2021 is the year of the DuroMax XP9000iH — the biggest inverter generator, even more powerful than the Honda EU7000iSNAG — and it can run on gas or propane, which the Honda can’t do. I firmly believe every home should have a generator, and the events of the past year have proven my point that when things go south you can only rely on yourself. Not the government, not even your neighbors. Preparedness is key to getting through a difficult situation, whether it be a hurricane or snowstorm.
And if you want to be prepared for whatever’s coming, the best time to do so is right now. Seriously, if you want to get a generator for home backup purposes, don’t wait. Blackouts don’t send you a warning beforehand so you can prep. When it happens, you’re going to see a long line of people at the hardware store buying up whichever generator they find on the shelves. And an equally long line of people with red fuel cans near the gas station.
The DuroMax XP9000iH ensures you’re prepared for just about anything, and it has the power to run every essential appliance in your home simultaneously. With 9000 peak watts and 7600 running watts, you can go days without giving up on modern conveniences like refrigeration, TV, internet, air conditioning, etc.And since this is a dual-fuel generator, you can run it with propane. Later in this article, I will talk about all the advantages of propane over gasoline, and why I feel any serious emergency generator has to be dual-fuel.
Control Panel for the DuroMax XP9000iH
What really makes the DuroMax XP9000iH stand out is the fact that it’s an inverter generator. Look, 9000W generators aren’t anything new. But until recently, the highest capacity inverter generator you could purchase was the incredibly expensive (and now dated) Honda EU7000is. Inverters are quieter and more fuel-efficient compared to conventional gensets but they cost more per watt and don’t really give you the high-end capacity of a large conventional generator.
All that changes with the DuroMax XP9000iH. It generates significantly more power than the Honda EU7000is, the previous high-end inverter champ, while costing half as much. Half the price for 38% more continuous power and 28% more peak power? Sign me up please! The Honda does have some advantages over the DuroMax. Like a CO-sensor on the updated EU7000iSNAG models which improves operator safety. However, you can easily fix this by purchasing your own CO sensor.
Despite its advantages in terms of build quality and quietness of operation, the Honda doesn’t have parallel operation. In contrast, the DuroMax XP9000iH does support parallel operation. If for some reason 7600 running watts isn’t enough, you can hook up two of these beasts and power all of Manhattan while simultaneously running a tailgate party from your truck.
In this article, I talk about the advantages an inverter generator provides over a regular generator (and there are many). I also talk about the benefits of redundancy when it comes to generators, i.e. why it’s beneficial to own two medium-sized generators over one large generator. Generator sizing is also important because larger isn’t always better. Fuel consumption and storage are two issues that come into focus really fast when you run out of gas on the 2nd day of a 1-week blackout. Ideally, you want enough fuel at hand to run your generator for 2 weeks (assuming 10-hours of operation daily). But before all that, let’s take a more in-depth look at the star of this show, the DuroMax XP9000iH.
DuroMax XP9000iH | Review
- Power on the Go – With 9,000 peak watts and 7,600 running watts, this generator is perfect for emergency home power, jobsite use, or camping with your RV.
- Dual Fuel Technology – This generator runs on gasoline or propane giving you the freedom and flexibility of fuel choice. Why Dual Fuel?
- Inverter Technology – Provides clean, stable power for sensitive electronics including televisions and computers.
- Remote Start – Start the generator conveniently with the remote control.
- Automatic Transfer Switch Ready – Equipped with an ATS outlet making it easy to connect to a compatible Automatic Transfer Switch
- Battery Tender – Keep your generator’s battery charged and ready to start at a moment’s notice.
- Low Oil Shutoff – Protects your investment by automatically shutting the generator off when it senses that the oil is low.
- Digital Control Center – The Digital Control Center features an LCD display showing hours run, voltage output, and load level.
- Parallel Capability – Connect two XP9000iH inverters together to double your power to 18,000 peak watts and 15,200 running watts. (Parallel kit sold separately.)
- Complies with Emissions Standards – All DuroMax generators are both approved by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and CARB (California Air Resources Board) and follow strict guidelines to ensure our generators are as environmentally friendly as possible.
“With its insane power output, duel-fuel capability, and inverter technology this is almost the perfect portable generator. Almost. If DuroMax put a CO-sensor and larger fuel tank in the XP9000iH, it would be the complete package. Nevertheless, it’s still the highest capacity inverter generator on the market, beating out the venerable Honda EU7000is. You get tons of pure sine wave AC power to run everything from your fridge to your AC, including sensitive electronics (computers, TVs, game consoles, etc.). The quality of AC current you get from one of these generators is comparable to what your utility company provides. The best part? You can easily load one of these generators in the back of your truck for powering off-grid events. And if 7600 running/ 9000 starting watts aren’t enough, the XP9000iH also supports parallel operation.”
When people think about why they need an inverter generator, the reasoning is something along the lines of “well, I need clean AC power for my computer and mobile phone”. And while it’s true that inverter generators are excellent at powering computers phones, TVs, etc., they are also really good for just about any modern home appliance that uses logic boards or microprocessors.
You may not know it, but your brand new Energy Star rated french door refrigerator has a whole bunch of delicate electronic circuitry inside. It has a logic board, with a microprocessor to monitor and optimized energy consumption/ temperatures. If there is a lot of variation in the voltage coming in, these logic boards could get damaged. A conventional generator uses an AVR (automatic voltage regulator) to keep the outgoing voltage steady. On average, it supplies a 110 to 120V AC current. However, let’s say you’ve got your well pump connected to the generator. And right when that pump cycles on to fill up your water tank, you will notice a sudden change in the RPM of your generator. Instead of the regular buzzing sound, it will emit a low hum as the engine strains to keep up with the suddenly increased load. That’s when the output to your refrigerator momentarily dips under 100V (just an example, don’t quote these as exact figures).
Even though this dip only lasts for a fraction of a second, it is enough to damage circuits. Now, add in an air conditioner. Whenever its compressor cycles on, your conventional generator will struggle to maintain a consistent power supply. And this is independent of the capacity of your generator, it could be a massive 12kW unit and you will still get dirty power at times like these. Another thing worth noting is that regular generators don’t even produce a true sine wave AC current, what they generate is a stepped or approximated sine wave. Over longer periods of time, this will damage sensitive circuitry since there are more “spikes” in the power.
The DuroMax XP9000iH is an inverter generator, which means it has a multi-stage power generation system. In the first phase, AC power is generated by the alternator. Then in the 2nd phase, this AC power (which is 3-phase at a frequency of several thousand Hz) gets rectified into 12V DC. And finally in the 3rd phase, this DC current is inverted back into 120/ 240 volt AC. The resulting AC current is a true sine wave pattern, with no square peaks. And the voltage doesn’t fluctuate nearly as much as a conventional generator, even when you attach/ remove heavy loads.
If it isn’t clear by now, I’m a huge fan of the DuroMax XP9000iH. In my opinion, there are 3 really good reasons to buy this particular generator. And here they are-
- Plenty of Power (both peak and continuous):
Generators are capable of putting out way more power than what they’re rated for, but only for short bursts of time. This is called “peak” power, it’s either included in the model name or printed on the front of the box. Marketing folk know that bigger numbers grab more attention, so they highlight that aspect of a generator.
The Honda EU7000iS isn’t capable of generating a continuous 7000 watts. And the DuroMax XP9000iH can’t generate 9000W for sustained periods either. So if you’re trying to size your generator, add up all the running watts from every appliance you plan to run simultaneously. Then add 20% to that number for safety and future expandability. The XP9000iH is rated for 7600W continuous, which is very impressive for a portable inverter unit. For instance, it can power your electric range, clothes dryer, and air conditioning unit- all at the same time.
However, starting watts isn’t just for marketing, it has a very important function. Any capacitive/ inductive load requires way more current to start up than it does to run. Think about appliances with motors or compressors inside, such as pumps and air conditioners. As an example, a ½ hp sump pump will run on 1050 watts. However, to get spooled up it needs 2150 watts. That’s because a motor draws way more current while starting from a resting state, thanks to something called “inrush current”. To overcome this phenomenon, you need to supply way more watts at the start.
The same happens when your refrigerator’s compressor cycles on. If the compressor of your fridge, and your sump pump cycle on at the same time you need a generator with high peak watts to handle such a situation. Otherwise, your appliances might get damaged. A DuroMax XP9000iH should have zero issues, thanks to its massive 9000 peak watts.
2. Dual-Fuel Capability:
The DuroMax XP9000iH can run on both propane and gasoline, that’s why it is called a “dual-fuel” generator. Any if you’re looking to power your home during an emergency, this is an extremely important feature to have. Let me explain why. First of all, propane can be stored way longer than gasoline. Disasters don’t happen every day, and most folks living in cities only pull the generator out from their garage during hurricane season.
If your generator spends 95 percent of its lifetime sitting inside a shed, guess what happens to the fuel system- it gets corroded and gums up. That is why, every generator expert recommends draining every last drop of gasoline from your generator’s carburetor and fuel lines before storing it. You do so by shutting off the fuel line and letting the engine run till it has sucked every last bit of fuel out from the lines.
On top of that, gasoline must be mixed with fuel-stabilizers if you plan on storing it for several months. The reactive compounds within gasoline degrade over time, and moisture in your gasoline will significantly reduce its effectiveness. That’s why you have those specially designed fuel cans for storing gas. If you’re in the middle of a storm-induced blackout and you pull out your generator only to realize that the gas won’t work, you’re basically stuck with an extremely expensive paperweight.
Propane is a completely different beast. It doesn’t carry moisture, nor does it gum up the fuel system. A propane generator will start every time you pull it outside, no matter how long it was in storage prior to operation. Propane tanks last forever, and if you want you can even install underground tanks which hold hundreds of pounds of propane. That will let you run your dual-fuel generator for weeks on end.
And believe it or not, propane is actually safer to transport than gasoline. DoT (department of transportation) certified propane tanks don’t rupture or leak that easily, so you can easily toss a few in the trunk of your car. Way safer than gasoline sloshing all around the place if you ever get into an accident.
Oh, and did you ever notice how there’s always a long queue of people at the gas station every time weather reports show a hurricane forming? Well, guess what- there is only so much gas in there. And once a snowstorm or hurricane cuts off the roads leading into your town, your local gas station isn’t getting any fuel trucks to replenish its reserves.
Sometimes gas stations will have plastic bags tied over the pump nozzle with a sign indicating that they are out of fuel. This may or may not be true, since often they will reserve fuel for emergency services, police, and government vehicles. It’s a good thing most police and government vehicles run on gas/ diesel instead of propane. That leaves you with more fuel than your neighbors who rely on a regular gas generator.
Propane is something you will find readily at hardware and general purpose stores. Perhaps you have a metered natural gas line at your home, in which case a duel-fuel generator makes complete sense. Propane also burns cleaner than gasoline, so there will be less fumes. Depending on where you live, it might even be cheaper than gas.
Now, there are flaws with propane. The most prominent downside is the fact that you lose anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of your power output by switching to propane. So you have to compensate accordingly by oversizing your generator or storing more fuel. That’s because propane doesn’t have the energy density of fuels like gasoline or diesel. The DuroMax XP9000iH drops from 7600W continuous/ 9000W peak on gasoline to 7200W continuous/ 8550W peak on propane. The voltage stays the same, you get the same pure sine wave current but lose a few amps. That’s how the power output goes down since power = voltage x amps.
3. Remote Start and Electric Start:
These may not stand out at first since this is a fairly expensive generator and you expect to see some quality of life add-ons. However, there are much cheaper generators out there with remote and electric start. Why do I like them so much on the DuroMax when you can get the same functionality for a much cheaper price elsewhere?
Well, the DuroMax XP9000iH actually takes full advantage of those features. Let me explain. Remote start on a really small or even mid-sized generator doesn’t do a whole lot because most of the time such generators are used in outdoor events, tailgating, camping, etc. You are already outside, so all you have to do is walk over and turn the generator on or off. Plus, when the actual generator itself costs 400 bucks you would rather the cost of the battery and wireless transceiver go towards a larger fuel tank or extra wattage.
On a 9000W generator like the XP9000iH you’re using it to power your entire home during a snowstorm or blizzard. In which case you’re more likely to turn it on or off from your bedroom instead of walking outside. And the cost of the wireless functionality is only a small fraction of the net cost of the generator itself. At 9000W you start to desire luxury features instead of even more power.
Finally, and most importantly- starting a 200cc generator engine with a recoil starter isn’t that hard. Even senior citizens and kids can do it with some training. However, try starting a 459cc engine with a pull cord. You’ll quickly reconsider your choices, right after you throw out your back. So on a large generator like this, electric and remote start are a necessity rather than a luxury.
Now that I’ve elaborated on my top 3 reasons to purchase a DuroMax XP9000iH, let’s talk about who should consider getting one of these. More specifically, the applications in which a generator like this makes sense.
First off, you’ve got home backup during emergencies. With its ATF (Automatic Transfer Switch) outlet and 11hr (gasoline) runtime at 50% load, the XP9000iH has been designed to excel at home backup. Hook it up to a transfer switch, and you can seamlessly power all essential home circuits throughout the entire night. With generators that don’t have a transfer switch outlet, you have to directly connect your appliances. That’s fine if you just want to power some LED lights and the refrigerator. But what about hardwired appliances such as the oven, dryer, dishwasher, etc.? Hardwired appliances aren’t “plugged in”, they connect to your home’s main electric panel.
A transfer switch lets you safely power all such appliances without having to jerry rig your own wiring which runs the risk of backfeeding current into the mains. If you use your generator to back feed the home electrical system, you could blow up delicate appliances like the TV or computer. At worst, you could energize the mains and kill some utility worker who’s repairing the lines several hundred feet away from your house.
Always get a certified electrician to install a transfer switch if you are serious about backing up your home with your generator. On that note, you also need to weather-proof your generator. The cheap way to do it is by purchasing a generator cover. However, you could also DIY a wooden shed with some internal foam insulation and a designated exhaust pipe to direct the fumes in a safe direction. Not only will this keep your generator safe from the elements, but it will also reduce the chances of generator theft.
Other than home backup, the DuroMax XP9000iH also functions exceptionally well as a jobsite generator. It is built rugged, with a tubular steel frame underneath the all-enclosed plastic shell. Even the plastic is thick, and high-quality. Wheels are built into the frame, two on the front and two in the back. Most open frame generators of this size just have 2 rear wheels and use stands in the front. So you have to lift up the front end to move the generator. With the XP9000iH you only need to apply lateral force if you want to move it around. There are two carry handles on either end, so a crew of 2 can easily load or unload this generator from a truck bed.
Another reason for taking this generator to jobsites is the 240V output which lets you run tools that a normal portable generator can’t. Plasma cutters, MIG/ TIG welders, and similar high-draw tools will benefit from the 240V outlet. Plus, all outlets are GFCI protected so you can rest assured the breaker will trip as soon as a short is detected. If you’re running extension cords from the generator to the workplace, you don’t want it shorting due to a puddle of water or a vehicle running over the cords. GFCI protection keeps you and your tools safe. It also comes in handy at home, especially if you’re using the generator during a blizzard or flood when the ground outside is wet.
The XP9000iH can be used as a camping generator. However, I don’t recommend it for most campers. It is far too large and heavy, AND you’re better off with a 3500 or 4000W inverter generator if you just want to run the RV air conditioner. Even though the XP9000iH isn’t all that loud, it’s still louder than small or medium-sized inverter generators, hence it won’t fair too well on campgrounds and national parks. Plus, fuel consumption becomes a concern while travelling if you ever use this generator at its limits (which is really hard to do in a camper, you won’t even get close to using 7600W running/ 9000W peak).
Parallel Operation | Advantages Of Running Multiple Generators
A lot of modern inverter generators have this feature where you can use a parallel kit to hook up two similar generators together. This takes the output from both, and synchronizes voltage, frequency, phase, etc. into a single stream so you essentially double the wattage. With a beast of a generator like the XP9000iH, you can get over 14kW of power in parallel which is actually in standby generator territory.
However, I am not a huge fan of hooking up two large generators together and the primary reason is the fact that you significantly increase noise and fuel consumption. At that point just get a home standby generator. Not like your dual 237lb generator setup is portable, so might as well get a stationary system which powers your entire home and is more fuel efficient.
Where parallelization really shines is in the medium-sized generator segment. Imagine two 4000W generators hooked up to power an entire home or outdoor event. You do create more noise, but a single 4000W inverter unit isn’t that noisy to begin with. And while the fuel consumption goes up, you gain a multitude of benefits. The most obvious one is twice the power, but there’s a lot more to it.
Splitting or compartmentalizing the load between two independent units creates a more reliable system. If one fails, your entire home doesn’t stay in the dark. You can still power half the appliances, and usually cover most of the essential stuff with just one generator. Plus, it’s totally worth it to buy two medium-sized generators just for redundancy.
For example, you can run one generator till its tank is empty and then start up the 2nd one while the first cools off. Anybody who is experienced with generators will tell you that trying to refuel a hot genset with gasoline can result in a fire. Never refuel a generator that has been running for several hours near your garage or house. When you spill gasoline on a hot muffler or cylinder, the vapors will catch fire and then it all spreads inside towards the tank resulting in a big fireball. Often times, this happens during the day under direct sunlight since you can’t see the tiny flames that set the whole thing ablaze. If you overfill the tank, fuel will pour out onto the hot engine underneath.
Running two generators also frees up your maintenance cycle, since you can change the filter/ spark plug on one unit without losing power in your jobsite or home. It also increases the lifespan of each individual unit since there is less wear and tear. You can even share spare parts between the two if both are the same model. I recommend you keep fresh air filters, spark plugs, inline fuel filters, etc. in a box. Tape it up, label it “generator maintenance” and store it in the garage.
Note: If you’re running medical equipment or business-critical computers in the house, a dual-generator setup is way more failure resistant than a single large generator.
Learn more by visiting the DuroMax site.
Review : Westinghouse iGen4500 | Great Value
“You’re getting a lot of generator for your money with this one, and the Westinghouse seal of assurance. As a company, Westinghouse has been around since 1886 and they manufacture some of the finest power generation equipment. What sets them apart is their value-oriented approach that targets the average homeowner/ DIYer. The iGen4500 has many features you expect to see in far more expensive generators, like remote start. And its real-time LED data display helps you get an idea of outgoing power, voltage, remaining runtime, etc. with a quick glance.”
Value for money is the name of the game here, and the iGen4500 with its suite of premium features delivers exactly that. Remote start isn’t necessary on a generator of this size, especially with modern engine decompression systems which significantly lower pull cord resistance. However, if you’re gifting one of these to your daughter or grandfather, the remote start is a nice thing to have. One press of a button on the remote, and the genset whispers into action. I say whisper, because Westinghouse have worked some real magic hear to keep the noise levels under 55dBA for the most part.
The enclosure is plastic, like most inverter generators. Unlike steel, upon taking a hit it won’t deform permanently. Instead, it gives way and bounces back right away. Which is why it can actually be used on a jobsite to run saws and angle grinders. It sure has the power to run tools, 3700W running and 4500W peak. The enclosure has double insulation layers on the inside to attenuate engine noise, and since this is an inverter the engine automatically decreases RPM when you lower the load. This saves on fuel and reduces noise at the same time.
Westinghouse also uses asymmetrical cooling fans and low tone mufflers to further lower noise levels, which get as low as 52dBA on this generator (if it is running extremely light loads). For reference, a normal face-to-face conversation between 2 people registers at just under 60 decibels. You can totally have a conversation with this generator powering your fridge and TV in the background.
Runtime with 25% load (925 watts) is 18 hours, and that’s on a measly 3.4 gallon gas tank. If you’re just running some lights and a computer + fridge, you can easily survive for 10 days or more with 34 gallons of fuel. The iGen4500 is RV-ready with a TT-30R 120V outlet. At 98lbs it isn’t super light, but one healthy adult male can load it onto the back of a truck. If you need to power an entire home, you can do so easily with two iGen4500s since this generator supports parallel operation.
Review : Champion 100263 | Compact & Versatile
“While it’s priced similarly to the Westinghouse iGen4500, this Champion generator is rated for a lower wattage. However, it more than makes up for that with dual-fuel operation. One of the cheapest dual-fuel generators you can buy, and an inverter on top of that. The Champion 100263 is also extremely compact and fairly quiet, so you can comfortably take one to the campgrounds in your RV.”
Another compact inverter generator which is perfect for parallelized operation at home or in a jobsite. The Champion 100263 generates 3100 running watts on gas, and 2790 running watts on propane. Operating two of these in parallel with propane will make up for the slight loss in power of each individual unit. Plus, you literally double your runtime with the same load amount if you’re using propane.
Champion states that the runtime at 1/4th load on gas is 7.5hrs, which is quite respectable considering the tiny 1.6 gallon tank. However, switch to propane and you now get a whopping 14.5hrs of runtime for the same 1/4th load. Well worth the slight reduction in power output if you ask me. Not like you should run one of these at 100% load anyways, since you’ll damage the internals.
The 100263 is designed for occasional use, not sustained 100% load scenarios. For stuff like that, you want a Honda. The 100263 has both recoil and electric start, I recommend using the latter for cold starts and the former to save on battery. The 100263 has a 30amp RV outlet. Buying a parallel kit and a 2nd Champion 100263 upgrades you to a 50amp RV outlet which lets you power more systems within your trailer/ toy hauler.
Read our full review of the Champion 100263.
Generator Security | Keep Your Generator From Getting Stolen
Trust me, your friendly neighbors might end up doing some really shady stuff under desperate situations. Modern society is civil, right until there’s no running water or electricity for several days. I recall this really amusing story of one family who purchased an expensive 7kW portable generator in the middle of a natural disaster, and were using it to power their fans, lights, etc. While the generator was running, they could hear it chugging in the backyard.
Upon hearing that familiar sound, you get this reassuring feeling in the back of your head that everything is alright. You’ve got lights, refrigeration, internet, etc. However, all of a sudden the family noticed that their lights and fans died out. But they could still hear the sound of an engine outside. When they went to inspect, someone had apparently made off with the brand-new 7000W generator and replaced it with an old rusty lawn mower. Learn from this, and secure your generator folks. Chain it down, construct a shed, do something that makes it harder for people to jump the fence and carry it away. At least with the DuroMax XP7000iH you know they will need multiple people and a vehicle to steal it, because it weighs 237lbs.