I need a portable generator, quiet, easy to move, good price, dependable.

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heggood
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I need a portable generator, quiet, easy to move, good price, dependable.

Hey everyone,

    I need help picking out and finding a portable generator. Hopefully some of you guys have experience with this. I do concessions, snow cones, funnel cakes, that type of deal. Some places I dont have power hook-up for my cords and need to bring a generator. I need it to have wheels, somewhere around 3000-4000 watts, quiet, dependable, easy to crank and maintenance, low fuel consumption. I use 2-3 deep fryers (they pull on average 1100 watts continuously running), a ice crusher (low wattage, only use when needed), sometimes light strings similar to xmas lights so nothing really there. Anybody have any suggestions? Hoping to spend in the $400 range or less. Thanks for any input, if you guys know of any forums or websites that would help in this subject I would appreciate that also. I love flashlights and making tummie's say yummie! Thanks for any and all input.

dthrckt
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I looked around a lot a couple years ago and ended up finding a great deal on a used one (coleman powermate) that's too small for your purposes.  Actually, I wish I'd gotten a smaller one.

Anyway, I suggest checking out the 'chondas' at harbor freight.  The small ones had great reviews.  They changed their engine line up since I was looking at them, but I owned one of the last kind they sold (but on a mower) and it was a total (good) rip off of a honda.

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CEHepp
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http://www.generatordepot.us/3500wattpropaneelectricgenerator-1.aspx

 

I was always told that propane generators were the ones to have because propane (as a dry gas) keeps the oil cleaner, longer. I have also been told that propane is also the easiest to start in cold weather and propane generators are quiet. I have only used one propane generator and it was really quiet and seemed to be really easy on fuel, even when powering two medium sized air conditioning units. Also, with a gas generator, you pay a road tax for gasoline.

 

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trooplewis
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Your power demands are pretty high, you can get a portable generator to handle that but it is still going to be big and quite heavy; not the kind of thing you will be man-handling onto a truck by yourself. I have had good luck with my 3600 Coleman, but like I said, its not easy to move around.

Honda and Yamaha each make high quality, true portable ones, but they are only rated at about 1100 watts. They are the size of a small lunch cooler, but more expensive than my Coleman.

Rats, finally sold my 2010 509hp Mustang...now I can buy more lights!

Sold the red one too! Now guess what I drive, doing my penance for 500 hp commuters...

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dthrckt
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waaaaaaaaaay expensive

i drool over that tiny little ~$800 yamaha.  how awesome for really 'roughing it' on an island in the adirondacks!

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heggood
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Thats why I want it to have wheels, I can roll it around and up and down my trailor, amazon has this for good reviews but I dont know,

 

http://www.amazon.com/WEN-56352-4-Cycle-Portable-Generator/dp/B003N9AT5G/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1334460428&sr=8-5

dthrckt
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great discounts are few an far between on generators.  given your needs and frequency of use, I'd look into the warranty - like real the small print, contact them, google for problems w/ (and service on) the ones you're interested in.

http://slickdeals.net/newsearch.php?forumchoice%5B%5D=9&q=generator&showposts=0&archive=0&firstonly=1

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Rezolution
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I would recommend emailing these folks. They know a lot about generators and have always answered all of my questions for me. They have a large selection as well. 

http://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/contact_us.php

Tell them what you need and they'll help you pick one out 

fishinfool
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I've never owned a generator but when I lived in Alaska (23 yrs), almost every one of my hunting and fishing buddies that had a generator -- had a Honda. 

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Rezolution
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fishinfool wrote:

I've never owned a generator but when I lived in Alaska (23 yrs), almost every one of my hunting and fishing buddies that had a generator -- had a Honda. 

He said he's looking to spend $400 lol. No Honda for him Smile

Boaz
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Yeah 400$ makes it incredibly hard .If you want to use it I'd say spend the cash and get a good one .If you just want to think you might use it someday than buy anything .even used that are hard to buy .. just like trailers .

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dthrckt
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I paid $30 for my coleman 1800.

i cleaned the carb and it is like new.

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joelmyer
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The Honda and Yamaha inverter generators will be quiet & reliable, but your power requirements will be pushing them.

The Champion 3500s seem to get good reviews and aren't too loud. 

Joel

Tony Hanna
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4000 watts for $400 is doable but anything with that high of output at that low of price range is going to sound like a riding mower at full throttle with the blades engaged. For the money, I'd be more likely to fabricate some brackets to mount a generator head under the hood of your tow vehicle and run it with a pulley from the engine's accessory drive sized to spin the generator at the proper rpm with the engine at idle (quiet). This way it's portable (goes anywhere your tow vehicle does), quiet, and doesn't require loading/unloading or fooling with any additional fuel.

That said, if you don't want to take on a project like that, a 4000 watt Harbor Freight generator for $329 and a homemade baffle box to quiet it down would be my second choice.

Chicago X
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Around food service, I would definitely think about a propane-fueled genny.

It outputs CO2 and H2O from the combustion, little else.  

http://wardogsmakingithome.org/index.html

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Pulsar13
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Can't help to say this but why not just heat using propane? From what I'm seeing you're trying to do energy conversion chemical->heat->kinetic->electric->heat, why not just skip the rest and do chemical->heat? That gives you way better efficiency.

Is it really required to use electric fryer?

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My company has had great luck with the Northstar generators from Northern tool. We run the 15KW and 13.5KW for our 220V concrete grinders and they have been trouble free. The new line with the Honda engines are just awesome.

 

The only downside to them is they SCREAM at WOT. You would certainly need to make some type of secondary muffler system.  

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Hi Heggood...With that much power requirement, $400.00 isn't going to do it for you.  As others have pointed out, anything you get for that price won't last and will make so much noise, you'll likely get kicked out of your venue.  You're really in the range of a generator that I have which is the Yamaha EF3000iSEB, but this unit is $2,200.00+ dollars, which I know is much above your budget.

May I suggest you bite the bullet and increase your budget and purchase one of the Boliy Pro3600SIE models linked below.  If you can't afford a Honda or Yamaha, the Boliy really is your only choice, especially if you want to lift it yourself, have inverter technology, and a generator nearly as quiet as the Yamaha EF3000iSEB.  Hope this helps.

Richie

Electroman187
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You never did mention if you need 240V.  Keep your eyes peeled.  I bought a brand new Generac GP5500 with 2 year warranty from HD last year for $380 shipped.  It is a bit loud and heavy, though.  

 

Richie, what's the difference between EF3000ISEB and EF3000IS.  Specs look same except latter is $400 and 16 lbs less.

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Electroman187 wrote:
Richie, what's the difference between EF3000ISEB and EF3000IS.  Specs look same except latter is $400 and 16 lbs less.

 

Hi Electroman, the difference is the ISEB version, which is what I have, has what's called, Boost Control Unit or BCU.  When an excessive load is present, trying to start a large electric motor or large A/C unit etc., the BCU will add all the extra power of the 12 volt onboard electric-start battery into the inverter making it able to produce upwards of 3,500watts of power for 10 seconds. The standard EF3000IS does not have this ability and is only rated at 3000 watts maxium. 

I can also tell you this generator is the most quiet generator you can buy, period.  Just walk a few feet away from it while under load, it's nearly silent.  It also has the Smart-Throttle technology.  So the engine RPM is directly related to the load required. 

Unfortunately, all this and more comes at a high price, but once you use it once, you'll never look back.  The longest we have needed it in operation was during the summer of 2011 when a low grade hurricance or tornado hit this area of Long Island, New York.  It ran for 34 hours straight and I believe we barely used 5 gallons of fuel, perhaps less. 

The sad part was we still were not able to get a wink of sleep because our neighboor had purchased one of the Home Depot generators and made so much noise, all the surrounding neighboors started complaining.  The funny thing was they thought it was our generator until I made them walk into our back yard, only to be blown away by how quiet it was. 

BTW...I purchased mine about 6 years ago, back when they were $1825.00 delivered from Wisesales.com.

Richie

Electroman187
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I guess I'm the jerk with the loud generator Smile

That Yamaha does sound awesome though.  I cannot conceive how it only used 5 gallons over 34 hours.  Insane.  And let's face it - when you're in an emergency and need to use it, fuel can be difficult to obtain making efficiency all the more important.  That could possibly be my justification for a real nice one.  I've seen the 2kw Hondas and they sure are quiet and efficient.

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Electroman187 wrote:

I guess I'm the jerk with the loud generator Smile

That Yamaha does sound awesome though.  I cannot conceive how it only used 5 gallons over 34 hours.  Insane.  And let's face it - when you're in an emergency and need to use it, fuel can be difficult to obtain making efficiency all the more important.  That could possibly be my justification for a real nice one.  I've seen the 2kw Hondas and they sure are quiet and efficient.

 

Hey Electroman, first off your not a jerk.  Also, as you know these hondas and Yamaha's are very costly to purchase.  The fact of the matter is if and when my Yamaha craps out or becomes unrepairable, I wouldn't be able to afford to replace it these days.  Fortunately beyond oil changes and replacing the lead acid 10Ah battery several times, it hasn't had a single issue. So for about half the Yamaha's price, I'd end up giving the Boliy Pro3600SIE a try. 

Lastly, remember these higher priced models have smart-throttle technology plus are inverter generators,  so as I mentioned in the other post, the engine only needs to turn fast enough related to load put on them.  If you are not needing the full 3000-3,500 watts, the engine RPM may only need to turn at say 2,800 RPM's or slower rather than the full throttle RPM of 3,600.  When you consider this, it becomes easy to see how they are very fuel efficient compared to non-inverter generators that MUST turn at full 3,600 RPMs to produce their minium or maxium rated output. 

Richie

heggood
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I have it narrowed down to these three new or used, opinions????

 

#1. http://www.amazon.com/DuroMax-XP4400E-Portable-Generator-Electric/dp/B001BMDFPS/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS?ie=UTF8&coliid=I3W48E6W65KVSC&colid=2Z4E7VP7XPXGH

 

#2. http://www.amazon.com/TG32P12-4-Cycle-Powered-Portable-Generator/dp/B000P9UOB6/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS?ie=UTF8&coliid=I3F9WBF2DE27Y8&colid=2Z4E7VP7XPXGH

 

#3. http://www.amazon.com/WEN-56352-4-Cycle-Portable-Generator/dp/B003N9AT5G/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS?ie=UTF8&coliid=I11Z449D4K3H3L&colid=2Z4E7VP7XPXGH

 

 

All thoughts and opinions appreciated. I prefer a gas generator because the majority of my events I have free power hook-ups supplied, so this is for the events that I don't, hence the reason I use electric fryers. The wheels on the Duramax make me lean that way all things other wise being even, thoughts?

heggood
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Ordered this one, Amazon 4-5 star reviews have never failed me, hopefully that continues. Thanks to everyone for the input.

http://www.amazon.com/WEN-56352-4-Cycle-Portable-Generator/dp/B003N9AT5G/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS?ie=UTF8&coliid=I11Z449D4K3H3L&colid=2Z4E7VP7XPXGH

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If you want to buy portable super quiet generator, the reliable brand should be Generac, Honda and Champion, etc, If you want to look for silent generator for industrial use, reliable brand should be Cummins, Perkins and Volvo, etc.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZKaBan7Z_E

spinynorman
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So I guess the OP might have some information as to the long term durability of his “new” generator now that he’s had it for seven years. Wink

siata94
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I know nothing about generator, not sure where I saw this or if someone shared it with me…

https://cargenerator.com/

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Believe it or not the HF ones are good…you have to follow the break in period from the manual (even though really doesn’t say how to break it in)….

You just don’t fire it up and run it full load..you have to break it in under load (say no more than 75% max output for some hours, I use room heaters) (otherwise it will DRINK oil)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83-pqsLsDrw

Oh…I also make my own “fuel mix” that seems to really help..
I mix the cheapest ATF and two stroke, (or Marvels Mystery Oil) and put about 2oz (1/4 cup) in each 5 gallons of gas I run in my small engines…I also when time to shut down, turn off the fuel and let the engine suck all the fuel out of the line and the fuel bowl…so there is NO fuel in the carb…the alcohol in new fuels seems to dry rot/gum up the works…and with the oil in the fuel even if it dries, next time the fuel hits the carb it dissolves that crust and doesn’t clog up the jets. My engines fire up first pull almost all the time…even if sitting for months

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As far as purchasing a generator is concerned, there are two main factors to consider. The first is how much power you will require and the second is noise emissions.

POWER: You say that you are using it for recreational use so I would imagine this means camping/RVing? If you are tenting and do not require your generator to power a 13,500 BTU AC unit then something around the 2000W range should power most of your appliances without worry (coffee makers, hair dryers, CD players, laptop/phone charging etc). If you do require something that can power an AC unit on an RV you should be looking in the 3000W and above range for a 13,500 BTU unit.

NOISE: No one wants their campsite to sound like a construction zone. If you are looking for quiet portable power you are definitely right to be looking for an INVERTER generator (as opposed to a conventional generator). You are right that inverters produce a “cleaner” power source that is suitable for sensitive electronics such as laptops and smartphones. The inverting process produces a smoother sine wave that will not damage the microprocessors within these electronics.

Many people swear by Honda’s and Yamaha’s and they are the industry leaders when it comes to inverter generators BUT there are many alternative companies (ie Champion, WEN, Briggs and Stratton) putting forth very competitive products at a lesser price that merit consideration when shopping around for a generator- I particularly like the Briggs and Stratton P3000 30545.

I found this website to be extremely helpful when deciding which generator best suits your needs (specifically for recreational use- they do not have as much info on standby home generators);

The “portable generators” page is very insightful and arms you with the knowledge necessary to make an educated purchase. They also have detailed reviews of the latest and best selling portable generators on the market.

I hope this helps! Happy camping and all the best

Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you want