Top 3 Best Generators under $500

Top 3 Best Generators under $500 Overview

When purchasing a generator, there are a few key factors to consider that will ensure you find the best generator for your needs. With a budget of under $500, finding a generator with all the necessary features, reliability, and performance may seem challenging. However, with thorough research and evaluation, you can find a suitable option that meets your requirements. This article will dive into the most important aspects you should consider when purchasing the best generator under $500.

  1. Power Output:
    The first and most crucial factor to consider is the power output of the generator. This will determine the number of appliances and devices it can handle simultaneously. Look for generators with a wattage capacity that aligns with your needs. Consider your essential appliances, such as refrigerators, lights, or air conditioners, as well as any additional devices you may need to power during emergencies.
  2. Fuel Efficiency:
    Fuel efficiency is another crucial aspect. Generators that consume less fuel will not only save you money in the long run but also ensure you have enough fuel to power your essentials during a blackout. Look for generators with fuel-efficient engines, as they will generate more electricity with less fuel consumption.
  3. Reliability:
    Reliability is essential when selecting a generator. You want a product that will work consistently and withstand multiple uses. Look for generators with a good reputation for dependability and durability. Research the brand’s history and read user reviews to understand the product’s reliability.
  4. Noise Levels:
    Generators can be noisy, and if you plan to use it frequently or during nighttime, noise levels can be a significant factor. Look for generators with noise-reducing features, such as soundproofed casings or mufflers. User reviews often mention the noise levels, so pay attention to this feedback to ensure your generator operates silently.
  5. Portability:
    A portable generator is beneficial as it allows you to move it easily to different locations, whether for camping or during power outages. Consider the weight, size, and whether it has wheels or a handle for easier transportation. Portability might not concern everyone, but it’s worth considering if you plan to use the generator in different settings.

To help you make an informed decision, here are a few generator models within the under $500 price range worth considering:

  1. WEN 56200i 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator:
    This generator offers quiet operation, ideal for camping or other noise-related situations. It can power various appliances and devices with a rated wattage of 1600 watts and a peak wattage of 2000 watts. It is fuel-efficient and lightweight, making it an excellent choice for those who prioritize portability.
  2. Westinghouse WGen3600 Portable Generator:
    With a 3600-watt starting and 3250-watt running capacity, this generator can provide power to many household appliances during an outage. It offers a reliable engine and a long run-time, ensuring you have electricity when needed. While slightly heavier, it comes with wheels and a handle, making transportation convenient.
  3. DuroStar DS4000S Portable Generator:
    This generator has a 4000-watt starting and 3300-watt running capacity, providing sufficient power for various devices and appliances. It is known for its durability and dependability. While it may be a bit noisier compared to some other models, its solid construction and reliability make it a popular choice in this price range.

Now, let’s hear from some generator owners to add credibility and assist you further in making a decision:

John, a WEN 56200i owner, states, “I’ve been using this generator for camping trips, and it has been fantastic. It runs quietly, allowing us and neighboring campers to enjoy a peaceful experience. It powers our mini-fridge, lights, and charges our devices with ease. Highly recommend it!”

Sarah, who owns a Westinghouse WGen3600, shares her experience: “During a recent power outage, this generator saved us. It powered our refrigerator, lights, and TV without any problems. The handle and wheels made it easy to move around, despite the slightly heavier weight. Definitely worth the investment!” Check Top Best Generators under $500 here.

Below are Top 3 Best Generators under $500

1. WEN 56235i Super Quiet 2350-Watt

The WEN 56235i Super Quiet 2350-Watt Portable Inverter Generator is a standout product in the world of portable generators. Designed to be ultra lightweight and user-friendly, this generator is perfect for both outdoor enthusiasts and emergency power needs.

One of the standout features of the WEN 56235i is its super quiet operation. When running at maximum capacity, this generator produces just 51 decibels of noise, making it quieter than a normal conversation. This is a huge benefit for campers or outdoor events where noise pollution can be a concern. Users have praised the generator’s ability to provide power while maintaining a peaceful atmosphere.

In terms of performance, the WEN 56235i delivers. With a peak power output of 2350 watts and a running power of 1900 watts, it can handle a variety of applications. Users have reported successfully running camping essentials like lights, a mini-fridge, and even charging their smartphones and laptops simultaneously. The fuel shut off feature, in particular, is a bonus as it allows the generator to run fuel-free, saving costs and reducing pollution while not in use.

One downside to the WEN 56235i is its limited power output. While it is capable of running essential appliances, it may struggle with high-demand devices like air conditioners or power tools. However, this is a common limitation among portable generators of this size.

Real-life examples from users emphasize the generator’s positive attributes. One camper reported being able to power their entire campsite without disturbing neighboring campers, while another user mentioned how the generator provided essential power during a recent power outage, keeping their food from spoiling and powering their devices for communication.

In conclusion, the WEN 56235i Super Quiet 2350-Watt Portable Inverter Generator offers outstanding features, performance, and benefits. Its lightweight design, fuel shut off feature, and whisper-quiet operation make it a standout choice for camping and emergency power needs. While it may not handle high-demand devices, it excels in powering essential appliances and electronics. With its impressive capabilities and positive user experiences, the WEN 56235i is a reliable and suitable choice for a variety of applications.

2. Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment 4650 Peak Watt Portable

The Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment 4650 Peak Watt Portable Generator is a reliable and versatile power source that is perfect for both outdoor activities and emergency situations. With its key features, impressive performance, and user-friendly design, it has gained a reputation as a top choice among consumers.

One of the standout features of this generator is its RV readiness. It comes equipped with a 30A outlet, making it compatible with most RVs on the market. This capability allows users to power their RV appliances and devices directly from the generator, eliminating the need for an additional power source or adapter. This is particularly convenient for camping trips where access to electricity is limited.

In terms of performance, the Westinghouse generator delivers an impressive 4650 peak watts. This level of power is more than sufficient to run multiple household appliances simultaneously during a power outage or to support a variety of electrical devices during outdoor recreational activities. The generator boasts a 4-gallon fuel tank that can provide a continuous runtime of up to 18 hours at a 25% load, ensuring long-lasting power supply without the need for frequent refueling.

The gas-powered mechanism of the Westinghouse generator is another notable feature. The use of gasoline as fuel ensures easy accessibility and affordability for users. Gasoline is readily available at most gas stations, making it convenient to refuel the generator even in remote locations. Additionally, the generator includes an easy-to-read fuel gauge, allowing users to monitor the fuel level and plan accordingly.

Another significant advantage of the Westinghouse generator is its compliance with CARB (California Air Resources Board) regulations. CARB compliance ensures that the generator meets emissions standards, making it environmentally friendly and suitable for use in areas with strict air quality regulations.

Real-life examples of the Westinghouse generator being used in various situations further highlight its versatility and reliability. Numerous customers have reported using this generator during camping trips, where it has powered their RVs, outdoor lights, electric stoves, and charging devices. The ability to supply ample power for extended periods allows campers to enjoy a comfortable and convenient outdoor experience.

During power outages, the Westinghouse generator has also proven its worth. Customers have praised its ability to keep essential household appliances, such as refrigerators, lights, and sump pumps, running smoothly. This provides peace of mind during emergencies and ensures that homeowners can maintain a semblance of normalcy until power is restored.

However, some users have reported minor drawbacks with this generator. One common complaint is the noise level, with some customers finding it louder than expected. While it is still within acceptable limits for a generator, the noise may be noticeable in quiet outdoor settings or during nighttime use.

In conclusion, the Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment 4650 Peak Watt Portable Generator is a highly reliable and user-friendly choice. With its RV readiness, 30A outlet, gas-powered mechanism, and CARB compliance, it offers convenience, versatility, and eco-friendliness. Real-life experiences shared by customers illustrate how it has been successfully used in various situations, such as camping trips and power outages. Although there are minor drawbacks, such as noise levels, the overall performance and functionality of this generator make it an excellent investment for anyone in need of portable and reliable power.

3. WEN 5600-Watt Portable Generator, Electric Start

The WEN 5600-Watt Portable Generator, Electric Start, 224cc, Transfer-Switch, and RV-Ready with CO Shutdown Sensor (GN5602X) is a highly efficient and reliable generator that has received rave reviews from users. With its powerful 224cc engine, electric start, and transfer switch capability, it is a versatile and convenient choice for various applications, including RV use and emergency power backup.

One of the standout features of the WEN 5600-Watt generator is its CO shutdown sensor. This sensor detects high levels of carbon monoxide in the surrounding air and automatically shuts down the generator to prevent any potential dangers. This feature is crucial for ensuring safety, especially in enclosed spaces such as RVs or during power outages when the generator may be running for extended periods of time.

User reviews highlight the importance of the CO shutdown sensor and how it has helped prevent CO poisoning accidents. One user mentioned how they were using the generator during a camping trip and forgot to crack open a window in their RV. The CO shutdown sensor detected the rising levels of carbon monoxide and shut down the generator, potentially saving their lives.

In terms of performance, the WEN 5600-Watt generator consistently delivers reliable power, even during heavy loads. Users have successfully used this generator to power their RVs during trips, ensuring a comfortable experience with all necessary appliances running smoothly.

Compared to similar products in the market, the WEN 5600-Watt generator stands out for its combination of power, features, and affordability. While there are other generators with similar wattage capacities, the inclusion of an electric start and transfer switch capability makes the WEN model more user-friendly and convenient.

In conclusion, the WEN 5600-Watt Portable Generator, Electric Start, 224cc, Transfer-Switch, and RV-Ready with CO Shutdown Sensor (GN5602X) is a worthy investment for potential buyers. Its powerful engine, electric start, transfer switch capability, and CO shutdown sensor make it a reliable and safe choice for various applications. Whether you need a backup power source for emergencies or a portable generator for your RV adventures, the WEN 5600-Watt generator is sure to meet your needs.

Here’s a detailed comparison table for the WEN 56235i Super Quiet 2350-Watt Generator, the Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment 4650 Peak Watt Portable Generator, and the WEN 5600-Watt Portable Generator with Electric Start:

FeatureWEN 56235i Super Quiet 2350WWestinghouse 4650W GeneratorWEN 5600W Generator
Power Output2350W (peak 2350W)4650W (peak 4650W)5600W (peak 6500W)
Noise Level52dB at 22 feet65dB at 23 feet (25% load)74dB at 20 feet (50% load)
Run Time at 50% LoadUp to 6 hours18 hours (at 25% load)7.5 hours (at 50% load)
Fuel Capacity1 gallon4.0 gallons6.2 gallons
Electric StartNoYesYes
Outlets2 AC, 1 DC, 2 USB4 AC, 1 DC, 1 RV outlet4 AC, 1 DC, 1 RV outlet
Inverter TechnologyYesNoNo
Weight39 lbs (17.7 kg)103 lbs (46.7 kg)182.5 lbs (82.8 kg)
Additional FeaturesParallel capability, eco modeRV-ready, remote start optionElectric start, wheel kit,
hour meter, overload protection
Warranty2 years3 years2 years


  • Power Output: The Westinghouse generator offers the highest power output, suitable for running a wide range of appliances and tools, while the WEN 56235i is the least powerful but more fuel-efficient.
  • Noise Level: The WEN 56235i is the quietest, making it ideal for situations where noise is a concern. The Westinghouse generator is quieter compared to the WEN 5600W generator.
  • Run Time: The Westinghouse generator provides the longest runtime at 25% load, making it great for extended use without frequent refueling.
  • Fuel Capacity: The WEN 5600W generator has the largest fuel tank, offering extended runtimes but making it less portable due to its weight.
  • Electric Start: Both the Westinghouse and WEN 5600W generators have electric start, providing convenience.
  • Outlets: All three generators offer multiple outlets, including RV outlets for added versatility.
  • Inverter Technology: The WEN 56235i features inverter technology, which provides clean and stable power suitable for sensitive electronics.
  • Additional Features: Each generator has unique features, such as parallel capability, eco mode, remote start option, and overload protection.
  • Warranty: The Westinghouse generator offers the longest warranty at 3 years, providing added peace of mind.

Pros and Cons:

WEN 56235i:

  • Pros: Super quiet operation, inverter technology, portable.
  • Cons: Lower power output, shorter runtime.

Westinghouse Generator:

  • Pros: High power output, long runtime, remote start option.
  • Cons: Heavier, higher noise level.

WEN 5600W Generator:

  • Pros: High power output, electric start, long runtime.
  • Cons: Heavy and loud.


  • Choose the WEN 56235i for camping and situations where noise is a concern. It’s lightweight and fuel-efficient.
  • Opt for the Westinghouse 4650W Generator for extended power needs in outdoor settings like construction work, with the added benefit of remote start.
  • Select the WEN 5600W Generator for backup power during emergencies or construction work when higher power output is essential. Be prepared for its weight and noise level.

The choice should depend on your specific needs and priorities, whether you prioritize noise level, power output, or extended runtime.

In conclusion, when purchasing the best generator under $500, consider factors such as power output, fuel efficiency, reliability, noise levels, and portability.

Thoroughly research different models within your budget range and read user reviews to understand their performance better.

Consider personal experiences and testimonials from generator owners to gain insights and make a well-informed decision. With proper evaluation and a clear understanding of your needs, you can find a reliable generator that fits your budget. Check Top Best Generators under $500 here.

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