How to Quickly Decide on Portable Generators and Accessories as Gifts

When deciding on portable generators and accessories for Christmas/Holiday or other gift giving events or just for personal use there are a few things to keep in mind so that you keep your choices appropriate and functional.

Making a few key decisions are needed to put you on the right track.

Before getting a portable generator or accessory as a gift or adding to your own emergency preparation these considerations are worthy of your time. Albeit everyone’s needs, wants, and expectations are different, asking and answering these questions will help you meet your objectives and make your buying decision more likely to a good one.

So where to start your questions?

thumbs_067930-3d-glossy-blue-orb-icon-alphanumeric-m01-clearFirst, decide what is the expected or anticipate use.

  1. Do you want a small tailgate/camping unit something in the 1500W range that will power a few small appliances or provide absolute basic minimal support in an emergency.
  2. Do you require a bit more power for the anticipated number of appliances or tools needed? A 3000 to 4000W generator can power a good number of household items at a reasonably economical rate of fuel consumption. This is also a great range for RVs.
  3. Do you want to power a large number of appliances or a household where a 6000 to 8000W generator will be plugged into a transfer switch and power the majority of the house or help handle power management to get the power needed throughout the house without worry of competing for available power.

 This is just the first consideration, I like to look at it two ways, what would I like to do vs, what is my minimal need. That way as you answer other questions you may adjust your range of need depending on answers to some of the following questions.

 Our favorite units in these various sizes:

Yamaha EF2000iS 1600/2,000 Watt 79cc OHV 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator (CARB Compliant)
Easily one of the best sellers and usable small generators. Click Here for : Yamaha EF2000i Full Review

 WEN 56352 3000/3500 Watt 212cc 7 HP OHV Gas Powered Portable Generator with Wheel Kit
WEN also has a couple of larger wattage choices giving you several options to choice from. Go Here for WEN 56352 Full Review

 Westinghouse WH7500E Portable Generator, 7500 Running Watts/9000 Starting Watts
This is one of the new hot sellers and we really like this one: Go Here for the Westinghouse WH7500 Review

Generac 5735 GP17500E 17,5000 Watt 992cc OHVI Gas Powered Portable Generator with Electric Start
For those in real demand of power you have to consider this one. The Generac 17500E Review

thumbs_067931-3d-glossy-blue-orb-icon-alphanumeric-m02-clearSecond question is a logistics consideration:

What will the fuel availability and expected power need look like?

  1. The larger the size of generator the more fuel consumption you can expect. Most manufactures publish a 50% load run time expectation which typically gets the user an 8 to 12 hour run per tank. On small 1500W generators you will have around a gallon or two tank size. On medium wattage units you’ll have 4 to 6 gallons and on larger portable generators you can have over 8 gallons to achieve the run times.
  2. The consideration here will be your intended use and fuel availability. If you’re in RV mode or other recreational use it’s likely that fuel should be readily available and it’s easy to say that you bring a 2 to 5 gallon gas can along to meet an expected 2 or 3 day outing. However, if you’re in an emergency situation where the latest storm has taken out your power and fuel deliveries to your area could be delayed, you’ll want to balance power need with what you can safely store for long periods of times.
  3. Fuel supply can be via small storage containers like those below this section or you may be able to use your car or truck’s fuel with a little effort. If you know you’re in a limited supply area you may go with a larger tank for storage such as at your cabin or ranch.
  4. If you plan on using 10 plus gallons a day to meet your power wants or needs you better be sure you can meet the fuel consumption requirements. At 5 days alone you could need over 50 gallons of fuel, let alone for a two week period.

 This is where the minimal need comes in and if using a larger generator you may be able to economize with low load to extend your use, but just by the very nature of a larger engine it’s likely not to be as efficient as a small one built to get maximum economics.

 For fuel storage here are a couple of items I discovered on our favorite online shopping source.

No-Spill 1405 2-1/2-Gallon Poly Gas Can (CARB Compliant)
These are great gas cans to help protect your property as well as the environment. This size is great for working with small generators that use 1 to 2 gallons in a day.

No-Spill 1450 5-Gallon Poly Gas Can (CARB Compliant)
The 5 gallon no-spill is a standard for keeping enough gas around to handle most needs. As indicated before consider your normal usage as well as potential emergency needs. 2 or 3 of these may be the way to go.

DuraMax Flo n’ Go LE Fluid Transfer Pump and 14-Gallon Rolling Gas Can
This Rolling gas can be just the right thing for servicing several units and also for making transfer easier to other locations, this unit is well worth your consideration.

STA-BIL 22214 Fuel Stabilizer – 32 Fl oz.
If you are going to store gasoline long term you need to consider that it deteriorates over time. Adding Stabilizers is an effective way of keeping it up to usable standard.

thumbs_067932-3d-glossy-blue-orb-icon-alphanumeric-m03-clearWhat or how will I need to connect my power source to my appliances or tools?

  1. With small generators it becomes obvious that extension cords are going to rule the day. They simply don’t have the connections to do anything else. The typical 25 foot to 100 foot long 3 prong extensions should be used. You can read more  on our article about Wire sizes and considerations, but in general the manufactures take care of the needs by telling you amperage capabilities.
  2. With medium wattage you can go with either the extension cord or a transfer switch for wattage up to 5000W. Typically the L14-20R or L14-30R receptacles are used to transfer the higher wattage along with the standard duplex 5-20R outlets. Be sure you know which L14 outlet the genie has as the 20 amp and 30 amp rating have different lock patterns.
  3. With the larger generators, most will look at the transfer switch option for whole house and potentially use some cords for miscellaneous needs. On the other hand if you do large event support a number of power cords to fit the various receptacles will be needed. Read more here on our article on selecting a transfer switch.

 Be sure to check out the type of connection available, an L5-30R or L14-30R, and a 14-50R are all very different. Having a cord for each type is a true benefit in time of need.

Check out these Cords for some great accessory gifts

Yellow Jacket 2991 20-Amp Generator Cord with T-Blade 5-20 Lighted Ends, 50-Feet Standard house receptacle cord, great for small generators and most others that have the standard duplex outlets. Don’t go over 100feet as you’ll likely lose to much voltage.

Conntek 20571 Generator Extension Cord 25-Foot 10/3 30 Amp 3 Prong NEMA L5-30 Eextension Cord
This one is great for those larger generators providing the locking L5 receptacle.  It often isn’t as common as the L14, but can provide more amps than the standard outlet.

Conntek 20602 50-Foot 10/4 30 Amp 125/250 Volt 4 Prong L14-30 Transfer Switch Cord/Generator Extension Cord
More typical of the medium to higher wattage generators for connecting to transfer switches or some RV’s

Conntek 14368 RV 30 Amp 25-Foot 10/3 Brilliant Yellow Extension Cord Straight Blade
Be sure you look at the RV connection the TT outlet is often times referred to as the RV outlet.

thumbs_067933-3d-glossy-blue-orb-icon-alphanumeric-m04-clearJust how portable do you need your generator to be for your expected use?

  1. A small Yamaha 2000i is less than 50 pounds and can be relocated quickly and easily and makes it ideal for recreational use as well as mobility for small jobs.
  2. With wheel kits the medium range generators weighting 100 to 200 lbs. are portable to move around but require some extra help if they need to be lifted into pickup or transported significant distances.
  3. With the very large generators the wheel kits are nice for minor movements around a house or job site. However, they can be a beast to move if you don’t have some equipment leverage to load and unload. Leaving one in the shed at the cabin is great if you’re going to be there a lot, otherwise it could turn out to be a real chore to have to use.

 Once you’ve decided on a wattage size be sure to check out if it’s light enough for you to move around per your expected needs or has a wheel kit for easier relocation. Generally speaking more watts means more weight as the engine size increases to provide the output needed.

Summary

There you have it 4 key questions that will help you zero in on a generator as a gift. Accessories like power extension cords and gas storage units are also great gifts for being able to utilize your genie to its full potential. 

Now get to it and zero in on what you need. If you need more information check out the current articles in the learning center section of our site a.k.a. buying tips and guides.

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