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Best Generator Under $500: Top Picks for Affordable Power Solutions

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Generators are essential for powering appliances and devices during power outages or when off the grid. They come in different sizes, types, and prices, with some costing as much as a few thousand dollars. However, not everyone needs a high-end generator, and a budget-friendly option can be a perfect fit for those who need to power a few appliances or devices. In this article, we will explore generators under $500, their features, and what to consider when choosing one.

Best Generators under $500

We know that finding the best generator under $500 can be a daunting task, especially when you want to ensure that you’re getting the most value for your money.

Champion Power Equipment 4250-Watt Open Frame Inverter Generator

Champion Power Equipment 4250-Watt Open Frame Inverter Generator

We highly recommend the Champion Power Equipment 4250-Watt Open Frame Inverter Generator for anyone who needs a reliable and cost-effective power solution.

Pros

  • Starting and stopping the generator is easy with the wireless remote key fob, which works up to 80 feet away.
  • The generator is 50% quieter and 20% lighter than traditional 4250-watt generators, making it a great option for RVs, tailgating, and home backup.
  • The Quick Touch Panel offers fast access to all your controls, and the Intelligauge monitors voltage, frequency, and operating hours with ease.

Cons

  • The generator operates at 64 dBA from 23 feet, which is a bit louder than normal speech.
  • The covered outlets include a 120V 30A RV (TT-30R), two 120V 20A household outlets (5-20R) plus a 12V automotive-style outlet, but it would be nice if it had more outlets.
  • The generator is not parallel ready, so you cannot increase your power output by connecting multiple generators.

We used this generator for our RV and were impressed with how quiet and efficient it was. The digital components used in more advanced inverters cut the noise level in half, and the efficient mechanical design decreased the overall footprint and weight by 20 percent. The recoil start features Cold Start Technology, and the reliable 224cc Champion engine produces 4250 starting watts and 3500 running watts. The generator runs for 22 hours at 25% load when the 4-gallon fuel tank is full, and the inverter produces Clean Power (less than 3% THD), so you can confidently connect your sensitive electronics.

The Quick Touch Panel offers fast access to all your controls, and the Intelligauge monitors voltage, frequency, and operating hours with ease. The Economy Mode monitors power consumption in real-time to reduce engine wear and tear, and as the electrical load is reduced, the inverter reduces engine speed, providing quieter operation, extended engine life, and higher fuel economy.

Overall, the Champion Power Equipment 4250-Watt Open Frame Inverter Generator is a great option for anyone who needs a reliable and cost-effective power solution.

Pulsar PG2300iS Portable Inverter Generator

Pulsar PG2300iS Portable Inverter Generator

If you’re looking for a portable inverter generator that produces clean power and operates quietly, the Pulsar PG2300iS is a great choice for you.

Pros

  • The generator produces 2,300 peak watts and 1,800 running watts, making it ideal for powering small 120V appliances.
  • It has multiple outlets, including two AC 120V 13A outlets, one 12V 8A cigarette outlet, and one 5V USB port.
  • The stable sine wave produced by the generator makes it safe for powering sensitive electronics.

Cons

  • The generator has a recoil start, which can be difficult for some users to operate.
  • The low oil shut-off feature can be triggered prematurely, causing the generator to shut off unexpectedly.
  • The generator is not suitable for powering large appliances or heavy-duty equipment.

We recently used the Pulsar PG2300iS generator during a camping trip, and we were impressed with its performance. The generator is lightweight and compact, making it easy to transport and store. It started up quickly and ran smoothly, producing minimal noise. We were able to power our small appliances and electronics without any issues.

One thing to note is that the generator can be difficult to start if you’re not familiar with recoil starts. It’s important to follow the instructions carefully and use the proper technique to avoid injury. Additionally, we found that the low oil shut-off feature can be triggered prematurely, so it’s important to check the oil level regularly.

Overall, we would recommend the Pulsar PG2300iS to anyone looking for a portable inverter generator that produces clean power and operates quietly. It’s a great choice for camping, tailgating, and powering small appliances.

WEN 56235i Super Quiet 2350-Watt Portable Inverter Generator

WEN 56235i Super Quiet 2350-Watt Portable Inverter Generator

If you’re looking for a lightweight and quiet generator that won’t break the bank, the WEN 56235i Super Quiet 2350-Watt Portable Inverter Generator is a great option.

Pros

  • Ultralight body makes it easy to transport and store
  • Extremely quiet operation comparable to the sound of a normal conversation
  • Produces clean power for safe charging of sensitive electronics

Cons

  • Eco-mode switch can be finicky
  • Limited runtime on a single tank of gas
  • A bit underpowered for larger appliances or tools

We recently had the opportunity to test out the WEN 56235i, and we were impressed by its performance. The generator is incredibly lightweight, making it easy to move around and store when not in use. And despite its small size, it packs a punch, producing up to 2350 surge watts and 1900 rated watts of clean power.

One of the standout features of the WEN 56235i is its incredibly quiet operation. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the generator produces noise comparable to a normal conversation, making it a great option for camping or other outdoor activities where noise can be a concern.

The generator is also equipped with a number of useful features, including fuel shutoff to maximize the generator’s lifespan, two three-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle, and two 5V USB ports. And if you need more power, you can easily link up two WEN inverter generators using a WEN Parallel Connection Kit (sold separately).

That being said, the WEN 56235i is not without its drawbacks. The eco-mode switch can be a bit finicky, and the generator has a relatively short runtime on a single tank of gas. Additionally, it may not be powerful enough for larger appliances or tools.

Overall, we would definitely recommend the WEN 56235i Super Quiet 2350-Watt Portable Inverter Generator to anyone looking for a lightweight and quiet generator under $500. Just be aware of its limitations and make sure it’s the right fit for your needs.

 

 

 

Westinghouse iGen2200 Portable Inverter Generator

Westinghouse iGen2200 Portable Inverter Generator

If you’re looking for a reliable and efficient generator for home or recreational use, the Westinghouse iGen2200 Portable Inverter Generator is a great choice.

Pros

  • Produces clean, stable power at less than 3% THD, making it safe for sensitive electronics like laptops and mobile devices
  • Weighs only 46 lbs. and has a built-in carrying handle for easy portability
  • Extremely quiet, with a noise output as low as 52 dBA for community-friendly use

Cons

  • May not be powerful enough for heavy-duty appliances or tools
  • Requires a separate parallel cord to increase wattage and amperage
  • May emit a residual oil or fuel odor upon initial use

We recently used the Westinghouse iGen2200 Portable Inverter Generator during a camping trip and were impressed with its performance. The generator produced clean and stable power for our laptops and mobile devices, and its ultra-low noise output allowed us to enjoy the peaceful surroundings without disturbing our fellow campers.

We also appreciated the generator’s lightweight and portable design, which made it easy to transport to our campsite. Its fuel efficiency was also impressive, with a 12-hour run time on a 1.2-gallon gas tank.

However, we did notice that the generator struggled to power some of our heavier appliances and tools, such as a microwave and power drill. Additionally, we had to purchase a separate parallel cord in order to increase the available wattage and amperage.

Overall, we would recommend the Westinghouse iGen2200 Portable Inverter Generator for anyone in need of a reliable and efficient generator for home or recreational use.

Westinghouse iGen200s Portable Power Station

Westinghouse iGen200s Portable Power Station

We highly recommend the Westinghouse iGen200s Portable Power Station for anyone in need of a reliable and versatile power source.

Pros

  • The iGen200s is incredibly lightweight and compact, making it easy to take with you on the go.
  • With multiple outlets and a 194 watt-hour battery capacity, this power station can charge up to 6 devices at once and provides hours of power on a single charge.
  • The iGen200s is eco-friendly and produces no noise or fumes, making it safe to use indoors or outdoors.

Cons

  • While the iGen200s is capable of charging small appliances like a refrigerator, it may not be powerful enough to handle larger appliances or heavy-duty equipment.
  • The solar panel is not included with the power station and must be purchased separately.
  • The iGen200s is not recommended for use with high-powered devices such as hair dryers or power tools.

Overall, the Westinghouse iGen200s Portable Power Station is a great investment for anyone who needs a reliable and versatile power source for their outdoor activities or emergency situations. It is easy to use and provides clean and safe power wherever you go.

 

VOLCAN ENERGON 300 LiFePO4 Backup Battery

VOLCAN ENERGON 300 LiFePO4 Backup Battery

If you’re in the market for a portable generator under $500, the VOLCAN ENERGON 300 LiFePO4 Backup Battery is an excellent choice that won’t break the bank.

Pros

  • The LiFePO4 battery cells are long-lasting and can be recharged over 3000 times, making it a reliable power source for almost a decade.
  • With up to 600W output, this generator can power up to 7 appliances simultaneously, including AC outlets and USB-C ports.
  • The generator can be charged rapidly in just 1.8 hours using the AC + USB-C outlet, and can also be charged using clean solar energy in as little as 2.5 hours.

Cons

  • At 7.9 pounds, it’s not the lightest portable generator on the market, but it’s still compact and easy to carry around.
  • Some users have reported that the LED screen “Dashboard” can be difficult to read in bright sunlight.
  • The generator is not suitable for powering larger appliances like refrigerators or air conditioners.

We recently had the opportunity to test out the VOLCAN ENERGON 300 LiFePO4 Backup Battery, and we were impressed with its performance. The LiFePO4 battery cells are a game-changer, providing a long-lasting and reliable power source that can be recharged over 3000 times. We found that the generator could power multiple devices at once, including laptops, smartphones, and even a small fan, with ease.

One of the standout features of the VOLCAN ENERGON 300 is its rapid recharge time. We were able to fully charge the generator in just 1.8 hours using the AC + USB-C outlet, which was incredibly convenient. We also tested out the solar charging feature, and were pleased to find that it worked well, recharging the generator in as little as 2.5 hours using clean, renewable energy.

Overall, we think the VOLCAN ENERGON 300 LiFePO4 Backup Battery is a fantastic choice for anyone in need of a portable generator under $500. It’s eco-friendly, quiet, and reliable, and has all the features you need to power your devices on the go.

 

 

DLNRG R300 Portable Power Station

DLNRG R300 Portable Power Station

We highly recommend the DLNRG R300 Portable Power Station for anyone looking for a reliable and efficient generator under $500.

Pros

  • The DLNRG R300 has a high capacity of 299Wh and 93437mAh, making it perfect for off-grid life, outdoor adventures, and emergency situations.
  • It has a universal compatibility with pure sine wave AC outlets, providing a smoothly-varying sine wave for sensitive electronics.
  • Its LiFePO4 battery built-in BMS&MPPT for multi-protection ensures better battery safety and durability, offering 2000+ longer life cycles.

Cons

  • The DLNRG R300 does not support more than 2 ways to recharging at the same time.
  • Solar panel is sold separately and the rated voltage must be < 23.5V.
  • The DLNRG R300 is not suitable for heavy-duty appliances with power over 300W.

We recently tested the DLNRG R300 Portable Power Station and were impressed with its performance. The generator is lightweight and easy to carry, making it perfect for camping, RV, CPAP, and other outdoor activities. The high capacity of the battery provides enough power to run multiple devices simultaneously. We also appreciated the universal compatibility with pure sine wave AC outlets, which ensures a smoothly-varying sine wave for sensitive electronics. The DLNRG R300’s LiFePO4 battery built-in BMS&MPPT for multi-protection is a great feature that ensures better battery safety and durability.

Overall, the DLNRG R300 Portable Power Station is a great investment for anyone looking for a reliable and efficient generator under $500. Its multiple features and high capacity make it perfect for off-grid life, outdoor adventures, and emergency situations.

TogoPower Portable Generator

TogoPower Portable Generator

We highly recommend the TogoPower GG1000 gas generator for anyone looking for a reliable and affordable backup power source for outdoor activities, job sites, and home use.

Pros

  • The TogoPower GG1000 is lightweight and easy to move around, making it perfect for camping and other outdoor activities.
  • With a starting power of 1000W and a running power of 800W, this generator can support small household appliances such as blenders, coffee pots, blow dryers, fans, lamps, and more.
  • This generator features a 120V AC outlet voltage and can run six hours at 50% load when the 1.1-gallon tank is full.

Cons

  • Some users have reported issues with the generator leaking gas from the tank after minimal use.
  • The generator is quite loud, which may be a concern for some users.
  • The output of the generator may reduce after several months of use.

We found the TogoPower GG1000 gas generator to be a reliable and easy-to-use power source for our outdoor activities and home use. It is lightweight and portable, making it easy to move around, and it can support small household appliances. However, some users have reported issues with gas leakage and noise, so it may not be suitable for everyone. Overall, we believe this generator is a great value for its price point and would recommend it to anyone looking for an affordable backup power source.

Buying Guide

When looking to buy a generator under $500, there are a few key features to consider to ensure you get the best product for your needs. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

Power Output

The power output of a generator is measured in watts and determines how much electricity it can produce. When choosing a generator, consider the power needs of the appliances or devices you plan to use with it. Make sure the generator’s power output is sufficient to handle the combined wattage of your devices. It’s also important to note that some devices, such as refrigerators, require more power to start up than to run continuously, so be sure to factor in this surge wattage when choosing a generator.

Fuel Type

Generators can run on a variety of fuels, including gasoline, propane, and diesel. Each fuel type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so consider which one will work best for you based on factors such as availability, cost, and convenience.

Portability

If you plan to use your generator in multiple locations or need to transport it frequently, portability is an important factor to consider. Look for a generator that is lightweight and has built-in handles or wheels for easy transportation.

Noise Level

Generators can be noisy, so if you plan to use yours in a residential area or other noise-sensitive environment, look for a model with a low noise level. Some generators also come with noise-reducing features such as mufflers or sound-dampening technology.

Safety Features

Generators can be dangerous if not used properly, so look for models with safety features such as automatic shut-off in the event of low oil or overloading, and grounded outlets to prevent electrical shock.

By considering these factors, you can choose the best generator under $500 for your needs and ensure safe and reliable power when you need it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some affordable generators under $500?

If you’re looking for an affordable generator under $500, you have several options. Some popular brands that offer generators in this price range include WEN, Champion, and Westinghouse. These generators typically have a power output of around 2000 watts, making them suitable for powering small appliances, tools, and electronics.

What is the best inverter generator for under $500?

If you’re looking for an inverter generator under $500, the WEN 56200i is a popular choice. This generator has a power output of 2000 watts and features a clean sine wave output, making it safe for sensitive electronics. It’s also lightweight and portable, making it easy to take with you on the go.

Where can I find a Sam’s Club inverter generator under $500?

Sam’s Club offers several inverter generators under $500, including the Champion 100478 2000W Portable Inverter Generator and the Powermate PM2200i 2200W Portable Inverter Generator. You can purchase these generators online or in-store.

Is the Champion generator under $500 a good option?

The Champion 100478 2000W Portable Inverter Generator is a popular choice for those looking for an affordable generator under $500. It features a power output of 2000 watts and has a clean sine wave output, making it safe for sensitive electronics. It’s also lightweight and portable, making it easy to transport.

What is the best generator under $400?

If you’re looking for a generator under $400, the WEN 56105 1000-Watt Portable Generator is a great option. This generator has a power output of 1000 watts and is suitable for powering small appliances and electronics. It’s also lightweight and portable, making it easy to take with you on the go.

What is the most efficient small generator under $500?

The Westinghouse iGen1200 is a popular choice for those looking for an efficient small generator under $500. This generator has a power output of 1200 watts and features a clean sine wave output, making it safe for sensitive electronics. It’s also lightweight and portable, making it easy to transport.