If you've landed on this page, you were probably searching for a cheapest generator. Well, as we all realize, not all generators are born equal. It goes without saying that the lower power the lower the price. An absolutely cheapest model would likely have such a low wattage that it would be pretty much useless. Therefore it is pointless to talk about the cheapest device without specifying its type and the minimum required features.

The main two types of the generators are stationary and portable.
Portables are generally less expensive, so we'll be reviewing this type. Portable models are classified primarily by their power level and the fuel. All things being equal, the cheapest generators are gasoline-fueled ones. There are plenty of inexpensive Chinese-built gas models on the market, such as DuroStar, Champion, and other. You can buy for example a 1000 watt genset for just slightly more than $100. Such a genset may be useful to run a power tool or a small appliance. However, if you are looking for something that can help you survive a blackout, you definitely need a larger device.
For example, if you want to power 2-3 medium size home appliances, such as a window a/c and a refrigerator, you probably need at least a 4000 watt model. In this power range you can buy on Amazon a basic bare bone genset such as DuroStar DS400s or Champion for under $400. Some useful options, such as a wheel kit or electric start will add up to $100 to this price. By the way, always read carefully all the characteristics. Note particularly, that an advertised portable generator wattage is usually peak (starting) power. Continuous power may be 10-20% lower. Note that after a hurricane or a major storm, cheap generators are out of stock on Amazon, which let their third part sellers jack up the prices.

Finally, a few words about reliability. Normally, a cheap import is a cause for quality concern. However, if you read customer reviews at various retailer sites, surprisingly, an average rating of imported models is not necessarily lower than that of domestic brands. Unfortunately, the reliability of all gasoline-powered gensets is not very high, regardless of who builds them. Based on user's reviews, certain percentage of them arrive with some problems or even DOA. Therefore, if there is a storm in a forecast, don't wait until the last day. To be on the safe side, get a backup device in advance to be able to fix or replace it if necessary.