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What is the Smallest, Portable Generator? - The Ultimate Guide

Updated: August 8, 2023

What is the Smallest, Portable Generator - The Ultimate Guide


What is the Smallest, Portable Generator? 

If you need power in a remote location, a small portable generator is a great way to achieve a continuous supply of electricity.  So you may be wondering, what is the smallest portable generator for tailgating, camping, RVs, boats or vans? Cutting down on size and weight when it comes to generators adds an enormous amount of convenience.  In this article, we are going to explore some of the smallest, portable generators for practical, ongoing electricity production and use.  

Power Banks vs Portable Power Generators

In order to define the best portable solar generator, we must first make an important distinction between portable power generators and battery power banks.  Whereas both types of technology utilize a battery and output ports to deliver usable, AC electricity, power banks are much more limited in their capabilities for long-term practicality.  

What are Power Banks?

Power banks are small, portable devices that contain a rechargeable battery for small instances of  Most power banks can be recharged via USB or a traditional wall outlet. They come in all shapes, sizes and capacities and typically are limited to a few USB ports for charging small devices like smartphones, tablets, or cameras.  

Whereas most are sleek and practical, there are also tons of interesting power banks, like the ones shaped like R2D2 from Star Wars or the poop emoji. No matter what style you choose, power banks are generally fairly inexpensive. 

What are Portable Power Generators?

Portable power generators, also known as portable power stations, are electronic devices that can continuously input and output electricity.  Today, most portable generators run on either gasoline or pure electricity.  In the latter case, solar generators are battery-backed electric portable power stations that can be recharged by connecting solar panels or by plugin into the electricity of a home or car.  

The Benefits of Portable Generators 

In comparison to power banks, portable generators are going to be more expensive.  With that in mind, users can enjoy many premium features of portable generators for the best overall remote electricity experience.  

Portable Source of Unlimited Power 

The most obvious benefit of a portable generator is the opportunity to endlessly charge and recharge the system’s batteries, without being close to a traditional power source.  In addition to rapid wall charging (via an AC power outlet),  portable generators can provide ongoing, onsite power by recharging with solar panels.  

Variety of Power Options 

In general, power banks are limited to one type of output power, which are generally USB ports.  Portable power generators offer far more opportunities for powering your electronics.  Although it varies between models, generally a portable generator will have a combination of the following:  AC (wall) outlets, DC (12V) outlets, and USB ports (including type C).  

High Output Capacity 

Most importantly, with a portable power generator, you will be able to use the variety of power options at your disposal.  The output capacity of portable generators flys high and above power banks, allowing you to plug devices like laptops and mini fridges.  The 12V DC power outlet is perfect for small appliances, whereas the overall continuous output levels are generally high enough to power multiple devices simultaneously.  

Top 2 Smallest Portable Generators

Although the line begins to blur between portable generators and battery power banks, we can honestly recommend a few power stations that are guaranteed to deliver exceptional results.  

The Lion Energy Cub Go 

Overall, the smallest portable generator that we can recommend is the Lion Energy Cub Go. The Cub Go is 10.3 x 4.5 x 18 inches in size and weighs a mere 3 pounds, but is not limited by its tiny stature.  In fact, the Cub Go is the smallest portable battery pack to have a full size AC (wall plug) outlet.  Plus, the device also has 2 USBs and a 12V DC outlet for a great selection of power options. 

The 120Wh lithium ion battery is great for powering small devices several times.  Plus, the 150W continuous output rating makes it possible to even run devices like minifridges or blenders.  The Cub Go has a fantastic shelf life of 1 year and is rated for over 1,000 lifecycles, which makes it a great option for long-term, occasional use.   

Learn more about the Lion Energy Cub Go.

The Lion Energy Safari 

Lastly, we would like to recommend a small, portable generator that is fully capable of handling large amounts of electricity. The Lion Energy Safari is a 11 pound solar generator with an impressive 450Wh lithium battery capacity.  The battery, which can recharge approximately 68 smartphones, can recharge fully with 100W of solar input in as little as five hours.  Alternatively, it can be plugged into the wall for a full charge in 9 hours.  

Despite being only 11.8 x 6.5 x 7.3 inches, the Safari’s 500W continuous output inverter makes it possible to run devices like mini-fridges, electric blankets, power tools or big screen TV’s.  The unit comes packed with 2 AC (wall) outlets, 4 USB ports, and 5 12V DC plugins.  In terms of the most bang for your buck, the Lion Energy Safari is one of the best. 

Learn more about the Lion Energy Safari.  


So there you have it. We hope this article helped you better understand what the best, smallest portable generators. If you still have questions, don't hesitate to reach out!

Read our review of the best tailgate generator, or find the perfect small solar power system

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Article by

Max Bair Marshall

Max is a co-founder of Shop Solar, a company that he established in 2018 to revolutionize the solar industry by simplifying the process and making it more simple and cost-effective. Under his strategic leadership, Shop Solar has grown into a comprehensive one-stop-shop, empowering over 40,000 customers to access top-quality solar and storage solutions, comprehensive information, intuitive tools, and professional installation services.

With a passion for innovation and sustainable energy, Max has successfully expanded the business's reach and impact, serving as a driving force in the company's growth and development. Today, as the leader of a dedicated team of 60+ professionals across North America, Max continues to set new standards of excellence in the renewable energy industry, with a mission to transform the way people access and utilize clean energy.

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