6 Most Fuel-Efficient Generators of 2020

Last update: Nov 29, 2020

When the power is out for some reason, we have to resort to a generator for running the crucial appliances. But a generator running for a long time can consume a lot of energy and money

To optimize such expenses, you’ll need the most fuel-efficient generators.

Here are the most fuel-efficient generators you can buy in 2020:

  • Best Overall (Inverter Generators): WEN 56200i
  • Ultra-Quiet (Inverter Generators): Westinghouse WH2200iXLT
  • Best for Emergency Lighting (Inverter Generators): Honda EU3000iS
  • Best for Camping (Inverter Generators): Westinghouse iGen4500
  • Best for RVs (Open Frame Inverter Generators): Champion 3800-Watt
  • Best for Home Backup (Open Frame Inverter Generators): DuroMax XP4850EH
6 Most Fuel-Efficient Generators
Best Overall
WEN 56200i
  • Inverter Generators
Ultra-Quiet
Westinghouse WH2200iXLT
  • Inverter Generators
Best for Emergency Lighting
Honda EU3000iS
  • Inverter Generators
Best for Camping
Westinghouse iGen4500
  • Inverter Generators
Best for RVs
Champion 3800-Watt
  • Open Frame Inverter Generators
Best for Home Backup
DuroMax XP4850EH
  • Open Frame Inverter Generators

Best Overall (Inverter Generators): WEN 56200i

WEN 56200i
WEN 56200i
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Compact and portable – a built-in handle, small and lightweight design
  • Safe and trusted to use - EPA III and CARB compliance and provide clean power
  • Able to double the power output - a WEN Parallel Kit
Cons
  • A bit challenging to fuel

Don’t underestimate this generator just because of its modest look!

The WEN 56200i earns the highest overall scoring during our tests and become not just the most portable but also the safest and most versatile in this list.

It complies EPA III and CARB standards. It gives super-clean power with under 0.3%-1.2% THD when running and besides, works quietly with 53-decibel noise level at ¼ load.

The unit itself might provide a bit less power compared to other counterparts but it strikes back with a WEN Parallel Kit that can link any two WEN inverter generators together.

For that reason, it is much more versatile to use – as a home backup plan or for tailgates, construction sites, and campgrounds.

WEN 56200i Specifications

Peak Watts/Running Watt

2000W/1600W

Noise Level

53 dB

Max Runtime

9.4 Hours Quarter-Load

Highlight Features

EPA III and CARB compliance; a WEN Parallel Kit; a built-in handle, small and lightweight design

Verdict

Out of a punch, the WEN 56200i gives us the highest overall scoring, making it an ideal choice for any people who are in need of a fuel-efficient generator.

Ultra-Quiet (Inverter Generators): Westinghouse WH2200iXLT

Westinghouse WH2200iXLT
Westinghouse WH2200iXLT
8.6Great
Pros
  • Able to extend the runtime and work more quietly – economy mode
  • Reliable - complies EPA and USFS standards
Cons
  • Require a fuel gauge and an hour run counter

Giving 2200 surged watts and 2800 rated watts, along with just 52 decibels in noise level, the Westinghouse WH2200iXLT is highly recommended for home use as a power backup.

It is able to power a large fridge and freezer simultaneously along with a bunch of other things. If you want more, just take advantage of its parallel-ready kit. Note that this unit is compatible with the iGen2500, iGen2200, and iGen1200 only.

It’s generally fuel-efficient – on a 1.3-gallon tank, it can work consistently up to 13 hours of runtime and will be longer when run in the “economy mode”. Also, at this mode, it is whisper silent that hardly you hear the noise.

For those who prefer some technical information, this generator complies EPA and USFS standards.

Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Specifications

Peak Watts/Running Watt

2200/1800

Noise Level

52 dBA

Max Runtime

13 Hours

Highlight Features

economy mode; complies EPA and USFS standards

Verdict

Thanks to the added “economy mode”, the Westinghouse WH2200iXLT is one of the ultra-quiet models that we tested.

Best for Emergency Lighting (Inverter Generators): Honda EU3000iS

Honda EU3000iS
Honda EU3000iS
8.8Great
Pros
  • Powerful - 3000 peak watts and 2800 running watts
  • Very fuel-efficient with long runtime - 7.2 to 20 hours on a 3.4-gallon fuel tank & eco-throttle feature
  • Safe to use - oil alert
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Not come with a factory-installed hour meter

If you want a fuel-efficient generator for an emergency lighting backup for a house or only a few choice things, then the Honda EU3000iS is quite ideal.

It generates 3000 peak watts and 2800 running watts with under 3% THD, which is enough for a 15,000 BTU AC unit with no problems.

Despite various load conditions, it lasts a long time – around 7.2 to 20 hours on a 3.4-gallon fuel tank, all thanks to the exclusive eco-throttle feature. Another thing that we really like is its oil alert which will be auto-shutoff whenever detecting oil is under the allowed level.

Equipped with advanced inverter technology, it is much quieter than the typical hardware store generator.

Honda EU3000iS Specifications

Peak Watts/Running Watt

3000/2800

Noise Level

49 to 58 dB (A)

Max Runtime

20 hours

Highlight Features

7.2 to 20 hours on a 3.4-gallon fuel tank & eco-throttle feature; oil alert

Verdict

After considering the power output, the consistency of energy, and the safety features, we find this generator is a great choice for emergency lighting.

Best for Camping (Inverter Generators): Westinghouse iGen4500

Westinghouse iGen4500
Westinghouse iGen4500
8.6Great
Pros
  • Run efficiently and quietly - 3.4-gallon fuel tank with “economy mode”
  • Strong and trusted - 4500 peak watts and 3700 running watts with under 3% THD
  • Easy to use - two USB outlets and a Rotating LED Digital Display
  • Safe - meets all EPA, USFS, and CARB standards
Cons
  • The oil drain plug is hard to reach
  • Heavy to lift

The Westinghouse iGen4500 is our favorite choice for camping.

It is built with a 3.4-gallon fuel tank with “economy mode” and inverter engine that can work quietly up to 18 hours of runtime. The power is very clean and powerful (4500 peak watts and 3700 running watts with under 3% THD), which is strong and trusted enough for most of your camping essentials.

Besides, there comes with two USB outlets and a Rotating LED Digital Display where you can track easily various indicators such as lifetime hours, voltage output, remaining runtime, power output and more.

It meets all EPA, USFS, and CARB standards while being backed by a 3-year warranty, which will give you much peace in mind with the purchase.

Westinghouse iGen4500 Specifications

Peak Watts/Running Watt

4500/3700

Noise Level

52 dBA

Max Runtime

18 Hours

Highlight Features

3.4-gallon fuel tank with “economy mode”; 4500 peak watts and 3700 running watts; two USB outlets and a Rotating LED Digital Display

Verdict

We feel the Westinghouse iGen4500 is a wonderful selection to consider if you’re looking for good camping generator.

Best for RVs (Open Frame Inverter Generators): Champion 3800-Watt

Champion 3800-Watt
Champion 3800-Watt
8.6Great
Pros
  • Ideal for RV use - Built with one 120V 30A RV outlet
  • Versatile - dual-fueled engine
  • Convenient to use - intelligauge with three-mode digital meter and electric start
Cons
  • A bit noisy

Built with one 120V 30A RV outlet, the Champion 3800-Watt is able to hook and power most RVs.

It’s very powerful, featuring a 224cc Champion dual-fueled engine to generate up to 4275 starting watts and 3420 running watts, which is enough for an RV air conditioner.

What does “dual-fueled” mean? It means you can run this generator on gasoline or propane straight out of the box, depending on which fuel type is available near your campsite.

Some other outstanding features of this unit are intelligauge with three-mode digital meter and electric start.

Champion 3800-Watt Specifications

Peak Watts/Running Watt

4275/3420

Noise Level

68 dBA from 23 feet

Max Runtime

9 hours on gasoline or 10.5 hours on propane.

Highlight Features

one 120V 30A RV outlet; dual-fueled engine; intelligauge with three-mode digital meter and electric start

Verdict

The Champion 3800-Watt provides a unique combination of high power output, versatile fuel options, and convenience, making it a top pick for RV use.

Best for Home Backup (Open Frame Inverter Generators): DuroMax XP4850EH

DuroMax XP4850EH
DuroMax XP4850EH
8.6Great
Pros
  • Very strong yet safe to use – provide 4850 peak watts and 3850 rated watts with under 3% THD
  • Versatile and convenient – big fuel tanks, inverter engine, dual-fuel design, and more
Cons
  • A bit loud
  • The frame could be more quality

The DuroMax XP4850EH is quite heavy and it provides the highest power output so we suggest it for home backup plan, especially if you have any equipment and electronics needed powering.

Same with the Champion 3800W, it is duel-fueled and has electric start as well as wheels and handle kit for ease of transporting.

Regardless, it gives you DC charging cables, tools set, one spark plug wrench, and one oil funnel for extra convenience to use. A bonus is that it can be operated at 120V with full power, or at both 240V and 120V simultaneously as wanted.

The fuel tanks are also big enough for long runtime (the gas tank is 3.96 gallons) to save tons of your time on re-fueling it.

DuroMax XP4850EH Specifications

Peak Watts/Running Watt

4850/3,850

Noise Level

69 dB.

Max Runtime

20 hours

Highlight Features

4850 peak watts and 3850 rated watts; dual-fuel design

Verdict

The DuroMax XP4850EH is an extremely powerful open-frame inverter generator and meets all needed requirements to work as a home backup.

How To Choose The Most Fuel-Efficient Generator?

Fuel Options

When it comes to fuel options for a generator, you will likely have to choose between diesel, and gaseous. In general, diesel may be more fuel-efficient than gaseous counterparts. However, that’s not always the case.

For instance, if you have access to a free, limitless gas supply, it makes no sense to use diesel. However, on a construction site, there is already a lot of diesel-fueled equipment and it would be sensible to use diesel.

To decide which fuel to use, diesel or gaseous, you should also compare fuel costs with the potential of savings due to efficiency over the equipment’s lifetime. For example, natural gas is cheaper than diesel but less efficient.

On the other hand, the price of diesel fluctuates over time, and at a time when the cost of diesel goes down, it will become the more cost-efficient solution over the lifetime of an appliance.

All in all, regarding efficiency, diesel generators make a better choice.

Wattage

The wattage required for a generator to produce electricity is another crucial factor to take into account. You can see this indicator for an individual device on the equipment itself or online.

Next, think about what appliances will run simultaneously and combine their wattage to know the total wattage you need at a time. If the devices run separately, just consider the highest wattage.

If an appliance has a starting wattage, you will need a much higher wattage to run it. Just multiply the starting wattage by 3 to figure out the number.

Lastly, never make use to the last watt of power from your generator. That means if the generator produces 4200W electricity, don’t use the whole 4200 watts, spare some.

Safety Features

Additional safety features can make a generator the potential candidate for your choice. Consider safety add-ons when choosing a generator.

  • Removable console: this lets you plug in devices without running extension cords outdoors, making it safer.

  • Low-oil shutoff: this will shut down the generator when oil falls below a minimum threshold, prevent any damage to the engine.

  • Automatic start: this allows the generator to turn on as soon as the power’s out. This feature would come in handy when you’re not home.

  • Low-CO engine: this will help avoid the risk of CO poisoning.

  • Automatic CO shutoff: this safety feature is potent. It shuts down the engine automatically if a CO sensor spot the CO level potentially goes up to a certain limit. This will also help avoid CO poisoning.

Which Brands Make The Most Fuel-Efficient Generator?

WEN

Founded in 1951, this brand has been designing and selling high-quality, affordable power tools for over 7 decades. It offers inverter generators, dual-fuel generators, and accessories.

Honda

Honda makes generators of different types, wattages, and purposes. They also offer super quiet generators.

Westinghouse

Founded in 1886, Westinghouse is among the oldest brand of electric appliances on the market. It made the first generator in 1901. Now, you can find its various products on Amazon.

Champion

Champion is a market leader when it comes to power generation equipment. It manufactures portable generators from 1200W to 4000W.

DuroMax

DuroMax is a 17-year-old brand that makes portable generators, including digital inverters and even large standby units of 15,000W.

FAQs

Is it cheaper to run a generator on propane or gas?

Running a gas generator is cheaper than running a propane one regarding purchase and installation.

How much gas does a 2000 watt generator use?

About 0.75 gallons of gas.

Is 5000-watt generator enough?

The answer to this question depends on your needs. A 5,000W generator can run a lamp, a TV, a fan, a radio, a hairdryer, a water pump, an electric blanket, and a portable electric heater. So, it basically covers all necessities for you.

Can you run a generator overnight?

No, you can’t.

You should turn off the generator overnight. The reason is that the generator will eventually run out of fuel and need a refill, but you cannot refill a generator while it’s running or when it’s still hot. Therefore, you should turn it off, wait overnight for it to cool down and refill in the morning.

Where is the best place to put a generator?

The best place to put a generator is 20 feet from your house or farther, directing the exhaust from windows and doors. This is to prevent the poisonous exhaust from entering the house.

Conclusion

That’s all for this ultimate guide.

Hopefully, with the listed tips and product reviews above, you’ll know a thing or two about how to choose the most fuel-efficient generator for your needs.

Thanks a lot for reading!


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