If you’re a kind of person who gets out camping a lot and prefers traveling light (or perhaps you just love having a cool tailgate party every now and again), a portable generator is a nice addition to your camping gear. Tailgate events aren’t a new concept as such parties are very old. Ivy League is seen as a home to the earliest known tailgating.
A tailgater on average spends over $500 on food, and nearly all the tailgaters are men within the age bracket, 25–44.
If you mostly make plans to hold social gatherings at parks or beaches or you love camping, then you’ve to consider adding a tailgating generator to your camping gear. This set will help you power your smartphone, tab, laptop, cooker, heater, or a music system, which will allow you to enjoy your gathering to the fullest.
Looking for the best tailgate generators? You’re on the right page, where we’ll be discussing their features to help you select the perfect generator model based on your needs and style.
Best Tailgate Generators of 2020 – Comparison Table
If you’re one of the buyers seeking an all-in-one solution to your tailgating power demands, the Honda EU2200i is an excellent option to cater to them. While tailgating, you’ll need a portable generator, which is quiet, can be transported easily, and offers a long run time. Fortunately, this unit does all of this and lots more.
When considering the wattage requirements of your tailgating essentials, you’ll observe that you won’t be needing a large generator unless you intend to power large appliances. The Honda EU2200i supplies 1800 running watts & 2200 starting watts, ensuring that you’ll have more than enough power to keep your party going.
It boasts an exciting variety of features, so it comes as a little surprise to find that it’s racked more than 200 reviews on Amazon as of now. Since it’s lightweight (only weighing 46.5lbs), you’ll find it extremely easy to transport. There’s a .95 gallon fuel tank, which allows for up to a little more than eight hours of run time at 25 per cent load for powering you through any tailgating outing.
- Weight: 46.5 lbs
- 121cc GXR120 Engine
- Starting Watts: 2200 Watts
- Running Watts: 1800 Watts
- 1hr runtime @ 25 per cent load
- .95 Gallon Capacity Fuel Tank
- (2) 120V-20A GFCI Outlets
- 12V DC Battery Charging Outlet
- Parallel Capabilities
- Eco-Throttle Switch
- 3 Year Commercial/Residential Warranty
- Sound Level: 57dB from 23ft away
On the EU2200i generator, Honda is providing a 3-year residential & commercial warranty to guarantee you a peace of mind that always have your back.
- Well-built design
- Very reliable
- Relatively quiet
- Honda warranty
- Higher price point
- Limited number outlets
Westinghouse iGen2200 Portable Inverter Generator
An inverter-type portable generator, let’s review the Westinghouse iGen2200 Portable Inverter Generator. The name of this model comes from the fact it pumps out a maximum wattage of 2,500W from 98cc 4-stroke engine, which is relatively decent. The Westinghouse’s fuel capacity is one gallon, and it works for ten hours max between refuels.
This implies that you can leave the machine to get on with the task of power provision, while you focus on the business of entertainment. It’s a mid-range priced model, which is parallel-capable, enabling you to power up further, without any increase in the noise levels or even the weight.
The maximum noise level of this unit is at 52 decibels (A) that competes very well against a number of its rivals with higher price points. The portable generator has a fascinating spread of outlets, with two 5v USB ports, in addition to a handful of 20A 120v power sockets. These make it ideal for use in several different settings.
Apart from these, it also compares reasonably well for weight with the competition as you’ll only be hauling 21.7kg (48 pounds) at the back of your truck between outings.
We’ve come across a couple of reports as regards poor customer service with Westinghouse. You’re stepping down the budget scale in this case, and with such a cheaper unit, you may encounter a few more issues and lower quality control at the point of manufacture. Hence, it’s these reports of absent contact & service from the maker that prevents this machine from occupying the top spot in this review of the best tailgate generators.
- Rated or peak watts: 2,200W/2,500W
- Type: inverter generator
- Engine: 98cc 4-stroke OHV
- Runtime: 10 hrs. (25 per cent load)
- Start type: recoil
- Outlets: Duplex 120V 20A (5-20R) and 5V USB ports
- Fuel tank: 1.0 gallon
- Noise level: 52 dB(A)
- Warranty: three-year limited (residential) and one-year limited (commercial)
The Westinghouse iGen2200 is a robust package for its noise level and weight.
- Powerful at 2500 watts Quiet
- Lightweight design
- Has Great fuel efficiency
- There are reports of poor customer support from the maker
The Yamaha EF2200iS is yet another inverter-type portable generator, which operates slightly more noisily compared with the Honda model above, featuring a maximum level of 65 dB(A). However, that’s still a reasonably low noise for the amount of power it offers.
This Yamaha machine has some great specs. It has a fuel shutoff, ensuring that you’ll be keeping that carb cleaner for a longer period. This option is a recoil pull-start, just like what we’ve in the Honda unit. Though that isn’t as easy as an electronic start button, the Yamaha EF2200iS has got great reviews as regards the ease of use it provides when starting every time, and the fuel shutoff option will only be of help with that aspect of things.
With the weight just more than 55 pounds, this portable generator is a bit heavier than the Honda unit above. However, Honda tries to make up for some of that inconvenience with a runtime of 10.5hrs on 25 per cent load, which measures up at a decent 79cc.
It also has a fuel management system that the manufacturer calls a ‘smart throttle’. This feature will save you a lot of fuel costs.
The unit has the same power output capacity as the Honda option. However, in comparison with the Honda generator, the Yamaha EF2200iS offers TwinTech™, allowing you to hook up 2 generators together for producing up to 30 amps of power.
- Peak/rated watts: 2,200W/1,800W (gasoline)
- Type: inverter generator
- Fuel tank: 1.24 gallon
- Engine: 79 cc Yamaha MZ80 OHV 4-stroke
- Outlets: (1) 120V 30A (TT-30R), (1) Duplex 120V 20A (5-20R), (1) 12V 3A
- Runtime: 10.5 hours (1/4 load)
- Noise level: 57 dB(A)
- Start type: recoil
- Warranty: three-year limited
Choosing between the Honda and Yamaha generators could be a tough decision to make. Ultimately, it will boil down to whether you seek something a bit lighter, or you need a couple of additional runtime hours.
- Great Fuel efficiency
- Easy to start
- Offers Pulse Width Modification for sensitive electronics
- There are no USB outlets
Briggs & Stratton P2200 – Quiet Power Technology Equipped
When you’re within close quarters at a tailgate party or even want to watch the pre-game, you’ll require a generator, which is relatively quiet. And for that purpose, we recommend the Briggs & Stratton P2200 Inverter Generator for you.
The machine works at only 59 dB(A) equipped with quiet power technology, allowing you to enjoy a generator, which is quieter than a typical conversation.
It supplies 1700 running watts & 2200 starting watts that let you easily power items such as TV’s, griddles, electric smokers, in addition to other tailgating essentials. Also, it has parallel capability that enables you to add another P2200 to get twice the power.
The machine gives a superb performance, armed with lots of features that make it a perfect unit to add to the gear for your next tailgating event. Easily transportable, it’s lightweight (only weighing 54 lbs).
The 1 gal. tank of the generator allows for an 8-hr runtime at 25% load. This means you can keep your party going all day long.
There are two 120V 20A receptacles that let you easily hook up your common household tools or appliances.
- 111cc OHV Briggs & Stratton Engine
- Starting Watts: 2200W
- Running Watts: 1700W
- 1-Gal. Capacity Fuel Tank
- Weight: 54 lbs
- 1 – 12volts DC Cigarette Lighter Style Receptacle
- 8-hr runtime @ 25 per cent load
- Sound Level: 59 dB from 23ft away
- 1 – Parallel Capability Outlet
- 2 – 120volts 20A Receptacles (Household Style Outlets)
- Recoil Style Start
- 2 Year Residential/90 Day Commercial Warranty
This unit is backed by a 24-month residential warranty, which makes it a trustworthy buy. And you can anticipate quality and responsive customer service when it’s needed.
- Feels solid
- Reliable performance
- Parallel Capable
- Good warranty
- There’s no fuel gauge
Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel Inverter, 100263
One of the best dual-fuel tailgating generators on the market, the Champion Power Equipment 100263 is a step up in max power output to a huge 3100W constant running and 3400W start up. By looking at this Champion entry, we’re going up the price scale and also moving up the ladder as regards power & specs.
When it comes to power output, the machine is in a different class compared with the generators above. Yet, it’s also an excellent option within the tailgating arena.
In the Champion 3400, we’ve a 120V 30A RV socket, in addition to two 120V 20A household outlets as well as 12V DC outlet with dual USB adapter.
Despite the power it supplies, this unit is also quiet, running at only 59 dB(A). This competes very well with a number of the weaker generators in this review article. The Champion model gets a huge 192cc 4-stroke motor that will work for around 7 hours on 1 tank of fuel.
Talking of fuel, the generator is a dual-fuel machine, providing you with great benefits as regards running costs. The electronic starting option is among the coolest convenience features in this generator. It’s an especially useful option for those early morning moments when you would like to get some coffee on the boil and aren’t in the mood for a work-out.
- Rated/peak watts: 3,100W/3,400W (gasoline), 2,790W/3,060W (LPG))
- Type: inverter dual-fuel generator
- Fuel tank: 1.6 gallons
- Engine: 192cc 4-stroke OHV air-cooled
- Runtime: 7.5 hours (gas, 25 per cent load), 14.5 hrs. (LPG, 25 per cent load)
- Noise level: 59 dB(A)
- Start type: recoil, electric
- Outlets: 120volts 30A (TT-30R), 120volts 20A Duplex (5-20R), 12volts DC Automotive
- Warranty: 3-year limited
The safety features in this unit include a valuable low-oil cut off sensor that could just help save your bacon. The generator does a trade-off of performance and power against weight as it weighs about 99 pounds. That’s at the extreme high end of a tailgate generator.
- Low-oil cut off
- Uses gasoline or propane
- Versatile outlets
- Electronic start
- Relatively quiet
- The fuel tank is small
- Short gas run time
The Atima AY2000I is an affordable inverter-type generator with a Yamaha engine. It’s one of the lesser-known generators on this compilation of the best tailgate generators and is rapidly moving up the ranks and becoming a popular brand.
It’s powered by a Yamaha motor and boasts a lot of the same great features we’ve in the majority of the popular options reviewed in this write-up. The Atima unit is a textbook example of not judging a book by its cover because it competes fairly well with some of the best portable generators on the market.
The Yamaha-powered unit puts out 1600 running watts & 2000 starting watts for powering just the appliances you’re using around your tailgating party. It allows you to hook up TVs, electric smokers, crock pots, and other items with its two 120V 20A receptacles as well as single DC cigarette lighter style outlet.
The machine, which weighs only 47 lbs and comes with an in-built handle, can easily be moved around to any location where you may need it. It’s 10-hr runtime, ensuring that you won’t need to worry about refueling it anytime soon.
Because it produces only 52 dBa, it’s quieter than a number of options in this article, and that’s a plus when you’re using it in a crowded parking lot.
- 4-Stroke Yamaha Engine
- Weight: 47.41 lbs
- Running Watts: 1600W
- Starting Watts: 2000W
- 10hrs at 25 per cent load
- 1 Gal. Capacity Fuel Tank
- 2 – 120v 20A Receptacles (Household Style Outlets)
- 1 – 12v DC Cigarette Lighter Style Receptacle
- 1 – Parallel Capability Outlet
- Recoil Style Start
- Sound Level: 52 dBa
- 2-year warranty
The Atima AY2000i has an industry-average 24-month warranty, protecting you against faulty parts or craftsmanship.
- Trusted and reliable engine
- Great value
- Its customer reviews are few
The Generac GP2200i, which weighs relatively modest 46 pounds, is a machine occupying the middle segment of the price scale for tailgate generators. The unit packs an 80cc engine, which pumps out 1700W of constant power and maxes out at 2200W for starting power. It’s parallel-capable and offers a 12-gal tank, which operates at 25% power output for almost 11 hours.
The machine offers you a modest selection of outlets. Due to its overall size and shape, you’ll find it easy to carry about and store between uses.
Please note: If you’ll be using the new portable generator for tailgating, Generac doesn’t state the specific noise value for this product. However, we discovered it’s slightly more than 60 dB(A) when it’s fully loaded.
- Engine: 80cc OHV
- Type: inverter generator
- Rated/peak watts: 1,700W/2,200W
- Fuel tank capacity: 1.2 gallons
- Starting system: recoil
- Noise level: N/A
- Runtime: 10.75 hrs. (25% load) Outlets: (1) 120V, 20A 5-20R Duplex, (1) 1.5A 5VDC USB
- Warranty: 24-month limited (residential), 12-month limited (commercial)
Some users have reported a few issues with the generator as regards general build quality, service arrangements, poor warranty backup, and even concerning faulty recoil chords as well as difficulty in starting the machine.
When it comes to specs, the Generac GP2200i compares well with the competition. However, it doesn’t in terms of the cost & reported problems.
- Lightweight design
- Modest runtime
- USB charging port
- Outlets with breaker reset buttons
- Service problems
- Shorter warranty
Important Things to Consider When Looking to Buy the Best Tailgate Generator
You need to, first of all, take into consideration the power output of the generator you’re checking out. You can either choose generators that offer higher power output or those models that put out a lower amount of power. However, since as you’re getting a tailgate generator, a 2000-watt inverter generator is the perfect option to purchase.
But to determine the specific generator that would be suitable for you, create a list of the items and appliances that you always require to power during your tailgating events. Then, add up their watts and purchase a model, which can cater to that total power.
No one likes to be disturbed by the loud noise of a working generator. For this reason, we advise that you buy an inverter generator instead of the traditional option. However, you can still consider opting for the quietest unit, which will allow you to enjoy your parties without getting disturbed by the generator’s noise.
Fuel Tank Capacity & Runtime
These 2 factors do vary from one company to the other and also from one budget point to the other. It’ll obviously be cool to own a unit, which can work for hours & hours without requiring your attention. It obviously helps you enjoy partying if you can just forget the working generator, ensure the fuel can is left stowed, and focus on having a wonderful time.
But there can be a weight factor, and it’s almost better to allow the fuel tank run fairly low before you’ve to carry the generator at the end of the party as dry weight (without fuel in the tank) will always be lighter to move.
With more outlets come more versatility and a greater number of appliances or items operating at the same time. On smaller generators, there’ll be lower voltage outlets as well as some USB ports. But bigger generators will more likely provide more mains voltage ports.
You’ve to carefully consider the items and appliances you’re planning to run on your tailgate generator before you pick a model to buy. This is necessary because the available outlets & ports will vary from one model to the next.
No use purchasing a machine with tons of big power outlets if all you require is a hub for charging mobile devices, such as your smartphones and tabs. In the same vein, USB ports won’t be of much use to you if you intend running big items, such as cooking appliances.
Thus, think about what you’ll be looking to hook up before you choose a particular generator model.
Weight, Size, and Portability
You’re looking for a machine with enough power that can do its job smoothly without overloading issues, but you’ll need to compare all those features with others like how big and heavy it’s, and consequently how portable the unit is.
By nature, you’re looking to be as mobile as feasible and don’t want it to be physically straining to lift, since you’ll be doing so often. In the same vein, while on a camping trip or loading up your truck or car for a tailgate party, there’s almost always limited space as you’ll be hauling lots of gear.
Thus, a quality tailgate generator shouldn’t end up getting too big due to your putting an extra emphasis on power. Ensure it’s as small as possible for the amount of power you need. And that’ll be well-suited as your best generator for tailgate events.
Safety features could save your life. Or they could at least save your party from fizzling out as a result of lack power and lighting.
Find a generator with low-oil shutoff, and that essentially means it’ll house a device for monitoring the oil level and shutting off the engine when it gets too low. This option can save the engine from sustaining damage beyond repair as engines require lubrication. Smaller engines often require it more.
Low-oil shutoff is a cool feature to have in a situation where you’re only looking to have some fun and take for granted the power. Barely anyone starts a tailgate party or goes camping, where they’ll have to spend time attending to a generator & noting oil level measurements.
Overload protection is also a great feature, which can be grouped under the safety section. It’s a system built into the unit for monitoring the amount of power getting drawn at any given time.
In extreme cases, this option can stop a fire from taking place since it’ll cut power as soon as a dangerous amount of load gets piled on the generator, which may cause a short circuit, or get the generator overheated.
This feature does keep the generator running only within recommended guidelines and also safeguards it from harm. Also, it’s another set-it-and-forget-it feature, which allows you to join the party without the need to worry about power.
Please, bear in mind the more safety features & dials you’ve on a generator, the better. If a dipstick for the oil is provided, it lets you monitor levels easily before each use. Also, an auto-oil shutoff is perfect if it’s available.
You’ll find a fuel gauge more useful than you could ever possibly imagine. The gauge will ensure your generator stays running easily when needed.
Consider keeping the generator on a level & solid surface whenever you’re using it, and ensure it stays clean and dry. Also, please be gentle when you’re transporting the unit.
Lastly, if you’re moving it around in the back of your truck, it’s a nice idea to put a strap on the machine.
In a Nutshell
If you’re a kind of person that gets out camping often and love traveling light (or perhaps you just love having a cool tailgate party every now and again), you can pick from the 7 best tailgate generators reviewed above to satisfy your power and lighting needs.
These machines are as follows:
- Honda EU2200I
- Westinghouse iGen2200 Portable Inverter Generator
- Yamaha EF2200iS
- Briggs & Stratton P2200
- Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel Inverter, 100263
- Atima AY2000I
- Generac GP2200i
A portable generator is a cool addition to your camping gear. Tailgate events aren’t a new concept as this kind of parties are very old, with Ivy League regarded as a home to the earliest known tailgating.
A tailgater on average spends over $500 on food, and virtually all the tailgaters are men, whose ages lie within the bracket, 25–44.
If you often set plans to have social gatherings at parks or beaches or you love camping, adding a tailgating generator to your camping gear is a great decision. This machine will help you power your mobile phone, tablet, laptop, cooker, heater, or a music system, enabling you to enjoy your gathering to the fullest.