How good is the Generac 7117 (GP2200I)? Read our review of this popular inverter generator as well as two other excellent generators to compare to.
Since 1959, Generac has been producing quality generators for every application. From large standby generators down to small portable models for outdoor enthusiasts, Generac has earned a stellar reputation as one of the country’s leading generator brands.
This article is going provide a detailed review of the Generac 7117 GP2200I, one of the best quiet inverter generators. Along with the Generac 7117, we’ll be reviewing two great small inverter generators that offer an alternative for those of you looking for an inverter generator producing around 2000W. These being the Hyundai HY2000si and the Briggs & Stratton P2200 (30651).
These generators are great for tailgating and camping, producing enough power to keep your TV, stereo and few other appliances supplied with clean, pure sine wave, inverter power. With a smaller generator that doesn’t produce many watts/amps, an inverter is quite an important feature. Because your available constant running wattage isn’t very high, you’re likely to be running the generator close to its maximum constant power rating – close to or often exceeding 75% of its rated output. It’s when a generator comes close to its maximum power output that Harmonic Distortion (HD) reaches dangerous levels.
Harmonic Distortion is when the sine wave does not resemble a pure curve. Changes in the voltage and frequency cause irregularities in the sine wave. When using an oscilloscope to observe a sine wave, HD shows as a jagged edge (much like saw teeth), on what should otherwise be a smooth continuous line with a gentle curve at the peak and trough of the wave. Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) should ideally be less than 3% in order for electronic equipment to function properly. When the generator produces THD exceeding 5%, damage to your electronic equipment is inevitable. The effects of HD aren’t immediately apparent, you might notice a distortion or crackle of the sound from stereos and TVs. It may also affect the image of a TV screen or computer monitor.
There are many other appliances that have electronic circuitry. These days, just about every household appliance (and even many power tools) have microprocessors. With most appliances, you won’t even notice the effects of THD. Whether you’re aware of its presence or not, THD will damage electronic circuits over time. This doesn’t happen suddenly, it’s a gradual deterioration and you’ll only know that the damage has become fatal when it’s too late. Even then, it may not be apparent that HD was the cause of the failure. In short, if you’re going to be using a small generator (3.5KW or lower), it’s recommended that you protect your electronic equipment and an inverter is the best way to achieve this. Generally, a larger generator has enough reserve power to prevent HD from being too much of a problem.
So if you’re considering a 2000-2200W inverter generator for your home, your business or for vacations and weekend getaways, we’ve got just the thing for you. All three the generators in this review cost about the same. Though prices may vary, depending on where you buy them. This means that you need not consider the cost of the generator to be too important when comparing them. Choosing between the different models may not be too easy, they’re all great products. You may have a particular brand preference. Even then, it would be better to take a serious look at their features and specs for each of the generators in this review before deciding which is better for your needs. I’ll do my best to point out all the pros and cons of each model as I review them. Hopefully, this review will give you all the information needed to make an informed choice.
If you plan to use any of these generators to power a refrigerator, read the last section of the article – after the generator reviews. This will provide you with the necessary information and it’s important to understand this before choosing to buy one of these generators.
- Quiet and Neighbor Friendly : Fully enclosed design dramatically reduces noise levels
- TruePower Technology : Provides clean, stable power ideal for sensitive electronics, tools and appliances
- Compact and Lightweight : Makes transportation easy with built-in handle
- Economy Mode : Automatically adjusts engine speeds to save fuel and reduce sound emissions
- Integrated Off/Run/Choke Knob : Simplifies startup procedures
- LED Indicators :Alert you when unit is low on oil, overloaded or ready-to-use
- USB Port : For charging mobile devices
- Parallel Ready : Allows you to connect two GP2200i inverter generators for twice the power
- Low-oil Level Shutdown : Automatically safeguards engine from incurring damage
- Covered Outlets : Provide added protection from the environment
- Run in parallel using the Generac 7118 parallel kit.
The Generac 7117 delivers 1700W of running power and a peak (startup or surge) wattage of 2200W. It’s a compact generator in a modern-looking sound-insulated enclosure. Designed for portability, the generator has a carry handle at the top and weighs only 46.6 LBS. Most people won’t have a problem carrying the little Generac with one hand.
The Generac 7117 is powered by an 80cc, OHV engine. This engine is a lot smaller than either of the other two generators that we’re comparing it to and uses much less gas. The 1.2-gallon gas tank will keep the Generac running for 7-hours at 50% load. This works out to a very impressive 5-Kilowatt-hours per gallon. With normal daily use, most people are getting 10-12 hours from a tank of gas. Of course, the fuel consumption will depend on how much electricity you’re using to run your appliances. Like most inverter generators it has an eco-mode (smart throttle) that will reduce the engine revs when the load requirement is lower. This saves on fuel and reduces the noise levels. The engine is protected by low oil shutoff, so there’s no chance of ruining the engine when the oil runs low.
It has a recoil starter only, this is common on generators of this size. You won’t easily find a small generator with an electric starter. It starts very easily and the single dial that moves from stop to start and choke makes it very simple to operate.
The control panel is fantastic with strong plastic covers protecting all the electrical outlets. There’s no shortage of power outlets either. It has a 5-20R 120V Duplex receptacle – providing 2 X standard 120V household outlets. It also has a 12V DC auxiliary (cigarette lighter type) outlet and a 1.5A USB outlet. A parallel connection port allows you to connect two Generac 7117 generators in parallel, thereby doubling your power output. This requires the Generac 7118 parallel kit which includes an L5-30R outlet and a TT-30R RV outlet. This means that you can connect two of these generators (connected in parallel) to your house wiring or RV with either of the 30A outlets.
You’ll have constant power of 3400W (28.3A) and a surge capability of 4400W (36.7A) when using two generators. The control panel has circuit breakers for all the outlets and warning lights for low oil and circuit overload. There’s also a switch to select the economy mode. It’s really nice to see how this generator’s control panel is protected against the rigors of outdoor use. Not only does every outlet have protective covers, but all the switches (including the circuit breakers) are sealed water and dust-resistant type switches.
Unfortunately, there are no official sound level stats for this generator. I read a review from a customer who took a sound level reading with a cellphone app – though I’m not too sure how accurate these apps are and some phones are better than others. So we can’t say for sure how accurate his reading of around 80dBA really is. I would presume that this reading was taken right at the generator – most specified sound levels for a generator are from 23 Ft away. I guess if the reading at the generator is around 80dBA, it should be about 65dBA or less form 23 FT. This would make the Generac’s noise level lower than that of normal conversation – provided you’re more than 23 FT from the generator.
What should attract most people to this generator, when comparing it to the other two, is the fuel consumption which is drastically lower than the others in this review. Personally, I prefer the control panel on this generator for the way in which all the outlets and switches are protected from moisture and dust. This is quite important if you’re using the generator for camping or on a building site. It comes with a 2-year warranty for non-commercial use. For commercial use, the warranty is 1-year.
- This powerful portable generator produces 2200 watts peak power/2000 watts running power, and a runtime of 5.5 hours at 50% load
- The easy and lightweight portable design makes this the perfect generator for your home, sporting events, concerts, tailgating and camping needs
- A clean power source and circuit breaker system with overload protection makes it safe to power on your most sensitive electronics and computers
- Rest assured your portable generator will always be properly maintained with the low oil indicator allowing you to use it for many years to come
- The Hyundai HY2000si series portable generator has a special exhaust and muffler designed to reduce noise and operate at a whisper-quiet 64dB.
- 120V AC outlet.
- 12V DC power for “On The Move” battery charges.
- Vehicle battery charge cables included.
- Whisper queit: 64 dB(a) at max load.
- Light weight of 32kg.
- Fuel efficient 4-stroke Hyundai engine.
- Sleek and compact case for greater portability.
- Smart Power – Clean power source suitable for computers and sensitive electronic equipment.
- Circuit breaker system with overload protection.
- Low oil indicator for additional protection.
- Exhaust and muffler designed for minimal noise.
- Meets Canadian emissions standards.
- Convenient for home, concerts, sporting events, trade shows, and camping.
- 2-year limited warranty.
The biggest benefit to the Hyundai HY2000si, when compared to the other two, is the higher power output for a constant load. The Hyundai produces 2000 watts of continuous running power, whereas the other two only provide 1700W continuous power. It has the same 2200W peak as the others. As we review the Hyundai HY2000si, you’ll see that this generator is way thirstier than the Generac GP2200I.
When one looks at the 125cc, 3.8 HP, OHV engine on the Hyundai HY2000si, it’s little wonder that this generator uses more gas. It has the biggest engine of the three generators in this review. The 1.2-gallon gas tank will give you 5.5-hours of runtime at 50% of the rated load. Even though it has a higher running load capability than the others, which means that 50% of the load is giving you more watts per hour, the Hyundai doesn’t fare well at all when we look at its fuel consumption in relative terms. The Hyundai provides 3.9-Kilowatt-hours per gallon of gas. Nowhere nearly as good as the 5-Kilowatt-hours per gallon that you’ll get from the Generac. Though, when we review the Briggs and Stratton, you’ll see that the Hyundai isn’t the worst when it comes to fuel consumption.
Having such a large engine impacts on the weight of generator by quite a bit. The Hyundai HY2000si weighs 70 LBS. It has a well-designed handle incorporated into the molded plastic sound-insulated housing. So it’s easy to carry if you can manage 70 LBS in one hand. The handle design doesn’t allow for two hands (or two people) when carrying it. Considering its extra weight, it would have made better sense for Hyundai to have gone for a handle design that’s similar to the one on the Briggs and Stratton that we’ll be reviewing next. For people who aren’t too strong, a handle that makes it possible to use two hands and also makes it possible for two people to carry it would have made things easier.
The Hyundai has a very well laid out control panel at the front but lacks the dust and moisture protection that’s so cool on the Generac 7117. It has two standard 120V household outlets, a 12V 8.3A 2-pole outlet, and a 5V USB outlet. This is exactly the same receptacle arrangement as the Generac and the Hyundai also has parallel connection ports. You get alligator clamp connector cables for 12V battery charging and a toolkit with the necessary screwdrivers and wrenches for the generator, as well as a bottle of oil, with your purchase. You’ll need to buy the parallel connection kit separately – but this is the case with all parallel connection generators. Not to mention, that you’ll need to buy another generator.
Like the others, the Hyundai only makes use of a recoil starter and is very easy to start. It has a simple on-off switch to run the generator and switch it off. It also has an economy mode, operated by a switch on the control panel. The Hyundai term for the economy mode is Efficiency mode but it does the same thing as the others – lowers the engine revs when less power is required. As far as protection goes, it has standard circuit breakers for current overload and a warning light to tell you when the circuit has tripped. It has a low oil warning light, but I see no mention of low oil shutoff.
The Hyundai HY2000si is an exceptionally quiet generator – 64dBA at full load. I presume this is measured from the standard 23 FT distance. It’s a really great generator – perhaps a little heavy for some, but still very portable. The extra weight can easily be overlooked when you consider that the Hyundai gives you 300-watts of extra continuous power. This makes a big difference in this class of generator – that’s 18% more power at your disposal. The Hyundai comes with a 2-year warranty.
Briggs & Stratton P2200 (30651)
- Quiet and fuel efficient 111cc OHV engine produces 2,200 starting watts and 1700 running watts
- Produces less than 3% total harmonic distortion making it safe for laptop computers, TVs and game systems
- 1-gallon fuel tank for up to 8 hours of continuous operation at 25% load, USB port allows charging of portable electronics in order to stay connected
- Parallel connector port allows connection between 2 units for more power
- 59dB operating volume, it’s quieter than a normal conversation (Sound levels may vary based on proximity and location; measured at ¼ load at 7 meters from control panel side)
- Can not be shipped to the state of California
- Inverter Generator Quiet Power Technology
- 8-Hour Run Time at 25% Load
- (2) 120V Household Outlets
- (1) 12V-5A, DC Outlet with USB Adapter
- (1) Parallel Port
- 24-Month Limited Consumer Warranty
The Briggs and Stratton 30651 is possibly the coolest looking generator of the three, if that’s important to you. It has a fantastic handle design, molded into the sleek modern-looking plastic acoustic housing. The handle provides for three gripping positions. It has a weight-balanced center handle for single-handed carrying and two handles on either side at the top, allowing one to use two hands or for two people to carry it very easily. Not that it’s a problem to carry with one hand (for most people). The Briggs and Stratton 30651 weighs only 54 LBS. It’s only a little heavier than the super-light Generac GP2200I.
The engine size falls exactly in the middle of the three. It uses a 110cc, OHV engine. The power output is 1700W continuous power and 2200W of peak power – the same as the Generac. Ironically, the Briggs and Stratton generator uses the most fuel, despite having a smaller engine than the Hyundai. At 25% load, you’ll get 8-hours of runtime from the 1-gallon tank – 3.4-Kilowatt-hours per gallon. If you’re concerned about gas prices, the Briggs and Stratton 30651 might be a little disappointing.
The control panel isn’t quite as comprehensive as the other two, in that it doesn’t have a USB outlet. It has 2 X 120V standard household outlets and a 12V 5A battery charging outlet. I find it strange that they have chosen to protect the DC outlet and parallel connection ports with plastic covers but not the two AC outlets. Would it really have taken that much to provide two plastic covers for the 120V outlets? The parallel connection kit (sold separately) offers two 30A outlets – a smaller twist-lock (RV) type and a larger one for connecting power to your home via a transfer switch.
The Briggs and Stratton is also a very quiet machine, though I don’t have official noise levels. It has circuit breaker protection for the outlets and low oil shutdown. Like the others, the Briggs and Stratton also makes use of a recoil starter with no electric starting. Warning lights are also the same as the others – low oil and circuit overload. The economy mode works in the same way too, with a switch on the control panel that will engage the electronic throttle control, lowering the engine revs when the power demand is reduced. This generator has the benefit of an hour-meter to keep track of service intervals and a fuel gauge. It’s also fitted with a spark arrestor, making it safe for use in forests and national parks.
The Briggs and Stratton 30651 will make a great companion for outdoor vacations and weekend getaways, as well as being a handy standby unit for the home or for use on a construction site. It’s the easiest to carry out of all these generators and the only detracting factor is its higher fuel consumption. You have the backing of Briggs and Stratton’s established network of dealerships and a 2-year standard warranty (90-days for commercial use).
Can you run a Refrigerator on a 2200 peak watt generator?
This is important, so you’d best pay attention here. If you read the customer reviews for any of these generators, there are many who say they’ve run refrigerators on them. A peak wattage of 2200 watts can provide the startup current for some refrigerators, but not all. I see that there are even claims that one can run a refrigerator and deep freeze (along with other appliances).
Refrigerators are not all the same. If you’re using an Energy Star refrigerator with a good energy rating, by all means, any of these generators will handle them and a whole lot more. You can get refrigerators that have a startup load under 1000W. Naturally, this will leave you with plenty of power to spare when using a generator with 2200 peak (starting) watts. Rather than assume that you will be able to run your refrigerator on one of these generators – check the specs on your refrigerator first.
You should be able to get the running watts, amps or horsepower of any appliance. This information is usually displayed at the back of a refrigerator (on a steel plate or sticker). Otherwise, you’ll usually find it somewhere in the owner’s handbook. Here’s a quick guide on how to interpret the data. If your specs are in a form other than watts, you’ll need to convert this first.
- 1HP = 746W
- 1A (at 120V) = 120W
Let’s say your refrigerator is rated in amps. A 10A refrigerator will draw 1200W constant load. This would be a fairly large double door refrigerator.
The same refrigerator with an HP rating would be 1.6HP.
A refrigerator’s starting watts can be anything from 100% to 150% of its running watts. So it will be double to triple the running watts. This means that a 1200W refrigerator will generally have a startup current of about 2400W (in most cases), but this can increase to 3600W (though this is very seldom). There’s no way of telling for sure what your exact startup wattage will be. To play it safe, I usually add onto the 100% figure. For the purposes of generator power estimation, I’d list this refrigerator as having a 2800W startup.
This startup wattage is calculated for a standard refrigerator that uses a conventional capacitor for starting it. Energy Star refrigerators with a low watt rating will also have a lower startup wattage by means of a percentage of the running watts – usually around 50%.
If we take the same size refrigerator with a 4-5 energy star rating, your running watts should be around half of the given example (600W). This would be 5A or 0.8 HP. Your startup wattage would, therefore, be 900W. With this kind of watt rating, you’d be able to run up to refrigerators (or refrigerator/deep freeze combo) on any of the generators reviewed here. Using the Hyundai, you’d still have 800 running watts to spare. With the other two, you’d only 500W reserve watts. In either case, it’s possible to disconnect the refrigerator/s for a few hours if needs be. They stay cold for quite a long time if left closed.
As you can see by this example, there’s a big difference in the amount of power that you’ll use to run a refrigerator, depending on its motor and capacitor. So you cannot assume that because someone reports using a large refrigerator on one of these smaller generators, you’ll be able to do the same. With any generator, it’s important to assess your power demand before buying the generator.