The concept behind bowfishing is simple – hop on a boat with reel equipped bow, go to your favorite fishing spot and start pulling some fish. The night is the best time for bow fishing, and you will have a hard time spotting any fish if you don’t have lights powerful enough to pierce the surface of the water.
Those powerful lights require a capable generator, and we reviewed only the best models on the market. Our detailed reviews will guide you and help you in the search for the best generator for bow fishing.
1. Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment iGen4500
Our favorite pick for today had to be the iGen4500. It has everything – excellent power rating, low harmonic distortion, quiet operation, great fuel economy, and all the latest features you’d expect from a modern generator. The iGen4500 is hands down the best generator for bowfishing you can find on the market.
Some of the more powerful bowfishing lights consume upwards of 200 watts of power, and they can pull upwards of 400 watts during the startup. There’s plenty of power to go around, with over 4500 watts of surge power and 3800 watts of running power. It will effortlessly power dozen of powerful LED lights, which might seem like much, but that’s only three per boat side. It is super quiet, with a noise floor of only 52dB, making it perfect for bowfishing. It runs up to 18 hours on a 3.4-gallon tank, which will save you a lot of money in the long run.
This model sports an electronic start system, which is equipped with an automatic choke. Westinghouse is known for its push-to-start system, which operates similarly to the one found in most modern cars. Other generators also have some variation of the push-to-start system, but what we like about the Westinghouse system is that it will keep cranking the engine until it starts. Other models will only crank the engine for a second or two, which might not be enough to start the generator in colder weather conditions.
The iGen4500 is an inverter generator, which guarantees a quiet operation and clean power delivery. The harmonic distortion is below 3%, which is perfect for sensitive LED lights, GPS systems, sonars, and other boat equipment. Westinghouse was nice enough to include the efficiency mode, which can be toggled by a switch on the main console. It’s the same thing as ECO mode, and it will help you reduce noise and fuel consumption.
2. WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
The WEN has been in the market for quite some time. The WEN 56380i is the perfect alternative to the iGen4500, with a more affordable price and similar specs.
With 3800 watts of surge power and 3400 watts of running power, it is just slightly less powerful than the iGen4500. Its noise floor is a bit higher at 57dB. But it outputs a much cleaner power, with less than 1.2% of harmonic distortion. The electronic start system works perfectly, and it includes an orange push-to-start button, which is placed on the main knob. The ECO mode keeps the fuel consumption at a minimum, and it will also help reduce the noise level. The big 2.2-gallon tank will keep the generator running for up to 18 hours.
If you are new to the world of generators, then you might not realize how important a fuel shutoff is. It cuts the fuel line and makes the engine stall out, which guarantees all the fuel in the carburetor is consumed, prolonging its lifetime. Most models have a cut-off valve or a knob, but WEN did this more elegantly, with a manual shutoff switch located at the bottom of the console. Just like most inverter generators, it has a parallel connection, which lets you run multiple generators in parallel, increasing the overall power rating and the amperage.
Our favorite feature is the robust multimeter. A big multi-colored display will give you all the information you need, such as the voltage, frequency, and runtime. There’s a low-oil and overload indicator, which you will hopefully never need, but it’s there. It also lets you monitor the fuel level and the current load. This model sports a DC port and two USB ports, which will come in handy for charging your phone and other smaller electronic devices.
3. BILT HARD Quiet Inverter Generator 4000 Watt
If you are looking for the most affordable 4000W inverter generator on the market, you should start considering the BILT HARD. With plenty of power at a rock bottom price, this inverter generator is perfect for those who want to power a serious bowfishing build on a budget.
Does this generator look familiar? It should, as its central console is identical to the previously reviewed WEN 56380i. Although this generator lacks our favorite feature, the multimeter, they still included some basic indicators that will warn you if you ever run low on fuel or if you manage to overload the generator.
Another reason to believe that this is a stripped-down version of the WEN 56380i is the completely identical start knob. The fuel shutoff switch is also there, enabling you to safely turn off your generator. The ECO mode will make sure this generator always runs at optimum RPM, reducing engine noise and fuel consumption.
Harmonic distortion is less than 3%, comparable to the other inverter generators. There are parallel connectors, so you can always hook up another generator in the future. DC connector and two USB ports will be useful for charging phones, laptops, and other small gadgets. It generates 68 dB of noise, which makes it much louder than the WEN 56380i and the iGen4500, but still much quieter than most regular generators.
4. Champion Power Equipment 200961 2500-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Inverter Generator
Although the most powerful light builds can consume up to 4000 watts of power, most bowfishing boats will only house a couple of high-power lights, so getting a 2,5kW generator might be a good idea.
The latest Champion inverter generator has a dual fuel system, allowing you to power it using gasoline or propane. With gasoline, you can expect up to 2500 watts of surge power, and up to 1850 watts of running power. Propane might be the cheaper option, but you can expect about 200 watts less. We hope you don’t mind pulling the crank to start the engine, but it is so easy even a kid can do it; an electric start system would be pointless here.
You won’t spook the fish around your boat, as this generator is super quiet, with a noise level of only 53dB. The modest 79cc engine is ultra fuel-efficient, its 1.1 gallons will keep you running for up to 11 hours. There are no fancy displays, but only a low oil indicator. But they were nice enough to include the ECO mode, which improves the already great fuel efficiency and noise level.
5. Generac GP2500i Inverter
If you are looking for a small, quiet, powerful inverter generator, but the Champion 2500W is just not cutting it for you, take a look at GP2500i. Generac is a veteran in the generator business, and they always managed to stay ahead of the competition by delivering high-quality products at a fair price.
Just like the previously reviewed Champion generator, it has 2500 watts of surge power, but you get 2200 watts of running power, which is a big improvement. There are indicator lights for low-oil and overload. All of the generator controls are done with the knob, including the choke. On the main console, you will also find two USB ports, which will come in handy for charging smaller electronics.
98cc engine offers better power ratings, but it has a higher noise floor than the Champion 2500. The small one-gallon tank will be enough for up to 8 hours of runtime. Generac also included the economy mode, which will make this generator even quieter and more fuel-efficient.
6. A-iPower SUA2000iV 2000 Watt Portable Inverter Generator
Are you just getting started with your bowfishing build? If your budget is limited, and you want to start with a few lights, with plans to upgrade in the future, the A-iPower SUA2000iV might be the answer. It will effortlessly power a few high-power lights and other boat systems.
The capable 79cc engine will provide you with up to 2000 watts of starting power, and up to 1600 watts of running power. The engine is pretty quiet, with a noise floor of only 52 dB. There are no fancy info screens, but there are low oil and overload indicators. It features a low idle mode, which saves a lot of fuel and reduces the engine noise. They were nice enough to add two USB ports, which will be useful for charging smaller devices. You get plenty of runtime out of the 1.1-gallon tank, with up to 14 hours of runtime.
7. Etq 2000 Watt Gas Powered Inverter Generator
ETQ is a brand new company on the block, trying to pave its way to consumers with its rock bottom pricing. You’d be hard-pressed to find a cheaper inverter generator on the market, making ETQ 2000 the perfect choice for users that are bowfishing on a tight budget.
Its 80cc engine will deliver 2000 watts of surge power, and up to 1600 watts of running power. This will be plenty for a couple of high-powered bowfishing lights, and since this generator has a parallel connection, you can increase the power output in the future by adding another generator.
It runs super quiet, with a noise floor of only 52 dB. The fuel economy is also exceptional, it gets up to 12 hours of runtime from a 1.18-gallon tank. The smart throttle will help reduce engine noise and fuel consumption. It has the standard indicators for low oil and overload and a single USB port.
8. Sportsman GEN2000
Is it possible to find a capable bowfishing generator for less than 250$? The answer is yes if you don’t mind getting a regular generator instead of an inverter. If you are a hobbyist that wants to try out bowfishing without investing a lot of money, consider getting the Sportsman GEN2000.
Its 87cc engine will give you 2000 watts of surge power, and up to 1600 watts of running power. Since this is not an inverter, it runs quite a bit louder than the previously reviewed generators, with a noise floor of 65dB. This generator is as simple as they get, with no displays, eco modes, or indicators. It has a simple switch, which can be used for shutting off the engine. The crank is easy to pull, and it starts the engine on the first try. It may be simple, but it’s fuel-efficient, with up to 18 hours of runtime on a 1.2-gallon tank.
When trying to pick the best generator for bowfishing, the first thing you should consider is the generator power ratings. If you are going for a comprehensive setup with lots of high-powered lights, you should go for generators with at least 3000 watts of running power. If you got a more simple setup, with a few lights and a GPS, a 2000 watt generator will do the job.
As regulations on noise pollution are getting stricter by the day, most manufacturers have been working hard to reduce the noise floor of their generators. Bowfishing was much harder before the inception of quiet inverter generators. The reason is simple, regular generators are too big to fit on most boats, and they produce too much noise and vibrations, which scares the fish away long before you get in the range. Always consider the noise level of a generator before committing to a purchase.
Due to their low noise level and clean power, most bowfishing builds include an inverter generator. But they can’t compete in terms of power rating with regular generators, so most inverter generators include a parallel connector. The parallel connectors allow you to connect two generators in parallel, which will double the power output. We recommend you avoid generators that lack a parallel connector, as you won’t be able to upgrade your system in the future.
Boat lights can’t be that sensitive to voltage drops and harmonic distortion, right? Well, that was maybe the case before the inception of LEDs, which are found in most modern light builds. LED will work just fine on “dirty power”, but the diode lifespan will be severely reduced. Sensitive electronics found in sonars and navigation systems can be damaged by voltage spikes, which is why you should consider a generator with low harmonic distortion.
What size generator for bow fishing?
It all depends on your light setup. A high-powered light can consume up to 200 watts of power, and if you plan to use a dozen of them, you will need a pretty powerful generator. We recommend going for a generator with at least 4000 watts of running power. Even if you won’t use that much power, it is always advised to leave enough headroom, so the generator won’t work at 100% load all of the time.
How long will a generator run on a tank of gas?
Most generators have a fuel tank that will keep them running for at least 8 hours on a 25% load. But some models can run for up to 20 hours on a full tank. When using propane, the runtime will depend on the size of the LPG tank. A standard 20-pound propane tank will keep the generator running for at least 6 hours.
Are LED lights good for bowfishing?
LED lights have a much lower power consumption than CFL bulbs, which makes them perfect for bowfishing. A single 100W LED light will output more lumens than the 2000W CFL bulb. So it’s safe to say that bowfishing we know today wouldn’t be possible without modern LED bulbs.
Which portable generator has the cleanest power?
If you are in the market for a generator that provides clean power, you should skip the regular generators and go straight for the inverter generators. They have a harmonic distortion of less than 3%, which makes them perfect for powering sensitive electronics. With a harmonic distortion of less than 1.2%, the WEN 56380i is the king of clean power.
There are many models on the market, so it can be tricky to choose the best bowfishing generator on your own. When bowfishing, you will need a quiet and portable generator that’s powerful enough to run all of your lights, so always consider what kind of setup the generator will be powering before making the purchase.
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