When people talk about portable generators, two names are bound to come up. Champion Power Equipment and Honda are among the top brands in the US for power equipment. If we’re going to delve into the Champion vs Honda generators debate, we need to consider what’s important to the user. Comparing Champion generators to Honda equivalents, isn’t all that simple. There is usually a substantial difference in price. But is price the only difference between Champion and Honda generators? We’re going to compare the brands, looking at their respective histories, where these generators are made, and how they perform.
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Champion vs Honda Generators
If this were a popularity contest, it would be difficult to choose a winner. Both Honda and Champion generators are top sellers. The Champion power Equipment brand is recognized as being affordable with world class performance. While Honda generators are typically more expensive than most others in a similar class, they remain highly sought after. This has mostly to do with a reputation for quality and durability that spans decades.
Champion Power Equipment
Since their inception, in 2003, Champion Power Equipment has established themselves as a major player on the North American continent. From their original headquarters in Santa Fe Springs, California, the company has expanded rapidly. Today, Champion facilities can be found in Jackson, Tennessee; Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Toronto, Canada.
Champion product research and engineering takes place at their Milwaukee facility. Here, the engineers make sure that Champion generators are designed to compete with the best generator manufacturers in the world. Innovations, like the Champion V-Twin engine, have placed the brand in high-standing. Champion is also one of the leaders in dual fuel technology, with a huge selection of generators designed to run on either gas or propane. They also manufacture a comprehensive range of inverter generators.
While Champion generators are developed and designed in the US, manufacturing is licensed to factories in China. There is some controversy, especially in the US, concerning Chinese made products. To some extent, this may be justified. The term “cheap Chinese Knock-offs” is all too common. Though we need to make a clear distinction between unknown brands, that imitate reputable products, and established international brands that use foreign manufacturing plants.
Most US, European, and Japanese manufacturers have outsourced some (or all) of their production capacity to countries where manufacturing costs are lower. China has taken over the bulk of the world’s manufacturing capacity, but other countries in Asia manufacture products for companies based in established markets.
We need to understand that brands, with a reputation for producing quality equipment, set a high standard for manufacturing practices and quality control. While Champion generators are made in China, product development is done in the USA. Along with this, specifications for materials used and production standards are determined by the Champion engineers in the US. Final quality control is also managed by Champion. The aim is to cut costs, by using Chinese manufacturers, whilst maintaining a high quality standard, set by the engineers at Champion.
To some degree, this may seem like a bit of a compromise. Though, generally, Champion generators are of a high quality standard. While the brand may not stand out as being the best for heavy-duty generators, they have a massive footprint in the domestic generator market. This would be predominantly homeowners, using a generator for backup power, and the recreational generator user (RVs, camping, and tailgating).
The Champion brand has gained a solid reputation for customer service. They have dealerships throughout North America and have generally received high ratings from customers.
Visit the Champion site to see their full line of equipment.
Honda Power Equipment
The Honda company history begins in 1946, shortly after the end of World War II, when Japan was in need of innovative thinkers to take the country forward. Soichiro Honda was one such person. The company stared out by supplying disused army generator engines to be used as a supplementary powertrain for bicycles. The popularity of this concept soon saw Honda developing and manufacturing small, lightweight engines that could be easily retrofitted to bicycles.
This initial success led Honda to become one of the top motorcycle manufacturers. In the 1950’s, Honda started developing agricultural equipment. This move into the power equipment sector, saw Honda becoming the innovator of the small portable generator in the early 1960’s.
One thing that has always set Honda apart from most other companies, has been their insatiable commitment to research and development. It is through their massive investment in product development, that Honda has been responsible for some of the most acclaimed internal combustion engines ever built.
In 1977, Honda changed the face of small portable engines, with the introduction of the Honda G-series. This was the forerunner to the ever-popular GX engine series, which became legendary from 1983 onwards. The Honda GX engine was an absolute revolution for its time. Using Overhead Valve (OHV) technology, set this engine on a path to greatness. For close on forty years, the Honda GX engine has become the industry standard for durability, fuel efficiency, and reliability. While the basic engine has remained unchanged, some modifications have been made – mostly improving emissions to meet modern standards. Some of the top GX engines now utilize electronic fuel injection, though most use the original carburetor setup.
In my opinion, it is the Honda GX engine series that has made the company a world leader in the power equipment industry. It is one of the most popular OEM engine, used by many distinguished brands for their top models – ranging from chainsaws to generators.
Honda is not only reputed for manufacturing outstanding gas engines. Highspeed multi-pole alternators and the introduction of lightweight inverters in 1998, has placed Honda on the forefront of portable generator innovation.
Product research and development is expensive, and this is a cost that is transferred to the consumer. This obviously makes Honda generators amongst the most expensive. Along with major investment in development, Honda are meticulous about materials used and quality control. More factors that play a role in the price of Honda generators.
Visit the Honda site to see their full line of power equipment.
Conclusion | Honda vs Champion Generators
If you’ve narrowed your choice down to Champion vs Honda generators, a final decision might well come down to price. Champion generators are good quality, and relatively inexpensive. They have a wide selection of models to choose from, mostly intended for home and recreational use.
Honda have, from their inception, set out to be the best at what they do. Few companies have invested in R & D like Honda has. The result is many world firsts and an unblemished record for excellence. My first choice for a portable generator will always be Honda, despite the price tag.
People who rely on their generators to earn a living, generally consider Honda as the best choice. These would be farmers, contractors, food truck owners, and organizers of outdoor events. This is because of the Honda reputation for reliability and durability. There are home users who want the best, even at a cost, and most of these generator buyers also prefer Honda.
So, the Champion vs Honda generator decision is all price vs quality. Champion Power Equipment may manufacture good generators at a good price. Though, most in the know will agree, Honda manufacture some of the best generators in every class. It goes without saying, that buying the best always costs more.