Best Portable Generators for California Residents


Unlike residents from the other states in the country,  California residents are only supposed to buy and operate portable generators that are CARB (California Air Resources Board) Compliant. If you are having a hard time looking for one, this review should be able to help you out.

Below are the best portable generators you should invest in:

Best Portable Generators for California Residents Comparison Table 2018

NameRatingPriceRunning WattageSurge/Starting WattageFuel Tank CapacityRun Time at Half LoadNoise Level
Champion Power Equipment 424364.5$1,200 watts1,500 watts1.45 gallons10 hours65 dBA
Yamaha EF2400iSHC4.5$$$$2,000 watts2,400 watts1.6 gallons6.5 hours53 dBA
Champion Power No. 75531i4.5$$$2,800 watts3,100 watts2 gallons8 hours58 dBA
Generac 60014$$$5,500 watts6,875 watts4.3 gallons5 hours57 dBA
Yamaha EF1000iS4.5$$$900 watts1,000 watts2.5 gallons12 hours57 dBA

Why California Residents Need CARB Compliant Portable Generators

California residents need CARB compliant generators since these are the only generators that the board has approved with respect to stringent air quality standards. California Air Resources Board (CARB) mainly aims to control the emissions of portable generators with the objective of protecting the environment.

The portable generators that have been approved by the board are environmentally friendly and they use some of the well-known fuels. It includes propane and natural gas.

What Being CARB Compliant Means

Being CARB compliant means that the portable generators are able to comply with more stringent air quality standards. Basically, portable generators that are ruled to be CARB compliant are considered to be the safest as well as environmentally friendly backup power generators.

How Will You Use Your Portable Generator

The best CARB compliant portable generators, with well thought-out usage, are a valuable accessory. Unlike non-CARB compliant generators, these ones operate silently and they produce no fumes. You can best use these generators on your property or commercial spaces.

The usages include both 120V and 240 volts loads, such as running appliances that are not normally operated for long durations. Another good use of these generators is powering sensitive appliances, including laptops and monitors since they draw small power. CARB compliant portable generators with higher wattage can power pumps and sumps.

As a rule of thumb, the higher the wattage the more the usage.

What to Consider When Buying The Best Portable Generators for California Residents

When shopping for the best CARB compliant portable generators, you’ll find a good number of choices. However, with prices ranging from $200 to $2,000, it can be quite challenging to pick the best one.

While wattage features and connections are obvious considerations, there are other factors, such as fuel efficiency and whisper-quiet operation, you need to pay close attention to. In general, look for a portable generator that is not only acceptable in California but has the ability to fulfill your power requirements.

The amount and type of fuel you can store will determine what CARB compliant portable generator you choose and how long you can generate electricity. You want to be able to store enough fuel so that you can conveniently generate power during emergencies, especially when residing in regions with power outages in California.

Gas powered portable generators use around a one-half gallon of fuel per hour at load for the 4,000-watt portable generator. Therefore, if you wish to run such a kind of portable generator for 6 hours a day for one week, you would then need to store at a minimum, twenty-five gallons of fuel.

You can extend your portable generator choice based on fuel to include high-quality propane powered or natural gas-powered portable generators.

On the other hand, solar-powered CARB compliant portable generators are a great choice for long-term use. A typical solar panel model may potentially last for three decades, while a battery-powered generator has a typical lifespan of half a decade.

If you choose to engage solar powered CARB compliant portable generators, then you should consider a high-quality solar kit. The surge and constant wattage of the portable generator you choose must match your power requirements. Therefore, you should not just pick any CARB compliant portable generator.

The Impact of Non-CARB Compliant Equipment in California

There are many concerns regarding the sale and use of non-CARB compliant portable generators in California. Well, the law was activated in late 2009 and in 2010, CARB imposed fines on distributors who placed non-CARB compliant generators, motorized scooters, and all-terrain vehicles on the market.

For instance, in 2010 ARB settled with Pep Boys for $170,000 for emissions violations. Pep Boys placed their products in the retail chain for sale before attaining final certification. Small internal combustion engine contribute 5% of the entire manmade hydrocarbons which potentially leads to pollution in urban centers, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

However, there has not been any official finalization regarding the adoption of the law nationwide. As far as California residents are concerned, one can use a non-CARB compliant in the state. What’s not allowed is the sale of non-CARB compliant generators. So far, the ones who have faced penalties and paid fines accordingly is the supply chain of such generators.


The fact that you live in California does not mean that you need to travel to other states just to enjoy the benefits of powerful portable generators. You can find the best portable generators to use in California with this review.

The portable generators on this list are clearly classified as CARB-compliant. They won’t disappoint you and in fact, they are highly rated by California residents. In general, CARB compliant portable generators will deliver power sufficiently.

You can get one that is lightweight and easy to bring when you’re out camping. Startup of these units is easy since they come with both recoil and electric start.

Further Reading on Best Portable Generators