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Best generator under $500 in 2022 [Updated For 2022]

Sadly, generators may be fairly costly, making you select between energy safety or your monetary stability. Fortunately, there are many turbines below the worth of $500. These will mean you can compromise and have the most effective of each worlds – electrical energy and a cheerful pockets...

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Last update on 2022-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

3 ratings



A generator could be an option if you're seeking for a machine that will help you have power when you absolutely need it. Nonetheless, generators can cost a fortune to purchase, and you must make your own decision between electricity security and financial security. Fortunately, there are several generators available for less than $500. As a result, this will make it simple for you to strike a balance and have the best of both worlds - electricity and a happy wallet.

Besides, when you go camping and you want to have electricity for your appliances and tech gadgets? Solar generators could be ideal and must-have items for you if you are a traveler and an environmentally friendly person. They have reasonable prices, are easy to use, and carry like your small pocket.

Today, I will go through the best generators with a price below $500 which I curated based on specific reviews of the customers as well as experts. So you will be able to compare the generators, read detailed reviews, analyze the functions of each product and look at Buying Guide to make decisions better. Let’s see which generators do wonders for you.


Best generators under $500 reviews

1. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500, 518Wh Outdoor Solar Generator Mobile Lithium Battery Pack with 110V/500W AC Outlet (Solar Panel Optional) for Road Trip Camping, Outdoor Adventure




500 watts

Item Dimensions LxWxH

11.84 x 7.59 x 9.2 inches




110 Volts

Total Power Outlets


Thanks to the design of lithium-ion battery pack and safe frame structure in this Explorer 500 portable power station, users can take advantage of maximum and long-lasting power which are suitable for your outdoor activities and home use.

If you are concerned about how many appliances this generator is ready to supply, with a 518 watt-hour (24Ah, 21.6V) capacity we can use a mini cooler, projector, fan, lamplight, and even a TV. And when this device runs out of energy, you could charge this device fully without worrying about the life circle of the battery because this power station is featured 1* AC outlet (110V 500W 1000W Peak), 3*USB-A ports, 2* DC ports, and 1*car port and Battery Management System governs each individual cell. 

The size of this power is just like a basketball with a solid handle, so it is not difficult for you to carry everywhere you want, especially camping, road-trip, RV, and home backup.

This might be a good choice for those who love traveling and enjoy nature. When you combine the Explorer 500 with the SolarSaga 100 Solar Panel, you can create a Solar Generator 500 set that generates unlimited electricity directly from the sun. So you can make use of huge energy from the environment. Moreover, it could an incredible gift for anyone. This portable power station is like big power in a small package and comes with 2 years warranty. I was impressed by how easy to use this machine.

However, you better be certain you want to buy this item sight-unseen because the seller doesn't allow returns! It spends long charge times due to restricted input. The biggest issue I have with it is that when the AC ports are in use, it emits a high-pitched shriek. The kind of shouting that gives you a headache and hurts your ears in under a minute.

2. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 160, 167Wh Lithium Battery Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) Backup Power Supply with 110V/100W(Peak 150W) AC Outlet for Outdoors Camping Fishing Emergency




100 watts

Item Dimensions LxWxH

7.4 x 4.59 x 6.73 inches

Item Weight

3.84 Pounds


110 Volts



The Explorer portable power station is incredibly compact and practical, weighing approximately 4 pounds and including an AC plug. Having an AC Outlet on hand gives you more options for short family vacations, remote work, or outside camping necessities. 

Jackery, which was founded in 2012, specializes on delivering outdoor green power solutions for adventurers. It is one of the leader in this industry. It's also mentioned by reputable publications like Forbes, Digital Trends, and Tom's Guide. Set up 1* AC outlet (110V 100W 150W Peak), 1*USB-C port, 2* USB-A ports and 1* standard DC 12V port, he Explorer 160 power station will help you charge phones, tablets, laptops, gopro and other smaller electronics. However, this genertor does not bring you pass-through charging. You need to consider carefully when you buy this one.

If you wonder how long this device can be recharged fully, it won’t take you a lot of time and can save a lot of time to enjoy your day. In about 4.5 hours, the Jackery SolarSaga 60 (sold separately) will totally have enough power for you. Both the wall outlet and the automobile charging require 5 hours to recharge. Moreover, like another generators, there is a built-in LED together with SOS mode (long press to operate it) that can bring you wonderful experiences when you travel outside.

What I like about this battery is that it is really simple to use and lightweight power supply with a great power output. Besides, The Explorer 160 met all of our expectations and then some. Because a quality dedicated inverter costs an extra $100, this is a welcome (and unadvertised) discovery. Furthermore, unlike the Jackery Explorer 160, most other portable power stations and USB power banks do not allow for simultaneous charging and drawing power.

However, because of its low endurance, you may run into certain issues when utilizing this item. This is not for you if you require power for more than 2-3 hours.

3. Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment WGen3600v Portable Generator 3600 Rated and 4650 Peak Watts, RV Ready, Gas Powered, CARB Compliant


Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment


3600 watts

Item Dimensions LxWxH

23.3 x 17.5 x 18.7 inches


Gas Powered, CARB Compliant


120 Volts

Total Power Outlets



14 hours

Image that you are going on the road without electricity or at home during a power outage, you really need the power to serve in your life and meet your demand. The Westinghouse WGen3600v Portable Generator is extremely handy for you. With 4, 650 peak watts and 3, 600 running watts, and a 4 gallon (15 L) gasoline fuel tank, this generator can operate for up to 14 hours at a time.

 The WGen3600v has a strong 212cc 4-Stroke OHV Westinghouse Engine with a durable cast iron sleeve, a built-in fuel gauge, and automatic low oil shutdown. It can easily access your travel trailer, keep the air conditioner and travel items running all day with an L5-30R outlet and household duplex outlets when you go on a trip as it's equipped with an RV Ready TT-30R 30A outlet.

 Besides, this device slides less when being transported without the wheel kit. Rubber outlet covers offer additional protection against the elements and harsh situations. With guided yellow touchpoints and an intuitive control panel, the WGen3600v is straightforward to use. The WGen3600v Portable Generator comes with a 3-year limited warranty on service, labor, and parts, as well as lifetime technical support.

I recommend this product if you like to use gas or propane and don’t like something that is too complicated to operate. It generates more power than I think that I could spend a long day outside with plenty of electricity. Moreover, it's well-made, simple to maneuver if you get the wheeled type, and it starts with one simple pull every time.

Otherwise, this generator is quite heavy to carry outside, and you need to preserve it well to avoid bad weather that can affect the operation of this device. Sometimes, a new generator can not start although it has enough gas and oil. When you contact to customer service if you got a problem, they may not respond soon or never. You should consider this carefully because the warranty service is non-existent.

4. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/200W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator (Solar Panel Not Included) for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Emergency




200 watts

Item Dimensions LxWxH

9.05 x 5.24 x 7.87 inches




230 Volts (AC)

Item Weight

3.1 Kilograms

Another product from the Jackery, the Jackery Explorer 240 portable power station is selected as the "Best Portable Power Station for use in the outdoors" by Digital trends. With the weight of 6.6 pounds and a strong handle, it is totally comfortable to take outside for Tent Camping, Road Trips, etc. 

Being equipped with 1* Pure Sine Wave AC outlet (110V 200W 400W Peak), 2* USB-A ports (5V, 2.4A), and 1* 12V DC carport, it can charge your necessary appliances such as smartphones, laptops, cameras, fans, lights and so on. What more is that charging via a pass-through is possible. You can recharge this generator in two alternative ways: through a wall outlet and car outlet as well or even through the Jackery Solar Saga 60 solar panel or SolarSaga 100 solar panel. As it is built with an MPPT controller, so it can help you to operate the solar panel at max level with the highest efficiency.

I was really satisfied with Jackery's customer service. It was exceptional and has already reached out to me directly regarding my concerns. This package nicely fits in my carry bag with light weight. It could be recharged quickly and stay recharged for months while in winter storage. With the awesome construction, this great piece of equipment can be used as an effective self-defense weapon if the need arises.

Despite its effective work, there are no rubber covers or protectors on ports. In case you want to use this generator outdoor, you should be more concerned because it is not waterproofed.

5. ROCKPALS 300W Portable Power Station, 280wh (78000mAh) Solar Generator with 110V Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, USB-C PD Input/Output, QC 3.0, CPAP Backup Lithium Battery for Outdoor Camping Emergency




300 watts

Item Dimension LxWxH

10.5 x 5.3 x 8.5 inches




110 Volts

Item Weight

7.7 pounds

The latest ROCKPALS 300 is totally powerful which is equipped  280wh (10.8V/26Ah) lithium-ion battery pack that allows you to charge an iPhone 12 (5.4 inch) around 28-29 times, an iPad Mini about 14 times, a 12" MacBook (41.4wh) about 5-6 times, a Mini car refrigerator (40W) about 5-6 hours, a Gopro (5.9wh) about 40 times, or other small household items. This portable battery can handle all of your needs while camping, during power outages, or in other emergency scenarios (especially hurricane).

If you want to have a good battery to effectively charge your little digital devices, the ROCKPALS 300 is perfect for you with 2*dc port(12V/5A, 60W max), 2*USB 3.1A, 1*QC charge 3.0 USB and 1*USB-C PD output (20V/1.5A, 30W max). In addition, it is also included 1*pure since wave 110V AC outlets(300w rated, 500w peak); 1*car port(12V/10A, 120W max), use DC converter(sold separately) to power your CPAP for better effect. 

One of the biggest advantages, when we purchase this item, is that you can receive the fast speech of charging energy. The Rock power 300 power station for camping can meet the power supply for all your PD devices, from smartphones to laptops, at top speed - revive your MacBook Pro in only 3-4 hours with USB 3.0 and 30W USB-C PD output for 40% faster charging. With the PURE SINE WAVE function, you can charge your devices more steadily and safely, reducing auditory and electrical noise.

However, because the output of 12V is not regulated, you may have to utilize the AC 110V port exclusively for automobile mini-fridges in this item. And after such a long journey, the return period had already passed.

Buying guides

What do you need to know?

Get details on generator safety, the different types of generators and more. If you have ever lost electricity in your home, you would know how troublesome it can be. You can really want to own a generator right away. It's also crucial to be aware of some of the risks associated with generators when you purchase these items.

Type of the generators

When it comes to selecting a generator, you must first choose the sort of generator you require. Portable generators, inverter generators, and standby generators are the three main types.

Mostly, some generators that I mentioned above are portable power stations. A portable generator, as the name implies, is one that can be easily transported. These generators frequently include wheels, making them simpler and distributing electricity to any location. Even smaller models may be carried instead of being on wheels, making them even more transportable. Portable generators are usually powered by gasoline and are less expensive than standby generators.

Things to consider

1. Power Requirement

The quantity of electricity you require is one of the most critical factors to consider when purchasing a generator. Consider what you'll be utilizing the generator for to answer this question. Portable generators produce less electricity and are only suited for a few small appliances. So it is suitable for you when you are in emergency situations or go on a trip.

2. Fuel source

You can fuel your generator in one of three different methods. Your options will be determined by the type of generator you select as well as the type. To begin, portable generators are often powered by gasoline. Standby generators and portable generators can both be powered by propane. Finally, standby generators can run on natural gas, while portable generators cannot.

3. Generator Placement & Operation

  • Children should never be allowed around portable generators.

  • When the generator is running, give it at least 5 feet of clearance on all sides.

  • A generator can be used in a variety of weather and temperatures, but it should be kept out of the elements while not in use to avoid shorting and rusting.

  • Never run a generator indoors.

  • Only use the generator on flat surfaces free of moisture, dirt, dust, or corrosive vapors.

  • Regularly inspect the generator and call the nearest authorized dealer if any parts need to be repaired or replaced.

  • When setting up, transporting, adjusting, or repairing the generator, always disconnect the spark plug wire and place it where it can't contact the spark plug to avoid inadvertent starting.


1. Can I use a portable generator for backup during a power outage?

Yes. A portable generator can accommodate a variety of household appliances and devices, but not all at once.

Never use an outlet in your house or company to power your generator. Install an approved manual power transfer switch in accordance with electrical rules if you want to connect a portable generator to your home's wiring system.

2. What's a transfer switch?

A transfer switch allows you to safely connect a portable generator to your home's electrical system while remaining connected to the utility grid. Any risk of a harmful back-feed will be eliminated.

3. Is it necessary to ground the portable generator?

Yes. The generator must be correctly grounded for safety. You risk electrocution if the generator isn't grounded. Check and follow all applicable federal, state, and local grounding requirements.

4. Can I use the generator during severe weather?

A generator can be used in all types of weather and temperatures, but it should be protected from the elements when not in use to avoid shorting and rusting. Running a generator indoors is never a good idea.

5. How often should I perform routine maintenance?

The suggested maintenance plan should be found in your owner's handbook.

Stephen A Poirier
Stephen A Poirier
Stephen A Poirier has worked for more than 10 years at Best Machinery, where he has written on carpentry, masonry, painting, plumbing, electrical, woodworking, blacksmithing, welding, lawn care, chainsaw use, and outdoor power equipment. When he’s not working on his own house, he volunteers with Sovereign Grace Church doing home repair for families in rural, suburban and urban locations throughout central and southern New Jersey.