts and 2200 surge watts, which is 14.16 and 18.33 Amps respectively.
This 30651 has parallel capability, which means you don't have to worry about power deficiencies. Simply connect a second Power Smart series generator using the
The full-featured control panel is equipped with the essential outlets for plugging in personal gadgets, electronics, and appliances. For added flexibility there’s a USB port as well.