There’s more to preparing for a hurricane than stocking up on boards, water and canned goods. With an emergency generator, you can keep important appliances running, including CPAP machines, refrigerators and electronics. Which hurricane generator is right for you? We picked out the best models, covering all sizes and price points. These include inverter generators, which are safe for electronics, as well as large generators with enough power to run a room air conditioner and several major appliances.
Most of our choices are dual fuel. Unlike gasoline, propane doesn’t go stale, making it the ideal fuel to store for a sudden power outage. If the outage drags on for days, you can switch from natural gas back to readily-available gasoline. All generators on this list have a low oil sensor. An automatic low oil shut off cuts the ignition before the engine burns up. This is a common problem with generators that run for hours or days at a time, since most users don’t think about checking oil consumption.
When you buy a generator for hurricane season, remember that you also need extension cables to get power into your house. Running the generator indoors or next to your home can result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
1,000 Watt - 5,000 Watt Generators
1. Champion Power Equipment 200961 2500-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Inverter Generator
The 200961 is the size of a 2,000 watt class generator, but it manage to match the output of these units using propane. Switch to gas, and this emergency generator provides 15% more power than its competitors.
The 200961 has a pair of household sockets and a 12 volt automotive socket. Champion also includes an adapter, which lets you use the 12 volt socket to charge two USB devices. Hook two of these generators together with a parallel connection, and you’ll have access to TT-30R and L5-30R outlets, which can be used with a transfer switch.
Champion includes an LPG hose and regulator, so it’s ready to connect to a propane bottle. Expect a run time of 11.5 hours at 25% load from the 1.1 gallon fuel tank. If you connect a 20 lb. LPG tank to the engine, you can expect a run time of 34 hours under the same load. Users report problems using propane, because the starting procedure isn’t clear in the manual: the mode selection dial must be set between choke and run to start on propane. Once the dial is at the right setting, starting is easy.
Under 25% load, this generator makes 53 dB of noise measured from 23 feet away, which is about average for an enclosed generator this size.
The 200961 measures 17.3 x 12 x 17.7 inches and weighs 39 lbs. It has a built-in handle, making it easy to carry. Champion backs this generator with a three year warranty for residential users.
2. Generac 7117 Gp2200I W 50St Inverter Generator
The Generac GP2200I offers portable power that covers all the bases, thanks to a selection of ports for appliances, electronics and low voltage devices.
This generator has a pair of household outlets, along with a 1.5 amp USB port and a 12 volt automotive port. Since this is an inverter generator, it’s safe to use the 7117 to power and charge electronics. Link two of these generators together with a parallel kit, and you’ll also get L5-30R and TT-30R outlets, letting you draw full power over a single extension cord. You can also use these sockets to connect the generators to a transfer switch.
This generator only runs on gasoline. With a full 1.2 gallon gas tank, this generator runs for 10 ¾ hours at 25% load. Generac doesn’t quote noise levels, but since this is a small enclosed generator, you can expect it to run well below 60 dB as measured from 30 feet away. The 7117 measures 19.7 x 11.4 x 17.9 inches and weighs 46.6 lbs. It has a built-in top handle. Generac guarantees this generator for two years of residential use.
3. Champion Power Equipment 200988 4500-Watt Dual Fuel
Do you want as much electronics-safe power you can get for sudden power outages, and the low noise of enclosed generation without using multiple backup power generators? Then you need the Champion 200988. This enclosed inverter generator offers the features of a 2,000 watt class portable generator, while delivering twice as much power.
This generator has a TT-30R socket for high wattage connections, as well as a pair of household sockets and a 12 volt automotive socket. Champion includes a USB adapter for the 12 volt socket with 1 and 2.1 amp ports. Connect two generators together with a parallel kit, and you’ll also have L5-30R and 14-50R outlets. Champion’s parallel connection allows different models to be linked together, as long as they produce about the same amount of power.
Champion includes everything you need for setup and maintenance, including a spark plug wrench, oil, oil funnel, wrench and screwdriver. The Intelligauge display shows total and session run time, as well as voltage and frequency, so you can keep track of maintenance and identify problems quickly.
This generator makes 61 dB of noise as measured from 23 feet away at 25% load, which is super quiet for something this size. The 2.3 gallon gas tank can keep this engine running for 14 hours at 25% load. Connect a 20 lb. propane tank, and you can expect this generator to run for up to 21 hours. Unlike most dual fuel generators, available starting watts don’t drop when you use propane. The engine has an electric starter with a pull start backup.
The 200988 measures 23.2 x 17.7 x 20.1 inches and weighs 97 lbs. It has a built-in handle and wheels, like those found on most large, open-frame generators. Champion backs this generator with a 3 year consumer warranty.
4. DuroMax XP5500EH Electric Start-Camping & RV Ready
Do you care more about power than features? The DuroMax XP5500EH isn’t the most sophisticated generator, but it’s also one of the cheapest in this size class.
The L-14-30R outlet is perfect for connecting this generator to a transfer switch. While the XP5500EH can supply 240 volt power, this feature is only useful for RV air conditioners. There are also a pair of GFCI-protected household outlets, so you can power outdoor equipment without worrying about shorts.
This generator isn’t CARB compliant, so it can’t be sold or used in California, or any other area that applies CARB regulations. For most Americans, this isn’t an issue as long as you aren’t using this generator for travel.
Instrumentation is limited to an analog voltage gauge. Fill up the 3.9 gallon tank, and the XP5500EH will run for 9 hours at 50% load. Connect a 20 lb. propane tank, and you can expect this dual fuel generator to run for 8 hours at half load. Noise is rated at 69 dB, which is about average for an open frame generator this size.
The XP5500EH measures 22 x 25 x 22 inches and weighs 136 lbs. Unlike most budget generators, DuroMax includes a wheel and handle kit. This generator is comes with a 3 year consumer warranty. Keep in mind that you will be responsible for shipping costs on any replacement parts covered by this guarantee.
6,000 Watt - 9,000 Watt Generators
5. Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment WGen7500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator
Westinghouse’s WGen7500DF balances size, power and outlets, making it a great choice for emergency power. Thanks to its remote start, you don’t need to be out in the rain to start it.
The WGen7500DF has an L14-30R outlet that’s transfer switch ready, as well as four GFCI-protected outlets for direct access to power. This generator doesn’t have an inverter, so it’s probably not a good idea to use it to charge or power sensitive electronics. However, the USB ports are handy for plugging in a small light, so you can see the controls at night.
The WGen7500 has an electric starter with recoil start backup, and the engine uses an automatic choke. It also comes with a key fob for remote starting up to 250 feet away. That means you can set up this generator before the storm hits, then push a button to start it when the power goes out. This model includes a propane hose, as well as a battery and maintenance tools.
The front panel has a digital gauge that shows volts, frequency and total running hours, while the 6.6 gallon gas tank has a built-in fuel gauge. The 7500DF will run for 16 hours at 25% load or 11 hours at 50 load before it needs to be refueled. Connect a 20 lb. Propane tank, and you can expect 11 hours of run time at 25% load, or 8 hours at 50% load. According to Westinghouse, this generator makes 74 dB of noise at at 25% load.
The WGen7500DF measures 27.2 x 26.1 x 26 inches and weighs 192 lbs. Wheels and a handle are included. Westinghouse guarantees this generator for 1,000 hours or three years, whichever comes first.
6. Champion Power Equipment 100520 8750-Watt DH Series Open Frame Inverter
When you buy a portable generator, you usually have to choose between getting an inverter generator or a high power generator. With the Champion 100520, you get clean power that works with electronics with the power to handle an entire home full of appliances. This gives you the peace of mind that you can keep everything you need running during a long blackout.
The L14-30R outlet can be used with a transfer switch, while the four household outlets with GFCI protection are handy for using power equipment outdoors. There’s also a 12 volt automotive outlet with a two port USB adapter for powering and recharging mobile devices. This model has an electric starter with a recoil backup starter.
This model only runs on gasoline. The 4.2 gallon gas tank will keep the engine running for 10 ½ hours at 25% load, while producing 72 dB of noise. Expect a shorter run time and more noise at half load.
This generator measures 26.6 x 25.6 x 23.7 inches and weighs 155 lbs. It includes wheels and a handle, but unlike most generators, the handle only has space for one hand. Champion Power Equipment covers this generator with a 3 year warranty.
10,000+ Watt Generators
7. Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Portable - 12500 Watts
The WGen9500DF has almost everything you could want from a backup generator. It’s dual fuel, has a high output, and comes with a remote starter.
Power outlets include 14-50R and L14-30R sockets that supply either 120 or 240 volt electricity. There are also four GFCI-protected household outlets, which is handy for outdoor power. This model has an electric starter with recoil start backup and an automatic choke. Once the generator is set up, you can start the engine using the remote key fob from up to 250 feet away. The front panel has a digital display that shows voltage, frequency and total run time, while the fuel tank has a built-in gauge.
Noise is rated at 73 dB at 50% output, which is slightly higher than average. The 6.6 gallon fuel tank will keep the engine running for up to 17.5 hours at quarter load, while a 20 lb. propane tank will keep the engine on for up to 11 hours. Expect run time at 50% load to be closer to 8 hours and 4-5 hours, respectively.
The WGen9500DF measures 27.2 x 26.1 x 26.5 inches and weighs 220 lbs. A folding handle and wheels are included. Westinghouse backs this generator with a three year consumer warranty.
8. DuroMax XP10000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator-10000 Watt
Do you need more options for accessing electricity? The DuroMax XP12000EH has every popular high amperage port, so it will work with any RV, breakout cable or transfer switch.
You’ll want to use the 14-50R with the transfer switch to get the full power of this generator into your home. Want a generator you can use for RV shore power and emergency home power? DuroMax has you covered, thanks to the inclusion of L14-30R and TT-30R sockets. There are also a pair of household outlets for quick access to power outdoors. This model has an electric starter with a recoil backup starter.
DuroMax aims for the value end of the market, so there are few features on this generator, aside from an analog volt meter. This generator will run for 10.4 hours from its 7.9 gallon gas tank at 50% load, or 4 hours at 50% power using a 20 lb. propane tank. It makes 70 dB of noise at half load, which is average for this size class. This generator comes with everything you need for setup and maintenance, including a propane hose, tool kit, battery and funnel.
The XP10000 measures 30 x 29 x 26 inches and weighs 220 lbs. Wheels and a folding handle are included. DuroMax backs this generator with a three year residential warranty.
9. WEN DF1100T 11,000-Watt 120V/240V Dual Fuel Portable Generator - 11000 Watts
The WEN DF1100T’s output and selection of power sockets make it a great choice for home backup and outdoor power.
Both the 14-50R and L5-30R sockets support 120 and 240 volt power, so you can use this generator for home backup power or RV shore power. It also has four household GFCI-protected ports, making is a great option for powering devices outdoors. The front panel has a digital gauge that shows volts and frequency, as well as an hour meter to keep track of maintenance. It also has a 12 volt socket for low voltage appliances. However, since output isn’t regulated by an inverter, you should avoid using this generator with electronics. This model has an electric starter with a recoil backup starter.
If you want to run this generator off of propane for long term power backup, consider buying a large tank. It will use up 20 lb. propane tank in just 3 hours at 50% load. Switch to gasoline, and the 6.6 gallon tank will keep this generator running for 8 ½ hours. This generator makes 72 dB of noise at half load, which is average for this segment.
The DF1100T measures 27.3 x 20.6 x 21.9 inches and weighs 213 lbs. A folding handle and wheels are included. WEN backs this generator with a two year consumer warranty.
10. Pulsar G12KBN Heavy Duty Portable Dual Fuel Generator - 12000 Watts
The Pulsar G12KBN won’t power your furnace or a central air conditioner. However, this heavy duty generator has enough electricity to run anything else in your household. If you want a more powerful dual fuel generator, you’ll need to look at stationary units.
This generator’s 14-50R socket is ideal for connecting the G12KBN to your home using a transfer switch. The TT-30R socket can’t carry the full current this machine generates, but it’s useful for connecting a breakout cable for running multiple devices, or as shore power for an RV. There are also four household sockets, and a set of terminals that can be used to charge an automotive or deep cycle battery. This model has an electric starter with a recoil backup starter.
The front panel has a digital gauge with volts, frequency and an hour meter, making it easy to check the condition of the generator and keep track of maintenance. The 8 gallon fuel tank comes with a gas gauge. A full tank should keep this generator running for 12 hours at 50% load. At half load, this generator makes 72 dB of noise, which is about average for a partially enclosed generator of this size. Pulsar doesn’t quote a run time for propane, but you can probably expect 3-4 hours from a 20 lb. tank.
The G12KBN measures 28.5 x 26 x 25.5 inches and weighs 209 lbs. It comes with wheels and a handle. Pulsar guarantees the G12KBN for one year of residential use.