Welcome to our indepth guide on buying a 240 Volt Inverter Generator, we go deep into the data to help you spend your money wisely. We also review the top three 240V models on the market and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each generator. All generators are not created equal. It’s important to know the details behind what you’re paying as these types of generators can be quite expensive.
Here’s a quick look at our top two recommendations. Details after.
|120/240V 7000W peak (58.3/29.1A) / 5500W rated (45.8/22.9A)|
|Quiet : 52dB (¼ load) to 58dB (rated load)|
|Run-time : 6 hrs. (full load) / 18 hrs. (25% load)|
|i–Monitor : RPM, battery volts, and wattage / Fuel gauge|
|Size : 33.4″ x 27.6″ x 28.4″|
|Weight : 261 lbs.|
|Outlets : 2x 20A 125V GFCI Duplex / 30A 125V Locking Plug / 30A 125/250V Locking Plug|
|Parallel Ready : Get up to 14000 watts of power.|
|Electric start / Recoil backup|
|Oil Alert / Electronic circuit breakers|
|Engine : 389cc Honda GX390 EFI|
|45.8A / 52.5A at 120V / 22.9A / 26.3A at 240V|
|Power : 6300W / 5500W|
|Noise level : 58dB (¼ load) / 64dB (rated load)|
|Run-time : 13.3 hrs. (25% load)|
|Weight : 200 lbs.|
|Size : 30.7″ x 24.3″ x 27.2″|
|Oil Watch Warning System|
|Engine : 357cc air-cooled OHV|
|Power meter, Hour meter, low oil shutoff, fuel gauge, smart throttle|
|Not parallel capable|
|Electric Start, CARB / EPA|
|Outlets : NEMA 5-20R – GFCI / NEMA L5-30R, / NEMA L14-30R|
|Optional : Wireless remote|
Inverter generators tend to be small units with a low power output. Generally, your options are restricted to an output of less than 3000W with only 120V outlets. If you’re looking for a 240V inverter generator, it can be challenging. There simply aren’t too many on the market. This buying guide and review is the best place to begin your search for a 240V inverter generator.
Inverter generators are more expensive than conventional generators. This cannot be avoided. You’re buying a generator and inverter in one unit. Because 240V generators use an additional phase, these too are more expensive than 120V models. They have a more complicated alternator and inverter, as well as extra wiring and outlets. This makes 240V inverter generators the most expensive option for any generator buyer.
Why buy a 240V inverter generator?
Large appliances, using more watts, are more efficient if they use 240V instead of 120V. This is because the amperage decreases as the voltage increases. This is proportional, so the same watts at 240V draws half the Amps (A) as it would using 120V. Lower amps means better conductivity, requiring a thinner, or higher gauge wire, to supply the appliance.
In your home or shop, you will probably have both 120V and 240V circuits. A 240V circuit uses an additional hot wire, providing power from 2-phases, thereby doubling the voltage output. You can identify a 240V outlet by its size and the number of prongs, or holes in the socket. Apart from being larger, a 240V outlet can have either 3 or 4 prongs. Older buildings will have 3-prong 240V outlets, providing for two hot and one neutral supply wires. Newer buildings have four prongs, the additional hole is for a ground connection.
If you want to power larger appliances or machinery, using a portable generator, you will obviously need a higher wattage. You may also require a generator that supplies both 120V and 240V. This is why larger generators, (generally 4,500W or more) have outlets for 120V and 120V/240V. While some large appliances and power tools are available with options for either 120V or 240V, it’s likely that you will have a few that need a 240V supply.
Appliances that might require 240V can be any of the following:
- Ovens and cook tops
- Clothes dryers
- Large air conditioners or HVAC systems
- Larger power tools
- Powerful pumps for swimming pools or wells.
Okay, so it’s clear that a 240V generator is preferable if you intend supplying full power to your home. In a workshop or some jobsites, it may be a necessity as many high-power tools need a 240V supply. But why a 240V inverter generator?
An inverter supplies an almost perfect sine wave, even when the generator is running at full capacity. The phrase Harmonic Distortion (HD), or Total Harmonic Distortion (THD), is always used in relation to inverter generators. This is most applicable when you use electronic equipment. You may think that this only applies to TVs, stereos, computers, and similar equipment, but there’s more to it than this. In fact, just about every modern appliance uses a microprocessor and, therefore, has electronic components. Appliances like washing machines, microwaves, and air conditioners usually have electronic controls. If it has a touchpad or an LCD screen, you know that it is an electronic appliance.
It has become common knowledge that high THD damages electronic circuits. If repeatedly exposed to high THD, electronic components will eventually fail. Though it’s not only electronic devices that are affected by THD. Electric motors are less efficient and generate extra heat when THD is high. Any generator producing THD higher than 5% places your electrical equipment at risk. Most conventional (non-inverter) generators produce THD levels of more than 20% at high loads. The best inverter generators produce less than 1% THD, though the standard is less than 3%.
So, what causes THD? There are two reasons why an electrical supply can experience high THD. The most common is high load demand. Whenever a generator is expected to supply power more than 70% of its rated load, THD will increase exponentially. There are a few conventional generators that will not exceed 5% THD, even at high loads. Though most will reach 20 – 25% THD when the load exceeds 70% of the generator’s capacity. Even at around 50% of the rated load, some conventional generators will produce more than 5% THD, possibly exceeding 10%.
Another cause for THD is non-linear loads. This is a bit more complicated, so I won’t go into all the electrical engineering jargon. Basically, a non-linear load is one that constantly changes polarity. This applies mostly to inductive load, like the electric motors used in refrigerators, air conditioners, most power tools, pumps, microwaves, and fluorescent or mercury vapor lights.
Since the conditions for high THD exist in most situations where we use a portable generator, an inverter is an important consideration. If you need to power 240 equipment, and want a guaranteed “clean” voltage, a 240V inverter generator is the only proven solution. As expensive as these generators may be, the long term consequences of not using one could be detrimental. It will depend a lot on how much you use your generator, what type of equipment you use, and how much load you expect the generator to deliver on a regular basis. If you can afford a 240V inverter generator, I’d highly recommend it as your best option.
Reviews — 240 Volt Inverter Generator
As I mentioned in the introduction, 240V inverter generators are rare and expensive, so we have chosen 3 models that are worth buying.
- Honda EU7000is: the most powerful (and most expensive) 240V inverter generator.
- Yamaha EF6300iSDE: Also expensive, though cheaper than the Honda EU7000is, but with a lower power output.
- Briggs & Stratton Q6500 more affordable, but with some issues.
Honda EU7000iS | Best 240V Inverter Generator
Before I get into reviewing the Honda EU7000is, I have to admit that I’m a huge fan of the brand. So, you should keep in mind that I would generally choose a Honda generator over any other, albeit that it will probably cost considerably more than an equivalent model from another brand. Having said this, I can openly state that, in my opinion, the Honda EU7000is is the best generator ever made. The bad news is that you’ll have to come up with around $4,500 for the privilege of owning this remarkable machine. Is it worth all that money? I’ll leave you to decide after reading the review.
The Honda EU7000is is essentially the same generator as the EU7000i, the “s” at the end of the model number simply indicates that this model has a remote control, at a bit of an extra cost. For the rest, you can consider this review to be relevant to both Honda EU7000i and EU7000is. Now that you know what the difference is between the Honda EU7000i and EU7000is, let’s get down to business – the review of my favorite generator of all time.
This is the most powerful 240V inverter generator that you’ll find. Although 7,000W peak (surge) power and 5,500W rated power is not as big gets for a 240V generator, it’s the best for a generator with a true sine wave inverter. Because of the inverter technology, it’s possible to double the power output using the parallel kit (sold separately). Though, I can’t think of many guys who have the spare cash for two Honda EU7000is generators, and then a little more for the parallel kit. Be that as it may, the power output of a single EU7000is generator is quite sufficient for most home users during an outage and is also great for a jobsite. One of the benefits of the inverter, is that the power remains stable, even when pushing it all the way to the 7,000W maximum. So you can safely make full use of every watt that this generator supplies.
Apart from being the most powerful, this is also the toughest inverter generator. The trend, with quiet inverter generators is to enclose them in a stylish plastic housing. This does more than give the generator a sleek modern appearance, the enclosure acts as an acoustic insulator, reducing the noise levels. The Honda EU7000is has a more industrial design with a conventional looking tubing frame that is visible. It does, however, have superb sound insulating panels, made of metal, which can handle a lot more rough treatment than plastic. This is a truly rugged beast. While it may look old-fashioned and industrial, the Honda EU7000is has fantastic noise insulation and a blissfully quiet engine. This gives it unbeatable noise levels. At full rated load, this generator is still quieter than a normal speaking voice, only 58dBA. At 25% rated load, it’s barely audible – 52dBA.
For years, I’ve regarded Honda engines as being the most dependable and virtually indestructible. They seem to last forever. Though, I believe that Honda have outdone themselves with the GX390 EFI powerplant used for this generator. All the Honda GX engines are legendary, but this 389cc variant, with electronic fuel injection, takes things to new heights. It starts perfectly every time, no matter how cold the weather, or how long the generator has been standing. It has an electric starter (with remote control) and a recoil starter which requires absolutely no effort.
This engine will purr quietly and smoothly for hours on end, year after year. Honda GX engines are usually amongst the most fuel efficient, but with the addition of electronic fuel injection, this one is truly remarkable at an astonishing 7 Kilowatt-Hours per Gallon (KWH/G). It has a 5.1-gallon gas tank, which will supply the full rated load of 5,500W for 6.5-hours. At 25% rated load, the EU7000is will run for an incredible 16-hours on a tank of gas. A fuel gauge on the tough metal tank helps you keep track of your fuel consumption.
The user interface is recessed into an impact resistant panel, perfectly protected from harm. The outlets are neatly arranged in a row with clearly marked circuit breakers for each outlet. There are no DC outlets, but the full selection of AC receptacles includes: 2 X 20A 120V Duplex outlets (with GFCI), 1X 30A 125V locking socket, and 1 X 125V/250V 30A locking socket. This makes the Honda EU7000is perfect for a 30A home transfer switch, any jobsite, or an RV. It has the standard LED indicator lights for Run, Overload (with alarm), and low oil, in which case the engine will shut down. The parallel connection ports are conveniently placed on this panel, and it has an on/off switch for the engine with a push-button starter. Directly above the starter controls is the iMonitor digital display which informs you on the operating hours, engine speed (RPM), output watts and provides diagnostic information from the onboard engine management computer. A switch allows you to select 120V only or 120V/240V modes.
The only real downside to this generator (apart from the price) is the weight – 261-pounds. That’s what comes from using and abundance of heavy-duty metal components. A heavy generator is a tough machine, and this kind of justifies the hefty weight. To aid portability, the Honda EU7000is has dual fold down handles with rubber grips and plenty of leverage. The large ultra-heavy-duty wheels also have great tread for moving over any type of terrain.
Although you might have to take out a second mortgage on your home to buy the Honda EU7000is, you may never have to buy another generator in your lifetime. It’s a genuine heavy-duty 240V inverter generator that’s just as capable on a rough and ready jobsite or campsite, as it is at home. Being a Honda product, you’re assured of impeccable dealership service and the assurance of parts availability for life. It also has a fantastic 3-year warranty for domestic and commercial use.
Want to learn more : Read our indepth dedicated review of this Honda 7000W inverter generator.
Yamaha EF6300iSDE | 240V Inverter Generator
At a saving of up to $1,000, when compared to the Honda EU7000is, the Yamaha EF6300iSDE certainly cannot be ignored as one of the very best 240V inverter generators. As a brand, I rate Yamaha about as highly as I do Honda. While this generator is not quite as powerful as the Honda alternative, it shares the same quality build and has very similar specs and features as the Honda. It’s not as rugged, with a plastic enclosure, but this does make the Yamaha noticeably lighter, something many will appreciate.
The Yamaha 357cc engine is, as expected, an ultimately reliable engine with easy starting, using an electric starter. A wireless remote control is optional, and this will enable you to start or stop the Yamaha from a distance of 66-feet. No one can fault Yamaha engines, but the EF6300iSDE cannot quite match the fuel injected Honda GX390 EFI in terms advanced engineering and low fuel consumption. Though, for the most part, it is quite evenly matched. This engine, along with the Noise Block housing, is almost as quiet as the Honda – 58dBA (25% rated load) up to 64dB at full rated load.
When comparing the fuel consumption, the Yamaha falls short of the Honda by quite a margin. Then again, I doubt any generator can match the Honda’s incredibly lean engine. At 4 KWH/G, the Yamaha will use around 30% more fuel, on average, compared to the Honda EU7000is. This is a cost that will certainly be noticed over the years; and should negate the higher price of the Honda when it comes to long term running costs. The higher fuel consumption also means you won’t get the same impressive runtime. Added to this, the Yamaha has a slightly smaller 4.5-gallon gas tank, providing up to 13-hours at 25% rated load.
Although the Yamaha has a slightly lower peak output (6,300W), the constant rated load is identical to the Honda at 5,500 watts. This is also supplied by a great 120V/240V PWM inverter, supplying the cleanest power, reliably for years. This includes benefits, such as a smart throttle that will adapt the engine RPM to the load requirement, thereby reducing gas consumption and noise when less power is required. It doesn’t have the parallel connection facility that is common to most other inverter generators.
Power outlets are fairly limited, but you have everything you need – 1 X duplex 120V 20A outlet, 1 X 120V 30A outlet, and 1 X 120V/240V 30A outlet. Without GFCI protection, this is not an OSHA compliant jobsite generator. An “Economy Switch” activates the smart throttle to reduce fuel consumption. It also has a switch to select either 120V or 120V/240V. A dial on the user panel allows you to shut off the fuel supply very easily and you start it with a key, much like a car. I like the fact that the guys at Yamaha have chosen to use separate digital displays for the power output and hour meter. This means that you don’t have to scroll through your options. The information is always available at a glance. The fuel gauge is also within plain sight.
Probably the biggest selling point for this generator has to be the lightweight compact design. Not that any inverter generator with a peak power output exceeding 5,000 watts will ever be particularly small or light. The Yamaha EF6300iSDE weighs a very reasonable 200-pounds and has great lifting bars at either side. Four wheels make it relatively easy to move on a flat surface. These wheels are really small and could be troublesome on a jobsite or any type on uneven terrain.
Anyone who’s owned a Yamaha power product will agree that this is brand worthy of recognition. This promises to be a reliable generator and should last for many, many years. The Yamaha EF6300iSDE can be rated as one of the top 240V inverter generators and, whilst not exactly cheap, it is priced well for the level of quality and the Brand’s outstanding reputation. The lightweight compact design, combined with high power output, make this generator a big favorite for RV owners. Yamaha service can be compared favorably to any of the best established brands. This model has a 3-year limited warranty.
Briggs & Stratton Q6500 (30675) | 240V Inverter Generator
The first two 240V inverter generators in this review can be considered as the very best options available, but they are expensive. Not everyone has the financial means to splash out on the most expensive generator, especially if you only intend using it a few times a year. This brings us to the Briggs & Stratton Q6500, costing little more than a $1,000. This is certainly a very attractive price, but it does have a few short comings.
Now at this price, I wouldn’t expect the Briggs & Stratton generator to compete with the hugely expensive Honda EU7000is or the not so cheap Yamaha EF6300iSDE. The plastic enclosure is beautifully designed but is not of the same standard as the Yamaha, and no where near the industrial grade Honda. It’s also a little unpractical, there’s no easy access to check the oil. Doing any type of routine service, requires the entire housing to be removed. This is not really a quality issue, it’s just a little inconvenient.
Briggs & Stratton did a lot to improve their engines a few years back, and I can say that the 306cc unit used to power this generator is great. It starts easily in cold weather, which is a big plus since this model only has a recoil starter. The upside to having no electric starter or battery, is a substantial reduction in weight. At only 128-pounds, it’s exceptionally light for a generator of this size. The Briggs & Stratton also has a very convenient retractable handle and 8” wheels for easy mobility.
While, the engine is reliable, it’s not as smooth and quiet as either the Honda or Yamaha. It’s also particularly thirsty. Fuel consumption is a pretty dismal 3.5 KWH/G. Though you’ll still get a reasonable 14-hours (at 25% load) from the 5-gallon gas tank. We should keep in mind that 25% of the rated load is less than the other two in the review. The Briggs & Stratton has a lower 5,000 watt rated load and the peak power is also lower than the Honda, slightly higher than the Yamaha, at 6,500 watts. As far as noise levels go, it’s not exactly the quietest – 66dBA at 25% rated load from a distance of 23-feet. No sound readings are provided for the full rated load, but I would expect this to be around 70dBA, which is by no means quiet.
The control panel is fantastic and it’s great to see plastic covers for the electrical outlets, as this protects them from dust and moisture. But the Briggs and Stratton has limited outlets: 4 X 120V 20A household receptacles (with GFCI protection) and 1 X 120V/240V 30A twist lock outlet. It doesn’t have a 120V 30A RV outlet, which isn’t too much of problem as they do supply an RV adapter. Though I’m not too impressed with this adapter, as it limits the power to 20.8A. This means that even though you have peak capacity of 6500W, using the RV plug adapter only allows you to use 2,500W. I really can’t understand why they did this. Some may like the fact that this generator has a USB port for charging devices like cell phones.
Reading the customer reviews on Amazon and other sites, I’ve seen a few complaints repeated by many customers. I’ll overlook the issues of damaged products on delivery and spilled oil. These are not manufacturer or design defects; they have to do with the courier service. However, one recurring issue does concern me. Several users have complained that the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 does not respond well to peak loads when using the “Quiet Mode”. This is the same as the Economy Mode that is common to most inverter generators. I should point out that this feature reduces the engine RPM and is not recommended for high power demand. One should only use economy or quiet mode when your load is 25% of the rated capacity or less. However, the generator should be able increase the RPM and power capacity when demand increases. Since I haven’t heard of similar complaints with other inverter generators, I can only assume that the computerized inverter controls managing power output is not that good on this generator. I’d recommend that you be aware of this when engaging quiet mode on the Briggs & Stratton Q6500. When in doubt, avoid using this feature altogether.
Despite my concerns, I feel that the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 is really great value for money. I suppose the cheap price means some level of compromise. Generally, I feel that this is a good brand for light-duty generators. For a very reasonable price, this is a great 240V inverter generator for camping and home use. The technical and practical issues can be managed with a bit of care and I suppose one can accept this, when you take into account that this generator costs less than a quarter of what you pay for the Honda EU7000is. In line with the more domestic light-duty nature of this generator, the warranty doesn’t quite match the more expensive generators reviewed above. Briggs & Stratton offer a very reasonable 2-year warranty on this generator.