Smallest 240v Generator Round-up for 2021

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Small 240V Generator

The smallest generator with 240v doesn’t create electricity. Instead, it converts mechanical energy into electricity. These powerful models use mechanical energy in order to cause an electric charge via an external circuit. Often, a 240v model is used for RV’ing and camping, offering a decent runtime length that can provide the type of power needed throughout the night. But how do these generators work, and why are they so popular among campers and caravanning enthusiasts.  Inverter generators are more popular than ever, since they can be used in addition to the best RV solar panel systems, offering more power on the road, when you need it the most. But alone, many of the leading models of camping generators can provide enough power to meet your needs.

The smallest generator with 240v are made for on the road use. These compact generators tend to shine more for camping use or caravanning. When you’re on the road, or camping out, these compact generators can be a total lifesaver, thanks to their ability to power up to two small devices or one large appliance. They’re often relied on to power delicate devices since there’s no worry of inconsistent power or power surges, a major issue with conventional generators, and one that can seriously damage a laptop, smartphone or tablet. In the end, these smaller generators are powerful, very reliable, and a more affordable option compared to their larger counterparts. 

Now that you know why these compact generators are so popular, let’s learn what makes them tick and how you can use them when you’re on the road, far away from home.

Heavy Duty 120/240v Generator Pick: WEN DF1100T Dual Fuel Portable Generator
  • Switch between gasoline (11,000 surge watts, 8,300 running watt) and propane (9,500 surge, 7,500 running) with the simple turn of the selection dial
  • Voltage easily goes from 120V to 240V, perfect for transfer switches and emergency backup
  • Electric start powers the 457cc 4-stroke OHV engine with the turn of a key
  • 6.6-gallon tank provides up to 8.5 hours of half load run time
  • Includes four 120V GFCI outlets (5-20R), a 120V 30A twist lock outlet (L5-30R), a 120V/240V 50A outlet (NEMA 14-50R), a 12V DC cigarette-lighter-style plug, a bottle of oil, a 47-inch LPG connection hose, and a two-year warranty
120/240v Value Pick: Westinghouse WGen5300v 120V/240V Portable Generator
  • 5300 Running Watts and 6600 Peak Watts; Recoil Start; 4. 7 Gallon Fuel Tank With Fuel Gauge; Up to 13. 5 Hours of Run Time Per Tank with 120/240V Volt Selector Switch
  • Features One 5–20R 120V Household Duplex Receptacle, One RV-Ready TT-30R 30 Amp Receptacle, and One Transfer Switch Ready L14-30R 30 Amp Receptacle; All Outlets Have Rubber Covers for Added Safety
  • Plug-and-Play: Comes With Oil, an Oil Funnel, a Tool Kit, and a User’s Manual to Get You Started Right Out of the Box (Minimal Assembly Required)
  • Powered by a 274cc Westinghouse 4-Stroke OHV Engine Featuring a Long-Lasting Cast Iron Sleeve With Automatic Low Oil Shutdown
  • All Westinghouse Portable Generators are Functionally Tested in the Factory and May Contain Minimum Residual Oil and/or Fuel Odor; EPA and CARB Compliant; Backed by 3-Year Limited Service, Labor, and Parts Coverage with Nationwide Customer Service Network
120/240v High-Output Pick: DuroMax XP12000EH 12000W Watt Portable Generator
  • Powerful DuroMax Engine: the XP12000EH is powered by a DuroMax, 457cc OHV engine.
  • Dual fuel technology: the ability to run on propane or gasoline allows the freedom and flexibility of fuel choice. Protects your investment by automatically shutting the generator off when it senses that the oil is low
  • Plenty of power: with 12,000 starting watts and 9, 500 running watts, This unit can handle heavy loads from lights and a refrigerator to a home air conditioner and high amperage power tools.
  • Maximum power: with DuroMax MX2 technology, get the maximum power from each of the 120 volt receptacle. Choose between operating the generator at both 120 V and 240 V Simultaneously, or at 120 only with full power.
  • Powering everyone anywhere: like all DuroMax generators, the XP12000EH is EPA and CARB approved For use in all 50 States.

Tons of Power in a Compact Package

The best camp generator will offer two hundred and forty volts of power. This type of power is perfect for camping or RV use. However, it’s not uncommon to use two inverter generators of this size, at the same time, for more power.  Small inverter generators rely on electromagnetic induction in order to create electricity. A conventional generator, the large type that emits plenty of noise, relies on a large engine in order to produce power.

But these inverter generators have the advantage of top of the line electronic circuitry, combined with high-tech magnets. This design eliminates the common problems you’ll run into with a traditional generator such as inconsistent current and noise.  Inverters product AC current just like their larger counterpart, however, before being converted back to AC current these generators begin with AC, switch to a DC current, then are inverted to the AC current. The result is higher quality electricity that’s said to be much safer and cleaner. This is why you don’t have to worry about running sensitive electronics on a 240v inverter.

On the road

Generally speaking, you can use a portable generator for a wide range of applications, wherever an outlet can’t be found. These generators can come in handy when you need them the most, especially in the event of an emergency.

Most 240v inverters can be used for RV’ing, in combination with solar panels like the WindyNation solar panel kit. Together, both provide more than enough power to run essential appliances and devices, including a coffeemaker, smartphones, small TV, and space heater. If you don’t know much about generator technology, then the generator’s smaller size may be initially off-putting, but the fact that these generators are highly portable and able to handle a variety of devices is one of their main selling points.

Related: Best Ultra Portable Generators

The other, is the fact that, unlike conventional generators, inverters are quiet-running.  Small generators also produce less noise making them ideal for both indoor and outdoor applications. As mentioned above, most small generators are inverter generators and utilize inverter technology which results in less noise. You won’t be able to use a conventional generator in places where noise is a huge concern.

These generators can be used for:

  • Emergency power backup
  • Camping
  • RV’ing
  • Parties
  • To power get-togethers when no other power source is available

If you think about it, this generator’s lightweight design, combined with its efficiency, makes this style of generator much more versatile than a conventional generator.  The lightweight design is also a huge plus. Most models come with a built-in handle and weigh around thirty-to forty pounds. This weight makes them perfect for camping in the backcountry, where no other source of power is available.

How 240v Generators Work

The design of the inverter generator is meant to make operation and maintenance much easier, without compromising the generator’s power and efficiency.  Most models of 240v generators feature a couple of one hundred and twenty volt outlets, for a combined power of two hundred and forty volts. Take the Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator. It comes equipped with two one hundred and twenty volt outlets, allowing you to power two devices at the same time. For some, this type of power limitation may be a huge downside, but it’s fairly common for inverter generators.  One solution is parallel operation. This involves using two compatible generators, linked by a cable, for twice the amount of juice. You’ll enjoy more power, the ability to power four devices or appliances at the same time, and still get the whisper-quiet operation that these generators are famous for.

There are many styles and types of inverter generators to choose from. As technology continues to advance, we’ve found that newer models now come loaded with some great extras designed to improve ease of use. To learn more about popular styles of camping generators, check the entire power section.

How are these Generators so Quiet?

Obviously, aside from the generator’s portability, one of the biggest benefits they offer is their lower than average sound production. If you’ve ever been camping out and couldn’t sleep because your neighbor was running a generator, then you know why a quiet-running generator is such as big deal. These generators are designed with materials that work to minimize sound. Most of these models will operate at a volume of fifty to sixty decibels. This noise level is equal to the type of noise in a grocery store. Of course, if you use more than one of these generators at the same time, then the noise level will increase, yet even two inverters running at the same time doesn’t equal the noise level that you can expect from a conventional generator.

Why Power Needs are Different On the Road

In terms of emergency power backup generators, these devices can be a great option, however, homeowners who have the cash often opt for the conventional generator, simply because they’re more powerful and can handle supplying power to more appliances and devices at once. While the inverter can usually only handle powering a couple of small appliances or devices, or one large appliance, such as a TV or air conditioner.  But on the road, your power needs aren’t going to be quite the same as at home.  When you’re camping out in the desert, you might need the inverter to charge your phones or iPads, to provide juice to your electric camping stove, or to power your coffee pot. The point here is that you don’t need to power as many devices when you’re on the road that you do at home.

So, how can you determine if a 240v generator will meet your outdoor needs? It’s actually pretty easy, and can depend on a few factors:

  • How many people you’re traveling or camping with
  • Whether you need the generator to supply power to your RV or campsite
  • How man devices you’re bringing with you

Often, you’ll find that voltage isn’t quite as important as runtime.  Runtime is usually the spec consumers pay attention to the most, because this spec will determine how long the generator will run for. The runtime tends to vary from model to model, ranging from four to twelve hours. Smaller generators offer a decent runtime, however, most RV users and campers are looking for a model that can easily run throughout the night.  If you’re not sure how much power you need for your devices, you can easily figure this out by adding up the power consumption for your phones, tablets, air conditioner, etc. Keep in mind that it’s very important that you don’t use devices that will take up more power than the generator can supply. This can cause the generator to overheat.

Our Choice

The WEN DF1100T Dual Fuel Portable Generator is fuel efficient thanks to electronic fuel injection. Not only is it easy to start, it offers a longer runtime compared to competing models in this price range which usually offer a far shorter runtime.

Smallest 240v Generator - Out Top Pick

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best quiet generators?

Inverter generators! These 240v generators are not only popular because they feature a compact, lightweight design, they’re also popular for their whisper quiet operation. Larger generators are notoriously loud, which is why you wouldn’t be able to use them at a camping site. The inverter generator is very quiet during use, especially when they’re switched to the lowest setting. But even at full power, these generators don’t make near as much noise as traditional generators.

What size of generator will run a house?

Unfortunately, as we briefly touched on earlier, the inverter generator isn’t quite powerful enough to power an entire house. Houses are normally powered by large conventional five thousand watt generators.  If you don’t need a larger, more expensive generator for emergency power, then one or two inverter generators can work just fine to provide enough power to run your fridge or charge your delicate electronics.

Can you plug a generator into a wall outlet?

No. You should never directly connect a generator to an electrical outlet. In terms of a permanent setup in the home, most emergency backup generators should be connected to a double pole and throw switch. This type of installation is often done by a licensed electrician. If a generator is directly plugged into an outlet then the home’s wiring could easily overheat or overload since the wiring in the home would no longer have the protection of the circuit breaker. In the event the wiring in the home  is overloaded, this could lead to a fire.

What is backfeeding?

This term refers to improperly connecting a camping generator to electrical wiring. Back feeding involves a dangerous current that can potentially electrocute anyone who comes into contact with power lines when it’s set up via power lines. When you back feed into a power line from a camping generator you can potentially create a hot power line. During a power outage, a lineman will mistakenly believe that the powerline is out. Once they touch the powerline they could be seriously injured. In order to avoid back feeding into a powerline, make sure you use the double throw, double pole transfer switch setup, and make sure it’s done by a qualified electrician.

Final thoughts

Even the smallest generator with 240v can supply the type of power you need when you’re far away from home. However, many of these smaller models will not have the type of power needed to provide power to your whole home, the way a conventional generator can. Instead, the inverter generator is better suited for camping and RV’ing, however it can be used as an emergency backup power source, if you need to supply power to one major appliance, or need a way to keep your smartphones charged in the event of a power outage.  Really, the inverter generator has many uses, but as we mentioned, these smaller generators tend to shine more for use when you’re on the road or far away from a power source.

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