Smallest Marine Generators: Which one for your boat?

Over the past, more and more people have embraced marine generators, also known as power generators. They are used by the US Navy among others, which makes them popular. They must be good for something if they are used by one of the world’s finest navies.

As expected, larger ships would require larger and more powerful generators generating between 15 to 20kW while the smaller boats often require marine generators that generate about 3kW to 5kW only.

This is influenced by the number of electrical appliances that are running on the generator. The more and bigger the appliances, the larger the generator required.

Why Do Boats Need Generators?

Whenever a boat goes out to the open waters, there will come a time where you will need to switch off the engine. Usually, boats are powered by the main engine which uses fuel. However, the primary role of the engine is to propel the boat. Incidentally, it also runs other devices and gadgets on the boat since it also helps to generate electricity.

However, when you want to stop the boat at a particular spot, whether to relax or even to fish, you have to turn off the engine. This is where the power generator comes in. It helps to generate electricity to run the boat and uses the main fuel line to do the same.

One of its other advantages is that it is quiet, which helps in particular situations such as when one is fishing. It does not disturb the marine life.

Additionally, you might be forced into a situation where your engine is not running. If, for example, you are experiencing engine failure, you still need access to other electronic devices. The only way to power the boat would be through a power generator.

Alternatives to Generators

You do not have to use a generator for your boat anymore. The improvement in technology has had a positive effect in different areas, including sailing. There are a number of alternatives to using a generator. They include:

  • Solar panels

If you are able to afford these, they are a safer way to power your boat. The solar panels work the same way on the boat as they would on a house. This technology has become more widely accepted which means that economies of scale have kicked in, making prices cheaper.

These panels are also suitable for a wide variety of boats in addition to being reliable. One disadvantage about this alternative is that boats rarely have enough space for the conventional panels.

  • Hydro Generators

While these produce a high power output and a commendably low drag, they are vulnerable to damage and only work when the boat is underway. This is a good alternative to a diesel generator since it eliminates some of the safety concerns that come with it.

  • Wind Generators

Like hydro generators, they also eliminate some of the risks associated with a diesel powered generator. In as much as they produce a lot of power especially when there is a strong breeze, they are also noisy, can be tedious and bulky for a boat.

Are Marine Generators Good?

Like any other thing, marine generators have their advantages and their disadvantages. Some of the advantages include:

  • Powering the boat
  • Being economical in that they use the same line when it comes to fuel

However, they also have some disadvantages which are often related to safety concerns:

  • They could lead to suffocation by carbon monoxide poisoning
  • They could cause boat fires

Ultimately, generators can pose serious safety issues if not handled correctly. As such, they are a good idea because they are functional and integral to the sailing process. However, it would be better to get alternatives such as solar panels which are safer.

If there is no other option, one can still get the generator but take extra precaution. One of the most important things to note is that you should not attempt to make any adjustments to the generator or even install it permanently on your boat. These are recipes for disaster.

Small Marine Generators

If you have a small boat, then you definitely need a small portable marine generator to run just the necessary appliances.

Some of the small generators you could get from Amazon include:

Yamaha EF2000iSv2

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Let not the size of this generator fool you. It packs enough of a punch to run your laptop and charge your phone. It utilizes inverter technology which in turn provides you with clean energy that is also reliable.

This 1600 watt generator has AC output and 120 volts. It is loved because it reduces noise and improves on fuel economy as well.

Furthermore, this generator also has a smart throttle that varies the engine speed depending on the load that you are carrying. It is CARB compliant.

Honda EU2000I

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This portable Honda generator also packs quite a punch when it comes to the price. It costs upwards of $700 but provides value for money. With a 2000 watt rating, this portable generator has 120 volts of maximum power.

It is lightweight as it only weighs 45 pounds. This makes it easy to carry and thus easy to transport. In addition to this, it has an eco-throttle system which makes it fuel efficient.

This generator is also quiet, something that most diesel generators are not known for which places it in the list of top portable generators.

Earthquake 11613

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Although this is a home and land generator, it can also be used on boats. It is relatively cheap when compared to other portable marine generators. It costs just under $400 which is a bargain.

At 700 watts and weighing only 21 pounds, this gas powered generator is very efficient. It has power consistency and is much cheaper than the Yamaha and the Honda which is enough reason to buy it in the first place.

Generac 6866 iQ2000

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For under $500 you get to buy this generator. It weighs 46.2 pounds which makes it relatively light thereby making it easy to transport form one place to another. It is gas powered and packs 1600 watts rating which is sufficient for a small boat.

One of the greatest benefits of using this generator is that it has FlexPower operating modes which allow you to save fuel and reduce noise at the same time.

While the eco-mode is good for conserving fuel and energy, the high mode works best for charging batteries as well as usage that requires large loads.

WEN 56180

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This is one of the cheapest marine portable generators in the market. It costs under $200 on Amazon which is a far cry from its other counterparts that are upwards of $500. This portable generator is great for onshore use and weighs only 50 pounds which is relatively light.

It has a 1500 watts continual supply and 1800 watts under surge. It is also CARB compliant and is relatively quiet as well.


Marine generators are necessary. However, there are different options that you can choose from. You do not have to use a diesel or gas powered generator.

You could opt for the advanced wind and hydro powered generators or even opt for solar panels which eliminate the dangers of using a generator.