Customer Reviews: Powermate PM0497008, 7000 Running Watts/8750 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Generator
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on February 9, 2011
The generator was shipped and delivered quickly. Instructions for handle and wheel kits were accurate, and everything we needed was in the box.
Although I hadn't planned to do so, I purchased and installed a six-circuit transfer switch. This generator has more than enough power to have gone with a larger transfer switch, as it turns out.
I love Honda products. Once I put in the gas and oil, I anticipated having at least a little difficulty with the first start-up, but to my delighted amazement, the first pull on the starter rope resulted in a smooth-running engine cadence. A beautiful sound.
I highly recommend this item, and Amazon had the best price.
Best of luck to you all.
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on February 6, 2013
Arrived today, so this is a first impression after assembly and initial testing. This thing is a heavy-duty, almost-commercial quality machine. (BTW, please realize that this is the same machine previously marketed as a Coleman Powermate.) It has an Italian-made MECC ALTE genset, rather than cheap Chinese, and is brushless, producing cleaner power and better longterm reliability. It has a Japanese-designed OHV engine that is MUCH higher quality than the less-expensive Chinese engines, and perhaps only slightly lower than the infamous Honda engines. It is full-pressure lubed with a spin-on oil filter, for longer engine life. Parts and service are readily available for the engine. All this shows up in the 3-year warranty, instead of 2 years like most provide.

The generator is made in the USA using those two primary components. It is very sturdily made, with a high quality paint finish, and rides on large 13" pneumatic tires that makes it possible to wheel this heavy thing around. It came with a charged battery that I only needed to install and connect as part of the inital assembly. After all prep, I added gas, pulled the choke and it fired right up. I let it idle for a couple minutes on the Idle Control setting, then switched it to full power. It revved and quickly stabilized, running very smooth. After reading some reviews that complained about noise, I was actually pleasantly surprised that it wasn't noisier. It isn't quiet by any means, but it is quieter than my Kohler-powered riding lawn mowers. I fully expect to get many, many years of service from this machine...

Now, a word about why I selected this specific generator -- in addition to the quality components that I described earlier. It is the RIGHT size for someone who wants to use a large portable generator for emergency power to their home. Putting out slightly over 52 continuous amps of 220/240v power, it puts out all the power that the 50amp plug and breaker will handle -- continuously. Then, it has the additional surge capacity to initially start my 220v submerged well pump and keep it running even when my 220v hot water heater is on. Repeat -- it puts out all the power than the 50amp circuit will reliably handle. A 15kw or 17.5kw portable generator would've produced excess power than could never have been routed to the house through that circuit -- I'd have had to run additional extension cords to take advantage of it. I calculated the needs of my all-electric home, with well pump, to be right around 10kw, with potential to go to 12kw if I needed to run the microwave, etc. But researching more, I found that a 10kw generator can only provide around 7200 watts of power through a 30 amp circuit - so, it too, would've wasted power that I could never take advantage of since I couldn't get it to my house without using multiple extension cords. Plus, I was concerned that 7200 watts might not be enough to run the well pump and hot water heater at the same time. Many of the 10kw ones had only a 30 amp circuit, and no 50 amp one, restricting me to this 7200 watts. (The Briggs & Stratton 10kw coninuous generator has a 50amp circuit, but it is more expensive than this 12.5kw one, with a shorter warranty.) So, this 12.5 kw continuous provides the best match of what it can produce AND deliver to the house... I'm anxious to get the electrician here to wire it in so I can experiment farther -- I think it will likely run my heat pump in addition to the well pump, as long as I have the hot water heater turned off.

BTW, be cautious of power ratings and make sure that you're looking at continuous power ratings instead of peak ratings -- many of the cheaper ones advertise and label their machines based on the peak rating -- which it can't sustain without overheating or other problems. The 15,625 Watts in the listing for this one is just as misleading -- but it makes it comparable to other manufacturers claims. The labels on this machine, and its documentation, clearly call it a 12500 watt generator, which is its continuous power rating.

This one can use the 50amp circuit to its maximum potential, while wasting little excess engine or generating power... it's sized right. And, it is priced right here on Amazon, when you consider free shipping.
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on November 13, 2012
The price seems to fluctuate between $1,200 & $1,300, so wait it out if you're able (depending on your likelihood of a blackout). Obviously, after Hurricane Sandy, this and other power-related goods have been long sold out.

My house, along with most others in Northeast NJ, had a prolonged blackout during Hurricane Sandy from downed power lines across the state. While mine was "only" 2.5 days (some coworkers didn't have power for 2 weeks), I'd found that a blackout causes not only inconvenience, but a morbid sense of vulnerability. It doesn't matter if you have a shack or a mansion; you NEED a generator "just in case". It proved to be the case for me within 5 months of owning a home. Ideally, you'd have something like a 20KW Generac standby generator that runs on natural gas (like the typical stove-top) which is automatic and can power the entire house, but it is quite expensive ($10K range) and takes up a lot of outdoor space.

Instead, I have this high capacity gasoline generator with a garage 240V receptable and basement 2 transfer switches for my main & sub electrical panels (10 toggle switches total to manually flip between grid & generator power). Otherwise, you'd need to run a LONG 120V power extension cord (or upto 4 multiple) from the generator to a power strip for each of your appliances, while risking a cord overload fire hazard and leaving upstairs unpowered.

The "accessories" assembly probably took an hour, with most of the time spent looking for the correct size tools and bricks to prop up the generator for wheels, grounding, and handle assemblies. Do the assembly as soon as you receive the generator, since it may take longer than assumed, especially in the dark.

This gasoline generator is compact in comparison to a natural gas standby generator, but bigger than the typical cheap gasoline generator that you can lug in a car. You'd need more than 2 people to load this generator into an SUV or a truck (definitely won't fit in a sedan). Its 7,000W running / 8,750W peak capacity is probably overkill for most homes, but the large 8 gallon gasoline tank and efficient engine powered for roughly 15 hour stretches my large refrigerator (spoiled/no food = bad), Zoeller 1/2 HP sump pump (flooded basement = bad), Fios router (no WiFi = suicide), outlets for multiple laptops & smartphones, stovetop hood (as needed), kitchen lights, hot water boiler (hot water in fall/winter? Yes please), and master bed lights & TV/cable box (WTH's going on out there?). I didn't need to worry about each watt an item used AND had a long time between fill-ups. If you don't need the generator running non-stop at moderate load, you can easily go 24 hours on one 8-gallon fill-up.

WARNING: when you shut off the generator using its power switch, you may get a loud & bright backfire from the opposite side of where the power switch is (the other wide side). Aside from being scary, it's a fire hazard. Instead of using the power switch first, turn the fuel regulator valve to off (you would've turned the valve to on the during startup sequence per the chassis's stickererd directions), prior to switching off the generator.

With (this or another) generator, you should also purchase:

1. Quality power cable: I have a 20' 30-Amp 14-gauge 240V power cable ($64 in 7/2012, $100 in 11/2012) that connects to the relay switch adapter, but even if you don't have a 240V adapter, you'll want a quality 120V cable. Last thing you want during a storm & power outage is an electrical fire.

2. At least two 5-gallon No-Spill gasoline cans, even if you don't fill them (87 Octane gasoline; higher's fine, but a waste of $ for this generator). Gasoline cans were sold out days before the hurricane hit, and you'll want to stock up on gasoline to avoid crazy long lines, or at least BE able to get gasoline. My experienced neighbor has 6x 5-gallon cans; I have 4x 5-gallon & 2x 2.5-gallon cans. Of them, I have 2x 5-gallon Eagle cans, which are almost double the price of the plastic No-Spill 5-gallon cans, but the Eagles' shape/size/weight are impractical for short-term use (but great for long-term storage of gasoline).

3. Synthetic 10W-30 motor oil & FUNNEL: Generator comes with one quart, but you'll need to top off the oil after about 10 hours of runtime. Recommended change is after every 50, but many people recommend first change at 20 hours or so (assuming non-synthetic); color of used oil confirms the adage. Generator will automatically shut off if oil's low. Synthetic lasts much longer than traditional for very minimal premium.

4. Head Lamp: Like a miner's flashlight. You may look dorky, but having 2 free hands while setting up and filling gasoline/oil into the generator will prove essential. Besides, trying to hold a flashlight between your teeth looks much dorkier.

5. Sta-bil: Gasoline stabilizer for longterm storage (1 year). 8oz should be sufficient (1oz for 5 gallons of gasoline); Sta-bil itself is only good for about 2 years after opening.

6. Shaker tube: Transfers liquids between containers by shaking the tube. Pouring 8 gallons of gasoline into a generator takes a LONG time (at least 30 minutes?) and is VERY tiring. This tube (or the like) can instead quickly do all the work.

7. Cable Lock: I figured I didn't need one in a nice neighborhood, but after days of others' power loss and apparent desperation, I feared finding out my generator got stolen the hard way. Buy a 25' lock cable & 2 locks for peace of mind.

8. Storage cover: Just a decent elastic canvas-type cover should do to keep off dust, bugs, etc., assuming it's stored in a garage or a shed. You wouldn't want electrical or intake/exhaust ports clogged by dust or spiders at an inconvenient time.

My friends got berated by their wife for not being prepared for the power outages. Don't be one of them (Happy Wife = ...), especially if you have children. At least get a darn flashlight... (better yet, a Coleman LED Quad Lantern).
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on October 26, 2012
I have had significant problems with this generator. After topping off the oil and fuel, I turned the fuel selector to "ON" and started it up. After about 30 seconds of running, fuel started to pour out of the carburetor overflow. Talk about a fire hazard. It appears that the fuel float in the bowl is not rising or the needle is not sealing properly, allowing constant flow. Additionally, it puts out 134v at the moment, which trips all of my AFCI and GFCI breakers in the house that I have surge protectors on, as they feed back the extra voltage. What ever happened to quality control??? I think my unit went through QC at the end of a Friday or something, based on the other gleaming reviews of this product.

I have owned several other pieces of Honda power equipment, as well as another smaller Powermate generator and have never experienced issues like these.

I called Powermate to discuss the issue, and they stated I would have to take it to a Honda dealer for repair. The closest Honda warranty dealer to me is 45 minutes away, and I'll have to find a way to get it there as I don't have a truck or trailer. Very frustrating. Piece of junk.

*******UPDATE!!! 11/01/2012*******

Amazon kindly refunded the entire purchase price after I contacted them directly on 10/26/2012 after writing this review, and explained all of the issues. A++++ for Amazon customer service! However, I still have to leave a 1 star rating for the product as its initial quality was deplorable. It looks like others have had quality issues with these since I wrote my initial review as well.
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on July 12, 2012
I have read the other reviews so I'll try not to repeat what has already been said, most of which I'm in agreement with. The assembly is pretty straight forward and the instructions on how to do this could be done better. My main gripe about this unit is the wheels. There is no straight shaft running the length of the unit and the wheels on mine tilt inward because (let's face it) with 8 gallons of gas, a generator, and Honda motor, this thing is very heavy. I'm quite certain I will be looking to re-engineer this problem after the wheels fall off, but until that time comes, I'll live with it.

For those of you who don't know this is not an "inverter" generator. Inverters are king of the hill when it comes to generators and they can cost you more than what you want to pay. Honda makes smaller inverters that run quieter because the engines can run variably to the amount of power needed through electronic control. The downside to inverters are their cost and repair cost if that would be needed. In the future I can see inverters being the norm for generators when they get cheaper.

I installed a transfer panel (Reliance) in my home to compliment my new generator. Some tips on transfer panels: make sure if you are thinking of running (and I don't know if this is a good idea for load balance issues) your central AC that you get a transfer panel that has a two pole 30 amp breaker or something similar to that. I didn't realize it at first but the transfer panel I bought didn't have enough 15 amp breakers for my use and too many 20 amp breakers that I didn't really need and NO 30amp breakers. In other words do your homework and check out what you have in your fuse panel to match the right transfer switch that you may need and you'll be OK.
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on October 31, 2012
By some stroke of luck, I ordered this generator 2 weeks before they forecast Hurricane Sandy to hit the East Coast. It arrived 5 days before the storm which left me just enough time to assemble it amid a host of other Hurricane preparations I had to do. One concern was that the battery would be dead as I had read many reviews before purchasing this generator were that was the case. However once assembled I turned the key and it instantly sprang to life. I didn't have enough time before the storm to build it into a sub panel through it's 50 AMP plug so I had to run it off of extension cords, but it ran flawlessly. It's certainly loud, but unless you want to go with less power for more money and buy a Honda, then the differences in decibels between models is minor at best. They are all loud. I am very happy with this purchase and would recommend this generator to everyone shopping for one.
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on August 25, 2012
Generator was put to the test 24hrs after delivery. Started on first turn of the key, ran for 72 straight hours without incident. Full power rated output from the 50amp outlet which some units do not provide. The generator powered my entire home which included two furnaces with fans, two fridges and we were still able to power our landscape and outdoor security lighting. It could not handle the oven while running the other home circuits but the micro was no problem. Only two things to note. First it drinks gas and secondly it is somewhat loud but in a long power outage who cares?
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on February 12, 2011
I bought one of these same generators from s-a-m-s club 2 years ago. Now when I go in there all I see are china units. This 13 horse generator is easier to start than my 10 horse briggs 5000 watt unit and uses less gas. I'm not saying the china units are bad, but I do know these Honda generators are perfect and almost impossible to find.
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on September 22, 2011
After an easy assembly and filling with gas and oil, a quick pull on the cord and it started up first time. It ran smooth and quiet. A small part was missing from the handle so I emailed customer service at powermate and told them the part number that was missing. To my surprise they emailed me back and shipped the part out to me the next day so that I could assemble the generator handle properly. Perfect product and superb customer service....Who could ask for anything more!
I fitted a transfer switch and wired a remote outdoor socket then stored my generator in the shed....All ready for the next power outage.
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on September 27, 2012
I attached the generator wheels and handles, which took me about 1.25 hours. I'd rate the instructions a 7 out of 10. Some of the pictures are too small to provide accurate detail regarding the sequence of washer to nut to part.
I started it to test it and to do a gentle engine break in before an actual power outage. The Honda engine runs very smoothly.
The only problems I've experienced so far are:
1. The fuel shut off valve does not work. It never shuts off the fuel. I have to get this fixed since I plan on running the carburetor dry when I'm done using the unit in order to prevent it from clogging.
2. The gas gauge on the top of the tank is far from accurate. I put 1.5 gallons into the 6 gallon tank and the needle didn't move. So I guess I'll be determining when to refill it based on the number of hours it's been running rather than the gas gauge. Why bother including it if it is that inaccurate?

Regarding the fuel valve that doesn't shut off the fuel. I contacted the manufacturer to locate a warranty repair center near me. I found one about 1 hour away from my house but they are only open Mon thru Fri which means I had to take a half day off of work to get it there.
So after driving the 1.25 hours from Boston to home to load the generator (rather than drive in commuter traffic with it banging around in the back), then the 1 hour from home to the repair shop, then another 1.5 hours back home in afternoon commuter traffic... it was a wasted afternoon.

The generator has been at the repair center for two weeks now and they notified me that Powermate sent them the wrong part for the repair. When they contacted Powermate they were told that they are having lots of recalls on that particular part and it is backordered for 2 to 3 weeks, which as we all know, means 3 to 4 weeks.
So it seems I'll be without my generator for about 5 to 6 weeks when all is said and done (hopefully not longer). I hope the weather holds out as an outage would make me thoroughly annoyed at Powermate's lack of quality control.
And that is the difference between buying a unit with a Honda engine versus buying a Honda generator. I saved a lot of money compared to the Honda model but now I have to deal with this baloney. In the end... you get what you pay for.
Hopefully I won't have any more Powermate related quality issues with this unit. Luckily they have only been minor, stupid, time wasting, annoying issues so far, nothing serious. Keep your fingers crossed.

Update: In the end the repair shop did have the unit for 4 weeks. The good news is that when I got the unit back and tested it everything worked well. I've used the unit a few times now for New England weather related outages and it has worked perfectly. I am very happy with the unit at this point and would likely recommend it even though there were initial quality issues to deal with.
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