We did the research to find the portable generators made in the USA. Different people have different needs when it comes to purchasing a generator: backup power supply, camping, power tools, and many others. Below, you’ll find our research for several of those categories, as well as detailed information on each brand and some tips for doing your own research on the country of origin.
Overall, we found it really difficult to find generator companies that are sourcing 100% of their materials from U.S. manufacturers. However, we did find two companies that are sourcing a lot of their materials here and are of course employing great American workforces to make high quality generators: Dayton and MI-T-M. We previously had Champion and Generac generators here as well, but unfortunately they moved a lot of their manufacturing overseas.
Full List of Portable Generator Brands Made in the USA
MI-T-M makes some great generators for heavy duty jobs. It’s perfect for powering: large appliances during your next power outage, multiple power tools, large AC units, and other heavy duty jobs. The only major downside is the engine, which can vary depending on where you shop. MI-T-M uses everyone from Kohler to Subaru for their engines, but we found it extremely tough to find portable generators that didn’t source their engines from other companies that potentially produce them overseas. Otherwise, this reliable generator is made here.
If you need a ton of power in your generator, Dayton makes some great high wattage models. The only downside is similar to MI-T-M generators – the engine manufacturer inside the generator can vary.
Factors To Consider
Portable generators are a lifetime investment. If you buy the right one and take care of it, they can last you decades of use. Look for generators that show durability in their frame, engine construction, and much more to make sure that the generator you end up choosing is an asset to you in times of need.
Portable generators have several different use cases, everything from rebooting large appliances when your power goes out, to firing up the TV at your next tailgate or running the pressure washer at your job site. Each of these tasks and many others require different power levels. The more available wattage you have in your portable generator, the higher load tasks it can handle. Typically, anything above a couple thousand watts will be just fine for powering your tailgate, small appliances, and small machinery. If you want to power larger appliances like refrigerators, you need at least 3,500 watts. And for tasks like powering your AC unit in your camping RV, you need at least 7,500 watts. Each task is different, so make sure you know what you’ll be using your portable generator for before making a purchasing decision.
You also need to consider the different types of outlets you’ll need on your generator. Your smaller options are typically going to have at least two 120V AC outlets and some USB ports. As you look at generators with increased power levels, typically more of these 120V outlets are available, plus you should start to see some 240V plugs as well. For outdoor usage, make sure to look for an option with outlets that are GFCI protected.
Extra features are always nice on portable generators, so look for the features that are going to add significant value to your experience. They included items like: wireless remote starters, multiple outlet options, USB adapters, electric starters, safeguards for engine health, and more.
Generators are known to make a lot of noise, and if you have one inside your home or at your tailgate powering appliances, the excess noise can be a nuisance. The average portable generator hums between 50 and 60dB, which is about the same noise level as a central air conditioning unit that is 20 feet away.
Fuel Type and Run Time
In most use cases, you need your generator to last you more than just a couple of hours. Look for generators that at least met the average run time for their wattage level, and had features included that can help you save fuel and use it efficiently. Several portable generators these days come with automatic idling capabilities to save fuel when they can.
The run time of your generator also depends on the type of fuel you use. Most options these days are gas-powered generators. However, diesel fuel generators will typically give you better mileage for the volume of fuel you put in. Solar powered generators are also becoming more common. If you’re interested in solar power, be sure to check out our research on American made solar panels.
Easy to Start and Use
Your generator should be relatively easy to start and operate. If you can afford it, electric starters are the way to go – they just make your life so much easier versus pulling that recoil cord every time. Also look for generators with EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection), which gets rid of your need for a carburetor and also makes your generator easier to start when it’s cold outside.
Make sure you’re getting a great portable generator for your money. Don’t consider any generators where the quality doesn’t live up to their price tag.