Best Generators For Tailgating Reviews

Updated October 12, 2020

When you think of American football, what comes to mind? Stadiums, loud cheers, and yes, tailgate parties. Tailgating is a time-honored pre- or post-game tradition that is more than meets the eye. It’s not just about beers and barbecues—it’s also a social gathering that fosters a sense of community among its participants while nurturing an all-American sporting tradition.

And while outdoor parties have their own brand of fun, whether you’re rooting for the winning team or not, nothing spoils a great party than cutting it short because you don’t have power. Fortunately, there are many excellent portable generators that you can choose from. We’ve checked out seven of the best tailgate generators on the market today to help you choose the best one for your next tailgate party.

Best Tailgate Generators

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1 Honda EU2200i 120-Volt Portable Inverter Generator with Companion and Parallel Cables Honda EU2200i Tailgate Generator
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2
Best For Higher Budgets
2Yamaha EF2200iS Tailgate Generator
Yamaha EF2200iS Inverter Generator
Best For Higher Budgets
Yamaha EF2200iS Tailgate Generator
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Walmart
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3 Westinghouse iGen2500 Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator Westinghouse iGen2500 Tailgate Generator
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4 Briggs & Stratton P2200 Inverter Generator with Quiet Power Technology Briggs & Stratton P2200 Tailgate Generator
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5 Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Tailgate Generator
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6 Generac 6866 iQ2000 Gas Powered Inverter Generator Generac iQ2000 Tailgate Generator
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7 WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
Best Overall
WEN 56200i Tailgate Generator
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8 Durostar DS4000S Portable Generator
Best For Low Budgets
Durostar DS4000S Tailgate Generator
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1. Honda EU2200i Tailgate 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

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. Yamaha EF2200iS Tailgate Generator

Highlights
  • Illuminated LED display
  • Powerful 79 cc engine
  • Twin Tech Parallel Function
  • Smart dial knob
Best For Higher Budgets
Yamaha EF2200iS Inverter Generator

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

3. Westinghouse iGen2500 Tailgate 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. Briggs & Stratton P2200 Tailgate Generator

Highlights
  • You can always rely on it if you have fuel
  • It is constructed with quality parts
  • Safe to use 
  • Can be converted to propane if needed

If you are looking for a generator that is small enough so you can carry it anywhere, but at the same time it can get the job done, then this Briggs & Stratton generator is a perfect choice for you. 

This generator is fitted with a 111cc engine.  It is ultra quiet and perfect for outdoors use or a project you are working on. 

It has many features such as usb ports to power your phone, it has a 1 gallon fuel tank capacity. Briggs & Stratton have fitted this generator with an advanced inverter so it won’t damage TVs, PCs or other appliances. 

It has parallel compatibility so you can combine two of these generators to work as one and have more power. Having many different ports allows you to do lots of things with this generator. 

The efficiency of this generator will make you really happy if you opt for buying it. It can run up to 10 hours non stop.  Be sure not to mix the gasoline with oil as that can damage the engine.

Specifications

Size:
22.4 x 14.4 x 19.9 inches
Voltage:
120V
Wattage:
2200 Watts
Noise Level:
The noise is around 59 dB
Output:
20 amp
Power Source:
Gasoline

Pros

  • Light and portable
  • Fuel efficient
  • Smooth running
  • Cheap and affordable

Cons

  • The biggest con is that it doesn’t have an electric start.
  • Cannot be shipped to the state of California.

5. Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Tailgate Generator

Highlights
  • Produces up to 2200W.
  • Very quiet – just 52dB at 25% load. 
  • Less than 3% THD to safely run sensitive electronics. 
  • Features efficiency mode to maximise fuel efficiency.

This is a great entry-level, portable, inverter generator. Being so lightweight – just 43 pounds – and compact makes it perfect for camping, tailgating and as a backup supply that can be transported around as needed. 

This generator will run for up to 13 hours on the 1.3 gallon fuel tank (at 25% load), with an efficiency mode that adjusts the engine speed according to the load, to minimise fuel usage. It produces 1800 rated watts at less than 3% total harmonic distortion, so it’s safe to run sensitive electronics such as plasma televisions, laptops or tablets. 

If you need more power, you can combine this generator with another (you’ll need a parallel cord which isn’t included). We would have liked to see some an electronic start, and some other features such as a fuel gauge and hour meter to keep track of maintenance, but for the price this model is a solid option.

Specifications

Size:
20.3 x 12.5 x 17.8 inches
Voltage:
120V
Wattage:
2200W peak watts
Noise Level:
52dB at 25% load
Output:
2200W peak watts / 1800W running watts
Power Source:
Gasoline

Pros

  • Highly fuel efficient, with up to 13 hours runtime at 25% load.
  • Lightweight, at just 43 pounds.
  • Can be paired with another generator to produce more power.
  • Two household 120V outlets.

Cons

  • No electric start.
  • No fuel gauge or hour meter.

6. Generac iQ2000 Tailgate Generator

Highlights
  • 7.7-hour runtime at 25% load
  • 1.06 gal fuel capacity
  • 2.85 gal/hour fuel consumption
  • Weighs 46.2 lbs.

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

7. WEN 56200i Tailgate 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.
Best Overall
WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator

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.

8. Durostar DS4000S Tailgate Generator

Highlights
  • It comes with wheels so you can move it easily whilst doing something
  • It is affordable and cheap
  • It can power a lot of things because of it’s big engine size
Best For Low Budgets
Durostar DS4000S Portable Generator

This generator is unique as it does not have a plastic engine cover as a lot of modern generators have. It is fitted with a powerful 208cc engine that puts out about 7 horsepower which is enough to power heavy grade equipment. 

Because of the big engine, there is a 4 gallon fuel tank that can run this generator for more than 12 hours. It is fitted with an hour meter. Wheels don’t come standard with this generator but can be bought after. 

The generator features many safety restrictions like low oil shut off, a muffler that makes it as quiet as it can but it is still louder than some generators. 

Whilst buying this generator, you will also get a 3 year warranty on every part of it. It will help you out during power outages and you won’t have to  worry about not having electricity. Two 120V and one 120v 30A outlets are a standard on this model.

Specifications

Size:
24 x 17 x 17 inches
Voltage:
120 Volts
Wattage:
4000 Watts
Noise Level:
The noise is slightly higher at 69 dB
Output:
33 amp
Power Source:
Gasoline

Pros

  • Has a big fuel tank that can power it for lots of hours
  • Reliable and simple to use
  • Comes with a manual which explains everything in detail
  • Can power heavy duty equipment

Cons

  • It is really heavy and needs to be transported by a vehicle
  • It also doesn’t have a start button but a pull bar that can rip off easily

Tailgate Generator Buying Guide

Tailgate Power Supply

Having a portable power supply can definitely level up your outdoor parties. When deciding on what power supply to choose, you need to think about what devices you’ll be bringing to the tailgate and how often or how long you’ll be using them. 

One of the devices you could use when having a tailgating party is a power inverter, which lets you plug in your electronic devices. However, this and your car’s cigarette lighter only have limited applications. You could also consider using solar panels as a source of renewable energy. You can always opt to use a car battery, but when it comes to big parties with lots of equipment, it’s best to have something more powerful around, like tailgating generators.

If you have a tailgating generator, you can plug in a TV set, use speakers or an electric smoker, and even hook up outdoor lights. Having a tailgate generator that can run in parallel with another generator can give you twice the power you need. 

Size and Portability

When looking for the best tailgate generator, you also need to consider its size and portability. But before deliberating on whether you’ll be getting a medium generator or a large one, you’ll first have to determine the wattage that you’ll need. Recreational generators can power up to 2,000 watts. Medium generators have a power capacity ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 watts. Large generators go from 6,000 to 9,000 watts, while extra-large ones can go up to 10,000 watts or higher. If what you need is a consistent source of high power that can charge all of your devices, then you should check out best 10000 watt generator reviews

The size of your generator will largely depend on how you’ll be using it and what devices you’ll need to power up. Knowing the wattage requirements of the appliances that you’ll be bringing to a tailgate will help you determine which size to go for. 

There are several methods to help you determine your wattage requirements. You can follow this simpler one:

  • List the start-up and running power (watts) of the tailgate appliances that you will be using at the same time.
  • Add all the figures. 
  • Multiply the sum by 1.5 and you get the minimum wattage needed. 

Depending on your results, you’ll need to get a generator that equals or exceeds your total power output. Just because a generator is too big doesn’t necessarily mean that it will run as efficiently as it should, especially when its size, power capacity, and usage don’t match. 

While generators can be portable, they tend to be heavy. Look for generators that have folding handles and wheels to make transportation a breeze. 

Noise Reduction

You’d also want to look at a generator’s noise levels before purchase. Most generators have noise levels ranging from 50 dB to 60 dB on a ¼ load. You’d want to look at generators with low noise levels or generators with quiet technology, basically a generator quiet enough for you to be able to have conversations even when you’re close to it.

If you’re thinking of using a generator primarily for recreational purposes, then check out inverter generators. These have very quiet engines and are a popular choice for outdoor use and even home use. 

Fuel Options and Fuel Tank Capacity

When looking for a tailgating generator, you’d want to consider what type of fuel you would like to use. There are several fuel options when it comes to generators, such as gasoline, diesel, and propane. Some generators can be powered by natural gas, while others can run on solar energy.

There are also some generators that allow you to switch between two different fuel types. You’ll find tri-fuel generators (gasoline, diesel and propane) and hybrid-fueled generators on the market as well. These generator types have become increasingly popular owing to their versatility.   

The best tailgate generator is fuel-efficient and has a decent fuel tank capacity. These two factors play a crucial role in a generator’s run time. Before buying a generator, try to determine how long it will be running during a tailgate party.

Run Time

You’ll want to look at a generator that has a long run time while running at half-load. If your generator has a longer run time, then you won’t need to refuel as often. A good starting point is looking at generators that have a run time of ten hours at half-load. These would be considered more efficient generators, and a better option when it comes to tailgating. 

Power Output

How much power can a particular generator supply? A generator’s power output is measured in watts, and this determines how many devices the generator can handle at once. 

You’ll find that investing in a generator that provides a higher wattage in one unit is a cheaper alternative compared to buying another generator or going for an upgrade. Remember that if you get a generator that supports parallel function, you’ll be able to combine their power output, thus getting more power according to your growing needs. For tailgating, you are probably gonna be able to do well with 2000-watt inverter generators, but if you want to be on the safe side, going up to 4000 watt is fine. 

Outlets

The number and types of outlets on a generator should also be considered. Look for a generator that has the right type of outlets according to your needs. You’ll also want to look at how many outlets there are on a generator, especially if you’re looking to host or attend a fairly large tailgate party.

Accessories

Look for a generator that has accessories included in the package, such as a generator cord set and waterproof covers. You can also look at generators that come with wheel and handle kits for better mobility.

Our Verdict

Having a tailgate generator that has numerous practical features—such as a powerful engine, decent fuel tank capacity, parallel function, and efficient operation—will prove to be a gift that keeps on giving. It greatly improves any tailgate party, providing you with the power you need to keep it going.

Plug in your TV and watch live game updates or stage a cookout using portable electric stoves. Plus, it’s a versatile tool. Use it during emergencies or as a source of backup power for your home. Bring it with you when you’re camping or caravanning.

Before buying a generator, try to determine which type best suits your needs. Make sure to check its run time and power output as well. You’d want a generator that operates at low noise levels while still having a robust power capacity. Lastly, don’t forget to take its after-sales service into account and consider the warranty being offered by the manufacturer.