Best Generator For Hurricane Reviews

Updated November 2, 2020

It’s easy to take for granted our power supply. Whether it’s running a fridge full of valuable food or charging a phone that provides a lifeline, having power is necessary in many aspects of our day-to-day life.

When your power is out for an hour or two, it’s an inconvenience but not a big deal. In a hurricane, however, having an alternative power supply can mean everything.

In the aftermath of devastating storms, power can be out for days. That could mean losing your food supply, being unable to reach family for updates, and worse. Or you may need a generator to run a sump pump, to keep water out of your home.

In power outages, a generator could be the most valuable addition to your household. That backup power supply will keep things running until power can be restored. And if you like to go camping or travel in an RV, it can be used in non-emergency situations as well.

Let’s take a look at our picks for the best generators for a hurricane, followed by some considerations for choosing one.

Best Generators For Hurricane

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1 DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator DuroMax XP12000EH
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2 Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start Champion 3400-Watt
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3 Champion - 100555 4375_3500-Watt RV Ready Portable Generator
Best For Higher Budgets
Champion 100555 4375/3500-Watt Portable Generator
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4 Rainier - R12000DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator Rainier R12000DF
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5
Best Overall
5Firman P03607
Firman - P03607 4550_3650 Watt Gas Recoil Start Generator
Best Overall
Firman P03607
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6 Generac 7117 GP2200i 2200 Watt Portable Inverter Generator Generac GP2200i
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7
Best For Low Budgets
7Rockpals 250-Watt
Rockpals - 250-Watt Portable Rechargeable Solar Generator
Best For Low Budgets
Rockpals 250-Watt
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1. DuroMax XP12000EH

Highlights
  • Produces up to 9500W running watts (using gasoline).
  • Transfer switch ready. 
  • Electric start. 
  • Quiet for a generator in this power range.

This DuroMax generator offers a good value alternative to some of the bigger name brands. It’s a dual fuel option that can produce up to 9500W running watts on gasoline. The wheels and handle mean you can move it into position as needed. It’s transfer switch ready, and there are a range of 120V and 120/240V outlets, plus a DC outlet, with an individual circuit breaker for each outlet. 

There’s idle control to reduce fuel consumption and noise when the generator isn’t in use. A downside of using this generator for home backup is that the high THD means it’s not suitable for powering sensitive electronics.

Specifications

Size:
30 x 29 x 26 inches
Voltage:
120/240V
Wattage:
8075W running watts (propane) / 9500W running watts (gasoline)
Noise Level:
72dB
Output:
8075W running watts / 10,200W peak watts (propane) 9500W running watts / 12,000W peak watts (gasoline)
Power Source:
Propane or Gasoline

Pros

  • Can be run on either gasoline or propane.
  • Idle control to save fuel and reduce noise when the generator is not in use.
  • Portable, with heavy duty frame and solid-fill wheels.
  • Range of 120V and 120/240V outlets, plus a 12V DC outlet.

Cons

  • High THD means it’s not suitable for powering sensitive electronics.
  • No remote start.

2. Champion 3400-Watt

Highlights
  • Can run on gas or propane.
  • Convenient electric start. 
  • Can be linked to another unit to increase the wattage output.
  • Runs up to 14.5 hours on propane (7.5 hours on gasoline).

This is a dual fuel generator that can run on either gasoline or propane, right out of the box. You need to be aware that the performance will vary depending on which fuel you choose.

Opting for gasoline, it will produce 3400 starting watts and 3100 running watts, with a runtime of 7.5 hours at quarter load. Choosing propane gives you a longer runtime – 14.5 hours at 25% load – but a reduced starting wattage of 3060 watts and 2790 running watts. 

You have the option to connect with another inverter generator for increased power. There’s a useful Economy mode to reduce the electrical load and provide quieter operation, and an easy push-button electric start. Whichever setup you decide on, the generator operates at a quiet 59dB making it ideal for camping, or to use around the home or worksite. The wheels and foldaway handle make it easy to move the unit around.

Specifications

Size:
25.1 x 17.3 x 18.3 inches
Voltage:
120V
Wattage:
3400 peak watts (gasoline) / 3060 peak watts (propane)
Noise Level:
59.0 dBa
Output:
Gasoline: 3400 peak watts / 3100 running watts Propane: 3060 peak watts / 2790 running watts
Power Source:
Dual fuel to run on either gasoline or propane

Pros

  • Produces clean power for sensitive electronics.
  • Features an Economy mode for quieter operation and fuel savings.
  • Has a wheel kit for easy portability.
  • Operates at 59dB.

Cons

  • No hour meter to keep track of run time for maintenance.
  • No remote start.

3. Champion 100555 4375/3500-Watt Portable Generator

Highlights
  • 3500 Watts
  • Includes 4 covered outlets
  • The INTELLIGAUGE allows you to easily monitor voltage, frequency and operating hours 
  • Uses just 0.6-quarts of oil
Best For Higher Budgets
Champion - 100555 4375_3500-Watt RV Ready Portable Generator

This gas-powered portable generator will give you 12 hours of run time on a full tank of gasoline, with 4375 starting watts and 3500 running watts.

It features a noise level of 68 dBA from 23 feet, which is a decibel rating or expression of loudness from a certain distance.

For safety, it Includes a low oil shut-off sensor and push-to-reset circuit breakers, and it holds just 0.6-quarts of oil. There are 4 covered outlets, a 120V 30A locking outlet, a 120V 30A RV and two 120V 20A outlets.

There’s also a built-in surge protector that prevents overloads and will keep appliances and electronics safe. It’s easy to monitor voltage, frequency and operating hours with the INTELLIGAUGE system.

Specifications

Size:
23.2 x 18.5 x 19.9 inches, 103.4 pounds
Voltage:
120 V
Wattage:
4375 starting watts and 3500 running watts
Noise Level:
68 dBa from 23 feet
Output:
120V 30A locking, 120V 30A RV and two 120V 20A outlets
Power Source:
Gasoline

Pros

  • Low oil shut-off sensor
  • 12 hours of run time on a tank of gasoline
  • Re-coil start and Cold Start Technology means it starts easily in cold weather
  • Surge protector prevents overloads

Cons

  • At 103 pounds, you need to be sure you can move it when needed
  • Noise level is 68 dBa from 23 feet

4. Rainier R12000DF

Highlights
  • Sturdy 457cc engine.
  • High-tech control panel to monitor performance. 
  • Electric start and manual recoil option.
  • Voltage transfer switch.

One of the biggest draws to the Rainer R12000DF is its impressive portability. Not only is it relatively small for a 10000 watt generator, but it is also designed with 10-inch durable wheels and foldable foam handles, allowing most to move this piece of equipment with ease.

In terms of power, this generator really delivers. While running on gasoline, this compact generator can reach a peak wattage of 12,000, which reduces to 10,800 when running on propane.

Speaking of which, with dual-fuel capability, you’ll never find yourself without power with this one.

Also worth mentioning are the numerous safety features of the Rainer R12000DF. An automatic low-oil shut down switch turns the generator off when the oil is too low, and there’s also an overload protection alarm to prevent any damage to the device.

This model also comes with a handy three year warranty.

Specifications

Size:
27.2 x 26.1 x 26 inches
Voltage:
120V/240V
Wattage:
8,500 to 12,000 watts
Noise Level:
72dBa
Output:
17 hours runtime at 25% load
Power Source:
Gasoline or propane

Pros

  • EPA and CARB compliant.
  • 10-inch wheels and foam handles for easy portability.
  • Dual fuel operation (gasoline or propane).
  • Many safety features.

Cons

  • No 12V DC output on the generator.

5. Firman P03607

Highlights
  • 3650 running watts
  • 5 gallon tank
  • 14 hours runtime
  • Decibel level is below the standards set by the National Parks Service
Best Overall
Firman - P03607 4550_3650 Watt Gas Recoil Start Generator

This gasoline-powered generator runs on the Max Pro Series 208cc Farman engine, and a Whisper Series muffler that sets the decibel rating at 68 decibels, a decent noise level.

It features a spark arrester that has been approved by the USDA Forest Service. The 5-gallon fuel capacity provides 14 hours of run time.

It’s easy to start, even in the cold with bulky gloves on, thanks to a rubberized thresher handle.

A voltage regulator ensures consistent power and a 4-in-1 data minder measures volts, hertz, and hours and provides a low oil indicator. It provides starting watts of 4550 and running watts of 3650.

Specifications

Size:
27 x 23 x 23 inches, 110 pounds
Voltage:
120 V
Wattage:
4550 starting watts and 3650 running watts
Noise Level:
68 dB
Output:
3 household appliance outlets
Power Source:
Gasoline

Pros

  • Spark arrester has been approved by the USDA Forest Service
  • Rubberized thresher handle makes starting easy
  • 4-in-1 data minder measures volts, hertz, hours and a low oil indicator
  • Comes with everything you need to get it running: oil, funnel, owner’s manual, spark plug wrench, and two wrenches to remove protective shipping brackets

Cons

  • 68 decibel sound rating, which is decent but still loud
  • Only has 3 household appliance outlets

6. Generac GP2200i

Highlights
  • Compact design, ideal for camping and outdoor activities.
  • Produces 1700 running watts (2200 starting watts). 
  • Economy mode maximises fuel economy.
  • Provides stable power for sensitive electronics.

This is a very portable inverter generator, with a compact design and built-in carry handle. It produces up to 2200 starting watts and 1700 running watts and runs on a 1.2 gallon fuel tank. 

A full tank will give you up to 10.75 hours of runtime at 25% so this is an efficient option for camping and outdoor activities or to power the essentials in your home during a power outage. 

The output is stable enough for sensitive electronics, and there’s an Economy mode which helps to reduce fuel consumption and noise. If you need more power, you can purchase a parallel kit to connect a second generator. 

This generator is easy to use, with an off/run/choke dial, though there’s no electric start. It also has a variety of outlets, including a USB port. The manufacturer doesn’t provide any decibel readings, but other users report that operation is quiet.

Specifications

Size:
19 x 11 x 17 inches
Voltage:
120V
Wattage:
2200W peak watts
Output:
2200W peak watts / 1700W running watts
Power Source:
Gasoline

Pros

  • Up to 10.75 runtime at 25% load from the 1.2 gallon fuel tank.
  • USB port for tablets, cell phones and other gadgets.
  • Can be connected to another inverter for increased output.
  • 2 year limited warranty.

Cons

  • No electric start.
  • No noise level information available from the manufacturer.

7. Rockpals 250-Watt

Highlights
  • Dual AC outputs
  • Two built-in USB 2.1A ports
  • Four DC 12V ( 60W ) ports
  • Charges by solar, plugging into a wall, or plugging into a car socket
Best For Low Budgets
Rockpals - 250-Watt Portable Rechargeable Solar Generator

This unique generator is perfect for small power needs, running on a rechargeable lithium battery pack.

Use it for camping or in an emergency, allowing you to charge smartphones and laptops, or run TVs and mini refrigerators. It won’t run anything over 250 watts, which eliminates larger items like a toaster or electric drill.

The solar generator can actually be recharged three ways: from the sun with a compatible 60W or 100W solar panel, by plugging into the wall outlet for 8 hours, or by plugging into your car’s 12V socket with the included car charger.

The quiet cooling fan and the fact it isn’t gasoline powered makes it quiet for a generator. You can even use it camping or as a backup power source to run a CPAP machine.

It comes with a 6.5-foot AC adapter, a 3.3-foot car charger cable, and a DC to car socket adapter.

The outlets provide for multiple power and charging capacity: dual 120V AC (300 Watt Surge) worldwide outlets, ideal for a laptop, monitor, TV, air mattress, lamp, fan, router or modem; 4-12V DC for car powered devices under 60 watts, such as a car refrigerator or a CPAP machine; and 2-5V USB ports for phones, tablets, GPS and more.

Specifications

Size:
8.86 x 3.94 x 6.3 inches, 5.95 pounds
Voltage:
Multiple voltage outlets
Wattage:
250 watts
Noise Level:
Runs quiet with no exhaust fumes
Output:
Dual AC outputs, built-in 2x USB 2.1A, 4x DC 12V ( 60W ) ports
Power Source:
Rechargeable lithium battery pack

Pros

  • Uniquely powered by a rechargeable lithium battery pack
  • Multiple and different outlets are a bonus
  • Weighs just 6 pounds
  • Can run a CPAP machine, with extended run time if you add a DC converter

Cons

  • Does not support devices more than 250 watts, like small household appliances
  • To charge with solar power, you need to buy a solar panel separately

Generator For Hurricane Buying Guide

Portable Or Standby

As you begin to look for the ideal generator for your purposes, it’s important to note the difference between a portable generator and a standby generator. 

A portable generator is – as the name implies – both portable and temporary, as it will provide a short-term solution to the loss of power. 

Short term doesn’t mean only a few hours, however. With a supply of gasoline for most generators, or the ability to charge with solar power for others, a portable generator can keep things running for several days. 

A portable generator is also preferable if you’ll use it in circumstances other than power outages, like camping or off the grid adventures. 

But there are those who need a more permanent solution. For instance, if you regularly face power outages or there is danger in the event of a power outage – like an ice storm that knocks out power and therefore the furnace that provides heat to your home – then a standby generator may be a consideration. 

A standby generator is more permanent, in that it’s installed in one spot and is powered by natural gas or liquid propane.

While a standby generator is considerably more expensive, it can be set up to run without you needing to be present to start it. And it can power all the necessary items in your home in the event of power loss. 

That includes running your fridge so you can save your food supply, and powering a sump pump to clear hurricane water out of your home.

Noise

In a hurricane and its aftermath, you may not be worried about how much noise is made by your generator. But with the possibility that you’ll be running the generator for several days, until power is restored, the decibel level of your generator may be an important consideration. 

If you’ll be running it near where you live and potentially sleep, or you want to use it at other times, such as when camping, sound becomes even more important. 

Many generators are given a rating of A-weighted decibels, which are abbreviated as dBA, or dBa. This is an expression of the relative loudness of sounds in air as perceived by the human ear. 

The lower the decibel level, the quieter the noise. 

A dBa rating often includes a distance as well, which means the distance between the meter and the source of the measured sound. It may not be exact, but it gives you a good sense of how loud the generator will be in comparison to other generators.

Power

The amount of power you’ll need is another factor. You’ll have to check on the watts of the generator and how many outlets it has, and compare that to your needs, before purchasing a generator.

Some generators cover basic power needs with just a couple of 120-volt outlets. Others have more robust power and multiple outlets for multiple uses.

Fuel Type

Portable generators typically run on gasoline, but we look at those that run on rechargeable lithium battery packs. 

With the gasoline generators, you can get several hours – up to half a day or more – on one tank of gas. But you do have to be around to fill the tank.

With the lithium battery powered generator, you’ll need to purchase a solar panel to recharge it, or charge it in your car in a power outage. The third method of charging is by plugging into a wall socket, which clearly won’t work when the power is out. 

Standby generators are typically powered by natural gas or liquid propane.

Transfer Switch

If you’re planning to run your home on a generator, you’ll want to think about getting a transfer switch installed.

A transfer switch will shift the power supply to a backup generator if the primary power source fails. The transfer switch is connected to the primary and backup power supplies, serving as a go-between from the power source to your home or equipment. 

A transfer switch also allows you to power items that are on a breaker panel, like a water heater. 

Portable generators that are rated for 5,000 watts and above need a transfer switch to run items on the circuit breaker panel. If you wish to shop for these, make sure you check our generator transfer switch reviews

In the case of portable generators, a manual transfer switch is used and you flip the switch when the power goes out. With a standby generator, an automatic transfer switch is used. 

Size

There are a few factors related to size, the first being the actual height and weight of the generator. If you will need to move it often, take it camping, or set it up on your own, then the weight could make a difference in your decision.

The other factor in size is the power. You’ll have to determine the wattage, the size of the gas tank, and other factors to figure out what’s best for your needs.

Starting And Running Watts

Generators are rated with two different wattages, starting watts and running watts. 

The starting watts are higher because they provide extra watts for a few seconds, allowing you to start products that are motor-driven, like a saw or a fridge. The starting watts is the maximum wattage that the generator will provide.

The running watts are just as the name states, the continuous watts and ones that keep items running. 

If you have specific needs for wattage, whether to start or power your tools and appliances, you’ll want to check the different ratings. 

Low Oil Shutoff

A good safety feature for a generator is a sensor that shuts it off if the oil runs low. Since you’ll likely be leaving the generator running for long periods of time in a hurricane or following a hurricane or other power outage, you won’t need to continuously check the oil level. 

Most generators also don’t need much oil, so it’s good to know when it’s low, because the engine can be damaged in a low oil situation.

In contrast, when the gasoline runs out, the generator turns off because there’s nothing to power it.

Pricing Range

Just as there is a wide range of power ratings and sizes of generators, there’s also a range of prices. 

Portable generators are much less expensive than standby generators, although the cost of standby generators is increased by the installation costs.

If you live where there are often hurricanes, other natural incidents and long-term power outages, the extra cost may be worth it to protect you, your family and your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How to use a generator during a hurricane?
A:

A hurricane and its aftermath is a scary situation, so it’s best to practice setup and usage of your generator before you actually need to use it. 

You can even create a one-page easy-to-use guide, which will help you or anyone else in your home operate the generator when under stress.

Generators should never be used inside the house, and in fact it’s not safe to run them in the garage, even if the door is open. 

Gasoline powered portable generators will emit carbon monoxide, a deadly gas. Instead, set up your generator outside and away from any windows or doors. It would be best to have a spot where it’s covered, can stay dry, and it needs to be ventilated. You also need to be sure that children and pets stay away from it, since the exterior can get very hot when it’s running.

Be sure the generator is also in a dry area, and make sure you do not have wet hands or feet when you are starting or operating it. 

Start it first, then plug in your items one at a time, beginning with the most critical item. When you don’t need it any longer, follow the same process in reverse, unplugging items one at a time before turning the generator off.

Some other tips for safely using your generator in a hurricane:

  • Consider installing a transfer switch if your generator is powerful enough to run items off your circuit breaker panel.
  • If you don’t use a transfer switch, be sure you have high quality extension cords for each item you plan to plug into the generator. This helps prevent fire hazards and damage.
  • Make sure you always have a good supply of gas and oil to run the generator for at least one week.
  • Run the generator every so often to ensure it runs properly in an emergency.

Our Verdict

Generators come in a variety of sizes and with a number of power ratings. You can choose gas-powered generators or those powered by rechargeable lithium battery packs. You can select a portable generator or opt to install a standby generator that will power your entire home.

You can also choose to install a transfer switch and have your generator run items right off your circuit breaker panel.

Depending on your needs, there’s a generator for your situation. Whatever your final pick, any one of these generators will serve you well in a hurricane or other emergency situation.