Introducing Firman Generators to the World — Yes, they are quite good.
Have you ever heard of Firman Generators? Probably not, until recently, nor did I. In this article, we’ll be introducing a few of their generator products and give them a thorough investigation. Before reviewing their products, I think it would be a good idea to look into the company itself and find out what they’re all about.
Intro | Firman Generators
As a relative newcomer to the portable power generation industry, some view this Chinese company with some skepticism. There have been a lot cheap imitations of machines designed by reputable manufacturers to come from Asia, so it’s only logical that many will question what they’re buying. This is not to say that all Asian products are junk, there have been many pleasant surprises. A lot of new companies hailing from Asia in recent years have given us high-quality products at very competitive prices and no one can complain about that.
So how does Firman rate in the very competitive technology market? I did some research into the company and was quite impressed with what I found. It looks like Firman generators are going to be a formidable force in the very new future. At the moment, their prices are fantastic for the product that you’re getting. Though if we look at some other great Asian manufacturers (the Korean company Hyundai comes to mind), as the world starts to realize how great they are, the prices of their products start to climb. It’s a good idea to get in on the ground floor – before everyone else learns about how great they are.
Firman Inverter Generator | Quiet at 59 dB : Firman W03083
For many years, I’ve referred to Hyundai cars as the new Toyota and it turns out that this wasn’t too far from the truth. Like Toyota, Hyundai started out as bargain basement cars and in a matter of a few years, they’ve come to rival the best. Now I’m asking: Is Firman the new Hyundai? Okay, they’re not in the business of making cars, but the analogy remains the same. Is Firman going to end up rivaling established generator manufacturers like Honda, Briggs & Stratton and some of the other big guys in the industry? By all accounts, this looks very likely.
Firman is part of the SUMEC group of companies which was established in 1978. Not many westerners know much about Chinese history, so I’ll put this into context. 1978 was the year that Chairman Mau stepped down as leader of China and this was the beginning of their long journey toward becoming a global manufacturing giant. In short, SUMEC was one of the first Chinese companies since they started moving away from their strict communist rule. This gives them some standing.
The SUMEC group has a long history in the manufacturing industry and has a massive global footprint. Though it was only in 2001 that the Firman brand was established, this is when they entered the global portable generator market. In 2007, Firman generators were ranked the number one export brand from China. It didn’t take this brand very long to become known as one of the best and able to compete in a global market.
In 2014 they joined forces with the long-established American brand Kohler Engines, this gave the company access to a wealth of experience going back more than 140 years. Anyone familiar with generators or gas and diesel engines knows the Kohler name well. By 2017 their portable generator production exceeded 10-million units.
An example of an innovative Kohler generator | Kohler enCUBE 1.8
Looking at the company’s association with Kohler, I started to wonder if they weren’t just manufacturing cheap knock-offs of Kohler products. This turns out to be far from the case. The SUMEC group started their own R&D into the development of large power generation plants on the Asian continent back in 1997 and have been responsible for building some of the best large-scale grid-linked generators. It’s based on this experience that they moved into the retail generator market.
Over the years they’ve partnered with many established and respected global manufacturers to improve their products and develop new innovations that compete with the best. They use a number of different engines, Subaru being among them. The concept of teaming up with established engine manufacturers is nothing new in the development of quality generators – all the major brands do it. The fact is, Firman do a lot of product innovation at their R&D facilities and hold over 100 patents in several countries.
VIDEO | Learn about what you can expect from Firman Generators
They do high-level product testing and quality control, I’d say some the best in the world. An example of this that relates to the consumer generator market is the testing of one of their 10KW 2-cylinder generators. They ran the machine for 1000-hours continuously. To give you an idea of what this means, the industry standard for testing these generators is 250-hours. Exceeding the standard testing by four times the norm indicates to me that these guys are determined to compete with the best.
In conclusion, I’d say watch out world, here comes a force to be reckoned with. Having gained a lot of faith in the brand, I’m now ready to review their products with confidence.
Firman Hybrid Series H03651
Dual Fuel Firman Generator : Can run off of propane or gas making it more versatile during emergencies and natural disasters.
Dual-fuel firman generator with a 3 year warranty to give you peace of mind and a USDA certified spark arrestor making it safe to operate in US parks.
- Firman Dual-Fuel Electric Start Generator (Propane Tank Not Provided)
- 4550w (Starting)/ 3650w (Rated) when using gasoline
- 4100w (Starting)/ 3300w (Rated) when using propane
- Extended propane regulator hose (5-feet)
- Up to 14 Hours Of Power at 1/2 Load (5 Gal. Tank or 5 Gal/20 Lb. Tank)
- Push-Button Electric Start (Battery Included)
- Engine mounted recoil starter
- 208cc Firman Max-Pro Series OHV Engine w/ Low Oil Shutdown
- Cast-Iron cylinder sleeve increases engine life
- Automatic shutdown when oil pressure runs low
- Volt-Lock AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulator)
- Provides safe, clean power for your electronics & appliances
- TT-30 RV Receptacle : Easily connect your 30A RV cord (Not Included) for your power needs
- User-Friendly Control Panel w/ 3-In-1 Data Minder Monitor
- Monitor your voltage, frequency & operating hours
- Circuit Breaker Protection
- Whisper Series Quiet Muffler w/ USDA FS Certified Spark Arrestor
- Heavy-Duty 1-1/4″ Steel Tube Frame & 8″ Flat-Free Tires
- Safely transport your generator even over uneven terrain
- Includes: Engine oil, oil funnel and tool kit
- 3-Year Residential Warranty & 90-Day Commercial Warranty
- 120V, 20A Duplex (NEMA 5-20R)
- 120V, 30A RV (NEMA TT-30R)
- 120V, 30A Twist-Lock (NEMA L5-30R)
Overview | Firman Hybrid Series H03651
Because this is my first time reviewing Firman generators, I can only go my impression of the build quality and durability of the Firman Hybrid series. By all accounts, this generator looks like it will stand its own among the best of them. Even though it’s cheaper than most, I can’t see anything about this generator that suggests that it’s not just as good as the more expensive brands. In short, I think the Firman H03651 is incredibly good value for money.
I’ve gone through countless customer reviews to get an idea of what people have to say about their user experience. After all, this is where it counts. I’ve seen a few complaints about dealership service issues, though this doesn’t reflect on the Firman brand – it’s more about who you buy it from. The general public response to Firman generators has been an overwhelming thumbs up, so I’d say it’s worth considering.
The Firman H03561 uses a Firman 208cc (7HP), four-stroke engine capable of running on gas or propane. When running on gas, it pumps out 3650 running watts and 4550 starting (peak) watts. As with any hybrid generator, you’re not going to get the same output when using propane. So this is slightly lower at 3300W constant running power and 4100W peak starting power. With either fuel type, it’s the perfect size for your RV and can provide enough power to keep most of your household appliances running in an emergency.
It’s a very modern looking generator with plastic covers that probably go some way in reducing vibration. Though I think the purpose of these covers is more for appearance than anything else. Despite this, it still has a solid steel frame giving it good old-fashioned durability. It has solid 8” rubber wheels and the front end rests on thick rubber mounts, which will also help reduce vibrations.
The control panel is easy to use and perfectly laid out. It has all the outlets that you need – a duplex 120V outlet, giving you two standard household power outlets with circuit breaker protection. It also has two 120V 30A outlets, so it can be easily connected to your RV or a transfer switch running to your household wiring. You have the convenience of an electric starter motor and a recoil starter for emergency starting if the battery runs flat. It also has a digital display for frequency (hertz), volts, and hours.
The fuel economy of this generator is outstanding and competes with the best (even inverter generators with an economy mode). The gas tank holds 5-gallons and this will give you up to 14-hours runtime at 50% load. Though I don’t have any stats for the consumption when using propane, I’d guess that you’re going to get well over 20-hours from a 20 LBS propane tank.
The Firman H03651 hybrid generator weighs 134 LBS, not too light but still very reasonable for a generator of this size with a solid frame. It has a fold down handle with a soft grip, making it pretty effortless to wheel around.
When you compare this generator to similar hybrid offerings, you’ll see that you’re getting a lot for your money. I can’t vouch for their service backup, simply because I don’t know enough about them. I see that they do have service centers in many countries, including the US so I can’t see there being a big problem getting technical support.
✓ NOTE from MANUAL: Maximum wattage and current are subject to and limited by such factors as fuel BTU content ambient temperature, altitude, engine condition and etc. Maximum power decreases about 3.5% for each 1,000 feet above sea level; and will also decrease about 1% for each 10°F(-12.2°C)
above 60°F(16°C) ambient temperature.
Firman RD9000E Dual-Fuel
Versatility Firman generator makes an ideal choice for emergency situations where fuel sources are always scarce and hard to come by. With this model you can use either propane or gas.
- Firman 9000-watt generator’s dual design can be powered by either gas or propane
- Powered by a reliable air-cooled, single cylinder 15hp 439cc OHV Firman engine
- Easy to operate with an E start (Key switch) and recoil start system
- Easily-accessible control panel includes multiple Duplex and Twist lock sockets
- Rugged 1-1/4″ steel tubing keeps the generator protected in rough conditions
- Large fuel tank holds 6.6 gallons of gas and 5 gallons 20 lb. (LPG) propane tank (not included)
- Oil warning system automatically shuts down engine if the oil pressure runs low
- Integrated handle and large 10″ flat-free tires make the generator easy to transport
Overview | Firman RD9000E
There isn’t too much difference in the Firman Dual fuel range and the hybrid range, apart from the color of the machine. In all respects, they’re very similar machines and the Firman RD9000E has received as much praise, if not more than the smaller H03651.
The power of this generator makes ideal for home back up and off-grid use. You’ll get a peak starting wattage of 9375W using gas (8400W using propane) and a running wattage of 7500W using gas (6700W using propane). I read a report from one user who said it only pushes 7200W, I cannot confirm this and I’m not really sure how he came to this conclusion or if he was using gas or propane (not to mention what octane gas or at what altitude) – all of this needs to be considered before making a statement like that. I see no reason to doubt the official output as rated by the manufacturer.
The power is supplied by a mighty 439cc, 15 HP, OHV Firman engine. Naturally, this larger engine is going to a thirsty machine when compared to the H03651. You’ll get around 9 hours runtime from the 5-gallon gas tank. The Firman RD9000E is enclosed in really solid 1¼” steel tubing frame and has the same slick looking panels as the H03651. It weighs 210 LBS and this weight is made manageable by 10” solid rubber wheels and strong fold-down handles with comfortable grips. I’m glad to see that this model has steel wheel rims to handle the extra weight – the smaller model has plastic wheels (not my favorite).
It has a comprehensive control panel that includes 4 X 120V standard household outlets and a 30A 120V/240V twist lock outlet, all the outlets are protected by individual circuit breakers. You get the same digital display as the other model – giving you readings for frequency, volts and hours. This model also has both electric and recoil starting.
All-in-all this looks like a fantastic generator and offers you ample power for most conditions where you’ll be using a portable generator.
Dual Fuel gives you more options when fuel sources are scarce
- Gas : 9375 Watts (Starting) / 7500 Watts (Running)
Propane : 8400 Watts Starting) / 6700 Watts (Running)
- *High Altitude – over 7,000 feet expect reduction in power up to 20%
- Engine Brand: Firman Dual Fuel
- Maximum Output: 15 HP
- Displacement: 439cc
- Starting System: Propane/Gas
- Oil Capacity: 37 oz.
- Run Time: 8.5 hours
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 7.5 Gallons (Tank Not Included)
- 4-in-1 Digital Display: Yes
- Wheel Type and Size: 10″ Flat-Free
- Weight: 220
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 35″ x 23″ x 25″
Firman PRE9000KE ECO Series
- 14hp — 429cc Kohler Engine
- Technology for less than 6% THD for greater efficiency supporting sensitive electronics with no annoying power interruptions
- Key switch for easy start-up
- 9,000 starting watts for all your power needs
- Monitor running hours, voltage, and frequency in conjunction with our low oil alarm
Overview | Firman PRE9000KE ECO Series
The first two Firman generators impressed by the spec level and quality that offer for their price. The Firman PRE9000KE has left me impressed, period. This is a fantastic generator with highly advanced technology and can proudly rank among the best generators worldwide. Even though it’s not an inverter generator, it can boast one of the lowest Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) figures, I’ve only seen this on top generator brands before now. In fact, the only other generators that I know of to offer this type low THD for a non-inverter type, come from DeWalt and CAT – this certainly takes Firman up a notch in my view.
This generator uses a Kohler 429cc 14 HP engine. I’ve had a lot of experience with Kohler engines and can certainly recommend them. This gives you 7500 running watts with a peak 9000 watts. The THD spec for this generator is 6% or less and this means that it’s one of the few non-inverter generators that won’t harm sensitive electronics. Of course, most inverter generators have a THD of 3% or less, but 6% is good enough. One of the advantages of using a generator that pushes out such a high peak wattage is that they seldom reach maximum output and at around 50% output I wouldn’t think that it would even reach 3% THD.
It has both an electric and recoil starter. The control panel has the basic power outlets that you’d expect on a generator with this capacity – 4 X 120V household outlets and a 30A twist lock outlet, all protected by circuit breakers. The gas tank holds 7.5 gallons and you can expect around 8½ hours runtime from this – very reasonable for a generator of this size.
Every aspect of this generator seems to display all the attributes of a high-quality, incredibly durable machine. It has a tough steel frame and weighs 238 LBS. The frame is mounted transversely across the centrally positioned wheels – most other generators have the wheels at the back and the handle at the front, using the length of the machine for leverage. The unique layout of this generator is going to make it much easier to maneuver the heavy machine but it may be a problem getting it through doors – you need to fit the full 35” length through, other generators will only need to fit the width. It has tough 10” wheels and the handle folds down over the gas tank when not in use.
The Firman PRE9000KE ECO is designed and built to compete with the big boys and is certainly going to give them a run for their money. When it comes to power equipment, I tend to favor the brands that I know to be the best. I’m prepared to go out on a limb here and say that even though this brand is new to me, it’s up there with the best. When I compare the price of this generator to any of the other brands that come close in terms of design, specs, and power, I would certainly give this one a try.
- 3,300 Starting Watts / 3000 Running Watts
- 1.8-gallon fuel capacity provides 9 hours of run time
- Built in Tuff-Stuff Handle & Wheels for easy portability and consumer convenience
- Outlets TT30R, 2 120V Standard (5-20 Duplex), 12V (W/Battery Charging Cables), USB (5V, 2.1 amps)
- Durable Compact design with integrated ergonomic handle
Overview | Firman W03083 Whisper Series
The Firman W03083 inverter generator looks like most silent inverter generators. It has a sleek compact design with plenty of sound insulation panels. I wasn’t able to get a noise level spec for this model, but the 2000W generator in the same series has a rated noise level of 59dB – I would think that this one wouldn’t be much higher.
You get 3000W running power and 3300 peak watts from this generator. As with any inverter generator, it produces a pure sine wave with less than 3% THD. You get all the features that you will from the best high-end inverter generators, including remote starting. It also has a recoil starter for emergency starting.
The Firman W03083 has parallel connectivity, so you can double your power output to 6000 running watts by connecting a second W03083 in parallel. Because of this ability to increase its power output, it has a 30A twist lock receptacle alongside the duplex standard 120V outlet, 12V battery charging outlet, and USB outlet. It has a small 1.8-gallon gas tank, which is common on inverter generators because they are so fuel efficient. At 25% load, you’ll get about 9 hours runtime from this tank.
The Firman W03083 weighs around 100 LBS and is easy to transport, thanks to well-placed gripping points shaped ergonomically into the top of the generator and wheels at the back of the machine. It also has a USDA certified spark arrestor and the same digital output display that get on the other Firman generators.
The Firman W03083 has all the features that you’d find on any of the high-end inverter generators. If you consider that it has remote control starting and parallel connection ports, it beats many of its more expensive rivals. Like all the Firman generators that I’ve reviewed here, I’m astounded at how little it costs. It really matches the best inverter generators in every way but is one of the cheapest in its class.
Firman Generators | Conclusion
Generators worth the money? Yes!
The Firman brand is new to me, as it probably is to most people. For this reason, I can’t promise that my assumptions are true. However, after many years of experience when it comes to generators, I can say that I’m impressed. I’ll bet that two years from now, Firman generators are going to be way more expensive than they are today. They display every quality trait that I look for in generator and I’m a tough customer.
Firman are surprisingly excellent generators which has left me wondering why they aren’t a household name yet. My feeling is that they are severely lacking in their marketing department. In this day and age having a great product is only half of the battle. We are bombarded with an endless flow of advertising in our fast-paced lives. The companies that get our attention are the ones with sophisticated and clever advertising.
The executives at Firman need to put some serious money behind their advertising budget if they want to compete with some of the most popular generator brands available today, like : Yamaha, Honda, Briggs & Stratton, WEN, Champion Power Equipment, Generac and DuroMax, just to name a few.
Firman generators have an excellent catalog (37mb) showcasing all of their generators — A wonderfully diverse array of electric generators for any application.
What About Firman Support?
Either way, Firman make fantastic generators, with poor marketing but overall, the quality of generators are worth your money.
I will add, that despite Firman generators being of high quality as we’ve stated in this article, one of the biggest drawbacks is finding a retailer to purchase from. Because Firman generators are still relatively unknown to consumers, you may discover that it can be challenging to find a specific model. Now, at Chainsaw Journal we are an affiliate of Amazon and so we have provided links to Firman generators but I have noticed, even while writing this article, that in-stock quantities are low and the number of models available to purchase are low in comparison to the number of models they have available.
It’s important to purchase any product from a reputable seller, especially a generator because you want to ensure you get the support you need if there is a defect. Amazon is an excellent online retailer to purchase from as they always stand behind any products sold through their site. But, if down the road you have a problem with your generator then you’ll be dealing with Firman’s customer support so I would recommend contacting Firman directly and find out how they deal with warranty issues in your area.
- You can call Firman support at this number: 1-844-FIRMAN1 (1-844-347-6261)
- or email Firman if you prefer : [email protected]