TOP 10 BEST 50 AMP PORTABLE GENERATORS: Buying Guide & Reviews

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Table of Contents:

I. Introduction
1.1 What is a Portable Generator?
1.2 How do you specify a Portable Generator?
1.3 Watts, volts, and amps
II. Brief description of a 50 AMP Portable Generator
III. Application and areas where 50 Amp Portable Generator can be used
IV. Top 10 50 Amp Portable Generators and their Pros and Cons
4.1 Table comparing features of 50 amp Portable Generators
V. Buying guide (what to look for when buying)
5.1 You may decide to get the maximum watts you can afford.
VI. Conclusion

I. Introduction

In today’s modern life, electricity plays a very important role and we are accustomed to this facility to the extent that we have taken its availability for granted.

Electricity allows you to enjoy the coolness of an air conditioner in the summer and warmth of the heating system in winter. It also preserves your food as well as those precious medicines for your elders in the refrigerator.

You also need electricity to run your office, business, the small workshop, or on-site construction work if you are an entrepreneur.

So, what if there is a disturbance in the power supply from your Electric Company due to natural calamities like earthquake, hurricane, fire, or any other exigencies.

Or you have to work at a construction site where there is no electricity. This is where the idea of a Portable Generator comes to help you. During exigencies and power outages, Portable Generators provide an alternate source of power.

What is a Portable Generator?

A Portable Generator is a small self-contained unit that produces electric power for your use.

A generator is a unit to convert mechanical spinning movement to electrical energy or current through a process called ‘Electro-Magnetic Induction’.

A simple Electric Generator consists of a stationary magnetic field called Stator, in which a rotor (armature) spins to produce an electrical current.

Portable Generator consists of two units, an Electric Generator and an Internal Combustion Engine run by Gasoline or Propene to provide spinning / rotating motion to the armature of the Generator.

Generators are capable of producing both AC and DC power. However, you need AC (alternating current) for your day-to-day use.

The amount of power generated by a Portable Generator is expressed in watts and depends on the size of the electric generator and the motor attached to it.

How do you specify a Portable Generator?

Portable Generator is specified by the power (watts) it generates. There are two power ratings, starting watts (also referred to as peak/surge watts) and running watts (also referred to as rated / continuous watts).

A starting or surge watt is available for only a few seconds, while the rated/running / continuous watt is available continuously.

Watts, volts, and amps

Electric power is expressed in watts. Electric current is expressed in ampere or amp.
Voltage, expressed as volts, is the force responsible for the movement of current.

Think of your tap in the washbasin- amps is the volume of water flowing through the pipe, voltage is the water pressure and watt is the power which you feel when the water from the tap strikes your hand.

Watt is calculated by the formula, watts= volts multiplied by amps.

II. Brief description of a 50 AMPs Portable Generator.

30 vs 50 Amp Receptacles
50 amps Portable Generator is the one that has an output receptacle of 50 amps current from where you can draw the electrical connection. Does this mean all Portable Generators with 50 amps output receptacle will give you 50 amps?

Some appliances work on 120 Volts and a few others work on 240 Volts. Total current available from the receptacle of a 50 amps Portable Generator may be more than 50 Amps @ 120 Volts and may be much less than 50 Amps @ 240 Volts.

The total current available from a receptacle is limited by a circuit breaker. 50 amps Portable Generators follow the standard 60 Hertz frequency.

Portable Generators specify Starting and Continuous watts. You can easily calculate the current (amps) since you know the voltage (120 / 240), by using the formula Amps = Watts divided by volts.

Unlike a 30 amps receptacle outlet which has 3 prongs including one 120 volts hot wire, 50 amps receptacle outlet has 4 prongs-two 120 volts hot wires, one neutral and one ground and can feed two independent 120-volt lines or one 240 volts line.

Some 50 amps Portable Generators are dual voltage and also output 240 volts, while others are not able to deliver 120 volts and 240 volts for simultaneous use.

Portable Generator with Starting Watts-12000 and Running Watts-9500 will give starting current of 50 amps and running current of 39.6 amps (both @ 240 Volts).

The calculation is very simple

Current (amps) = watts divided-by voltage i.e. 12000/240 =50 Amps & 9500/240=39.6 Amps.

On similar lines, @ 120 volts current available is 100 amps and 79.16 amps.

III. Application and areas where 50 Amp Portable Generator can be used

There are many applications where 50 amp Portable Generator can be used:

[1] If your area of residence/office is prone to natural calamities like earthquakes, hurricanes, fire, and floods which lead to long periods of Grid-power outages, 50 amp Portable Generator will become your back-up power supply and run your appliances in-home or business. You need to install a change-over switch and another necessary wiring to use the 50 Amps Portable Generator for your home/office back-up.

[2] If you are a business person doing out-door construction work where there is no grid-power, you can use your 50 amps Portable Generator to run your construction tools and equipment.

[3] You can use your 50 amps Portable Generator to power your Recreation Vehicle (RV) or camp equipment when you and your family are holiday camping. Some 50 amps Portable Generators are RV ready, for others small wiring may be needed.

[4] 50 amps Portable Generator can be used as a power back-up for your ranch or farm.

IV. Top 10 50 Amp Portable Generators and their Pros and Cons

All the 50 Amps Portable Generators discussed in the following paras have a sturdy metal frame with foldable handle and no-flat wheels and also electric start. Hence these features are not repeated under each head.

Table comparing features of 50 amp Portable Generators

Sl.
No.
Model No of Portable Generator→
Product Information↓
100111W Gen 12000 DFW Gen 9500SUA 12000EXP 12000EHXP10000EHPG 10000B16WEN DF1100TH08051R12000DF
01Name of the manufacturerChampion Power EquipmentWestinghouseWestinghouseA-iPowerDuroMaxDuroMaxPulsarWENFirmanRainier
02Fuel typeGasolineGasoline / Propane
Dual
GasolineGasolineGasoline / Propane
Dual
Gasoline / Propane
Dual
Gasoline / Propane
Dual
Gasoline / Propane
Dual
Gasoline / Propane
Dual
Gasoline / Propane
Dual
03Starting watts
(for gasoline)
15000150001250012000120001000010000110001000012000
04Starting Amps (for gasoline)62.5A at 240 V
125V at 120V
62.5A at 240 V
125V at 120V
52A at 240V
104A at 120V
50A at 240V
100A at 120V
50A at 240V
100A at 120V
41.7 A at 240V
83 A at 120V
41.7 A at 240V
83 A at 120V
45.8 A at 240V
91.6 A at 120V
41.7 A at 240V
83 A at 120V
50A at 240V
100A at 120V
05Running watts
(for gasoline)
120001200095009000950080008000830080009500
06Running amps (for gas)50A at 240V
100A at 120V
50A at 240V
100A at 120V
39.6 A at 240V
79.2 A at 120V
37.5 A at 240V
75 A at 120V
39.6 A at 240V
79.2 A at 120V
33.3 A at 240V
66.7 A at 120V
33.3 A at 240V
66.7 A at 120V
34.6 A at 240V
69.2 A at 120 V
33.3 A at 240V
66.7 A at 120V
39.6 A at 240V
79.2 A at 120V
07Starting watts
(for propane)
Not applicable (NA)13500NANA10200950090009500905010800
08Starting amps (for propane)NA56.25 A at 240V
112.5 A at 120V
NANA42.5 A at 240V
85 A at 120V
39.6 A at 240V
79.2 A at 120V
37.5 A at 240V
75 A at 120V
39.6 A at 240V
79.2 A at 120V
37.71 A at 240V
75 A at 120V
45 A at 240V
90 A at 120V
09Running watts
(for propane)
NA10800NANA807576007000750072508550
10Running amps (for propane)NA45 A at 240V
90 A at 120V
NANA33.6 A at 240V
67.3 A at 120V
31.7 A at 240V
63 A at 120V
29.2 A at 240V
58.3 A at 120V
31.3 A at 240 V
62.5 A at 120V
30.2 A at 240 V
60.4 A at 120V
35.6 A at 240V
71.3 A at 120V

11Fuel tank size Gallons10.910.56.678.38.3
6.66.686.6
12Run time at 50% load in Hours
For Gasoline
9111291010.4128.51217 @ 25%
Load
13Electric StartYesYes
Push-button
Yes
Push-button
Yes
Push-button
Yes
Key-start
Yes
Keyed
Yes
Push-button
Yes
Keyed
Yes
Push-button
Yes
Push-button
14Recoil StartNot mentionedYesYesYesYesYesYesNot givenYesYes
15Fuel gaugeNot mentionedYesYesYesYesNot mentionedNot mentionedNot mentionedYesYes
16Remote startNoYesYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
17RV readyNot mentionedYesYesNot mentionedYes
18BatteryYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
19Product dimension in inches
L * B * H
33.6*26.6* 33.334*31* 3527.2*26.1* 26.527*27* 2740*29* 27.531*23* 2328.5*22.2* 21.827.3*20.6* 21.932.1*22.2* 24.427.2*26.1* 26
20Product weight in pounds
(Dry weight)
330352220206234256209214221200
21Decibels at 23 feet78787472Not mentionedNot mentioned7472
22Customer review on Amazon.comview hereview hereview hereview hereview hereview hereview hereview hereview hereview here
Note: Value of current at number 04, 06, 08, and 10 are calculated based on respective watts and the actual current may be limited by the circuit breaker.
1. Champion 12000 Watts Portable Generator Model 100111 with starting watts 15000 and continuous watts 12000, with low oil, set off the sensor, EPA certified and CARB compliant

Champion is one of the well-known brands of Portable Generators.

This Portable Generator is powered by 717 CC, 4-stroke, V-twin, air-cooled engine, and suitable for 120 /240 V operation.

Convenient back-up power for your large home and can electrify all the tools of your construction site and appliances of your RV; can be used as back-up power for your ranch or farmhouse.

Covered outlets
120 V 30 A L5-30R locking1
120 /240 V 30 A L14-30R Locking1
120/240 V 50 A L14-50R1
120 V 20 A 5-20R GFCI household outlet4

The Gauges on the panel helps you to keep track of voltage, hertz, and runtime hours and to fix the maintenance schedule.

Built-in volt-guard surge protection prevents over-loading and keeps your appliances safe.

Three years limited warranty (parts and labor) for residential use. 270 days limited warranty (parts and labor) for industrial and commercial use.

Pros

  • Cold start feature.
  • Reliable brand and a wide selection of covered outlets.
  • Huge wattage to meet your needs.

Cons

  • Run time is less.
  • At 330 pounds dry weight, may need help for moving.

2. Westinghouse W Gen 12000 DF dual fuel Portable Generator with starting watts 15000 and continuous watts 12000, AC Voltage 120/240V with automatic low oil shut-down, EPA & CARB compliant, Transfer switch and RV ready.

This unit is powered by 713 cc, OHV twin-cylinder engine with smart idler for better fuel efficiency when your Portable Generator runs idle or at low load.

12000 continuous watts make this Portable Generator a good back-up power for your large home and to electrify all the tools of your construction site and your RV, and can be used as back-up power for your ranch or farmhouse.

Covered outlet, GFCI
Duplex 120 V 20A 5-20R2
120 V 30 A L5-30R1
120/240 V 50 A 14-50R1
120/240 V 30A L14-30R1
5V USB ports2

VFT display panel with Frequency meter, voltage meter, run/maintenance timer, and overload protection makes it safe and helps to prepare maintenance schedule.

Warranty- Three years limited warranty for domestic use and one-year limited warranty for commercial use.

Pros

  • Covered outlets. Reputed and reliable brand.
  • Dual fuel and sufficient wattage to meet your needs. Out of stock many times.
  • Automatic choke.

Cons

  • The fuel tank could have been bigger for more run time.
  • At 352 pounds dry weight, may need help for moving.

3. Westinghouse W Gen 9500 Portable Generator with starting watts 12500 and continuous watts 9500, AC voltage 120 / 240 volts, with automatic low oil shut-down, Transfer switch, and RV ready.

This unit powered by 457 cc, OHV 4 stroke engine makes it optimum back-up power for your home and to electrify the required tools of your construction site and your RV.

VFT Display panel with a voltage meter, frequency meter, Run/maintenance timer, and overload circuit breaker protection gives safety to your appliances and helps make maintenance schedules.

Warranty- Three years limited warranty for domestic use and one-year limited warranty for commercial use.

Covered outlets
Duplex 120 V 20A 5-20R2
120/240 V 30 A L14-30R1
120/240 V 50 A 14-50R1
5V USB ports2

Pros 

  • Covered and convenient outlets.
  • Sufficient run time. Automatic choke
  • Brand reliability.

Cons

  • Louder at full load.
  • Stockout many times.

4. A-iPower SUA 12000 E Portable Generator with starting watts 12000 and continuous watts 9000, automatic low oil shut-down and EPA certified in 49 states

This unit is powered by A-iPower 459 CC, single-cylinder, Air-cooled OHV engine and it has sufficient power for your home back-up power supply or to electrify the required tools of your construction site and your RV.

Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR) minimizes voltage fluctuation and delivers consistent power.

LCD with a voltmeter, hour meter, and circuit breaker provides status and ensure the safety of your appliances.

GFCI protected covered outlets as below provide added protection under damp conditions.
120 VAC 20A GFCI protected4
120/240 VAC 30A, L5-30R Twist lock1
120/240 VAC 30A L5-30R Twist lock1
120/240 VAC 50A 14-50R Industrial grade1
12V 8.3 A multifunction port-USB ready1

Warranty- Two years limited warranty for residential use and one-year limited warranty for commercial use.

Pros

  • Covered and convenient outlets
  • At 206 pounds portability is easy.
  • Optimum power

Cons

  • Residential warranty is 2 years
  • Low run time.
  • No CARB

5. DuroMax XP 12000 EH Dual fuel Portable Generator with starting watts12000 and continuous watts 9500 with home back up and RV ready, EPA and CARB approved in 50 states.

This unit is powered by 457 CC OHV DuroMax engine with MX2 volts doubling switch and outputs maximum power from each of the 120 volts receptacles.

You can operate this at both 120 and 240 volts simultaneously or use 120 Volts with full power.

Power panel includes Low oil indicator, GFCI protected household outlets, voltmeter, circuit breaker, idle control, MX2 switch, and 12 V DC charging ports.

Detail of outlets
120/240V 50A Heavy-duty outlet1
120/240V 30A Twist lock outlet1
120V 30A Twist lock outlet1
120V 20A Household outlet2

DuroMax Portable Generators have 30 days replacement warranty and carry limited full one-year parts warranty.

Pros 

  • Convenient selection of outlets
  • Dual fuel
  • Sufficient power and electric cum recoil start

Cons

  • Outlets are not covered
  • The warranty is not attractive.

6. DuroMax XP 10000 EH Dual fuel Portable Generator with starting watts10000 and continuous watts 8000 with home back up and RV ready, EPA and CARB approved in 50 states.

This unit is powered by 440 cc DuroMax OHV engine with MX2 technology and outputs maximum power from each of the 120 volts receptacles.

You can operate at both 120 and 240 volts simultaneously or use 120 volts with full power.

Power panel includes Low oil indicator, GFCI protected household outlets, voltmeter, circuit breaker, idle control, MX2 switch.

Detail of outlets
120/240V 50A Heavy-duty outlet1
120/240V 30A Twist lock outlet1
120V 30A Twist lock outlet1
120V 20A Household outlet2

DuroMax Portable Generators has 30 days replacement warranty and carry limited full one-year parts warranty.

Pros 

  • Convenient selection of outlets
  • Dual fuel
  • Optimum power and electric cum recoil start

Cons

  • Outlets are not covered
  • The warranty is not attractive.

7. Pulsar PG 10000 B16 Dual Fuel Portable Generator with starting watts 10000 and continuous watts 8000, RV ready and CARB compliant

This unit has 420 cc, 4 strokes, a single-cylinder, OHV air-cooled engine. At 8000 continuous watts, this can meet your home back-up power requirement and can also run required tools at a job site and appliances of your RV.

You can switch over from gasoline to propane seamlessly while still in operation.

Detail of outlets
120V outlet4
120/240V Twist lock outlet1
120/240V 50A RV Port1

Three years limited warranty for residential use.

Pros

  • Convenient selection of outlets
  • Dual fuel. Good run time.
  • Switch over fuel while in operation.

Cons

  • Outlets are not covered

8. WEN DF 1100 T Dual fuel Portable Generator with starting watts 11000 and continuous watts 8300, CARB and EPA III compliant

This Portable Generator is powered by 457 ccs, 4 strokes, OHV Air-cooled engine. The voltage can be changed from 120 V to 240 V which makes it ideal for home back-up with a transfer switch.

8300 continuous watts make it optimum to run your tools at the construction site and power your RV.

You can switch between gasoline and propane by a turn switch on a selection dial.

Outlets
120V GFCI outlet (5-20R)4
120V 30A Twist lock outlet (L5-30R)1
120V/240V 50A outlet (NEMA 14-50R)1
12V DC Cigarette-lighter-lighter style plug1

Power panel includes automatic voltage regulator, over-load protection, and hour meter for the safety of your appliances and to prepare maintenance schedules.

Two-year limited warranty for residential use.

Pros 

  • Convenient selection of outlets
  • Dual fuel and optimum power.
  • This brand is in the market for more than 25 years.

Cons

  • Outlets are not covered
  • Two years warranty for residential use.

9. Firman HO8051 Dual fuel Portable Generator with starting watts 10000 and continuous watts 8000, with CARB compliant.

This unit is powered by 439 cc Firman OHV engine and 8000 continuous watts make it optimum for your home power back-up, construction site, back-up power for farm/ranch, large RVs.

This delivers both 30A and 50 A power.

Outlets
5-20R 20A-120V GFCI2
14-50R 50A 120/240V1
L14-30R 30A 120/240V Twist lock1
L5-30R 30A 120V Twist lock1

Features include Firman volt lock automatic voltage regulator to ensure cleaner, consistent power output; fuel selector switch, and low oil set off.

Warranty: One year (parts & labor) and three years (parts) limited warranty for residential use. 90 days (parts & labor) and 180 days (parts) limited warranty for industrial and commercial use.

Pros 

  • convenient selection of outlets
  • Dual fuel.
  • Bigger fuel tank and run time.

Cons

  • The warranty is not attractive.

10. Rainier R12000 DF Dual fuel Portable Generator with starting watts 12000 and continuous watts 9500, EPA, CARB compliant; automatic low oil shut-down and Transfer-switch ready

This unit is fitted with powerful 457 cc OHV 4 stroke Rainier engine and outputs sufficient power for your home power back-up, construction site, back-up power for farm/ranch, large RVs.

It has a VFT display with a voltmeter, frequency meter, lifetime hours display, and overload circuit breaker and alarm.

Outlets
5-20R 120V 20A GFCI household outlets2
L5-30R 120V 30A outlet1
L14-30R 120/240V 30A outlet1
L14-50R 120/240V 50 A outlet1

3-year limited warranty for residential use.

Pros

  • Convenient selection of outlets
  • Dual fuel & optimum power.
  • Good run time.

Cons

  • Outlets are not covered

V. Buying guide (what to look for when buying)

Unlike other appliances, a 50 Amp Portable Generator is expected to last 10 or more years and hence it is different from buying any other appliance.

If you are planning to buy a Portable Generator for your home back-up, construction business, or RV, the first thing you must know is how much watts power do you need?

Electrical appliances have two kinds of power requirements, one is starting or surge watts which are needed initially for 2-4 seconds and the second is continuous or running watts for continuous run.

For some appliances like light and TV, surge and continuous watts are the same and for appliances fitted with motor or heating coil like Air conditioner, Refrigerator, and cooking oven, the surge watts can be 2 or more times higher than its continuous watts.

So, you must make a list of all the appliances you want to run along with their surge and continuous watts. Let us make a small list:

ApplianceRunning / continuous wattsStarting/surge watts
Refrigerator with freezer4001280
Sump water pump3001100
Computer150NA (not applicable)
TV200NA
Lights60NA

Method 1-Add the highest starting watt 1280 to remaining running watts-(1280+300+150+200+60) =1990 watts. You can choose a Portable generator with starting watts 2000.

However, you should first connect your Refrigerator and add the other equipment incrementally. Similar care needs to be taken while shutting them off.

Method 2-If you want to start both Refrigerator and Pump simultaneously, add the total starting watts 2380 to remaining running watts- (2380+150+200+60) = 2790 watts.

In this case, a Portable Generator with starting watts of 2000 is not sufficient and if you try, the over-load circuit breaker will trip-off. So, go for a Portable Generator with starting watts more than 2800.

You will get the starting and running watts for your appliances in the Product Manual. If you do not find it, seek the help of a wattage meter or a professional.

Unlike in the above example, you will have many more appliances/tools in your home or office or construction site, and you have to consider ‘the appliances‘ you want to run on Portable Generator to analyze and arrive at a decision.

You may decide to get the maximum watts you can afford.

Once you decided on watts requirement, the second important decision to make is ‘which brand’ and ‘which fuel’.

All brands are not equal. Names like Westinghouse, Generec, Champion costs relatively more than many new and cheaper brands. Established brands offer proven reliability, quality of the product, and a wide network of after-sales service.

Smaller and new brands cannot give the same amount of confidence as established brands. You need to decide after analyzing all the aspects.

For your construction business, you may decide to try a promising and cheaper brand since in case of break-down you will have resources to get it repaired.

However, if you are planning the 50 Amps Portable Generator for your home back-up, in a natural calamity like earthquake, no technician will come to your home to service the faulty Portable Generator. Reliability and brand are important here.

Some 50 Amps Portable Generator can be run only on gasoline, while many can run both on gasoline and propane.
Propane has many advantages over gasoline, like availability in power outages, cheaper and environment friendly compared to gasoline and ease of storing.

However, for the same 50 Amps Portable Generator, propane produces lesser watts than gasoline. If you are in an area prone to natural calamity, consider how the fuel of the Portable Generator affects you.

Next, you have to consider the fuel economy in terms of ‘how many hours the Portable Generator can run on one gallon of fuel’.

The product specifications give you the run time of the 50 Amps Portable Generator at full or 50% load per full tank of fuel. From this, you can arrive at the run time per gallon of fuel.

Another important aspect is what are the display meters (current, volts, run time) installed. Does it have electric and recoil start, noise level, and safety factors like overload circuit breaker which trips-off the connection in case of overload and safeguard your appliances?

The generator’s main circuit breaker controls the flow of current into the receptacles and there can be an independent circuit breaker for each receptacle. The design of the main circuit breaker is such that it allows the flow of surge current for a few required seconds.

Consider the warranty offered by the manufacturer, the term such as ‘three-year limited warranty’ for domestic use and ‘one-year limited warranty’ for commercial use has to be interpreted and understood clearly since there will be many ‘ subjects to’ conditional clauses and small prints.

Lastly, you have to consider the weight and easy movability of your 50 Amp Portable Generator; it should be portable in real sense. Please watch for Emission Standard –EPA (Environmental protection Agency) and CARB (California Air Resources Board).

Also, always decide to buy a 50 Amp Portable generator when there is no exigency. During calamities, due to high demand Portable Generators will become costly and out of stock.

VI. Conclusion

50 Amp Portable Generator will provide sufficient power back-up to your home and keeps you comfortable during power outages. It will be your best companion and help you run all your equipment at your construction business site or that small workshop.

It will power your RV or camp appliances during your family outing.

Your investment on a 50 Amp Portable Generator is a long term investment and the equipment should serve you for long years.

So, decide wisely.

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