2023’s Best Generators for Tailgating (Quiet, Portable, & Lightweight)

Last Updated on September 1, 2023 by mfttherese

Editor’s Choice

2nd Best Choice

3rd Best Choice

Honda EU2200i Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel Westinghouse iGen2200
Portability Lots of power USB Ports
Quiet operation Dual fuel capability Digital display
Power efficiency Portable Run time

A reliable generator is a must-have for any tailgate setup, providing the right power source needed to keep grills sizzling and music pumping all day long. But with so many options on the market, how do you find the best generators for tailgating?

The best generator for tailgating depends on your specific power needs and preferences. However, popular options include one that I’ve reviewed before (the Honda EU2200i), Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel, Yamaha EF2000iSv2, Westinghouse iGen2200, and Generac GP2200i.

In this article, we will review the top 5 best tailgating generators to help you make an informed decision.

an illustration of people having fun at a tailgate party with a power generator on the floor at a stadium

The 5 Best Generators for Tailgating

With so many generators on the market, finding the right one for your tailgating needs can be a bit challenging. Here’s a closer look at the 5 best options today:

A Quick Comparison of The Best 3

Model Power Output (Rated/Surge) Fuel Type Run Time Noise Level Weight
Honda EU2200i 1800/2200 watts Gasoline 8.1-4 hours 48-57 dBA 47 pounds
Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel 3100/3400 watts Gasoline/Propane 7.5-14.5 hours 59 dBA 95 pounds
Westinghouse iGen2200 1800/2200 watts Gasoline 12 hours 51 dBA 46 pounds

1. Honda EU2200i

The Honda EU2200i is a lightweight, portable inverter generator that is perfect for tailgating. It features a powerful Honda GXR120 engine that delivers 2200 watts of power, making it ideal for running small appliances and electronics. This is perfect for getting the electricity you need for your tailgate party.

The inverter generator is also incredibly quiet, producing only 48 to 57 dBA of noise at its rated load. This makes it the best portable generator to use in crowded tailgating lots where noise levels need to be kept to a minimum.

In addition to its quiet operation, the Honda EU2200i is also very lightweight, weighing in at just 47 pounds. Like most inverter generators at that weight level, it’s easy to transport to and from your tailgating location. The generator also features an eco-throttle system. It automatically adjusts the engine speed to match the power demand. 


  • Quiet operation
  • Lightweight design
  • Fuel-efficient
  • Reliable performance


  • Higher price point compared to some other options
  • Smaller fuel tank

2. Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel

The Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel generator is a versatile and powerful option for tailgating. It offers 3400 watts of starting power and 3100 watts of running wattage, which is enough to run most tailgating appliances and electronics.

One of the key features of this generator is its dual fuel capability. Yes, it can run on both gasoline and propane. This makes it a convenient option for tailgating, as you can choose the fuel type that’s most easily accessible to you.

The Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel generator also features a quiet 59 dBA noise level, making it a suitable option for use in crowded tailgating lots. It’s portable and easy to move, thanks to its wheels and fold-down handle.

One potential drawback of this Champion generator is its weight; It may not be the most light weight option for transporting to and from tailgating events. Additionally, some users have reported issues with the generator’s fuel gauge accuracy and reliability over time.


  • Can run on both gasoline and propane
  • Electric start
  • RV ready
  • Relatively quiet


  • Heavier and bulkier than some other options
  • Shorter runtime on gasoline

3. Westinghouse iGen2200

The Westinghouse iGen2200 is a digital portable inverter generator with a 79cc engine that delivers 2200 watts of power. It’s capable of running small appliances and electronics while producing only 51 decibels of noise at its rated load.

One of the standout features of the Westinghouse iGen2200 is its digital display and control panel. It shows the remaining run time, fuel level, and power output. 

The generator also features two USB ports for charging phones and other devices. With a run time of up to 12 hours on a single fuel tank of gas, the Westinghouse iGen2200 is a great option for tailgating.


  • Affordable price point
  • Digital display
  • USB ports
  • Parallel capability
  • Fuel-efficient


  • Louder than some other options
  • Smaller fuel tank
  • Limited power output

4. Yamaha EF2000iSv2

The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is a compact and quiet generator that features a 79cc engine. Delivering 2000 watts of power, it’s ideal for running small appliances and electronics. It’s also incredibly quiet, producing only 51.5 – 61 dBA at its rated load.

The Yamaha generator is very lightweight, weighing in at just 44 pounds. This makes it easy to transport to and from your tailgating party. The generator also features an eco-mode that automatically adjusts the engine speed to match the power demand.


  • Compact size
  • Very quiet operation
  • Fuel-efficient
  • Smart throttle feature
  • Parallel capable


  • Higher price point
  • Smaller fuel tank capacity
  • Limited power output

5. Generac GP2200i

The Generac GP2200i is a portable inverter generator with a low oil shutdown feature which helps to protect the engine from damage.

The generator features a 80cc engine that delivers 2200 watts of power, making it capable of running small appliances and electronics. The generator is also very quiet, producing only 58 decibels of noise at its rated load.

With a rated output of 1,700 watts and a surge output of 2,200 watts, the GP2200i is capable of powering small appliances and electronics.


  • Low oil shutoff feature
  • Parallel capability
  • Good fuel efficiency rating


  • Louder than some other options
  • Heavier than some other options
  • Smaller fuel tank capacity

Types of Tailgating Generators

There are several types of generators that are suitable for tailgating, including:

a few guys cooking burgers on a grill at a tailgate party outside a football game

Portable gas generators

These are the most common type of generator for tailgating. They run on gasoline and provide a reliable power source for all your tailgating needs. They are typically lightweight and easy to transport, making them a popular choice for tailgaters.

Dual fuel generators

Dual fuel generators can run on either gasoline or propane. This allows more flexibility when it comes to fuel options. While gasoline is good, propane is a good choice if you’re worried about emissions.

Solar generators

Solar generators are a more environmentally-friendly option for tailgating. They use solar panels to charge a battery, which can then provide clean power your tailgating equipment. While they may not provide as much power as gas or dual fuel generators, they are a good choice if you want a quiet source of energy.

Be sure to check out: Generator tailgating tips and etiquette for your next event!

Factors to Consider When Choosing The Best Tailgating Generators

When choosing the best generator for your tailgate party, here are some of the key features that you should consider:

Power Output

Power output refers to the amount of electrical power a generator can produce. When choosing a generator for tailgating, power output is one of the most important features to consider because it will determine what appliances and electronics you can use.

To determine how much wattage and power output you need, you should first make a list of all the appliances and electronics you plan to use during your tailgate. This may include a grill, a TV, a sound system, and various other items. Once you have your list, you can check the power requirements for each item, which should be listed in watts.

Add up the wattage requirements for all of the items on your list to determine the total power output you need. It’s important to choose a generator with a power output that meets or exceeds this total.

When considering power output, you should also think about whether the generator can handle any power surges that may occur when appliances are turned on or off. Look for generators with a surge wattage rating that is higher than the peak wattage requirements of your appliances.

Noise Level

Tailgating is often done in outdoor settings, so a really loud generator can be disruptive to your own group and neighboring tailgaters.

Generators are typically measured in decibels (dB), with a lower dB rating indicating a quieter generator. When shopping for a tailgating generator, look for models with a noise output of 60 dB or less, which is about the level of normal conversation.

There are also generators that are designed specifically for quiet operation, such as the Honda EU2200i and Yamaha EF2000iSv2. These generators have special mufflers and sound-dampening technology that make them even quieter than other generators of similar size and power output.

If you are tailgating in a crowded or noise-sensitive area, it’s a good idea to stick with the quietest generator you can find.

But how quiet should a generator be to not disturb the people around you?

Generally, a generator for tailgating should be around 50-65 decibels to avoid disturbing people around it. At this level, the noise is similar to normal conversation or background music, making it more tolerable for those nearby. 

Run Time

The term “run time” describes how long a generator can run on one fuel tank before needing to be refueled. Depending on elements like its fuel capacity, fuel consumption, power output, and the load being applied to it, it might vary greatly.

You need a generator that can run for at least 6 to 8 hours if not more for tailgating.

Fuel Type

Most generators run on gasoline, but some models can also run on propane or natural gas.

Gasoline is the most common fuel type for generators and is widely available. However, it can be expensive, and generators that run on gasoline may require more frequent refueling.

Propane is a cleaner-burning fuel than gasoline. It’s often a less expensive choice. Propane tanks are also easy to transport and store which makes them even more popular for tailgating. 

Just remember that generators that can run on propane will require a separate propane fuel tank, which may add to the cost of the generator.

Natural gas is another option for generators, but it is less common for portable models. And while it’s generally less expensive than gasoline, it may not be as widely available as other fuel types.

If you plan to use your generator frequently, a model that can run on multiple fuel types may be a good investment. It’s also a good idea to pick a model that comes with a really good fuel efficiency rating.


A portable generator is easier to transport and set up, which can be especially important when tailgating in a crowded parking lot.

When considering the portability of a generator, consider its weight, size, and the availability of handles and wheels for easy transport. Look for a model that is lightweight and compact enough to fit in your vehicle, but still powerful enough to meet your tailgating needs.

Many portable generators come with built-in handles and wheels, which make them easy to move from your vehicle to your tailgating spot. 


If you’re like most people, you’re probably worried about the price. After all, most generators don’t come cheap.

Now, how much does a tailgate generator cost?

The cost of a tailgate generator can vary depending on the brand, features, and power output. Generally, you can find tailgate generators in the range of $400 to $1,500. 

Smaller and less powerful generators with a power output of around 2,000 watts are typically less expensive. In comparison, larger and more powerful generators tend to be more expensive. Additionally, generators that use advanced technologies, such as inverter technology or dual-fuel capabilities, can also increase the cost.

Safety Features

When choosing a generator for tailgating, it’s important to consider the safety features that it comes with. Generators are powerful machines that can pose a serious risk if not used properly. 

Here are some safety features to look for when selecting a generator for tailgating:

Low oil shutoff: This feature automatically shuts off the generator when the oil level drops below a safe level, preventing damage to the engine.

Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI): A GFCI outlet shuts off the power if it detects a ground fault or electrical leak, protecting users from electric shock.

Circuit breaker: A circuit breaker prevents overloading of the generator by shutting off the power if the current exceeds a safe level.

Automatic voltage regulation (AVR): Ensuring overload protection, an AVR ensures that the voltage output from the generator stays within a safe range, protecting your appliances and electronics from damage.

Carbon monoxide (CO) detector: Some generators come with a CO detector that shuts off the generator if dangerous levels of CO are detected, protecting users from carbon monoxide poisoning.

What About Solar Generator for Tailgating?

Solar generators can be a good option for tailgating since they produce clean power. However, you should take note that it will still depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Solar generators have the advantage of being quieter and more environmentally friendly than traditional generators that run on gasoline or propane. They also don’t require fuel, which can be convenient if you’re trying to minimize the amount of gear you need to bring to a tailgating event.

However, solar generators have some limitations as well. They typically have lower power output than traditional generators, so they may not be able to handle larger appliances or electronics. They also require access to sunlight in order to recharge. If you’re tailgating in a heavily shaded area or at night, you may have trouble keeping the generator charged.

If you do decide to pick a solar generator, here are a few things to consider:

Power Output: Solar generators come in a range of sizes and power outputs, so it’s important to choose one that can meet your specific power needs. Consider the appliances and electronics you plan to use during your tailgating setup, such as your speaker system, electric grill, electric smoker, and other sensitive devices. From there, you can choose a solar generator with enough wattage to power them all.

Battery Capacity: The battery capacity of a solar generator determines how much power it can provide before needing to be recharged. Look for a solar generator with a high-capacity battery if you plan to use it for extended periods of time.

Solar Panel Efficiency: The efficiency of a solar panel determines how much electricity it can generate from sunlight. Look for a solar generator with high-efficiency solar panels to ensure that it can recharge quickly and efficiently.

Portability: Like traditional generators, portability is important when it comes to solar generators for tailgating. Look for a model that is lightweight and easy to transport, with built-in handles or wheels for easy maneuverability.

Additional Features: Some solar generators come with additional features such as USB ports for charging smartphones and other devices, built-in lights for nighttime use, and even Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music. Consider these additional features when choosing a solar generator for tailgating.

What Size Generator Do I Need To Tailgate?

To determine what size generator you need for tailgating, you need to calculate the total wattage of all the appliances and electronics that you plan to use. This will help you choose a generator that can provide enough power to run all of your devices without overloading the system.

Here are some of the most common devices used for tailgating:

Grills: Gas or charcoal grills are essential for tailgating. Gas grills typically require 10,000-20,000 BTUs per hour, while charcoal grills require less energy.

TVs: Many tailgaters bring TVs to watch the game or pre-game coverage, so what is the cheapest way to power a TV at tailgate? The power requirements for TVs vary depending on the size and type of the device. A 32-inch LED TV typically requires around 50-100 watts, while a 55-inch OLED TV can require more power of up to 200 watts.

Sound systems: Tailgaters often bring a portable speaker system to play music or listen to the game, so you have to know how to power speakers at tailgate parties. These devices can range from small portable Bluetooth speakers to larger, more powerful sound systems that require more power.

Calculating Total Power Needed for Tailgating

To calculate the total power needed for your tailgating setup, you’ll need to add up the wattage requirements for all of the appliances and electronics you plan to use. Here’s an example:

Gas grill: 15,000 BTUs per hour = 4,400 watts

55-inch OLED TV: 200 watts

Portable sound system: 100 watts

Total power needed = 4,700 watts

It’s important to note that these power requirements are just estimates, and actual power usage may vary depending on the specific devices you’re using. Overall, you need to make the calculations to make sure you have more than enough power for your tailgate party.

How Do You Protect Your Generator When Tailgating?

A hard carry case can be a good option for protecting your tailgating generator during transport and storage. It can help prevent damage from impacts, moisture, and other environmental factors.

When looking for a hard carry case for your portable generators for tailgating, make sure to consider their sizes and dimensions, as well as any additional accessories, sensitive electronics or cables that you may need to store. You should also consider the level of protection that the case offers, such as impact resistance and weatherproofing.


In conclusion, the best generator for tailgating depends on various factors such as power output, noise level, run time, fuel type, and portability. The Honda EU2200i, Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel, Yamaha EF2000iSv2, Westinghouse iGen2200, and Generac GP2200i are all great options to consider. 

When choosing portable generators for tailgating, it is important to consider safety features, as well as the specific power requirements of the appliances and electronics being used. With the right generator, tailgaters can have all the fun and convenience without sacrificing their safety.


Will a tailgate generator power a battery charger?

Yes, a tailgate generator can power a battery charger as long as the generator has the appropriate power output and the charger’s power requirements are within the generator’s capabilities.

It is important to check the wattage requirements of the battery charger and compare it to the generator’s rated output. It’s one of the best ways to make sure  that the generator can handle the load. It is also recommended to use a surge protector or voltage regulator to protect the battery charger and other electronics from power fluctuations.

How big is too big for a tailgate generator?

Generally, a generator that is over 5000 watts may be too big for tailgating, as it can be bulky, heavy, and noisy, which can limit its portability and convenience. 

A generator with a lower wattage output, such as 2000-3000 watts, can provide enough power for common tailgating appliances while still being lightweight, quiet, and easy to transport. It’s essential to choose a generator size that matches your tailgating needs and is convenient to carry and operate.

Can I put a generator in my trunk?

It is generally not recommended to put a generator in your trunk, especially if it is a gas powered generator. Generators emit carbon monoxide (CO), which is a toxic gas that can be lethal in high concentrations. When a generator is running, it needs to be placed in a well-ventilated area to prevent the buildup of CO. 

The trunk of a car does not provide adequate ventilation, which can lead to the dangerous accumulation of CO. In addition, gasoline-powered generators can also be a fire hazard if they are not stored or transported properly. It is best to transport a generator in the bed of a truck or on a trailer, secured properly to prevent any movement during transit.

Can a tailgating generator be stored in a fume-free box for transportation?

It is not recommended to store a generator in a fume-free box for transportation as generators require proper ventilation to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide fumes.

Storing a generator in an enclosed space, such as a fume-free box, can be extremely dangerous and potentially fatal. It is important to always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for safe operation and transportation of your generator.

How far to keep my generator from the car?

It is generally recommended to place a generator at least 10 to 15 feet away from your car. This way, there’s less risk of carbon monoxide getting into your vehicle. However, it’s always a good idea to check the manufacturer’s guidelines for your specific generator model to ensure safe placement distance.

What type of generator do I need for tailgating?

Inverter generators are a great option for tailgating as they offer several benefits. They are highly efficient and produce clean power that is safe for sensitive electronics like TVs and smartphones. Inverter generators are also quiet, compact, and portable, making them easy to transport and store.

When using an inverter generator for tailgating, it’s important to keep it at a safe distance from your tailgating party and ensure that it’s properly grounded. You should also avoid overloading the generator by not using it to power heavy appliances. Finally, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation and maintenance.

GeneratorGrid.com is an independent review business. I am not affiliated with any manufacturers and do not accept paid reviews. When you buy through my links, I may earn a commission which helps me purchase more generators for testing. - Scott Krager

Leave a Reply