Updated March 2023
The Honda EU2200iTAG remains the ultimate 2,200W inverter generator. This review takes an in-depth look at the marvelous little Honda generator and how it has evolved over the years to remain at the pinnacle of portable generator engineering.
Honda EU2200iTAG – The History Behind the Legend.
The Honda EU2200i was the first upgrade to the compact EU range of inverter generators. This model increased the power output for their entry-level model, the EU2000i from 2,000 to 2,200 peak watts. So successful was this technological marvel that it has remained unchanged since 2018.
In 2020, Honda made some refinements to this generator. This was certainly a challenge. How do you improve on what so many have considered the best compact inverter generator? When something works so well, you don’t want to risk losing a devoted following. Has Honda been successful in this endeavor? Our Honda EU2200iTAG review should help you decide.
As someone who knows and appreciates generator technology, I have marveled at the total magnificence of the Honda EU2200i (and the earlier generation EU2000i) since it first made an appearance on the generator market. Honda was one of the first generator manufacturers to embrace the use of low THD inverter generator technology. True to form, Honda ensured that the brand would be a leader in this growing market.
Honda’s reputation is undisputed. Generally considered one of the top portable generator manufacturers, Honda is the number one choice for many generator buyers. As a result, Honda is also one of the most expensive brands. This leads many to ask: Are Honda generators worth it? I believe the answer has to be yes; they most certainly are.
The Honda GX engine has much to do with the enduring success that all Honda power equipment has so deservedly earned. This magnificent engine has not changed much in the 50 years that it has been around and will be discussed in detail when I review the Honda EU2200iTAG. Every aspect of Honda’s design and manufacture has to be admired. The bottom line is that Honda generators are about the most reliable and durable that you can get. That, as the saying goes, is priceless.
While it’s easy to say that Honda is the best portable generator manufacturer, budget is a concern for many, leading many to ask: Is there a more reasonably priced alternative to the Honda EU2200iTAG? Personally, I believe there is only one generator in the 2,000 – 2,200 watt that can really compete with the Honda 2,200W inverter generator. This would be the Yamaha EF2000iSv2 which is, in some respects, better than the Honda model, despite being a little less powerful. However, there are some good options that don’t cost as much, albeit at a slight compromise when considering Honda’s exquisite quality and brand reputation.
Following the Honda EU2200iTAG review, I will be reviewing a cheaper generator that, to some degree, can be considered a worthy second choice. There are several great, more affordable inverter generators in this class. Westinghouse is one brand that springs to mind.
There is one relative newcomer to this market that should be taken seriously. I’ve decided to review the Hyundai HY2000Si as a cheap alternative to the Honda EU2200iTAG. This may not be a decision shared by all, but I believe the Honda vs Hyundai distinction is one that will gain some momentum as Hyundai becomes recognized as a force to be reckoned with in the portable generator world.
In very much the same way as Hyundai has sort of become the new Toyota in the automotive market, I believe they may well become the new Honda (or Westinghouse) in the portable generator market. It may take a few years, but Hyundai is a brand that has proven to surprise even the harshest of critics.
Honda EU2200iTAG Review
- 2200W peak power; 1800W rated power.
- Super quiet: 48 – 57 dBA, 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.
- Bluetooth App.
- CO-Minder monitors carbon monoxide.
- 3-year residential and commercial warranty.
Before I start the Honda EU2200iTAG review, I should eliminate any chance of confusion around the model name. You may have seen the names EU2200iTAN and EU2200iTAG to advertise this generator. This is not a typo. California residents will be buying the CARB-compliant Honda EU2200iTAG. In the other 49 states, the EPA III model is sold as the Honda EU2200iTAN. These are the same generator with different emission control systems.
Right, without any further ado, onto the Honda EU2200iTAG review!
Honda EU2200iTAG vs EU2200i
I’m really happy to report that not too much has changed from the old model. We should really consider the Honda EU2200iTAG as an upgrade to the beloved EU2200i. There wasn’t much that needed to be improved upon, but I like the new upgrades a lot.
As many of us know a lot about the previous generation Honda 2,200W inverter generator, I’m going to kick off the review by discussing what’s new about the Honda EU2200iTAG. For those who are not too familiar with the original model, I’ll conclude the review with a comprehensive overview of the generator, with all its specs and features that have not changed.
CO-MINDER Carbon Monoxide Monitoring
I never thought carbon monoxide was too much of a threat when using a portable generator. After all, basic generator safety is mostly common sense and there are all sorts of warnings reminding us not to use our generators indoors.
That was until I did a little research into carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is not that easy to detect, it is a colorless and odorless gas. We may not always smell all the other toxins that make gas engine fumes so distinct, while CO could be around us, undetected and invisibly dangerous.
I was surprised to learn that about 50,000 CO poisoning cases are treated by emergency services every year, this is just in the United States. Of these, around 430 incidents result in death. This is a pretty serious threat. I can see why many generator manufacturers are taking it seriously, by installing CO monitoring systems on some models.
Honda has joined the trend toward manufacturing safer generators by developing the CO-Minder system for their next-generation generators, including the Honda EU2200iTAG.
The system continuously monitors the carbon monoxide in the air immediately surrounding the generator. As the CO levels increase, approaching dangerous concentrations, a warning light will ignite, and an alarm will sound. If this warning is not heeded and the CO levels continue to increase, the generator will shut down. This prevents the chance of our family, or pets, from inhaling dangerous amounts of CO. It’s a great reassurance.
Honda isn’t the first generator manufacturer to make use of this technology. You may recognize some familiar trademarks like CO-Guard (Briggs & Stratton), CO-Sense (Generac), or CO-Sheild (Champion Power Equipment). There are more, but these are the most recognized. They all do pretty much the same thing. Though there are differences.
The Portable Generator Manufacturers’ Association (PGMA) regulates the industry and controls safety standards for portable generators sold in the USA. The PGMA has two recommendations for CO monitoring and control. The highest standard is the ANSI/UL2201, which will shut the generator engine down at 400 PPM CO, or 150 PPM average for 10 minutes. The lesser standard (ANSI/PGMA G300) will shut the generator off at 800 PPM CO, or 400 PPM average for 10 minutes.
Honda has chosen to use the ANSI/PGMA G300 standard. I wondered why Honda, with such a high standard for safety, chose the lower of the two industry standards. After some thought, it started to make sense.
Both PGMA CO safety standards meet the requirements for safe use. The ANSI/UL2201 standard will shut the generator down earlier, further reducing the risk of CO poisoning. Though, this can end up being an unwanted inconvenience.
Although it is not the best generator safety practice, we often place the generator in a garage, especially in bad weather. With the garage door open, and the generator placed to allow exhaust gasses to exit through the open door, it should be safe. If you’ve done this, you will notice that the garage can easily fill with toxic smoke. It just takes some wind in the wrong direction and all that toxic smog is directed back into the garage.
Sitting in your living room, you may not be aware of this. There could be dangerous CO seeping into the home. Naturally, you want the Carbon monoxide generator safety feature to prevent this from becoming harmful. That’s what the CO-Minder is meant to do.
A lot of the time, there may be higher levels of CO in the garage, but not so much that it becomes a danger, especially if you are not close to the generator. This is when the ANSI/UL2201 standard could become an inconvenience. Even though you are perfectly safe inside your home, the generator will cut your power when the CO detection system considers the situation to be dangerous. You may find yourself constantly going to the garage to restart the generator. This can become frustrating.
By using a lower threshold for CO monitoring, the Honda EU2200iTAG prevents unnecessary generator shut-off in this type of situation. You can be sure that you are safe inside the home, even though conditions in the garage may be uncomfortably close to dangerous, though still not at a level where it may become too hazardous.
Upgraded User Interface
Looking at the Honda EU2200iTAG, it appears to be almost identical to the older EU2200i model. You only notice that this is a newly improved generator when looking at the control panel. It is in the same convenient location, at the front, on the narrow side of the generator.
The most obvious change to the panel is the CO-Minder alarm and warning lights in the top right-hand corner. The Bluetooth trademark is visibly displayed below the normal warning lights. You are immediately aware of the remote connectivity benefit.
The Bluetooth app is quite sophisticated and incredibly user-friendly. Excellent graphics make it simple to understand the functions, which help you monitor generator performance, check service intervals and warnings, as well as monitor output. You can also switch the generator off using the app. This is great when you want to go to sleep at night and don’t relish the idea of trudging out into the cold dark night to shut the generator down. Because this generator does not have an electric starter, you can’t start it remotely though.
You’ll also notice a rubber cover protecting the AC outlets. This is a much-underrated safety and durability design feature on portable generators. I’m really happy to see that Honda decided to include it on the EU2200iTAG, something that was lacking on the original EU2200i. This prevents moisture from becoming a safety issue. Furthermore, it prevents moisture and dust from damaging the outlets, improving durability.
When designing the covers for the AC outlets, the Honda engineers, true to form, went above and beyond normal expectations. The covers are made from seriously tough, flexible rubber. This is what we expect from the brand, only top-quality materials. There is a hidden bit of magic inside the cover that we don’t immediately see. Small magnets have been molded into the rubber outlet covers which is an ingenious idea. Without any effort, the cover automatically attaches to the panel when the outlets are not in use. The outlets are always perfectly sealed and protected from harm.
Honda EU2200iTAG Original Features
Having reviewed what has changed when comparing the Honda EU2200iTAG vs EU2200i, I’ll be discussing all that hasn’t changed. The stuff that kept the original Honda model at the top of the ratings for so many years.
Honda GXR120 Engine
Since the original Honda G-series engine, in 1963, they have been a leader in the development of small, durable engines for power equipment – ranging from pumps; tillers; and lawnmowers, to portable generators. For its time, the original G-series engine was a marvel of innovative engineering. It was the first compact, general-purpose engine to use overhead valve (OHV) technology.
Through the 19070s this engine was refined and developed to include useful features like automatic valve decompression (making it easier to start) and automatic shut-off for low oil. All this was new and advanced engineering for this type of engine.
The GX engine was a culmination of years of R&D, taking the proven G-series to the ultimate in compact engine technology. The GXR engine, is an adaptation of this engine, with features specific to portable generators. The first Honda GX engines (GX110 and GX 140) were introduced in 1983. Using new materials, an inclined cylinder, an improved cam, and a more efficient carburetor design, the first-generation GX engines were quieter, lighter, and more fuel-efficient than any other on the market.
While the general design of the Honda GX engine has not changed much since the 1980s, it has seen some improvements. This has mostly centered around fuel efficiency and lowering emissions, to meet modern regulations. The recoil starter has also been improved upon, making it more reliable and durable.
The 121cc Honda GXR120 engine used to power the EU2200iTAG outperforms any in its class, in every way. Most generators of this size use a much smaller engine, around 80cc. This, in itself, makes the Honda EU2200iTAG much more durable than any competing model. A large engine produces the torque needed to supply the alternator without reaching maximum output. Put simply, the engine doesn’t have to work too hard to get the job done. This means less wear on the engine, resulting in a longer lifespan.
Despite its larger capacity, the Honda GXR120 engine uses considerably less fuel than the smaller engines used for similar generators. In real-life terms, this means savings on gas and very convenient runtimes.
Fitted with a pretty small 0.95-gallon gas tank, the Honda EU2200iTAG can run longer than most on a tank of fuel. Even using maximum power constantly, the engine will run for 3.2 hours on a tank of gas. At a more moderate 25% power output, the efficient Honda will keep supplying power for a mighty impressive 8.1 hours.
Quiet Inverter Generator
The Honda EU2200iTAG is equipped with a world-class modern pure sine wave inverter, capable of providing 1,800 watts of electricity constantly, with a peak (surge) capacity of 2,200W.
As one of the first to manufacture high-quality inverter generators, Honda has no need to improve on its proven technology. By now, most of us fully understand the benefits of inverter technology.
The low harmonic distortion delivered by an inverter generator (vs a conventional portable generator) means clean power that is perfectly safe for electronic devices.
The Honda EU2200iTAG inverter, like most others, also has an economy mode. This is activated by a switch on the user panel that controls the engine speed. When power demand is low, engine RPM is reduced. This results in lower noise levels and improved fuel economy.
Another benefit of using an inverter generator is the ability to connect two generators in parallel. The Honda parallel kit is sold separately and connects to ports on the generator. When using a generator of this size, the advantage of a parallel connection is a wonderful convenience.
If you need a small, ultimately portable generator for events like tailgating, the Honda EU2200iTAG is ideal. You can carry it in one hand with absolute ease. It fits into the trunk of your car and requires very little fuel to keep you powered up for an entire day. There are other times when you need more power, say for an outage at home or for your RV. Adding a second EU2200iTAG in parallel is just the solution for this. Two generators in parallel will provide 3,600W running power and a surge capacity of 4,400W. That’s enough power for equipment like air conditioners and refrigerators to run simultaneously.
To make the Honda EU2200iTAG one of the quietest generators on the market, an improved muffler is used to reduce engine noise. The generator is also housed in a sound-insulated enclosure. The result is nothing short of sublime. When using the generator in economy mode, at a load of less than 25%, you will hardly be able to hear it from a distance of 23 feet. At 48dBA, it is quieter than a whisper. When you’re using all the power that the generator has to offer, it will hardly be a disturbance – 57dBA at 100% power. Even at full throttle, the Honda EU2200iTAG is not as loud as a normal speaking voice, which is around 60 – 65dBA.
Lightweight and Practical
The Honda EU2200iTAG weighs a mere 47 pounds, making it one of the lightest portable generators you can find. It is also delightfully compact – 20” X 11.4” X 16.7”. A large handle has been molded into the generator housing, making it a truly portable little machine.
The whole design is perfectly sensible. The fuel cap has a simple device that you can engage to allow fumes to escape, or it can be closed when you’re transporting the generator. Access to the engine for maintenance is an absolute breeze. A single screw secures an access panel to the engine. The spark plug has an opening that doesn’t require any tools.
The generator stands on four independent plastic feet which keep it secure and limit vibration. Starting the Honda EU2200iTAG is as simple as can be. A dial, directly beneath the recoil starter, switches the generator on and opens the fuel supply. You can also turn the dial to the furthest position to run the engine dry. If you want to store the generator, doing this uses all the fuel in the carburetor, leaving it dry and free from stale fuel contamination.
Is the Honda EU2200iTAG worth it?
In concluding the Honda EU22001TAG review, we need to address the elephant in the room, the price tag. As someone with decades of experience in buying and using power equipment, I understand the value of buying top-quality products. Some brands have a better reputation than others. Not just for the quality of their products, but also the aftersales service, which is equally important.
The question isn’t just about the Honda EU2200iTAG. Rather, are Honda generators worth it? This would apply to any of the top-rated, more expensive brands, in any industry. Though, I feel it becomes more important when buying more sophisticated equipment. An inverter generator is more expensive than a simple flashlight and there is much more that can go wrong. When you buy a cheap flashlight and it turns out to be a heap of junk, it is not such a big deal. You’ve wasted a couple of dollars, not hundreds or thousands. An inverter generator, costing over a grand? Well, that’s a bit more complicated.
So often we hear people saying that expensive brands are a rip-off. You’re paying a premium for a name when others can do the same job just as well. This could be true on the day that you buy your generator. You could buy a much cheaper brand, and it really does appear to do the same job. Okay, the Honda EU2200iTAG is going to provide some long-term savings because of the fuel efficiency. However, it will take many years of saving a dollar or two on gas to make up for the price difference between the EU2200iTAG and something really cheap, like the A-iPower SUA2000iV.
Fast forward 5 to 10 years down the line, and the story takes on a new dimension. After the generator has been put through its paces for a couple of years, Honda begins to show its true colors. I’ve seen all sorts of Honda machines endure unimaginable treachery for decades and still start and run like a dream. This is why I have such high respect for the brand. They simply refuse to give up on you, no matter what you throw at them.
Top brands, like Honda, invest massively in research and development, constantly improving their products. Copycat brands try to imitate this on the cheap. Without the commitment to actually make their generators more durable, reliable, or efficient, this doesn’t have the same value as a genuine endeavor to manufacture the best products.
This is why Honda is confident in offering a 3-year warranty for both residential and commercial use. Precious few brands, even if they can match the Honda residential warranty, will do the same for commercial use. Using your generator a few times a year vs a hire company that sends their machines out to be abused every day, is a completely different ballgame.
When it comes to aftersales service, warranty, and plain old-fashioned reliability, it’s not easy to compare cheap brands to a top name like Honda. This is what you’re paying for. To a large extent, it has a lot to do with peace of mind. When a brand has proven, for over 50 years, to offer exceptional quality, you are assured of what you’re buying. You also know that ten, twenty, even thirty years from now, you can still depend on them to provide service and spare parts.
When you consider the long game, a brand like Honda makes perfect sense. Decades from now, the extra money you spend today will pale into insignificance. At least, that’s how I see it.
Hyundai HY2000Si – a More Affordable Alternative to the Honda EU2200iTAG
- Dual-Level Inverter protection for pure sine wave power under all conditions.
- Lightweight – only 44 lbs.
- Quiet Running (50-59 dBA) is ideal for RV parks and campgrounds.
- Eco Mode saves fuel and extends run time out to 11.5-HRS (25% load)
- 3-Year Warranty.
If we’re going to honestly compare the Honda EU2200iTAG vs Hyundai HY2000Si, we have to consider the differences first. The Hyundai brand has done amazing things in establishing itself as a major competitor to Japanese brands in the automotive market. Portable generators are a new venture for the brand. We can only guess what kind of reputation Hyundai portable generators will earn in the years to come.
Currently, I cannot say that Hyundai is a worthy rival to Honda, which is generally accepted as the top dog in the portable generator market. I have a lot of faith in the Hyundai brand, based entirely on what they have achieved with their fine automobiles. As my gran always said: time will tell.
I can say, based on all I’ve read from customer reviews, that Hyundai has some way to go before the brand can fully compete with big names like Honda and Yamaha. Hyundai generators show remarkable promise as well-engineered machines. However, there have been some quality control issues. Something we cannot ignore. In their defense, I’m pretty sure that Hyundai management will improve on this if they intend to achieve their aim of becoming a global competitor.
In the end, the Hyundai HY2000Si is probably a really fine alternative for those who simply can’t bring themselves to pay extra for the Honda EU2200iTAG.
Apart from the price difference, which plays heavily in favor of the Hyundai generator, it is not equal to the Honda when it comes to power output. The Hyundai HY2000Si provides a peak output of 2,000W, with 1,600W running power. A little less than the Honda EU2200iTAG. This is also an inverter generator, with all the same benefits that are associated with the Honda generator.
The Hyundai 79cc engine is of a similar displacement to most generators in this class. It is, of course, 50% lower than the iconic Honda GXR120 engine. Another area where Honda’s superiority stands head and shoulders above the rest. The Hyundai engine is, nonetheless, a fine example of great engineering.
Fuel consumption is fantastic. The gas tank capacity is a snippet less than the Honda Eu2200iTAG – 0.9 gallons (HY2000Si) vs 0.95 gallons (EU2200iTAG). Yet the Hyundai generator provides improved runtimes. Using the economy RPM control, the Hyundai HY2000Si will run for 11.5 hours at an average load of 25%. Okay, 25% of the Hyundai output is 400W, whereas the Honda EU2200iTAG is producing 450W at 25%. So you are getting more power per gallon of gas when using the Honda generator. Nonetheless, the Hyundai has a smaller tank and provides a full three extra hours of runtime at 25%. After doing the math, I calculated that the Hyundai generator is 25% more fuel efficient (per watt) when compared to the Honda EU2200iTAG. To beat Honda’s fuel economy is quite an accomplishment.
The astounding fuel efficiency of the Hyundai engine makes it even more economical in the long run. Not only is this generator cheaper than the Honda EU2200iTAG, it uses less gas. Your savings continue to improve every time you use the generator.
The Hyundai HY2000Si is about as lightweight as the Honda EU2200iTAG. The difference is negligible. The Hyundai generator is a perfectly portable little machine, weighing 44 pounds. This is 3 pounds lighter than the Honda model. Being slightly less powerful means that the actual power-to-weight ratio is about equal.
The Hyundai generator is slightly louder than the Honda EU2200iTAG. Once again, the numbers are pretty close. The Hyundai HY2000Si comes in at only 2 dBA louder than the Honda at the low end of the scale, 50 dBA vs 48 dBA at 25% output. At its loudest, the Hyundai is also only slightly louder than the Honda – 59dBA vs 57dBA.
If you’re looking for a good variety of useful power outlets, the Hyundai HY2000Si takes the first prize. The Honda EU2200iTAG only supplies AC power from 2 X 125V outlets. The Hyundai generator has the same type of AC power supply, as well as a 12VDC battery charging outlet, and 2 X USB ports. Like the Honda EU2200iTAG, all the outlets are fitted with protective covers.
The starting procedure is basically the same for both generators. An easy-to-use dial switches the generator on or off and you start the engine using a recoil starter. The Hyundai HY2000Si starts just as easily as the Honda EU2200iTAG.
Despite being cheaper than the Honda EU2200iTAG, the Hyundai HY2000Si has more to offer than Honda on some levels. The incredible fuel economy is a big pro in favor of Hyundai in this race. For many campers, the additional power outlets are also a great advantage. Hyundai offers a similar 3-year warranty for residential use. Though, like most others, This does not apply to commercial use.
I can fully understand why so many generator buyers would consider the Hyundai HY2000Si a much better deal. It is almost too good to be true. Even though the Hyundai doesn’t provide as many watts as the Honda model, the price more than makes up for this.
The only thing Hyundai can’t do is offer the same peace of mind as you get when buying a Honda generator. The legendary Honda reputation is tough to beat. Although I feel that the factory defects reported on several Hyundai HY2000Si models have been fairly minor (and easily rectified), we can’t completely ignore this. If the Hyundai QC department can improve on this, I think the guys at Honda have reason to be concerned. In a few years’ time, Hyundai may do to Honda, as it did to Toyota in the automotive market. Let’s see what happens.
I’m happy to report in this updated review that Hyundai has come a long way in addressing its quality-control issues. More recent customer reviews indicate that buying a Hyundai portable generator is definitely worth the money.