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Best Portable Generators | Australia 2020 Buying Guide

In today’s modern age we all depend on electricity as our main power source, so getting the best portable generators to ensure you have electricity at all times is the common-sense thing to do.

They can power all your camping trips and RV adventures, as well as allowing you to work in places where electricity isn’t available.

In this article, we’ll explore different portable and dual fuel generators currently on the market, giving you comprehensive reviews and our top pick to help you make the right choice for your needs and budget.

We’ll also take a look at frequently asked questions about petrol generators, inverter generators and dual fuel generators, as well as how to use and maintain them.

So, without further ado, let’s get into it!

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What is a Dual Fuel Generator?

Benefits of a Dual Fuel Generator

Source: Amazon

Petrol generators and inverter generators are pretty straightforward, but there’s some confusion about what dual fuel generators are and how they work, so let’s start there.

Essentially, a dual fuel generator is an electronic household device that uses two types of fuel to generate electricity.

The “dual” part of the name suggests that two different types of fuels are used instead of one – petrol and propane. 

Once one fuel source runs out, the generator will keep on working by switching to the other fuel.

However, the best part about this technology is that the generator mostly uses a combination of the two. This ensures more efficient operation and less fuel consumption, which makes it suitable for those looking to use electric tools in their garden.

Once this electricity is generated, you can just plug in any device you need into the generator through the power outlets.

Although all this sounds pretty simple, there are a few other factors to consider so you can get the best generator for your needs.

Benefits of a Dual Fuel Generator

A couple using a Solar Generator

Source: Amazon

Durability and Reliability

The best thing about having a dual fuel generator is the ability to use all your tools and appliances even in a power outage.

Whether it’s an air compressor for DIY projects or a power tool for an emergency, you can rely on the generator to provide you with power for anything you need. 

In addition, they’re built with highly durable and reliable parts, which means that they’ll last a long time.

Cost-effective

Even though they cost more upfront than regular generators, they are much cheaper to operate. By using a mixture of two types of fuels, the generator optimizes its fuel consumption, which means you get more electricity for less fuel.

Portability

Almost all dual fuel generators are portable generators, which means you can use them both at home and on-the-go. They usually come with high-quality wheels for easy transportation and foldable handles for more compact storage.

You'll never know when you'll need a portable dual fuel generator.

Environment Friendly

Burning gasoline and propane together instead of just petrol means that dual fuel generators are more eco-friendly. Additionally, their efficient operation ensures less carbon emission per watt.

Easy maintenance

The engine of a dual fuel generator is easy to use and maintain. It automatically switches between the fuel types, so you don’t need to do too much.

Benefits of a Petrol Generator

Cost

Petrol generators are usually the cheapest models on the market, so they are ideal if you are looking for a portable generator that is very affordable.

 They are also usually a bit lighter too, which matters when you’re hauling it to different sites!

Running Costs

Petrol is cheaper than other fuel types, which makes it very cost-effective to run your generator. Diesel is often said to be more fuel-efficient, but recent breakthroughs in petrol technology has helped these engines compete effectively with diesel counterparts.

Safety Features

Today’s petrol generators have plenty of safety features to make them safe for home use, which helps address the potential risks of the spark ignition system they use.

Noise

Petrol engines run more quietly than diesel ones, so they are less likely to disturb residents and neighbours when they are running.

This is an important consideration if your home is fairly close to your neighbours, or if you have to keep your generator close by.

Maintenance

Maintenance is fairly low on petrol generators, although they do run hotter than their counterparts, which can increase wear and tear over time.

Benefits of an Inverter Generator

An inverter generator is not at all like petrol, diesel or dual fuel generators. Instead, it is a battery pack unit that charges off your mains supply or solar power, giving you the ability to run electrical equipment off the high-capacity batteries as needed.

What is a Dual Fuel Generator

Noise

These are so quiet! Other than the hum of a small computer fan, you won’t hear a thing, which makes them ideal for home or office use, or for using on camping trips where you want total peace and quiet.

Electricity Quality

If you are running computers, smartphones and other sensitive electronic equipment, you want an inverter generator because these offer very high-quality, clean electricity.

The electricity produced by fossil fuel generators can wear components out over time.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is determined by the quality of the batteries in your inverter. The best portable inverters have high-capacity, high tech batteries that can store a significant amount of power.

Of course, all batteries have a limited capacity and will require recharging, so you can’t keep them running indefinitely the way you can with a dual fuel or petrol generator.

You can extend the running time by charging the inverter as you use it using solar panels.

Portability

These generators are usually the lightest of all generator types, which is a key consideration when you’re looking for something you can transport easily.

Eco-Friendly

These generators charge off your electricity supply, either from your mains or solar panels, so it’s easy to make them exceptionally eco-friendly. Some solar generators even come with their own solar panels for charging!

In addition, they don’t produce any emissions and fumes, so you don’t have to worry about the environment or your nose while you’re running them.

How to Choose the Best Portable Generators

Each portable generator set has different features and specifications, so look out for these things when looking for the best portable generators:

How to Choose the Best Dual Fuel Generators

1. Fuel capacity

The fuel capacity determines how much fuel the generator can store.

The higher the capacity, the fewer refills you’ll need to make, which means you can enjoy uninterrupted electricity for longer. 

2. Power output

Measured in watts, the power output of a generator is a very important thing you need to consider. For starters, you need to know that there are two different outputs: peak and rated.

The peak output is the maximum output which the generator can produce, while the rated output indicates the general power output. Choosing the power output mostly depends on how you plan using the generator. 

For regular camping or RV trips, a lower output should do the trick, but if you wish to use it for your home in blackouts, you’ll need one with more power in order to run all your appliances, lighting, and gardening tools.

3. Safety Features

Safety is extremely important in all household devices, especially in ones that use fuel. The best portable generators should have a few safety features that make them safe enough to use in your home.

These include protection from overheating or overloading, and an automatic shut-down when the fuel is low.

4. Generator Noise Level

Generators produce noise as a result of the internal engine combustion, and this noise can’t be eliminated. However, it can be minimized. Every generator has its own noise level, so choose one according to your needs.

If you plan on using it around your garden, it’s best to find one that’s not overly loud to prevent you from disturbing your neighbours.

The Best Portable Generators of 2020

Rockpals 250W Solar Generator

Source: Amazon

This is a 250W portable generator equipped with a rechargeable lithium battery pack with the option of including solar panels. It is very compact and lightweight, weighing just 2.5kgs, making it ideal for camping or an emergency power supply.

It can power laptops, fans, the TV, lights or CPAP machine with ease. It’s one of the best portable generators and solar generators of 2020.

Pros:

  • Pure sine wave supply
  • 250W continuous (300W surge max) dual AC outputs
  • Built-in 2x USB 2.1A and 4x DC 12V ports
  • Eco-friendly – no noise or emissions
  • Ideal for powering sensitive electronics
  • Rechargeable lithium batteries: 222WH (3.7V 60Ah/12V 18.5Ah)
  • Able to charge smartphones 25 times, laptops 3-5 times, power 32" TVs for 2-3 hours, or power a mini-refrigerator or other small appliances, lights, and more (AC output) for the same period
  • Can be recharged using solar or mains
  • Comes with 2m AC adapter, 1m car charger cable, DC to Cig Socket adapter, user guide, and 18-month warranty
  • Low/no maintenance

Cons:

  • Fairly small unit, can run for 2-3 hours only
  • Needs time to recharge
Gentrax Inverter Generator

Source: Amazon

This is a 2.0Kw Max, 1.7Kw Rated, 100% pure sine wave petrol generator. It’s small size makes it ideal for camping or emergency home power, and it can run a small refrigerator, air-conditioner, lights or small appliances with ease.

As it’s a pure sine wave generator, it’s safe for sensitive electronics like tablets, laptops and medical devices. It’s easy to use and, at 58 decibels, is a pretty quiet machine too. 

Pros:

  • Pure sine wave supply
  • 240V 50Hz, max output of 2000W
  • Lightweight design at 22 kgs
  • 2 outlets
  • Safe for electronics
  • 9 hours of continuous output in economy mode
  • Low oil / overload protection
  • Accessories available
  • Comes with a protective cover and funnel

Cons:

  • Runs on petrol so it will emit fumes and some noise
  • Will require regular annual maintenance
  • Have to keep a supply of fuel on hand

KULLER Inverter Generator

Source: Amazon

This is a 4.2KW pure sine wave, single-phase petrol generator with DC output that is safe for electronic and medical devices. Rated for 3.5KW and weighing 26kgs, it is a bigger unit that isn’t too bulky to take camping or from site-to-site.

It can produce up to 4200 Watts of power, easily supplying your camping fridge, lights and small appliances.

Pros:

  • Pure sine wave supply
  • Safe for charging laptops and mobiles
  • 2x15A Australian Power Outlets (SAA Certified)
  • LED display
  • Low oil cut-out and integrated residual current circuit breaker with overcurrent protection
  • Designed for easy transport
  • Comes with waterproof cover, tool kit and user manual
  • 1 year factory warranty

Cons:

  • Bulkier unit at 50 x 48 x 35cm
  • Fairly heavy
  • Runs on petrol so it will emit fumes and some noise
  • Will require regular annual maintenance
  • Have to keep a supply of fuel on hand
SUSEMSE 2.0KW Inverter Generator

Source: Amazon

This is a silent portable petrol generator offering 2KW of pure sine wave power at 240V and 50Hz. It has a double layer or seismic isolation to ensure it runs as quietly as possible, which is ideal for home or office use, or while camping.

It has a useful operating panel feature to display usage and safety information, and is lightweight and compact in design. It’s fuel tank can take 4 litres of fuel, which allows it to run for about 6-10 hours on a rated to ¼ load.

Pros:

  • Pure sine wave supply
  • Lightweight at 14kg
  • Very quiet for a petrol engine, below 60 decibels
  • Safety features include lubricating oil alarm, overload protection, short circuit protection and DC overload protection
  • Rated output of 3200W, max output of 3700W
  • 6-10 hour run time

Cons:

  • Runs on petrol so it will emit fumes and some noise
  • Will require regular annual maintenance
  • Have to keep a supply of fuel on hand
Genpower GX12025i Petrol Commercial Generator

Source: Amazon

Less for camping and DIY and more for commercial use, this petrol commercial generator offers 6000W continuous output through a 420cc 4-stroke engine.

It is workplace safety compliant and features a safety switch and external earth point. This is a heavy generator at 90kgs, and is better suited to work in remote sites, construction work and home or workplace emergency power.

Pros:

  • Powerful 8.4kVA Max 6kVA output
  • Workplace safety features, including overload, low oil and high temperature warnings
  • Electric push button start
  • Automatic voltage regulation
  • Two 240V Commercial-grade outlets
  • Large 25l fuel tank
  • Digital voltmeter

Cons:

  • No pure sine wave supply, so not recommended for sensitive electronics
  • Bulky at 73x71x71cm
  • Heavy at 90kgs
  • Runs on petrol so it will emit fumes and noise (94 decibels)
  • Will require regular annual maintenance
  • Have to keep a supply of fuel on hand
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500

Source: Amazon

This is a great little electric inverter and solar generator offering 518W and a pure sine wave supply. It has multiple outlets including USB, AC outlets, and12V/10A carport DC output.

It is ideal for powering appliances under 500W such as a camping fridge, laptops, mobile, air pumps and more, offering 53 smartphone charges, 7 laptop charges, and 37 hours of running a small cooler. 

It recharges in just 8 hours from the mains or 12 hours from solar panels, and comes with a 24 month warranty.

Pros:

  • Pure sine wave supply
  • 220V/500W supply
  • Runs exceptionally quietly
  • Eco-friendly – no noise or emissions
  • Lightweight at just 6kgs
  • Full safety features including over-voltage protection and high-temperature protection
  • Can charge of mains or solar panels
  • LCD screen for monitoring battery status and power readings
  • Australia Safety Standards Certified
  • Low/no maintenance

Cons:

  • Needs time to recharge – 9 hours minimum
Westinghouse WHXC7000 Portable Generator

Source: Amazon

This is a petrol-powered generator with a 4-stroke 357cc Westinghouse engine. It’s impressively fuel efficient thanks to the extended run-time fuel tank, and it’s highly portable despite its size and weight due to its Never-Flat wheels.

It is easy to use with a simple power control centre and colour-coded touchpoints and has plenty of great safety features. It does have sine wave output, so it’s useful for powering office equipment and home appliances.

Pros:

  • 5,500W
  • Sine wave supply
  • Compliant with Australian and US Emissions Standards
  • Fairly quiet at 80 dB(A) at 100% Output
  • VFT meter displays voltage, frequency and run time
  • Dual 240V AC outlets and a 12V DC outlet
  • 15.3 hours run time at 50% output
  • 25 litre fuel tank
  • 2-year domestic use warranty

Cons:

  • Bulky at 79 x 72 x 56.5cm
  • Heavy at 80kgs
  • Runs on petrol so it will emit fumes and noise (80 decibels)
  • Will require regular annual maintenance
  • Have to keep a supply of fuel on hand

How to Maintain Your Portable Generator

Inverters and solar generators require little or no maintenance, although the batteries will have to be replaced at some point according to the manufacturer recommendations. For diesel and petrol generators, you need to:

  • Add and change the oil regularly

  • Drain the fuel tank or add fuel preservative when the generator is not in use. Fuel can decay in as little as 6 months, causing moisture and rust issues.

  • Clean and replace the air filters as needed.

  • Run your generator once a month for 30 minutes to keep it lubricated and operational

  • Keep it clean and clean well before storing in a dry space out of the sun and heat, protected by a cover.

  • Test the generator before you use it for camping, home or work use.

  • Get a professional service once a year.

Buy the Best Portable Generators of 2020

We hope this guide has helped you decide which of these portable generators is right for your needs, whether you want to use it for camping, at work or at home. 


Remember dual fuel generators and petrol offer a lot of power and are cheap to run, but they do produce noise and emissions, and are generally bigger, heavier machines that require maintenance. 


If you want something quiet and eco-friendly that needs no maintenance, then an inverter generator or solar generator is your best bet as they can even be charged off solar panels. 


However, you can’t refuel them but have to wait a while before the batteries recharge. Good luck shopping for the best portable generators of 2020!
Best Portable Generators Australia Buying Guide

This article has been provided by Julian Howard, the Compressedairman.

Julian is knowledgeable about all things machinery for garden use. He is passionate about helping people live productive lives.

Julian Howard, the Compressedairman

Julian’s compressor information site provides all the information you need to know about air compressors and compares the best air compressors you can buy.

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