9 Best Cheap Generators

Generators can be quite expensive. The price can range from several hundred dollars all the way to over a thousand. However, not everyone has a thousand bucks or more to spend on a generator. And you don’t have to feel like you’re settling if all you want is a generator that performs well without all the bells and whistles. There are plenty of low-cost models that can get the job done just as well as the expensive options –and in some cases, even better.

We’ve rounded up the best cheap generators you can buy after cycling through user and expert reviews of dozens of generators as well as additional research.
Budget generators might not have the most powerful engine or packed with innovative features, but a cheap model can still have an impressive run time, offer decent features and solid performance.

Overview table

We know matching the right generator to your needs can be an arduous task, but our guide below will help you find the perfect product without spending a fortune. From household names like Westinghouse, Champion, and WEN to lesser-known brands that are stepping into the generator limelight. Further, our buying guide will go over the basics of buying a budget generator.

Here’s a brief overview of our top 9 cheap generators.

Editor choice 1 Westinghouse WGen3600v
Westinghouse WGen3600v
(Best Powerful Cheap Generator)

An easy-to-use portable power solution with a solid performance and some nice extra features –something its comparable models can’t claim.

2 WEN 56202i
WEN 56202i
(Best Quiet Budget Generator)

Comes in suitcase-style design, highly portable, and operates very quietly. A great machine for all your tailgating and camping needs.

3 Champion 100307
Champion 100307
(Best Cheap Dual-Fuel Generator)

Versatility, efficiency, and convenience are what you can expect from this generator.

4 A-iPower SUA2000iV
A-iPower SUA2000iV
(Best Cheap Inverter Generator)

A lightweight, compact, and fuel-efficient generator. One of the easiest units to operate out there.

5 All Power America APG3012
All Power America APG3012
(Best Budget Generator for Emergency Use)

Despite its lack of additional features, this unit produces a decent performance. It can power your tailgating and backyard parties with no fuss.

6 Westinghouse WH2200iXLT
Westinghouse WH2200iXLT
(Best Fuel-Efficient Cheap Generator)

An all-rounded budget machine – strong specs, lightweight, compact and among the quietest on the market.

7 Pulsar PG1202S
Pulsar PG1202S
(Best Cheap Generator for Small Jobs)

A little, easy to use machine that offers great portability and convenience. It works great for small electronics as well as RVs, camping and small job sites.

(Best Cheap Solar Generator)

The most compact portable generator we’ve ever come across. An AC powered unit for anyone just looking to power their mobile phone or camp lights with the added benefit of a solar panel.

9 Goplus Inverter
Goplus Inverter
(Best Cheap Generator for Camping)

A reliable portable machine for your small essential electronics and appliances. An excellent unit to keep on hand for camping and emergencies.


1 Editor choice

Westinghouse WGen3600v – Best Powerful Cheap Generator


  • 212cc OHV engine with cast iron sleeve
  • 4650 starting watts
  • 3600 running watts
  • Up to 13.5 hours run time at 50% load
  • 4-gallon fuel tank
  • 69 dBA noise level
  • 107 pounds
  • 3-year warranty and lifetime technical support
  • EPA, CARB, CSA compliant

The Westinghouse WGen3600v combines great performance with innovative features while saving your pennies at the same time. It boasts a 212cc OHC engine that produces a whopping 3600 running watts and 4650 starting watts. This is enough to power your vital appliances around the home when a blackout strikes.

The engine is encased in an iron sleeve to prevent corrosion while extending its lifespan. In addition, the hardened steel frame provides additional strength and wear resistance.
This model from Westinghouse is among the simplest generators to operate. The controls are conveniently located for easy access, especially in the dark. With a 4-gallon tank of gasoline, you can enjoy up to 18 hours of run time at 25 percent load.

Westinghouse WGen3600v-4

It features a low-oil shutoff monitor that protects your engine from damage. The switch will shut down the engine when oil levels fall below a certain limit. It as well features a circuit breaker protection to prevent your generator from overloading.

While it’s equipped with a spark arrestor muffler, this machine is still a bit loud as it operates at 69 decibels. But you can still capitalize on its benefits by taking initiatives to lower the noise it produces, such as building an enclosure and insulating it. At 107 pounds, the machine is also heavy, and a wheel kit is missing, which is a bit disappointing.

Despite the noise and weight, the unit is RV ready hence you don’t need an extra adapter. It also comes with two 5-20R 120V household duplex receptacles for convenience. All the outlets are covered with rubber to protect them from moisture and other elements. A tool kit, oil and oil funnel are included in the package to get you started. A 3-year warranty is also quite generous considering its price.

  • Powerful engine
  • Easy to operate and maintain
  • RV ready
  • Generous 3-year warranty
  • Many safety features
  • Quite heavy
  • A bit loud for its wattage
  • No wheels

WEN 56202i – Best Quiet Budget Generator


  • 2000 surge watts
  • 1700 rated watts
  • 79.7cc 4-stroke OHV engine
  • 51 decibels at 25% load
  • 7 hours run time at half-load
  • Minimal harmonic distortion
  • 38.6 pounds
  • Parallel ready
  • 2-year warranty
  • EPA III, CARB compliant

Producing 51 decibels at 25 percent load, the generator is as quiet as you’d like. The noise is equivalent to a normal conversation at best. While it might be a bit louder when under heavy workload, the WEN 56202i is still on the quieter side compared to most models on the list.

The 79.7cc OHV engine might not be as powerful but, it produces a decent 1700 rate watts and 2000 surge watts. This is sufficient for your tailgating party as well as camping. Besides, the 1-gallon tank provides 7 hours of run time when operated at 50 percent capacity. With a total harmonic distortion of less than 1.2 percent while running at full capacity, it’s safe for your sensitive electronics such as TV, laptop, phone, etc. This is impressive for the price.

The 562022i is also among the lightest and most compact generators on the market thanks to its suitcase-style design. The parallel connection capability is another great feature that most generators within its price range lack. So you can connect another inverter generator with the 56202i for twice the power.

This unit also comes with an eco-mode switch to maximize fuel economy. For your engine safety, a low-oil shutdown and overload protection function is incorporated into the machine. The two USB ports along with the two 3-prong 120-Volt receptacles are also a great addition. This shows why it’s among the best budget generators available today.
WEN offers a 2-year warranty on this model.

  • High quality
  • Inverter technology
  • Fuel efficient
  • Extremely quiet
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Parallel connection capability
  • Maintenance is easy
  • Controls are well labeled
  • Small tank size
  • More expensive than conventional models

Champion 100307 – Best Cheap Dual-Fuel Generator


  • Operational volume of 68 dB
  • 224cc 4-stroke engine
  • 3500 running watts/4347 starting watts (Gas)
  • 3150 running watts/ 3950 starting watts (LPG)
  • Low oil shut down
  • Up to 10.5 hours of run time at 50% load
  • 3.4-gallon tank
  • 104.9 pounds
  • RV ready
  • 3-year warranty
  • EPA and CARB compliant

The Champion 100307 runs on either gasoline and propane. This convenience and versatility are perhaps it’s the biggest selling point. With 3500 running watts on gasoline, this generator is a great backup plan for your home essentials and can run most of your RV systems.

This unit can run for about 9 hours on a full tank of gasoline when operating at a 50 percent load. When using a 20-pound propane tank, the run time stretches to 10.5 hours at the same load. A 3.3-foot propane hose with a regulator is included for convenience.

When it comes to safety features, the 100307 comes well-equipped. It has a low oil shut down function that protects your engine from damage and a fuel selector switch for shifting power sources safely. The surge protector prevents your generator from overloading while the intelligauge digital display keeps track of your frequency, voltage, and operating hours. The cold start technology can also come in handy during cold weather.

On the downside, this machine is pretty loud; it produces 68 decibels of sound at 23 feet. It’s also a rather hefty unit – weighing about 105 pounds. A wheel kit is not included to aid with the transportation either, so purchasing it separately adds to its total cost.

The 100307 is generous when it comes to outlets. It has two 120V 20-amp household outlets, one 120V 30-amp RV outlet, and one 120V 30-amp locking outlet. It’s EPA certified, CARB compliant and comes with a 3-year warranty.

  • Versatile with dual-fuel
  • Steel frame for durability
  • RV ready
  • Sufficient power
  • Many safety features
  • Comparatively long runtime
  • 3-year warranty and lifetime technical support
  • Heavy with no wheels
  • A bit loud

A-iPower SUA2000iV – Best Cheap Inverter Generator


  • Eco-throttle system
  • 1600 running watts
  • 2000 starting watts
  • 1.1-gallon fuel tank
  • Inverter technology
  • Low-oil shutdown
  • 120V 30 AMP RV adapter
  • Operates at 58 dBA
  • 7 hours run time at 50 percent load
  • 48 pounds
  • Parallel ready
  • CARB compliant
  • 2-year warranty

While not as powerful as most models on the list, the A-iPower SUA2000iV still packs a punch. The 79cc Senci engine produces a clean 1600 watts of running power and 2000 watts of starting power. This is great for your camping trip, RV, festivities, tailgating parties, and more. Besides, it’s parallel capable, so you can couple it with another inverter generator to double the power.

With the inverter technology, the generator produces a much cleaner power to ensure the safety and longevity of your sensitive electronics. With a 1.1-gallon tank at 100 percent capacity, you can get around 4 hours of power. The generator also operates at a low volume of 58 decibels at half load, which equivalent to a normal conversation.

The eco throttle is another notable feature. It reduces fuel consumption and noise levels by adjusting the engine speed to produce only the power needed for the electrical load in use. For easy operation and convenience, it features a fuel gauge, low oil shutdown along with an overload alert.

This unit weighs just 48 pounds, making it pretty convenient to carry it with you wherever you go. Besides, the design is quite compact. Plus, it comes with two outlets – an AC and DC outlet which is satisfactory considering some units in the same price range don’t have any DC outlets.

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Inverter technology
  • Fuel efficient
  • Quiet operation
  • Parallel capability and cable included
  • Easy to operate
  • Clean and safe power for sensitive appliances
  • Not so powerful
  • Small fuel tank

All Power America APG3012 – Best Budget Generator for Emergency Use


  • 6.5 HP 196cc OHV engine
  • 2500 running watts
  • 3250 starting watts
  • 68 dB operating noise
  • 4-gallon fuel tank
  • Runs for 8 hours at 50 percent load
  • Low oil shutdown
  • 93 pounds
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • EPA certified

With 2500 watts of running power and 3250 surge watts, the All Power America APG3012 allows you to power what you need be it your RV, small job sites, important home appliances and more. This small but mighty 196cc OHV engine comes with a 4-gallon tank capacity. Hence, you can enjoy up to 8 hours of run time at half load on a full tank of gas. The incorporated low oil level feature is also vital in protecting your engine from friction.

With a 68 dB noise level, the APG3012 is about as loud as a lawnmower 100 feet away. Despite the noise which is average for a standard generator, it’s fitted with two 120V AC outlets and one 12V DC outlet. The DC outlet is particularly useful in an emergency on the road as it can partially charge your car battery.

While the generator is EPA approved, it isn’t CARB compliant hence illegal for use in California.

Not the lightest generator by all means but, the easy to grasp top handles make it easy and comfortable to transport. The sturdy steel frame also aids in the loading and unloading. If the generator’s noise level is not your primary concern, this APG3012 is a great choice.

  • Bigger fuel tank
  • Quite powerful – 2500 running power
  • Sturdy steel frame
  • Simple to start and operate
  • Fuel efficient
  • Conveniently located handles
  • DC outlet
  • A bit loud
  • Heavy and lack of wheels
  • Not CARB compliant
  • Only 1-year warranty

Westinghouse WH2200iXLT – Best Fuel-Efficient Cheap Generator


  • 2200 starting watts
  • 1800 running watts
  • 3HP 79cc OHV engine
  • Low oil shutdown
  • Less than 3% THD
  • 43 pounds
  • 1.3-gallon fuel tank
  • Runs up to 8 hours at 50% load
  • Operates at 52 dBA
  • Parallel ready
  • CARB, EPA, USFS compliant
  • 3-year warranty

With a remarkably low 52 dB noise level, the Westinghouse WH2200iXLT is ultra-quiet for use in most outdoor situations –recreations, camping, tailgating parties, job sites, and other environments.

Although it’s not the most powerful out there, it can still provide enough power to cover your outdoor needs as well as small items around the house. Besides, you can always run two Westinghouse inverter generators in parallel to provide double the power. But keep in mind, the parallel cord (https://amzn.to/2mKDFLT) is sold separately.

This 1800-watt inverter generator produces power less than 3 percent total harmonic distortion to safely run sensitive electronics without issues. Since most electronic devices are sensitive to voltage fluctuations and spikes, this function is indispensable.

Westinghouse WH2200iXLT-4

Weighing only 43 pounds, the WH2200iXLT is very easy to transport and carry around with its built-in handle. The compact size also allows you to fit it neatly into your car trunk, RV, and garage.
When it comes to consumption of fuel, this machine is among the most economical. It runs up to 8 hours on just 1.3 gallon on fuel. The efficiency mode feature reduces fuel use by adjusting the engine speed to match the current electrical load.

For your machine safety, it comes equipped with overload protection and low oil shutdown. It also features two 120V 20 Amp outlets. An impressive 3-year warranty backs this CARB and EPA compliant product.

  • Super quiet
  • Excellent fuel efficiency
  • Overload protection
  • Clean, stable power for sensitive electronics
  • Great portability
  • Parallel connection
  • Customer service could be better

Pulsar PG1202S – Best Cheap Generator for Small Jobs


  • 2.2HP 72cc engine
  • 900 running watts
  • 1200 starting watts
  • Operates at 65 dB of noise
  • Up to 8.5 hours at half load
  • 1.1-gallon tank capacity
  • CARB, EPA approved
  • Overload protection, muffler
  • Two 120V, one 12V DC outlet
  • 12V battery cables
  • 35 pounds
  • 1-year warranty

For such a small size, the Pulsar PG1202S is a workhorse that will help power your small job sites and electronics in the house. The 900 watts of running power it produces is also perfect for camping, RVing, and backyard parties.

Operating at 65 dB, the noise level is a bit louder than a normal conversation. But considering the size of this machine, the noise is on the higher side. While the PG1202S thrives in simplicity, it surprisingly offers three outlets of power in its control unit – two 120V AC and one 12V DC. Battery cables are also included.

Pulsar PG1202S -4

It comes with a 1.1-gallon fuel tank that will run for about 8.55 hours at 50 percent load. Keep in mind this model uses a mixture of gasoline and oil. One notable feature that’s missing, however, is the low oil shutdown. It’s the only unit here that lacks the vital function. Nonetheless, it’s CARB and EPA certified.

At 35 pounds, this is one of the lightest units on our list. A built-in handle, along with the small size, makes it easy to transport and store. As far as the safety of your machine goes, the PG1202S features overload protection.

  • Decent power for smaller jobs
  • Easy to carry around and store
  • Smooth operation
  • Three outlets
  • Noisy for its size
  • Lacks low oil shutdown function

ACOPOWER 150WH – Best Cheap Solar Generator


  • 50W foldable solar panel
  • 40,800 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • Pure dual modified sine wave output
  • LED control panel
  • Cigarette lighter socket
  • 8 hours charging time
  • 150 watt-hours of power
  • 3.3 pounds
  • 1-year warranty

The ACOPOWER 150WH is not your typical generator. Unlike other models on the list, it provides portable AC and solar panel power without noise or gas. While it’s not as powerful as gas-powered generators, it is perfect for anyone who needs a simple machine for lighting or charging mobile devices, laptops, lamps, and other small devices while on the go. The 40,800 mAh battery is more than capable of handling these power needs.

Pure dual modified sine wave output may just sound like a fancy feature but, it allows you to run low power AC electronics safely. Since it features both pure and modified sine wave, the unit can power any appliance within the mAh capability exactly the same as they would at home. Hence, you don’t have to worry about your device overheating or having any performance interference.
Weighing just a mere 3.3 pounds, it is the lightest generator you’ll ever come across.

It features an easy to read LED display that shows system information such as battery level, power consumption status, control of the unit, and more.

The ACOPOWER comes with several outlets, making it perfect for camping. It has three DC ports, two USB ports, two AC outlets, and an extra lighter socket. A power charger, MC4 and cigarette lighter socket adapters are included in the package.

Since it can be charged with either AC plug or by use of a solar panel, it’s one of the best budget generators for camping and RVs.

  • Clean, safe portables power
  • Easily rechargeable
  • Insanely light and compact
  • LED display
  • 50W solar power is include
  • Versatile output
  • Small power capacity

Goplus Inverter – Best Cheap Generator for Camping


  • 53cc 4 stroke OHV engine
  • 1250 starting watts
  • 900 running watts
  • Noise level of 58 dBA
  • Circuit breaker protection
  • 6 hours run-time at 100% load
  • Eco throttle switch
  • CARB, EPA, GS, CE approved
  • 35 pounds
  • 1-year warranty

This portable inverter generator has an average running wattage of 900, which is enough juice to power a few appliances such as lights, mini-fridge, electric fan, and the likes.

At 100 percent load, this unit can provide power for about 6 hours using only 0.7 gallons of gas. It’s also exceptionally light, weighing only 35 pounds. The built-in top handle makes it easier to transport from one place to the next.

Goplus Inverter -4

At 58 decibels, the Goplus features a quiet, neighborhood and camp friendly operation. The noise level is similar to an average conversation. The unit is also designed with an eco-throttle system for exceptional fuel efficiency.

For both your machine and devices safety, the Goplus Inverter is equipped with a circuit breaker to prevent overloading and an air-cooling system to avoid overheating. The oil alarm system alerts you when oil levels are dangerously low and the status lights for a user-friendly experience. Plus, Goplus backs this generator with a 1-year limited warranty.

  • Circuit breaker to prevent overloading
  • Highly portable
  • Air cooling system
  • Smooth running and operation
  • Relatively quiet
  • Doesn’t have a USB port
  • Not so powerful

Buyer’s Guide

Just because you need a cheap generator doesn’t mean you have to compromise on some aspects. While you may not get fancy or innovative features associated with higher-end models, a cheap generator can still offer decent performance and nice extras.

So let’s look at the features and specs that are most important to add context to the above reviews and make a smart purchase.


The wattage output is vital. It determines the number of items you can power simultaneously. The first step is to decide how you’ll use the generator. Are you planning to use the generator at home? Or to power an RV, tailgating party and other outdoor events? Or you’ll be using it for multiple purposes?

The next bit is to list down all the items you want to be powered plus their wattage (both running and surge). You don’t want a generator that’s too small as you might overload and put a strain on the engine. A generator that’s too big, on the other hand, dictates high purchasing and operational costs.

After you’ve calculated the total wattage needed, add about 25 percent more. This is crucial because you don’t want to run the generator near its maximum power all the time. It can cause an overstrain on the engine, making it run louder while increasing wear and tear.

As a rule of thumb, an 1800-watt generator like the Westinghouse WH2200iXLT is ideal for camping and small job sites while a 3000-5000watt generator such as the Champion 100307 and Westinghouse WGen3600v can power essential items in your home during an outage.

Westinghouse WH2200iXLT-3


Generators can be heavy, so it’s important to get one that’s light enough to carry. Most of our recommendations are below 50 pounds – the lightest being the ACOPOWER 150WH weighing only 3.3 pounds.

While most of the time, heavier models come with wheels as part of the system, but none of our hefty options has this inclusion. So you have to purchase the wheel kits separately. The handles, however, add convenience for users, making it easier and more comfortable to load and unload.


Fuel Tanks/ Run Time

Although longer uninterrupted run times are not expected on these budget models, the generator should provide a decent run time of about 7 to 10 hours at 50 percent load. Constant refueling can be exhausting.

The Westinghouse WGen3600v has the biggest fuel tank on the list hence a longer run-time. In addition, models using the Eco mode like the Goplus Inverter and the Westinghouse WH2200iXLT can also give you a longer running time.

Westinghouse WGen3600v-1

Safety Features

Safety features protect not only your generator but also your electronic devices. Low oil shutdown is a common feature in many generators as it monitors the oil pressure inside your engine. Besides the Pulsar PG1202S, all the other gas-powered models on the list are equipped with this feature.

Circuit breaker protection is also great to avoid overloading. The minimal harmonic distortion incorporated in the Wen56202i ensures the safety of your sensitive devices.

WEN 56202i

Noise Levels

If you’re camping or tailgating, you must be a considerate neighbor. Tailgating is all about getting hyped for the game; hence, nobody wants to be plagued with a noisy generator. The same case applies to camping – people are there to enjoy what mother nature has to offer and not to get distracted by the annoying sounds of your generator.

The Westinghouse WH2200iXLT and the A-iPower SUA2000iV are the quietest units on the list so they won’t disturb anyone’s peace. The ACOPOWER 150WH is also a terrific option if you don’t need too much power. It uses batteries and solar panels, so there’s no noisy engine.

A-iPower SUA2000iV -1


Your machine should have enough outlets to run your appliances and power your mobile phones and laptops. But first, you have to determine how many tools you need to be powered. Or, you can opt for a generator like the WEN 56202i that has the right types of outlets; from the USB ports to the 3-prong receptacles.

Bear in mind, a 30 amp locking outlet is needed for power demanding items.


Q: What Is the Difference Between Rated Watts and Surge Watts?

A: Also known as running or continuous watts, rated watts is the power output a generator can supply continually without overload. Surge watts also referred to as starting watts is just an additional boost of power to start the electric motors in your appliances.

Q: Propane or Gas?

A: Both are great, but it really depends on your preference or situation. For starters, gas is easily accessible, very efficient, reliable, burns easily in cold weather but, expensive and flammable.

Propane, on the other hand, is safer, runs a lot quieter, a bit cheaper but, not very efficient. It also can’t be of much help in below-freezing temperatures.


Q: Why Do I Have to Shut Off the Generator When Refueling?

A: Gasoline is highly flammable but not in its liquid form. The fumes that it releases in the air is what you should be afraid of. A tiny spark can ignite gasoline vapors, and the aftermath can be catastrophic. So, the hotter the engine, the higher the chances of an accident.

Q: How Often Should I Carry Out a Routine Maintenance?

A: This information is usually indicated on the user’s manual. However, you should never skip scheduled maintenance.


There’s no doubt generators are among the most useful appliances in today’s world. However, they can be quite expensive. You could even shell out more than a thousand dollars. But if all you need is a decent performing generator, the above models have proved you don’t have to break the bank to own one.

We chose Westinghouse WGen3600v as our best overall favorite due to its power, long-running time, an array of outlets, standard compliance, and an excellent warranty. It simply delivers more than some expensive models out there.

Generators have changed since the last time you bought yours. We hope you’ve updated your list and grasped a thing or two of what to look for in budget generator.

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