Top positive review
A good generator for camping, although a bit on the tall side.
June 8, 2017
I purchased two of these units, along with the parallel connection kit, for use with my RV. My main goal was to be able run the 13,500 BTU air conditioner and to recharge the deep cycle house battery. We've had the units out on just one outing so far, but the units both performed well. We did not need to use the air conditioning on that trip, but we did have to run both units to power the microwave, which at 1500 watts was a bit too much for one generator to handle.
One feature I really like is the economy mode. This mode is engaged via rocker switch and allows the generator to adjust fuel consumption as loads are connected and disconnected. This setting gives you much longer run time with smaller loads and was sufficient - running one generator only - to keep the RV's house battery topped off while the battery ran the RV's blower motor. After a full night's sleep, the 56200i's fuel gauge hovered around the half-way mark.
Starting the generators was a non-issue. More often than not, they started on the second pull of the recoil cord. 3 and 4 pulls were sometimes necessary if the generators were cold.
With the gas cap vent in the 'off' position, the generators transported without spillage. When I forgot to close the vent and hoist the generator into my truck with the vent open, however, gas spilled and I had to scramble for some towels to clean up the mess. So now I have a label on each generator to remind me to close the vents before moving them.
One complaint I have about these generators is the height. As 2kw generators go, the 56200i is pretty tall. Almost two inches taller, in fact, than the Yamaha EF2000iS and approximately 2.5 inches taller than the Honda EU2000i. In its original box, with the top three inches of that box cut away, I can just barely slide my truck's Roll-N-Lock tonneau cover closed. I consider this a bit too tall for this type of generator, but it's a small sacrifice given the price point.
The generator weighs a little over 48 lbs empty and about 57 lbs when filled with fuel and oil. I had no trouble carrying one in each hand.
Fueling is a bit of a challenge, especially if you want to do it without spillage. I went about it by first filling a 1-gallon spring water jug from my 5-gallon gas can and then using the spring water jug to fill the generator, via the included (and very small) funnel. This gave me a bit more control over my pour, since pouring directly from a 5-gallon, ~40-pound gas can is a bit fatiguing. Of course, filling a 1-gallon jug from a 5-gallon gas can is also fatiguing, but it also doesn't result in me spilling gasoline all over the generator if I get shaky. I see a small fuel pump in my future.
As recommended, I changed the oil early on — after our first outing, to be exact. The "old" oil seemed very clean, but oil is cheap and generators are not, so I cried in my beer at the thought of discarding 3 cups of new-ish oil and moved on. Changing the oil isn't difficult. Removing three small bolts frees the side cover and gets you access to the oil plug/dip stick, which is plastic and easily removed. You tip the generator over, catch the oil however you can (I used a saw horse and some clamped-in-place plywood platforms to support generator and oil pan), then refill it with the included plastic tube and funnel. The funnel has a little hook that you can attach to a wire to suspend the funnel during filling. I pre-measured the .37 quarts (about 12 ounces) of oil into a container and then used that container to pour the oil into the funnel. Using this method, I did not have to worry about overfilling. A flat plastic shelf under the oil check/fill port catches any drips and keeps them out of the generator cabinet.
One issue that has been raised in others' reviews and questions concerns the matter of the WEN 56200i's suitability (and legality) for use in national parks and forests. Specifically, the question is whether or not it has a USDA-approved spark arrestor. This is important, because if you burn down a forest and you are found to have been using a generator without an approved spark arrestor, a blackened forest won't be the only consequence.
The good news is that I can tell you, unequivocally, that the unit IS equipped with a USDA-approved spark arrestor.
This spark arrestor is known to the USDA as a "Chongqing Rato Power Manufacturing Corporation RP-23 screen type spark arrester".
I know this because I wrote to the United States Forest Service and they supplied me with the approval letter they sent to the manufacturer. For those who care, I have attached the letter.
But in short, clamped to the muffler's exhaust port is a cylindrical screened cap. Behind that, inside the muffler exhaust port, is a conical spark arrestor. I have attached photos of those things as well.
And with that, I conclude my review of the WEN 56200i 2kw portable inverter generator. Happy camping!