Considered by many to be the best portable inverter generator, the Honda EU2200i is one of the lightest, quietest, and most fuel-efficient generators in the world. It’s also one of the most expensive in its class. We’re going to take an in depth look into this generator. You can then decide if it’s worth spending this much on a portable inverter generator.
The Honda EU22000i would be my first choice in the 2KW range of portable inverter generators. I know it’s expensive, you’ll probably end up paying more than $1000 for this generator. There’s no such thing as a cheap Honda generator. I was in the power supply business for many years. Although I dealt in large backup generators, people have always asked me to recommend the best portable generators. Without hesitation, my answer would always be: “If you can afford it, buy a Honda generator”.
Since the phrase “if you can afford it” is subject to interpretation, I’m also going to offer a cheaper alternative. After reviewing the Honda EU2200i, I’ll review the WEN 56200i. This generator is much more affordable and is one of the few cheap inverter generators that I can recommend as being a worthy machine. It should cost less than half what you’d pay for the Honda EU2200i.
By now most people know the advantages of using an inverter generator. The most important consideration is the clean low THD power that they provide. This makes them a safe portable power source for electronic equipment. There are also several additional advantages, like improved fuel economy, and quiet running.
If you’d like to know more about inverter generators, the article link below provides a comprehensive understanding of these machines:
- 2200W peak power; 1800W rated power
- Super quiet: 48 – 57dBA, less than a normal conversation
- Fuel efficient – up to 8.1-hours on less than 1 gallon of fuel
- Advanced inverter technology – safe for electronic equipment
- Double your power with parallel capability
- 3 Year residential and commercial warranty
The Honda EU2200i is one of the more recent additions to the Honda range of lightweight portable inverter generators. With only 200W more than the enduringly popular Honda EU2000i, there are those who question the reasoning behind this move.
In practice, an extra 200-watts is a significant improvement for a small generator with this kind of output. It amounts to an increase of 10% more usable power. This makes it an ideal small generator if you intend powering a refrigerator or air conditioner. Those extra few watts can make your life much more comfortable when using additional smaller appliances at the same time as high-watt equipment. The combination of wattage output, whisper quiet operation, and perfect portability, make the Honda EU2200i an excellent generator for RVs and food trucks. This can also be a real gem when suppling basic power at home during an outage. With the option to use more than one Honda EU2200i in parallel, you can double the output.
If you go through the specifications for this generator, they are incredibly impressive. No other inverter generator can match this one, in terms of a high spec level. I’ll start with the engine because I feel that there is no engine that can rival any of the Honda GX series. The EU2200i uses the Honda GXR120 121cc OHV engine. Not only is this one of the most reliable and durable engines I’ve ever had the pleasure of reviewing, it’s the most fuel efficient. It’s actually quite astounding when comparing the fuel consumption for this generator against any other 2KW inverter generator. For one thing, this engine is the largest used for a generator of this size. Generally 2,000W generators use a 78 – 80cc engine. Logically, one would think this larger engine would be thirstier than the smaller ones.
Some time back a did a comparative study on gas consumption for generators. By comparing Kilowatt-Hours per Gallon (KWH/G) across a huge selection of generators. In just about every instance, Honda generators came up tops, sometimes even providing twice the amount of kilowatt-hours per gallon. In other words, twice as efficient. In the case of the Honda EU2200i, no similar generator could compete. The Gas tank only has a 0.95 gallon capacity, it costs very little to fill. Yet at 25% rated load, (450W average), you’ll get a staggering 8.1 hours runtime from a tank. At full rated output (1800W), it will still run continuously for about 3.2 hours. Using these stats, I calculate 6.1 KWH/G. Few generators offer more than 5 KWH/G, let alone more than 6. If you’re getting more kilowatts per hour from a gallon of gas, you’re obviously going to save big time on fuel costs.
Apart from the exceptional economy, the GXR120 is a blissfully quiet and perfectly smooth running engine. It starts perfectly every time, even after many years of hard work. In my experience, Honda engines remain reliable longer that just any other used for portable power equipment. Of course, this engine also meets the highest standards for emissions and is CARB certified.
You don’t have the luxury of an electric starter, which is common for a generator of this size. It takes very little strength to fire the Honda up using a recoil starter. Apart from reducing manufacturing costs, there’s a more important reason why small portable generators don’t use an electric starter. A starter motor and battery add weight. For a compact, lightweight generator, that can easily be carried by one person, weight reduction is an important consideration. The Honda EU2200i is also a top contender in the lightest portable generator category. It’s a synch to carry with the single molded handle at 46.5 pounds.
Quiet generators have become almost a necessity for some. In campsites and urban areas, a noisy generator can be more than an inconvenience. Many residential neighborhoods and campsites have strict noise regulations that make it impossible to use an old-fashioned, noisy, open frame generator. Even some of the so-called silent generators, with sound insulated enclosures, aren’t exactly quiet. Once again, the Honda EU2200i emerges as the outright winner as the quietest in its class – 48dBA at 25% rated output, never going above 57dBA, even at full power. If you think that the average speaking voice is around 60 – 65dBA, the Honda EU2200i is genuinely whisper quiet. Note these sound levels are tested in accordance with ISO standards for portable generators. This means that specified noise levels are measured from a distance of 7-feet.
The Honda EU2200i has a fairly basic control panel. It’s a small generator, so there aren’t too many AC outlets – only 2 X 120V 15A household receptacles. If you’re using two generators in parallel, the parallel kit has a 30A outlet for a transfer switch or RV. It also has an 8.3A 12VDC port which is handy for charging deep cycle leisure or car batteries. There are no displays for output, runtime, etc. Three LED indicator lights offer oil level warning, overload alarm, and output indicator. In the case of low oil, the engine will shut off and the generator is protected by an electronic 20A overload circuit breaker. An economy switch enables the low RPM mode, which is used at low output (less than 25% rated load) to reduce fuel consumption and lower noise levels.
The Honda EU2200i is a winner on every level, except the price. It is probably the most expensive small inverter generator on the market. Though it really is money well spent. At least, in my opinion. Not only is this a fantastic generator, most in the know would say the best, it is incredibly fuel efficient and will, most likely, outlast any of its competitors by a long shot. In the long run, I think it actually is the best value for money. You might never have to replace the generator and every time you use it; you’ll be saving on gas. Honda service is impeccable, with hundreds of service centers across the length and breadth of the US. The 3-year warranty for both residential and commercial use is quite exceptional.
- WEN 79.7cc OHV Engine
- 2000W peak power; 1600W running power
- Low THD (<1.2%) inverter – safe for sensitive electronic equipment
- 6-hour runtime at 50% rated load
- 1-gallon gas tank
- Lightweight – 48-pounds
- Quiet operation – 51dBA at 25% rated load
I’m not going to compare the WEN56200i to the Honda EU2200i, it just wouldn’t be fair. This generator costs around $400 and the Honda costs around a grand. These prices alone, are worlds apart. As much as I would choose the Honda EU2200i over any in this class, the price difference can’t be ignored.
If you’re looking for an affordable 2KW inverter generator, but still insist on a decent level of quality, the WEN56200i is one of your best options. Westinghouse also manufacture some fantastic inverter generators that offer outstanding value for money. Though for this review, I’m going to focus on the WEN56200i as one of the best cheap inverter generators. It’s not the cheapest, but many of the really cheap generators aren’t worth buying and I would never recommend them. Let’s just say, that amongst the more affordable options, the WEN56200i is one of the very best.
The WEN56200i looks and functions like any modern inverter generator. It is enclosed in a stylish, sound insulated plastic housing and has all the functions and features one would expect to find on a top inverter generator.
Powered by the reliable WEN 79.7cc OHV (CARB certified) engine, the 56200i pushes out 2000W peak (surge) power and 1600W rated or running power. This is sufficient for most refrigerators or room air conditioners but will leave you fairly limited as to what other appliances you could use at the same time.
One of the things that really stands out, especially for a generator this cheap, is the high-end inverter. The industry standard of an inverter that’s safe for electronic equipment is less than 3% THD (Total Harmonic Distortion). Well, the WEN56200i produces <1.2% THD at full load and 0.3% with no load. This is almost medical grade (critical power) standards. While it may seem like overkill for a domestic generator, this is a good indication as to the quality standard that WEN has set for this generator. The noise levels are also fairly impressive, though not the best – 51dBA at 25% load.
User functions and the control panel are, as to be expected, quite rudimentary. It has a recoil starter (no electric starter) with an easy startup dial, which is not common on all small generators. A dial on the user panel allows you to start and stop the generator, as well as engage or disengage the choke, in one easy step. No fiddling around for a fuel shutoff. It’s all easily accessible. There are 2 X 120V household outlets, a 12VDC outlet, and a 5V USB port. It has the usual oil, overload, and output indicator lights, along with parallel connection ports and an economy switch.
Both fuel economy and weight are on the better side of average, though nothing to get too excited about. The WEN 56200i has a 1-gallon gas tank (pretty normal for this size generator) and this will keep it running for about 6-hours at 50% load. It weighs a perfectly manageable 48-pounds and has the usual single molded handle setup, like all the other quiet inverter generators in this category.
Although one of the cheaper 2KW inverter generators, the WEN 56200i displays a level of quality that I’d expect from a more expensive machine. Then again, this is what the brand is known for: affordable quality. As an established brand, with a good reputation, you can rely on WEN for customer service and reliable spares. A 2-year warranty is not quite at the top of rankings, but better than the usual 1-year warranty that you’d normally find in this price range. My final word on this generator is simple – absolutely, unequivocally, superb value for money.