Rodney holds a Master’s degree in Arts and apart from working as a freelance writer, is a rather successful author of science fiction stories published in several literary magazines.
Last updated: June 12, 2022
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Whether you live in a hurricane-prone area or love to go camping every weekend, having a generator handy is a huge relief. A 4,000-watt generator is perfect for a medium-sized house as it can easily power up all your essential appliances and electronics including refrigerator, air conditioner, microwave, oven, and water pumps. It is big enough to fulfill all your requirements but portable at the same time, so you take it along with you on camping and road trips. The best 4,000-watt generator can handle big and delicate appliances including toasters and coffee makers at the same time.
To find the best 4,000-watt generator for your family’s needs, we judged the top models in the market using a number of variables. The biggest factor for us was how much continuous wattage the generator can produce, as 4,000-watt generators can vary in that. We also considered the models’ fuel tank size and efficiency, as it affects its run time and fuel consumption. Another important factor we considered was their portability as you might want it on camping trips or fit it in your RV for a summer road trip. Warranty, return period, and technical support are other considerations that are crucial in determining the product’s quality.
Our team of tech geeks spent hours with every model mentioned below to find the best 4,000-watt generator. We also went over technical specifications, customer reviews, and expert comments to compile a research-driven review of all products. The article is divided into three sections including a table of all models we reviewed, in-depth reviews of each generator, and a buying guide, which will assist you in making the right choice for your preferences.
A portable 4,000-watt generator by Yamaha, EF4500iSE runs for 15.2 hours at 25 percent load. It has an electric starter and comes with a wireless remote control to start the engine more easily. The oil warning system alerts you when the oil level goes down and automatically switches off the generator, thereby protecting the engine from exhaustion. It works at only 58 to 60 dB(A) of noise level, thanks to its built-in Noise Block sound reduction system, which makes it one of the quietest generator on the list. The portable inverter model can generate a maximum of 37.5 amps for surge power and 33 amps for regular rated power.
It comes with one 30A RV twist lock outlet and two 120V 20A outlets, but unfortunately doesn’t have a 12V DC outlet. You will find a power bar indicator and an hour meter on the control panel for convenient reading. It also has a gas gauge that indicates the amount of fuel left in it. The generator is California Air Resources Board Tier III exhaust emission standard compliant and has the highest EPA rating among all models in the market.
Since it doesn’t have a dual fuel engine, you can only power it with unleaded gasoline. The 4.5-gallon fuel tank keeps the machine running for a few hours at rated load. The biggest advantage of using this generator is its compact size, so you take it with you on road trips. It comes with three-year warranty from the manufacturer assures its premium quality and durability.
What do we love it for?
CARB compliant and has highest EPA ratings
Three-year warranty from the manufacturer
Runs for 15 hours on 25 percent load
Produces clean energy
Fitted with electric starter for easy start mechanism
Makes only 58–60 dB(A) noise
What were we disappointed with?
No 12V DC outlet for charging mobile phones and laptops
The WEN GN400i is one of the best portable generators in the market that provide clean energy that is free of voltage spikes and drops. Its powerful engine produces a whopping 4000 surge watts and 3500 rated watts of power. It is also one of the safest generators to use with super-sensitive electronics, thanks to its ability to limit total harmonic distortion to under 0.3% at zero load and 1.2% at full load. Its design mirrors a pure sine wave.
The WEN GN400i is super economical. Its 1.85-gallon fuel tank is ultra-efficient, and you can easily squeeze out 7 hours of half-load run time from it. You can maximize the fuel economy by switching on the eco-mode switch. The eco-mode switch works by allowing the generators engine to adjust fuel consumption automatically when you plug and unplug items from the panel. This prevents unnecessary gasoline usage.
The generator also has a low-oil/low-fuel automatic shutdown for safety purposes. The automatic shutdown combines with the indicator lights and built-in overload protection to provide safety for both the generator and your electronics.
The generator is built to last, and the manufacturer backs the durability claims with a 2-year limited warranty. The friendly customer service will also leave you hooked to the brand forever.
Why did it make our list?
Safe for sensitive electronics
Multiple safety features
Generates clean power
Convenient parallel-ready panel
Long run time
Easy to set up and start
What is not ideal about it?
Getting the correct amount of fuel in the generator is a bit challenging
Champion Power Equipment 100302 is a compact and portable inverter generator that has 17-hour runtime at 25 percent load. This is a great generator for RV use that comes with four outlets including one 20V 30A RV (TT-30R), one 12V DC, and two 120V 20A household outlets (5-20R) along with dual USB adapter cables for charging batteries. You can also purchase a Parallel Kit separately, which includes a standard 50-amp RV outlet with clip-on connectors. Use it to connect two hybrids, inverters, or 2,800-watt generators.
As a hybrid model, the generator is 50 percent quieter than Champion’s traditional 3,500-watt model and 20 percent lighter in weight. It has a fuel tank capacity of 2.9 gallons, which is enough to power two big appliances at once for several hours. The low oil shut-off sensor turns off the inverter when the low levels drop to prevent it from damaging the engine. At a distance of 23 feet, it makes 64 dB(A) of sound, which sounds like a normal conversation.
Its Quick Touch Panel gives you easy access to multiple controls while the Economy Mode manages power consumption to decrease electric load, which in turn reduces the noise level. The parallel ready generator has a recoil start and only runs on gasoline. It is CARB compliant, so you can use it in California. You will receive lifetime technical support along with the three years limited warranty from the manufacturer.
Why is it special?
Clean electrical waveform
Runs for 17 hours at 25 percent load; fuel efficient
Quick Touch Panel for convenient access to different controls
Westinghouse is one of the best generator brands in the market, so it goes without saying that its iPro4200 is an excellent model. It has peak wattage of 4,200 and running wattage of 3,500 watts. The fuel tank capacity is only 2.6 gallons, but it can run for 15 hours at 50 percent load, which means you can power three big appliances at a time. It has five outlets including two 5V USB ports and three duplex 120V 20A GFCI (5-20R) outlets. The dual USB charging ports can be used to charge small devices including laptops and mobile phones.
Since the generator is OSHA compliant and has a GFCI protected control panel, you can use it commercially. The noise level ranges between 52 to 59 dB(A) depending on the load and the distance between your house and the generator. It is fitted with the advanced Westinghouse inverter technology that produces low Total Harmonic Distortion clean power that is safe for your house. It weighs only 82 pounds, so you can carry it from one site to another without any trouble.
It is EPA certified and CARB compliant, so you can use it in California without a worry. The only disadvantage of this product is that it doesn’t have an electric start. It comes with a three-year residential warranty and one-year or 1,000-hour commercial warranty. You will have to start it using recoil.
Why are we impressed?
Five 120V outlets along with two USB ports
Makes less than 59 dB(A) noise
Produces clean fuel
Three-year manufacturer’s warranty on residential use
The XP4400EH by DuroMax is a new and improved version fitted with 7 HP engine, which handles high wattage loads effortlessly. It is EPA approved and CARB compliant, making it safe to use in California. The Dual Fuel Technology ensures versatile fuel management during emergency. You can use gasoline or liquid propane and switch whenever you want. The MX2 Technology provides powerful energy to each of the 120V receptacles. It allows you to simultaneously operate 120V and 240V. Another favorite feature of ours, Low Oil Shutoff, automatically switches off the engine on sensing excessive load.
It has an advanced power panel that lets you choose between multiple outlets for maximum compatibility including one 120/240V 30A twist lock outlet and two 120V household GFCI outlets. It also includes 12V DC charging ports for charging mobile phones, camera batteries, and laptops. The voltmeter conveniently helps you to monitor voltage and ensure hassle-free functioning.
You can use the generator in California as it is CARB compliant as well as EPA approved. It has 11.46-hour runtime on liquid propane at 50 percent load and 9.81 hours on gasoline. Despite all the amazing features it comes with, there are two big disadvantages that you can’t ignore, which are one-year limited warranty and running noise level of 69 dB. You can use a muffler to reduce the noise but it won’t go below 65 dB.
Westinghouse iGen4500 is an inverter generator with a peak wattage of 4,500 watts and running wattage of 3,700 watts. It is the best 4000-watt generator for camping because it makes only 52 dB(A) of noise, which sounds like two papers running against one another. The generator has a telescopic handle to pull it around easily. The remote control makes it convenient to switch on and off the generator. If you don’t want to use the remote, you can use the electric start button to start the engine. There is also a recoil backup available.
The generator comes with a rotating digital display that shows running power output, remaining runtime, voltage output, fuel level, and lifetime hours, so you can check the readings and fill the fuel tank and oil accordingly. The inverter has a fuel tank capacity of 3.4 gallons and a runtime of 18 hours for 25 percent load. It is perhaps the best generator for powering multiple appliances at the time as it comes with four outlets including one 5-20R 120V Duplex Household outlet, RV-Ready TT-30 30 Amp outlet, and two USB outlets. You can use it as a primary power source for your RV as it is strong enough to run all essential electronics. At night, you can switch on the Efficiency Mode to save fuel and keep the generator running for a long time.
Along with the three years of manufacturer’s warranty on residential use, Westinghouse also offers lifetime technical support. If you want to use it for commercial purpose, you will only get a one-year limited or 1,000-hour warranty.
What do we love it for?
Three-year residential warranty on residential use
18-hour run time at 25 percent load
Efficiency Mode saves fuel
LED display for easy reading
Works quietly at 52 dB(A)
What were we disappointed with?
Dry weight of 93 pounds, difficult to carry around
At $830, Pulsar PG4000iSR is the best value 4000-watt generator on our list. At peak surge, it produces 4,000 watts of power and has a running wattage of 3,500 watts. It has a 3.4-gallon fuel tank that keeps the generator running for 15 hours at 50 percent load. The inverter has five outlets including one 120V 20 AMP duplex outlet, one 120V 30 AMP RV outlet, two 120V AC outlets, and one Integrated USB outlet. It has parallel sockets and produces clean sine waves to power up your mobile phones, laptops, and other delicate electronics. You can connect one 2,000-watt generator to the inverter for added power. You can also connect it with another PG4000iSR unit.
The impact resistant frame along with never flat wheels and telescopic handle make it easy to maneuver the generator around when you go camping. Since it is CARB compliant, you can use it in California and all other 49 states of the United States. The generator is also EPA and CSA certified. It is easy to start using the Wireless Remote Start feature from 80 feet away. From 10 feet away, it makes 63 dB(A) of noise, which is quiet enough to ensure your family’s comfortable sleep throughout the night.
It weighs 92.6 pounds and comes with a two-year warranty from the manufacturer along with free lifetime technical support. Things that you will receive in the package include 10W30 Oil Bottle (600 ml), spark plug wrench, and funnel.
What are its best features?
CARB compliant, EPA and CSA approved
Electric start with remote control
RV outlet, USB port, and 12V DC outlet
Parallel capacity allows to connect with another generator
Telescopic handle and lightweight frame makes it easy to move
With an impressive surge wattage of 4,750 watts, the WEN 56475 is a fuel efficient conventional generator with four outlets including two 120V receptacles (5-20R) outlets, one 120V RV (TT-30R), and one 30A 3-prong (L5-30) outlet. You can start it either by using electric control or the recoil mechanism. It meets the CARB & EPA III requirements in all 50 states, so you can use it in your RV. The never flat wheels and foldable handles makes it convenient to move around.
One of the best features of this WEN 4750 Watt Generator is the spark arrestor, which is a crucial function required if you are camping in a forest or national park. Another feature, automatic voltage regulator, ensures clean power to protect your appliances. The low-oil shutdown combined with overload protection prevents any damage and makes sure the generator isn’t under excessive load. On the other hand, the never flat pair of wheels and easy-to-grab handles assist you in easy transportation.
WEN offers the best customer service and has over 1,000 service technicians across the globe. The only real downside of the product is the 68 dB(A) of noise it produces. If you are using it to power your house, you can reduce it by placing the product farther away. However, it isn’t ideal for RVs as the noise won’t let you sleep during the night. On purchase, you will receive a two years warranty on parts and labor.
Perfect for your memorable road trips in your RV, Sportsman Series 4000-Watt Dual-Fuel Generator is flexible and its 4-stroke OHV engine ensures maximum power output. It is also an excellent choice for using at home during a power outage as it can comfortably charge three large appliances at once. It can run on both, gasoline and LPG, so if you run out of one, you can fuel the generator with another until you refill the can. It only has the recoil start option available, so you will have to flex some muscles to get it started.
Since it is a conventional generator, it makes more noise than the inverter models mentioned in our list. At 10 feet, it makes 69 dB(A) of noise, which can be uncomfortable if you have small kids at home. You can connect your appliances and electronics to six outlets including four 120V outlets, one 12V DC outlet, and one 120V RV outlet. Improved safety features added to the generator include low oil shut off, spark arrestor, engine shut off switch, automatic voltage regulation, and circuit breaker. It runs for 10 hours at 50 percent load on gasoline and 12 hours on LPG.
The generator has a lower surge power of 4,000 watts and running power of 3,500 watts. It can reduce by 10 percent when you run it on gasoline. It is EPA approved but not CARB compliant, so you can’t use it in California. Sportsman recommends to not use the generator at altitudes above 3,000 feet. The propane tank is not included and should be bought separately. You will receive only one-year limited warranty on purchase of the product.
What do we love it for?
Four 120V AC outlets
Recoil start works well even in cold
Works on gasoline and LPG
Low oil shut off and automatic voltage regulation protects the engine from excessive load
The last generator on our list is the DuroStar DS4000S, which is a conventional 4-gallon generator with air cooled OHV 4-stroke engine. It isn’t most fuel efficient model as it has a short runtime of eight hours at 50 percent load. It has starting wattage of 4,000 watts and running wattage of 3,300 watts. The generator has three outlets in total including two 120 Volt, 20 Amp, 60 Hz-NEMA 5-20R outlets and one 120 Volt, 30 Amp, 60 Hz-NEMA L5-30 outlet. It is a manual pull start generator and produces 69 dB(A) of noise, which sounds like two people having a normal conversation.
You can run three large appliances at once including a full-sized refrigerator, a small air conditioner, and a sump pump along with small lights and mobile phones. The all-metal construction lets you use it ruggedly and lasts well even on the most durable worksites. The surge arrest feature protects your generator from power surge. It is approved by Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board, making DS4000S environmentally-friendly. The generator is particularly designed for RV use.
It comes with the low oil shutoff feature that switches off the generator under excessive load. On purchasing the product, you will get three years limited warranty from the manufacturer.
What makes it special?
Comes with 30A twist-lock outlet
Analog display for easy monitoring
Three-year manufacturer’s warranty
CARB compliant and EPA approved
What cons did we find?
Runs loudly at 69 dB (A)
Has a short runtime of eight hours at 50 percent load; making it less fuel efficient
The Briggs & Stratton 30676 has a powerful 208cc OHV engine that ensures a long runtime of 14 hours at 50 percent load. The Overhead Valve Technology is a new introduction that keeps the engine cool for a longer time. It has a five-gallon tank that keeps the generator running throughout the night without requiring any refueling. Fitted with strong, 7″ Never Go Flat wheels assists in moving it around conveniently.
Its Power Surge Alternator feature produces short surges of power to start large motor-driven appliances. The generator’s starting wattage is 4,375 watts and running wattage of 3,500 watts. You can only switch on the conventional generator using recoil start. The multi-featured control panel has two household outlets and one RV outlet. Another feature is circuit breaker protection that safeguards the outlets from added load.
It comes with a commercial warranty of 90 days and a limited residential warranty of two years. The noise level isn’t specified by the manufacturer but considering it is a conventional generator, it produces around 67 to 69 dB(A) of noise from a distance of 23 feet. It is fitted with a Super Lo-Tone muffler to reduce the noise levels. If you are looking for an affordable generator for infrequent use, you should choose this one.
What are our favorite features?
Overhead Valve Technology keeps the engine cool
Impressive starting power surge of 4,375 watts
Super Lo-Tone muffler included in the package to reduce noise
14 hours runtime at 50 percent load
What could be better?
Only 90-day commercial and two-year residential warranty
Now that we our done with the review of the of the best 4,000-watt generators in the market, we have an in-detail buying guide to help you out find the perfect one for you. In our buying guide, we will talk about different features including inverter or conventional, starting or running watts, and fuel options and capacity among others. Let’s get started!
What can you power with a 4,000-watt generator?
On average, 4,000-watt generators can power three big appliances simultaneously along with small devices like coffee makers, microwave, phones, and laptops. For example, if you have a medium-sized house, you can power one full-sized refrigerator, one air conditioner or a power furnace, and gas stoves. A medium-sized refrigerator consumes 1,200W to 1,500W, while a computer, blender, and stereo player consumes 500W each. A microwaves uses 1,000W and an espresso machine uses 800W.
Avoid keeping all lights of your house switched on as they will pull a lot of power. Use the available power strategically. If you want to wash clothes in your washer, switch off the air conditioner for the time being. WiFi routers and alarm clocks consume a lot of power, so if you aren’t using them, switch them off.
Important features to consider before you buy a 4,000-watt generator
We have listed a number of features that will help you to find the best 4,000-watt generator. It is crucial to know what you are buying because you don’t want to freeze out in the cold after during a power outage. Here are 10 features you should consider while buying any generator, including a 4,000-watt one.
Generator type: conventional or inverter
Choosing between a conventional and inverter generator is the most crucial decision you need to take before going into the specificities. Inverter generators is a more advanced technology, produces clean power, and small in size and portable. They usually run at 3,600 rpm and are perfect for RVs. If you have small kids at home, there’s nothing better than a conventional generator because they have a super quiet mechanism. Westinghouse iPro4200 is the best inverter on our list. It runs for 15 hours at 50 percent load and produces only 52 to 59 dB(A) of noise. Another model from the same company called iGen4500 is another excellent choice.
Starting and running watts
A high starting wattage helps you start big appliances within a less amount of time. Those extra amount of watts will help you start motor-driven electronics including refrigerator, air conditioner, and water pump. Running wattage is the watts a generator will produce consistently. For example, the Yamaha EF4500iSE, one of the best Yamaha generators on the market, has peak wattage of 4,500 watts and running wattage of 4,000 watts. It has a runtime of 14.5 hours at 25 percent load, which is mainly because of its starting watts. We recommend you to purchase this model if you want to a run three to four big appliances simultaneously. Another wonderful option is the WEN 56475, which has starting wattage of 4,750 watts and running wattage of 3,750 watts. But if you think, that you might need a more powerful option, then we’d rather advise to look at 5000-watt generators.
Most inverter generators run only one fuel while conventional models run on two fuels including liquid propane and gasoline. You don’t necessarily have to purchase dual fuel generators but it is a good decision as you might need to switch fuels during an emergency and the fuel you typically use might not be available. The best dual fuel generators on our list include DuroMax XP4400EH and DuroStar DS4000S.
Fuel tank capacity
Fuel efficiency is more important than the generator’s fuel tank capacity. For example, the Briggs & Stratton 30676 is an efficient model with a five-gallon tank and a runtime of 14 hours at 50 percent load. On the other hand, DuroStar DS4000S has a four-gallon tank but a short runtime of only eight hours at 50 percent load. Pick a generator that has a long runtime as it requires less refills, so you save more fuel. The most fuel efficient generator is the Westinghouse iPro4200 has a small fuel tank capacity of 2.6 gallons but has an extra-long runtime of 15 hours at 50 percent load.
Noise level depends on the type of generator – inverter or conventional. Inverter generators are designed to be silent and produce no more than 60 dB(A) of noise, while conventional generators produce more than 65 dB(A) of noise.
Inverters are more expensive but they ensure you and your kids sleep well throughout the night. They are also environmentally friendly and don’t scare the birds in your neighborhood.
4,000-watt generators should ideally be compact in size, so you can take them with you on road trips or camping. They should weigh about 85 to 100 pounds, so you can drag them around. Two things that make a generator more portable are never flat wheels and a handle. Pulsar PG4000iSR is the lightest and most portable generator on our list. At 50 percent load, it has a runtime of 15 hours and makes 63 dB(A) noise. If you don’t plan to move the generator, DuroMax XP4400EH is a great choice. It is highly durable but the noisiest on our list.
This brings us to the last but the most important feature of the whole buying guide. The best way to judge a generator’s quality is the warranty it offers. A good generator brand will offer three years of residential warranty and one year of commercial warranty along with free lifetime technical support. Westinghouse iGen4500 and Westinghouse iPro4200 offer three-year warranty with free lifetime support and so does Champion Power Equipment 100302. If runtime is more important to you, Pulsar PG4000iSR makes a good choice but it comes with only two years of warranty and free technical support.
On average, 4,000-watt generators cost anywhere between $270 to $900. The price varies depending on their type, runtime, engine, and warranty period.
Purchase the DuroStar DS4000S, which costs $277 if you are low on budget. It is a good generator if you are okay with the 69 dB(A) of noise it produces. It also isn’t as efficient as other models. Another amazing model is the WEN 56475, which costs around $380. Both Westinghouse models are above $800 but they are super silent and eco-friendly. Champion Power Equipment 100302 is a great mid-range generator costing $450.
If you live in areas more prone to power outage, hurricanes, and storms invest in good quality generators from Westinghouse, Pulsar, and Yamaha as you will receive good customer service as well. It goes the same for RV owners.
If you plan to live in your motorhome for a long time, consider good quality generators as they are a worthy investment. On the other hand, if you want to buy a generator just as a precaution or occasional camping trips, settle for a more affordable option.
It is important to buy a generator that is CARB compliant and approved by EPA. They will cause slightly higher but they are a safer choice for your family and the environment.
Installing a 4,000-watt generator
Step 1. Understand the plug type and amperage your generator offers.
Step 2. Collect the required supplies including 30 Amp 2 pole (double) breaker, Breaker interlock kit, gauge wires, electrical conduit and fittings, and conduit glue.
Step 3. Drill an access hole in the wall where you will place the generator. Mount the power inlet box on top of it and connect a conduit to it.
Step 4. After the glue is dry, use three wires to connect the generator with your house. Green for ground to power inlet box, black and red for external X or Y terminal, and white for common W terminal. Push them inside the house through the conduit.
Step 5. Connect them to the transfer switch. Install generator breaker and other wires.
Step 6. Install the breaker retainer and the panel cover.
Check all the connections twice and then watch the generator live in action.
Yes, conventional generators are safe for delicate electronics including television, microwave, mobile phones, and laptops as power doesn’t surge through the circuits. However, you need to install a good surge protector to safeguard delicate electronics. Most small electronics are also the expensive ones and you don’t want them to be spoiled.
Conventional generators are louder than inverter generators. On average, a conventional generator makes more than 65 dB(A) noise, which sounds like two people having a normal conversation. Inverters make around 52 dB(A) noise, which sounds like a running fan or a quiet blender.
A 4,000-watt generator can power two big and one medium-sized appliances at the same time. For example, you can run a full-sized refrigerator, one medium-sized air conditioner, and one water pump simultaneously. A small central AC utilizes 1,500 watts, a refrigerator consumes 700 watts, and a water pump consumes 575 watts. You have enough power to run a washing machine, which uses 1,150 watts. If you want to run smaller devices, switch off any one of these appliances. Also, keep in mind that the starting wattage of many appliances is much higher than their running watts.
Yamaha EF4500iSE is our favorite choice among the ten generators that we reviewed in this article. It is an inverter model with three-year warranty and runs for 15.2 hours at 25 percent load. The noise it produces is around 58 to 60 dB(A), which is silent enough to let you sleep comfortably throughout the night. The features that attracted us to this generator are the oil warning system and Noise Block sound reduction system.
The WEN GN400i is our second favorite generator because it offers what almost everyone dreams of, clean, quiet, and portable power. You can bring it with you anywhere, thanks to its lightweight and compact build. Plus, it is fuel-efficient and safe for all of your sensitive gadgets, including phones and laptops. This brings us to our last favorite, the Champion Power Equipment 100302. It is a simple inverter model that is designed specifically for RV use. The generator’s Economy Mode drove our attention to it as it helps to save fuel, reduce noise production, and go on for a longer time. It is also CARB compliant and can be used in all 50 states. And please keep in mind that 4,000-watt generators are also being made by other respectable manufactures, like for example Lifan generators, have lots to offer, so if you would like to extend the comparison in order to make the best choice, you are most welcome.
How to Calculate the Efficiency of an Electrical Generator | Sciencing
When an electrical generator incurs losses, its efficiency drops from 100 percent. The efficiency of a generator is determined by the power of the load circuit and the total watts produced by the generator. It is expressed as a percentage since you are dividing units of power by units of power.