Best Boat Generator Reviews

Updated October 12, 2020

If you take boat rides often or if you regularly sail, dive, or fish, having a portable marine generator can be very useful. A generator can power your boat’s battery in case it dies. It can keep the flow of electricity on your boat going even if the engine stops running. It can keep the boat lights, refrigerators, heaters, and other electronic devices on in times of emergencies.

Unlike standard units, a marine generator is designed to withstand harsh environments. It is sturdy, powerful, and efficient. There are a myriad of options to choose from, so we curated a list of the best boat generators to help you get started in your search. Keep on reading to learn more about our selection.

Best Boat Generators

#PREVIEWProduct
1
Best For Low Budgets
1Honda EU2200i Boat Generator
Honda EU2200i 120-Volt Portable Inverter Generator with Companion and Parallel Cables
Best For Low Budgets
Honda EU2200i Boat Generator
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2 Generac - GP3000i PowerRush Super Quiet Inverter Generator
Best Overall
Generac GP3000i Boat Generator
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3 Westinghouse iGen2500 Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator Westinghouse iGen2500 Boat Generator
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4 WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator WEN 56200i Boat Generator
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5 Yamaha EF2200iS Inverter Generator Yamaha EF2200iS Boat Generator
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Walmart
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6
Best For Higher Budgets
6Generac iQ2000 Boat Generator
Generac 6866 iQ2000 Gas Powered Inverter Generator
Best For Higher Budgets
Generac iQ2000 Boat Generator
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1. Honda EU2200i Boat Generator

Highlights
  • Runs at 53 to 52 dBA
  • Weighs 46.5 lbs.
  • 0.95 gal fuel tank capacity
  • Runs for 3.2 to 8.1 hours on a single tank
Best For Low Budgets
Honda EU2200i 120-Volt Portable Inverter Generator with Companion and Parallel Cables

One of the models in Honda’s Super Quiet Series, the all-new EU2200i is a powerful yet lightweight and compact inverter generator for home, work, or camping. It can deliver 2200 watts of power while running at 53 to 62 dBA. You can even double its power capacity by connecting two identical units.

Equipped with a Honda GXR120 engine, this model offers greater power, better performance, and improved ease of installation compared to previous iterations. It can operate various appliances, including your refrigerator, microwave oven, TV, coffee maker, computer, and more. With an automatic decompressor system, you can start the engine with minimal effort. It can run from 3.2 to 8.1 hours on a single tank.

Specifications

Size:
20 x 11.4 inches
Voltage:
120V
Wattage:
2200W
Noise Level:
53 to 62 dBA
Output:
2200W
Power Source:
120V AC; 12 V DC

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Stable, clean power
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Limited runtime at rated output
  • Lacks RV-ready outlets

2. Generac GP3000i Boat Generator

Highlights
  • Clean power
  • Parallel ready
  • Ultra-portable design
  • 50% more starting capacity
Best Overall
Generac - GP3000i PowerRush Super Quiet Inverter Generator

Measuring 22.20”x13.30”x18.40”, Generac’s inverter generator is lightweight, compact, and has built-in handles, making it ultra-portable. Its 149cc engine supplies a running wattage of 2300W. 

It can run for 4.5 hours at 50% of its rated load. Equipped with a quiet inverter power, this small marine generator can provide reliable performance with minimal side emissions. 

True Power Technology enables it to deliver clean, stable power, which makes it convenient for charging sensitive electronics such as laptops and smartphones. 

Since it comes with USB ports, you can plug your mobile devices directly into the generator. Best of all, this generator is parallel ready—you can connect it to a similar unit to double its power.

Specifications

Size:
22.20 x 13.30 x 18.40 inches
Voltage:
120 V
Wattage:
3000 starting Watts, 2300 running Watts
Noise Level:
60 Hz

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • Easy to use
  • Parallel ready
  • Compact and lightweight

Cons

  • Limited fuel capacity
  • Short run time

3. Westinghouse iGen2500 Boat Generator

Highlights
  • 2500 peak watts
  • 48 lbs.
  • 52 dBA noise output
  • 10-hour run time

Westinghouse’s inverter generator is three times more fuel-efficient than conventional generators, as it can run for 10 hours on a full 1-gal gas tank. It produces 2200 running watts and peaks at 2500, powering large appliances such as refrigerators and smaller electronic necessities.

It generates clean power at less than 3% THD, making it suitable for sensitive electronics, including smartphones, laptops, and TVs. From its LED display, you can easily monitor fuel levels, voltage, power output, remaining run time, and lifetime run hours.

Operating at 52 dBA, it won’t keep you and your neighbors up at night. Best of all, it is parallel capable, which means you can connect it to a similar unit to double your power capacity.

Specifications

Size:
19.7 x 11.22 x 17.91 inches
Voltage:
120V
Wattage:
2200 rated watts; 2500 peak watts
Noise Level:
52 dBA
Output:
2200 running watts
Power Source:
Gas

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • Fuel-efficient design
  • LED data center
  • EPA, CARB, and USFS compliant

Cons

  • Lacks a push-button start
  • Lacks a maintenance timer

4. WEN 56200i Boat Generator

Highlights
  • Produces 1600 rated watts (2000 surge watts).
  • Eco-mode feature to adjust fuel consumption. 
  • Long runtime (9.4 hours at quarter load).
  • Limits harmonic distortion so can safely run laptops, tablets and phones.

This is a great option if you’re looking for a generator for camping trips, as this model is portable, compact, and quiet, running at 51dB at quarter load. 

Weighing 48 pounds it’s easier to move this inverter generator around as needed, and although the fuel tank holds only 1 gallon, it will run for over 6 hours at half-load. Harmonic distortion is limited to less than 1.2%, so it’s safe to run more sensitive electronics such as laptops and tablets, and there’s even a USB port. Alongside this are two three-prong 120V and one 12V DC ports. 

We like the Eco-Mode, which adjusts the generator’s motor and therefore the fuel consumption when items are plugged and unplugged. The output is limited to 1600 rated watts, but if you need more power you can link up a second generator using a connection kit (not included). The two-year warranty gives you added peace of mind.

Specifications

Size:
18 x 11 x 18 inches
Voltage:
120V
Wattage:
1600W
Noise Level:
51 dBa
Output:
1600 rated watts / 2000 peak watts
Power Source:
Gasoline

Pros

  • Compact and portable design, ideal for camping or worksites.
  • Extremely quiet operation at 53dB at quarter load.
  • Four outlets including a USB port.
  • 2 year warranty.

Cons

  • Relatively low output, so can only handle a few devices simultaneously.
  • Oil needs to be changed after the first 20 hours of use.

5. Yamaha EF2200iS Boat Generator

Highlights
  • Illuminated LED display
  • Powerful 79 cc engine
  • Twin Tech Parallel Function
  • Smart dial knob

Powered by the Yamaha MZ80 engine, the Yamaha EF2200iS supplies clean, high-power output without all the noise. The generator has a Twin Tech Parallel Function, allowing you to connect two EF2200iS generators in-line to get up to 30 amps. It is designed for RVs and comes with a standard RV outlet and DC outlet for greater flexibility. With its Smart Throttle, the Yamaha EF2200iS has an automatic load sensing system that adjusts power according to your device’s needs.

This generator features a fuel gauge that lets you see its fuel level, and it is equipped with a Smart Throttle system that has a load sensing rpm for greater fuel efficiency. It has a fuel tank capacity of 1.24 gallons and can run up to 10.5 hours at a ¼ rated load.

Specifications

Size:
21.9” L x 11.8” W x 18.5” H
Voltage:
120 Volts
Wattage:
2200 watts
Noise Level:
57-65 dBA
Output:
Max AC Output: 2200 watts; Rated AC Output: 1800 watts
Power Source:
Fuel

Pros

  • Equipped with an overload reset button
  • Comes with a standard RV outlet
  • Has a tri-handle design for transport
  • Backed by a 3-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Generator can be quite loud
  • A bit heavy

6. Generac iQ2000 Boat Generator

Highlights
  • 7.7-hour runtime at 25% load
  • 1.06 gal fuel capacity
  • 2.85 gal/hour fuel consumption
  • Weighs 46.2 lbs.
Best For Higher Budgets
Generac 6866 iQ2000 Gas Powered Inverter Generator

Generac claims that the iQ2000 is quieter, smarter, and more portable than Honda inverters. Designed for outdoor recreational use, it only weighs 46.2 lbs., allowing you to enjoy reliable, clean power on the go. It can run for 7.7 hours at 25% load. 

It also has a LED dashboard that lets you easily monitor the unit’s operating status such as run-time and wattage use. You can toggle between three modes: Turbo, Standard, and Economy. With its user-friendly power dial, you can select the mode that suits your power needs. It offers an automatic low oil shut-off and overload protection as extra safety measures.

Specifications

Size:
20 x 12.6 inches
Wattage:
2000W
Output:
2000W
Power Source:
Duplex 120V 20A

Pros

  • Runs for 7.7 hours at 25% load
  • CARB-compliant
  • Smart LED dashboard
  • Simple, easy-to-use controls

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some modes are a little loud

Boat Generator Buying Guide

Fuel Type

Remember that not all generators require the same type of fuel. Some will run on natural gas or propane, while others will run on diesel. So, take fuel type into account before you purchase a sail boat generator.

For convenience, select a generator that requires the same type of fuel as your boat. Large fishing boats often come with diesel inboards. In such cases, it makes more sense to use a diesel generator. This way, you can simply tap from the main tank. You won’t have to keep other containers of fuel in your boat.

Outboard fishing boats, on the other hand, often have gas-powered engines. However, we recommend a diesel boat generator for safety reasons. In an outboard boat, compartments below deck tend to have poor ventilation. 

Since diesel isn’t as volatile compared to gas, it’s the safer option. Just remember to store a separate tank for your fuel. If you will be using a genset, you need to carry out some adjustments to make sure that your generator is well-ventilated.

Portability

Think about the ease of transporting your generator. Ideally, you should be getting a portable generator on your boat. If your boat measures less than 30 feet in length, you won’t be able to fit bulky standard generators. It’s also not safe to have them in such a limited space.

Compact and lightweight (around 40 to 50 pounds) units are easier to move around and carry on boats, but they still offer a solid foundation, which ensures their stability even when waves rock the boat.

Some of these portable units have built-in wheels and handles, while others are light enough to carry. You can even take your generator to the beach and use it to power your sound system or a small chiller for keeping refreshments nice and cold.

Power

How much power do you need?

When shopping for a generator, consider how much power it can produce. Its power output is measured in watts. A portable marine generator usually has a power output ranging from 900W to 10000W. 

Of course, you need to pick a unit that can meet your power requirements. Choose wisely, as the performance of your appliances will largely depend on the quality and consistency of the power your generator can produce.

To determine how much power you need, start by making a list of all the appliances and gadgets you want to take with you on your voyage. A mini-refrigerator? Lights? Radios and smartphones? Then, take note of the required running wattage of each device. 

Next, calculate the running wattage of all the appliances and gadgets you need to run simultaneously. The sum reflects your total power requirement. When you’re selecting a generator, its power output should be at least 20% greater than your total power needs. 

Run Time

Look for a generator that can make it through the night without refueling. 

Its run time can be affected by a lot of factors. Aside from its fuel tank’s capacity, it also depends on the unit’s performance. 

Even a portable marine generator can power essential appliances overnight without having to be refueled. If used at 25% capacity, some units can run for 10 to 12 hours. 

Placement

A genset is usually installed in an engine room or a safe compartment below deck. However, you must never place a portable generator in enclosed spaces, especially below deck. 

If you have a portable generator, you can keep it out in the open so dangerous fumes can escape. But don’t pace it close to work stations and social spaces. 

In doing so, you can prevent CO poisoning and other potential dangers. Keep your generator away from ignition sources. You should also consider wiring and cable setups to prevent risks of electrocution.

Make sure your generator is accessible so you can easily do repairs or maintenance when necessary. You can place your generator at the stern to keep it stable. Ensure that it’ll be protected from seawater and the elements. You can install a canopy to protect it from rain. 

Size

Generators come in a wide range of sizes and designs. Since most boats have limited space above deck, a large generator won’t be a practical choice. 

You are most likely going to select a unit based on the available space as well as its safe placement when you’re not using it. 

Nowadays, you can get a small generator that can power your essentials such as your lights, mini-fridge, and other electronics. 

One of the best things about modern generators is that they are packed with consistent, reliable power in a small size. 

Compared to larger units, they can deliver whisper-quiet performance. They won’t keep you up at night with their loud humming noises.

Many of these generators are parallel ready and can be connected to a similar generator to double their power capacity.

Noise Level

Loud generators will not only ruin your sleep but also spoil your fun. They might even scare all the fish away. 

If you’re getting a portable generator, it’s most likely going to come with whisper-quiet operation. It can generate stable power without making too much noise. With noise levels ranging from 48 to 55 dBA, your unit should be quieter than a normal conversation, which is at 60 dBA.

Larger generators, however, tend to be louder. Hence, remember to look into their noise levels when you’re browsing for options. For reference, a lawn mower produces sound at 90 dBA, while sound levels at a rock concert can reach 120 dBA. 

Noise levels above 85 dBA can be harmful, especially when you’re exposed to it for long periods of time. You will have to wear earmuffs or plugs for safety. That’s why you should always check out some of the quieter generators

Safety Tips

Is it safe to have a portable generator on your boat?

No matter where you use a generator, it will have inherent risks, one of which is carbon monoxide poisoning. To minimize risks, you should get a unit that delivers clean power with low CO emissions. You can also select a generator with built-in safety features. 

For example, modern generators are equipped with self-monitoring systems. They can tell you when CO levels are dangerously high. Some units can even automatically shut off if their sensors detect high CO levels. This can help keep you safe, especially when everyone’s asleep at night. 

Look for labels such as CO Detect, CO Guard, or CO Protect when you’re browsing for options. You should also check if your generator meets certain safety standards. Check for an ANSI/UL2201 CO safety certification or an ANSI/OGMA G300 safety and performance certification.

Even with safety technology, you should adhere to strict safety measures. For starters, pay close attention to the manufacturer’s safety and placement directions. When in doubt, ask a qualified electrician. As for your fuel, use approved containers for storage and transport.

Direct exhaust fumes away from your boast and other vessels when you turn on your generator so that they don’t fill up with deadly CO emissions. If you and your crew feel unwell during or after running your generator, turn it off immediately. Step away from your unit and get some fresh air.

Once you turn off your generator, give it some time to cool down. Your unit can remain hot for a long time even after being turned off. Hence, let the fumes fully disperse before you store it inside a well-ventilated space or refuel it. 

Never refuel your generator on board or when you’re out at sea to eliminate risks of fires, electrocution, or toxic fume buildup. Make sure to maintain a safe distance from other vessels to prevent any potential accidents while refueling. 

Keep flammable materials away from your generator and fuel at all times, even during storage.

Our Verdict

Taking a portable generator with you on boat trips can help you stay ready for emergencies or engine problems at sea. Since you are in a confined space, it comes with inherent risks. You can, however, prevent potential disasters by investing in high-quality generators with built-in safety features.

More importantly, you should adhere to strict safety practices when you’re installing, running, and refueling your generator.
Modern generators can fit the limited space of your boat while delivering clean, reliable power. With proper maintenance, you can depend on them for years with barely any trouble.

Since there are several portable marine generator options on the market, you need to carefully select an ideal unit that meets your power requirements and keeps everyone safe. Get to know the features and functionalities of a portable generator before you start shopping. With this as a guide, hopefully, your search would be a whole lot easier.