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Labor Day Generator Sales 2023: The Best Early Deals on Portable Powerhouses

Nov 03, 2023

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Save yourself money now, then keep your lights on and appliances running when the stormy fall weather knocks the grid offline.

Labor Day weekend is an excellent time to score end-of-summer deals and stock up on cold-weather essentials. Before the temperature drops, we recommend picking up a generator, which can provide backup power during an emergency. The best portable generators can power everything from appliances to essential medical devices, proving critical during outages. In less serious scenarios, they’re also handy for camping, construction sites, and barbecues.

Retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Tractor Supply Co. are offering up to 40 percent off portable generators ahead of Labor Day, with the best-selling Champion 2,500-Watt Dual-Fuel model down to $750 from $855. In fact, we found most of the best deals are on Champion generators. But you can also get power stations like the Jackery Explorer 240 for 20 percent off, giving you the flexibility of not needing a separate fuel to run your electronics. Whether you’re throwing one last summer cookout or prepping for a potential power outage, these Labor Day generator sales can come in clutch when you need emergency backup.

Champion’s dual-fuel portable generator can run on gas and propane, providing great flexibility during emergencies. But it’s not just about flexibility—propane burns cleaner than gasoline, and you can store it for longer without it deteriorating. Just keep in mind that the generator won’t run for as long on propane: 5.5 hours, compared to 10 on gasoline. Still, if you’re careful, that’s long enough to get you through a prolonged outage.

The generator features a 439cc engine that delivers 9,375 starting and 7,500 running watts, allowing you to power more heavy-duty appliances simultaneously. Meanwhile, its cold-start feature means it will fire up more easily even when the outside temperature drops.

There’s a fuel select dial to easily switch between sources. The digital display will show you information like run time, volts, and output, and the volt guard feature provides built-in surge protection. The generator also features four 120-volt AC household outlets capable of handling up to 20 amps of current, providing a convenient way to power multiple devices.

The DuroMax 13,000-Watt Dual-Fuel Portable Generator is the model to get if you live in an area that experiences frequent power outages. The 500cc engine delivers 13,000 starting and 10,500 running watts, enough to provide whole-home power through its 120/240-volt, 30-amp AC and 120/240-volt, 50-amp AC heavy-duty outlets. You can power most household essentials like lights and appliances and even some nice-to-haves like central a/c, making this good for those brownouts during the summer.

DuroMax’s generator isn’t just powerful, though; it’s also durable. Look at the sturdy all-metal cage and 10-inch wheels. It also features a handle kit that allows you to push the 246-pound unit around like a wheelbarrow. The tank can hold 8.3 gallons of gasoline, which DuroMax says will provide 8.5 hours of runtime at 50 percent load. If you prefer propane, the runtime is shorter, at 6.5 hours at 50 percent load.

Other features include a push-button start and a CO alert, which can automatically shut down the generator if it detects a buildup of harmful fumes. CO safety is one of the biggest dangers when using a portable generator, making this automatic shutoff an essential feature.

There’s a lot to like about the 4,500-Watt Portable Inverter Generator from Champion, including a wireless remote start, an economy mode to monitor power consumption, and a three-year limited warranty. But what stands out most is its inverter technology, which converts AC (alternating current) power into DC (direct current) and back into clean and stable AC. The process provides more consistent output, giving you peace of mind when connecting sensitive electronics like your phone and laptop.

Inverter generators can also be more efficient, adjusting the engine speed based on the power demand. Champion says this generator offers up to 14 hours at 25 percent load, buying you plenty of time to ride out an emergency. The brand also sells a parallel kit that works with the generator, enabling you to connect another 2,800-watt or higher inverter model to double your output power.

Like a few other Champions, this one is RV-ready and offers two 120-volt, 20-amp AC outlets plus a 12-volt, 8-amp car outlet. There’s also Champion’s familiar “Intelligauge,” a display that tells you session time, total run time, volts, and frequency.

While portable generators are generally for home use, this model from Champion is an excellent option for taking RV camping. The 208cc engine delivers 4,375 starting and 3,500 running watts to power small appliances like a blender or mini fridge. More importantly, the generator can run a 15,000-BTU RV air conditioner so that you can stay cool during a late-summer heatwave.

Champion says the generator delivers up to 12 hours of run time on a single gas tank, giving you plenty of juice for a relaxing weekend by the river. Speaking of relaxing, you won’t need to get up to control the generator—it comes with a wireless key fob that allows you to operate it from up to 80 feet away.

The portable generator includes two 120-volt, 20-amp AC outlets and a 120-volt, 30-amp RV outlet. It also features an ignition switch, which you can flip to quickly start it up. There’s also a built-in surge protector to prevent overloads, so you can keep critical devices safe from voltage spikes.

Most portable generators are heavy and bulky. This one, however, is relatively small. At 39 pounds and 17.7 inches tall, it’s compact enough for one person to carry via the sturdy handle. Its small size means you can quickly transport it around your home, job site, or campground. And despite its size, the generator works off of gas and propane, with up to 34 hours of run time on the latter, according to Champion.

The 2,500-watt generator offers two 120-volt, 20-amp AC outlets, a 12-volt socket, and a dual-port USB adapter to charge smaller electronic devices like your smartphone. And like the 4,500-watt Champion generator on this page, this one works with the ParaLink Parallel Kit, allowing you to connect a second of the same model.

Champion says the generator outputs 53 decibels from 23 feet—about the noise level of a normal conversation—so it shouldn’t be bothersome at a campsite.

The EB3A Portable Power Station is a solid pick for sudden power outages and off-grid camping trips. It provides 600 watts of output power with a 268-watt-hour battery, allowing you to power small electronics and appliances. There are nine ports, including two AC outlets, two USB-A, USB-C, giving you ample options to connect your various devices.

At just north of 10 pounds, it’s relatively light and, thanks to a sturdy handle, easy to carry. The battery is rated to run a mini fridge for up to three hours or power a projector for two, enough to enjoy a movie at the campground or in your backyard. The EB3A also features an LED lamp to light a path or signal emergency services at night.

This model can pair with Bluetti’s Solar Panel PV120 to charge the portable power station from empty to 100 percent in about three hours, according to the company. Pairing it with a solar panel makes the Bluetti an excellent companion for basic off-grid power.

We recommend checking out the Explorer 240 if you want something small without the maintenance of a gas-powered generator. This portable power station is user-friendly, affordable (especially during this sale), and offers robust connectivity. It’s also quiet and doesn’t require gas, meaning you can use it inside.

The Explorer 240 weighs 6.6 pounds and features a sturdy handle. Despite its size, the power station has a 240-watt-hour battery (hence the name) that can power everything from a laptop to a blender. It features two USB-A ports, a 12-volt car outlet, and a 110-volt, 200-watt AC outlet with 400 watts of peak power. It also works via pass-through charging, allowing you to juice the power station and your devices simultaneously.

Moreover, the power station supports the SolarSaga 100 solar panel, so you can recharge the power station when no outlet is nearby. This setup is ideal for leisurely use outdoors because of its portability, connectivity options, and output power.

A portable generator can be useful at a tailgate, and the Craftsman 3000i offers a nice balance of performance and mobility. The generator weighs 59 pounds and stands 18.4 inches tall, with a sturdy handle that will make it easier to transport. When you reach the parking lot, the generator provides 2,300 watts of running power (3,000 starting watts), enough to power a grill, mini fridge, or TV.

The 3000i is an inverter like Champion’s 4,500-watt generator, so it’s quieter and efficient. You can also hook it up to another Craftsman generator with a parallel connection, giving you double the output power. It includes two 120-volt AC plugs, two USB-A ports, and an easy-to-read dial that helps simplify the startup process. The 5-gallon tank is rated by Craftsman to hold four hours worth of fuel when the generator is running at half capacity.

Craftsman’s model is powered by Generac technology—a company that makes more than one of our favorite portable generators. While we haven’t tested this Craftsman, the Generac underpinnings give us confidence it’ll get the job done during your next outing.

Brandon Russell is a freelance writer covering gear and technology. He started his journey as a news writer at a small newspaper and later began reviewing smartphones, movies, and video games. In his free time, he enjoys the slower, more intentional experience of using a 35mm film camera and making short videos about movies he grew up watching.

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