Which portable generator is best for tailgating?
Not everyone needs electricity for a tailgating party, but for those who want to make the most out of their experience, a small and convenient generator can do the trick. Whether you need the power to string some lights, use a slow cooker, listen to music, run a space heater, plug in a coffee maker or even set up a TV to watch some pregame highlights, there is a generator to meet your needs.
Before choosing the best model for your tailgating style, you’ll want to consider some key factors such as fuel type, power, noise and important features.
What to know before choosing a tailgating generator
Gas-powered vs. battery-powered
The first step is to decide whether you’ll need a gas-powered portable generator or a battery-powered generator.
Gas-powered options usually offer significantly more power and won’t quit on you as long as you keep adding fuel. They do, however, produce exhaust fumes and create much more noise than battery-powered generators.
Battery-powered and solar-powered models are quiet, better for the environment and require little maintenance when compared to their gas counterparts. However, you won’t receive as much power to run certain devices or equipment, and the lifespan of your battery will be somewhat limited. For solar-powered generators, their functionality is dependent on access to the sun.
Once you know what appliances and devices you’ll want to plug into your generator, you can calculate the total wattage you’ll need to adequately power your tailgating setup. It is always a smart idea to choose a portable generator with a slightly higher wattage rating than you think you’ll need.
Seeing as you’ll be needing to transport your portable generator to and from your tailgating site, choose a model that isn’t too large or heavy to move from place to place. Larger models may come equipped with wheels, but can be harder to fit in your vehicle.
Gas-powered generators produce more noise than battery-powered or solar options. If you don’t want to listen to the sound of the motor running all day long, look for a quiet model. Quieter options are also less likely to disturb others nearby.
Always be sure to read all safety instructions and guidelines before using a portable generator. Gas-powered generators should not be used indoors or in confined areas. You should also be careful not to overload your generator by plugging in more devices than it can handle.
Top portable generator for tailgating
Best gas-powered generators
This quiet gas-powered generator won’t disturb fellow tailgaters, and the fuel efficient motor will reduce the need to refill the gas tank often. With 1,800 running watts, 2,200 peak watts and even built-in USB ports for easy phone charging, you’ll be able to power all of your tailgating essentials.
The Generac 2,200-watt generator can provide hours of electricity on just a single tank of gas, so you can keep the party going without an issue. The low-oil and overload indicator lights will help you make sure your generator is well-maintained and used properly, reducing the risk of damage. Plus, the 1,700 running watts is more than enough to power your devices.
One of the top selling points of this Champion model is its lightweight build, making it easy to transport. Weighing just 39 pounds, this 2,000-watt portable inverter generator has a run time of over 11 hours and features a three-year limited warranty so you can feel confident with your purchase.
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More powerful than other portable options, this PowerSmart Series generator can not only be used to elevate your next tailgate party, but can also serve as backup power for your home or RV. With the option to use the parallel connection port, you can double the wattage by connecting two individual units. This portable generator also produces a consistent and smooth power flow so all of your most important electronic devices will be safe from spikes.
While it may be the most expensive on the list, this Honda generator offers premium quality and reliable power for the most enthusiastic tailgaters. With a carbon monoxide detection system, a fuel-efficient engine and even a Bluetooth compatible smartphone app for easy operation, you’ll quickly see why this is a standout option.
Best battery-powered and solar-powered generators
If a gas-powered portable generator isn’t your cup of tea, this Goal Zero 500-watt model is a great alternative option. You can easily plug in some outdoor lights, charge your phone or run smaller appliances without any unwanted noise or fumes. You can also pair it with a Goal Zero portable solar panel for extra power when you need it the most.
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Compared to a portable gas-powered generator, this 7-pound Jackery Power Station comes in at just a fraction of the weight. You can charge this battery-powered generator at home or conveniently in the car on the way to the big game. When used in conjunction with the Jackery SolarSaga portable solar panel, you can produce continuous power for uninterrupted action.
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At 700 watts, this battery-powered portable generator offers superior power for its size and weight. It also features a number of USB and AC outputs so running multiple devices at once won’t be an issue. When you’re not tailgating, this powerful generator can be used on camping trips or to run a small number of home appliances during blackouts.
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Lightweight, compact and compatible with solar panels, the Westinghouse iGen300s is a reliable and functional on-the-go generator for tailgating. This small generator is even capable of powering appliances such as a television and small refrigerator.
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Matthew Young writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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