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Customer Discussions > Home Improvement forum

Help and suggestions on Portable Generators

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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 26, 2011 6:47:08 AM PDT
K. A. Jones says:

We're looking at getting a Portable Gas Generator for mainly emergency uses due to all the recent storms and power outages. Based on our budget, needs I'm looking at one in the 4000 to 6000 watt range and with a limit of around $600. I've looked at a few sites and read and re-read reviews here. I've found more about Generators than before.

I've narrowed down my selections based on reviews, features and price. Some models have several reviews while some have none. Our main concern is backup of say the fridge and freezer while possibly a few others like TV or microwave or PC to keep up with what's happening. Opinions and thoughts are welcomed on these.

ETQ TG52T42 6000 watt...seems to be a popular model and manufacture, decent output, good voltage, enough inputs

Power Pro Technology 56405 4,050 watt....good features, a few reviews. Other models questionable

Champion 41302/41311 7000 watt....the largest and more expensive of my choices but the most features. The Champions seem to have the most favorable reviews. Plenty of features but at 220lbs.

Duro Max Elite MX4500.... far more features , better inputs and a upper model of the normal Duro Max which has gotten so-so marks. Not enough reviews to gage.

WEN 56551 5000 watt....hardly nothing on this in reviews but overall plenty of good features and inputs. Specs seem ok. Beefy 13HP motor

I'm leaning the Champion model simply because at 7000 watt, electric start, 12v battery, inputs and voltage reg at a 5000 watt price. But the ETQ model gets solid reviews and all the models fair well.

Kenny J
Nashville TN

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2011 7:51:42 AM PDT
Kenny the biggest thing that most people look at is the operating range of the generator but the most important is the serge wattage. There are many generators and all will do a good job for what you are wanting to do with it. Once you have one you will be plugging in more than you think. Maybe the first few time it will only be the normal stuff but after awhile you will be plugging in everything to make life easy while the grid is out. I have a no name back up generator from Sams club and paid 400 bucks for it about 7 years ago. We had an outage for 6 days over Christmas and this generator ran 24 hours a day except to refuel and move it to neighbors houses with out an issue. I did just as you did and read all of the reviews and everything else but I knew it would only run a few times a year. But as I was told and I am telling you is to look at the start up wattage the larger you can get there would be the best for you. My generator is a 5500 watt but with a 8000 watt start up. It has saved me a few times due to having the well, fridge, deep freezer tv, and boiler kick on at the same time. Now the next most important thing to think about are you always home or is your wife or kids home alone and what if the power goes out when your not around can the wife or kids pull start it. If no then get one with the electric start they cost a little more but you will have the nice feeling when your away that they can have power. The third most important thing is the size. I know you say you only want a few things on but you will find out that you want more when the power is out for awhile. So what you have to do is add up all of the things you want running and then add 50% more to it so if you add up your watts to 2500 then you need a 5000 with a starting wattage of at least 7000. Hopefully this information helps and look at Sams Club or Harbor Freight has some good ones also. Just keep good gas in and change the oil and you will be fine. The final point I will give you on them is make sure you add a ethanol stabilizer to the fuel because the fuel will turn green if you don't and you will spend hundreds to repair the motor. Its cheap to do so.

Rich and Evelyn

Posted on May 31, 2011 8:40:19 AM PDT
On the Hunt says:
Computers and large expensive t.v.-s want clean power -Inverters smooth out the voltage.-more expensive
Gas powered generators can float 'dirty' voltages up and down the sine waves, especially if your gas running low or iffy on quality. You can damage expensive electronics.
I use APC backup power packs for the computer and let the generator recharge it during power outs.

Posted on Jun 1, 2011 5:42:30 AM PDT
K. A. Jones says:
Thanks for the info so far. I saw two at Home Depot the other day, one a Ridgid and the other a Husky. The Ridgid was a beast but features galore including a removable outlet panel with a included 25ft 20amp cord. A 8 gallon steel gas tank, never flat tiresand Yamaha 386cc engine. It's rated at 6800 watts but comes in at around $900. The warranty is for 3years. The Husky is 5000 watts and has a Suburu engin and comes in at $600. However the frame is "side-ways" making it it difficult to go thru doors. So far the ETQ modls seem to have a more consistent positive reviews. So far no real rush but I'll keeo looking.

Posted on Jun 5, 2011 10:11:29 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 5, 2011 10:12:42 AM PDT
Pete R. says:
You don't need 7000 watts to run a freezer and refrigerator, even taking the possibility of a simultaneous starting load into account. And a cheap 7000 watt generator will sound like there's a helicopter landing in your yard.

Posted on Jun 5, 2011 11:40:42 AM PDT
You get that you pay for when it comes to generators. I saved my money and bought a Honda ES6500. it's a twin cylinder, liquid cooled electric start that has proven to be ultra-reliable. It's even quiet enough that the neighbors never hear it running...

The unit has a enough outlets to provide for just about any cabling situation. I coupled the 220 outlet to my house via a transfer switch. When the power fails, I hit the switch and start the generator and go back inside. It also has a large gas tank that provides 6 to 8 hour run times. It will power enough lights to keep us safe, the furnace to keep us warm, along with our freezer and refrigerator.

The AC output is true sine wave, plenty good enough for computers, ham radio, TV's, etc...

The only problem with buying cheap, low cost units like you find at Lowes and Home Depot... they are louder than hell and the generator halves are always made light weight. You try to run them at full rated load for too long of a time and you'll get short lives out them. The units that have the carbon brushes on the flat end of the generator half, usually get so hot under load, that they melt the plastic brush holders and fail...

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 5, 2011 5:16:29 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 5, 2011 5:18:19 PM PDT
C. Benjamin says:
I have 2 Champion generators 4000 & 1500. I have had no problems in the 3 years I have owned them.

Posted on Sep 15, 2011 8:28:36 AM PDT
I had a Deville-Bliss generator that was used less than 20 hours total and I am now told it will take $675.00 to fix it. STAY AWAY from Deville-Bliss

Posted on Sep 16, 2011 4:11:49 PM PDT
In the $500-$700 range you can easily buy a 5,000 continuous watt (6,000 watt surge) generator.
Running that at a continuous 3,500-4,000 watts will not burn it out, and will give you plenty of emergency power.

As for running the computers, buy yourself an inverter with maybe 400 watts output that you could use in your car to go from 12v to 115v - cost: $30-$35. Adapt it so you can feed the inverter 12v from the generator (most of the big ones have a 12v tap to allow them to charge car/RV battery).
This kludge will give you sufficient clean power to run modem, wifi, computer & LCD screen, and maybe an LCD TV too - at much lower cost than a generator that offers built-in sine-wave-clean power.

P.S. if you have gas or propane heat, consider buying a generator that runs on gas/propane.
No worries about gummed-up carburetor, or whether you have enough fuel.

Lastly, if concerned about noise generator makes, aside from moving it further from house, I've read in several places that all you need do is have a lawn-mower muffler tack-welded to end of stock generator muffler to reduce noise to Honda levels.
Who knows, it might even work. :)

Posted on Feb 10, 2014 2:52:18 PM PST
Rick Anstine says:
Well my Champion 46514 4000 240 volt just finished a straight 4-day run on natural gas. This has been the longest we were without power since the 4-day October surprise 2 years ago that caused me to install it in the first place.
We have been averaging 4 hours off. Now I know it will go 4 days without adding oil but no longer. I just plug into my house panel with a 240 twist lock. I have everything balanced and it runs the whole house. I keep a log and I'm up to 100 hours no problem. Only the 46514 has the 240 twist lock.
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Discussion in:  Home Improvement forum
Participants:  9
Total posts:  10
Initial post:  May 26, 2011
Latest post:  Feb 10, 2014

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