In this article we review the DuroMax XP2000iS — an affordable 2000 watt inverter generator. We tell you everything you need to know, but also, we review the DuroMax XP2000EH (dual-fuel) and the WEN 56200i. Plus, we sprinkle a few more great options throughout the article. I have to be honest, there a lot of great options for 2000W inverter generators. It seems to be the perfect size for many people so the competition is fierce.
Although you may have come here specifically looking for information on the DuroMax XP2000iS, we give you a whole lot more to think about. Sometimes you don’t know what other great products are available so we do our best to show you a range of options to help you make an informed decision.
In the end it’s up to you to decide which generator is right for you, not to mention the often overlooked question : What’s your budget and/or how much do you want to spend on a generator? If you truly want the best 2000W generator then get the Honda EU2200i or the Yamaha EF2000iSv2, but they will cost you a pretty penny.
Intro | DuroMax XP2000iS & More
There’s no denying that a portable, quiet, inverter generator is a handy thing to have. What may put a lot of people off, is the price tag that comes with buying these more sophisticated options when a conventional, open frame generator is so much cheaper. This is why I’m delighted to be reviewing the DuroMax XP2000iS silent inverter generator. It’s a budget-friendly, wonderfully compact and lightweight generator that can compete with the best of them. Yet it’s as affordable as anyone could hope for. We’ll also take a look at the DuroMax XP2000EH, a hybrid (dual fuel) version of the same generator.
An Excellent 2200 Watt Inverter Generator | Westinghouse iGen2200
To compare the nifty little DuroMax XP2000iS to the more expensive equivalents from brands like Honda or Yamaha simply wouldn’t be a fair comparison. Admittedly, the more expensive inverter generators have a reputation for being virtually indestructible, but they can be out of the reach of many generator buyers. For many of us, a generator is not something we use all that regularly. If you enjoy the convenience of having electric power for camping trips, tailgating, and the occasional power outage, you probably don’t need the most expensive inverter generator available. You need something that’s going to be reliable and last for a decent period of time when used a few times a year.
So as a reasonable comparison, for the same type of use, I’ll also be reviewing the WEN 56200i. They’re almost identical in price and I place both brands in a similar category. This being an affordable generator for general use. Contractors and farmers who use their generators almost daily, might see the sense in paying extra for a more heavy-duty machine. But for most of us, a very affordable generator that’s still durable enough to meet our demands, is a perfect solution.
Unique Design : Stackable. Run two in parallel | Champion 73536i
One of the many questions that arise when people look at generators, is the power that you need. Will this generator be able to supply enough power for a refrigerator or air conditioner? This is a question I come across regularly when researching and reviewing generators. I’ll cover this and some other frequently asked questions on generators, after reviewing the DuroMax XP2000iS and the other two options. The long and the short of it is that all of these inverter generators have parallel connection ports. This means that you can connect one or more generator in parallel to increase your power output. I’ll discuss this in more detail later.
Let’s get right into it. Starting with star of the show, the wonderfully affordable DuroMax XP2000iS.
DuroMax XP2000iS Side Kick — 2000W
Full Review : Inverter Generator
- Duromax XP2000is side kick 2000-Watt peak output (1600-Watt rated)
- Inverter technology provides clean, stable power for sensitive electronics
- Lightweight – 40% lighter than similar models make it easy to transport
- Parallel capability makes daisy-chaining easy to get the maximum power of 2 side kick generators
- Longer run time – up to 6.5 hours on a single tank of gas at 50% load
- Quiet – great for camping, tailgating, home and recreational use
- EPA approved for safe use in 49 states
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the DuroMax XP2000iS.
Overview (DuroMax XP2000iS)
I’ve researched most of the DuroMax generators for the purpose of providing an accurate customer review. One thing I’ve found, without exception, is the incredible value that you get from this brand. While I wouldn’t call DuroMax generators industrial-grade machines, they are incredibly well-made and exceptionally durable when compared to just about any other in this class of generator designed for domestic use. When it comes to features and ease of use, the DuroMax XP2000iS can compete with any of the best 2000W inverter generators.
Low Noise Levels
The sleek modern look of this generator compares with most modern quiet generators. It is enclosed in a durable, shock resistant plastic housing. Besides making the generator lighter and more ergonomic, this enclosure serves a very practical purpose. It keeps the noise from escaping. Combined with a remarkably quiet engine and extremely efficient muffler, the sound-proof housing makes it a refreshingly quiet little machine. So it won’t upset your neighbors or yourself, and you won’t be the focus of anger in a crowded campsite. I only have unconfirmed sound readings of about 60dBA at 50% load, which seems perfectly realistic to me.
With a peak power output of 2000W and 1600 watts of continuous power, the DuroMax XP2000iS is capable of starting and running most refrigerators and room air conditioners. Though this is near the top limit of your available power and you won’t be able to use much more than this – perhaps a TV or computer and a few lights. Of course, if you need more power to run a microwave and other appliances at the same time, or supply a 15,000 BTU RV air conditioner, you can always daisy-chain a second (or even third) DuroMax using the parallel connection kit. This is sold as an optional extra and includes extra outlets, as well as a large RV-style twist lock outlet for added convenience.
Pure Sine Wave Inverter
The big advantage of using a sophisticated digital inverter like this is that, even when pushed to the limit, the generator will supply a clean, constant, low HD current. There’s absolutely no chance of your electronic equipment sustaining any damage from voltage or frequency fluctuations. The Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) for this generator should be lower than 3% which is the accepted level for any type of electronic circuitry. I would think that the THD could be much lower than the spec given. Though, in the absence of any verified data, we can safely assume that the 2000W DuroMax inverter generator meets at least the recommended THD level for this type of pure sine wave inverter.
Reliable Low Emission Engine
The engine is great with all the mod cons that we’d expect from an advanced modern generator. It’s a smooth running 80cc (3 HP), 4-stroke engine with the best that modern technology has to offer. The recoil starter is aided by automatic decompression, so it starts effortlessly in all weather conditions. The engine is both EPA and CARB compliant, there’s no need to worry about emission levels. This is one of the cleanest burning, environmentally friendly engines used to power a generator.
Watching your budget doesn’t only apply to the purchase price of your generator, your running costs are going to affect your pocket for the lifetime of the machine. So I consider fuel consumption as a big factor in making a realistic cost evaluation. To this end, the lean DuroMax is one of the best in its class. It has a tiny 1.3-gallon gas tank and this will keep the generator running for 8-hours at 50% load. To make an accurate assessment for comparing fuel consumption figures, like one would looking at miles per gallon for a car, I use kilowatt-hours per gallon when doing the same for generators. Anything above 4.5 kilowatt-hours per gallon, I consider to be above average and upwards of 5 KWH/G is rare and exceptional. The DuroMax comes in at 4.9 KW/G – well above average. So it makes the grade as one of the best in terms fuel economy.
Safety and Convenience
All the safety features that one would expect to find on a modern generator are included. It has low oil shut off to protect the engine and a spark arresting muffler. All the circuits are overload protected by circuit breakers and it has all the necessary warning lights. It also has a built-in surge arrestor for complete piece of mind. There’s a switch for the economy mode that reduces the RPM at lower loads. This helps to save fuel and reduce noise levels. A nicely clustered array of outlets provide everything you need in an easy to use format. It has 2 X 120V standard household outlets; a 12V 8A battery charging outlet (automotive or cigarette lighter style), and a 5V 1.5A USB outlet for charging cell phones and tablets.
The DuroMax XP2000iS is designed for ultimate portability. It weighs only 47 LBS and has a comfortable handle. You can carry it like a suitcase and pop it into the trunk of your car. So you can basically take it anywhere you go without any extra effort. Apart from the plastic enclosure, it is made entirely from steel and this makes it quite durable. Even the enclosure can take quite a few knocks without sustaining any damage.
Is the DuroMax XP2000iS right for you?
I think that the incredible affordability of this generator, without any compromise on high-end features, gives the DuroMax XP2000iS the wow factor. It’s a winning combination of cost vs function vs quality. With a 3-year domestic warranty (1-year for commercial use), and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, you can rest assured that the people at DuroMax are confident about supplying a quality product. It would be hard to resist this model when you compare it most others.
I could only find one negative customer review for this generator. One guy said it took half an hour to start after the generator stood for a month. I’ll bet anything that he left gas in carburetor. Any generator that hasn’t had the fuel drained will be difficult to start if stands for a long period of time. Even though a month doesn’t seem very long, generally 3-months is considered to be the time span for gas to degrade. There’s no telling how long the fuel was stored before it was decanted into the tank.
As a rule of thumb, I recommend running the generator with the fuel line closed until the engine shuts off from fuel starvation every time before you store it. Since the general consensus is that this is a very easy generator to start, I’d say my assessment of the situation is probably correct. Basically, if you want your generator to serve you well, treat it properly and follow the usage and maintenance requirements as per your user manual.
DuroMax XP2000EH — Dual-Fuel
Highly versatile generator due to its dual-fuel capabilities (propane and gas). You won’t find many 2000W dual-fuel inverter generators on the market. DuroMax has engineered a great product to cater to consumers who value the flexibility of being able to use gas or propane in a compact design.
- 2000 Watt Peak Output / 1600 Watts Running (rated)
- Inverter technology provides clean, stable power for sensitive electronics.
- Lightweight – 40% lighter than similar models make it easy to transport.
- Parallel capability makes daisy-chaining easy to get the maximum power of 2 Side Kick Generators.
- Run Time Gasoline – Up to 8 hours on a single tank of gas @ 50% load.
- Run Time Propane – Up to 20 hours on a 20 lb. propane tank @ 50% load.
- Smart Throttle – Controls idle speed to minimize fuel consumption.
- Quiet – Great for camping, tailgating, home and recreational use.
- Clean running propane will not gum up or damage the carburetor.
- Unlike gasoline, liquid propane can be stored for years.
- Designed to run on gasoline or propane for maximum convenience.
- (2) 120 Volt Household Outlets.
- EPA and CARB Approved
- Parallel sockets allows you to hook together 2 units for added output. (system sold separately)
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the DuroMax XP2000EH.
The DuroMax XP2000EH is, for all intents and purposes, exactly the same generator as the XP2000iS. The only difference with this model is that it’s a hybrid generator. Many of you will know this as a dual fuel generator. It can use either gasoline or propane as a fuel source. So other than the ability to run on propane, all specs and features are identical. I won’t bore you with the common details, you can check this out in the review of the DuroMax XP2000iS above.
The only additional specification that’s relevant, is the consumption and performance when using propane. Runtime on a 20 LBS propane tank is given as 20-hours at 50% load. There are no power output specs given for propane, but this is usually about 10% lower than when running on gas. So you can expect a peak power output of ±1800W and around 1440 watts of constant running power when using propane.
Why would you want a dual fuel generator?
Although you’re paying more for the propane connection, many people find the advantages to using propane worth the extra cost. Propane is widely considered to be one of the cleanest burning fuels and this means that it’s better for the environment. It has lower carbon emission levels. Though there are a number of additional benefits to using propane that will affect your daily use of the generator.
A significant plus factor to using propane is in its storage and transportation. Propane is compressed into a gas state when stored in a tank. This means that you’re able to store and transport a much greater volume of fuel in a smaller container. You just need to look at the runtime that you get from 20 LBS of propane compared to 1.3-gallons of gas to see how much more practical this is, 20-hours on propane vs 8-hours on gas is a significant difference.
The fact that a propane tank doesn’t release any fumes, makes it safer and more pleasant to use and store. Fumes from a gas can pose a fire hazard and it smells unpleasant. Unlike gas, propane can be stored indefinitely. The example I gave of fuel degradation in the conclusion when reviewing the DuroMax XP2000iS won’t happen with propane. You don’t have to run the carburetor dry when using propane. You can also store your propane tanks for months without a problem.
Fuel availability is also a reason why some prefer a hybrid generator. You can use whichever fuel is more readily available and, in some cases, one may be cheaper than the other. The point about availability is particularly valuable in times of natural disaster. Whether it’s because of a hurricane or that the roads are closed during a snow storm, it may be impossible for gas supply trucks to make it to the gas stations. Gas can be in short supply during these times. Especially when you consider that many people will rush to the gas station to fill up their cars and stock up on emergency supplies before the pumps run dry. This is when the ability to use propane, which could well be in supply, might be a life saver.
Because of its clean burning aspects, using propane reduces your maintenance costs. You don’t have the carbon buildup and fuel residue collecting in your carburetor and on your spark plugs as you do with gasoline.
So there’s a long list of benefits to justify the popularity of propane and there’s an increasing trend favoring hybrid generators.
2000 watt inverter generator, CARB compliant.
- Quiet operation : Comparable to the sound of a normal conversation
- EPA III and CARB Compliant
- 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV engine
- 2000W starting watts / 1600W running watts
- 6 hour Run-time at Half Load
- Great for campgrounds, construction sites, tailgates and power outages
- Produces clean power to safely operate and prevent damage to sensitive electronics such as smart phones, tablets, televisions and computers
- Includes : two three-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle and one 5V USB port
When comparing the DuroMax XP2000iS to the WEN 56200i, you might ask which is the best portable inverter generator? That would be kind of like asking if a blue generator is better than an orange generator. The DuroMax is blue, the WEN is orange and that is the most notable difference. They are both almost identical in price and the same can be said for the specs and features. There are a few minor differences. For one thing, the WEN is slightly quieter, though it would be difficult to hear the difference just by listening to them.
On the other hand, the DuroMax XP2000iS narrowly beats the WEN 56200i when we look at their respective fuel consumption figures. Though any comparison of the specs and features for these two inverter generators would be splitting hairs. In general use, it would be almost impossible to notice any of the differences. So it really comes down to which brand you might prefer. Though to my mind, even this would be a difficult distinction to make. Both WEN and DuroMax build high-quality generators for home and medium-duty jobsite applications. So, it really could come down simply to your color preference.
The WEN 56200i has the same sleek exterior as most quiet inverter generators. It’s clad in a tough plastic, sound insulating enclosure. I would say that it is every bit as durable and portable as the DuroMax XP2000iS. It weighs 48 LBs (1-pound more than the DuroMax) and has an equally well-designed handle for easy transportation. So, here again, there’s hardly any noticeable difference. It’s just as compact and you won’t have any problem fitting it into trunk of the smallest car.
The WEN 56200i is powered by a very reliable 79.7cc, 4-stroke, OHV engine which is both CARB and EPA compliant. One little side issue with this engine is that some people have found it difficult to add oil, the filler inlet can spill oil quite easily. Though it seem that by tilting the generator slightly away from you when filling it with oil, you will prevent this from happening. This is something that you’ll easily get used to. Naturally, the WEN has a low oil shutoff to protect the engine. It also has a low fuel shut off. It provides the same 2000W peak power (surge watts) and 1600W of continuous running power. You can increase this in the same way as the DuroMax by making use of the parallel connection kit, which is also sold separately.
The gas tank is slightly smaller than the DuroMax XP2000iS (1-gallon vs 1.3-gallons) and the fuel consumption isn’t quite as good. The combination of a smaller gas tank and minimally higher fuel consumption is probably the only area where one would actually notice any kind of disadvantage to the WEN. The DuroMax will give you 8-hours of runtime on a tank of gas at 50% load, whereas the WEN will give you only 6-hours. In terms actual running costs, however, you’d have to be the most OCD accountant to count the pennies that you’ll save in gas expenses when using the DuroMax. The WEN has a fuel consumption of 4.8 Kilowatt-hours per gallon (0.1 lower than the DuroMax). The WEN has the same rev-lowering economy mode for quieter and more fuel-efficient operation.
Excellent Value for the Money | High Customer Satisfaction
The digital inverter is as good as the best, with less than 0.3 THD at no load and only 1.2 THD at full load. So even when you push the little WEN 56200i to the max, its THD reading will be less than the accepted norm for a true sine wave digital inverter. The control panel is almost identical to that of the DuroMax XP2000iS. The WEN also has 2 X 120V household outlets, a 12V 8A battery charging outlet, and a 5V USB port. The AC outlets are protected by overload circuit breakers.
The only area where the WEN beats the DuroMax is in its low noise level of only 51dBA at 25% load, climbing to 55dBA at 75% load. So even at 75%, the WEN quieter than the DuroMax (60dBA) at 50% load. While none of these noise level specs are louder than a normal conversation, the WEN may be more comfortable for people with sensitive ears. Most of us, wouldn’t take much notice of this difference and both are great for campsites and residential neighborhoods where a noisy generator will be a problem.
So when we nitpick at the details, it emerges that the DuroMax XP2000iS is slightly more fuel efficient and, with its larger gas tank, provides about 25% longer runtime on a tank of gas. The WEN beats the DuroMax when we look at noise levels and all the other differences are really too small to notice in any way. So before deciding which color you prefer, perhaps first ask yourself this: do you prefer a quieter generator, or one that doesn’t require filling of the gas tank as often? That’s about all it comes down to. While both brands offer great quality and service, the WEN offers a shorter warranty term of 2-years. That shouldn’t really affect your decision as many will confirm that WEN machines are very reliable and trustworthy.
Does a 2000 watt generator supply the power that you need?
The most important question that anyone asks before deciding which generator to buy is with regard to the amount of electricity they use and if the generator will handle this. So you need to look at how many watts or amperes you use constantly and what your peak or surge requirements may be.
In the US, generators are usually distinguished by their wattage capacity. Your running watts will be the power that the generator can supply on a constant basis and the surge or peak watts is what the generator can supply for a short period of time, this can be anything from 10 to 30-seconds. This peak power is to allow for the surge or inrush current that is needed when appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners start and is also referred to as starting watts. Because some appliances are rated in watts and others in amps, you may need to convert your spec. This is very simple: you multiply your amps by your voltage to determine the watts. So a 5A, 120V appliance will end up with a calculation that looks like this: 5 X 120 = 600W.
When it comes to lights (particularly LED or CFL) and TVs or computers, you never need to be too concerned about your electricity consumption. None of these electrical apparatus draw a heavy load and they don’t require any start up current – there’s no peak or surge load. Even the smallest generator will provide enough watts to supply a 50” TV (± 150W), a computer (300W or less) and quite a number of lights. Even a relatively loud stereo can be added to this and the power needed for cell phone chargers hardly registers. So for these bare essentials, you seldom need more than 750 – 900 watts of constant power.
Things become more complicated when you add high-current equipment to the list with an even higher start up current. This would be items like refrigerators, air conditioners, pumps and larger microwave ovens. If we look at the two most obvious of these, which could apply to both your home and RV, an air conditioner and refrigerator would come up tops. These appliances vary and Energy Star refrigerators or air conditioners can use about half the power of their more conventional counterparts.
A regular mid-sized refrigerator (with no energy star rating) will use about 400W-600W on a constant basis, requiring about 1200 watts to start. A portable air conditioner will be slightly higher – around 800W continuous power and roughly 1600 – 1800W to start. So if you’re using any of the generators in this review, with a starting capacity of 2000W, you can use them to power either a refrigerator or a small AC, but not both at the same time. This could leave you with enough additional watts for some lights and a TV, but this might not always be the case. So there are definitely limits to what you can use these generators for – especially when supplying emergency power to your home.
This is where the parallel connectivity, provided on most inverter generators, can be a real benefit. If you only need a small amount of power, one small generator with a very low fuel consumption is both practical and economical. When you need more power, it’s simple enough to connect two or more generators in parallel. You’ll end up with the combined power output of all the generators connected to the chain. This is just one of the side-benefits of using an inverter generator, but there’s more to the story.
How Does an Inverter Generator Work?
Traditionally, generators have always supplied a current that’s less than ideal. As the load demand changes, the generator has to constantly adapt to this. As the generator adjusts to varying power demand, there’s a time laps before the RPM increases or decreases. This causes the voltage and or the frequency to change. This effect is known as Harmonic Distortion (HD). Mechanical appliances (electric motors) aren’t affected too much by HD. They may become less efficient and use more electricity while the current is unstable and they will also generate more heat. While this is not the greatest, it doesn’t harm the motor in real way.
Electronic equipment that use a microprocessor are a different story. Each time an electronic circuit board is exposed to HD, some harm is done to the components. Repeated exposure to HD will eventually cause these appliances to fail. Because just about every appliance that we use today has some form of microprocessor, the need arose for a portable generator that will supply a pure sine wave with less than 3% Total Harmonic Distortion (THD). This has resulted in the development of the inverter generator.
You’ve probably been using an inverter for much longer than you realize. The small desktop UPS that supplies uninterrupted power to your computer and other electronic equipment is essentially an inverter charger that supplies inverter power from a battery when the power is interrupted and charges the battery when the mains power is restored to normal. An inverter generator does this constantly. The AC current that’s supplied by the alternator is converted into to DC and then back into AC using an inverter in a process known as double conversion. Because the inverter uses transistors and capacitors to fill in any “gaps” in the sine wave, the power remains perfectly stable. A CPU constantly monitors the input and output voltage of the inverter and adjusts the power accordingly.
Because of the computerized control, an inverter generator has another advantage. Just about every inverter generator has a switch which some call Eco-Mode and other call Smart-Throttle. By either name, this switch does the same thing. By switching the generator to eco-mode, the computer will adjust the RPM of the engine to the electrical load requirement, maximizing fuel efficiency. This has the knock-on effect of reducing noise levels at low RPM. The idea behind this technology is that when you’re not using all the watts that the generator is able to provide, you don’t need to use all the power of the engine. The inverter will adjust the voltage when the load isn’t too high. This not only means lower fuel consumption and quieter operation, it also reduces wear on the engine which, in turn, lowers your maintenance costs.
So inverter generators protect your electronic equipment, reduce your running costs, and are quieter than conventional generators when the power demand drops. The added convenience and versatility of parallel connectivity is an added bonus. Admittedly, inverter generators are more expensive and even the lower fuel consumption and maintenance costs probably won’t entirely make up for this extra expense. However, the cost of replacing your appliances as a result of HD damage can run into thousands of dollars. So for most of us, an inverter generator has become a necessity.
When using a conventional generator, you could use a UPS to protect your computer and possibly your TV and stereo as well. But a small UPS doesn’t supply much power – this can be less than 500W. Since your refrigerator, microwave, air conditioner, and just about every appliance probably has microprocessor, you can’t use a small UPS to protect everything that you use. Basically, any appliance that has touch button controls or an LCD/LED screen has a microprocessor and will be damaged by HD. If you take a look around your home, you’ll probably find this applies to just about every piece of electrical equipment. Even your lights, which are not electronic, may have an electronic dimmer.