Top 6 Generators for Boat – Keep All the Conveniences on the Water

23 Models Considered
53 Hours of Research
6 Experts Interviewed
163 Reviews Analyzed

If you’ve spent a good amount of time on a boat before, you’ll know that a generator can make all the difference in terms of convenience and even fun. For example, if you don’t have a generator onboard, it’s going to be pretty difficult to heat up food, power up the AC, or even make coffee. However, using one of these generators can be dangerous and there are many things to consider. That’s why it’s so important to use one of the best generators for boats.

So, how did we determine what to base our standards off of, except for durable build and safety features? We first looked at the max output because it’s important to know that your generator can deal out the power you need. Next up, we looked at fuel tank capacity and runtime; the longer, the better. Noise level was also important to us, as we rather hear the sound of the water and serenity rather than an annoying machine buzzing around. Weight and portability are also a big deal, as you’ll probably have to take it off and on the boat frequently. Price was our final factor, and we took into consideration the quality and level of benefit you get out of a particular product in relation to its price.

Top 6 Generators for Boat Review 2019

We’ve spent the last couple of weeks using generators like you couldn’t imagine. Not only did we use our own experiences, but also the reviews of others and generator ratings to formulate our ultimate opinions and comprehensive reviews on the units. Below, you’ll find a handy table where you can compare-and-contrast each item against the other. After that, you’ll get in-depth reviews, and finally, a buying guide to ensure you’re selecting the best marine generator for you.

Name and Features Image Rating Price
1. Yamaha EF2000iSv2 (Editor’s Choice)
This generator provides an impressive amount of power and excellent performance for its size and price tag, and is quiet enough to not disturb you on the boat
Yamaha EF2000iSv2
2. Honda EU2200i (Best Quiet Generator for Boat)
Operating between 48 and 57 dBa, this model proved to be one of the quietest generator out there
Honda EU2200i
3. Westinghouse iGen2200 (Best Value for Money)
Fuel efficiency, quiet operation, and portable design of this generator make it a great companion to take with you onboard
Westinghouse iGen2200
4. Generac GP2200i
This generator is lightweight and portable and is easy to use and monitor thanks to the convenient panel design
Generac GP2200i
5. Pulsar PG2200BiS (Best Dual-Fuel Generator for Boat)
Being as compact and easily portable as other generators on our list, this generator has the convenience of dual-fuel operation
Pulsar PG2200BiS
6. WEN 56200i (Budget Pick)
Coming at a great price, this generator has the same convenient features pricier models come with, but is slightly less powerful
WEN 56200i
Features
  • Type: inverter generator
  • Rated/peak watts: 1,600/2,000
  • Engine: 79cc 4-stroke OHV air-cooled
  • Fuel tank capacity: 1.1 gal.
  • Runtime: 10.5 hrs. (50% load)
  • Outlets: (2) 120V AC, (1) 8A 12V DC
  • Starting system: recoil
  • Noise level: 51.5 to 61 dB(A)
  • Warranty: 3-year limited

OVERALL RATING: 9.9 out of 10

As with most things Yamaha produces, their EF2000iSv2 generator is stocked full of revolutionary, cutting-edge technology that provides an impressive amount of power and excellent performance. While at first glance you may notice how compact it is, it’s surprisingly durable and can handle a beating throughout countless trips. As it is so compact, we weren’t necessarily surprised at it being so lightweight, but were pleased with how easy it was to transport. The comfy handle made it easy to carry long distances without causing chafing or cramps.

As the energy is so high-quality, you can freely use it to power your laptops with a built-in microprocessor. The 1-gallon tank can run up to 10.5 hours at a quarter load, which is perfect for fishing trips or day trips out on the lake or ocean. Fuel shutoff lets the carb run dry, which also cuts down on starting problems if you’ve kept it stowed away all season. The carb drain also ensures every bit of fuel is let out for even longer periods of storage. A closable vent cap is particularly convenient to eliminate fuel spills, which is especially important on boats. You’ll also find a fuel level indicator right on the cap, so you can quickly glance and know where you’re at.

While the amount of power provided was certainly substantial for anything we needed, if you want more, you can connect two units for double the force! We will mention the one downside we could think of, which was that oil can be difficult to fill in without spilling because of the oil spout location and fill angle. However, you will probably get used to it after several uses.

PROS:
  • High-quality power lets you charge even your most delicate electronics
  • Lightweight and portable with comfy handle
  • Very low noise output
  • Can be used with two units together
  • 10.5-hour runtime

CONS:
  • Difficult to fill in oil without spilling

Features
  • Type: inverter generator
  • Rated/peak watts: 1,800/2,200
  • Engine: 121cc Honda GXR120
  • Fuel tank capacity: 0.95 gal.
  • Runtime: up to 8.1 hrs. (25% load)
  • Outlets: (1) 20A 125V Duplex, (1) 12V 100W (8.3A) DC
  • Starting system: recoil
  • Noise level: 48 to 57 dB(A)
  • Warranty: 3-year residential and commercial

OVERALL RATING: 9.7 out of 10

Even if it’s your first time using a generator, using the Honda EU2200i shouldn’t be an issue, thanks to the single control knob and recoil pull cable that will let you operate anything you need to on this model. The user-friendly LED light tree is super convenient. It will alert you of low oil levels, as well as let you know if your generator is overloading.

The generator is powered by the Honda GXR120 Commercial Series engine, which provides very smooth and quiet performance. What’s great about this is that it does everything you need in a compact, lightweight product. Operating at 48 to 57 dBa, you won’t have to deal with any annoying sounds coming from the unit while it’s running, so you can even fall asleep while using it if you’d like. This feature is also nice if you’ll be using it in a public area. The fuel tank on this model is ever so slightly less than the Yamaha, at just under 1 gallon. However, you can get an 8-hour run time at a quarter load, which isn’t too bad. We would like see longer run time, but for what it is, it’s okay.

With two 120V outlets, you can easily hook up most appliances, computers, TVs, power tools, and much more. The high quality of power won’t risk damaging your electronics, either, so you’re always connected.

PROS:
  • Can easily power appliances, electronics, etc. safely
  • Lightweight, compact, and quiet
  • Very user-friendly and easy to operate

CONS:
  • Not as fuel efficient as Yamaha

Features
  • Type: inverter generator
  • Rated/peak watts: 1,800/2,200
  • Engine: 79cc Westinghouse OHV 4-stroke
  • Fuel tank capacity: 1.2 gal.
  • Runtime: 12 hrs. (25% load)
  • Outlets: (1) Duplex 120V 20A (5-20R), (2) 5V USB ports
  • Starting system: recoil
  • Noise level: 52 dB(A)
  • Warranty: 3-year limited (residential), 1-year limited (commercial)

OVERALL RATING: 9.0 out of 10

The Westinghouse iGen2200 Inverter Generator is another one of our favorites, and for many reasons. One of the most outstanding features is the fact that it has a runtime of an impressive 12 hours on 1.2 gallons. That’s a whole four more than you’d get from the previous! Those 4 hours could be the difference between a hot and muggy boat ride, or one with hot food, coffee, and simple pleasantries.

This model is one of the best marine generators out there due to the fact that not only does it have a great running time, but that it’s very quiet and portable. Portability is huge when it’s regarding items on a boat, as you’re going to need to carry it on and off at some point. You want them to be small, easy to carry, and lightweight.

As it produces clean power, you can also safely operate sensitive electronics such as laptops, TVs, tablets, smartphones, and much more. The dual USB charging ports make it easy to charge more than one device at the same time, too. If you do happen to fall asleep or get distracted, the low-oil shutoff function will keep you and your generator safe. The overload prevention is quite useful, as well – particularly if you’re going to be charging many items at once or large appliances.

Were there any features we didn’t like?

The only thing we could really complain about was that the instructions included could have been a bit more detailed. We realized they’d left out a couple of things, but it was not a huge deal.

PROS:
  • 12 hours of runtime
  • Lightweight and easily portable
  • Quiet operation
  • Very safe to use

CONS:
  • Included instructions could’ve been more detailed

Features
  • Type: inverter generator
  • Rated/peak watts: 1,700/2,200
  • Engine: 80cc OHV
  • Fuel tank capacity: 1.2 gal.
  • Runtime: 10.75 hrs. (25% load)
  • Outlets: (1) 120V, 20A 5-20R Duplex, (1) 1.5A 5VDC USB
  • Starting system: recoil
  • Noise level: not specified
  • Warranty: 2-year limited (residential), 1-year limited (commercial)

OVERALL RATING: 8.9 out of 10

The GP2200i is the perfect generator for all types of outdoor use, but works excellent in boats. The portable power solution provides you with the stable power you need when you’re not at home, and the power is clean. That means it’s also great for using with sensitive electronics and appliances. You now never have to be without TV, and can always stay in touch with those on land. The USB port allows you to plug right in, without having to worry about your devices getting harmed. When they’re not in use, outlets are also covered to keep them safe from getting any dust, rain, or other effects from the elements inside.

No matter if you’re using it in public areas or just in the comfort of your own boat, no one really wants to hear a loud generator going at all times. That’s why we really appreciated the fully-enclosed design, which has served to make it one of the quietest models out there. It may be so quiet, in fact, that you forget it’s there. In cases like this, it’s important to know when it’s low on oil or is being overloaded by too many devices. That’s where the LED indicators really come in handy. If you happen to not catch the low oil levels in time, the unit will automatically shut down to prevent any damage from taking place.

Whether you’re brand-new to using generators or a veteran, you’re sure to enjoy the integrated off/run/choke knob which makes operation straightforward. The “cons”? Probably that it also uses a recoil starting system, which some find a bit inconvenient.

PROS:
  • Very lightweight and portable
  • Safe to use with various electronics
  • Decent runtime
  • Various safety backup features
  • Relatively affordable

CONS:
  • Recoil start system is a bit inconvenient for some

Features
  • Type: inverter generator
  • Rated/peak watts: 1,800/2,200 (gas), 1,600/2,000 (LPG)
  • Engine: 80cc, single cylinder, 4-stroke, OHV
  • Fuel tank capacity: 1.18 gal.
  • Runtime: 8 hrs. (gas, 25% load), 75 min (1-pound LPG tank, 25% load)
  • Outlets: (2) 120V 15A AC, (1) 5V Integrated USB Port
  • Starting system: recoil
  • Noise level: 60 dB(A)
  • Warranty: 1-year

OVERALL RATING: 8.8 out of 10

The Pulsar PG2200BiS is often overlooked as one of the best marine generators, but we’re here to report that we were pleasantly surprised with just about everything it had to offer. The dual fuel inverter generator is, like the others on our list, lightweight and compact, which makes it easy to take just about anywhere you go. The impact-resistant design can get knocked around without even making a dent, and the carrying handle just adds to its convenience.

So, what is a dual-fuel generator exactly?

This lets you select between operating on gas or liquid propane fuel sources so you have more flexibility with how you can use it.

The user-friendly direct connect USB port provides safe and clean power for the most sensitive of electronics as well as the sturdiest appliances. If you happen to need more power, it also has the parallel capability for you to hook two generators together. The operation was quiet, generally speaking, but in comparison to others on our list, it was a bit louder. That’s not to say it’s really that noticeable, but it’s still worth mentioning.

Run time isn’t quite as long as we would’ve liked to have gotten from it: about 8 hours on a tank of gasoline.

PROS:
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Duel-fuel capacity
  • Great for using with all kinds of electronics
  • Impact-resistant design

CONS:
  • Only 8 hours of runtime
  • A bit louder than the competition

Features
  • Type: inverter generator
  • Rated/peak watts: 1,600/2,000
  • Engine: 79.7cc 4-stroke OHV
  • Fuel tank capacity: 1 gal.
  • Runtime: 6 hrs. (50% load)
  • Outlets: (2) three-prong 120V, (1) 12V DC, (1) 5V USB port
  • Starting system: recoil
  • Noise level: 50 to 55 dB(A)
  • Warranty: 2-year limited

OVERALL RATING: 8.5 out of 10

If you’re looking to save some cash while still getting the benefits of one of the best generators for boats on the market today, then check out the WEN. The lightweight design makes it easy to take with you from the boat to the truck to the campground, and so on. The one-gallon tank gives you more than 6 hours of half-load run time. As you can see, this is half the time that some others on our list provide. It’s not the longest, but it’ll do for day trips. If you’re trying to extend the time out a bit, then shoot in right into Eco-Mode. This lets the generator’s motor automatically adjust its fuel consumption. If you require more energy, simply link up two identical generators with the Parallel Connection Kit to share wattage between the two units.

The panel comes loaded with three-prong 120 receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle, and one 5V USB port. This makes the number of applications you can use it with endless. You’ll also find it has low-oil and low-fuel shutdown with indicator lights and overload protection to make sure your generator and electronics are always safe.

The only complaint we had, was how tall the unit was as opposed to others we covered here. This can make it difficult transporting and finding space for it on the boat, depending on how much room you have.

PROS:
  • Very quiet
  • Clean energy output
  • Can be used with various sensitive devices
  • Lightweight design

CONS:
  • Model is quite tall, which can make storage and transport more complicated

Buying Guide

We know that selecting the best generator for boating can be a bit confusing, especially if you’ve never had one before. That’s why we’re here to help and answer any questions you may have. Keep scrolling, where you’ll find additional help!

A generator for a boat: What it should be like?

You’ll most likely have to prepare it for use on a boat, as most won’t be made to withstand the salty air (if out on the ocean), and other factors. The muffler can easily become rusted, among other parts in these environments. Spray the muffler with high-temperature paint to keep it protected. It’s a good idea to create a cowling to protect the generator from getting wet, too. Along with that, spray the connections with waterproof paint.

Make sure you also keep it grounded, as they can become extremely dangerous if tipped over.

Important features to consider before you buy a generator

You’ll want to consider the following features and the levels at which they perform in order to select the best unit for you and your boating needs.

Power output?

A generator must obviously give you the power that you need. Think about what you’ll be using it for. Will you be using it to power a microwave? A fan? A TV or smart devices? Look at the wattage of each device and add them up, then look at the wattage your generator provides. If it’s not enough, opt for another.

Conventional vs inverter generator

Conventional generators basically say it all in their name. They’re, well…conventional. They’ve been around for a while, and remain a source of consistent energy like diesel, propane, or gas. It must keep at a constant speed to give the standard current most homes require.

Inverters are much more high-tech, and are usually 3-phase generators which provide AC current like most conventional models. However, that current is converted to DC, then inverted back to clean AC power. These are great for sensitive products like smartphones and tablets.

Fuel tank capacity and runtime

ef2000isv2-12Fuel capacity and runtime go hand-in-hand (usually). If you have a more eco-friendly generator along with a higher fuel capacity, then you’ll get a good amount of runtime, which means more usage. We recommend, at minimum, opting for a 1-gallon fuel capacity.

Outlets

Outlets let you plug in the devices that you’re going to power. Some come with little covers that will protect the outlets from the elements, which is a huge help when being used on a boat. Ideally, you’ll have a model with at least two outlets so you can power two devices at a time. Others feature USBs, so you can easily plug in a smartphone or other devices.

Noise level

No one goes out onto a boat just to hear the humming of a generator, right? Noise level with the products listed above is minimal, and even when running at full power, some are hard to hear when you’re more than 10 feet away.

Safety features

Safety features are always important, but more so when you’re out on a surface that’s constantly bobbing around. Look for some that can be drained of every drop so they can be properly stored. Another feature that’s a must-have is a low-fuel alert, as well as an alert that lets you know if it’s being overused. That way there’s no danger to you, nor to your generator.

How to marinize your generator

As we just mentioned above, spraying the relevant parts with waterproof spray is important. It’s always a good idea to add on a kind of cowling to prevent the generator from getting wet, and to use some kind of rubber mounts.
Check out this video for more details.

FAQ

As just mentioned, use a cowling to prevent the generator from getting wet and use rubber mounts. Water-repellant spray can be used on generators and connections, too.

Not at all. If you have a leak, it will fill up the bilge, and any spark could set it off.

Yes, absolutely. You should always ground the generators.

Our Verdict

While we were pleased with each model on our guide, we did have a few which really stood out to us: the Yamaha, Honda, and Westinghouse. The Yamaha was powerful, with a 10.5-hour runtime, and was very lightweight and portable. The Honda was extremely user-friendly, visually appealing, and was very quiet. The Westinghouse had an incredible 12-hour runtime, was very safe to use, and also lightweight. Ultimately, though, it’s all up to you and your needs. Which best generator for boats will you be using?

9.9/10 Total Score
Yamaha EF2000iSv2 - Editor's Choice
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