DuroMax generators are a top favorite for home emergency power and RVs. We’ll be reviewing the three most popular DuroMax portable generators: the XP4400E, XP10000E, and XP8500E. What lies behind the success of this affordable generator brand?
A recent Top Power Tools market survey revealed that the best-selling portable generators (on Amazon) was dominated by DuroMax models. Of course, the list of top sellers is constantly changing. Not too long ago, the Generac GP17500E held the top spot, it is currently the third best-selling portable generator (as of 6 October 2020). Currently, the DuroMax XP4400E holds the number one position on the best-seller list, followed in second place, by the DuroMax XP10000E, with the DuroMax 8500E in sixth position. The ever-changing list of best-selling portable generators has three brands as regular contenders: Generac is probably the most popular generator brand in the US, followed by DuroMax, and Westinghouse. Of the top 3 best-selling generator brands mentioned, I consider Westinghouse to be the best value for money. Though this is merely my opinion. Going by sales trends, DuroMax may be the top choice.
Cheap generators are generally the most popular. No surprise there. While DuroMax generators rank amongst the more affordable portable generators, they are not the cheapest. We can, therefore, conclude that price is not the only consideration when evaluating why one generator brand is more popular than another. Consumer confidence, based on brand reputation, is a major contributor to the success of the DuroMax brand. While I wouldn’t say that DuroMax generators are the best. Who can compete with expensive machines like Honda, Yamaha, or Cat? This brings us back to the issue of generator prices. If you’re going to spend top dollar on a portable generator, you should expect the very best. The cheaper it gets, the more one will have to compromise.
When it comes to good value, in the light to medium duty generator market, DuroMax has earned a spot among the best. Most people buying an RV or home backup portable generator aren’t looking for the most durable machine. We don’t use these generators all that often, so it doesn’t always make much sense buying the toughest (most expensive) industrial-grade portable generator. DuroMax meets this need. A machine of a decent quality standard at a price that is accommodating for most budgets.
It is with this in mind, that I’m setting about reviewing the top 3 best-selling DuroMax generators. A good deal for the home and camping generator buyer.
DuroMax XP4400E Review
- 4,400 starting watts; 3,500 Running watts
- 120VAC – 36.6A peak; 29.17A running power
- 240VAC – 18.33A peak; 14.58A running power
- GFCI outlets
- EPA and CARB certified
- Powerful 7HP engine
- Durable, all metal construction
- 96 gallon gas tank, 11.46 hours runtime at 50% rated load
The reason why the DuroMax XP4400E is one of the most sought after portable generators is probably because it fits perfectly into the popular 30A RV generator class. At around $750, it is also one of the more affordable options in this category. Notwithstanding, a fantastically affordable 30A home backup generator, providing the watts to start and run a refrigerator, or 15,000 BTU air conditioner, with power to spare.
Even contractors, looking for a more affordable jobsite generator, may be attracted to the DuroMax XP4400E. It might not be quite as robust as the more expensive industrial-grade portable generators, but it has the goods to provide reliable power in some pretty rough environments. The metal frame (and wheel rims) indicate a good level of durability. The XP4400E also includes OSHA compliant GFCI 120V 20A outlets.
The DuroMax 212cc (7HP) OHV 4-stroke engine is better than I expected for a generator at this price. It is fitted with an electric starter, which is mighty convenient. The XP4400 (without the “E” suffix) only has a recoil starter. The XP4400E also has a recoil starter, which makes for a good backup if you’ve left the generator standing without charging the battery. A quick turn of the key will have this baby purring away in an instant. Alternatively, it only takes an easy tug (or two) on the recoil starter rope to get the machine going. Maybe, I should correct the use of the word “purr”, it’s more like a rumble or roar. This is not a particularly quiet generator, with a rated noise level of 69dB. If you’re after a quiet camping generator, you’ll need to dig a little deeper into your pockets.
Gas consumption is fairly average, a little over 5 kilowatt-hours per gallon. By fitting a large (3.96 gallon) gas tank, they have provided the DuroMax XP4400E with pretty good runtimes, about 11½-hours on a tank of gas at 50% rated load (1,750W). The gas tank is all-metal, with additional impact protection from the frame, and is equipped with a fuel gauge.
The DuroMax XP4400E utilizes a 2-pole alternator, offering either 120VAC, or 120/240VAC. A switch on the user panel allows you to select 120V, or 120V/240V. With 4,400W surge capacity, this generator is great for starting inductive load, like refrigerators, air conditioners, pumps, and microwave ovens. The constant running capacity of 3,500W is perfect for a large RV and is quite suitable for basic home power during an outage. You can run a regular refrigerator, freezer, lights, and your light appliances (TVs, computers, router, etc.), without overloading the generator. Though I would caution against using these electronic devices when the output requirement is higher than 50% or 1,750W. Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) is not the best, especially when the generator is pushing into the peak power range. Below, I’ve provided a more detailed discussion on the topic. It would be a good idea to read this before buying any portable generator.
The DuroMax XP4400E control panel doesn’t offer much more than the basics. I kind of like the quaint, old-fashioned analog voltmeter. This is in stark contrast to most of its competitors that now offer a digital data center with extra information, like running hours, frequency, remaining runtime, and more on an LCD digital screen. Though, I really don’t see this as a big deal.
There aren’t that many outlets either, just 2 X 120V 20A (50-20R) household receptacles (with GFCI), and a 30A 120V/240V twist lock outlet which is great for connecting the generator to a transfer switch for whole house generator backup. RV owners will need a TT-30 adapter for this outlet. A single 20A push to reset type circuit breaker protects the two 120V outlets, with the 30A outlet supplied by the main 2-pole breaker. You can also charge 12V batteries directly from the control panel, very handy if you’re using deep cycle batteries for your camper or boat. The starter works with a key and is totally uncomplicated – off, on, start.
With its solid metal frame, gas tank, and protective panels, the DuroMax XP4400E is no lightweight. To help you contend with all 122-pounds, they have given this generator a really great all-terrain, heavy-duty wheel kit, and equally impressive dual fold down handles, with rubber grips.
My guess is that the DuroMax XP4400E is aimed mostly at the RV enthusiast, in need of a budget 30A RV generator. Needless to say, it is a very good option for the homeowner who doesn’t intend spending too much for emergency backup power.
I’ve read quite a few customer reviews saying this generator, and DuroMax in general, is complete junk. All I can say to this is get with the program. At this price, you’ll be looking at alternatives from brands like Champion, Briggs & Stratton, and Pulsar. None of them are heavy duty machines and you have to accept that get what you pay for. As an affordable, light to medium duty generator, the DuroMax XP4400E is a fantastic deal. It’s popularity amongst generator buyers is obvious proof of this. Though we cannot possibly expect this generator to hold up to the big name expensive brands. With a 3-year warranty, it outranks many cheap generators when it comes to consumer confidence.
DuroMax XP4400E Downloads
DuroMax XP4400E User Manual [PDF]
Harmonic Distortion and DuroMax Generators
With any of the generators featured in this review, you can expect high Total Harmonic Distortion (THD). If the generator is suppling non-linear loads (like induction motors used in refrigerators, ACs, washing machines, and pumps), THD can become exceptionally high. When peak current is required, it can be as high as 25%. Higher than 5% THD is a potential risk for electronic devices.
I’d suggest using an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) to protect sensitive electronic equipment from high THD damage. Around 450W is enough to supply a TV and stereo setup, or computer and router. You can buy a reasonably good 450W UPS for around $80.
This precaution is not just relevant for the DuroMax XP4400E, XP10000E, or XP8500E. It would be equally important for any other lower-priced portable generator. With the exception of more expensive inverter generators, there are actually precious few conventional portable generators that offer acceptable THD. By conventional generator, I mean one that does not use an inverter to supply the AC outlets. Though these aren’t the cheapest generators as they have high-quality, heavy-duty alternators.
Of the low HD (non-inverter) generators, the Westinghouse WGEN7500 is probably the cheapest. The CAT RP12000E is, in my opinion, the best. Both the Westinghouse and CAT models mentioned here have a maximum THD spec of <5%.
DuroMax XP10000E Review
- 10,000 starting watts; 8,000 Running watts
- 120VAC – 83.33A peak; 66.67A running power
- 240VAC – 41.67A peak; 33.33A running power
- GFCI outlets
- EPA and CARB certified
- Powerful 18HP engine
- Durable, all metal construction
- 3 gallon gas tank, 10.4 hours runtime at 50% rated load
Alongside the DuroMax XP15000E, I consider the XP10000E to be the best that the brand has to offer. These two generators have a more industrial design and I feel that they hold up better to scrutiny, when compared to the high-end industrial-grade portable generators. You can read more about the 15,000W DuroMax XP15000E in this article, where I compare the Westinghouse Pro12000 vs DuroMax XP15000E.
Looking at the DuroMax XP10000E, you can immediately see it’s built tougher than the smaller DuroMax models. There is a lot more protective metal panels, a metal air filter housing, and the frame has a more heavy-duty design. All around, this generator is about less plastic and more durable metal. Though all this heavy-duty design is not the best in terms low weight. DuroMax generators tend to be on the heavy side, but this one tops the scales at 218 LBS. The wheel kit is super tough and will allow you to haul this mega-machine over any terrain with the aid of two fold down handles. The handles have good leverage, making it pretty easy to maneuver, and rubber grips provide some comfort.
Providing 10,000W peak power with a rated (running) capacity of 8,000W, the DuroMax XP10000E is one of the more powerful portable generators. This makes it a more versatile machine, especially for use at home or on a jobsite. It won’t labor when running a large air conditioner (30,000 BTU+), leaving enough power for quite a few conventional household appliances, even a refrigerator or two. On a jobsite, you can have big stuff, like angle grinders and hammer drills, working simultaneously without things shutting down because of a tripped generator.
Power is derived using a pretty tough 440cc (18HP) 4-cycle engine and an equally robust 2-pole alternator. This means reliable power at 240AC: 41.67 peak amps and 33.3 running amps, or 120VAC: 83.3 peak amps and 66.67 running amps. Like all the other DuroMax generators, fuel consumption is okay. A little better than the average portable generator, but nothing to get excited about – 5 kilowatt-hours per gallon. Thanks to a huge 8.3 gallon gas tank, the XP10000E will roar away merrily for close to 10½ hours at 50% load (4,000W). Believe me, when I say roar, I mean it. Manufacturer noise levels are specified at 72dB. An idle control switch on the user panel will, when switched on, reduce the RPM when the generator is not supplying any load. This makes it a little quieter at idle. The moment you draw any power from the generator, you’re going to hear it. So will your neighbors.
In keeping with the tough industrial style design, the DuroMax XP10000E user panel is all metal and is protected by the frame, it won’t be damaged too easily. The outlets match the power output, with everything except a TT-30 RV receptacle. It has both 30A and 50A 120V/240V twist lock outlets, the best solution for a whole house setup, using a transfer switch. It also has a 120V 30A outlet. This combination of heavy-duty high-amperage outlets is perfect for jobsite applications. Another benefit for contractors is OSHA compliant GFCI protection on the 2 X 120V 20A household outlets. All the 20A and 30A AC outlets have independent circuits breakers. The 50A 120V/240V outlet is supplied directly from the main 2-pole breaker which also protects the generator from an overload. For charging batteries, there’s a 12VDC port. It has a convenient key starter, an analogue voltmeter, as well as switches for idle control and voltage selection – either 120V or 120V/240V.
Buying a heavy-duty 10,000W generator will normally set you back quite a bit, leaving a dent in the bank account. The DuroMax XP10000E is easier on the pocket and can be seen as a heavy-duty portable generator. While this machine is certainly a notch up from the regular domestic generators, I can’t honestly rate it as an equal to the true legends, like CAT portable generators, even the more affordable Westinghouse Pro series. Comparing prices between the DuroMax top models and the known industrial brands, DuroMax starts to come into its own. The DuroMax XP10000E is one of the cheapest options and is no puppy when standing alongside the big dogs. This generator comes with a 3-year warranty.
DuroMax XP8500E Review
- 8,500 starting watts; 7,000 Running watts
- 120VAC – 70.83A peak; 58.33A running power
- 240VAC – 35.42A peak; 29.17A running power
- GFCI outlets
- EPA and CARB certified
- Powerful 16HP engine
- Durable, all metal construction
- 9 gallon gas tank, 11.5 hours runtime at 50% rated load
The DuroMax XP8550E is a wonderfully versatile size for a multi-purpose portable generator. It packs quite a punch, providing 8,500 watts peak power and 7,000 watts rated power, yet is still reasonably portable and compact. Okay, portability is not a DuroMax strength. The XP8500E is pretty heavy for its size, a whopping 200 pounds. When you use mostly metal components to construct a generator it’s going to be heavier. Not necessarily a bad thing, metal is more durable than lightweight plastic.
Apart from the difference in output wattage, the DuroMax XP8500E is very much the same as the XP4400E, featured at the top of the review. In order to provide the extra watts, a larger 420cc (16HP) engine has been used. Fuel consumption for this engine is basically the same as the other DuroMax generators, a pretty average 5.1 kilowatt-hours per gallon. Like the others, this model also has a large gas tank in relation to its engine size, 7.9 gallons. This gives it the best runtimes – up to 11½ hours at 50% load.
I has the same tough metal frame, heavy-duty wheel kit, and good fold down handles. This is a very practical generator and should be sufficient for more than just the basics when used for home emergency power. It’s virtually limitless for RV requirements and makes for pretty decent low-budget jobsite generator. With 70.83AA peak power at 120V (58.33A rated power) and 35.42A peak power at 240V (29.17A rated power), the DuroMax XP8500E isn’t lacking in capacity for these applications.
The DuroMax XP8500E has twice as many 120V 20A (GFCI) outlets as the other two in the review. A total of 4 X 20A outlets. With 2 X 20A circuit breakers, if one trips you’ll still have power at the other two outlets. It also has a 120V/240V 30A outlet, supplied by the main 2-pole breaker. Like the others, a switch allows you to select either 120V or 120V/240V power output. It has the same 12VDC battery charging ports and rather archaic analog voltmeter. A simple key switch is used for the electric starter, and this model includes the advantage of a low idle switch, reducing fuel consumption and noise when no electric load is required. As you may have guessed, this too is a rather load machine – 72dB.
The DuroMax XP8500E is an economical solution for users with a higher than average power requirement. The peak and running power output will keep you comfortable at home during an outage, even with a couple of refrigerators and a room air conditioner running at the same time. Easy on your budget, with little to no compromise on the available power for needs. You get the same fantastic 3-year warranty for the DuroMax XP8500E