Guide to Buying the Best Portable Generator

There are many factors to take into consideration when thinking about buying the best portable generator. The best generator for your requirements is going to vary depending on the following.

Wattage: The smallest and cheapest portable generators start with 400W models and go all the way up to about 17,500W. Any more power than that and you will need to look at standby generators which won’t be portable.

Price: As a rough guide the higher the wattage the more expensive the generator. However, other factors such as the number and type of features also influence the price you end up paying.

Fuel: Most generators are designed to run on a single fuel source which will be one of either gasoline, diesel, natural gas or propane. You can also get dual fuel or a tri-fuel generator that can be run on two or three fuels types respectively.

Noise: Generators can be rather noisy. Noise is not going to be welcome to either yourself or your neighbors especially if you plan on running a generator in your backyard or on a campsite. However, you can get a silent or a super quiet generator that operate at low decibels.

Generator Type: There are two types of a portable generator. You will need to decide whether you require a conventional or an inverter generator. Conventional generators create AC power whereas inverter generators created DC power and convert it to AC. If you plan on running electronic devices such as computers it is better to get an inverter generator. This is because an inverter generator produces a smoother electrical signal which is less prone to spikes and surges which could damage sensitive electrical equipment.

CARB Approved: A generator that is CARB approved has to meet stringent air quality standards and will, therefore, emit fewer pollutants. In some states, it is mandatory that your generator is CARB compliant.

Electric Start
: You don’t really want to have to yank a cord to start your generator do you?

What Wattage Do I Need to Power My Home?

The most important thing to consider when purchasing a generator is will it provide enough wattage to power your household essentials. The more wattage it can provide the more lights and appliances you can operate.

You can quite easily calculate how powerful a generator you will require by adding up the running wattage of all your essential appliances. You should also note that some types of appliances such as air conditioning units require a large surge of power when they are turned on before settling down to a steady running wattage. You will need to take this into account. Did you know you can Purchase Portable Generators on Amazon? Check for a list of Portable Generators on Amazon

I would recommend you use a wattage calculator which you can find online to determine the best generator for your requirements. However, the absolute minimum to provide enough power for the basics would be 3000-4000W. I would personally be looking for a generator in the 4000-8000W range if I wanted a portable generator for my home.

Is a Silent Generator Really Silent?

Firstly there is no such thing as a silent generator as they will all emit some noise with the exception of solar generators. The quietest you will find is a super quiet generator that will emit around 50dB which is pretty quiet. Remember that decibels are measured on a logarithmic scale which means that 50dB is NOT half that of a 100dB rock concert! As a comparison, 50dB is about the volume of an average conversation. This means you only have to locate the generator a short distance away from you to effectively sound as though it is virtually silent.

When comparing generators based on how noisy they are a 10dB difference represents a tenfold increase in sound intensity. Sound intensity and volume aren’t the same things. As a rough guide, you can expect a 60dB generator to be about twice as loud as a 50dB generator. It is important to understand this as I don’t want you thinking that a 60dB generator is only 20% louder than a 50db generator!

The quietest type of generators is inverter generators. These have the advantage I mentioned earlier of being better for running electronic equipment.

Even if noise levels aren’t are a great concern you ought to be aware that there are laws that limit noise in residential areas to a maximum of 75dB. You may find yourself getting a warning or a fine if you exceed this level, especially if you are in close proximity to your neighbors. When noise levels exceed 75dB it starts to cause discomfort. So please factor the noise levels in when thinking about generators for homes.

How Do I Connect a Generator to My Home?

Once you have determined what type of generator you require and have calculated how much power you need, the next step is to plan on how you are going to connect it to your home. There are two types of a wiring system that you can use to hook up your generator. You have a choice between either an interlock kit or a manual transfer switch.

I would recommend without hesitation that you choose a manual transfer switch. A manual transfer switch will be slightly more expensive but they are much safer. Besides the cheaper option of an interlock kit is actually illegal in many areas. Whatever option you go for please make sure for your safety that you have it professionally installed.

You will need to have an inlet box hook up installed on the outside of your home. This will connect your generator to your home wiring system. For both safety and insurance reasons, you must get this installed by a professional.

Once your generator is connected up you turn it on by flipping off the utility breaker and flipping on the generator breaker. Your generator is then ready to be turned on. Please turn on your appliances slowly.

Essential Safety Advice

  • Never rely on any instructions you find on the internet that tell you how to connect up your generator and always seek the help of a professional.
  • You must never connect your generator directly to a breaker unless you have a professionally installed transfer switch
  • Never connect a generator to a dryer or washing machine outlet.
  • Always locate your generator as far from your home as the cable will allow. If anything goes wrong with the generator you don’t want your home to catch fire. This will also prevent you from being exposed to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from the generator’s exhaust.

What about Solar Generators?

A solar generator would, in theory, be a no brainer as they are completely silent and are free to operate. The only problem is they are low wattage compared to conventional generators. This means that they are better suited to running to small appliances.

The most popular solar generators are around 400W and the largest ones are around 1500W and will cost you more than that in dollars. However, some of the more expensive solar generators allow you to add more panels to increase the power output.

I wouldn’t recommend that you plan on powering your home in an emergency with a portable solar generator. Remember we are talking about portable solar generators here and not the solar panels you mount on the roof of your home. You can indeed power your home all year round with enough solar panels, but that is a huge investment.

Solar generators consist of a set of solar panels and a battery. The battery gets charged up during daylight hours and stores the power for later use. They are far more portable than fuel-powered generators. As a result, they are ideal for camping trips. Solar panels will keep on running forever long after a conventional generator has run out of fuel.

Honda EU2000i Review – Super Quiet Honda Generator

Are you thinking about buying a portable generator but not quite sure which one is best for you? I have been particularly impressed with Honda’s range of generators. Honda seems to have considered every possible scenario and gone and designed the perfect generator for all types of applications.

For the dual purpose of providing power for you home in the event of an emergency as well as being portable and quiet enough for a campsite then the Honda EU2000i is quite likely the portable generator that you have been looking for.

As well as being extremely quiet, Honda generators are also renowned for their fuel efficiency and their running time. A feature that is exclusive to Honda Inverter generators is their Eco-Throttle. This maximizes fuel efficiency by adjusting the speed of the engine to match the required power output.

Thanks to the Eco-Throttle you can expect to get many more hours of continuous operation from one tank of fuel with a Honda generator. This feature makes Honda generators the most fuel efficient portable generator as they run longer on less fuel than other makes. Available on Amazon.

Is the EU2000i an Inverter Generator and What are the Advantages?

The EU2000i is an inverter generator and the power that it generates is much cleaner. This minimizes the risk to sensitive electronic equipment such as computers.

Inverters generators have so many advantages over other types of generators as they are much lighter, quieter and more fuel efficient.

Parallel Capability for Double the Power

One of the other benefits of being an inverter generator is that with a special kit you can link two identical Honda generators together. This can increase the output by as much as double. The advantage of this apart from the obvious doubling of power is that you can easily upgrade to more power without getting rid of your existing generator for a newer and bigger one. This also means that you can take one of the generators on a trip which would be much lighter and more portable than having to instead purchase a bigger and more powerful generator.

Will 2000W Power Output be Enough?

The output of a Honda 2000 watt generator won’t be enough for powering your entire home in an emergency, but it will certainly give you enough power for your most essential appliances. If you need additional power there is the Honda EU3000iS which is a 3000-watt model. Alternatively as already discussed it is possible to purchase two of these generators and run them in parallel together with a special cable or kit. This will double the power output to 4000 watts. You can only run two identical generators in parallel. This means that if you purchased a second more powerful generator you won’t be able to run it in parallel with the first one. The generator features two AC outlets and a single DC outlet.

How long will the Generator Run?

The main limitation with any generator is how long they will keep running on a tank of fuel. When running on a full load a full tank it will keep going for about four hours or so. When operating at about 25% capacity it will keep going for nine hours or even longer. These limitations can be overcome by adding an external fuel tank.

These external fuel tanks are known as extended run generator systems. The one I recommend would be the BERG system from IPI Industries. This unit extends the running time of the EU2000i by up to 72 hours. They even make a dual feed version that will supply two generators running in parallel.

Click here to go straight to the Honda EU2000i on Amazon

Is this a Quiet Honda Generator?

One of the most important factors when choosing a generator is the noise level. Apart from the annoyance that a noisy generator will cause you, it is also a legal requirement not to exceed 70 decibels in residential areas.

The EU2000i operates in a range of between 53 and 59 decibels which falls within the range of a normal conversation. This means that it is between 10-100 times less noisy than a generator rated at 70 decibels. With noise levels this low it can easily be concealed by other background noise during the day and during the night all you will hear is a quiet humming noise. This makes it an ideal generator for use on your patio on or a campsite.

You should always check the decibel rating of a portable generator before making a purchase decision. Noise levels are measured in decibels on a logarithmic scale where every increase of 10 decibels causes the noise level to increase tenfold.
Therefore there is a big difference between a 70-decibel generator and one that is rated at 60 decibels.

Some portable generator manufacturers don’t make it easy to find the decibel ratings of their generators. Honda are very transparent when it comes to how loud their generators are.

A combination of quality construction and superior technology has served to help make Honda the market leader in quiet generators. If you are looking for a quiet Honda generator then the EU2000i is a great choice. Any Honda generator with the EU model prefix belongs to Honda’s Super Quiet series.

What about Maintenance?

Like anything that is powered by an engine, there are essential maintenance tasks that need to be carried out regularly such as changing the oil. Honda generators will automatically switch themselves off when they detect that their oil level is too low. But you shouldn’t rely on safety features to protect your generator as maintenance should be a regular routine.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be a mechanic to service a Honda generator as they have designed it so that maintenance is easy for anybody. There is no need for any special tools or experience as all the parts that need to be cleaned or replaced are easily accessible.

How long is the Warranty?

Whichever Honda generator you decide to purchase you will be reassured about its reliability due to the inclusion of a 3 year warranty. Honda has a fantastic reliability reputation with the cars and motorbikes and I would expect nothing less from their generators.

Is the Generator CARB Compliant?

Yes, the generator is fully CARB compliant. This means that the emissions from the generator fall well within the strict limits imposed by the California Air Resource Board.

Model Comparison – Honda EU1000i vs EU2000i

If you only have the most basic needs and/or limited budget then you have the option of the cheaper 1000 watt Honda EU1000i. However considering that the 1000 watt model is only 20% cheaper than the 2000 watt Honda generator, then why would you even bother? It would be a different matter if it was half the price, but it isn’t so it seems like a no brainer to get the 2000 watt model instead.

How do Honda Generators Compare to the Competition?

There are quite a few similar output generators available from other manufacturers and some of them are quite a bit cheaper. The closest competitors would probably have to be the Generac iQ2000 or the Yamaha EF2000iS.
With Honda, you get the peace of mind of better reliability and more advanced features. With a Honda generator, you can expect greater efficiency and a cleaner output signal. A Honda generator will most probably run for quite a bit longer and be quieter too. See a list of all Honda Portable Generators on Amazon

Can I Charge My Car Battery With It?

The generator features a 12V DC output that is perfect for charging car batteries. This requires the additional purchase of a charging cable.

Where is the EU2000i MadeFactured

The generators in Japan but production has recently been moved to Thailand.

Can I Convert the Generator to Run on Liquid Propane?

I didn’t realize this was even possible, but believe it or not you can purchase a conversion kit that allows you to run the EU2000i on liquid propane or natural gas. In actual fact, it is not even a conversion as it functions as an adapter that allows you to run on all three types of fuel. So you can still run it on gasoline.

These tri-fuel adapter kits work by mixing propane (or natural gas) into the air stream before it reaches the generator’s carburetor. As a result, you are not actually making any modification to the mechanics of the actual generator. You can purchase these kits on Amazon.

Where Can I Buy One?

Amazon is always a great place to purchase just about anything and generators are no exception. They have pretty much the full range of Honda generators and all of the accessories too such as covers and charging and parallel cables. Their customer service is excellent and they nearly always sell products at significantly less than the recommended retail price.

Amazon is a great place for further product research as you can learn so much from customer reviews. Talking of customer reviews the EU2000i at the time of writing has nearly 150 reviews with an average rating of 4.7 stars out of 5. A total of 84% customers have given it the maximum rating of 5 stars.

The more powerful Honda EU3000iS has virtually the same customer satisfaction rating but costs twice as much. I’m not sure that is such a good deal when you can buy two EU2000i’s and run them in parallel for the same price and get 25% more power. The EU2000i’s is much more portable so you can still take one of them on a camping trip and leave the other one behind.

If you are on the fence about whether to go for the Honda 2000 watt generator or the 3000 watt one, then I would definitely go for the 2000 watt Honda generator and then get a second one if you need it later on. Click on the link below to check the latest Honda EU2000i price on Amazon.

Model: EU1000i

Model: EU2000i

Model: EU3000is

Model: EU7000is

Wattage 1000 2000 3000 7000
Voltage 120 120 120 120/240
Inverter Yes Yes Yes Yes
Super Quiet Yes Yes Yes Yes
Running Time 8.3 hrs on 0.6 gal 8.1 hrs on 1 gal 20 hrs on 3.4 ga 18 hours on 5.1 gal
Electric Start No No Yes Yes

Main Features at a Glance

  • Light Weight – Weighs only 47lbs making it easily portable and ideal for camping.
  • CARB Compliant – Meets strict air quality regulations with its low emissions.
  • Super Quiet and is ideal camping. Noise output at peak capacity is 59dB and at 25% load is only 53dB.
  • Eco-Throttle – Engine speed is automatically adjusted to match the load. This saves fuel and can keep the generator running for over 9 hours on a single gallon of fuel. External fuel tanks can extend running times to 72 hours.
  • Advanced Inverter Technology – Microprocessor control ensures stable clean power output that is safe for sensitive electronic equipment.
  • Parallel Operation – Double the output from 2000W to 4000W by connection to a second identical generator.
  • Oil Alert System – Generator automatically switches off to avoid damage if oil levels get too low.
  • 12V DC Output – This is used for charging batteries. Remember to buy the charging cable as they are sold separately.

My Final Verdict

In my opinion, the EU2000i can’t be beaten by any other 2000W generator on the market right now. All the extra features and improved reliability justify any price difference with the competition. If in doubt just compare the customer reviews on Amazon with other manufacturers. For example, the Honda EU2000i vs Generac IQ2000; the Honda wins with an average Amazon customer review rating of 4.7 to 3.8. Only 5% of customers gave Honda a 1-star rating compared with 24% for the Generac. I think that makes it pretty clear that it is well worth paying that additional bit extra for enhanced reliability and performance.

Even when comparing the EU2000i to other Honda generators I think the combination of features, portability, and price make it is the best Honda generator as well.

Click here to go straight to the Honda EU2000i on Amazon