Best 5000 Watt Portable Generators for 2020 (Reviews)

A 5000 watt generator offers an all-round solution for emergency power backup at home and powering off-grid construction sites.

The 5000 watts these generators provide could also come into a good use when you need to power campsite or tailgate party considering the noise is not an issue (most 5k generators tend to be quite noisy).

To help you in your search for the best 5000 watt generator, we’ve reviewed the top 5 models on the market.

Let’s dive in and see which of them fits best to your needs.

Our Top Picks

The Best 5000 Watt Generators at a Glance:

*The links in the list lead to the generators’ product pages on Amazon.

Check the comparison table for more details about our top recommendations.

How to Choose the Best 5000 Watt Portable Generator

Our first piece of advice for anyone buying a portable generator for the first time is to establish a budget that they intend to work with. 5000 watt generators come at all prices. Targeting a certain price range is a surefire way to narrow down your options while getting the best bang for your bucks.

Next, consider the power needs of all appliances that you can’t afford to go without when the grid is down. Here, you might want to make a list of these items and then add their starting and running watts to ensure that the generator meets the power requirement. In this article, we provide some examples of what you can run on a 5000 watt generator.

The next step would be to determine generator’s running time at half load as well as the size of the tank. Generally, the longer a generator can run on a full tank, the less often you’ll need to refuel it.

Lastly, and more importantly, pay attention to the generator’s features. Among other basic features that we consider paramount on a 5k watt generator’s control panel include a main circuit breaker, low-oil indicator and shutoff, electric starter, and a fuel gauge.

Best 5000 Watt Generators: Reviews

Westinghouse WGen5500 – Best Overall

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Westinghouse WGen5500 Portable Generator

  • Incredible value for money
  • Comes transfer-switch ready
  • Has an electric starter
  • Lots of power
  • Loud but manageable
Westinghouse WGen5500 Specifications
Starting Watts6850
Running Watts5500
Fuel TypeGasoline
Noise Level72 dBA
Tank size (gal)6.6
Run Time14 hrs
Dimensions (in)27.32 x 26.18 x 26.2
Weight (lbs)170
Warranty3 years

Our top recommendation for a 5000 watt generator is an all-rounder portable generator with tons of innovative features, and a very affordable – enter the WGen5500.

This generator is powered by a 420cc 4-stroke OHV engine that outputs an incredible 6850 watts worth of starting watts and 5500 watts of running power.

This is enough power to run pretty much any appliance in an average home from fridges to freezers, fans, and sump pumps- you name it.

Its high starting wattage also makes it an affordable 5000 watt generator to juice up most construction power tools.

This generator’s 14-hour runtime at half load using its 6.6-gal tank is one of its impressive features. Basically, it means that you won’t need to wake up in God-forsaken hours of the night to fuel it up.

Designed to be a modest alternative to the Westinghouse WGen7500, this generator comes transfer switch-ready and has an electric starter for old folks and anyone else who doesn’t want to yank on the recoil.

The control panel flaunts two GCFI 5-20r 120v outlet and one L14-30R 120/240v Twist-Lock receptacle all of which have rubber covers for protection.

The WGen5500 weighs 170 pounds. Albeit heavy, its large never-flat wheels coupled with its foldable make retrieving it from the storage quite easy.

Check price on Amazon

Champion 5000 Watt Generator – Lightest

Overall rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

Champion 5000 watt Portable Generator

  • Breezy assembly
  • Durable
  • Reliable manufacturer
  • No main switch
Champion 5000 Watt Specifications
Starting Watts6250
Running Watts5000
Fuel TypeGasoline
Noise Level74 dBA
Tank size (gal)5.7
Run Time9 hrs
Dimensions (in)30.1 x 25.7 x 25.2
Weight (lbs)152
Warranty3 years

The Champion 100496 is a great option if you want a generator with a good balance of performance and portability.

The Champion 100496 is a gasoline-only generator with a 292cc engine that powers out 6250 starting watts and 5000 running watts. This is a power output that you can rely on for emergency power backup at home and to power pretty much any outdoor project that requires portable electricity.

This generator carries a 5.7-gallon tank that should offer you an estimated 9 hours at half load (several homeowners have reported getting up to 12 hours at the same load). It also has a 1.2-quartz oil reservoir that comes with the recommended 10w-30 engine oil- so you can fire it up right out of the package.

The Champion 5000 watt is notably lighter than the WGen500 at 152.1 pounds and has solid tires and a foldable handle for increased mobility.

It operates at 74 dB which is slightly louder than the WGen5500 but quieter than a standard vacuum cleaner.

Its control panel is quite basic and clean too and boasts a Volt Guard to protect your appliances from voltage spikes and Champion’s Intelligauge that tracks the operating voltage, frequency, and hours. You’ll also find one 120/240v 30A locking receptacle and four 120-volt 20A GFCI outlets.

Check price on Amazon

Generac 5939 GP5500 – Most Powerful

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Generac 5939 GP5500 Gas-Powered Generator

  • Enormous starting power
  • Sturdy construction
  • Affordable
  • Lots of negative reports
  • Not CARB or CSA compliant
Generac 5939 GP5500 Specifications
Starting Watts6875
Running Watts5500
Fuel TypeGasoline
Noise Level74 dBA
Tank size (gal)6.7
Run Time10 hrs
Dimensions (in)28.8 x 26.8 x 25
Weight (lbs)180
Warranty2 years

Generac 5939 is a very powerful generator, especially for a construction site. Reason? This generator uses a 389cc OHV engine with peak power performance of 6,875 watts and a running power of 5,500 watts. Notably, this engine uses a splash lubrication system that guarantees it a long life with minimal maintenance needs.

The Generac 5939 has a 6.7-gallon tank from which it can output 50% of its total wattage power for up to 10 minutes. This isn’t the best runtime compared to other generators in these reviews. But it’s still acceptable considering its power output and the price that this generator comes at.

The control panel is one of its best fronts. It has a digital display with the number of hours to the next maintenance and a circuit breaker. Its four 120v outlets one 120v/240v receptacle have also been covered for protection against spills.

Check price on Amazon

WEN 56551

Overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars

WEN 56551 Portable Generator

  • Long runtime
  • Electric start
  • Great price for performance
  • Electric starter battery isn’t the best
WEN 56551 Specifications
Starting Watts5500
Running Watts5000
Fuel TypeGasoline
Noise Level74 dBA
Tank size (gal)6.5
Run Time11 hrs
Dimensions (in)28.5 x 22 x 21
Weight (lbs)182.5
Warranty2 years

This is a very affordable and reliable generator powered by an EPA III 389 cc OHV engine. It outputs a peak power of 5500 watts and a continuous wattage of 5000 watts. Most homeowners go with this generator for use as a power backup solution at home and it can also be used to power most appliances and power tools in outdoor projects.

The most outstanding feature of the Wen 56551 is its cigarette-lighter-style 12v DC outlet that lets you charge most of your portable devices and batteries directly from the generator.

It also has a Twist-Lock 120v/240v 30A L14-30 outlet for your power-hungry tools and equipment, and four 120v 20A 3-prong outlets for your household appliances.

The Wen 56551 scores a lot of marks in terms of efficiency too. With its 6.5-gal tank full, this generator can output half its maximum wattage for up to 11 hours.

You might also like that this generator has a built-in electric starter which makes starting it easy for everyone. We should mention, however, that the included battery isn’t the best. But that can be replaced with a quality one.

Similar to other 5000 watt generators, the Wen 56551 is quite heavy at 182 pounds. But it’s still easily movable thanks to its folding handle and wheel kit.

Check price on Amazon

Pulsar PG6000 – Budget Pick

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Pulsar PG6000 Portable Generator

  • Long runtime
  • Multiple outlets for convenience
  • Lots of peak power
  • A bit noisy
Pulsar PG6000 Specifications
Starting Watts6000
Running Watts5000
Fuel TypeGasoline
Noise Level72 dBA
Tank size (gal)6.6
Run Time15 hrs
Dimensions (in)32 x 23 x 21
Weight (lbs)181
Warranty2 years

Pulsar isn’t a household name yet. But there’s no doubting that this Canadian company is one of the fastest growing names in the world of generators.

Their PG6000 made it to our list of the best 5000 watt generators for 2 main reasons: its high starting watts and unbeatable runtime.

This generator uses a 302cc 10 HP engine that outputs a peak power of 6000 watts and a running wattage of 5000 watts.

A portable generator with this enormous starting power is what you need for a construction site or a workshop where you constantly need to start other tools without powering off the current one. And it gets much better with its long runtime.

The PG6000 can run at half its capable load for up to 15 hours with its 6.6-gal tank full. That’s to say that it can manage around 20 hours at quarter load if you intend to power, let’s say, a freezer and some security lights at home.

Its control panel has a total of 7 outlets and can accommodate 120v, 240v, and 12v operations. You’ll find four 120v AC receptacles, one 120/240v Twist-Lock outlet, one 120v Twist-Lock outlet, and a 12v DC outlet.

This already impressive generator is made complete by a low-oil indicator, a 3-in-1 digital meter, and an Automatic Voltage Regulation.

Check price on Amazon

Best 5000 Watt Generators Comparison

PreviewGeneratorRatingStarting WattsRunning WattsFuel TypeNoise LevelTank size (gal)Run TimeDimensions (in)Weight (lbs)Engine DisplacementWarranty
Westinghouse WGen5500Westinghouse WGen55005/5
5 out of 5 stars
68505500Gasoline72 dBA6.614 hrs27.32 x 26.18 x 26.2170420cc3 years
Champion 5000 watt generatorChampion 1004964.8/5
4.8 out of 5 stars
62505000Gasoline74 dBA5.79 hrs30.1 x 25.7 x 25.2152292cc3 years
Generac 5939 GP5500Generac 59394.5/5
4.5 out of 5 stars
68755500Gasoline74 dBA6.710 hrs28.8 x 26.8 x 25180389cc2 years
wen 56551 generatorWen 565514.2/5
4.2 out of 5 stars
55005000Gasoline74 dBA6.511 hrs28.5 x 22 x 21182.5389cc2 years
pulsar pg6000Pulsar PG60004/5
4 out of 5 stars
60005000Gasoline72 dBA6.615 hrs32 x 23 x 21181302cc2 years

What can you run on a 5000 watt generator?

The type of appliances that a 5000 watt portable generator can run basically depends on their power consumption (starting watts and running watts).

Depending on its power requirement, one appliance may draw all the power output of the generator thereby making it impossible to plug in another device. Other appliances draw a very little amount of power, therefore, leaving you with more power to plug in several other devices/equipment.

To determine the amount of power that each of your items draws, check its power requirement. This is mostly affixed on its power cord or on its nameplate. Most manufacturers indicate it in watts although there are a few that use amps. To convert amps into wattage, simply multiply the amperage rating of the appliance by the voltage at which it operates (120v or 240v).

Importantly, remember to consider each appliance’s starting watts and running watts. Ensure that your target load falls within the generator’s starting and running watts capability.

Generally, a 5000 watt generator should be able to cover most of the basic household appliances during an outage. It’s also capable of running several power tools at a construction site including electric sprayers, circular saw, and air compressors with a starting wattage of below 5000w.

Here is a list of appliances you can run on a 5000 watt generator:

Household AppliancesStarting WattsRunning Watts
Coffeemaker1200w900w
Clothes dryer5000w1800w
Portable heater1500w750w
Dishwasher2400w1200w
Toaster1400w800w
Water heater (40-gal)5500w4500w
Water Pump (deep well)1100w250w
Microwave oven1100w750w
Window fans250w55w
Flat Screen TV120w
VCR/DVD25w
Construction Power Tools
Air Compressor (1 HP)4500w1600w
Belt Sander2400w1200w
Bench Grinder2500w1400w
Chain saw900w
Concrete vibrator (2 HP)3600w1800W
Pressure Washer3600w1200w
Radial Arm Saw2000w2000w
Orbital Sander2600w1200w

Conclusion

The appropriate time to buy a portable generator is long before you really need it. Our reviews have some of the best 5000-watt generator options if you are looking for a model that will cover the basics in your home and also come in handy in pretty much all outdoor projects.

There’s no doubting that the Westinghouse WGen5500 is our best pick here. It has a high surge power, a long-running time, and a relatively lower noise level. It’s also much lighter than most of its competitors and above all else, it comes from a highly reputable manufacturer.

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