The Best Welding Generator: Finding The Top 10

When it comes to location and environment, welding jobs can be unpredictable: you may be working in a well-equipped home shop or out in the field doing impromptu repairs. As a result, you’re likely to need a reliable portable generator that’s appropriate for use with welding equipment.

In contrast to more stable permanent AC power sources, generator power is often considered “dirty” due to the fluctuations that can occur in the sine wave of its power supply. These spikes, surges and troughs can cause serious damage to sensitive electronic equipment and can be attributed to several common factors.

best welding generator

Factors leading to generator failure

  • Generator quality: Compared to the consistent sine wave power produced by AC sources, virtually all portable generators experience some inconsistencies in their sine wave power. These variations from the ideal wave are measured as a percentage of departure from the ideal known as total harmonic distortion (THD), which should be limited to 6 percent or less to protect equipment. However, many cheap, imported generators far exceed this THD rating, making them unsuitable for use with inverter-based welders and other sensitive tools.
  • Start-up and shut-down activities: When generators are first powered on or shut down, the engine necessarily isn’t running at a constant speed, causing inevitable fluctuations in the power output.
  • Fuel supply interruptions: If the generator runs out of fuel or experiences a brief stoppage in fuel flow, the engine power will fluctuate accordingly.
  • Excessive load: If your generator isn’t sufficiently powerful to handle its load—or if you try to connect too many high-powered items at once—the machine will struggle to maintain an adequate power supply. When that load is ultimately removed, the engine will often continue to overproduce and cause the voltage to spike to potentially damaging levels.
  • Inadequate maintenance: Failure to keep your generator properly maintained can reduce the quality of power it produces.

best welding generator

What to Look for in a Welding Generator

When selecting a generator that will meet your power needs without damaging your welding equipment, consider the following features:

  • Low total harmonic distortion (THD): A high-quality generator will have a THD of 6 percent or lower (the lower, the better). If the THD isn’t prominently listed in the generator’s specs, don’t buy it under any circumstances.
  • Voltage regulation features: If you expect to use the generator frequently, especially with heavy loads, look for a generator that features a brushed alternator with compound regulation or automatic voltage regulation (AVR) technology. These features will increase the initial price, but save you replacement and repair costs in the long run.
  • Noise level: All generators are somewhat loud, but noise level varies from model to model. Most portable generators average in the low 70s at 23 feet, so if a model’s listed decibel level is considerably higher than that, you may wish to keep looking.

Resources For Welding Generator Ease of Use

Best Welding Generator: Our Picks

The list of portable generators below includes a wide range of price points and features. However, all are high-quality, reliable models suitable for use with delicate welding equipment.

DuroStar DS10000E Gas-Powered Portable Welding Generator

The DuroStar DS10000E portable generator is a reliable source of quality power not only for small- to medium-sized welding operations, but also for backup household electricity during temporary outages.

With a 16HP engine that delivers 10,000 watts of surge power and 8,000 watts of continuous power, the DuroStar is both powerful and efficient. The idle switch protects the motor and reduces noise and fuel consumption when no load is connected; its 8.3-gallon fuel tank keeps the generator running at 50 percent load for 10 hours. A user-friendly control panel puts the RV switch, voltmeter and circuit breakers right at your fingertips.

While the unit is quite heavy at 260 pounds (plus the weight of fuel), four-point isolated motor mounts create a stable build that can be transported via the included never-flat wheel kit and folding handle. The sturdy design and integrated noise muffler help reduce sound for a safer, more pleasant user experience.

SEE FULL REVIEW | CHECK LATEST PRICE

Specifications

  • Engine: 420cc OHV
  • Starting watts: 10,000
  • Running watts: 8,000
  • Weight: 260 pounds
  • Fuel tank capacity: 8.3 gallons
  • Runtime: 10 hours at 50 percent load
  • Noise level: 72 decibels
  • Warranty: 3 years residential, 1 year commercial

Features

  • One 120V 30A twist-lock receptacle, one 120V/240V 30A twist-lock outlet, one 120V/240V 50A RV receptacle, two 120V 20A three-prong outlets and one 12V 10A DC outlet
  • Recoil start
  • Full power panel with oil warning light
  • AC and DC regulators and spark arrestors

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Solid wheel kit and folding handle improve portability
  • EPA certified and CARB compliant

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Somewhat loud
  • No electric start

Gentron GG10020GL Portable Dual-Fuel Generator

This impressive dual-fuel generator is both versatile and efficient, accepting both gasoline and propane and delivering 11 hours of runtime on an 8-gallon fuel tank. It’s compatible with virtually any welder thanks to its four 120V AC outlets, one 120V 30A outlet and one 120V/240V 30A outlet.

However, the Gentron GG10020GL does lack a 50A outlet and doesn’t include outlet covers.

SEE FULL REVIEW | CHECK LATEST PRICE

Specifications

  • Engine: 420cc OHV
  • Starting watts: 10,000
  • Running watts: 8,000
  • Weight: 236 pounds
  • Fuel tank capacity: 8 gallons
  • Runtime: 11 hours at 50 percent load
  • Noise level: 78 decibels
  • Warranty: 2 years residential, 90 days commercial

Features

  • Electric push start
  • Wheel kit and double handle included
  • EPA certified (not CARB compliant)

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Long runtime
  • Dual-fuel versatility
  • Easy to transport

Cons

  • No outlet covers
  • No 50A outlet
  • Loud operation
  • Not CARB compliant

DuroMax XP12000E Gas-Powered Portable Generator

The DuroMax brand—which also manufactures the DuroStar line—is well-known for the quality, value and reliability of its products, and the XP12000E gas-powered portable generator is no exception. It produces 9,500 running watts and 12,000 starting watts, providing ample power for your welding equipment and backup household electricity needs.

Five outlet styles (two 120V 20A standard, one 120V 30A twist-lock, one 120V/240V 30A twist lock, one 120V/240V 50A heavy-duty and one 12V 10A utility) ensure compatibility with almost any tool or appliance.

SEE FULL REVIEW | CHECK LATEST PRICE

Specifications

  • Engine: 457cc OHV
  • Starting watts: 12,000
  • Running watts: 9,500
  • Weight: 223 pounds
  • Fuel tank capacity: 8.3 gallons
  • Runtime: 8 hours at 50 percent load
  • Noise level: 74 decibels
  • Warranty: 3 years

Features

  • Surge Arrest Technology protects fragile electronics
  • All-copper windings
  • MX2 Power Boost
  • Wheel kit and handle included

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Powerful, efficient engine
  • Quality all-metal construction ensures durability
  • Idle control reduces noise and fuel use
  • EPA certified and CARB compliant

Cons

  • Moderately noisy

A-iPower SUA12000E Gasoline-Powered Generator

While not quite a household name yet, this generator brand is growing in popularity thanks to its proven reliability and professional-grade power. It’s a favorite among food truck operators and other outdoor event vendors, and it’s easily powerful enough to support home and light industrial welding tools.

With two duplex 120V 20A GFCI outlets, one 120/240V 30A twist-lock outlet and one 120/240V 50A outlet, the SUA12000E is compatible with virtually any appliance or electronic device and can step in to power your home in an outage.

SEE FULL REVIEW | CHECK LATEST PRICE

Specifications

  • Engine: 459cc OHV
  • Starting watts: 12,000
  • Running watts: 9,000
  • Weight: 216 pounds
  • Fuel tank capacity: 7 gallons
  • Runtime: 9 hours at 50 percent load
  • Noise level: 78 decibels
  • Warranty: 2 years

Features

  • Electric start
  • Control panel with digital data center includes lifetime hours, low-oil indicator, fuel gauge
  • Spark arrestor
  • EPA certified

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Multiple outlet options with covers
  • Automatic low-oil shutoff and circuit breaker protect your equipment from damage
  • Included heavy-duty wheel kit and sturdy frame make it easy to transport

Cons

  • Somewhat loud
  • Modest runtime
  • Small fuel tank
  • Not CARB compliant

Honda EB10000 Industrial Welding Generator

Made by one of the most reliable manufacturers in the world, the Honda EB10000 industrial welding generator is a confidence-inspiring choice for welders in need of a heavy-duty power source. This beast weighs in at almost a quarter ton, but collapsible handles and a durable wheel set make it possible—albeit challenging—to transport.

With 10,000 starting watts and 9,000 running watts, it delivers just over seven hours of smooth, clean power ideal for welding and other industrial applications. However, buyers who don’t require a workhorse of this magnitude may balk at its hefty price tag.

SEE FULL REVIEW | CHECK LATEST PRICE

Specifications

  • Engine: 630cc Honda GX630
  • Starting watts: 10,000
  • Running watts: 9,000
  • Weight: 464 pounds
  • Fuel tank capacity: 8.1 gallons
  • Runtime: 7.25 hours at 50 percent load
  • Noise level: 72 decibels
  • Warranty: 3 years

Features

  • Electric start
  • Collapsible handles and never-flat wheels
  • Intuitive control panel with digital auto voltage regulator, low-oil alert and auto throttle
  • Four 120V household outlets, one 125V 30A locking plug, one 125V/250V 30A locking plug and one 125V/250V 50A locking plug

Pros

  • Very powerful
  • OSHA-compliant
  • Surprisingly quiet

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Very heavy
  • Short runtime

Pulsar PG10000B16 Dual-Fuel Portable Generator

With the efficiency of dual-fuel design and a broad range of outlet options, this versatile generator from Pulsar offers outstanding value for the price. The simple Switch and Go feature lets users switch seamlessly between fuel sources to extend runtime to an impressive 12 hours, which welders will appreciate when working on time-consuming tasks.

A durable steel frame, never-flat wheels and convenient drop-down handles allow for convenient portability and storage, and an extended three-year warranty adds peace of mind to your investment.

SEE FULL REVIEW | CHECK LATEST PRICE

Specifications

  • Engine: 420cc OHV
  • Starting watts: 10,000 gas/8,000 LPG
  • Running watts: 9,000 gas/7,000 LPG
  • Weight: 209 pounds
  • Fuel tank capacity: 6.6 gallons
  • Runtime: 12 hours at 50 percent load
  • Noise level: 74 decibels
  • Warranty: 3 years

Features

  • Electric start with recoil backup
  • Four 120V 20A receptacles, one 120V/240V 30A twist-lock outlet, one 120V/240V 50A RV outlet
  • Intuitive Switch and Go technology allows user to toggle quickly between gas and propane fuel sources

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Dual-fuel versatility
  • Easy to transport
  • Long runtime

Cons

  • Outlets not covered

All Power America APGG10000 Portable Gas Generator

You may not be familiar with this somewhat obscure brand, but the no-frills All Power America APGG10000 portable gas generator gets the job done at an affordable price. Its sturdy 15HP air-cooled engine delivers a steady 8,000 watts for extended use with welding equipment, power tools and even household appliances during a power outage.

Its solid build and anti-corrosive coating ensure reliable performance in tough conditions for years to come.

SEE FULL REVIEW | CHECK LATEST PRICE

Specifications

  • Engine: 420cc OHV
  • Starting watts: 10,000
  • Running watts: 8,000
  • Weight: 232 pounds
  • Fuel tank capacity: 8 gallons
  • Runtime: 11 hours at 50 percent load
  • Noise level: 76 decibels
  • Warranty: One year

Features

  • Electric start with recoil backup
  • Folding handle and never-flat wheel kit
  • Four 120V 20A receptacles, one 120V/240V 30A twist-lock outlet, one 120V/240V 50A RV outlet
  • EPA compliant

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Versatile outlet selection
  • Long runtime
  • Sturdy construction

Cons

  • Outlets not covered
  • Not CARB compliant
  • Short warranty

Cat RP12000E Gas-Powered Portable Generator

As one of the world’s most trusted names in construction equipment, it’s no surprise that Cat’s generator line has built a reputation for high-performing, reliable machines. The RP12000E gas-powered welding generator features a beast of an engine, delivering 12,000 running watts and 15,000 starting watts—more than sufficient to run even large welders without difficulty.

Nine different outlets ensure versatility for a variety of uses, and a 13.2-gallon fuel tank guarantees up to 11 hours of runtime at 50 percent capacity.

SEE FULL REVIEW | CHECK LATEST PRICE

Specifications

  • Engine: 670cc V-Twin OHV
  • Starting watts: 15,000
  • Running watts: 12,000
  • Weight: 348 pounds
  • Fuel tank capacity: 13.2 gallons
  • Runtime: 11 hours at 50 percent load
  • Noise level: N/A
  • Warranty: 3 years

Features

  • Electric start
  • Four 120V 20A receptacles, two 120V 30A twist-lock outlets, two 120V/240V 30A twist-lock outlets, one 120V/240V 50A RV outlet
  • LED-lighted operator station
  • Easy-to-transport ergonomic design with durable steel wheels and removable lifting eye
  • THD less than 5%
  • EPA compliant

Pros

  • Very powerful
  • Large number and variety of outlets
  • Reliable operation
  • Long runtime
  • Clean power/low THD

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No noise level information provided

DuroMax XP12000EH Dual-Fuel Generator

welding generatorThis DuroMax generator is nearly identical to the XP12000E reviewed earlier on this list, except this model provides the added flexibility and efficiency of dual-fuel design.

With both fuel sources engaged, you could work a full 30 hours without stopping to refuel, making it an ideal choice if you anticipate using it for backup household power in addition to welding power needs.

SEE FULL REVIEW | CHECK LATEST PRICE

Specifications

  • Engine: 457cc OHV
  • Starting watts: 12,000 gas/11,250 propane
  • Running watts: 9,500 gas/9,025 propane
  • Weight: 269 pounds
  • Fuel tank capacity: 8.3 gallons
  • Runtime: 10 hours at 50 percent load (gas)/20 hours at 50 percent load (propane)
  • Noise level: 72 decibels
  • Warranty: 30 days (full replacement)/1 year (parts)

Features

  • Surge Arrest Technology protects fragile electronics
  • One 120V 30A AC outlet, two 120V 20A GFCI outlets, one 120V/240V 30A outlet, one 120V/240V 50A outlet
  • EPA certified and CARB compliant

Pros

  • Very long runtime
  • Efficient operation
  • Dual-fuel versatility
  • Easy to transport

Cons

  • No electric start
  • Very limited warranty

Westinghouse WGen12000 Portable Generator

welding generatorThe Westinghouse WGen120000 portable generator is an excellent compromise for buyers looking for more power and features than bargain models but who don’t quite require industrial-level power. Its muscular engine delivers substantial wattage, yet it’s efficient enough to operate a whopping 16 hours without refueling.

A low THD of less than 5% makes it safe to use with sensitive electronics, yet its rugged construction and sturdy frame prepare it to withstand harsh field conditions when needed. A full-featured digital dashboard and remote key fob make this Westinghouse