A tailgating generator will take care of just about any electrical need.
Nowadays, tailgating generators allow us to keep in touch with civilization, even in the most detached locations. Perhaps, you love going camping and off-grid, but you still want to use your electric smoker. Moreover, you may want to watch your favorite team’s football game or meet up with friends at the beach. Whatever the reason, a tailgating generator will let you stay online at all times.
Undoubtedly, portable generators have made the outdoor experience much more enjoyable. Now, you can quickly run your sound system and party in nature. If you’re hungry, you can power your cooking appliances. Of course, let’s not forget about charging your phone and lighting in the evening.
If you’re new to portable generators, choosing the best model may seem quite overwhelming. Perhaps, you’re already considering buying such an amenity, so we’ll help you make the best choice. We’ll list the 7 best tailgating generators along with a buyer’s guide. That way, you’ll better understand what you need, and you’ll pick the most suitable model.
Best Tailgating Generators List
- Best Tailgating Generators List
- 1. Best Overall: Honda EU2200i
- 2. Best Quiet: Westinghouse WH2200iXLT
- 3. Best Quiet, Runner-Up: Yamaha EF2000iSv2
- 4. Best Most Powerful: Briggs & Stratton Elite Series 3,000 Watt
- 5. Best Lightweight: WEN 56203i Super Quiet 2000
- 6. Best Digital: POWERSMITH PGA2200i
- 7. Best Budget-Friendly: A-iPower SUA2000iV
- How to Buy a Tailgating Generator – Buyer’s Guide
- The Verdict
Best Overall: Honda EU2200i “This inverter generator is quieter than a normal conversation, which makes it perfect for tailgating parties. It’s so quiet that even your neighbors will thank you.”
Best Quiet: Westinghouse WH2200iXLT
“An outstanding piece that will easily power your tailgating party without causing any noise.”
Best Quiet, Runner-Up: Yamaha EF2000iSv2 “Probably the quietest generator you’ll find around. What’s more, you’ll get tons of great features along with this quiet and portable unit.”
Best Most Powerful: Briggs & Stratton Elite Series
“If you want more power, this Briggs & Stratton Elite Series model will lighten up your tailgating party.”
Best Lightweight: WEN 56203i 2000-Watt
“Are you looking for a featherweight alternative to your old and heavy generator? The WEN 56203i is the perfect pick with an ultra-quiet design.”
Best Digital: POWERSMITH PGA2200i
“Perhaps, you’re into more high-tech gadgets. In such cases, the POWERSMITH PGA2200i has a digital dash that’ll keep you updated at all times.”
Best Budget-Friendly: A-iPower SUA2000iV
“The A-iPower SUA2000iV will give you everything you need at an affordable price.”
1. Best Overall: Honda EU2200i
First and foremost, it’s important to note that Honda has extensive experience creating some of the best generators. The EU2200i 2200-Watt super-quiet inverter generator is one of the staples in the company’s catalog. It comes with a powerful 2200-Watt engine that runs exceptionally quietly.
Arguably, the 48 to 57 dbA makes the EU2200i one of the quietest generators overall on the market. This is great news for recreational users that are looking for an inverter generator for occasional tailgating parties. The level of noise is the same as a normal conversation. In other words, you can safely use this unit at home without annoying your neighbors.
In terms of design, you’ll really love the portability of this model. It weighs merely 47 pounds, so you won’t have any trouble moving it around. The “Eco-Throttle” system will not only save you fuel, but it’ll also provide impressive runtime. Depending on the load level, the Honda 2200i will run between 3 and 8 hours on a single tank. Thanks to the “Fuel Off” feature, your fuel won’t go stale, increasing the life of your engine. Finally, you can parallel two identical models for up to 4400 Watts of power and longer runtime.
2. Best Quiet: Westinghouse WH2200iXLT
The Westinghouse WH2200iXLT is yet another quiet alternative to conventional generators. The machine peaks at 2200 Watts and runs at 1800 watts using its 79cc 4-stroke OHV engine. What’s more, it weighs only 43 pounds, so you’ll have no trouble carrying it using the built-in handle. Just use one of the two 120-Volt household outlets or the 12-Volt DC power outlet. The “Economy Mode” will maximize the fuel efficiency for up to 13 hours of runtime on a 1.3-gallon gas tank.
As the manufacturer suggests, the Westinghouse WH2200iXLT is powerful enough to run a few large appliances simultaneously. But there’s even more to it – this unit operates as low as 52 dbA. That’s clearly quieter than an average conversation, which will ensure low noise emission. Besides, this machine produces less than 3% THD, which is safe enough for all types of sensitive electronics. Simply pair two models of the WH2200iXLT or a model from the iGen series to double your Wattage and Amperage.
3. Best Quiet, Runner-Up: Yamaha EF2000iSv2
If you’re at a tailgating party and can barely hear the generator, it is very likely Yamaha EF2000iSv2. This model comes with a 79cc 4-stroke, single-cylinder OHV engine with an air-cooled system. It peaks at 2000 Watts and runs at 1600 Watts. But that’s not enough – it produces merely 51.5 dbA at 25% load.
The muffler with an USFS-approved spark arrestor makes this unit one of the quietest on the market. It’s safe to say that your neighbors will no longer have issues with the level of noise coming from your unit. Besides, you’ll easily transport it from one place to another, thanks to its 44 pounds of weight. The EF2000iSv2 looks like a compact-sized suitcase, and its ergonomic handle will make carrying it an effortless task.
In terms of capacity and runtime, this unit has a fuel tank of 1.1 gallons. They will give you 10.5 hours of work at a 25% load. The inverter system with PWM will ensure stable continuous voltage and regular frequency with high-quality clean output power. Besides, the new controller comes with advanced programming that’ll supply more electronics than before. What’s more, the EF2000iSv2 has two 120V AC household outlets and a 12V 8A DC outlet.
There are plenty of other features like a low-oil indicator, an electrical overload breaker, a fuel gauge, and a gasoline petcock. Best of all, you can connect this generator to a parallel unit for even more power. Simply get a Twin Tech Cable and another generator to lighten up your tailgate party. Don’t worry if something goes wrong with your unit – it has a 3-year limited warranty.
4. Best Most Powerful: Briggs & Stratton Elite Series 3,000 Watt
If you’re looking for a bit of extra power, then this Briggs & Stratton Elite Series generator will do the trick. This 4-HP gas-powered tailgating generator is ideal for camping and parties. It provides up to 3000 Watts of surge power, which is enough for your TV, mini-fridge, or other widgets. What’s more, the 1.2-gallon tank will ensure 4.9 hours of continuous runtime at 50% load.
Perhaps, the best advantage of the Briggs & Stratton is its Dura-Bore cast iron cylinder sleeve. It will undoubtedly give you an edge of durability when your off-grid. On the other hand, the ultra-quiet muffler will reduce the noise level to a minimum. The unit features the standard two 120-volt household-type outlets and two 12-volt outlets for battery charging.
If you don’t have the cables, don’t worry – they come within the package. What’s more, the model comes with a 2-year limited warranty from Briggs & Stratton.
5. Best Lightweight: WEN 56203i Super Quiet 2000
You’re probably tired of carrying heavy tailgating generators. If so, the WEN 56203i is the perfect solution to your problem. This 2000-Watt portable inverter generator delivers clean and safe energy without spikes and drops. What’s more, the 79cc 4-stroke OHV engine emits merely 51 dbA at 25% load. That’s way quieter than most split-system air conditioners or even a normal conversation. Needless to say, this makes the unit quite friendly for all types of outdoor activities, including tailgating parties.
Arguably, the best thing about this machine is that it weighs merely 39 pounds. The ultra-efficient 1-gallon tank can run over 7 hours at 50% load. What’s more, the pure sine wave that this widget produces limits the total harmonic distortion to under 1.2 percent at full load. In other words, you can safely run your laptop, mobile phone, or other sensitive electronics. The panel comes with three-prong 120V 14A NEMA 5-20R outlets, one 12V 8.3A DC outlet, and two 5V USB ports.
When it comes to the features, the 56203i inverter generator has a fuel shutoff that turns off fuel flow. That way, the carburetor remains cleaner and requires minimum maintenance. Besides, this feature prolongs the unit’s lifespan. Another feature is the Eco-mode switch, making the machine’s engine automatically adjust its fuel consumption. Depending on the number of items plugged and unplugged from the panel, there will no longer be unnecessary fuel usage.
Of course, the low-oil and low-fuel automatic shutdown will aid you in case the tank empties. There’s also built-in overload protection and indicator lights for additional safety. Similar to most models, this one comes with a 2-year warranty.
6. Best Digital: POWERSMITH PGA2200i
The POWERSMITH PGA2200i is yet another inverter generator with 2200 Watts of output. In reality, this unit has a surge of 2200 Watts, and 1700 rated Watts. Either way, it’s pretty clean and comes in a compact size. Undoubtedly, its best feature is the runtime of up to 10 hours on 25% load and 6 hours on 50%. The digital dashboard will quickly show you the real-time load, current runtime, and other essential info. Also, there’s an LED indicator that’ll alert you if the generator’s low on oil, overloaded, or ready for use.
Another great advantage of this digital inverter generator is that it can run almost any type of widget. What’s more, you can parallel it with a second PGA2200i to garner up to 4400 Watts of power. Needless to say, the PGA2200i is perfect for camping or other types of outdoor activities. The 55-pound machine is portable enough for you to carry with its telescoping handle and dual rear wheels. This inverter generator’s suitcase design will allow you to fit it inside your car, truck, or RV.
Moreover, you can safely use it for tailgating without worrying about sensitive electronics like smartphones and laptops. The unit comes with two 120V AC outlets, 2 USB ports, and a 12V DC outlet for charging. The simplistic design makes the model extremely user-friendly. Simply turn the off, run, and choke knob. There’s also overload protection with an onboard reset button for additional safety.
7. Best Budget-Friendly: A-iPower SUA2000iV
If you’re low on money but still want to find a decent pick, the A-iPower SUA2000iV inverter generator will do wonders. This portable machine uses a four-stroke, single-cylinder 79-cc OHV engine. Its 2000 Watts of surge power and 1600 Watts of clean output. Similar to all other generators on the list, the SUA2000iV is excellent for tailgating. It will easily support sensitive electronics like mobile phones and laptops.
When it comes to noise levels, this unit is tranquil. Indeed, the 58 dB of noise puts the A-iPower portable generator on par with the competition. What’s more, the “Low Idle” technology will allow the machine to run for even more extended periods and much quieter. The built-in fuel gauge will alert you when it’s time to refill the tank.
Even though it doesn’t have many features, this inverter generator is ideal for camping, tailgating, and traveling. You can safely support TVs, a mini-fridge, or other demanding electronics. Its affordable price makes this product extremely attractive for those who are on a budget.
How to Buy a Tailgating Generator – Buyer’s Guide
By now, you’re probably aware that choosing a tailgating generator requires some knowledge in the field. That’s why it’s best to take a bit of reading before you pick a model. Of course, we’ll help you with some pinpoints to guide you through your choice. After all, there are some features and factors that you should consider before the purchase. Here are the most important ones:
Conventional or Inverter Generator
Before you decide, it’s necessary to know what type of generator you need for tailgating. Typically, you’ll have to pick either a conventional or an inverter generator. While both types can produce an output between 1500 and 4000 watts, there’s some difference between them, too.
Undoubtedly, the primary factor is clean power. As you may know, inverter generators produce much cleaner energy compared to traditional units. That way, they are suitable for electronics at tailgates. Besides, they are much quieter and are a great alternative to the generally noisy conventional generators. In terms of portability, they are also smaller and more featherweight than their predecessors. On the other hand, a traditional generator will produce more power, and it won’t cost you that much.
Whatever your choice, make sure that it corresponds with your needs. For example, if you want to power sensitive electronics like smartphones, speakers, etc. – go for an inverter generator. Of course, let’s not forget about the low level of noise pollution that inverter models offer. However, they may be too expensive for your budget, so you should look for a conventional generator. If you’re looking for more potency, then again, a traditional model will be the best option.
Needless to say, the power output of your generator will determine the number of electronics you can run at the same time. What’s more, it may either allow you or stop you from using appliances with higher power demands. Typically, an inverter generator will come with less but enough power to supply a tailgate party. A unit with 2000 starting watts and 1600 running watts will be generally decent for the purpose. Still, you may need something more potent, such as a conventional generator.
For this reason, one smart tip is to make a list of the applications you plan to run at tailgates. This trick will give you a clearer idea of how much power output you’ll need. Consequently, you’ll be able to make a much more accurate decision on what type of generator to buy.
Fuel Tank Capacity and Runtime
After making a decision regarding the power output, you must check the fuel tank capacity and runtime, too. Usually, a generator with a decent amount of fuel tank capacity will provide better runtime. However, bear in mind that the runtime also depends on the load. In other words, a generator will undoubtedly run a lot more at 25% load than at 100% or even 50%.
Of course, no one will be willing to refill a generator’s tank at night. Besides, sometimes some circumstances force you to prolong the use of the unit. That’s why it might be a better idea to have a larger fuel tank. If you’re up for small tailgate parties, then a compact generator will still deliver over 5 hours of power.
Another crucial factor to consider is the noise level. As you can imagine, a loud generator won’t be the best solution for your tailgate party. After all, everybody will want to enjoy the music, chat, etc. That’s why you must go for a noise-free operation. You can always try to keep your noisy unit far away from the gathering. However, that will require a too-long extension cord, which may not be the best you can do. Simply find an inverter generator or a noiseless conventional one that’ll work for you.
As already mentioned, inverters are generally more featherweight and portable as compared to traditional generators. But that doesn’t make them lightweight enough, so you can’t carry them for a long time. What you need is a model with a simple ergonomic handle or an H-shaped one in such cases. This will allow you to transport the unit from one place to another either alone or with a helping hand.
Furthermore, most conventional generators feature a foldable handle and two tires for even more comfortable transportation. Some models come with fold-down variants, so you can pull them without an effort. While you can’t predict which option will work best, you can certainly pick the one that suits your preferences.
As with any electrical appliance, you want your tailgating generator to have some safety features. Otherwise, there’s a high chance that you’ll run into some issues during your tailgate events. Of course, everybody wants to focus entirely on their music, drinks, etc. In this regard, features like low-oil shutoff and overload protection are good starters.
Moreover, the safety features will protect your generator from suffering permanent damage. For example, the low-oil shutoff sensor will turn the engine off when there’s a low oil level. The same goes for the overload protection, as it will prevent excessive load on your generator’s motor. Another great extra is the spark arrestor, which will avoid outbreaks of fire caused by electrical sparks.
By now, you may have a clearer idea of what model you’re going to buy. Still, you should make sure it has the power outlets you need. Typically, every tailgating generator must have at least two 120V AC household outlets. Another must-have outlet is an RV one, but you can also go for a 120/240V twist-lock one. Let’s not forget about a 12V DC outlet with a USB adapter, which will be an excellent extra for tailgating.
Your best shot would be to find a model with a 3-year warranty in terms of quality guarantee. Moreover, it’s best to have lifetime technical support, so you can fix any problems that may occur with your generator. Of course, that’s not always the case as some units come with a merely 1-year limited warranty. Make your choice wisely and ensure it has EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and CARB (California Air Resources Board) certificates.
Whatever you’re going for, the price will always be a decisive factor. That’s why you need to carefully weigh all your options, so you get the best bang for your bucks. As expected, inverter generators are sure to cost more than their conventional counterparts. However, such a unit will likely be a worthy investment. Thanks to the built-in safety features, you can use it both indoors and outdoors for years to come.
In comparison, all other types of generators may consume much higher amounts of fuel. In this regard, inverter generators are up to 50% more efficient. What’s more, they tend to have more high-tech features and better safety. Ideally, you may spend a bit more. Still, you’ll get much better overall performance from inverter generators.
Hopefully, you’ve learned some valuable things about tailgating generators. The buyer’s guide will give you a better understanding of how to properly search for a generator. Moreover, you’ll be able to find the perfect model for your specific needs and preferences.
If you’re still having trouble choosing a suitable unit, our top best generators for tailgating will help you pick. Of course, we’ve included only inverter generators because of their advantage over conventional ones. Besides, they’re a great backup power source in events of blackouts. Buy one of these, and you’ll surely lighten up your tailgating party.