Top 5 Best Generator for Mobile Detailing [2022]

Last Updated: June 27, 2022
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a white man doing mobile detailing job with best generators for mobile detailing

Mobile detailing is becoming a more popular choice for certain car owners. It allows consumers to access full-service detailing of conventional businesses without having to leave the convenience of their own homes.

A good generator for mobile detailing is a critical acquisition for any detailing business that may actually take your business to the next level.

There are various aspects to consider including what size generator do you need for mobile detailing, type, noise, and capacity – and do you need a generator for mobile detailing at all.

The best generator for mobile detailing should be dependable, portable, and able to provide at least 2000 watts of power.

The requirement for a generator for car detailing basically boils down to your customer base. Residential areas have easy access to power, so you may get by without one. Detailing in parking lots, on the other hand, has less possibilities. In this situation, a generator for mobile car detailing is required to power vacuums, pressure washers, and other tools.

Perhaps transporting a 50–60-pound generator isn’t the simplest thing, but neither is stressing about finding a spot to plug in your car detailing detailing tools.

Here we’ll look at some of the best mobile detailing generators available on the market, taking into account things like mobility, noise level, price, and efficiency. This should make it easy for you to decide which portable generator here is the best mobile detailing generator.

Top 5 Generator for Mobile Detailing

Product

Model & Features

Price

  • Strating Watts: 2200 W

  • Running Watts: 1800 W

  • Weight: 46.5 lb.

  • Fuel Tank: 0.9 Gallon

  • Runtime: 8.1 hrs @ 1/4 load

  • Strating Watts: 3800 W

  • Running Watts: 3400 W

  • Weight: 111 lbs.

  • Fuel Tank: 1.1 gal.

  • Runtime: 8.5h @ 50% load

  • Strating Watts: 2500 W

  • Running Watts: 1800 W

  • Weight: 39 lb.

  • Fuel Tank: 2.2 gal.

  • Runtime: 11.5 h @ 20% load

  • Strating Watts: 4800 W

  • Running Watts: 2000 W

  • Weight: 60.6 lb.

  • Fuel Tank: -

  • Runtime: Variable

  • Strating Watts: 12500 W

  • Running Watts: 9500 W

  • Weight: 211 lb.

  • Fuel Tank: 6.6 gal.

  • Runtime: 12 h @ 20% load

Do I Need a Generator for Mobile Detailing?

If you need to pump water, power polishers, or run a medium to big detailing business, you’ll need a generator.

Remember that a good generator is not cheap. If you’re just starting off, you might not want to invest $800-$2000 unless absolutely necessary. It is likely to be more cost-effective to purchase extension cords and hoses if you are going to your client’s home and the customer has access to both water and power.

However, having a generator has advantages such as powering vacuums and pumps, pressure washers, and everything else of a mobile detailing tools setup.

The first step is to make a list of all the devices that will require electricity. This will assist you in determining what type of generator is best for your business.

What Mobile Car Detailing Tools Professional Detailers Use that Require a Generator?

  • Shop-Vac: A wet or dry vacuum cleaners that can pick up both liquids and dry dirt and debris is required.
  • Air Compressor: An air compressor may be required for your buffers. If you run a mobile detailing business and employ an air compressor-type wash system, you’ll also need an air compressor.
  • Dual Action Polisher: The most commonly utilized tool for mobile auto detailing is a dual action polisher. Any detailer will tell you that utilizing a Dual Action (DA) polisher saves time.
  • Detailing Steamer: A steamer is a versatile detailing tool that may be used for a variety of purposes. It disinfects and cleans headliners, panels, and cup holders.
  • Ozone Generator: While not required, an ozone generator may be a valuable piece of car detailing equipment. When connected to the dashboard, it may permanently eradicate scents such as smoke in a matter of hours.
  • Detailing Air Blower: Cheap air; all you need is electricity and an extension cable.

What Size Generator Do I Need for Mobile Detailing?

Because generators vary in a range of sizes and types, it’s necessary to choose one that will meet your demands.

For many people, the main reason to buy a generator is to power their vacuums and pressure washers. Here are some other common uses:

ToolsRunning Watts (W)
Powering electric pressure washers1620W
Powering Polishers500W
Powering vacuums and Shop-Vacs1500W
Powering Air Compressor1500W
Powering Steam Cleaner1000W
Powering dual action polisher500W

As the table shows, even the 2000W generator is enough to power all of these tools. In spite of this, we continue to suggest that you go with a generator that has a little bit more power.

What Type of Generator for Mobile Detailing?

First, you need to know the sorts of generators. we’ll here the two sorts solely that can help an auto detailer.

Consider the following two types of generators:

Inverter Generator: The best generator for car detailers is an inverter generator. They may not always work at 100% efficiency. They only produce power to the extent that the plugged-in tools can be powered. As a result of their efficiency, you’ll save money on gas. They’re also noticeably quieter.

Conventional Generators: While inverter generators offer higher output at a lower price, conventional or traditional generators often deliver more watts for the same investment. However, they are less fuel-efficient as they work at the same pace all the time. They’re also noisier and larger than inverter generators.

Best Generators for Mobile Detailing – Detailed Review

1. Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator

Honda Generator for Mobile Detailing

Key Features

  • Wattage: 2200 Starting / 1800 Running Watts
  • Noise Level: 48 dB @ 25% load
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline
  • Tank Capacity: 0.95 gal
  • Run Time: 8.1 hrs @ 1/4 load
  • Outlets: 20A 125V Duplex Weight: 46.5 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 20.0 x 11.4 x 16.7

The Honda EU2200i is the best generator for auto detailing hands down. Because of its compact and portable form, as well as the inverter technology, it is most commonly utilized in the detailing business. We recommend you buy two and take full advantage of paralleling.

Honda EU2200i
Photo: S. Cymbal

The EU2200i has a fuel capacity of 0.95 gallons and can run for up to 8.1 hours on a full tank. We tested the runtime and it’s fairly close to that (8.0 hours). Fuel consumption is around 0.12 GPH. We measured noise to be at 64db at 30ft under full load.

When it comes to power, the engine comes first. The EU2200i is powered by Honda’s best engine, the GXR120. It’s a commercial engine, so it can run quietly, smoothly, and efficiently. The engine is small to other engines, yet at 121cc, the GXR120 is unmatched. It always assures that the EU2200i has high power support.

Pros

  • User-friendly design.
  • Starts every time.
  • Portable and compact.
  • Automatic low-oil engine shutdown.
  • Inverter technology- perfect for powering sensitive equipment.
  • Easy to use and maintain.
  • Eco-Throttle technology.
  • Low noise – one of the quietest units around.
  • Lightweight – weighs less than 47 pounds.
  • Fuel efficient – more than 8 hours on one gallon of gas.
  • Digital Hour Meter.

Cons

  • Oil changing is difficult.
  • More costly than competitors.
  • 2200 watts may not be enough to power more than one equipment at a time.

2. WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter Generator

Inverter Generator for Mobile Detailing

Key Features

  • Wattage: 3800 Starting / 3400 Running Watts
  • Noise Level: 53 dB @ 25% load
  • Tank Capacity: 1.1 Gallon
  • Run Time: 8.5h @ 50% load
  • Outlets: 2 x 120V AC, 1 x 30-amp RV outlet, 1 x 12V DC, 1 x USB port
  • Weight: 111 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 23.2 x 18 x 20.1

The WEN 56380i is another good contender for the best generator for car detailing. When used with a pressure washer, vacuum cleaner, or carpet extractor, the WEN 56380i portable generator is the perfect power source. Furthermore, it frequently sells for a fraction of the cost of more expensive 3500-watt inverter generators like the Honda EU3000is.

The machine’s noise level is kept to a minimum of 57 decibels (we measured 58 dB), which is ideal if you want something quieter than a lawnmower while still getting enough of power.

With a fuel capacity of 2.2 gallons, the 56380i can run for around 8.5 hours at 50% load on a full tank. Fuel consumption around 0.26 GPH.

It features two 120V outlets with three prongs, one AC 120V NEMA TT-30R RV outlet, one 12V DC outlet, two 5V USB ports, a digital load and fuel display, and a two-year warranty. One of the best generators for mobile grooming.

Pros

  • EPA III and CARB Compliant.
  • High wattage – ideal for running multiple detailing equipment.
  • Electric start.
  • Parallel capable.
  • Quiet for its power (57 dBA).
  • Fuel efficient.
  • Excellent price to quality ratio.
  • Durable and easy to operate.
  • Digital Hour Meter.

Cons

  • No remote start.
  • Relatively low run time.
  • Weight (100 lbs.).

3. Champion Power Equipment 200951 2500-Watt Portable Inverter Generator

Portable Generator for Mobile Car Wash

Key Features

  • Wattage: 2500 Starting / 1800 Running Watts
  • Noise Level: 57 dB @ 25% load
  • Tank Capacity: 2.2 gal
  • Run Time: 11.5 h @ 20% load
  • Outlets: Two 120V 20A Household Outlets (5-20R), 12V DC Automotive
  • Weight: 39 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 17.3 x 12 x 17.7

Champion’s inverter generator is one of the lightest in the business, making it one the good portable generator for car washing.

The 200951 is powered by a 79cc OHV 4-stroke engine. It operates on 120V, uses gasoline, and has a running wattage of 1850W and a peak wattage of 2500W.

The 200951 generates a pure sine wave: with a THD of only 3%, your sensitive gadgets may be securely connected into the AC outlets.

The Champion 200951 meets EPA and CARB requirements. As a result, selling and purchasing this generator is legal in all 50 states, including California.

This inverter generator is one of the quietest devices of comparable power, with a lowest noise rating of 53 dBA. If you want a quieter device, one of the quietest devices in the same power range as this one is the Honda EU2200i, with noise levels as low as 48 dBA.

The 200951 has a longer run time than the usual generator in its power range, with an endurance of up to 11.5 hours at 25% load. When it comes to autonomy, one of the products with comparable power output that has the longest run time is the Yamaha EF2800i, which has a run time of up to 14.7 hours.

Pros

  • The unit is fairly light at 40lbs.
  • Reasonably quiet under load in Eco mode.
  • Parallel capable.
  • Quiet for its power (53 dBA).
  • High run time.
  • Fuel efficient.
  • Runs on propane or gasoline.
  • Carb is easy to drain.
  • Oil is easy to change and fill.

Cons

  • No electric start.
  • Needs a break-in period.
  • It is a bit of a learning curve to start with propane.

4. BLUETTI Portable Power Station AC200P

Electric Generator for Mobile Detailing

Key Features

  • Wattage: 4800 Surge / 2000 Running Watts
  • Noise Level: fan noise
  • Run Time: Variable
  • Outlets: 6 x AC 100-120V, 1 x 12V/25A DC, 1 x 12V Car, 2 x 12V DC5521
  • Weight: 60.6 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 17.3 x 12 x 17.7
  • Cell Type: LiFePO4 (3500+ Cycles)

The Bluetti AC200P is one of the best 2kW portable power station for auto detailing that you can acquire right now at a fair price. The output capabilities include wireless charging will please most users and owing to the battery technology, the unit will remain a good investment over the years.

When shopping for one, the most important things we looked for are output power and battery life. Other important things are how easy it is to use and how many outlets it has.

Six outlets offering a total power of 2000W are provided and may have their output voltages set either to 100V or 110V.

The output frequency may be set to either 50Hz or 60Hz, depending on the application. With an inverter efficiency of over 88 percent, the AC200P reduces its thermal dissipation even at heavy loads and reaches 45dB of noise when utilized below 1500W.

All of the outputs are safe from short circuits, and the AC inverter has built-in protections against overload and temperature. At 3500 charge cycles, this battery offers a significant advantage over the standard Lithium Polymer chemistry’s 500 cycle lifespan.

Pros

  • LiFePO4 Battery Technology.
  • High output power and battery capacity.
  • No exhaust, no emission.
  • Color graphic LCD.
  • Wireless charging.
  • Good value for money.
  • 3500 charging cycles.
  • 700W of solar charging.
  • Wireless charging.
  • Rugged and stylish design.

Cons

  • Always-on LCD.
  • Weight of 60.6 lbs.

5. Westinghouse WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator

Dual Fuel Mobile Detail Generator

Key Features

  • Wattage: 12500 Starting / 9500
  • Running Watts (gasoline)
  • Noise Level: 74 dBA
  • Tank Capacity: 6.6 gal
  • Run Time: 12 h @ 20% load
  • Outlets: 2 × GFCI 120V 5–20R Standard, 1 ×120V L14-30R, and 1 × 120/240V 14–50R
  • Weight: 211 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 27.2 x 26.1 x 26.5

Our vote for the best generator for mobile grooming above 6500watt belongs to the Westinghouse WGen9500 dual-fuel generator. This model starts up on gasoline and switches to propane while running to make the machine last longer.

With a peak wattage of 12,500 watts on gasoline and 11,200 watts on propane, this generator has enough power to power all of the detailing equipment at a time. This model has an electric recoil start and a key fob. A full tank of gas holds 6.6 gallons and provides enough power to run the generator for up to 12 hours.

This model’s main rivals are the XP12000EH Generator from DuroMax and the SUA12000E Portable Generator from A-iPower.

Pros

  • Suitable for powering running every auto detailing equipment at a time.
  • Long run time.
  • Plenty of safety features.
  • Large fuel tank.
  • Propane regulator.
  • Never-flat polyurethane tires.
  • Hybrid model using gasoline or propane to generate power.
  • 18-HP engine with idle control.
  • Recoil, push button, and remote start.
  • CARB, EPA, and CSA compliant.
  • Value for the money.

Cons

  • Relatively expensive.
  • Heavy and cumbersome to move around.
  • Slightly noisy.

Things to Know Before Buying Best Generator for Car Detailing

Before everything, there are several things that you should comprehend. That’ll assist you a lot when picking the correct size generator for your auto detailing business:

Continuous power: the power that a generator can produce at any time. It would be best to choose a generator with a wattage that is slightly higher than the tool you run with it.

Peak Wattage: means how many watts a generator can produce in a short period of time. Its always a bit higher than the power that a generator can supply continuously. It’s important because some tools may require more power at peak times than a constant power supply. Most tools require more power when you are just starting them up.

Watts (W): a unit used to measure the power produced or consumed by a device. It is important because you need to know the right wattage to operate a specific tool.

Ampere (A): the unit for measuring the electric current.

Voltage (V): the difference in the current between two points. Appliances in the USA typically run on 110-120 volts, and in Europe, it’s 220-230 volts.

Most electric devices have all the voltage, watts and amps are listed in the device description. Sometimes, you might not see watts on some tools. So, you need to know how to find the wattage required for a specific device.

Watts are calculated by multiplying amps by voltages. So, if you want to calculate the power that you need, you need to know the Amps and the Voltage numbers.

Best Portable Generators for Mobile Detailing – Buying Guide

There are some things you should keep in mind when you are buying a generator. Make sure that the generator you want is small and portable, and that it is efficient. Look into the other features that your generator comes with. Powerful generators may seem like a good idea, but they are large and bulky when you want to move them around.

Weight and Size

When selecting the best generator for detailing, check that all your choices are lightweight and easy to move about. Because you’ll be driving to your client’s location, you’ll want a generator that won’t take up too much room in your car or truck.

A tiny, compact generator is great for attaching vacuums, but if you have a team of 2 to 3 persons working concurrently on the interior and outside, you might require a larger wattage inverter generator. We suggest getting two compact, lightweight generators that can be connected in parallel instead of one big one.

Efficiency

You may also want to consider the size of the fuel tank you use, as it will affect the efficiency of your generator. If you run a gas-powered generator, it is likely that you will quickly run out of fuel, more so than a generator that runs on either liquid propane or gasoline. Typical inverter generators are very small and will only be able to run for 4 to 5 hours.

Larger models with more horsepower have a bigger fuel tank so they can run for longer periods – up to 10 hours! Inverters are better because they automatically adjust engine speeds, when necessary, thanks to their microprocessor technology. Inverter generators detect when a generator is needed and use fuel efficiently to reduce fuel waste.

Noise level

Generators that are extremely loud can generate noises ranging from 60 to 80 decibels.

When detailing cars for your clients, the last thing you want to do is to completely block their conversations and make them feel lonely.

It is important to look for a generator that does not produce a lot of noise. That could cause your customers to feel disturbed or irritated while you are working on their cars.

Buying a generator that runs on propane will be a lot quieter and more eco-friendly than a gas-powered generator. Generators that use inverters are more efficient than standard generators, so they last longer and generate less noise.

Other features such as sound damping technology or pulse technology can help reduce the noise level of your generator.

Additional Features

If you plan to use a generator to clean cars, you should look for one that is portable. It may be useful if the generator comes with a power adapter, a magnetic oil dipstick or a connection kit for different portable power sources. Do you have simple knobs that allow you to quickly switch between different controls?

It can be useful to have a generator that has an extension cord that is quite long, allowing you to move the generator around more easily. Look for a generator that is lightweight and easy to move around with its large wheels or handles to make it easy to transport it when you are moving from place to place.

Some generators have special LED indicators that let you know how much fuel is left in the tank or on the engine. These additional features can help you to more efficiently handle your detailing jobs.

Best Generators for Mobile Detailing: FAQs

What kind of generator do I need to run a pressure washer?

If you are planning on using a portable generator to run an electric pressure washer, then keep these things in mind. It will take around 1,200 watts to power a pressure washer with a 1.5 hp motor and it can take up to 3,000 watts to run it on a surge. You would need to have a generator that can handle a big surge like that.

What size generator do I need to run a shopvac?

You could use a 1.5 hp vac to do some really nice vacuuming. A shop vac needs at least 1000w per hour and a peak power of about 1500 watts per hour when it is turned on.

Can you run a pressure washer off an inverter?

You will need a 5000w inverter to run power tools like pressure washers and polishers. Inverters that produce more than 1500w need a very serious power source and are therefore normally connected to a small battery or a leisure battery. Better you use a portable power station mentioned above.

Who makes the quietest generator?

If you know anything about generators, then you know that Honda makes one of the quietest portable generators that you will find.

What is better inverter or generator for detailing work?

Inverters are excellent because they generate extremely high-quality (pure sign wave), stable power output. It is pretty obvious that inverters are expensive and without high wattage power inverters you can’t power you detailing equipment. Generators on the other hand can produce enough power on their own and there are inverter options too.

Why are Honda generators so good?

You can trust that Honda generators will work reliably for a long time. Using fuel-efficient equipment means saving money and reducing emissions. Honda machines are built to last and will last a long time.

Do you need a compressor for detailing?

Air cleaning is also useful for cleaning microfiber pads that get clogged up with wax or other products when you are doing some exterior detailing work. While it is important to wash those pads with soap and water after using them a lot, using compressed air is a great way to keep them soft and clean.

Is a detailing business profitable?

Some people estimate that they can easily make up to $90,000 per year running a one-person detailing business. This is based on doing three jobs per day for a period of five days and charging $120 per job. According to a report by the Houston Chronicle, starting a self-service car wash can bring in as much as $100,000 per year and running a full-service business can mean as much as $900,000 per year.

What type of water tank do you need for detailing?

For mobile detailers, a portable water tank is an essential part of their supplies. Some people think that smaller tanks hold 60 gallons of water, but a big tank can hold 200 gallons of water.

Conclusion

We hope you’ve found this guide to the best generators for mobile detailing useful. As a mobile detailing professional, your goal should be to buy a small, lightweight, portable but efficient generator that will last all day as you hop from one job to the next.

If you are a new mobile detailer and just starting out on a low budget, we recommend you opt for a small inverter generator like a 2000watt, that is lightweight enough not to be a burden and later you can increase the capacity by paralleling. 

If you’re specialist car detailer an work on both interior and exterior detailing and need more power, we’d recommend something bigger than 6500 watts. Since most detailers leave their generators running in an open trailer, weight becomes less of a factor.

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