As one of the most essential purchases in your detailing business, a generator is one of the purchases that can truly take your business to the next level.

After doing research and weighing factors like portability, noise level, affordability, and efficiency, I’ll share 5 of the best generators for detailing, followed by a few top picks for detailers on a budget.

Our Top Overall Choices

#1: Honda EU2200i  2200-Watt Inverter Generator (click to check current price on Amazon)

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This one tops the list for a few different reasons. The first being that it is one of the most portable on the list, and perfect for the needs of most detailers.  The EB line was designed for industrial use, but is pretty similar to the EU line.

Pros

Cons

  • Low noise – one of the most quiet units around
  • GXR120 Commercial Grade Honda engine
  • Lightweight – weighs less than 47 pounds
  • Fuel efficient – 8+ hours on one gallon of gas
  • Inverter generator – perfect for powering sensitive equipment like computers
  • Multipurpose – also great for camping
  • More expensive than others
  • 2200 watts, 120V may not be ideal for powering bigger equipment

#2: Champion 3500-Watt Portable Generator (click to check current price on Amazon)

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This One made by Champion is one a solid choice by a reputable generator brand. Marketed as portable, it has a pretty large 12 gallon fuel tank

In terms of affordability, this one is ideal for someone just starting out, since it costs significantly less than others. It can be a little noisy like most in this class, but still a solid option for most beginners.

Pros

Cons

  • Rugged design
  • Pretty easy to start and set up
  • 12 hours of a single tank
  • Multipurpose – also great for camping
  • Neverflat wheels and folding handle
  • Only 1 120V  standard outlet
  • Can be noisier than some in the category
  • Wheels come as an option

#3: Yamaha EF2000iSv2 1600-watt Inverter (click to check current price on Amazon)

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This Yahama unit produces 1,600 watts of continuous output, 2,000 maximum and is one of the more quiet (and portable units around) at less than 47 pounds. This one features two 120V outlets and one 12V, and should be enough to power smaller tools (like a orbital buffer). If you are running large compressors or vacs, then you will want something a little larger.

If you need a portable generator, the Yamaha is slightly cheaper and smaller than the Honda EU2200, but still a good overall option for someone who needs portability.

Pros

Cons

  • Very quiet – slightly more quiet than similar Honda models
  • Super portable design
  • Lightweight – only 44 pounds
  • Ideal for water pumps and smaller electronics
  • More expensive than non-inverters
  • May not be sufficient for larger vacs
  • Smaller (1 gallon) fuel tank

#4: Pulsar 3500-Watt Portable Generator (click to check current price on Amazon)

This portable unit is a great budget option with 3,000 running/3,500 peak watts. This one features two 120V outlets and one 12V, and should be enough to power at least one major appliance, and most tools you will use as a detailer.

In terms of affordability, this one is ideal for someone just starting out, since it costs significantly less than others. It can be a little noisy like most in this class, but still a solid option for most beginners.

Pros

Cons

  • Great value for the money
  • Pretty easy to start and set up
  • 12 hours of a single tank
  • Multipurpose – also great for camping
  • Neverflat wheels and folding handle
  • Some have said oil needs to be topped off for optimal use
  • Powered by gas only
  • May not be able to power all appliances (120V max)

#5: Ryobi 5500-Watt Portable Generator (click to check current price on Amazon)

This one by Ryobi is among the most powerful I’m recommending, and idea for teams of around 2 people that will be simultaneously powering a vac or amp.

In terms of affordability, this one is ideal for someone just starting out, since it costs significantly less than others. It can be a little noisy like most in this class, but still a solid option for most beginners.

Pros

Cons

  • Voltage regulator for cleaner power
  • One of the most powerful generators for it’s size
  • Great for teams
  • 4 120-Volt Amp outlets and one 240-Volt outlet
  • 3-year warranty
  • Neverflat wheels and folding handle
  • Not CARB compliant
  • Pretty heavy
  • Louder than others

Considerations to Keep in Mind

There are many factors to consider when purchasing a generator for detailing, but probably the number one factor is the type of equipment you will be powering. If you will be powering large vacuums or compressors, just make sure you have a generator capable of powering it.

If you are on a budget, brand names may not be as big of a deal if you only expect to spend $300 or less, but anything in the $700+ range, I would highly suggest looking into a reputable brand name like Honda, Champion, DuroMax, Pulsar, or Yahama.

Here are some basic considerations to keep in mind before purchasing:

  • Run time – Will your generator be on more than 8 hours per day?
  • Rated Watts – how many watts to expect when running continuously
  • Maximum output watts (surge watts) – Maximum power produced to start certain equipment
  • Portability – will you be leaving it in a van/trailer or moving it around?
  • Weight – How much weight can your trailer/rig support?
  • CARB (California Air Resources Board) or EPA Compliance
  • Ability to parallel (link together)
  • Fuel type options (gasoline, propane, or natural gas)
  • Noise – Do certain office parks/cities have certain noise level ordinances?

Top Budget Generators to Consider

As always, you get what you pay for, and a quality generator is a purchase that you won’t have to worry about fixing. However, if you are on a tighter budget, here are a few models $400 and under to consider (ranked by size):

Looking to build a skid mount for your rig? Check out this post where I cover the components you need to build one.