Best Portable Generators of 2024

While safety is essential, our performance testing ensures that a generator will work as promised when you need it most. To do that, our expert engineers load up every model we assess with a variety of essentials you might want to power during an outage, like a space heater, refrigerator, or window air conditioner.

(Check out our guide to which size generator can power which appliances.)

We make sure the generator can handle the load it’s supposed to and also see what happens when a sudden spike in voltage hits, such as if, say, the compressor in your refrigerator kicks on when the generator is already close to capacity.

The best models take these spikes in stride, while others bog down or even stall. We also look at how easy it is to move and use a generator, as well as how efficiently it uses gasoline and how long it runs on a single tank.