When Winter’s icy grip settles across the Northern United States and Canada, frozen lakes usually spotted with fishing boats transform into cities of Icehouses, pop-up shelters, and pickups.
Ice fishing is a way of life for many outdoors people living in these regions, and they know it’s time to hunker down, set up their homes away from home on their favorite frozen lake, and settle in for a long, satisfying season of ice fishing.
Whether they’re fishing in a wheelhouse or a pop-up ice shelter , Ice anglers know long hours or days on the ice require a lot of equipment. Much of that equipment uses twelve volts and can run on a deep-cycle battery , but even the best batteries need recharging.
IN A HURRY? HERE ARE OUR TOP PICKS
- Generator Reviews For Ice Fishing
- 1/ Best Of The Best: Yamaha EF2000iS
- 2/ Users Top Pick: Honda EU2200i Companion
- 3/ Best Price Inverter Generator: WEN 56235i 2350-Watt Portable Generator
- 4/ Best Dual Fuel Generator: Champion 2500-Watt Dual Fuel Inverter
- 5/ Best Solar Rechargeable Power Station: Jackery Explorer 240 Portable Power Station
- A Generator Buying Guide
- Wrapping It Up
Generator Reviews For Ice Fishing
Recharging on the ice means a Generator. The good news is, quiet running, suitcase-sized generators that can power all your ice house gadgets are readily available today. The questions we’ll answer in this post are, what do you need in a generator, and which generator is the best for you.
1/ Best Of The Best: Yamaha EF2000iS
- 1600 watt rated AC output, 2000 watt maximum AC output, 13.3/16.7 amps @ 120V
- Super-quiet muffler with USFS-approved spark arrestor - 51.5 dBA at 1/4 load
- Smart Throttle varies engine speed based on load - improves fuel economy and reduces noise
Regardless of which type of power equipment you’re looking at with industry titans, Honda and Yamaha, quality is high; the compact inverter generator market is no exception.
In the compact inverter generator race, Yamaha nudges Honda out by a hair based on a few mechanical advantages and standard features found on the Yamaha EF2000iS. First, its superior gear-driven overhead valve train rather than a belt drive assures improved reliability.
Manual fuel shut off, and carb drain assures the carb is bone dry and ready for storage. A simple fuel gauge, notably absent on the more expensive Honda, makes checking fuel levels easy.
What We Like
- Inverter pulse width technology generates stable voltage within +/- .1% and frequency stability of .1HZ. Its pure sine wave power safely operates your fine electronics.AC output rated 2000 watt surge power and 1600 watt running power. Current ranges from 13.3 to 16.7 amps at 120 volts. Revamped programming allows the EF2000iSv2i to power an expanded range of appliances.
- A potent, reliable single-cylinder, four-stroke 79cc OHV engine is gear-driven and features steel valve train parts and durable cast-iron cylinder liners for long life. Operates in parallel with other Yamaha generators via a Yamaha Sidewinder Twin Tech parallel cable.
- Yamaha’s technologically advanced muffler system has SFS-approved spark control and is whisper-quiet at 51 Decibels. Noise absorbing rubber feet deaden sound even further.
- Built-in sensors warn of low oil, and A built-in electrical overload breaker prevents potentially harmful overloads preventing expensive damage. Yamaha’s Smart Throttle features monitor engine load and regulates engine speed and fuel consumption, allowing run times up to 10.5 hours at ¼ throttle.
What We Don’t Like
- A manual choke can be a bit tricky to operate.
- Some users report multiple pulls needed to start.
Watch the video below for an in-depth head-to-head comparison of Yamaha and Honda Generators.
2/ Users Top Pick: Honda EU2200i Companion
- MORE POWER. SAME LEGENDARY QUALITY. - The EU2200i Companion delivers 10% more power than the previous EU2000 Companion - enabling you to power more of...
- CO-MINDER - Advanced Carbon Monoxide Detection System. CO-MINDER continuously monitors carbon monoxide (CO) levels. It automatically shuts down the...
- HONDA MY GENERATOR APP + BLUETOOTH CAPABILITY - Honda's exclusive My Generator smartphone app offers remote generator operation and monitoring with...
The five-star rated Honda EU2200i companion is top of its class. A quick search of ice fishing forums will show that Honda is the go-to generator because of its ease of operation, dependability, and longevity.
The inverter design delivers 10% more clean power than earlier models. The onboard carbon dioxide detector is safe to use in all settings.
What We Like
- State-of-the-art inverter technology assures clean power suitable for all appliances and electronics. Two thousand surge watts to start your appliances and 1,660 running watts for continuous operation of appliances. A Built-in 30A outlet for RVs connects in parallel with another EU2000i boosting potential output to 4400 watts.
- Advanced sensors assure safe operation. The onboard Carbon Monoxide detector automatically shuts the generator if dangerous CO levels are detected. The low oil sensor shuts off the engine when low fill levels are detected. An electronic circuit breaker prevents dangerous overloads.
- With a noise rating 0f only 57 decibels at full load and 48 decibels running at ¼ load. It won’t drown out your conversations, A mechanical fuel pump allows you to connect a large external gas can for extended run times. Honda’s proprietary Eco-Throttle system provides superior fuel efficiency and runs from 3.2-8.1 hours on a single tank.
- Bluetooth capability allows remote operation or monitoring of the generator’s functions via Honda’s smartphone app. Three-year Manufacturers warranty.
What We Don’t Like
- It may start hard in sub-zero temperatures.
- It needs professional carb adjustments to run correctly at high altitudes.
3/ Best Price Inverter Generator: WEN 56235i 2350-Watt Portable Generator
The four-and-a-half-star rated Wen 56235i 2350 watt inverter generator is an affordable mid-price range generator with high-end performance. Features like 2350 surge watts, low noise operation, and inverter design equal clean energy that is electronics safe energy. Eco Mode regulates fuel usage for extended runtimes on a single one-gallon gasoline tank.
What We Like
- A powerful 79cc, 4-stroke OHV engine generates surge wattage of 2350 watts and 1900 running watts; AC output is virtually pure sine wave energy with harmonic distortion below .03% at idle and only 1.2% running at full load. Totally safe for your fine electronics. Parallels easily with other WEN generators or other brands of generators using the Wen parallel kit .
- Very quiet. It is rated at 51 decibels when running at ¼ load. Some users report not being able to hear it 15 yards away. Automatic fuel shut off burns all fuel in the carb before shutting down the engine, limiting fouling of the carb and lowering maintenance costs. The Eco-Mode feature regulates fuel usage based on load demands extending run times up to seven hours at half-load on only one gallon of gas.
- The plainly marked equipment panel features two three-prong 120V 14A NEMA 5-20R receptacles, one 12V 8.3A DC receptacle, and two 5V USB ports. Low oil and fuel sensors shut off the generator when insufficient fill levels are detected. EPA compliant carb. Two-year manufacturer’s warranty.
What We Don’t Like
- Even with regular oil changes and proper fill levels, burning oil may be problematic.
- The Wen 56235 could use a fuel gauge and a load meter.
4/ Best Dual Fuel Generator: Champion 2500-Watt Dual Fuel Inverter
- DUAL FUEL: Operate your 2500-watt portable generator right out of the box on either gasoline or propane, plus at only 39 pounds, this inverter is one...
- QUIET OPERATION: With an ultra-quiet 53 dBA from 23 feet, enjoy 2500 starting watts, 1850 running watts and up to 11.5 hours run time on gasoline, and...
- PARALLEL READY: The optional, sold-separately clip-on parallel kit enables this inverter to connect with another 2500-watt Champion inverter to double...
The Champion Dual fuel portable inverter generator gives you versatility by offering the option to choose between gas or propane with only a flip of a switch. The Champion 200961 generates 2,500 starting watts when running on gasoline and will run for 10.5 hours on a 1.1-gallon tank at ¼ load.
When powered by propane, it produces 2,500 starting watts and 1,665 running watts at 25% load and boasts a 34-hour run time on a 20# propane rank. The Champion 200961 easily connects in parallel without tools via the Champion power 30-Amp ParaLINK Parallel Kit for linking Two 2000 or 3000 Watt Inverter Generators to run your ice houses heating system microwaves, appliances, or even an RVs BTU air conditioning.
What We Like
- Duel fuel system. It easily changes from gasoline to propane at the flip of a switch. Ready to switch to propane with the included propane hose and regulator. Run 11. Hours on a 1.1-gallon tank of gas or 34 hours on a 20# propane tank. The Carb is EPA compliant.
- Pure sine wave energy makes it safe for fans, refrigerators, and high-end electronics. Abundant connections include two weatherproof 120V 20A household outlets, a 12V automotive-style outlet, and a dual-port USB adapter. They are readily connected in parallel.
- With a rating of 53 decibels, noise levels are no higher than a dishwasher. It is the lightest in its class with a low weight of only 39 pounds.
What We Don’t Like
- Some users complain of hard starting when running on propane.
- One review claims oil leaking and oil burning problems plus poor customer service.
5/ Best Solar Rechargeable Power Station: Jackery Explorer 240 Portable Power Station
- BUY WITH CONFIDENCE: The Jackery Explorer 240 portable power station has been featured as the "Best Portable Power Station for use in the outdoors" by...
- EASY TO CARRY: This entry-level portable power station is equipped with a 240Wh lithium-ion battery pack, weighing only at 6.6 pounds. The solid...
- VERSATILE POWER SOURCE: 1* Pure Sine Wave AC outlet (110V 200W 400W Peak), 2* USB-A ports (5V, 2.4A), and 1* 12V DC car port to charge your road trip...
The entry-level Jackery Explorer 240 isn’t a generator it is a portable, rechargeable power station. The Jackery 240 is perfect for a day on the open ice or nights in a popup ice shelter where you need to power a small light or personal electronics.
What We Like
- Easy no-fuss operation featuring a 240-watt Lithium-Ion battery that can run small lights. It delivers 110 volts of pure sine-wave AC power ranging from a 200-watt average and peaks of 400 watts.
- Multiple connections, 2 Type-A USB ports will charge your personnel electronics, and a 12 volt DC power port for recharging your devices. It will also recharge the Jackery power station while driving. It is green-friendly and rechargeable with the Jackery Solar Saga 100 Panel .
- The fully charged Jackery Explorer 240 will charge a phone 24 times, a tablet five times, a laptop two times, and a drone four times. It recharges with a wall outlet, 12-volt car outlet, or via a solar panel and can run a CPAP unit overnight.
What We Don’t Like
- Auto Shut Off may interrupt CPAP operation if the load falls below 10 watts.
- Slow to recharge.
A Generator Buying Guide
Buying a generator isn’t a slam-dunk decision based simply on price and power. You can choose from many models, but keep in mind that not all generators are equal. Reviewing the following guidelines will help you choose the best generator to meet your needs the first time.
Buying Cheap Can Be Expensive
“There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey.”
The above quote says it all, while the price is important, it shouldn’t be the only reason you buy a generator. Make a quick visit to ice fishing forums, and you will find many anglers on their second or third generator. Most wish they had gone for a higher-priced brand,
In the same forums, you’ll find even more anglers who are glad they bought the pricier Honda and use it years later.
What Do You Need To Power?
When you put air conditioning or a furnace in your house, you decide how many BTUs you need to heat or cool your home. The principle applies to choosing a generator.
You’ll need more than an entry-level generator to power up well-equipped ice-castles appliances and gadgets; However, if you fish in a pop-up shelter with a light and small heater, it will do the job.
Basic Mechanical Considerations
Safety is a top priority for protecting your family or yourself, not to mention the investment you have in the generator. To assure the safe operation of a generator, look for a unit with a low oil sensor to shut off the engine if oil levels drop below the minimum.
For overload protection, an onboard electronic circuit breaker is a must-have. Some models, the Honda Companion, for example, have Carbon Monoxide detectors to shut off the engine if dangerous levels are reached.
A generator with a mechanical fuel pump will allow you to attach a 5-6 gallon gas tank to the generator for run times up to two days. On the other hand, a gravity feed fuel system will have shorter run times and require attention more often
A gasoline powered generator is the best way to go because it is more energy-dense than propane which means it requires less fuel to produce 1600 running watts.
If you prefer propane, keep in mind that a propane generator will produce about 10% less power than an equivalent size gas-powered generator. Both gas and propane generators have more power and run quieter than their electric counterparts.
The sound level of higher-end units is comparable to tabletop house fans. In contrast, one might compare less expensive units to a chainsaw. Consider other fishers when deciding on a tolerable noise level.
Wrapping It Up
When you start your search, only consider inverter-type generators. Next, think of where you’ll use it. The Champion 200962 2,500-watt inverter will get the job done in an ice castle; however, it’s overkill for a popup shelter or a day on the open ice. In this case, you want the Jackery Explorer 240 to run a light, charge your devices or run a small fan.
Once you’ve calculated the wattage required, you’re ready to choose a generator. If you typically need to run your generator at full throttle, you need a bigger model or second generator to run parallel. Pick a Yamaha or a Honda inverter generator for years of reliable service; either way, you can’t go wrong.
Can’t make yourself shell out the big bucks; consider the Champion 2,500-watt dual fuel model or the Wen 56235i 2350 wat inverter generator. Whichever you choose, you’ll have the power needed with any of the above models. Now stop worrying about generators and drop a line in the water.