12 Best Generators for Apartments – Review and Sizing Guide

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I researched over 35 of the best generators for apartments, and the Eco Flow Delta 2 came out on top as the best option for most apartment dwellers.

The Eco Flow Delta 2 fit most of my requirements, making it the best apartment generator. It has enough power to keep your fridge on and power several other gadgets simultaneously. It’s also portable and lightweight, making storage easier.

With that said, many factors should be considered when choosing a generator. Depending on your specific needs, a different unit may be the best for you. Our buying guide explains all the different options and will help you decide what is best for your situation.

Best Generators for Apartments
Power Outage in an Apartment

I am an engineer and have designed electrical systems for 30 years. I researched all the newly available options on the market with my team. Using my knowledge and experience, I determined what generators were worth it and which were not.

We have included 12 different options to cover all scenarios. We aim to help you pick what is best for you, not recommend something you don’t need.

Keep reading for our coupon codes to save money!


Quick Comparison of our Favorite Generators for Apartments

BEST INDOOR GENERATOR
Eco Flow Delta 2

Eco Flow Delta 2

Great Price

High Capacity

Phone App

Price: $$

BEST OUTOOR GENERATOR
Honda EU2200i

Honda EU2200i

Quiet

Easy to Start

Phone App

Price: $$

BEST HIGH CAPACITY
Eco Flow Delta Pro

Eco Flow Delta Pro

3600W Capacity

Fast Charging

Expandable

Price: $$$

BEST PORTABLE
Jackery Explorer 240

Jackery Explorer 240

Lightweight

Price

Easy to Use

Price: $

BEST BUDGET OUTDOOR GENERATOR
Westinghouse iGen2200c

Westinghouse iGen2200c

Good Price

Parallel Operation

High Capacity

Price: $


Best Generators for Apartments

We have a mix of gas-powered outdoor and battery-power station “indoor generators” on our list. Keep reading to see which is best for you.

Eco Flow Delta 2 – Best Indoor Generator

Eco Flow Delta 2 – Best Indoor Generator
  • Power Output: 1800W (2700W surge)
  • Generator Type: LFP Battery Power Station
  • Weight: 27lbs
  • Size: 15.7 x 8.3 x 11 inches
  • Charging Types: AC Outlet, Solar, Car
  • Output Ports: 6 AC Outlets, 2 USB-A, 2 USB-C
  • See more specs on the Eco Flow Delta 2

The Eco Flow Delta 2 Portable Power station is our top pick for the best apartment indoor generator. This portable power station is safe to use inside since it is battery-powered. It is the latest generation from Eco Flow, which concentrates on backup power solutions and has a 5-year warranty.

With 1800 watts of available power, it can power refrigerators, other small appliances, and electronics. With plenty of AC and USB ports, you can plug in everything you need. It will keep a refrigerator running for up to 14 hours or recharge a cell phone 89 times.

Not only does the value stand out to us, but also the recharging time. When plugged into a standard AC outlet, it can recharge up to 80% in 50 minutes and up to 100% in 80 minutes. Connected to a 400 W solar panel, it can recharge in 3-6 hours.

If you need to add more capacity later, add a separate Eco Flow Delta 2 or Delta Max battery. Being able to upgrade is a great option, especially if your needs change.

It has 6 LFP batteries. These lithium-ion batteries provide up to 3000 charging cycles so they will last.

This power station has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. With the phone app, you can monitor everything about the power station. This includes the current load and how much power you have left. You can also change advanced settings, such as charge rates and alarms. However, these are only accessible with the app – something to remember.

The unit has two handles on top for easy carrying. I preferred one single handle on top in the middle since it is only 27 pounds. This would allow me to carry something in the other hand.

The Eco Flow Delta 2 Portable Power station is great for anyone looking for a backup power option that doesn’t want a gas-powered generator. It is lightweight and portable, making it great to take camping or during an evacuation. 

The solar panels integrate easily and give you a steady power supply. It is large enough to power a refrigerator to ensure your food doesn’t spoil and can also power your internet modem, router, and TV.

PROS

Great Price

Good Capacity

Handy Phone App

CONS

Handles on Side


Honda EU2200i – Best Outdoor Generator

Honda EU2200i – Best Outdoor Generator
  • Power Output: 1800W (2200W surge)
  • Generator Type: Gas Powered
  • Weight: 47.4 lbs
  • Size: 20 x 11.4 x 16.7 inches
  • Output Ports: 1 AC Outlet

The Honda EU2200i is our pick for the best outdoor generator. This is an inverter generator, so it provides clean power for electronic devices. It is also one of the quietest generators on the market. We could easily have a normal conversation directly beside it while it was running.

I have worked directly with Honda in the past and have seen their experience in building small engines. Their manufacturing facilities and quality are top-notch. This generator has a commercial-duty engine with a 3-year warranty. It is easy to start and started on the first pull for us every time.

For safety, it also includes a built-in carbon monoxide detection system. It will automatically shut down the generator when it detects excessive CO2 in the area. Many people die each year form carbon monoxide poisoning (often from using generators), so this feature is vital.

If you need more power than one generator provides, you can hook two generators in parallel for double the power.

This generator has Bluetooth connectivity and a phone app to remotely monitor the output power, fuel level, oil life, estimated run time remaining, and use the remote shut-off feature.

This generator is more expensive than others of a similar type, but there is value here. You are paying for the reliability and low aggravation that typically comes with small gas-powered engines. With proper storage (see the video below), this one will start easily every time.

One thing that was kind of aggravating is ours did not come with oil. The generator ships without oil, so you must add it before running it. I did not realize this and had to make a special trip to get some.

Recommend for:

The Honda EU2200i is for someone who wants a small, lightweight, quiet gas-powered generator. Small gasoline engines can be finicky, and this generator is one of the easiest to own. It is straightforward to operate and is one of the most reliable generators available.

PROS

Quiet

Easy to Start

Phone App

CONS

Must be used Outside

Only has one Outlet


Goal Zero Yeti 3000 X

Goal Zero Yeti 3000 X
  • Power Output: 2000W (3500W surge)
  • Generator Type: Lithium-ion Battery Power Station
  • Weight: 69.78 lbs
  • Size: 15.25 x 10.23 x 13.6 inches
  • Charging Types: AC Outlet, Solar, Car
  • Output Ports: 2 AC Outlet, 2 USB-A, 2 USB-C, 1 Car, 2 6mm

Goal Zero has been researching and building power stations since 2009. The Yeti 3000X is their newest and one of their largest power stations.

I like the fact that this unit has a huge 3500W surge capacity. With this, you don’t have to worry as much about using devices that demand high startup power.

Recharge times are somewhat disappointing. Plugged into a standard wall outlet, it takes about 14 hours to charge it from 0% to 100%. With a 400W solar panel, it could take 9 to 18 hours, depending on the weather and amount of sunlight.

The Yeti 3000X will keep a full-size refrigerator running for up to 43 hours and can recharge a smartphone 253 times. It can also keep a CPAP machine running for 47 hours, so you can get 7 or 8 nights using it for power.

This unit is rather heavy at almost 70 pounds. It comes with a wheeled cart, making it easy to move from room to room. It is certainly not something you want to carry upstairs or try to evacuate with. 

The unit does have Wi-Fi and a phone app where you can see the available power and the current power output.

I like that you can use the Yeti 3000 for power and charge it at the same time. The built-in system controller takes care of managing everything for you.

The 80% lifecycle of the power station is rated at 500 cycles. This means that after 500 full power cycles, the batteries will have 80% of their original capacity. Even if you fully charged and discharged this unit every week, it would still have 80% of its original capacity after 9 ½ years. If you want to use it every day though, this may not be enough life for you.

The price of this unit compared to the capacity is not as good as some of the other power stations that we reviewed. This combined with the unit’s weight, does not make it optimal for most people living in an apartment.

Recommend for:

The Goal Zero Yeti 3000X is for someone looking for a large indoor generator/power station that doesn’t need to move it very often. It is great for backup power for a refrigerator for an extended amount of time. It is not a good option for someone who wants to use it every day or needs a portable generator.

PROS

High Surge Capacity

Use and Charge together

Phone App

CONS

Price

Recharge Time


Eco Flow Delta Pro

Eco Flow Delta Pro
  • Power Output: 3600W (7200W surge)
  • Generator Type: LFP Battery Power Station
  • Weight: 99 lbs
  • Size: 25 x 11.2 x 16.4 inches
  • Charging Types: AC Outlet, Solar, Car
  • Output Ports: 5 AC Outlet, 2 USB-A, 2 USB-C, 1 Car
  • See more specs on the Eco Flow Delta Pro

The Eco Flow Delta Pro power station is one of the largest available from Eco Flow. It has a huge capacity and an amazing amount of surge capacity. 

This unit is heavy at nearly 100 pounds. It does have wheels built into the base but is not suited to move from room to room regularly.

It has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity with a superb phone app like our top pick. You can adjust the charge rate, see the output power you are currently using, and how much power you have remaining.

The Eco Flow Delta Pro is best used in a large apartment, duplex, or condo. It can integrate with your home’s electrical system and provide power to all devices for an extended period. You can add battery units for more capacity or permanent solar panels to your home for continuous charging off the grid.

I like that there is a small generator you can pair with the unit. It is dual-fuel capable, which means it runs on gas or propane. With this feature, you will never have to worry about being without power.

The price-to-power output and feature ratio is good for this unit. It has batteries that have a life cycle of 3,500 cycles to 80% capacity. This feature and the 5-year warranty mean you won’t have to worry about purchasing a new generator soon.

It did not make it to our top pick simply because it is so large and is not the best for a typical small apartment. But, if you are looking for the best power station with a huge capacity, this is for you.

Recommended For:

The Eco Flow Delta Pro power station is for someone looking for a large indoor generator. Ideally, this unit is for a large apartment or condo where the renter has permission to add this unit to the home’s electrical system. It can be customized to provide power to your home for an extended period. It’s also great for someone who would like a power station for their home and RV.

PROS

High Capacity

Long Battery Life

Expandable

CONS

Price

Heavy


Eco Flow Delta Max 2000

Eco Flow Delta Max 2000
  • Power Output: 2400W (5000W surge)
  • Generator Type: NCM Battery Power Station
  • Weight: 48 lbs
  • Size: 19.6 x 9.5 x 12 inches
  • Charging Types: AC Outlet, Solar, Car
  • Output Ports: 6 AC Outlets, 2 USB-A, 2 USB-C, 1 Car, 2 DC5521
  • See more specs on the Eco Flow Delta Max 2000

The Eco Flow Delta Max 2000 has many of the same features that our top pick does. The main difference is this one has a higher power capacity (1800W vs. 2400W) and different battery chemistry.

The Delta Max 2000 has NCM batteries, while the Delta 2 has LFP batteries. The main difference is the NCM batteries have a higher capacity at the same weight but have a lower overall life.

The Delta Max is fairly heavy at 48 pounds. It has similar handles on top of the case, and at nearly 50 pounds, you do need two handles.

Just like other Ecoflow power stations, recharging time is great. It can recharge from 0% to 80% in 65 minutes plugged into a standard AC outlet.

On this model, I like that I can recharge it using two methods at the same time. For example, I can charge it in an emergency or off-grid situation using solar panels and Eco Flow’s smart generator. I could also use our top pick for outdoor generators, the Honda EU2200, to charge it and also solar panels simultaneously. 

This flexibility makes it great since you never know what could happen, so it made it to this list.

Recommended for:

The Eco Flow Delta Max 2000 is great for someone that needs a high-capacity indoor apartment generator but also wants flexibility. This portable power station is excellent for off-grid living and has enough capacity to power refrigerators and other large appliances and power tools.

PROS

High Capacity

Charge Input Flexibility

Charge Speed

CONS

Price

Lower Overall Life


Ego Power PST3042 Nexus

Ego Power PST3042
  • Power Output: 2000W (3000W surge) with 4 batteries
  • Generator Type: Lithium-ion Battery Power Station
  • Weight: 44 lbs
  • Size: 18.3 x 13.3 x 14 inches
  • Charging Types: AC Outlet, Solar
  • Output Ports: 3 AC Outlets, 4 USB-A

Ego power makes all sorts of battery-powered equipment including lawn mowers, string trimmers, and chainsaws. 

What I like about the Ego Power PST3042 Nexus power station is that it uses the same external batteries as their equipment. You can use the battery in your mower and chainsaw and then plug it into the power station to recharge it. If the power goes out, just grab the power station, and plug in your refrigerator.

It will work with up to four batteries, so you have added flexibility in sizing it for your needs. If a battery fails, you can easily replace it with a new one.

The large digital display on the front shows everything you need to know about the generator’s status, from power output to separate charge indicators for each battery.

It also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and the phone app shows you everything you need to know remotely. You can even review the status if you are away from home, as long as your home Wi-Fi is powered up.

I also like that this thing is rugged. It has a steel case and handles, and it is weather resistant. The outlets are protected with a cover when not in use.

There is one thing I do not like, though. You cannot use the power station while it is charging with a solar panel. This downside makes it difficult to use in an emergency or off-grid situation.

The price of this unit is also good if you already have some of the batteries you can use with it. Note that this one only comes with two batteries; you will need four to get the 2000 W output. It may not be the best choice if you do not plan to pair this with other Ego devices.

Recommended for:

The Ego Power PST3042 Nexus power station is great for someone with other Ego Power battery-powered equipment. The batteries are interchangeable, so you save some money by sharing batteries. It is not the best option for evacuating to an off-grid location or camping use since you can’t solar charge and use it at the same time.

PROS

External Batteries

Rugged

Flexibility

CONS

Can’t Charge and Use at once

Only Comes With Two Batteries


Jackery Explorer 1000

Jackery Explorer 1000
  • Power Output: 1000W (2000W surge)
  • Generator Type: Lithium-ion NMC Battery Power Station
  • Weight: 22 lbs
  • Size: 13.1 x 9.2 x 11.1 inches
  • Charging Types: AC Outlet, Solar, Car
  • Output Ports: 3 AC Outlets, 2 USB-A, 2 USB-C, 1 Car
  • See more specs on the Jackery Explorer 1000

While the name may not seem familiar to you, Jackery is a US-based company that has been in business for over ten years. They concentrate solely on portable power stations and solar charging panels. They are also known for excellent customer support.

I like the Jackery Explorer 1000 power station because of its simple, robust design and the nice carry handle across the top. At only 22 pounds, it is easy to grab it and go.

With a 2000W surge capacity, you can run a refrigerator or even a gas furnace with it. However, with only 1000Wh capacity, it will only power a small refrigerator for about 5 hours.

Most refrigerators can run for a few hours daily and stay cold enough if the door is closed. If you need to run a refrigerator or freezer for an extended period, a larger unit may be better for you.

This power station can recharge up to 80% in 6.5 hours with two 100-watt panels. With a wall outlet, that time falls to 5.5 hours. Not as good as some other units on our list.

I was a little disappointed that this unit does not have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity and does not have a phone app. It does have a digital display panel on the front that shows the input power, output power, and battery charge level.

This unit will automatically shut off after 12 hours, regardless of status. This feature is annoying, but it is bearable if you set a timer on your watch or phone.

Recommended for:

The Jackery Explorer 1000 is perfect for someone looking for a truly portable power station that they can use indoors in an apartment or condo and take with them camping or during an evacuation. It is powerful enough to run large appliances for a few hours or a CPAP machine for nearly three nights.

PROS

Lightweight

Easy to Use

Good Capacity

CONS

No Phone App

12-Hour Shutoff


Eco Flow River Pro

Eco Flow River Pro
  • Power Output: 600W (1200W surge)
  • Generator Type: Lithium-ion Battery Power Station
  • Weight: 16.8 lbs
  • Size: 11.4 x 7.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Charging Types: AC Outlet, Solar, Car
  • Output Ports: 3 AC Outlets, 3 USB-A, 1 USB-C, 1 Car, 2 DC5521
  • See more specs on the Eco Flow River Pro

The Eco Flow River Pro is a smaller, more portable version of the larger Eco Flow units earlier in our list.

While small and lightweight, it can still power a refrigerator for up to 4 hours. It can also recharge your phone 59 times before it needs to be recharged.

I like the nice handle across the top and the large display on the front of the unit. With the circular graph, I can easily see how much power remains. There is also a light on the front of the unit. This is nice as you don’t need a separate flashlight when the power goes out.

What stands out is the recharge time. Plugged into a standard outlet, it can recharge to 80% in less than an hour. If you are driving during an evacuation, it can fully recharge in 8 hours with the car adapter. Two 110W solar panels can recharge it in as little as 4 hours.

I think the capacity and size of this unit are a great balance. It is large enough to power a large appliance if you need to but portable enough so it is easy to carry. It can also turn into an off-the-grid power source with solar panels.

If you need more power, an extra battery is available that connects right to the unit.

Under heavy loads, the unit will get quite hot, especially in the sun. If you have it outside, keep it in the shade.

This power station only has Wi-Fi connectivity and no Bluetooth. Before taking it away from Wi-Fi, ensure all the advanced settings are where you want them. Not ideal when you are in a hurry.

Recommended for:

The Eco Flow River Pro is great for anyone in an apartment looking for a portable power station that can run a large appliance if needed. It is great for power outages to keep your internet up, charge your phone, and watch TV. If you want to power your refrigerator for a few hours, buy one with more capacity or buy two. This unit is also great for RVs or camping.

PROS

Lightweight

Price

Good Capacity

CONS

Can Get Hot

Wi-Fi Only


Anker 535 Portable Power Station

Anker 535
  • Power Output: 500W (750W surge)
  • Generator Type: Lithium-ion LFP Battery Power Station
  • Weight: 16.75 lbs
  • Size: 11.5 x 10 x 7.4 inches
  • Charging Types: AC Outlet, Solar, Car
  • Output Ports: 4 AC Outlets, 3 USB-A, 1 USB-C, 1 Car
  • See more specs on the Anker 535

The Anker 535 portable power station is on the smaller end of capacity at 500W. It is similar to and a direct competitor to the Eco Flow River Pro.

The biggest advantage the Anker is its overall lifespan. Its LFP batteries are designed to be used every day for ten years. It also has a 5-year full device warranty. That is the longest life of any portable power station that we could find.

This unit will recharge up to 80% from a standard wall outlet in 2.4 hours. That is twice as long as the Eco flow, so not ideal. A 100W solar panel can recharge it up to 80% in 4 hours in direct sunlight.

I like that the Anker has a built-in light bar across the front. This feature is nice to have during a power outage instead of using up one of the outlets for a lamp or lantern.

The power save feature is also nice. For instance, if you are charging your phone, the power station will turn off automatically when your phone becomes fully charged.

It does not have a high surge rating, so if you need a power station to power your refrigerator or other large appliance temporarily, look elsewhere.

Also, note that the four outlets are close together and share the third prong, so you can only plug two devices that have three prongs in. Some big AC adapters will block the other outlet.

Recommended for:

The Anker 535 portable power station is great for someone looking for a portable power station that will last under heavy use. The Anker is a good choice if you have frequent power outages and also like to camp or have a camper van or RV. If you plan to use it only occasionally or need something to power appliances, there are better choices.

PROS

Long Life

Warranty

Light Bar

CONS

Low Surge Capacity

Only for Small Devices


Jackery Explorer 240

Jackery Explorer 240
  • Power Output: 200W (400W surge)
  • Generator Type: Lithium-ion NMC Battery Power Station
  • Weight: 6.6 lbs
  • Size: 9 x 5.2 x 7.9 inches
  • Charging Types: AC Outlet, Solar, Car
  • Output Ports: 1 AC Outlets, 2 USB-A, 1 Car
  • See more specs on the Jackery Explorer 240

The Jackery Explorer 240 portable power station is the smallest and lightest on our list, weighing a little less than 7 pounds. It is also the lowest cost on our list.

This unit is best suited for recharging phones, laptops, and powering your internet modem.

Since it is so portable, it is great to grab during an evacuation or to take with you on a camping trip or picnic.

It is simple to use, with on/off buttons on each output type and a small digital screen showing the input power, output power, and remaining battery life.

This power station can be recharged up to 80% with a 60W solar panel in 5.5 hours. With that fast charge time, you can charge it in less than a day from your apartment or off-grid outside.

You can charge the unit with solar panels and use it simultaneously, but there is no “pass-through” feature. So, the power from the solar panels goes strictly to charging the battery, and the battery strictly charges your device.

With no phone app, it has no advanced features, but you don’t need any. This unit is a rugged, small power station that is super easy to use and can go anywhere (except on commercial flights).

Recommended for:

The Jackery Explorer 240 power station is great for someone who lives in an apartment and wants to be able to charge their phone or keep their internet up overnight. It is also great for someone who wants a smaller power station to grab and take. This, paired with a larger power station or generator for running appliances, is the ultimate power outage preparedness option.

PROS

Price

Lightweight

Easy to Use

CONS

Low Capacity

Only one Outlet


Wen 56200i Inverter Generator

Wen 56200i
  • Power Output: 1600W (2000W surge)
  • Generator Type: Gas Powered
  • Weight: 48 lbs
  • Size: 18 x 11 x 18 inches
  • Output Ports: 2 AC Outlet, 1 USB-A

The Wen 56200i Inverter Generator is one of the three gas-powered generators on our list. The price of this generator jumps out to me. Even though it is only for outdoor use, since it runs on gas, if you have a tight budget and live in a rural apartment or duplex, this is a great choice.

I like that you can hook two together with a special parallel kit. This feature boosts the available power to over 3000W.

This generator is an inverter generator. It produces clean power, so it can power electronics and CPAP machines without worrying about damaging them. It also runs much quieter than a conventional generator, an advantage if you live in an apartment. It will run over 6 hours at half load on one gallon of gas.

The Wen generator does come with a 2-year warranty; however, it is not as reliable as the Honda generator – our top pick. Some users have had issues keeping the engine running at times. Others have had trouble starting it and have broken the pull rope.

I also like that it has one USB-A port and 2 AC outlets. This feature is an advantage over Honda’s single outlet. However, the Wen generator does not have a phone app like the Honda or any type of display. You can’t monitor anything with this generator, so you must be careful not to overload it. You will also have no warning before it runs out of gas.

Recommended for:

The Wen 56200i Inverter Generator is great for someone who can run a gas-powered generator outside and is on a tight budget. If you do not have basic mechanic skills or tools and dislike working on small engines, this is probably not the generator for you. Running this generator over a long period will take some finesse and maintenance.

PROS

High Output

Parallel Operation

Good Price

CONS

Reliability

Maintenance


Westinghouse iGen2200c Inverter Generator

Westinghouse iGen2200c
  • Power Output: 1800W (2200W surge)
  • Generator Type: Gas Powered
  • Weight: 46 lbs
  • Size: 20 x 11.5 x 18 inches
  • Output Ports: 2 AC Outlet, 2 USB-A

The Westinghouse iGen2200c Inverter Generator is also a gas-powered generator for outside use. Like the Honda and Wen, it is an inverter generator, producing clean power with less noise and great fuel efficiency.

This generator can be run in parallel mode with a second to deliver nearly 4000W of continuous power. This feature is great for someone that wants to run many devices and appliances, and you have the redundancy of two generators. Even if one goes down, you still have a second one.

I like that all the outlets and ports have rubber covers, so it is somewhat weather resistant (however still should not run out in the rain.) This model does have a CO2 sensor for added safety.

The Westinghouse comes with a 3-year warranty, and most find it easy to start and run consistently. Some users have found issues right out of the box, so check the generator’s operation when you get it.

The generator’s noise level is considerably louder if you do not have it in Eco mode. Eco mode reduces the engine’s throttle to match the electrical load needed. The noise is considerable when Eco mode is off, or the generator is under high load. Keep this in mind if you have a lot of large devices to power and live around many other people.

Recommended for:

The Westinghouse iGen2200c Inverter Generator is for someone that wants a gas-powered generator to run outside. This generator is great value for the power output you get, but since it has a gas engine, some maintenance is required. The Honda generator is a better choice if you live close to other people due to the noise level.

PROS

Good Price

Parallel Operation

High Capacity

CONS

Noisy

Maintenance


Apartment Generator Buying Tips

Purchasing an apartment generator or power station can be confusing. There are different types, sizes, and so many different brands to choose from. Keep reading our buying guide for tips on making the best choice for your situation.

Types of Generators

There are three main types of fuel-powered generators; conventional, inverter, and standby. There are also battery-powered “power stations,” sometimes called indoor generators.

Note that any device that burns fuel cannot be operated inside. If you use a fuel-burning generator, it must be outside in a well-ventilated area at least 10 feet from any building.

Conventional Generators 

These generators typically have a gasoline or diesel engine that turns an alternator to generate AC electricity. This type is the most common generator that you will see. They are usually loud, run at a constant speed, and produce electricity that can vary in quality.

Inverter Generators

These generators also have a gasoline or diesel engine that turns an alternator. The difference is that they take the AC electricity from the alternator, then convert it to DC and back to AC in an electronic inverter. 

This inverter acts as a buffer between the alternator and the output of the powered device. This feature provides much cleaner AC electricity than a conventional generator. Also, inverter generators are quieter and more efficient than conventional generators since they vary the engine’s speed depending on the electrical load.

Standby Generators

These generators are large generators with a gas, diesel, or propane/natural gas engine. These generators are intended to be permanently installed at a home, apartment, or business to keep the power on during a power outage. 

Some large apartment buildings may have one of these, but the majority do not.

Indoor Generators

Battery-operated power stations are often called indoor generators because they can produce power like a generator and are safe to use indoors. 

However, they do not generate electricity. Rather they store it in batteries to be used later. These are ideal for anyone who cannot run a gas-powered generator outside. 

Many can be paired with solar panels for some degree of energy production. 


What is the Best Generator for an Apartment?

The first choice you must make when selecting a generator for your apartment is between an outdoor and an indoor generator.

Outdoor Generator

If you live in a condo, duplex, or apartment on the ground floor, using a gas-powered generator may be an option. Don’t forget that gas-powered generators must be used outside. You will have to run an extension cord through a door or window, so keep security in mind also.

An inverter generator is the best choice if you cannot use the generator outside safely. They are less noisy and less likely to disturb neighbors or draw unwanted attention. They also provide clean, steady power. 

Clean power is beneficial when using electronic devices like TVs, computers, medical equipment, and appliances. Power that surges up and down from conventional generators could make these devices shut off unexpectedly or could even damage them.

Outdoor generators can run continuously if you have a fuel supply. However, fuel may be hard to get or unavailable during a large-scale power outage.

Since outdoor generators have engines, they require proper maintenance. They need oil changes, clean and fresh gas, and should be operated periodically. You also need somewhere to store gas safely, such as a garage or outdoor storage area. Do not store gas inside your apartment!

Indoor Generator

If you do not live on the ground floor or are in an apartment complex with many residents, a battery-powered power station is the only choice you can safely make. These indoor generators can power small appliances and electronics for hours.

The main disadvantage of indoor generators is they cannot continuously provide power. Once their battery is depleted, you must recharge them. The quickest way to recharge them is by plugging them into a wall outlet. 

If the power is out, this option is not available. You can recharge some with a vehicle power port or compatible solar panels.

Solar panels are a great renewable energy charging option. You do not need to rely on gas or another fuel source. However, depending on the weather, charging your power station can be slow depending on the weather. 

Eco Flow Solar Panels for recharging the power station
Solar Panels are great for recharging (Photo: EcoFlow)

If your apartment is on the north side of the building, your apartment may never be exposed to direct sunlight. Consider if you can set up the solar panels outside or on a neighbor’s balcony.

In my experience, it is best to keep power stations or anything with a battery plugged in and charging when not in use. I have had my share of batteries becoming dead and not rechargeable after sitting in storage for a few months. Using battery powered devices at least once every few months also help extend the life.

Indoor generators come with different types of batteries, usually either lithium-ion or lead acid.

Lithium Ion Batteries 

These batteries charge faster than lead acid batteries. They are also low maintenance and have a longer life. They are more expensive, though, so if you need a high-capacity generator, one with lithium-ion batteries can be quite expensive. 

There are also multiple types of Lithium-ion batteries. In general, LFP batteries are the best, with the longest life.

Lead Acid Batteries

These batteries are lower cost than lithium-ion and can provide more power at the same cost. They require maintenance, such as regular charging and checking the water level. They can also be quite heavy, especially the higher capacity models.

Generator Size and Weight

The size and weight of the generator you choose should also be considered. Does your apartment have multiple levels, and can you carry the generator up the stairs? If you are forced to evacuate, will the generator be part of your bugout plan? 

A generator that you can use in your apartment for power outages and camping or at a bug-out location will be different from one you only use at your apartment.

A good choice may be one larger generator for your refrigerator and another smaller one for other devices. If you are forced to evacuate, you simply leave the larger one for the refrigerator behind. The smaller one with solar panels and a car adapter could come with you, as it would be much more portable. 

Generator Quality

Since an apartment generator is something you will rely on during an emergency, only consider well-known, reputable brands. A few we considered on Amazon were foreign knockoffs with serious quality and dependability issues. 


Apartment Generator Sizing Guide

The capacity of the generator you choose is critical and part of your overall preparedness plan. Your plan should consider what items you may need during a power outage, such as emergency stoves and heaters. Also, consider that some conditions may dictate that you leave your apartment, in which case you need an evacuation plan.

The size or capacity of a generator is measured in watts. This measurement is the amount of electricity that it can deliver. Watts equals the voltage of the electricity needed multiplied by the amperage. We don’t need to worry much about this equation since most devices list the watts they need on the nameplate.

Appliances that use electricity to generate heat, such as stoves and space heaters, require a large amount of electricity – often much more than an apartment generator can provide. In the winter, it is best to be prepared with another option for heat, such as a kerosene or propane heater.

Keeping your refrigerator or freezer running during a power outage is the best use of an apartment generator. You can also use it to power a computer, TV, internet modem and router, and to recharge your phone. 

A generator can also power smaller appliances, like a coffee maker. 

How to Calculate Power Needs of Devices

To determine how much power you need for the devices you want to use, you will need to do two things.

  1. Does the device have a motor, or does it start and stop during operation? A good example of this is a refrigerator. It has a few motors and turns on and off periodically to maintain the temperature.
  2. Find the nameplate on the device and find how many watts it needs to operate.

You need these two pieces of information to determine the device’s running power load and the device’s surge or startup power load. 

Appliances with motors have a startup load that is much higher than the power it needs once it gets running. This startup load is often 3-5 times greater than the running load but only occurs briefly. Sometimes this is listed on the nameplate, but it may not be. If it is not listed, assume it is four times the running load.

Devices like TVs and computers do not have large motors and do not have high startup loads. For these devices, you only need to know the running wattage.

Next, simply add up the running watts of each device. To power everything at once, you need a generator with this capacity.

Also, review the surge watts that you noted. Replace the running watts of that device with the surge watts in your calculation. Ensure your selected generator has the appropriate surge capacity to cover this need.

To reduce the size of generator that you need, you can choose to only run a few devices at a time. If you have multiple devices with high surge watts, you could also only run one at a time. This will take some management to select each device; just be careful not to overload your generator. Plug in one device at a time. 

Some of the generators in our list have an app or display that shows how much power is being used. While this has to be done after you purchase a generator, it can help you to plan for a power outage more accurately. Simply start up your generator and plug in each device you want to use. Note the power they consume and whether they have an initial startup surge.

Table of Power Requirements of Typical Devices

Below are some typical power requirements of common devices. Note that yours may vary depending on the model and size of the device.

DeviceRunning WattsStartup Watts
Cell Phone Charger5W5W
Typical Gas Furnace650W1750W
Lamp60W60W
Microwave1500W1500W
Refrigerator250W1000W
TV300W300W
Internet Modem10W10W
Wi-Fi Router15W15W

Apartment Generator Safety

Anytime you are dealing with electricity and flammable fuels, you must consider your safety.

  • Follow the safety directions that come with your generator.
  • Never run a gas-powered device inside an enclosed area. The exhaust contains deadly carbon monoxide that can kill you in a few minutes. Carbon monoxide does not have any smell, so you do not know it is in the area.
  • If you use a gas-powered generator, ensure it is in a well-ventilated area outside, at least 10 feet from your home.
  • Store gasoline in an outside shed or garage, away from the generator when it is running.
  • Plug the device directly into the generator, or use the shortest extension cord possible. The amount of electricity drops over long distances and small gauge extension cords and increases the load on your generator. Use the largest gauge of extension cord you can find. The heavier, the better.
  • Do not run your generator or extension cords through water. A puddle of water can conduct electricity and can cause electric shock and possibly death. Electricity and water do not mix.
  • Keep an eye on the temperature of your generator. If it seems hot or smells funny, turn it off and unplug all the devices.

Proper Storage of a Gas Powered Generator


Tips for Preparing Your Apartment for a Power Outage

Think about what devices you consider critical during a power outage. Many consider a refrigerator critical, for example. If you work from home or are self-employed, your internet connection could be critical for you (or you want it to keep the kids occupied).

To help lower the effects of power outages, especially short ones, consider purchasing a PC-type battery backup for your internet modem and Wi-Fi router. One of these will typically keep these devices powered up for at least a few hours and give you time to get your generator ready if it lasts longer. 

If you have any battery-powered security cameras, this will also keep them operating if you are away from home. Here is our recommended battery backup.

BEST WI-FI BATTERY BACKUP
APC UPS Battery Backup BE600M1

APC UPS Battery Backup BE600M1

Good Price

Surge Protector

5 Backup Plugs

Price: $

Accessories

As mentioned above, proper extension cords are critical to being prepared to run your generator. Below are a few we recommend.

For outdoor gas generators, make sure you have one that is properly sized. The first cord below is not cheap, but is properly sized for any of the generators on our list. It is also 100 ft long, plenty long enough for most 1st floor apartments.

BEST GAS GENERATOR CORD
Gear It 10/3 100ft Extension Cord

Gear It 10/3 100ft Extension Cord

Weather Resistant

20 Amp

100ft

Price: $$

BEST INDOOR EXTENSION CORD
Clear Power 12/3 50ft Extension Cord

Clear Power 12/3 50ft Extension Cord

Indoor/Outdoor

Heavy Duty

50ft

Price: $

BEST INDOOR MULTI OUTLET CORD
Clear Power 12/3 2ft 3-Outlet Extension Cord

Clear Power 12/3 2ft 3-Outlet Extension Cord

Heavy Duty

3 Outlets

Up to 20 Amps

Price: $


Get Prepared for Power Outages

Buying a generator for your apartment is a significant investment and needs considerable thought. Much of our lives currently depend on electricity, and it is one of the first steps in being prepared for an emergency.

My favorite generator for apartment and town house use is the Eco Flow Delta 2. It is lightweight and portable, making it a solid option for apartments. Plus, it can run inside safely, as it only utilizes batteries. 

Generators are an easy purchase to put off. However, you’ll be glad you have them when the power goes out. Don’t put off selecting and purchasing a generator. 

Check out our other preparedness guides such as how to boil water without electricity and how you can start your 3-month food supply. Also consider storing drinking water in a proper long-term water storage container.

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Jason has an engineering and problem solving background. He is an avid outdoorsman, survivalist, and competitive shooter. He enjoys researching the best and most practical solutions for the problem at hand, studying stoicism, and finding innovative ways to be prepared.