The best portable generator to take to the beach

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If you plan on powering sensitive consumer electronics, you should buy an inverter generator that provides stable power output.

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Powering your party on the beach

Everyone loves the beach, but it’s not necessarily technology-friendly, especially if you need a little extra power. While this is fine if you are just going there to swim, commune with nature or get a suntan, it can be problematic if you plan a party with a sound system or simply want to run a few devices to keep yourself entertained. 

We’ve found the best portable generators to take to the beach, including traditional gas generators and completely silent solar models. Our current favorite is the Jackery Explorer 500 because it is easy to carry, has enough watt-hours to power several devices for a reasonable length of time and boasts a durable build.

What to consider when buying a generator for the beach?

Solar or gas

First, you have to decide whether you want a gas model or a solar one to bring with you to the beach. Each offers benefits and drawbacks.

Jackery SolarSaga 100W

Solar generators are essentially batteries that recharge via solar panels. They are larger and more powerful than the average power bank you use to recharge a smartphone but smaller and less powerful than gas-powered generators. They are also completely silent, which is a plus when trying to relax on the beach, and don’t require you to transport smelly gasoline. On that note, you will have to buy a solar panel, such as Jackery SolarSaga 100W or the Goal Zero Nomad 100W, to recharge them.

blender

If you are trying to run appliances, like a blender for whipping up some frozen cocktails or string lights for a nighttime event, you’ll need the power that only a gas generator can provide. These will be significantly larger, heavier, and noisier than solar generators but offer much more wattage for more extended periods.

Quiet operation

As mentioned, if you choose a solar generator, noise won’t be an issue, but it definitely can be with gas generators. Our recommendations are some of the quietest gas generators you can find, but if you’re considering buying a different model you had your eye on, look for a decibel rating to get an indicator of how loud it is.

Portability

beach cart

When it comes to portability, you should take both size and weight into account. The smaller a generator is, the easier it will be to fit in a vehicle with the rest of your beach gear. Once you get to the parking lot, you’ll need to carry your generator to your beach spot, so weight should play a significant role in your decision-making process. The lightest gas generators typically weigh at least 27 pounds, though the Sportsman GEN1000I-PL, which comes in at just 19 pounds, is an exception. If you don’t relish the idea of carrying an additional 20-30-pounds, you might want to pick up a beach cart for an assist.

Wattage

Solar generators often top out at providing 80 to 100 watts of power, with many notably less. And even then, they can’t give this much power for very long without running out of juice. This means they are best for small devices like phones, tablets, cameras, drones and laptops. 

If you want to power larger devices than that, you’ll have to choose a gas generator. It is always a good idea to check the specs of any devices or appliances you hope to power with your generator, ensuring the model you are considering fits your needs. You should note that the prominent wattage ratings are for peak power, and the constant operating capacity will be 100 or more watts less.

The best portable generator for beach days

Best solar generators

Jackery Explorer 500

Jackery Explorer 500

With three USB slots, a 110-volt AC outlet and two DC ports, the Explorer 500 can power several devices simultaneously. It is barely larger than a basketball, yet stores up 518 Wh of energy.

Sold by Amazon

Jackery Explorer 240

Jackery Explorer 240

At a mere 6.5 pounds, pretty much anyone can carry the Explorer 240 to their favorite spot on the beach. It is best suited for small devices like tablets and phones, though it still features an AC outlet for those times you need to power slightly larger devices like drones and laptops.

Sold by Amazon

Goal Zero Yeti 150

Goal Zero Yeti 150

This compact and affordable option can provide up to 80 watts of modified sine wave AC power, which is enough for laptops, digital cameras, and low-powered light bulbs. An integrated handle on the top makes it easy to carry, and it is backed by a 24-month warranty.

Sold by Amazon, Backcountry, and Home Depot 

Paxcess 330W

Paxcess 330W

The Paxcess 330W has many built-in safety features, including short circuit, overload and overcurrent protection, so you won’t have to worry about plugging expensive consumer electronics into it. In addition to various ports, one of which is a grounded 3-prong outlet, it also features a Qi-enabled wireless charging pad.

Sold by Amazon

Tacklife Power Station 300

Tacklife Power Station 300

This compact solar generator from Tacklife is easy to transport and has a vivid LCD screen that keeps you abreast of the remaining battery life and how much power it is supplying. Its handles flip up when you need them, and fold away when not in use for compact storage.

Sold by Amazon

Best traditional portable generators

Yamaha EF1000iS

Yamaha EF1000iS

Capable of supplying up to 900 watts of constant power, yet weighing just 28 pounds and producing an average of 52 dBA of noise at a ¼ load, the EF1000iS offers the perfect balance of portability and performance for many users.

Sold by Amazon

Sportsman GEN1000I-PL

Sportsman GEN1000I-PL

You’ll be hard-pressed to find another 1,000-watt rated generator that weighs as little as the GEN1000I-PL. It can run at half load for roughly six hours on a tank of gas and, while it isn’t the quietest, it is surprisingly affordable.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Honda EU1000i

Honda EU1000i

Often used by liveaboard sailors for its quiet operation and how well it withstands exposure to the harsh marine environment, this Honda generator should last you through plenty of beach trips. If needed, you can daisy-chain two units together for powering high-draw appliances.

Sold by Amazon 

Champion Power Equipment 2500-Watt Dual Fuel

Champion Power Equipment 2500-Watt Dual Fuel

Though heavy and best transported on a beach cart, this dual-fuel model offers the versatility to run gasoline or propane. It also boasts enough wattage to power a serious sound system for those large parties.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Westinghouse iGen1200

Westinghouse iGen2200

The iGen2200 is a stand-out choice if you need a lot of power on a small budget. It has less than 3% THD, so you don’t have to worry about it damaging sensitive electronics, and it is EPA and CARB compliant for use in every state.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Generac GP1200i

Generac GP1200i

Though a bit heavier than comparable models, the GP1200I is a reliable model that doesn’t break the bank. It is equipped with helpful LED indicators and features an economy mode that automatically adjusts the engine speed to conserve fuel.

Sold by Amazon

 

Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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