Today, we have gadgets and machines to do almost every task right from the basic to those that require to be handled with skill and tact. However, the only condition is most of them run on electricity. Thus, in the event of a power outage they can bring life to a standstill and cause grave inconvenience. A solution to do away with this problem is purchasing a quality generator as a temporary backup.
The market offers a plethora of generators in various types, sizes and price ranges and the most popular choices are the portable generators on account of their versatility. In this section, we shall shop around for the best portable generator under $500. However, prior to that we have a short guide on portable generators to help you make an informed decision for your purchase of the best portable generator under $500.
The types of portable generators:
Portable generators can be classified into the following types:
1. Based on the fuel used:
a) Diesel generators:
Diesel generators have been the traditional choice among customers when it comes to buying generators. They are popular because of their reliability and efficiency. In comparison to gas powered generators, they provide a higher output per gallon of fuel. Not only this, diesel engine generators are low maintenance type. These two factors pass it as the best for industrial and professional use. For the cost, it is not suited for home use as it is expensive than the gas models. They are also noisy and heavier.
b) Gas generators:
The portable gas generators are the most affordable option available over the market especially when looking for a generator for home use. These generators make use of gas as their main energy source which is readily available. Its light weight (lighter than diesel models) makes carrying it around easier. However, they require refueling within relatively shorter periods of time and are slightly noisier. It is also stated that the lower the price the sound it produces tends to be higher. You can keep this in mind when buying the best portable generator under $500.
c) Propane generators:
Another alternative in the portable model range is the propane generator. They are powered by propane and are less noisy and have a longer shelf life than their gas counterparts. They are less expensive than the diesel models. The main drawback is low energy efficiency. It consumes more fuel. In addition to this, buying propane is expensive and thus this type of generator is best used intermittently and not for long periods of time.
d) Natural gas generators:
There are selected portable generators especially residential generators that run on natural gas.
2. Based on the area of application:
a) Residential: The residential units are generally small or midsized and have a lower power output ranging anywhere between 1000 to 8000 watts.
b) Professional: The professional units are larger in size and capacity in order to be able to take heavier loads. The power output delivered range between 3000 to 18000 watts.
c) RV: These are small or midsized units that are mostly used for outdoor recreational purposes. Their power output delivered range between 1000 to 6000 watts.
What makes portable generators an attractive option?
The characteristic feature that sets this type of generator apart from the rest is its portability. It is best suited for different environments whether it is for home, job sites, or RV. Unlike standby generators, they can be carried along to provide electric current for recreational purposes such as camping. Not only this, it is available in various sizes, capacities and features thus allowing you to enjoy all the benefits of a large standby generator. You can compare the prices to choose the best model for the best price. There are portable generators ranging from a few $100 to $1000.
Which will be the best portable generator under $500 for you?
Shopping for a generator in a market that accommodates so many different types and brands can be a daunting task. A few general principles and guidelines will help you choose the best portable generator under $500 for your home or office. They include:
- Determine your total power requirement by totaling the wattage required by the appliances you wish to operate on the generator. It should be equivalent to or less than the capacity the generator can manage. A higher load will cause it to trip. Thus, deciding what you plan to use it for will help you outline the power output you should expect from a generator. If you wish to use it for extended periods of time, you will need one with a large tank size.
- The next most important factor you need to keep in mind is the type of fuel that powers the generators. Like discussed above, there are gas, diesel, propane and natural gas generators. The fuel option you choose should be feasible in terms of availability, price and safe storage.
- Make it a point to consider fuel economy. Comparing only the sticker prices of different models is not the ideal method to choose the best portable generator under $500. You should inquire about brands and models that will be energy efficient in the long run. To do so, ask about the specifications such as the gas tank size and the estimated running cycle.
- Ease of operation is important. Opt for models that are easy to install, operate and refuel. You can also look for additional features and controls such as an automatic safety switch that will trip in case of an overload.
- Don’t settle for products easily. There are several brands available over the market so make sure you compare the prices in terms of quality, features and your requirements. Read other customers’ reviews to find the best portable generator under $500 known for its quality and reliability.
Our picks for the best portable generators under $500
- All Power America APG 3014 is the best budgeted and small size portable gas generator
- WEN 56200i known for extremely quiet operation and clean power to safely operate and prevent damage to sensitive electronics.
- DuroStar DS4400 gas powered generator unbeatable for its ease of use and portability. It also features electric start.
A portable generator can be a very handy tool. So, shop around carefully for the best generator under $500 and to stop spending nights helplessly groping in the dark.