Best 3000-Watt Inverter Generators Reviewed in Detail

6 Best 3,000-Watt Inverter Generators – Excellent Balance Between Efficiency and Size

30 Models Considered
60 Hours of Research
8 Experts Interviewed
120 Reviews Analyzed

When you need enough power to run tools and appliances on the go, not to mention charge your smartphone and computer, you need a versatile and reliable generator. A 3,000-watt generator provides plenty of power for running multiple appliances while retaining the portability of smaller generator classes. Meanwhile, opting for an inverter generator ensures that your power will be clean and quiet.

In order to help you find the best 3,000-watt inverter generator, we considered a number of features that set the top models in this class apart from the rest. For example, we looked at the engine power and rated and maximum wattage outputs, all of which significantly affect what you’ll be able to power with your generator. We also looked at fuel capacity and run time, which determine for how long you’ll be able to use your generator without stopping to refuel. The noise each generator produces and the inclusion of a manufacturer’s warranty were also important features we considered.

Top Six 3,000-Watt Inverter Generator Reviews 2019

We spent tens of hours researching the best 3,000-watt inverter generators, reading through technical specifications and customer reviews, and eventually came up with our favorite six models highlighted in the table below. Continue reading for detailed reviews of each inverter generator, complete with pros and cons. Our buying guide covers everything you need to know about choosing the 3,000-watt inverter generator that will fit your expected uses. Finally, we sum up our three overall favorite models in this generator class on the market today.

Image and Rating
Name and Features
Price
9.9
1. Yamaha EF3000iSEB
Editor’s Choice
Editor’s Choice

This generator has everything you would desire in a 3,000-watt generator – it boosts surge power up to 3,500W when you need it, has a long run time and a full set of outlets, and is really quiet

9.8
2. Honda EU3000iS
Most Quiet 3000-Watt Inverter Generator
Most Quiet 3000-Watt Inverter Generator

This generator boasts of the same power and a long run time at 25% load, but is incredibly quiet at between 50 and 57 dB, depending on the load

9.6
3. Champion Power Equipment 75531i
Best Value for Money
Best Value for Money

Featuring a reliable engine and a versatile set of outlets, and having a long enough run time and a great sound level, this generator offers the best features possible for its affordable price

9.4
4. Briggs & Stratton P3000
Best Portable 3000-watt Inverter Generator
Best Portable 3000-watt Inverter Generator

This generator is highly portable thanks to its compact design as well as a set of wheels and a telescoping handle with added top handles which make carrying it easy

9.2

With a reliable Honda engine and a low noise level, this generator also boasts portability due to its compact design and comfortable handles

 
9.0
Budget Pick

A very affordable generator with a higher power output – it gives up to 3,500 surge watts and 3,000 rated watts

1.

Yamaha EF3000iSEB Editor’s Choice

Features
  • Peak/rated watts: 3,000 (+500 boost)/2,800
  • Engine: 171cc 4-stroke OHV
  • Fuel tank: 3.4 gal.
  • Run time: 18.6 h (25% load)
  • Outlets: 12V DC, 20A and 30A 120V AC, 30A Twist Lock
  • Start type: recoil, electric
  • Noise level: 53–60 dB(A)
  • Warranty: 3-year limited
VIEW ON AMAZON

This versatile inverter generator from Yamaha boasts a 3,500-watt surge power rather than the 3,000 watts found on most other generators in its class thanks to Yamaha’s special Boost Technology. This feature allows the generator to output an additional 500 watts of power above and beyond the surge power for up to 10 seconds, which is ideal if you have engine-driven appliances that need a little extra juice to start up.

On top of that, this generator is ideal for a wide range of uses thanks to its array of outlets. The generator has two standard three-pronged 120-volt outlets, as well as a 30-amp twist-lock outlet that is ready for use with RVs and campervans. On top of that, a 12-volt DC outlet allows you to charge car and RV batteries.

The generator has both recoil and electric starters, which is a major design advantage. Users liked having the electric starter because it’s simple to use and allows you to completely forego the effort of pulling at a recoil start. However, the recoil starter is there in case you ever have an electric issue with the push-button start.

Additional advantages to this generator are the run time and noise level, both of which are highly competitive among 3000-watt generators. The four-stroke engine allows for increased fuel efficiency, and combined with a large 3.4-gallon fuel tank, this generator is capable of running for over 18 hours at 25% load. That means that you can use it overnight without a problem. Plus, RV owners and campers loved the incredibly quiet 53 dB minimum noise level, which is low enough to not bother others in your campground.

Pros
  • Boost Technology provides extra 500 watts of surge power
  • Includes RV-ready outlet
  • Both electric and recoil starters
  • Long 18.6-hour run time at 25% load
  • Extremely quiet
  • Three-year warranty
Cons
  • Somewhat large and heavy because of increased fuel tank size
  • Expensive
2.

Honda EU3000iS Most Quiet 3000-Watt Inverter Generator

Features
  • Peak/rated watts: 3,000/2,800
  • Engine: 196cc Honda GX200
  • Fuel tank: 3.4 gal.
  • Run time: 20 h (25% load)
  • Outlets: 20A 125V Duplex, 30A 125V Locking Plug, 12V DC
  • Start type: recoil, electric
  • Noise level: 50–57 dB(A)
  • Warranty: 3-year (residential and commercial)
VIEW ON AMAZON

This incredibly quiet 3000-watt inverter generator from Honda is as silent as any generator in this size class and is closely competitive in noise output with smaller generators. That’s a big deal if you’re planning to use this generator at night, such as for an RV, campsite, or to power your home during an outage, and need to avoid bothering the neighbors.

On top of that, the generator can be easily used throughout the night thanks to its long 20-hour run time at 25% load. The highly efficient Honda GX200 engine combined with a large 3.4-gallon fuel tank is largely responsible for this long run time. Although the expanded fuel tank adds somewhat to the size of the generator, users found that it fits nicely inside most RVs and cars and is easy to store in the garage.

The generator also features a 125-volt twist-lock outlet that is ready for use with an RV, in addition to the standard duplex of 120-volt outlets. A 12-volt DC outlet allows you to charge batteries, and because it’s an inverter generator you’re also safe to plug in sensitive electronics.

Users appreciated that this generator comes with an electric start function in addition to the standard recoil start. Note, however, that there is no remote start to allow you to start the generator from inside your home or RV. In addition, there is one major design flaw with this generator. The generator does not have wheels and so its entire 144-pound weight must be carried by the handles.

Honda offers a three-year warranty on this generator, although users report that the Honda engine lasts for many years of use without issues.

Pros
  • Extremely quiet with 50 dB noise minimum
  • Long 20-hour run time at 25% load
  • Highly reliable Honda engine
  • Both electric and recoil starters
  • Three-year warranty
Cons
  • Expensive
  • No wheels, must be carried
  • No remote start
3.

Champion Power Equipment 75531i Best Value for Money

Features
  • Peak/rated watts: 3,100/2,800
  • Engine: 171cc 4-stroke
  • Fuel tank: 1.6 gal.
  • Run time: 8 h (25% load)
  • Outlets: 120V 30A (TT-30R), 120V 20A Duplex (5-20R), 12V DC
  • Start type: recoil
  • Noise level: 58 dB(A)
  • Warranty: 3-year limited
VIEW ON AMAZON

This highly compact and portable 3000-watt generator from Champion Power Equipment is an excellent all-around generator for this size class.

The generator is somewhat louder than its competitors from Yamaha and Honda, at 58 dB, but costs half as much or less than those slightly quieter generators. So, if noise is not a huge concern for your needs, this generator can present an attractive bargain. Another major difference to note is that the run time is greatly reduced, to just eight hours at a 25% load. This is in large part because of the small 1.6-gallon fuel tank, although this smaller fuel tank also allows this generator to be highly compact.

That compactness, along with the relatively light 97-pound weight of this generator, makes it significantly more portable than other generators in this size class. Champion built the generator on a set of never-flat rear wheels to allow you to roll it around, or you can lift it with one or two people by the two carry handles on the top of the unit.

Another advantage to this generator is that it includes both electric and remote starts, and comes with a remote starting function so that you can start the generator without even getting out of bed when you want to.

The generator includes all of the outlets needed for a wide range of uses, such as powering a home or RV. Users noted that while the 120-volt outlets and 12-volt DC outlet have reset buttons for when they are overloaded, the 30-amp RV-ready twist-lock outlet cannot be reset without fully shutting down the generator if it is overloaded.

Pros
  • Significantly less expensive than competitors
  • Compact and lightweight, built-in wheels
  • Includes remote starter
  • Includes RV-ready outlet
  • Three-year warranty
Cons
  • Minimum 58 dB noise output
  • Small fuel tank and short run time
  • 30-amp outlet does not have a reset button
4.

Briggs & Stratton P3000 Best Portable 3000-watt Inverter Generator

Features
  • Peak/rated watts: 3,000/2,600
  • Engine: 171cc Briggs & Stratton OHV
  • Fuel tank: 1.5 gal.
  • Run time: 10 h (25% load)
  • Outlets: (4) 120V AC, (1) 12V-5A DC, (1) USB Port
  • Start type: recoil
  • Noise level: 58 dB(A)
  • Warranty: 2-year limited
VIEW ON AMAZON

This generator from Biggs & Stratton provides a wide array of features at an attractive price. It is built around a 171-cc OHV engine, which is highly fuel-efficient. However, users note that the run time is still relatively short – it is rated for just 10 hours at a 25% load – because of the small 1.5-gallon fuel tank.

But, if you don’t need this generator for extended periods, don’t let the short run time put you off. The generator is very quiet, producing just 58 dB of noise when runs at moderate loads, and includes four 120-volt outlets whereas most of its competitors offer only two. It also includes a USB charging port, which is extremely handy for charging your phone or other small electronics. The generator does not have a 30-amp twist-lock outlet for powering an RV, but this is not a major issue if you don’t plan to use this generator with an RV.

The generator is highly portable thanks to its compact design and the inclusion of a sturdy set of wheels on the rear. Users also appreciated the extremely light 85-pound weight, which allowed them to carry the generator into a car or truck by the top handles without a second person.

The only added feature that users wished for was an electric start, as this generator only comes with a recoil starter. However, users found that the recoil is very responsive and starts the generator reliably within the first few pulls. It’s also worth noting that Briggs & Stratton provide a two-year, rather than a three-year, warranty on this generator, although users did not experience any issues over longer periods of use.

Pros
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Includes four 120-volt outlets and USB charging port
  • Compact and weighs only 85 pounds
Cons
  • Only two-year warranty
  • No electric start
  • No RV-ready outlet
Features
  • Peak/rated watts: 3,000/2,600
  • Engine: 163cc Honda GX160
  • Fuel tank: 1.6 gal.
  • Run time: 7.7 h (25% load)
  • Outlets: 20A 125V Duplex, 30A 125V Locking Plug
  • Start type: recoil
  • Noise level: 52–58 dB(A)
  • Warranty: 3-year (residential and commercial)
VIEW ON AMAZON

The EU3000i Handi generator from Honda is essentially a more compact and portable version of the standard EU3000iS generator. It offers 200 fewer continuous watts, although the 3000-watt surge power is enough to start up any appliance, including air conditioners up to 13,500 BTUs. It’s also extraordinarily quiet, producing just 58 dB of noise at its maximum power output.

There are advantages and disadvantages to the smaller size of this generator. Users loved how portable it is – at just 78 pounds, it’s one of the lightest 3000-watt generators on the market and it can be lifted easily by the handles on the front and rear. It also has a set of compact wheels on the rear to make it easy to roll the generator to where you need it.

However, the trade-off to compactness is a small fuel tank. With just a 1.6-gallon tank, this generator is limited to less than eight hours of run time at a 25% load. That means that you can’t use this generator for a full day without refueling, and you’ll need to stop to refuel frequently if you are drawing over 2,000 watts of power at any point.

Users also wished for an electric starter on this generator, especially given its high price. However, they did appreciate that the generator starts within the first one to two pulls of the recoil starter every time.

Honda gave this model two 125-volt three-pronged outlets and a 30-amp twist-lock outlet that makes it an excellent generator for RV. However, note that there is no 12-volt DC outlet for charging batteries. The generator comes with a three-year warranty and users found that the Honda engine is extremely reliable over much longer periods.

Pros
  • Extremely light and portable for its class
  • Very quiet
  • Reliable Honda engine
  • Three-year warranty
Cons
  • No 12-volt DC outlet
  • Very small gas tank leaves short run times
  • Expensive
Features
  • Peak/rated watts: 3,500/3,000
  • Engine: 149.5cc 4-stroke OHV
  • Fuel tank: 1.5 gal.
  • Run time: 4.2 h (50% load)
  • Outlets: (2) 120V AC, (1) 12V 4A DC
  • Start type: recoil
  • Noise level: 63 dB(A)
  • Warranty: not specified
VIEW ON AMAZON

This inexpensive inverter generator from Coleman Powersports is also the most powerful generator we reviewed, with a surge power of 3,500 watts and a running power of 3,000 watts. The 149.5cc four-stroke OHV engine is relatively fuel efficient and is able to run for over four hours at a 50% load, comparable to other similarly priced inverter generators. However, the run time remains limited because of the small 1.5-gallon fuel tank on this unit.

The generator weighs just 70 pounds, but it’s not the most portable of compact generators. This is because it does not have any built-in wheels and only a single carry handle on the top. That said, it is not difficult to move it from your vehicle or garage to wherever you need it.

It’s worth noting that, at 63 dB, this generator is significantly louder than more expensive 3000-watt inverter generators we reviewed. In addition, there is only a recoil starter, although users found this to be relatively responsive within the first few pulls.

There are a few additional drawbacks for the budget price of this generator, though. The generator does not have a 30-amp RV-ready outlet, which can limit its usability for RV owners. The generator’s panel includes just two 120-volt outlets and a 12-volt DC outlet, so the number of tools and appliances you can power at any given time are quite limited. More important, changing the oil can be quite difficult because of poor instructions and Coleman Powersports does not offer clear warranty terms on this generator.

Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Offers 3,500 watts of surge power
  • Lightweight at just 70 pounds
Cons
  • Noisier than other similar generators
  • Difficult to change oil
  • Warranty terms are unclear

Buying Guide

Now that you know more about our six favorite 3,000-watt inverter generators on the market today, how do you choose among them to find the generator that is right for your needs? While these generators share a lot of functionality in common, they also differ in essential features that will affect how you’ll be able to use each generator. In our buying guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the important features that make up an inverter generator and help you choose the model that’s right for you.

What can you power with a 3,000-watt generator?

Best 3000-Watt Inverter GeneratorThe first thing you need to know before choosing a generator is how much power you need. As the name suggests, 3000-watt generators offer roughly 3,000 watts of power. But, that rating may be higher or lower depending on whether you are looking at the continuous power or the surge power, which is the maximum wattage the generator can output for a few seconds in order to start up engine-driven appliances and tools. The continuous wattage is the number you’ll need to stay under when using the generator beyond that initial startup power draw.

To give you a sense of what 3,000-watt generators can power in the average home, you could run all of the following simultaneously without exceeding the limits of your generator: a home air conditioner, a refrigerator and freezer, a computer, a television, and several rooms’ worth of lights. In this case, the air conditioner is drawing the most watts, and you’d want to make sure you have enough surge wattage to handle the startup power demand of the air conditioner, refrigerator, and freezer.

The most exact way to figure out what you can power with a 3,000-watt generator is to find the wattages of every tool and appliance you plan to run with the generator and add up all their wattages. This number will need to add up to less than the continuous rated wattage of the generator. However, there are also tools online that you can use to estimate what a 3,000-watt generator will power based on the power draws of common appliances.

Inverter generator: Advantages and downsides

Inverter generators differ from conventional generators in that instead of simply producing AC power from the engine and outputting it to the outlets, they first convert that AC power to DC power and then back to AC power. The result is electricity that is much “cleaner” in terms of its current, which can be extremely important if you are planning to power sensitive electronics like smartphones and computers.

Inverter generators are typically more expensive than conventional generators, but for most people, the added cost is well worth the benefits beyond just clean power. Inverter generators typically produce lower emissions and far less engine noise than conventional generators. The latter is particularly important, since one of the main drawbacks of generators is that they are noisy enough to bother your neighbors and hard to hold a conversation around. They are also much more fuel efficient compared to conventional generators, which means you’ll get longer run times and spend less money on fuel for your generator in the long run.

Fuel tank capacity, run time, and fuel efficiency

6 Best 3,000-Watt Inverter Generators – Excellent Balance Between Efficiency and SizeThe size of your generator’s fuel tank and the fuel efficiency of the engine combine to determine the run time of your generator. This is an extremely important consideration when choosing a 3,000-watt inverter generator because you don’t want to run out of power – and have the lights, an essential appliance, or a necessary tool – turn off in the middle of a project or longer power outage. However, if you expect to need your generator for short bursts of work rather than full days in the field, run time may not be as much as an issue for you.

It’s important to note that your generator will burn through fuel more quickly the close to its maximum power capacity that you run it. This is one of the advantages to choosing a 3,000-watt generator, even if you could power everything you need with a smaller 2,000-watt generator. This is also the reason that generator run times are measured at 25% or 50% of their maximum rated power load.

The run times on 3,000-watt inverter generators can vary widely, from just four hours at 50% load on the budget Coleman Powersports generator to as much as 20 hours at 25% load on the Honda generator. However, in order to figure out whether this run time truly reflects increased fuel efficiency, you’ll also need to look at the size of the fuel tanks. For example, the long run times of the Yamaha and Honda generators is in part because their fuel tanks are twice the size of those on the other generators we reviewed. With this taken into account, fuel efficiency is much more similar across all the models we looked at, and quite high compared to conventional 3000-watt generators.

Outlets

The outlets that are included on a generator can make a big difference in how you can use it. For example, while almost every generator has a set of 120-volt outlets like those you would find around your house, if you want to use the generator to power an RV you would want an RV-ready twist-lock outlet like those found on the Yamaha, Honda, and Champion generators. In addition, if you’re planning to power heavy-duty power tools with your generator, you may need the ability to switch to 240-volt electricity.

In any case, make sure you have at least enough outlets for as many appliances as you are planning to power with your generator.

How noisy is a generator?

Generators are known for being noisy, but inverter generators are nowhere near as loud as their conventional counterparts. Most of the inverter generators we reviewed produce around 58–60 dB of noise, which is about the same level of noise as you would make with a loud conversation. Extremely quiet generators like the Honda EU3000iS are capable of making just 50 dB of noise at lower power draws, which makes it easy to hold a conversation right next to the generator.

Safety features

All of the generators we reviewed come with a set of warning lights and an automatic low-oil shutoff to protect your engine in case the oil runs dangerously low. In addition, they all come with grounded outlets that prevent power from being overdrawn and cut off the surge at the outlet rather than allowing it to affect the engine.

Tips and tricks

  • Replace the oil after the first 25 hours of use of your new generator, and every 50 hours after that.
  • Allow the generator to fully cool down before refilling the gas tank. Pouring gas into a hot generator is a serious fire hazard.
  • Don’t leave old gasoline in the fuel tank, as stale gasoline can cause damage to your engine the next time you start your generator.
  • Don’t run the gas tank fully to empty, as this can suck sludgy residue into your generator’s engine.

FAQ

Yes, you can convert your gasoline generator to run on propane. Most manufacturers sell conversion kits for their specific generator models, so you should expect some additional cost in making the conversion. In addition, running your generator on propane will reduce the number of watts you can draw from the generator.

Inverter generators differ from conventional generators in that instead of simply producing AC power from the engine and outputting it to the outlets, they first convert that AC power to DC power and then back to AC power. This produces a smoother electrical wave that can be used to safely power sensitive electronics like smartphones and computers. In addition, inverter generators tend to be much quieter and more fuel efficient than conventional generators, although they also come at a price premium since they involve more advanced electronic components around the engine.

A lot of generator users prefer electric starts because they are used to having difficulty pulling the recoil starts on older generator models. While there is nothing wrong with opting for a model that has an electric start, these days you won’t have any problem getting a generator to start with a recoil starter. All of the generators we reviewed start up in the first few pulls. Plus, an electric start requires a separate battery and introduces additional electronics to your generator that can break.

Our Verdict

Our three overall favorite 3000-watt inverter generators on the market today are the Yamaha EF4000iSEB, the Honda EU3000iS, and the Champion Power Equipment 75531i. The Yamaha and Honda generators stand out for how exceptionally quiet they are thanks to noise-dampening technology and quiet engines. In addition, both Yamaha and Honda are known for the quality and reliability of their engines, which means that you can rest assured you’ll have either of these generators for a long time. The Champion generator is highly portable thanks to its built-in wheels and more compact design, and includes a remote starter for ease of use. Note, however, that the small fuel tank leaves it with a somewhat short run time. We feel that the Yamaha EF3000iSEB is the best 3000-watt inverter generator overall thanks to the inclusion of Yamaha’s Boost Technology that gives it an extra 500 watts of surge power, as well as its incredibly quiet engine, portability, range of outlets, and three-year warranty.

9.9/10 Total Score
Yamaha EF3000iSEB - Editor's Choice
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