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Portable generators are great for campers. But when the weather gets extreme, they’re also handy — and sometimes lifesaving — solutions for homes without power for extended periods. During hurricane season, severe winds and rain can wipe out power grids in an instant; the same is true for winter storms and wildfires. And though some power companies are making the switch to more renewable energy, extreme can overwork power grids, leaving families without air conditioning in the hot summer weather. 

To help you better prepare for severe weather, here are four of the best portable generators according to Bob Vila.

Westinghouse WGen12000 portable generator

South Florida resident Andrea Kmetz buys a portable generator and bottled water in preparation for Hurricane Matthew on October 5, 2016, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Portable generators are handy during hurricane season and beyond | Rob Foldy/Getty Images

Retailing for about $2,400, the Westinghouse WGen12000 generator is Bob Vila’s ideal pick for small homes that can still provide heavy, reliable power. Portable and operating at about 15,000 peak watts and 12,000 rated watts, this generator can run for 11 hours at a time using a 10.5-gallon fuel tank with a built-in fuel gauge. Reliable and self-monitoring, this Westinghouse generator can safely power electronics with less than 5 percent THD and is an excellent source of power for small homes.

Wen GN6000 6,000-watt portable generator

This RV-ready generator is excellent for families looking to buy on a budget. Priced at about $460, this small generator from Wen Products has a 3.4-gallon fuel tank with just over seven hours of run time. Easily portable and ready to use, this is a great source of power that won’t break the bank and can be placed just about anywhere, whether you need it in your home or out on the road. It also comes with a two-year limited warranty and can be returned or replaced at any time.

DuroMax XP8500E gas-powered generator

The easy-to-move DuroMax XP8500E, available on WebstaurantStore, is Bob Vila’s choice for generators on the go or for outdoor facilities. Operating at 8,500 starting watts and 7,000 running watts, this small generator holds about eight gallons of fuel and can run for 11.5 hours at a time. It has five outlets for charging electronics and, standing at about 32 inches tall, has an easy-to-move, compact body perfect for carrying anywhere you need. This generator sells for about $900, making it an affordable option for a home or RV.

Champion Power Equipment 100519

Finally, the efficient Champion Power Equipment 100519, listed on Amazon, is Vila’s best overall pick. He considers this generator the best overall in terms of price, adaptability, and home safety.

Powered by 6,250 starting watts and 5,000 running watts, this 121-pound generator operates with quiet technology. Priced at around $930, it has a gas and manual start and comes with a flexible oil funnel, USB adapter, and other accessories. In addition, the Power Equipment 100519 also comes with a three-year limited warranty. This generator is excellent for powering homes and devices.


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