There are a lot of problems with current portable generators, especially when using them for construction projects. These are the most frequent issues:
- Lack of wattage to consistently power the most used tools in the construction industry (i.e. corded drill, impact drivers, etc…)
- Low-quality components which substantially shorten the lifespan of the generators
- Small tanks that provide an annoyingly brief running time
- Noisy engines make the experience of working close to portable generators very unpleasant
- Inefficient fuel/gas utilization shortens the running time and makes maintaining the generator more expensive
Due to all this, I decided to research and test lots of portable generators to arrive at a list of the best ones for the needs of a construction worker.
List of The Best Portable Generator for Construction
This is the list of the best portable generators for construction work I’ve arrived at after extensive testing:
- 1. Champion Power Equipment 100813 Portable Generator for Construction
- 2. Cat RP7500E 502-3690 Portable Generator for Construction
- 3. Generac 7676 GP8000E Portable Generator for Construction
- 4. DuroMax XP8500E Portable Generator for Construction
- 5. Pulsar G12KBN Dual Fuel 9500 Watts Portable Generator for Construction
- 6. Durostar DS10000E 10000 Watts Portable Generator for Construction
- 7. Rainier R12000DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator for Construction
- 8. DuroMax XP10000E Gas Powered Portable Generator for Construction
- 9. A-iPower SUA15000ECV Portable Generator for Construction
- 10. DuroMax XP12000EH Portable Generator for Construction
1. Champion Power Equipment 100813 Portable Generator for Construction
No construction worker wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a portable generator unable to juice-up their power tools.
This is why I like this Champion generator as it comes with attributes such as:
- 7,500 of running watts which is more than enough for powering most electric tools (and even household gadgets)
- 5.7 gasoline tank that’s big enough to provide an 8-hour runtime, which is impressive for a generator as portable as this one
Moreover, this generator makes very little noise, 74 decibels to be more specific which is less noise than a vacuum cleaner makes.
In terms of convenience, this Champion generator surpasses expectations. I mean, it comes with an electric start switch which makes it very easy to turn it on and off. Also, it has two never-flat tires that give construction workers the guarantee they won’t have to deal with an annoying flat tire in their portable generator in the middle of the workday.
Finally, the generator has four 120V 20A GFCI outlets, one 120V/240V 30A locking outlet, and one 120/240V 50A outlet, which gives construction workers the possibility to hook as many power tools (i.e. corded drill) to the generator without running out of outlets.
- It only makes 74 dBA of noise from 23 feet, which is a bit louder than a vacuum cleaner
- 7,500 of running watts which is enough to juice the important tools for construction workers
- Electric start makes the experience of using this Champion portable generator very comfortable
- Cold start technology makes it possible to start the 420cc Champion engine during cold winters
- Outlets: 4x 120V 20A GFCI outlets, 1x 120/240V 30A locking outlet, 1x 120/240V 50A outlet
- Volt Guard built-in overload protection keeps both the generator and the plugged power tools safe
- One can easily monitor down-time, hertz, and voltage thanks to the so-called “Intelligauge” control system
- Never-flat tires & low-oil shut-off sensor makes it easy to maintain this generator
- It weighs only 200 pounds making it easy to carry around
- 5.7 gasoline tank allows for 8 hours of runtime until empty
- EPA and CARB compliant
- It would have been nice of them to ship it with a quarter of oil to make it ready for use
2. Cat RP7500E 502-3690 Portable Generator for Construction
Knowing you spent your money on a sturdy generator is one of the best feelings for a construction worker, let me tell you.
This is why I like this Cat portable generator as it runs at 7,500 watts which allows workers to hook up their power tools with confidence, knowing that no power overload will ruin their expensive tools.
Additionally, this generator comes with very convenient features such as:
- electric start switch for easy turning on and off
- 6 power outlets that allow construction workers to plug up to 6 power tools simultaneously
- a padded double handle that lets workers easily move around this portable generator
- 2 never-flat tires that provide perfect traction on both flat and rocky surfaces
Reliability is essential when it comes to a generator. I mean, nobody wants to run out of power in the middle of a workday with no power outlets close. In that context, this CAT portable generator provides a solid runtime of 11 hours which is perfect for covering a whole working day at a construction site.
Last but not least, the generator is built on an all-steel small, and sturdy construction which is perfect to be confidently carried around at a construction site where not every surfaces is smooth.
- Delivers 7,500 running watts which is enough to power most construction tools
- CARB compliant
- Electric start makes it very easy to turn on/off the generator
- 6 outlets with waterproof covers
- 11 hours of run time
- It comes with oil, oil funnel, and assembly tools included which is very convenient. One just has to put gas and that’s it!
- Padded double handle and never-flat rubber wheels make the process of moving around the generator simple
- The led-lit control panel allows one to easily monitor the portable generator in dark places
- All-steel small and sturdy construction
- Their plastic wheels might feel a bit cheap
3. Generac 7676 GP8000E Portable Generator for Construction
Construction workers use many power tools daily. As a result, they need reliable generators to consistently power these tools throughout the day, especially if they don’t have access to any power outlets.
This is one of the main reasons I selected this Generac portable generator as it came with features such as:
- 8,000 running watts
- Large fuel tank that provides up to 11 hours of runtime when at 50% load
- Electric start switch that allows workers to seamlessly turn the generator on and off
Besides, it only weighs 198 pounds which is light enough to be carried around the construction site with minimum effort.
- It weighs 198 pounds which is pretty low compared with other “portable” generators
- 8,000 running watts allows construction workers to run most of their power equipment
- Electric start provides a seamless operation
- Large fuel tank provides 11 hours run-time at 50% load
- Repair parts might be difficult to come accross
4. DuroMax XP8500E Portable Generator for Construction
When reviewing portable generators for construction, one has to pay close attention to the wattage each of them offer.
In the case of this DuroMax portable generator, it offers 7,500 running watts and 8,500 peak watts which guarantees construction workers and contractors they’ll be able to use as many power tools as they need, simultaneously.
Moreover, this generator has:
- a 7.9-gallon gasoline tank which is sizeable enough to deliver up to 11.5 hours of runtime until it’s empty
- 4x 120V GFCI outlets, 1x 120V/240V outlet, 1x 12V DC charging port which gives workers the flexibility to hook all kinds of electric gadgets to this generator
- a solid all-metal construction that’s perfect to be carried around on bumpy and rocky surfaces commonly found at a construction site
In terms of convenience, this generator also surpassed my expectation. I mean, it has a handy idle control system which substantially improves the efficiency levels of the motor usage when it’s not in use. Also, it has a low oil shutoff which ensures the generator won’t break down because one forgot to put oil to it, the motor will just turn off as soon when it senses it’s running low on oil.
Finally, this generator only makes 72 decibels of noise when it’s on, which is a bit more noise than any regular home equipment (i.e. vacuum cleaner) can make.
- 7,500 running and 8,500 peak watts allow construction worker to hook power-hungry tools
- Weighs only 200 pounds which is really light for portable generators
- Runs on a 7.9 gallons gasoline tanks which provides up to 11.5 hours of runtime
- It has an idle control which saves on gasoline when not in use
- Outlets: 4x 120V GFCI outlets, 1x 120V/240V outlet, 1x 12V DC charging port
- Low oil shutoff keeps the generator safe from breaking down when running low on oil
- CARB compliant
- Runs at 72 decibels which is pretty good for a portable generator of this caliber
- Solid all-metal construction
- Comes with assembly tools included
- The handles might feel a bit short for tall people
5. Pulsar G12KBN Dual Fuel 9500 Watts Generator for Construction
Something I really like about this Pulsar portable generator is its level of power.
It comes with 9,500 running watts and delivers 12 hours of runtime which is enough for the needs of most construction workers.
Moreover, it has 6 outlets (4x 120V 20A outlets, 1x 120V/240V 30A twist-lock outlet, 1x 120V/240V 50A outlet) and one 12V DC port for charging batteries, which gives workers the flexibility to hook all sorts of power tools.
Comfort and convenience are essential for portable generators, we all know that.
In that context, this Pulsar generator comes with never-flat tires and drop-down handles that allow workers to easily move this portable generator around.
The automatic low oil shutoff prevents the portable generator from breaking down when it’s running low on oil, which is a great way to save construction workers from wasting hundreds of dollars on a new portable generator. Pretty good, huh?
- Weighs 210 pounds which makes it easy to move around
- It has a dual fuel option (gasoline/propane)
- Outlets: 4x 120V 20A outlets, 1x 120V/240V 30A twist-lock outlet, 1x 120V/240V 50A outlet, 1x 12V DC port for charging batteries
- Easy turn-on thanks to electric push start
- 2x Never flat tires
- Low oil shutoff prevents the portable generator from breaking down
- Drop-down handles that allow workers to easily manage this Pulsar portable generator
- Does not come with oil, so it’s not really ready to go
6. Durostar DS10000E 10000 Watts Portable Generator for Construction
The best portable generator for construction must be strong enough to juice various power tools at the same time.
This DuroStar portable generator comes with a 440cc OHV engine that delivers 10,000 starting watts and 8,000 running watts which is more than enough to power a wide range of construction tools (i.e. corded drills, corded impact drivers, etc).
Additionally, it comes with 2 nifty attributes such as its low oil shutoff (that automatically turns off the generator’s engine when it senses it’s running low on oil) and an idle control system that lowers the engine’s RPMs when the generator is not in use, thus saving lots of gasoline in the process.
I always pay close attention to how many outlets generators have. And, let me tell you, this generator surpassed my expectations as it comes with 5 power outlets that substantially simplify the hassles construction workers must deal with regarding powering their tools.
Last but not least, the generator only makes 75db of noise when at full-throttle which is close to the noise made by a leaf blower. I mean, you can definitely hear it, but it’s not a big deal.
- EPA and CARB approved
- 440cc OHV engine with low oil shutoff prevents construction workers from breaking this expensive portable generator due to lack of oil
- 10,000 starting watts and 8,000 running watts makes for a powerful wattage level
- The noise when in operation is below 75db which is equal to the noise a vacuum cleaner makes (barely noticeable)
- Outlets: 2x 120V 30A outlets, 1x 120V/240V 30A twist-lock outlet, 1x 120V 30A twist-lock outlet, 1x 120V/240V 50A heavy duty outlet, and 1x 12V DC charging port
- Idle control allows for maximum efficiency when the generator is not in use
- Weighs 210 pounds which is perfect for moving it around (with the help of its wheels, of course)
- A bit loud
7. Rainier R12000DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator for Construction
When working all day at the construction site, the last thing one wants is to deal with not having where to plug power tools like a cordless drill or an impact driver.
This is where portable generators like this Rainer one come in.
I mean, this generator comes with impressive features such as:
- 12,000 running watts which easily powers power-hungry construction tools throughout the day
- 6.6 fuel tank that provides a runtime of 17 hours until it’s empty
- Dual fuel option (you can choose either gas or propane)
Moreover, this generator comes with enough power outlets which allows workers to run up to 5 power tools at once. To top things off, the overload protection and low oil shutoff make it an even better investment as they substantially improve their lifespan and lower maintenance costs.
- 6.6 fuel tank provides 17 hours of runtime (which is more than average)
- Convenient dual fuel option (gas and propane)
- Electric start makes starting on the portable generator a very easy process
- EPA and CARB compliant
- VFT Display makes it very easy to monitor frequency, volts, runtime, etc
- 200 pounds of weight
- Outlets: 2x 120V 30A outlet, 1x 120V/240V 50A outlet, 1x 120V 30A outlet, 1x 120V/240V 30A outlet
- Overload and low-oil shut-off protection makes up for a very durable portable generator
- Can get loud
8. DuroMax XP10000E Gas Powered Portable Generator for Construction
Even though some workers don’t really like to pay attention to the wattage on portable generators, I do. I mean, it’s the best way to make sure you’re gonna be able to run as many power tools as you need during the workday.
In the case of this DuroMax portable generator, it provides 8,000 running watts and 10,000 starting watts which is enough to plug even the most power-demanding construction tools (at the same time!).
It also has a lot of valuable attributes such as:
- low oil shutoff which prevents the generator from breaking as it automatically shuts itself off when running low on oil
- idle control that lowers the generators RPMs when not in use, thus saving lots of gasoline in the process
- 5 power useful outlets
Besides, this generator weighs only 218 lbs which, coupled with its strong wheels, makes it very easy to be carried around. Oh, and it’s EPA and CARB compliant which is always nice to know.
- 10,000 starting watts and 8,000 running watts can deal with power-hungry tool construction workers might use
- Idle control prevents this portable generator from burning through fuel when not in use
- Low oil shutoff
- Outlets: 2x 120V GFCI outlets, 1x 120V 30A twist-lock outlet, 1x 240V 30A outlet, 1x 240V 50A outlet
- It comes with a voltmeter and a 12V DC charging port
- EPA and CARB compliant
- 218 lbs
- Some bolts are located in tough to reach places
9. A-iPower SUA15000ECV Portable Generator for Construction
Have you ever wasted hundreds of dollars on a low-quality generator? No? Well, I have and, let me tell you, it’s the most frustrating feeling ever.
This Energy Cube portable generator stands as a powerful one all by itself. I mean, it provides 12,000 running watts which is more than enough to power the most common corded tools found at a construction site. It also has an 8-gallon gas tank which takes about 7 hours to empty at a 50% load, which is very respectable for this kind of generator.
Moreover, it comes with a 24HP OHV engine with an electric start that only makes 85 decibels of noise when in, which is pretty low for a portable generator of this level of power.
There are other features worth noting such as:
- Control panel makes it very easy to monitor important data such as voltage, wattage, and runtime
- It automatically shuts off when running low on oil to prevent it from breaking down
- An automatic voltage regulator that keeps the generator from breaking expensive power tools and other electronic gadgets with an electric surge
- 15,000 starting watts and 12,000 running watts
- Powerful 24HP OHV engine with electric start
- 8-gallon gas tank which allows for 7 hours of runtime at 50% load
- Heavy-duty all-steel construction
- It makes only 85 dba of noise
- Its control panel allows for easy monitoring of voltage and other important indicators
- EPA and CARB approved
- Low oil shutdown
- An automatic voltage regulator keeps the generator safe from ruining electronic devices
- Reliable never-flat wheels make the generator to be easy to carry
- Outlets: 2x 120V 20A GFCI protected outlets, 120V 30A twist-lock outlet, 1x 120V 30A twist-lock outlet, 1x 120V/240V 50A heavy duty outlet, 1x DC adapter
- Might be a bit noisy for some construction workers
10. DuroMax XP12000EH Portable Generator for Construction
This Duromax portable generator blows the competition out of the water. I mean, it comes with:
- A strong 475cc OHV engine that is EPA and CARB approved
- 9,500 running watts
- Idle control feature that saves on fuel when no construction tool is plugged into the generator
To make things even better, it comes with a low oil shutoff feature that turns off the generator entirely to prevent it from breaking the engine.
I found the power outlets to be sufficient too. I mean, there are 5 of them which are sufficient for plugging various construction tools at the same time.
- Strong 475cc OHV engine
- Convenient dual-fuel technology (gas and propane)
- Low oil shutoff prevents the generator from breaking down when running low on oil
- 12,000 starting watts and 9,500 running watts which is more than enough for most construction power tools
- EPA and CARB approved
- Idle control lowers the generator’s RPMs when it can to efficiently save on power usage
- Outlets: 2x 120V GFCI outlets, 1x 120V 30A outlet, 1x 240V 30A outlet, 1x 240V 50A outlet and 1x 12V DC charging port
- Might be a bit heavy
What Is The Best Portable Generator for Construction Overall?
Durostar DS10000E 10000 Watts Portable Generator for Construction
There are lots of reasons why I chose this Durostar portable generator as the best for the construction industry. The main ones are that it:
- Runs at 10,000 watts which is perfect for plugging the most used construction tools
- Has a runtime of 7 hours which covers most of a work shift with one gas tank
- Only makes 75 decibels of noise when at work
If you’d like to know more about this portable generator, click the button down below to read its complete review.
What Is The Most Efficient Portable Generator for Construction?
A-iPower SUA15000ECV Portable Generator for Construction
There are clear attributes that make this A-iPower portable generator the most efficient one on this list, such as:
- Low oil shutdown feature that turns off the engine when it’s running low on oil to save on expensive repair costs
- Control panel that allows easy monitoring of important data of the generator itself
- Voltage regulator that keeps the generator from wrecking electric gadgets with a power surge
If you’d like to read the complete review of this A-iPower portable generator you can click the button down below.
Quick Comparison Table
How Did I Test The Best Portable Generator for Construction?
For those curious, these are the tests I performed to select the best portable generators for a construction job site:
For this test, I made sure to hook as many corded tools a construction worker would use daily: corded drills, corded angle grinders, etc…
In this context, the size of the fuel or gas tanks, the length of the running time, and the level of wattage were key for providing a solid stream of electricity to these tools, of course.
If the portable generator being tested consistently powered the formerly mentioned construction tools, then I would pick it and continue with further testing.
During this test, I paid attention to two main points:
First, I tested the portability of the generators. If they were too heavy to be moved around, then I’d discard them, I mean, we’re looking for the best PORTABLE generators for construction, right?
Then, I made sure to pick portable generators with powerful but quiet engines. No construction worker wants to spend their workday surrounded by a loud engine, so the noisiest generators were dumped during this test.
This test is one many construction workers don’t pay attention to but that is crucial to avoid future headaches. Nobody wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a portable generator for construction workers that won’t last more than a few months.
This is why I made sure to test each generator by making sure it was backed by reliable brands and with solid components made of the best materials. In my experience, that’s the best method to get the guarantee your next portable generator is going to last for at least a few years.
Must-Have Features of The Best Portable Generator for Construction
Based on my experience, these are the must-have features a portable generator should have to perform best at a construction site:
Look, if you want to get a reliable portable generator to run all your construction power tools, then you better find one with a strong wattage.
Looking for a generator of at least 7500 starting watts would be enough for most construction workers. To be safe, I like to go for 10000 watts generators as you’ll be set, especially for running various power tools simultaneously.
No construction worker wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a portable generator that quickly burns through fuel, right?
Well, in that case, I’d say that going for a portable generator with an efficient motor might be your best bet. Otherwise, you’ll be looking at thousands of dollars wasted on re-fueling generators that can’t run for more than a few hours.
Have you ever worked the entire day with a loud running engine right next to you? It sucks, right?
Well, if you wanna avoid this with your next portable generator, then you might wanna search for one with a quiet engine that runs around 52 to 62db.
Why that specific segment of decibels? Well, because, in my experience, that’s the noise made in a normal conversation.
Your power construction tools are weaker than you might think. I mean, a strong power surge could generate an internal shortcircuit completely wrecking these expensive power devices.
Thus, I’d recommend going for a portable generator that delivers a steady stream of regular voltage with overload protection. Thanks to these attributes, you’ll work the entire day knowing that your expensive power tools and gadgets are protected.
Working with generators is a bittersweet experience. You get the awesome experience of using your power construction tools in places where there is no power outlets available at the expense of carrying a huge, bulky, and unbearably heavy generator.
To improve this, I’d recommend construction workers to find a portable generator that’s under 300lbs.
That way, you’ll have the guarantee that your next portable generator is gonna be both powerful and easy-to-carry-around. That’s a pretty good deal, huh?
I despise the feeling of spending hundreds of my hard-earned dollars on a portable generator that doesn’t wait more than a few months to start breaking down. I mean, what a frustration!
This is why I recommend other construction workers to get portable generators with the following features:
- Manufactured by recognized brands in the portable generator field
- Made with top-quality materials (avoid plastic parts as much as possible!)
- Sold by companies with great customer service
- Avoid overseas brands
Frequently Asked Questions
Lots of questions are asked regarding the topic of portable generators used at a construction site. This is my attempt to answer the most frequent ones:
What’s the advantage of aluminum enclosures of a portable generator for construction?
Well, construction sites are outdoors most of the time, meaning they don’t have roofs.
In that context, a portable generator used at a construction job site is gonna be exposed to the elements (wind, rain, humidity, etc). As a consequence, there’s a big risk these expensive portable generators could break down if exposed to, let’s say, a sudden rain.
This is where aluminum enclosures come in. These products appear as the perfect solution as they completely enclose portable generators keeping them isolated from the elements. They might appear as an expensive solution at first, but they quickly pay for themselves when used at a construction site.
Pro-tip: If you’re thinking of running your generator indoors, make sure to have proper ventilation and CO detectors to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Should I get Chinese portable generators for construction work?
Look. If you wanna know that your next portable generator for construction is going to be both powerful and durable, then going for an American made generator is your best bet.
However, there are some Chinese portable generators made with reliable components.
But the question remains, should I get them? Well, it depends.
If you’re willing to extensively test them, read their reviews, and do the proper research, then you’ll be able to find some good picks. However, if you don’t have enough time, then going for American made portable generators will be better for you.
How many watts does a portable generator need for running power tools?
The best way for me to answer this question is recommending you to follow the next guide:
- Grab all your power tools and write down the wattage they need to be powered
- List all the tools you’ll need to run simultaneously and add their wattage to know the max wattage you’ll need
- Read the specific attributes of each portable generator (wattage, tank size, etc) and choose accordingly
Do portable generators for construction need maintenance?
As we all know, portable generators have engines. These engines, like in cars and trucks, need maintenance.
I can’t give you a specific guide to follow to maintain your portable generator, you’ll have to find that in the user’s manual.
However, what I can tell you is this, if you don’t regularly put oil in your portable generator, you’ll soon find it won’t turn on. So, make sure to read the user’s manual and pick a quality oil for your specific brand portable generator.
What oil to choose for maintaining a portable generator for construction?
As explained before, it’s difficult to say what type of oil portable generator for construction workers need. That’s information one should look for in the user’s manual.
What happens if the portable generator has a power overload?
Well, that’s an easy one to answer.
If a portable generator for construction gets overloaded, one of two things might happen:
- If it has overload protection nothing will. Your power tools will remain untouched.
- If it doesn’t have overload protection nasty things can happen. I mean, it could catch on fire, completely ruin power tools, break the generator itself, release chemical gases bad for your health into the air, etc…
So what’s the main takeaway here?
Get a portable generator with overload protection!
Can portable generators for construction replace electricity utility service?
They might. It all depends on the type of construction site we’re talking about.
If we consider small construction sites where 5 to 10 construction workers do their jobs, then using portable generators should be fine.
But, if we talk about massive construction sites where more than 50 construction workers work, then using the electricity utility service might be the best bet to get a reliable power source. It’s worth mentioning in some cases the electricity utility service is not available and these job sites end up having to juice their power tools with portable generators either way.
Also, generators are much more expensive than the utility bill, so that’s another thing to keep in mind.