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When you need to power your home during an outage , you’ll need an inverter generator. However, if you’re like most people, you probably don’t know what makes an excellent 3000-watt inverter generator.
In this article, we’ll walk you through five best inverter generators in the 3000-watt range.
We’ll explain to you which features to look for when you’re in the market for an inverter generator so that you’ll be ready to go on a camping trip or survive a blizzard without interrupting your power supply.
- 1 Best 3000 Watt Inverter Generator Reviews
- 2 What To Look For In A 3000 Watt Inverter Generator
Best 3000 Watt Inverter Generator Reviews
In this section, we’ll walk you through our picks for the best 3000-watt inverter generators.
1. Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000 Portable 3000-Watt Inverter Generator
The Briggs and Stratton P3000 PowerSmart inverter generator is a powerful and capable generator in a small and portable package.
Thanks to the unit’s easy-carry handle and telescoping travel handle, you can carry the generator or drag it behind you until you find the appropriate place for it to rest while it’s operating.
Whether you’re looking for an individually-transportable power generation unit or something to keep a few essential appliances working during a blackout, this generator might fit your needs.
This generator is significantly quieter than the others in its size class on the market. While you’ll still be able to hear the generator if it’s right outside your window, it probably won’t keep you awake at night.
Between this generator’s four 120-volt outlets, USB charging outlet, and parallel port, you won’t need to economize regarding which devices you attach to the generator.
The one downside of this unit is that its LCD interface is not very easy to read. The screen is very sensitive to light, and if there is too much direct light, the glare will make the screen unreadable.
On the other hand, there’s no backlight to the LCD screen. This means that you will need at least some outside light source to illuminate the screen while you are trying to get the generator started.
- 7 running amps
- 10-hour runtime at 25% load
- 5-gallon fuel tank
- USB charging outlet
- Four household outlets
- Great for charging electronic devices
- Portable carry handle
- Frequent maintenance required
- Flimsy telescoping luggage handle
- The LCD screen is difficult to see in direct light
2. Honda Super Quiet 3000 Watt Inverter Generator
Honda’s Super Quiet Gasoline Generator lives up to its name by providing a reliable and conversation-volume power generation experience. If you’re looking for a power generator that won’t bother anyone from its noise, this is probably the right choice for you.
The other advantage of the Honda generator is that it has a large fuel tank. You won’t need to be frequently refueling the tank during long days of operation. At the same time, you won’t need to worry about causing damage to the unit from being under-maintained.
The generator’s interface is unambiguous and provides you with a handful of different indicators for the generator’s performance. If the generator hasn’t been adequately maintained or supplied with engine oil, it will automatically shut down.
Likewise, if the exhaust vent is blocked, you will not be able to operate the generator, meaning that you will not accidentally suffocate yourself from inhaling fumes.
Another benefit of this generator is that it has an extra-large outlet which can power high-draw appliances like washing machines and clothes driers. However, you’ll only have two normal household outlets to power your devices.
This means that you’ll need to economize with your appliances when you’re running this generator. It isn’t good form to use a power strip with a generator, so if you have a lot of small appliances, it may not be the best choice for you.
Similarly, if you need a highly portable generator, this generator may not fit your needs. While the generator has small wheels and a carrying point, it is very large and cumbersome for a generator of its output.
You may struggle to fit this generator in a hatchback car. You will also need more than one person to lift it, although you can probably move it along flat ground with only one person.
- 4-gallon fuel tank
- 20-hour runtime at 25% load
- Automatic shutoff functionality
- Two household outlets
- One high output outlet
- Extremely quiet operation
- Adequate for power surge-sensitive equipment
- Great for powering washing machines and clothes driers
- Easy operation and maintenance
- Great safety features
- Few portability features
- Large size
- Very heavy
3. Champion 3100-Watt RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator
When noise control is less important than portability, the Champion RV-Ready Portable Inverter Generator is an excellent choice.
If you love to go camping and you plan on loading and unloading your generator from the back of your vehicle very frequently, this generator might be right up your alley.
The two carrying handles make it perfect for single-person use, but remember that this generator weighs nearly 84 pounds, so less brawny people will probably need some help to move it around.
Similarly, this generator is easy to drag around flat surfaces, but not for long distances. You’ll find that the lack of a telescoping travel handle makes it less efficient to tow than something along the lines of your carry-on luggage.
While the small fuel and motor oil capacity of this generator means that you’ll need to refill it frequently and keep a careful eye on the state of the engine if you aren’t going to be running it for many hours a day, you won’t have a problem.
When the motor oil on this generator runs low, the generator will shut down to protect the engine. You’ll need to have a steady supply of motor oil, so plan accordingly when you’re packing for your camping trip.
On the other hand, if you want a portable generator to keep your cabin in operation during a blackout, this generator may be frustrating to use because of how frequently you’ll need to refill it.
- Two household power outlets
- Weighs 83.8 lbs
- 8-hour runtime at 25% load
- 6-gallon fuel capacity
- Highly portable
- Highly fuel-efficient
- Easily resettable circuit breakers
- Durable tires
- Very small fuel capacity
- Very small motor oil capacity
- Yellow casing chips easily
- Not CARB compliant and therefore not available to California residents
4. Firman W03081 3300
The Firman W03081 portable generator is a low-maintenance option, which is excellent as a result of its complete accessory set and durable exterior. If you’re looking for a generator that will power your tailgating setup, this might be the right choice for you.
Slamming this generator down on the asphalt won’t cause any harm. Nor will you worry too much about burning yourself on the generator’s surfaces when it’s time to pack it in after a long session.
The unit’s aesthetic is genuinely more appealing than many other portable generators, though it probably won’t win any awards. While aesthetics are a minor consideration with a portable generator, if you plan on being seen very frequently, it might be an important feature to consider.
You’ll need to confine your use of appliances, however. There’s only one standard household outlet on this generator, and its clean power may become increasingly less sensitive if you try to attach a power strip.
While the generator is very capable, you may find that its interface markings are very confusing to interpret. Though there is an abundance of warnings regarding the improper use of the generator plastered all over all of its surfaces, the way to correctly use it is far from clear.
If you’re an experienced portable generator user, you won’t have any trouble with the Firman generator. On the other hand, if you’re a first-time user, you may find yourself using the unit improperly.
- One household outlet
- One USB outlet
- Numerous modes of operations
- Low-emissions technology
- 8-gallon fuel tank
- 9-hour runtime at 25% output
- 3-year warranty
- Fuel-efficient engine
- Great for powering tailgating appliances
- Low-interference power output
- Runs cool
- Includes shipping bracket wrenches and spark plug wrenches
- Includes motor oil
- Confusing interface
- Very few outlets
- The 1-year warranty is shorter than the warranty on most other generators
- Ambiguous instruction set
5. Coleman Powersports CG3500i-A Generator
The Coleman Powersports CG3500i is an extra compact generator that’s excellent for use in inclement weather as a result of its covered outlets.
The generator’s feet hold it one inch off the ground, meaning that you won’t need to worry about the generator getting damaged by wet ground or other precipitation. With the generator’s bright red exterior, you won’t lose track of it even when it’s in the middle of a forming snowbank.
Flipping the circuit breakers on this generator is as easy as pushing a button. You probably won’t blow that many fuses. However, thanks to the indicator light, which warns you when you’re approaching power draw, you’ll know if your draw is greater than the generator’s rating.
The ergonomics of this generator leaves something to be desired, however. The carrying handle at the top is sturdy, but it’s barely large enough to use both of your hands. This means that you’ll struggle to move it into your car.
The size of this generator is tiny, thankfully, meaning that it won’t take up too much space in the back of your vehicle or at your campsite.
You should take care that you know how to safely use this generator. Unlike other generators, this unit does not have a dozen safety warning plastered on its visible surfaces.
While this generator isn’t especially dangerous in comparison to others, if you aren’t sure how to use it safely, you will need to read the manual beforehand and understand what not to do.
- Two household outlets
- Automatic engine shutoff
- Economy mode switch
- Removable outlet covers
- 1 hours runtime at 100% load
- Easy to interpret interface
- Easy to reset circuit breakers
- Easy maintenance protocol
- Small form factor
- Auto-scaling engine output
- Very short operating time
- Few safety warnings on exterior
- No wheels
What To Look For In A 3000 Watt Inverter Generator
Now that you’re up to date on our top five picks for the best 3000-watt inverter generators, it’s time to learn more about how to pick an inverter generator that’s right for your needs.
While there are a plethora of factors that you’ll need to pay attention to during your search for a sound generator, there are a few which are more important than others, including:
- Fuel Capacity
- Fuel Efficiency
- Power Output Ports
- Power Stability
- Ease of Use
- Safety Features
- Maintenance Features
In this section, we’ll go through each of these factors in-depth so that you’ll know why they’re important.
Fuel Capacity :
The fuel capacity of a portable generator is directly linked to the amount of time that it can run.
For 3000-watt inverter generators, you can expect fuel capacities anywhere from 0.6 gallons to 5 gallons. The fuel capacity is also a major factor in the size and weight of the generator as a whole.
Large-capacity generators are heavier, especially when their tank is full. However, they can also run for significantly longer than small-capacity generators.
For a generator with a fuel capacity of one gallon, you should only expect it to run at full output for a few hours, even if the engine is highly efficient. On the other hand, a generator with a massive fuel tank could potentially provide you with power for as long as 18 or even 20 hours.
One thing to remember when you’re looking at the fuel capacity of a portable generator is that generator manufacturers will report the fuel capacity’s relationship with the generator’s runtime as a statistic that reflects a guaranteed runtime at a certain level of output.
Common values are reported at 25% output and 50% output. Keep in mind that the higher the generator’s output, the faster the fuel with drain. If you plan on running high-power appliances for long periods, you’ll need a large fuel tank.
Fuel Efficiency :
The fuel efficiency of a portable generator is also a highly relevant factor to examine. Most portable generators are modestly fueled efficient, though some have an eco-friendly mode, which increases their efficiency.
Nonetheless, there are not many portable generators that are significantly more efficient than others. Furthermore, comparing fuel efficiency between generators is very challenging because you’ll need to compare tank sizes to the maximum duration of output at the same output level.
In other words, if you’re a stickler for efficiency, you’ll need to do a few simple calculations, but you probably won’t be rewarded very much for your efforts.
It’s a better idea to focus on other factors that are more relevant for your use of the generator or to opt for generators with larger tanks than it is to calculate fuel efficiencies.
The portability of a generator is potentially one of the most important features if you plan on bringing your generator with you when you’re camping.
Portability is comprised of several sub-factors that are not necessarily uniform in their importance. Specifically, portability includes handles, wheels, and weight.
Most generators at the 3000-watt level of output will weigh in excess of 70 pounds. The heaviest generators in this class will weigh close to 100 pounds, whereas the lightest are closer to 80 pounds.
If you aren’t brawny, you’ll struggle to pick up and move a portable generator due to its weight. You may also struggle as a result of the portable generator’s size. Many portable generators are very bulky.
The weight of a generator is not necessarily correlated to its dimensions. However, the weight of a generator is firmly connected to its features. Heavier generators typically have more outlets, larger fuel capacities, more mobility features, and more safety features like heat shielding.
Handles and wheels make a big difference when it comes to moving your portable generator around on the ground or lifting it into your vehicle. Aim for at least two handles if you plan on lifting your generator into a vehicle frequently.
On the other hand, the carrying handle is much more useful when it can telescope.
Power Output Ports :
The number of power output ports is a large concern when it comes to generators. Most generators have at least two 120-volt household outlets, but some have four outlets or more.
Special outlets like USB ports and extra-large outlets are bonuses that may be relevant to your intended usages. However, you should probably prioritize the number of 120-volt standard household outlets, as you can adapt these to your other needs very quickly.
Power Stability :
Power stability refers to the consistency of a generator’s provision of power to the devices which are attached. For most portable generators, power stability is sufficient to operate non-sensitive electronics like cookware, heaters, and refrigerators.
For sensitive electronics, like computers, scientific hardware, and other precision instruments, generators may not be up to the task, however.
Fluctuations in the power output can cause damage to these devices, so you shouldn’t use them with a portable generator unless you can find one which has better stability than normal.
Thus, for most people, you shouldn’t worry too much about power stability.
Ease of Use :
The ease of use of a portable generator is a critical factor because it influences how safely and how effectively you can use it.
The ease of use of a generator includes factors like its interface, its instruction set, and the printed instructions on the generator itself. The generator’s circuit breakers can also fall under the ease of use, as some are exceptionally difficult to flip.
Some generators have LCD screens that display relevant information to the user, whereas others have indicator lights. Overall, the interface of a portable generator should be something that you don’t have trouble understanding.
Especially for portable generators that have large fuel capacities, knowing how much time you have left during operation is critical.
Safety Features :
The safety features of a generator include automatic shutoff, exhaust control, and heat shielding.
Most generators utilize an automatic shutoff system such that the generator cannot operate when it is low on motor oil or if its internal temperature exceeds its tolerances.
The threshold for automatic shutoff is reflected by an indicator light, which warns you that the unit has been recently shut off. For generators that don’t have an automatic shutoff feature, you will need to be careful about the level of motor oil.
When motor oil runs low, the engine won’t be lubricated as efficiently. This leads to increased wear and tear on the generator’s parts, and it also can cause the engine to seize and stop working.
Exhaust control is a rare but essential safety feature. When portable generators operate, they emit noxious fumes that can accumulate and kill people.
While there isn’t any single system that can completely prevent the accumulation of fumes, there are several features that can make it harder for using a generator improperly to result in bodily harm.
In particular, the automatic shutoff of the generator when the exhaust pipe is blocked will help to ensure that the unit can vent in the direction that you choose. Preferably, this direction will be away from you and anyone else.
Many generators have automatic shutoff systems if the exhaust vent is blocked, but some do not, so pick carefully.
Heat shielding is important because generators tend to get very hot when they are in operation. Unshielded surfaces are opportunities for you or someone in your party to get a burn as a result of the generator being in operation.
Unshielded surfaces are also significantly less efficient because they contribute to heat loss.
Maintenance Features :
You may or may not need to perform maintenance on your generator in between uses. If you use your generator more frequently, you should expect to perform maintenance more frequently.
Maintenance features include things like wrench sets, motor oil level indicators, and easily removable screws on the relevant parts of the generator’s exterior.
Of these features, the motor oil level indicator is the most important because it will help you to replace the motor oil on a regular basis, which is by far the most common maintenance you’ll need to do.
Wrench sets may not necessarily be included with your generator. If they aren’t, you may not be able to open up the generator and perform essential maintenance if you don’t have the appropriate set of tools.
If you have a set of hex wrenches, you may not need to purchase a separate maintenance wrench set for your generator, however.
You should always perform maintenance of your generator in line with the manufacturer’s suggestions. Make sure that the generator is off and completely cool before trying to perform any maintenance.
The durability of a generator is an important feature if you plan on using it while camping or in other situations where it will be exposed to the elements. Most generators are produced with enough durability to last you through the warranty period with regular use.
Likewise, most generators are tough enough to survive small drops from putting them down less gently than you would prefer.
However, if you don’t perform enough maintenance on your generator or if you choose to operate it with insufficient levels of motor fuel, you’ll test its durability in the long run.
Generators tend to have certain components that aren’t as durable as others. Importantly, circuit breakers and fuses are typically the least durable part of a generator. This means that they are prone to breaking after flipping them several times.
While fuses are relatively easy and inexpensive to replace, if you aren’t technically inclined, it might be challenging to do so. The same goes for the circuit breaker switches on a generator.
Thus, while these parts are quick to swap out, low-quality and less-than-durable components may leave you in trouble if they break while you’re out camping.
If you’re good with electronics, you should probably expect the fuses and circuit breakers to need replacement after a few years of active use. Otherwise, you may need to hire someone or take your generator to a hardware store for repairs.
Overall, you shouldn’t fret too much about the durability of your generator. Most generators will hold up so long as you take care of them.
Now that you know what to look for in a portable 3000-watt inverter generator, you’re ready to make a purchasing decision.
Remember that portability may not be the biggest concern. The size of the fuel tank is critical, but a large fuel tank with a small motor oil reservoir will be equally frustrating to use.
Likewise, be sure to take your skill level with generators into account before picking a generator, which may have a difficult to understand interface or a complicated mode of operation.
Above all, check the number of outlets on a generator before you move forward. There’s nothing more frustrating than having too many appliances to run or devices to charge and not enough charging ports