6 Best Generators for Boats (Fall 2022) – Reviews & Buying Guide

A generator for a boat: What it should be like?

You’ll most likely have to prepare it for use on a boat, as most won’t be made to withstand the salty air (if out on the ocean), and other factors. The muffler can easily become rusted, among other parts in these environments. Spray the muffler with high-temperature paint to keep it protected. It’s a good idea to create a cowling to protect the generator from getting wet, too. Along with that, spray the connections with waterproof paint.

Make sure you also keep it grounded, as they can become extremely dangerous if tipped over.


Important features to consider before you buy a generator

You’ll want to consider the following features and the levels at which they perform in order to select the best unit for you and your boating needs.

Power output?

A generator must obviously give you the power that you need. Think about what you’ll be using it for. Will you be using it to power a microwave? A fan? A TV or smart devices? Look at the wattage of each device and add them up, then look at the wattage your generator provides. If it’s not enough, opt for another.

Conventional vs inverter generator

Conventional generators basically say it all in their name. They’re, well…conventional. They’ve been around for a while, and remain a source of consistent energy like diesel, propane, or gas. It must keep at a constant speed to give the standard current most homes require.

Inverters are much more high-tech, and are usually 3-phase generators which provide AC current like most conventional models. However, that current is converted to DC, then inverted back to clean AC power. These are great for sensitive products like smartphones and tablets.

Fuel tank capacity and runtime

Fuel capacity and runtime go hand-in-hand (usually). If you have a more eco-friendly generator along with a higher fuel capacity, then you’ll get a good amount of runtime, which means more usage. We recommend, at minimum, opting for a 1-gallon fuel capacity.


Outlets let you plug in the devices that you’re going to power. Some come with little covers that will protect the outlets from the elements, which is a huge help when being used on a boat. Ideally, you’ll have a model with at least two outlets so you can power two devices at a time. Others feature USBs, so you can easily plug in a smartphone or other devices.

Noise level

No one goes out onto a boat just to hear the humming of a generator, right? Noise level with the products listed above is minimal, and even when running at full power, some are hard to hear when you’re more than 10 feet away.

Safety features

Safety features are always important, but more so when you’re out on a surface that’s constantly bobbing around. Look for some that can be drained of every drop so they can be properly stored. Another feature that’s a must-have is a low-fuel alert, as well as an alert that lets you know if it’s being overused. That way there’s no danger to you, nor to your generator.

How to marinize your generator

As we just mentioned above, spraying the relevant parts with waterproof spray is important. It’s always a good idea to add on a kind of cowling to prevent the generator from getting wet, and to use some kind of rubber mounts.
Check out this video for more details.

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