Note : We’ve updated and completely rewritten our article on the best 5000 Watt generators for 2020. You’ll find the latest information and best deals on the market in our new location. There have been a lot of new models added for 2020. I will keep this article as a reference point for readers. That you so much for being a loyal reader. As always, please inform us when if notice a error.
What is the absolute Best 5,000 Watt Generator for the Money? We have put together this practical buying guide to give you enough information to make an educated decision about which 5000W generator you should buy. We review a wide range of portable generators to ensure there’s something here for everyone, including a 5000W inverter generator, several conventional generators and even a diesel portable generator.
Intro | Best 5,000 Watt Generator
Portable generators range from a small 700 Running Watts/800 Starting Watts generator, to 17,500 Running Watts/26,250 Starting Watts. The small one weighing in at 20 pounds compared to the big ones at a burdensome 390 pounds. The middle of the line offering would be a 9,100 Watt to 10,000 Watt generator. Yet, the 5,000 Watt generators seem to be a popular choice, which begs the question, why buy a 5,000 Watt generator? Surely bigger is better?
True to life’s journey, most things are a compromise. Every portable generator is a compromise between weight, size, power output, portability, and versatility. That mix is determined by your personal needs and situation. Therefore, the range of available generators is vast, and as a result, competitive models try to be unique in their offerings. To me, the 5,000-Watt generator fits comfortably in the middle of the power range. It’s not too heavy, yet versatile:
- It will easily support all your tailgating and camping equipment
- You can use it to power a full RV with 2 air conditioners
- It will support a food truck with chillers, blowers, and coolers
- It will support most tools on the job site, many of them running together.
- It is useful for providing power wherever you need it.
- During a power failure, it’s powerful enough as a backup for most essential needs in the house.
Honda EB5000X | Exceptional 5000W Portable Generator
We selected five 5,000-Watt generators to compare. Four gas powered, including an inverter generator and one diesel-powered generator:
- Briggs & Stratton Q6500 (30675) Inverter: 6,500W Starting / 5,000W running
- Westinghouse WGen5500 : 6,850W Starting / 5,500W running
- PowerSmart PS46 : 5,500W starting / 5,000W running
- SIMPSON SPG5568 : 6,800W Starting / 5,500W running
- Generac 6864 : 5,500W Starting / 5,000W running
Only one of the generators use inverter generator technology. The rest of them are standard generators. Interestingly, a question I hear frequently is what is an inverter generator? Is the design principle the same as a normal inverter powered by batteries? Does it use a DC generator? The short answer is no, it’s different. The following is a short discussion about this technology.
What is an inverter generator?
An inverter generator is not the same as an inverter driven by batteries. Portable inverters use batteries with low voltages as a power source. Typically advertised as “155Wh 42000mAh Portable Generator”, “Inverter Battery 100W Camping”, “Emergency Home Use UPS Power Source”. Battery powered inverters rely on a charger to store DC power in a battery or set of batteries. The inverter uses this battery power to generate the 120VAC sine wave output. This inverter can be either a low cost square wave, or a mid-range modified sine wave, also called quasi sine wave inverter. A pure sine wave inverter is quite expensive. Because they rely on batteries the run-time is limited, from a few minutes to a few hours.
Inverter generators have long run times and can be re-fueled quickly. The inverter used in a generator relies on a high DC input voltage, and it’s inexpensive. An inverter generator uses a gas engine to drive a multi-pole brushless AC alternator that utilizes rare earth magnets to produce multiple high voltage AC signals. The AC output on each pole is rectified to DC and combined to one DC output. The resultant DC voltage (180-200 VDC) is fed to a low-cost inverter module. Using this high voltage DC current, the inverter generates at least two clean 120 Volts AC sine waves. The inverter is designed to maintain the exact voltage and frequency required. A microcontroller and stepper motor vary the speed of the engine according to the power demand.
Inverter Sine Wave vs Conventional Gas Generator
An economy, or engine speed control switch, is normally mounted on the control panel of inverter generators. It can be activated to minimize fuel consumption and noise while operating the unit. It allows the engine speed to be lowered during periods of low power demand. All manufacturers recommend switching this off for high startup loads. The reason is simply that the engine revs cannot adjust fast enough to a sudden load increase like a startup current. While the engine is picking up speed, the inverter is deprived of enough current, and in that time some distortion is possible. When the economy switch is off, the engine continuously runs at its normal speed. It can then respond to constantly varying demands, like air conditioners and power tools.
The engine speed of an inverter generator is lower than the equivalent standard generator. Therefore, it’s quieter and runs cooler. The advanced alternator also runs cooler. Consequently, the generator can be covered with noise reducing panels. The final result is a generator that is lighter, quieter and has an appealing design. Currently, these inverter generators are expensive, but the prices should come down considerably in the future.
Gas powered portable generators
Briggs & Stratton Q6500 (30675)
6,500 Starting Watts / 5,000 Running Watts : If want a quiet generator that can run your sensitive electrical devices then this is the best 5000 watt generator for you, without question.
- More than 60% quieter than standard generators
- Briggs & Stratton 306cc engine with integrated alternator
- 14 hours of run time at 25% load
- All-steel frame enclosed in a protective shell, noise is reduced greatly and internal components are protected from the elements.
- A suitcase-style telescoping handle makes it easy to move the generator anywhere you need to go.
- QuietPower Series inverter technology and a noise-reducing shell give you power that’s more than 60% quieter than standard generators (66 dBA at 25% load)
- Design is 45% more compact & 30% lighter (128 lbs) than standard portable generators
- Power a wide variety of electronics & devices at the same time with (4) 120V-20A outlets, (2) USB outlets & (1) 120V-240V locking outlet. Use of an RV adapter in the twist lock outlet, provides 120V / 20.8A (half) of the total available power
The Briggs & Stratton Q6500 starting current is 6,500 Watts, and its running current is 5,000 Watts. The Q6500 is an inverter generator that delivers clean power suitable for sensitive electronic devices. Yet, it delivers 240 Volts at 20.8 Amps. It’s ideal for food trucks and applications where clean power is a requirement to support POS equipment. Its clean power is also fantastic for the equipment in an RV and when entertaining at a tailgate party. It could even support your computer retail shop during a power outing.
Engineered with state-of-the-art technology
The other three gas generators that we review deliver the same power (or more) as the Briggs & Stratton. Their fuel consumption is better and their runtimes longer. However, they do not deliver the same inverter power and make considerably more noise than the Q6500.
The Briggs & Stratton’s fuel tank has a capacity of 5 gallons. Runtime at 25% of rated power is given as 14 hours. I calculate its fuel consumption as being 3.5 kilowatt-hours per gallon. When compared to the other 5,000-Watt generators this consumption is not good. It is well below average and close to being the worst. Based on the 25% runtime of 14 hours, I calculate the runtime at 75% rated power to be about 4.66 hours. Due to varying loads, it’s impossible to run a generator at 100% load. It’s more likely that you will run it at 75% power on average. The built-in gauge on the fuel tank is a valuable aid in estimating available run time.
The 66dBA Noise Level, at a load of 25% of its rated output is good. The noise level at 100% load is unknown, but it should be closer to 70dBA. It is a lot quieter than the other open frame generators that we’ll be comparing it to. Its noise levels are comparable to a vacuum cleaner at close range.
The generator is light and compact. It is the lightest of the five generators and the most compact with a neat appearance.
On the output side, it has one NEMA L14-30R, 120/240 Volt AC, 30 Amp Twist-Lock Receptacle. Plus two Dual 120 Volt AC, 20 Amp GFCI Duplex Receptacles. Using an RV adapter in the twist lock outlet is not ideal. It limits the output to 20.8 Amps, which is 2,500-Watts of continuous power. This means you’re not able to use the full 5000W that the generator is capable of supplying. This inconvenience is most noticeable when you’re using a larger air conditioner. The solution is to use the 20.8A outlet for your air conditioner and the standard 20A (household) outlets for the rest of your RV. This would mean using several extension cords instead of the more convenient single RV cord.
Two convenient USB ports allow you to charge devices. But it means your devices are at the generator, some distance away, and it’s not always a good idea. I’m pleased to note that all the outlets are protected by weatherproof covers, this is an essential addition to any generator. It protects the outlets against damp and dirt that builds up on the contacts, resulting in bad connections.
The Briggs & Stratton uses an array of four power output LEDs which indicate 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% power usage. It’s not very accurate, but still a handy indication of the load. Although it’s an inverter generator, it cannot run in parallel with another Briggs & Stratton generator. A Direct Current (DC) output for charging batteries is included.
The Manual-Choke and engine on/off switch are neatly grouped together on the control panel and right next to the recoil starter. This generator does not have an electric start function, only a recoil starter. Understandably, the absence of an electric starter and battery does make the generator lighter and somewhat more portable. The Q6500 only weighs 138 pounds.
You can remove the regulatory spark arrestor in the muffler for maintenance or replacement. The generator has all the necessary emission certifications, making it legal to use in all states. A low oil shutdown system stops the engine when the oil level is too low.
This Briggs & Stratton Q6500 is a serious contender as the best 5000 Watt generator for the money. It’s quieter than the rest and more portable. Although it does not have electric start, this is not a huge disadvantage. The Generac generator is the only one in our selection that does have an electric starter.
6,850W Starting watts / 5,500 Running watts
Transfer switch ready outlet allows you to connect to a 30A inlet box at home.
- 5,500 running watts, 6,850 peak watts
- Up to 20 hours of runtime (4.0 Gal.)
- 72 dBA operating volume
- Transfer switch ready outlet allows you to connect to a 30A inlet box at home, allowing you to have a reliable emergency backup in case of a power outage.
- Intuitive control panel
- Weight : 172 lbs
- Hardened-steel frame
- Durable rubber outlet covers
- OUTLETS : 2 GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) 5-20R 120-Volt household duplex receptacle and one L14-30R 120/240-Volt twist-lock receptacle
- Plug-and-play: Comes with oil, an oil funnel, a tool kit and a user’s manual to get you started right out of the box (minimal assembly required)
- Features automatic low oil shutdown and digital hour meter
- EPA, CARB and CSA compliant
- Backed by a 3-year warranty and lifetime technical support
- Up to 20 Hour Run Time (6.6 gal) on a full tank of glass
- 420cc Westinghouse OHV Engine with Cast Iron Sleeve
- VFT Data Center monitors and displays : Volts, Frequency, and Lifetime Hours
- 3-Year Warranty and Lifetime Technical Support
Westinghouse, the blue machine. The Wgen5500 provides 6,850 starting Watts and 5,500 running Watts, the same as the Simpson SPG5568. It has a recoil starter – no electric starter, and no battery. No keys to lose. Starting the Westinghouse only requires a little muscle power.
Westinghouse is based in Columbus, Ohio. I found it heartening to see that they react to customer complaints with corrections and support. Like its open frame big brothers, the WGen5500 is mounted in a sturdy roll cage to protect it. It is a neat installation, and the neatly arranged control panel is within easy reach.
The Westinghouse Wgen5500 is not an inverter generator, although Westinghouse does make a whole range of fantastic inverter generators.
The WGen5500 weighs 36-pounds more than the Briggs & Stratton, a clear indicator of the weight advantage an inverter model has over the standard generator. But, as emergency power for your home, camping trips, tailgating, or your DIY projects, it’s a viable solution. The control panel is intuitively designed with conveniently located controls making the generator easy to operate. The two dual GFCI 20 Amp and NEMA L14-30R power outlets have rubber covers that protect them against the environment.
The two dual GFCI connectors have 20 Amp overload protection circuit breakers. The main circuit breaker protects the 30-Amp twist lock 120V/240V connector. This main breaker is controlled by the overload protection circuit that allows the generator to supply the start-up current. It does not react to an overload immediately, but allows it for enough time to start motors and capacitive loads. It’s rated at 23 Amps running and 28 Amps peak.
Total harmonic distortion for this generator is less than 23%. It is not suitable for sensitive electronic equipment like most chargers, radios, LED lighting and TVs. Harmonic distortion is the interference in an AC power signal created by frequency multiples of the sine wave. Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) is used to measure the amount of harmonic distortion in the system and should be less than 5%. Higher distortions can result in false tripping of branch circuit breakers. If left unchecked, increased temperatures and interference can significantly shorten the life of the electronic equipment. It may not fail immediately and may even function normally. You may find that it works, shrug this warning off, and happily use the device on generator power but this is a mistake. Feel your electronic appliance after running it on generator power for a while. You will find it’s a lot warmer than usual, or the device may act erratically after a period of use.
If you own a small online UPS (it must be an online UPS), you can use this to protect all your sensitive electronic equipment. If you do not currently own one, consider adding it to the purchase. Another solution is a voltage stabilizer or power line conditioner. They do a fantastic job of cleaning up the power if you do not need the additional battery backup of a UPS.
The Westinghouse has a 6.6-gallon gas tank, supplying fuel to the powerful Westinghouse overhead valve engine. Only the diesel powered Generac beats the Westinghouse in terms of fuel efficiency. The Westinghouse WGen5500 delivers 4.17 kilowatt-hours per gallon. The four gas generators in this review average 3.78 kilowatt-hours per gallon. The Westinghouse will run for 20 hours on 25% load on a full tank of gas. I calculate its runtime at 75% constant load to be about 7.75 hours. Because appliances like freezers cycle on and off, it’s impossible to be accurate, but this should be a good guideline figure.
The WGen5500 engine is protected by an automatic low oil shutdown circuit. This stops the engine when the oil level becomes dangerously low, or loses viscosity. A digital hour meter on the control indicates when regular maintenance is due. Ensuring regular services and a longer life. The 420cc Westinghouse OHV engine has a cast iron sleeve and is EPA, CSA, and CARB compliant. This generator can be sold and used throughout North America.
The sturdy steel roll bars onto which the generator is mounted are robust and not only looks good, but protect it during transportation. This also offers a variety of options for securing the unit during transportation. All the controls are mounted on a neat, convenient control panel. These include two GFCI 120V duplex receptacles and one transfer switch ready L14-30R receptacle.
The interface panel has a “Data Center” display, indicating Volts, frequency, and lifetime hours as you cycle through using a toggle switch. This allows you to monitor the functions and maintenance time of the generator.
The WGen5500 portable generator is backed by a three-year warranty and Westinghouse nationwide service and support network.
Excellent 5000 watt generator. Affordable and reliable.
- 389cc 13 HP OHV engine provides 5500 surge watts and 5000 running watts
- 6.5-gallon fuel tank runs for 11 hours at half load
- Automatic voltage regulator helps produce cleaner power to protect your electronics
- Features four 120V 20A three-prong outlets, a twist-lock 120/240V 30A outlet (L14-30), and a cigarette-lighter-style 12V DC outlet
- Includes wheel and handle kit, NEMA L14-30 plug, and a 2-year warranty
(non-CARB compliant- Not For Sale in California)
5,500 Watt starting / 5,000 Watt Running
- 292cc 4 stroke single cylinder
- Provides 5500 surge watts and 5000 rated watts
- Features low-oil shutdown, an automatic voltage regulator and overload protection to maximize safety
- 7.4 gal gas tank runs 10 hours at half load
- Wheel kit and foldable handles make for easy transportation
- Non-CARB compliant/not for sale in California
- Rated wattage/5000W starting wattage/5500W
- 4x 20A 120V outlets and 1x 30A 120V/240V receptacle
- 7.4 gallon gas tank with 10 hours run time at half load
The PowerSmart PS46 has a radical new layout that differs from regular open frame formats. I am impressed and would prefer that all wheeled generators adopt this approach. The handlebar is pivoted at the top rear of the frame. It opens so that the weight of the generator is carried by the wheels at the rear, and the generator is tilted backward when moving it. It makes this generator a pleasure to move around. The interesting layout of the generator does not affect its dimensions much. It’s narrower than most by a small margin and weighs only 168 lb.
Its rated output is 5,000 Watts, and its surge wattage is 5,500 Watts. Interestingly, they specify the rated amperage as 41.6 Amps at 120 Volt and 20.8 Amps at 240 Volts. From that, I calculate the wattage at 4,992 Watts. The Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) rating for the PowerSmart is not available, but I will be surprised if it’s below 20%.
This is another generator that can be used for all temporary power needs, including backup for the home. To avoid using lots of extension cords, and make a safe connection to the house wiring, you can connect the generator to the home via a transfer switch. This installation must be done by a qualified electrician. For the transfer switch to comply with the National Electrical Code NFPA 70, it must switch all conductors that are selected for backup. The frame of the generator must be connected to an approved grounding electrode.
With its 30A 120V/240V receptacle, this generator is compatible with a transfer switch. It also has two 120V, 20A duplex receptacles for directly plugging in 120V equipment. The 120V outlets are GFCI protected, and none of the outlets are protected by weatherproof covers. The circuit diagram indicates that the generator has one double pole 20 Amp circuit breaker, most likely controlled by the AVR. The AVR is an automatic voltage regulator that regulates the output voltage and frequency by controlling the engine. It also allows the startup Watts to be higher than the rated power for a few seconds. If the symbolic circuit diagram is correct, the 20-Amp breaker limits the output to 4800 Watt. Which is probably incorrect, it’s hard to tell.
The PowerSmart does not have any sort of DC output, so there’s no 12V multifunction or USB port. It also lacks a low oil alert indicator although a low oil shutdown control is installed to protect the engine.
This generator lacks a fuel gauge, I know it’s not critical, but it helps. There is also no indication of run time, a useful extra that helps to determine maintenance intervals. It doesn’t even have a power meter of sorts. Considering all the others in this class offer these extras, it’s disappointing.
The fuel tank capacity of 7.4 gallons gas delivers a run time at 50% load of 10 hours. At 75% load, I calculated 6.67 hours, which is the same as the runtime for the Westinghouse. But, the Westinghouse does it on a fuel load of 6.6 gallons. Fuel consumption for this PowerSmart works out at 3.38 kilowatt-hours per gallon. It is below our average and the lowest of the selection. It is disappointing for a 4 stroke, OHV, single cylinder 292 cc engine with the forced air cooling system. Compare it to the 420 cc engine of the Westinghouse, and you will understand why I consider it underpowered. It can do with a bigger engine.
The noise rating of this engine is 74 dB at 23 feet, twice as loud as the Briggs & Stratton Q6500. The upper 70s in the dB scale is annoyingly loud to some people, up close the generator is extremely noisy.
To start this generator, you use a manual-choke and pull on a recoil starter cord. First turn the fuel valve to the “ON” position, then move the choke lever to the “CLOSE” position. Set the ON/OFF Switch to the “ON” position and pull on the recoil starter.
It seems that this generator is only certified to comply with U.S. EPA emission regulations for small off-road equipment. It is certified to operate on regular unleaded gasoline. It is not CARB (California) or CSA (Canada) certified, and there is no mention of a spark arrestor in the muffler.
6,800W Starting watts / 5,500 Running watts
- 5,500 running watt, 6,800 starting watt
- SIMPSON OHV 420cc engine with low-oil shutdown
- Covered outlets include: four 120-Volt 20 Amp household and one 120-Volt 30 Amp locking
- Roll cage frame protection with foldable handle for easy mobility and storage
- Never-flat wheels for increased stability and shock absorption
The last model in the gas generator lineup is the SIMPSON SPG5568. It’s an open frame regular generator that is started manually by pulling on the recoil cord. Many owners reported that they were disappointed to find that the generator is started manually. They expected an electric starter as advertised by some suppliers, but according to the manual, the electric starter is an option. Owners reported that they are satisfied with the SIMPSON and think it’s a robust machine that will last long.
It is another 5,500 running watt, 6,800 starting watt generator that is capable of supporting all the necessary equipment in your home. When used with a transfer switch, it can be used as an emergency power supply during a black-out. As with any generator, it’s left outside, some distance from the house to protect you from exhaust gas inhalation. This leaves the generator exposed to the environment, and I recommend using a GenTent to protect it. Generators are not rain and snow proof, but you should never use it inside a confined space. The situation sort of makes the weather-cover imperative.
This generator is fully portable and mounted in a sturdy open-style pipe frame with two 9-inch wheels for moving it about. It is the heaviest generator in our gas generator lineup at 183 pounds. The fold-down handle makes moving it around easier, and it can be lifted by the frame when loading it.
The SIMPSON OHV 420cc engine is the same size as the Westinghouse Wgen5500 engine. It is equipped with a low-oil shutdown switch that will stop the engine when the oil level is low. According to the manual, some models may be equipped with a spark arrestor in the muffler. However, it’s possible that you may need to purchase one separately. The generator is EPA certified, and it comes with a California proposition 65 warning against the dangers of exhaust gasses.
The SIMPSON has a neat user interface panel with four 120V 20-Amp household outlets and one 120V/240V 30-Amp locking outlet. The outlets are protected by rubber covers to keep them clean and maintain good contact. The two duplex 120V outlets are not GFCI protected. I find that disappointing. The generator is not overpriced and adding GFCI would not affect it so much. Four push-to-reset circuit breakers protect the outlets against overload.
This 420cc engine’s fuel efficiency is better than the 3.78 kilowatt-hours per gallon average for the four gas engine generators we evaluate. The SIMPSON delivers 4.07 kilowatt-hours per gallon. It is still not one of the good performers amongst the gas engine generators. On the control panel, is an hour meter that tracks hours of operation for scheduled maintenance. It includes a warning when the oil needs replacing.
The product is distributed by the FNA Group, Wisconsin. They warrant the generator for a three year limited period for the consumer, and one year limited for commercial use.
Why use a diesel generator? What are the advantages and disadvantages? To get to the bottom of these questions, I’ve listed the advantages of diesel, compared to gas:
- No carburetor that can foul up and no spark plug to maintain.
- There is also no manual fuel shutoff valve and no choke to confuse the non-technically inclined.
- Normally, it’s straightforward to use. You simply start and stop it with a switch, no fuss.
- While you will no longer have to contend with ethanol in gas anymore, I do not see it as a huge plus. Diesel comes with its own issues.
- The longer run time of the Generac diesel generator is more convenient. Diesel engines are more fuel-efficient than gas.
- During disasters, diesel may be more abundant for longer periods of time than gasoline.
- Diesel engines generally last longer than gas engines.
Some of the disadvantages that spring to mind are:
- They’ve always been harder to start in cold weather than gas-powered generators.
- Diesel generators are noisy. Much louder than any gas generator.
- Diesel fuel can gel in very cold temperatures. When this happens, your generator won’t start. To prevent this, you can use anti-gelling and anti-microbial agents.
- Diesel generators weigh a lot more than gas generators.
- Diesel engines usually need more regular maintenance than gas engines.
- Diesel generators are generally more expensive than gasoline generators.
- You still have to care for the diesel fuel when storing it, it’s just different to gasoline. You have to keep the diesel cool and dry. Under ideal conditions, diesel fuel can be stored for six to twelve months. To prevent gelling in winter, you have to make sure that it will not become too cold.
6,800W Starting watts / 5,500 Running watts. Best 5000W Generator for the money if you want the benefits of diesel. Perfect for a range of applications.
- Diesel power requires less maintenance, is more efficient, and provides a long life.
- Engine : Yanmar LW Series — 435cc air-cooled direct injection, EPA Tier IV, industrial-grade engine.
- Less than 6% total harmonic distortion for clean, smooth, operation of sensitive electronics, tools, and applications.
- Large-capacity 12 gallon fuel tank with fuel gauge provides a long run-time of 32.4 hours at 50% load.
- Compression release lever provides easier starting during cold ambient temperatures.
- Low Oil Pressure Shutdown automatically safeguards engine from damage.
- Fuel primer bulb provides quicker starts when the fuel tank has previously run empty.
- Durable, fully welded 1 ¼” steel frame.
- Integrated lifting eye provides easy transport and security on the jobsite.
- 120/240V selector switch provides full 120V power.
- Single touch electric start provides hassle-free start-up (battery not included).
- Hour Meter with maintenance resets tracks usage and monitors maintenance cycles.
- Recommended : Generac 6910 wheel kit : (sold separately)
This is the Generac XD5000E residential portable generator. It is powered by a Yanmar LW Series 435cc air-cooled, direct injection, industrial-grade diesel engine. The generator delivers 5,500 Watt Starting / 5,000 Watt Running. It has less than 6% total harmonic distortion, making it compatible with sensitive electronics.
Generac is well-known for their stationary generators. They sell this one as a portable model, but to make it portable, you have to buy the optional battery and portability kit. It is sturdy, well-built, and heavy. It weighs 252 pounds. With the portability kit including handles, wheels and front foot, and battery, it weighs 276.5 pounds. Although sold separately, it’s actually necessary. The Yanmar diesel engine will not start without a battery to open the fuel shut-off valve. Also, the Generac only becomes portable when the handles, wheels and front foot is installed. A lifting eye is fitted at the balance point of the center roll bar for secure lifting with an overhead lifting device.
The fuel tank is large, it has a capacity of 12 gallons. A fuel gauge is fitted so that you can see the fuel level at a glance. The big tank provides a long run-time of 32.4 hours at 50% load. I calculated the run-time at a more likely 75% load as being 21.6 hours. Those are impressive run-time figures, and it’s a clear indication that it’s not only the large tank that’s responsible. The fuel efficiency figure is 6.75 kilowatt-hours per gallon, which is better than the best gas engines.
The long run-times make it possible to use the generator throughout the night without getting out of bed to refuel it. My only concern with using it all night is that it’s loud, I don’t think you will get much sleep. Generac does not provide noise level measurements. But all users giving feedback, consider the generator to be extremely loud. One person reported that you have to use ear protection within 50 feet of the generator.
Because the Generac is delivered without a battery, some customers tried to start it with the recoil starter. They soon realized that to be started manually, it still needs a battery. This is because it has a fuel cut-off solenoid that requires power. The recoil starter is not meant as a backup for a flat battery. It is simply a backup if the electric starter should fail. A compression release lever reduces compression to make it easier to spin the motor with the recoil starter. Nevertheless, many users stated that it’s hard to start the engine manually. When using the electric starter, it fires up easily.
Do yourself a big favor and get the Generac 6910 wheel kit : (sold separately)
The Yanmar engine uses direct injection with the fuel cut-off valve to stop the engine. A fuel primer bulb is used to prime the line with fuel when the fuel tank was run empty. The engine is protected by a shutdown circuit when low oil pressure is detected. It will therefore not allow the engine to start when the oil is low, something to keep in mind.
The controls on the interface panel are neatly grouped and clear. The two GFCI 120 Volt AC / 20 Amp duplex outlets are individually grouped with a trip switch. A 120V/240V twist lock NEMA L14-30R Outlet and a 120V twist lock NEMA L5-30R Outlet are grouped together. The two twist lock outlets share one 30 Amp trip switch. The Generac is fitted with a 120/240V selector switch that provides the full power of the generator to the 120V outlets. You cannot use the 240V outlet when it is selected. It has an hour meter that tracks usage and monitors maintenance cycles.
This Generac uses a quality generator with what they call True Power Technology, with less than 5% total harmonic distortion. The advantage is that you can use it with all sensitive electronics, tools, and appliances.
This is a high-quality portable diesel generator that’s easy to recommend, the only complaint I have is that it’s noisy.
What can you run with a 5,000-watt generator?
You can support some of the house appliances
American homes use between 100 Amp and 200 Amp feeders. To power the whole house, a generator needs about 30,000 Watts and more. The typical standard for a modern home is 100 amps or 22,000 Watt. Whole house generators are installed as a fixture and are not portable like the 5,000 Watt generators. 5,000 Watt at 240 Volt is 20.8 Amps, and at 120 Volt it’s 41.66 Amps. So, clearly, the 5,000 Watt generator is not enough for the entire home.
If a 5,000 Watt generator is what your budget allows, you have to decide what to compromise on. I suggest that you have a family meeting and determine the most important appliances that you need. Generally, you should be able to run the following with a 5,000 Watt running, 5,700 Watt starting current generator:
- 5 x 18-Watt Energy savers, 1 refrigerator/ freezer, 1 furnace fan blower- 1/3 HP, 1 AM/FM radio, 1 microwave oven, 1 coffee maker, 1 food processor, 1 electric can opener, 1 personal computer with a 17″ monitor, 1 inkjet printer, 2 cell phone battery chargers, internet communications equipment.
Your choices may differ a lot from what I listed here, it’s merely a guideline to give you some indication of the possibilities. The Honda generator site offers a comprehensive guide to what a generator can support and lists most appliances and tools. It is worth visiting.
Any selection will be a compromise that is limited by the generator you can afford. Only you can determine the mix. Remember that things like a refrigerator/ freezer, furnace fan blower, and communications equipment will be on all the time. The microwave oven, electric can opener and food processor will only be used when needed. While you are not preparing food, you could even run a clothes dryer with the power reserved for the microwave. To push the limits, you need an indication of the current load on the generator before you can safely add another device. Unfortunately, it means visiting the generator to determine the load. Alternatively, you may simply try it and risk a circuit trip, requiring a reset at the generator. This is the reason why no-one loads a generator to its full capacity.