10 Best Generators for Tailgating in 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks
Whether you’re tailgating before the big game, camping with your friends, or enjoying a long day at the beach, a portable generator is a must. It’ll power everything you need for entertainment: TV, music, and a refrigerator to keep drinks and food cold.
So many brands make portable generators, and it can be hard to narrow down your choices. To help you find the ideal model, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best generators for tailgating. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide with additional shopping tips after the reviews.
A Quick Look at the Winners in 2023:
|Best Overall||Briggs & Stratton||
|Best Value||Jackery Portable||
|Premium Choice||Ryobi Bluetooth RYI2300BTA||
The 10 Best Generators for Tailgating:
1. Briggs & Stratton Portable Inv. Generator – Best Overall
Our best overall choice is the Briggs & Stratton Portable Inverter Generator because it’s quiet and efficient. The engine produces 2,200 starting watts and 1,700 running watts, so you can run several appliances at once for up to 8 hours at 25% load, which should be more than enough time for a tailgating party. The decibel level at 25% is only 59, which is about as loud as a conversation. It also has handles, making it easy to carry.
We liked that it includes a variety of outlets: two 120V household outlets and one 12V DC outlet. At nearly 55 pounds, the Briggs and Stratton generator is heavy. That can make it difficult to transport, so it’s something to consider. Despite that, we think it is the best overall tailgating generator this year.
2. Jackery Portable Power Station Generator – Best Value
The Jackery Portable Power Station Generator is the best generator for tailgating for the money because it’s battery-powered and lightweight. It’s specifically designed for charging outdoor electronics like mini-coolers, drones, and even laptops. It also has a solar-ready recharging option, which is sold separately.
We liked that it has multiple outlets, including an AC outlet, two USB ports, and one DC car port. The battery pack is 240 watt-hours, so you can keep several electronics charged. It has a slow charging rate, so that needs to be considered before you take it along for tailgating. It also cannot support devices over 200 watts.
3. Ryobi Bluetooth Gas Generator – Premium Choice
Our premium choice is the Ryobi Bluetooth Gas Powered Generator because it’s powerful and portable. It comes with a telescoping handle and rear wheels, so you can easily tote it behind you. It has 2,300 starting watts and 1,800 running watts, which can power nearly everything you can think of for a tailgating party.
It also has an LCD screen showing the fuel, run-time remaining, and load levels. For safety features, it has a reset overload button and is remote-reset capable. The generator’s functions can be controlled with your phone via an app. Aside from being the most expensive option on the list, it also doesn’t have a DC power outlet, which might be problematic depending on what you need to run.
4. SUAOKI S270 Camping Generator
The SUAOKI Camping Generator has multi-charging ports, including four DC ports, two AC ports, and four USB ports. This ensures that whatever you need to connect is compatible with this generator. It also has three ways to recharge: a compatible solar panel, a wall charger, or a car 12V adaptor. It’s incredibly lightweight and portable at only 29 pounds.
This generator is only suitable for devices 100 watts or less, such as your phone, laptop, lamps, or a mini-cooler. The SUAOKI also isn’t a very durable or long-lasting generator, as it tends to quit working after a time.
5. Westinghouse Portable Inverter Generator
If you’re looking for a fuel-efficient generator, you should consider the Westinghouse iGen2200 Portable Inverter Generator. It has a 12-hour run time on a 1.2-gallon gas tank. This ensures the generator will last the entire tailgating party without a problem. It’s also very quiet at only 52 decibels, so you won’t have to deal with a loud generator in the background.
It has two 120V 20 AMP outlets and two USB outlets. It has a peak of 2,200 watts. The Westinghouse is a heavy generator at 46 pounds, so carrying it around is difficult. It is also one of the more expensive options. Because this generator is gas-powered, you must perform regular oil changes.
6. WEN Portable Inverter Generator
The Wen Portable Inverter Generator is unique in that it has an eco-mode. This enables the generator to use less fuel if you only need a smaller number of watts. It has overload protection, so it’ll shut off if you try to draw too much power. It has 2,000 watts and 1,800 running watts and comes with multiple ports: two 3-prong 120V outlets, one 12V DC outlet, and one 5V USB outlet.
This generator claims to be quiet, but it’s much noisier than others on our list. It can be distracting if it’s running in the background. At 48 pounds, it’s also on the heavier side. With only one handle, it’s difficult to share the weight with someone else. Lastly, it’s one of the more expensive generators on our list.
7. Generac 6866 Gas Inverter Generator
The Generac Gas Powered Inverter Generator has running watts of 1,600, and at 50% load, it can run for 5 to 7 hours. It has a fairly large fuel capacity of just over a gallon. We liked the PowerBar monitors that display the wattage used. It can run on economy, standard, and turbo modes to save fuel and reduce noise. This is an extremely quiet generator that comes with several features.
This generator isn’t as heavy as some of the others, but at 46 pounds, it’s still difficult to carry around. Not only does it struggle to power devices, but it also sometimes leaks gas. It seems underpowered for the cost.
8. Rainier Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator
The Rainier Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator has 1,800 rated watts and 2,200 peak watts. It can run up to 13 hours and has a 1.3-gallon fuel capacity, so it’s quite powerful. The control panel includes a low-oil alarm, an overload alarm, and an output indicator. It also has an eco-mode. Multiple ports include two 120V household outlets, one 12V DC outlet, and one neutral floating grounding port.
Despite being labeled as “super quiet,” we found this generator to be loud. If you tried to run it during a tailgating party, everyone would notice it humming noisily in the background. It also has a strong exhaust odor, which can be unpleasant. It will shut off and reset at the slightest power surge, especially in eco-mode, which is frustrating.
9. A-iPower Portable Inverter Generator
The A-iPower Portable Inverter Generator is an inexpensive option. It has 2,000 peak watts and 1,600 running watts. It runs quietly at 58 decibels, which is less than the volume of a typical conversation. It has a 1.1-gallon fuel capacity
The quality of the A-iPower generator seems poor since we found several loose screws. Because of that, the gas leaks. It’s also difficult to access the oil reservoir. It’s underpowered and struggles at high altitudes, so it’s not the best generator to take into the mountains.
10. Firman P01201 Gas Portable Generator
The Firman Gas Portable Generator has 1,500 starting watts and 1,200 running watts, so it can easily power all your small devices. It has a 10-hour runtime with a 1.7-gallon fuel capacity, which keeps it running longer.
At 54 pounds., The Firman Gas model is a heavy generator. You might have difficulty transporting it. It’s also one of the most underpowered ones on our list. Accessing the spark plug and other parts needed for regular maintenance is difficult. The voltage tends to fluctuate, which can be frustrating. It’s also noisy, much more so than others on our list.
Buyer’s Guide – Purchasing the Best Tailgating Generator
If you’re wondering what you should look for in a generator that can be used for tailgating, our buyer’s guide can help. It includes the main features of portable generators to help you find the best one for your needs.
Knowing the power output of the portable generator is essential because you need to know how many devices or appliances you can run at once. The power produced by generators is measured in watts. The best way to find the perfect generator is to add all the watts needed to run your devices.
You’ll also need to know how much each draws when you first turn it on. Sometimes, this can be much more than the wattage needed to run. Generally, a generator that puts out about 2,000 watts is ideal.
This is another important factor to consider when looking at generators. You don’t want to have to bring extra gas to your tailgating party and stop to refuel. Therefore, it’s best to find a generator that will run for at least 8 hours without being refueled.
For camping, this becomes even more important. You’ll want something that can last for a while, possibly even overnight. Of course, the runtime won’t rely only on the fuel tank size. It also depends on how much power is being drawn. Many of the generators on our list give figures for how long they’ll run at full load and 25%. The longer it’ll run without having to refuel, the better.
Generators can be incredibly heavy, so it’s important to find one as lightweight as possible. Another feature that increases portability is the handles. This seems like a small detail, but it can make your life much easier. Grabbing a generator by the handles is more efficient than carrying the whole thing in your arms. Also, they allow you to share the burden with someone else as you carry it.
A noisy, humming generator in the background can dampen the fun of a tailgating party. You want to enjoy the game, talk, or listen to music without being drowned out by a loud motor. In general, inverter generators are quieter than conventional ones.
They’re not much louder than a conversation, so you probably won’t even notice them running. Some of the generators on our list have the decibels noted, so you can ensure they won’t detract from the tailgating fun.
No matter what model you’re looking at, ensure it has safety features. Machines running on fuel and oil can quickly become dangerous. That’s why it’s important to have features such as a low-oil shutoff and overload prevention. If the oil falls below minimum levels, your generator should shut down to prevent engine damage.
Overload prevention makes sure that you’re not overloading your generator. This can happen when too many appliances are plugged into your generator that exceeds the total running watts, and the system will overheat.
Our best overall pick is the Briggs & Stratton 30651 Portable Inverter Generator because it’s quiet and powerful. It can run for up to 8 hours at 25% load and only emits 59 decibels. You’ll be able to run plenty of electronics while still enjoying the game or maintaining a conversation.
For our best value choice, we chose the Jackery Portable Power Station Generator. Because it’s battery-powered, it’s lightweight and eco-friendly. It’s also quiet and comes with several outlets. We hope our reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you find the best portable generator.
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