Home > Tips For Choosing A Portable Generator

Tips for Choosing a Portable Generator

For on-the-go power, inverter generators and battery-powered portable power stations are trending solutions for take-anywhere power. Small footprints, manageable weights, and simple charging or fueling options make both inverters and batteries an ideal solution for going on adventures, getting the job done, or providing crucial power during a power outage.

Both portable inverter generators and battery-powered portable power stations have their own unique characteristics that can make the decision between products a little more difficult. Generac offers both categories of ultra-portable solutions, giving you the power to choose which unit is right for your needs.

The Mutual Benefits of Portable Inverter Generators and Battery Portable Power Stations


Easy Transport and Storage

Lightweight design, built-in handles, and a compact footprint are all hallmarks of both portable inverters and battery power stations.

From Quiet to Silent

Don't worry about being a noisy neighbor while using an inverter generator, thanks to their fully enclosed design. Battery-powered portable power stations go the extra mile, operating silently.

Suitable for Sensitive Electronics

All generator energy has a THD – total harmonic distortion – percentage. Electronic devices such as laptops, cell phones, and tablets require a lower THD, ideally below 5%. Portable inverters produce energy with a THD below 5%, making them generally suitable for a variety of sensitive electronics, tools and appliances. Similarly, battery-powered portable power stations are also an ideal solution for sensitive electronics, as they provide clean, quiet and emission-free energy.

Product Paralleling

Need a little more power for your projects? Paralleling is an easy solution when you have two units, simply by attaching a compatible paralleling kit to combine their starting and running output capacities. While paralleling capabilities differ brand-to-brand, Generac offers both 30A and 50A paralleling kits, depending on the inverter or power station’s output. Additionally, Generac inverters and batteries that use the same kit can be paralleled. The GB1000 & GB2000 batteries and GP2200i & GP2500i inverters are compatible via a 30A paralleling kit.
Note: The above “mutual benefits” are based on Generac GP- and GB-series products. Other brands may vary.

Key Differences Between Portable Inverters and Battery Power Stations


Inverter generators cannot be used indoors or in enclosed spaces due to the production of carbon monoxide. All gas-, diesel-, or LP-powered generators must be placed outdoors and away from windows and doors during use. Battery power is designed for indoor and outdoor use, producing zero emissions.

Fuel and Charging

The Generac Portable Power Station can be charged via a wall outlet, 12V car outlet, or by compatible solar panels for truly on-the-go power. Charging sources can even be combined for an even faster recharge. Generac's small inverter generators are powered by gasoline with a splash-lubricated engine that requires routine oil changes.


As an emerging technology with indoor-outdoor capabilities, battery-powered solutions are typically priced higher when compared to inverter generators with a similar output. Over time, a battery power station doesn’t require any additional fuel or oil, making it a higher initial investment without downline costs.


The difference between a gasoline engine and a battery creates a very different maintenance regimen for each unit. The splash-lubricated engine of an inverter needs adequate oil in order to run, and it’s best to check on the oil status before planned use, as well as a yearly check to ensure that the unit isn’t in need of an oil change. For batteries, follow the usual best practices for charging most battery-powered electronic devices: don’t let it fall all the way to 0% charge, try to reach above 80% when charging, and ensure that you’re storing it in a temperate environment that isn’t too moist.

Note: The above “key differences” are based on Generac GP- and GB-series products. Other brands my vary.

Generac's Portable Power Solutions

We offer the GB series of battery-powered portable power stations and GP series of inverter generators to satisfy your truly portable power needs. After determining your core must-have features and target output, take a look at the options that best meet your wattage needs.


Head-to-Head: The Generac GB1000 Portable Power Station vs. GP2500i Portable Inverter Generator

The closest comparison is between the battery-powered GB1000 Portable Power Station and GP2500i Inverter Generator. By the numbers, there are similarities and differences that can make one or the other a more appealing option:

Portability Features GB1000 GP2500i
Weight 29 lbs. 48 lbs.
Dimensions 14.1"L x 10.2"W x 12"H 9.8"L x 4.3"W x 8.3"H

Power Output

1600W running
3200W surge
2200W running
2500W surge
Output Types Three 12V AC outlets
Four USB ports
One 12V car port
One 15W wireless charging pad
12V DC outlet
USB port
Runtime 8.9 hours at 50% load 4.5 hours at 50% load
Fuel and Charging Outlet, solar, 12V car port, or mixed charging
Charges from 0-80% in 2.1 hours via wall outlet
1 gallon of gas
Emissions and Noise Zero emission
Indoor or outdoor use
Produces carbon monoxide
Outdoor use only
Some noise
Startup Method Push-button instant start Recoil pull start

Higher-Capacity Inverter Generators

For cleaner, quieter power, the Generac IQ3500 inverter is a premium solution with an impressive output. Its fully encased design dramatically reduces the amount of ambient noise, making it an ideal solution for RV travelers, food truck operators, and homeowners looking for more robust emergency backup power with all the benefits of inverter-generated energy. Both the IQ3500 and GP3500iO must be operated outdoors, away from doors, windows and vents.


Open-Frame Generators

With tubular frames, large tires, and visible components, an open-frame generator is likely what comes to mind when one thinks of portable power. The product marketplace for open-frame generators is vast, and no one model is one-size-fits-all. While open-frame generators are available in significantly higher outputs, you can hear them run, and they offer less portability than fully enclosed generators.

If short term emergency backup power is your main concern, traditional open-frame generators provide the best dollar-per-watt value on the market. Generac – the brand that commercialized portable power – offers dozens of options to choose from.