Best Generator For Bowfishing Reviews of 2019
If you’re running a series of powerful lights on your boat for bowfishing in the dark, or muddy waters, you’re going to need something to power them up. While you could probably hook up a few battery powered lights to your boat, these lights will typically be lower powered and not bright enough to suffice. An entire setup of heavy-duty, bright lights is going to need some extra power.
The solution is to have a portable generator for powering up your bowfishing boat lights, ensuring you can run a strong beam all night without having to change any batteries and have the best possible vision when scouting for fish at night.
These generators can come in a variety of sizes, making some more portable and practical to transport than others. Each generator differs in terms of how much power it can produce; it's runtime and fuel economy, and also how much noise it generates. With all these things and mind and the fact that these generators are a big money investment for your bowfishing adventures, we want to ensure that you get it right when buying one to power up your boat lights.
Check our reviews below to see our top choices for the best generator for bowfishing lights on the market.
Top 5 Rated Models Comparison Table
Reviews of the Best Bowfishing Generators
Looking for the ultimate lightweight and portable generator? The EF2000i from Yamaha weighs only 44 pounds – 2 less than the Honda EU2000i – and measures only 19.3 x 11.0 x 17.9 inches – pick it up and transport it around with ease. It has an output of 2000 watt and 13.3/16.7 amps @ 120V. The Smart Throttle varies engine speed based on how much gas is currently in the tank; it can run for up to 10.5 hours on a full tank at low speeds.
The EF2000I has an electric starter, auto-decompression system, and auto-warm up for the fastest, most efficient startup, among a whole host of other features – gasoline petcock, oil watch warning. But the best part is definitely how portable and lightweight it is, at only 46 pounds and able to be carried with one hand.
A few complaints: quality control is poor, and many people have reported getting a faulty generator out of the box. It also consumes oil like crazy; it may be fuel-efficient, but burns far too much oil after a while, leaving to carefully watch it and replace the oil, so the engine does not self-destruct.
But again, this is a great, light, portable generator, with an output of 2000W, good fuel economy, and quiet running.
- Lightweight, portable
- Efficient fuel economy
- 2000W output
- Poor quality control
- Burns oil after long use
Verdict: Best Overall
The Honda EU300iS is a fully-capable, powerful-yet-compact-and-quiet generator that puts out a complete 3000 watts of power. Honda designed it to make as little noise as possible, saying that it is quieter than a normal conversation – which is great for not scaring fish away. It’s also very fuel-efficient, running up to 20 hours off only 3.4 gallons of gas, at low speeds. (Full speed lasts about 7.5 hours).
The EU300iS uses a convenient electric start to get going, has a has a DC outlet for use when charging 12-volt automotive type batteries, and can be paired with a second EU300Is for even more power.
Now, it’s not cheap – or small. It weighs 75 pounds and can be a pain to move around. And it is far and away the most expensive generator on our list.
But if you need 3500 watts of power in an efficient package that doesn’t make a lot of noise, and are ready to invest in it, this is an excellent choice.
- Powerful, 300 watts
- Fuel efficient
- Relatively compact
- Heavy at 75 pounds; hard to move
The little brother to the Honda EU300 above, the EU2000 is very similar, but only puts out 2000 watts and 120V, at half the price. It’s got a super quiet inverter, and again, Honda says its as quiet as a regular daily conversation. It also has the same convenient electric start and DC outlet for charging.
Where the EU200i differs, however, from its big brother, is in size and weight; this one is designed to be portable and light; it weighs only 46 pounds and can easily be carried with one hand, and the included handle. Not bad. And as it is less powerful, it’s more fuel-efficient, getting up to 8 hours off one gallon of gas.
Overall there isn't much not to like if you’re happy with 2000 watts. Some people have complained that it takes a lot of maintenance and priming to start, and often won’t after a few weeks without being used.
But otherwise, this is a great, light and compact generator that is very quiet and puts out a solid amount of power at 2000 watts.
- Compact and light
- 2000 watts output
- Easy electric start
- Needs to be cleaned and maintained often
If you’d like the portability, size, and quietness of the Yamaha or Honda’s above, but don’t want to break the bank, this generator from WEN is what you’re looking for. It weighs only 48 pounds, has a carry handle, and a 79cc engine that puts out a respectable 2000-watts. At a quarter-load, it puts out only 51 decibels of sound – quieter than an air conditioner, and perfect for bowfishing and other outdoor pursuits where loud noises are distracting.
It has an eco-mode for saving fuel, by automatically adjusting fuel-consumption based on the tank capacity, and can run for up to 6 hours on a single gallon of gas (that’s all the tank holds). There are two three-prong outlets for charging devices and hooking up your lights, and if you’d like more power, it pairs with a second generator with an included cord.
The biggest downside with this generator is that many people have reported it arriving broken, or unable to start. When it works, it works well, but it has quality-control issues. Also, it leaks oil.
But again, if you need a portable-yet-powerful generator at half the price of the Honda EU2000i, the WEN 56200i will get the job done for relatively cheap.
- 2000 watts
- Very quiet
- Portable and light
- Pairs for more power
- Quality control problems
- Can sometimes leak oil
Verdict: Quietest Generator for Bowfishing
When you need serious power, then you should consider this 3500-watt generator from Champion. It has a 196cc engine capable of producing 3500 watts and running for a full 12 hours at 50% load, with a 3.8-gallon tank. Noise level is about 68 decibels from 23 feet. It has a 3-way ignition switch and a built-in Cold Start tech for when the temperatures plummet.
A nice feature Champion has built into this generator is Volt Guard, which serves to prevent overloads and power spikes that could blow out your lights. It also includes a voltmeter that allows you to monitor power output easily with just a quick glance. This is a handy tool that most other generators don’t have.
Downsides? This thing is huge and heavy; it’s a full-sized generator standing 19” tall by 23” long and weighing 98 pounds – too heavy to move by yourself. If portability is important to you, you’ll want to pass on this one. Also, the wheels are not welded to the frame and can break off.
But, if you’d like to invest in a heavy-duty, powerful generator with 3500 watts of power, this bad boy gets the job done and costs a fraction of some of the more portable choices.
- Heavy duty
- 3500 Watts
- 12-hour runtime
- Voltgaurd, Voltmeter
- Very heavy
- Wheels break easily
Verdict: Most Powerful
What to Look for In a Bowfishing Generator for Boat Lights
As in, physical size. A regular, full-sized generator that you use to power your home when the power goes out will likely be too large. Instead, look for a compact generator that you can move around on and off the boat easily, instead of requiring a small team of people to pick it up. Even some of the smaller ones are going to weight 50-60 pounds, so try to avoid anything overly large.
Next, pay attention to how much power it can generate. Generators will probably start in the 1500-1600-watt range and go up to 3000 or 3500 watts. The more it generates, the larger it will likely be.
Check to see how long the generator can run for on a single tank of gas, and how much fuel it burns. Most generators will run for 8-12 hours on a single tank of gas, but some may be able to squeeze out 24+ at lower levels. Just make sure you choose one that lasts an entire round of fishing, whatever that is for you.
Because your generator may be running all night to keep your powerful lights running, you want to avoid having something that makes a lot of noise. Not only can a lot of noise be detrimental to your chances of catching any fish, it can just generally be a complete pain to listen to all night long. Check out the noise level of each model listed above to decide on whether it's acceptable enough for your needs and requirements.
Advantages of a Good Bowfishing Generator
If you are planning to spend the night bowfishing (p.s. it’s the best time to do it!), then there is one thing you will need more than any other piece of equipment – a generator. If you try to bowfishing during the wee small hours without a generator, you are just going to get frustrated and probably pack up early.
Not convinced that you need a generator? Here are three simple advantages of having one:
- Light: This is the most obvious reason for taking a generator to the water at night. A good fishing light (i.e. one which isn’t battery powered) will require a generator to power it. When bowfishing at night you will be relying on your fishing light more than any other piece of equipment as it lights up the water below you and enables you to see the fish.
- Entertainment: When you’re floating around the lake at night, you will need to bring along a little entertainment. You can take along chargers for any of your devices or a small set of speakers for music to keep you going throughout the night. Bowfishing during the night tends to be lonely, and a bit of entertainment can help you get through to the morning.
- Cooking: Unless you don’t mind eating cold snack food, it is advisable that you take a generator, so you can power simple cooking facilities on your boat. If you’re spending a long night out on the lake, some hot food can make a world of difference for morale and motivation!
Although there are battery-powered alternatives for all three of these, they produce a very limited supply of power which may not last the night. Modern generators are very different to what you have in mind – they are affordable, portable and have great fuel economy. Generators are no longer super large, heavy and clunky machines which guzzle fuel, and, for this reason, it is an essential piece of bowfishing equipment.
How to Quiet a Bowfishing Generator
Although generators are an essential piece of equipment for bowfishing at night, there is one major drawback associated with most of them: noise.
If you are bowfishing in an area where there are also people living nearby, you will need to quieten down your generator to avoid upsetting them. In addition to this, constant noise from your generator could damage your hearing and it is downright irritating if you have to listen to it all night long. There are a few solutions you can try, however, and they won’t break the bank.
- Use a Muffler - Attaching a simple car exhaust muffler, or any kind of muffler for that matter, to your generator’s exhaust and pointing it away from you can make a world of difference. This will both dampen the noise coming from the exhaust and point the residual noise in the direction of your choosing.
- Try a Bit of DIY - Try building a ventilated three-sided foam box to house your generator. This will both dampen the vibrations and will cause any remaining noise to escape through the side of the box with a missing side. This is a cost-effective solution which kills two birds with one stone.
These are two simple ways you can use to quieten down your generator. The best solution is always to invest in a quieter generator, however, if you can afford it.
We’ll take the Yamaha EF2000iSv2 from our reviews as our choice for the best bowfishing generator. It’s lightweight and portable, at only 44 pounds, still puts out 2000 watts of power, and is pretty fuel-efficient, with a runtime of 10.5 hours on a full tank. It has all the features you could want in a generator and is easy to use; just watch out if it starts to burn too much oil.
For a budget option, we’d take the WEN 56200i; it’s almost identical to the Yamaha in terms of specs, size, and weight, but costs about half. As a result, it’s not as reliable and well-built but will still do the job on a budget. Hondas as always manufacturer very reliable and powerful top of the range models, however, they are very expensive and may not fit everybody’s budget.
Check them out for yourself and start outfitting your boat for some bowfishing adventures.