Portable generator recommendations


Old 05-21-06, 03:02 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: NW FL
Posts: 152
Portable generator recommendations

I live in FL & we're in the midst of the sales tax-free period. I am considering a 5-7KW portable generator. I would like one w/a small foot print & that uses gasoline sparingly, since petrol is hard to find post-hurricane. I'd heard that the Hondas & Yamahas were quiet, energy efficient, but expensive. Any advice?
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Old 05-21-06, 05:06 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Ohio
Posts: 16
What level of quality and reliability are you willing to pay for? Do you want a generator for only limited, occasional use...or do you want something you can depend on year after year? Only you can answer. Probably a lot of folks are going to buy a $500-$1000 unit and they'll be satisfied for a while, but in a few years some will be disappointed. When funds become available, I hope to get a Honda 7500 inverter...and that will set me back at least $4K but I hope it will be well spent.

Old 05-21-06, 07:14 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 17,767
The big issue for me is the noise. I started out with a cheap generator that was so loud I hated to use it. It was a common brand that I will call brand "G" ack... (sorry I coughed).

I have two Honda generators, their Eu series 2'000 and 3'000. They are wonderfully quiet, very fuel efficient, and very expensive. You can couple two of them together which makes them doubly expensive.

I also have a small Robin/Subaru (1'200) that has done very well for about 6 years. I'm not sure they make a size large enough for you.

Generally I often curse a purchase when I've gone cheap and it does not live up to what I expected. I almost feel like I wasted the money. When I get a quality tool I tend to forget how much it costs and enjoy it's reliability for years.

If you think you will only use the generator sparingly than maybe a cheap larger unit is the way to go. If you think you will be using it somewhat often I would go for the red brand (I have also heard good things about yellow but I do not own one) if you can afford it. I use my generators often so I do not feel bad about spending the money, but if you buy a generator and don't have a monster storm that makes you use it than the money is wasted. Maybe you compromise and get a quality smaller generator, just enough to run the fridge and televison.

Just a few words of advice:
1: Keep a stash of cash on hand. When hurricane Fran knocked out our power for a week the gas stations could run the pumps but could not run credit cards. Buying gas was cash only.
2: Make sure you start your new generator every month and run it for 10-15 minutes to make sure the gas does not jell up in the carb.
3: Keep extra gas on hand in 5 gallon containers. Every month take a jug and pour it into your car and refill the jug (keep rotating them so you don't have gas sitting around for more than a couple months). This insures that your emergency gas is good and fresh.
Old 05-21-06, 10:27 PM
cheese's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 16,818
Excellent advice. I agree that the hondas are very quiet, dependable, durable, and fuel efficient. If you get a smaller one (enough to run the fridge or freezer if you have one), you can get by. You can run the fridge/freezer just often enough to keep things from spoiling, and use the generator in between times to run a window unit if temps get unbearable, the tv for news, etc... If you have a well, you might look into one large enough to run it too.

A note about fridges/freezers: Fill the whole thing ahead of time. If you don't have spaces full of food, fill it with bottles of water. They will help keep it colder much longer should you loose power. A couple side benefits are this will help cut down on the light bill, since it won't have to run as long or as often to maintain temps; and you will have more water in the event you don't have running water. I fill empty 2-liter soda bottles with water for this purpose.
Old 05-22-06, 04:36 AM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,567
Originally Posted by Pilot Dane
Just a few words of advice:
Also add fuel stabilizer such as Sta-Bil to keep what's already in the tank from gumming up the works.
Old 05-22-06, 02:07 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 948
if you're concerned about noise, get a Honda. or if reliability is an issue, get a Honda. of course if easy starting is on the menu, get a Honda. i guess you're sensing a pattern here.

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