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While there’s no such thing as a cheap Honda generator, the Honda EG2800i is one of the most affordable options in their lineup of quiet inverter generators. This review will determine whether the Honda EG2800i meets the high quality standard we’ve come to expect from this prestigious brand. We’ll also be looking into alternative inverter generators at a similar price.
Open frame inverter generators are not as quiet as those that use the more modern sound insulated enclosures. Though they do have a more robust quality to them. The steel, open frame, gives one a sense that you’re buying an industrial grade machine. Whereas the lightweight plastic housing used for most inverter generators, looks to be more of a residential, light-duty generator. Ironically, Honda has chosen to use their more residential grade GC engine for this generator. This may be a bit of a paradox, a heavy-duty industrial frame with a medium-duty residential engine. Reviewing the Honda EG2800i should reveal whether this is a good idea on the part of Honda engineers.
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Work or Home Power — Honda EG2800IA
Even though the Honda EG2800i is relatively inexpensive, by Honda standards, most other generator brands will offer you more for less. Meaning a more powerful inverter generator at a lower price. I’ll be comparing this generator to two of its greatest rivals in this price range. The Champion 100519 inverter generator costs roughly the same as the Honda EG2800i but delivers more than twice as much power, more than double the wattage. The Westinghouse iPro4200 supplies substantially more watts when compared to the Honda generator, but not quite as much as the Champion. Though a basic price comparison gives the Westinghouse a distinct advantage, it’s a lot cheaper than the other two.
Honda vs Champion vs Westinghouse
Battle of the generator brands. Who wins?
I’ll be reviewing each of these three generators based on their individual merits. Brand reputation will play a role. In this regard, Honda has the edge, but Westinghouse is proving to be a worthy competitor. Considering that Westinghouse has only been manufacturing portable generators for less than a decade, Honda has been at it for over 60-years, the progress Westinghouse has made in this short period should not be overlooked. Champion has been manufacturing portable generators since 2003. This is a little longer than Westinghouse, but far behind Honda. Compared to the other two brands, Champion is known mostly for their incredibly reasonable prices. Though Champion quality, in my opinion, falls short of Westinghouse and, most certainly Honda. With this said, we cannot ignore that you’ll be getting a lot more for your money, in terms of buck per watt, buying a Champion generator vs Honda or Westinghouse.
So, when reviewing the Honda EG2800i vs the other two cheaper brands, we should keep in mind that there’s a premium placed on the Honda brand. Even their cheaper offerings are going to be more expensive than virtually any alternative. As I have a personal affinity for the Honda brand, this will affect my opinion. I should add that Westinghouse is a brand that has, very quickly, earned my respect too. I see Champion Power Equipment as a cheap alternative. Since I’m not a big a fan of cheap generators, I’m not quite in awe of their products. However, I understand that there are a great number of generator users who choose Champion based on affordability. In the realm of cheap generators, Champion has to be… Well… The Champion. They certainly deliver quality that outshines most other cheap generator manufacturers. This must be the main reason for their great market success. Cheap, but not nasty.
Honda EG2800i Review
The Honda EG2800i costs about the same as the Honda EU2200i. Yet the EG2800i is a more powerful inverter generator. Making it a cheaper and, apparently, better value generator. The EG2800i produces 2,800W peak power with 2,500W rated power. The EU2200i produces 2,200/2,000W. This leads to an obvious question: why is the more powerful EG2800i not more expensive? This review is going to seek the answer.
There’s an obvious difference in the appearance, looking at the EG2800i and EU2200i. The EG2800i has a more rugged metal frame and protection panels. It certainly looks the part of an industrial grade generator. Though, without the added sound insulation, the EG2800i is a noticeably louder, 67dBA at full rated load. The EG2800i doesn’t offer the option for parallel connection. You can’t add a second generator to increase your power output. Though this doesn’t really explain the relatively cheap price tag.
Bold & Beautiful Control Panel
The real difference between this model, and most other Honda generators, is the engine. Instead of the highly acclaimed GX engine, the EG2800i uses the older design GC190LA, 186cc OHV, engine. While this is a remarkable engine. It was the first small Honda engine to use an overhead cam. I think it was the first of its kind in the world. But this engine was designed more than 40-years ago. The GX engine series was an improvement on this design and has become the hallmark of Honda reliability. The Honda GC engine has an aluminum cylinder sleeve, which is lighter but not as durable as the cast iron sleeve used for the GX engine. The GC fuel shutoff valve is activated by the ignition on/off switch, whereas the GX has a separately activated fuel valve for more convenient storage.
Honda classify the GC engine as being for residential use, whereas the GX is rated as a commercial grade engine. This is reflected in the warranty. The Honda GX engine as an exceptional 3-year warranty for residential and commercial use. The GC engine has the same 3-year residential warranty, but commercial is use is limited to a 1-year warranty.
Essentially it’s this cheaper GC engine that makes the Honda EG2800i more affordable. Okay, affordable is a relative term when talking about Honda generators. Even this “cheap” Honda generator costs more than most others in it’s class. Then again, I would say that an engine deemed by Honda as being for residential use, still exceeds the standard set by most other engine manufacturers. Many so-called industrial grade engines aren’t nearly as tough, or reliable, as the Honda GC engine.
Probably the most significant drawback to the old-fashioned GC engine would be fuel consumption. Modern Honda engines usually offer the best fuel economy, the EG2800i is quite the opposite. The gas tank has a 2.2 gallon capacity, unusually large for a generator of this size. Though this is a necessity in order to provide reasonable runtimes, given the rather thirsty engine. At full rated load (2,500W), the generator will keep going for about 5-hours on a tank of gas, with up to 12-hours at 25% rated load. I like that it has a fuel gauge, many small generators don’t.
In all other respects, the Honda EG2800i exemplifies superior Honda engineering and quality. Power is supplied by means of a high-quality inverter. This ensures low-THD power for electronic equipment and an eco-throttle for improved fuel economy and less noise when power demand is reduced. It also has a nice array of outlets. There are two 20A 125V conventional household outlets, each with their own circuit breaker. It also has a 30A twist lock 125V outlet, which is unusual on such a small generator. Even though this outlet only provides a maximum of 20.8A constant power and you can’t increase this (no parallel connection ports), it still offers a convenient way to connect the Honda EG2800i generator to your RV.
The control panel is built tough and has the expected LED info lights for output, overload (with alarm) and low oil check light. Though, unlike the most modern engines with an automatic low oil shutdown, the GC engine only warns you to the situation. The engine does not switch off automatically when the oil level drops dangerously low. Another pitfall of using old engine technology. As with most smaller engines, you only have a recoil starter.
The Honda EG2800i may be a cheap, less accomplished, portable generator when compared to others from the brand. In the general context of generators, however, it is a cut above the norm. It’s refreshingly cheap, for a Honda product, and will always be backed by one of the best names in the business. That’s something I take much comfort in knowing. For around $1000, this is a high quality inverter generator, and is perfect for home emergency power. During an outage, the EG2800i will supply clean inverter power, sufficient to keep your refrigerator running and most of your standard household appliances.
Champion 100519 Review
One of the best open frame inverter generators, with more power than Honda EG2800i .
- Digital Hybrid Open Frame Inverter Generator = 50% quieter and 20% lighter than a traditional 5000-watt portable generator.
- Efficient mechanical design reduces overall size and weight by 20 percent.
- Intelligauge monitors : Voltage, frequency and operating hours
- Cold Start Technology = Quick start in cold weather.
- 301cc engine : 6250 starting watts / 5000 running watts,
- Runs for 13.5 hours at 25% load
- Noise Level : From 23 feet, this inverter operates at 69 dBA
- Low oil shut-off sensor and a Quick Drain oil tube for easy changes.
- Safely powers sensitive devices. Clean Power (less than 3% THD).
- Quick Touch Panel : Fast access to controls
- Economy Mode monitors power consumption in real time to reduce electrical load. Extends engine life and improves fuel economy.
- Covered Outlets : 120/240V 30A locking outlet (L14-30R), four 120V 20A GFCI protected household outlets (5-20R) and a 12V DC automotive-style outlet with a dual USB adapter and battery-charging cables.
- Folding handle and never-flat tires makes it easy to move.
- EPA certified and CARB compliant
- 3-year limited warranty and FREE lifetime technical support.
At the start of this review, when discussing the generator brands, I was less than generous in offering my opinions regarding Champion generators. This may have been a little unfair, I’m just not that impressed with cheap generators. So, I should start by pointing out that the Champion 100519 comes with a 3-year warranty. This is what we’d expect from one of the most expensive in its class, not one of the cheapest. I really cant think of a better deal, if you’re looking for an affordable inverter generator with well above average output watts.
Calling this a hybrid generator, creates some confusion. We normally think of hybrid generators as having dual fuel engines. The Champion 100519 runs only on gas. I think they’ve chosen to call this a hybrid generator because it has an open frame, unlike most inverter generators that are enclosed to reduce the noise. Though, noise levels are very reasonable for an open frame platform. Official noise levels provided by the manufacturer state 69dBA. Though they don’t specify at what power output this is measured. My guess is that this reading is taken at around 25% rated load, with eco-mode engaged.
The real good news is the power that you get from this generator. The Champion 100519, generates a mighty impressive 6,250W peak output and 5,000W rated, or running power. This is supplied using a digital inverter with less than 3% THD. The 301cc Champion Power Equipment engine is more accomplished than the price would suggest. This 4-stroke engine starts easily, using the recoil starter. Like the Honda EG2800i, the Champion generator has no electric starter. The Champion engine has low oil shutoff and is EPA, as well as CARB certified.
Champion fuel consumption is always quite average. Not the most economical, though certainly not gas guzzlers either. Compared to the rather thirsty, Honda EG2800i, the Champion 100519 is the more economical to run. The 4.2 gallon gas tank is quite average in size, for a 300cc+ engine. This offers a very reasonable runtime of 13.5 hours at 25% load. Champion call this a lightweight generator. I suppose, for it’s size, 121 pounds is quite a respectable weight. Especially when you consider the fairly robust metal frame and gas tank. A wheel kit is supplied with the generator, making it quite portable.
The control panel is also metal and has the additional protection of plastic covers for the electric outlets. This keeps dust and moisture out. This generator is also more versatile, in terms of output current and outlets. It produces both 120V and 240V, with a 120V/240V 30A twist lock outlet. It also has 4 X 120V 20A household outlets and a 12VDC port, with USB adapter. Circuit breakers are of the push to reset v type, and the Champion has a great Intelli-guage digital display. Another cool addition is the GFCI protection for the 120V 20A AC outlets.
If you don’t intend spending much more than a grand on a powerful inverter generator, capable of supplying most of your household electrical needs, then the Champion 100519 is undoubtedly your best option. It seems almost ridiculously cheap for an inverter generator that produces over 6KW peak load. While Champion may not be the most prestigious generator brand, they’ve proven to be tough competitors in the light-duty domestic generator market.
Learn more, read our full review of the Champion 100519.
★ Westinghouse iPro4200 / Inverter Generator
►Read our full review of the Westinghouse iPro4200 and Westinghouse iPro4200.
- 4,200 Peak Watts, 3,500 Running Watts
- Outlets : (2) Duplex 120V 20A GFCI (5-20R), (1) 120V 30A (TT-30R), (2) 5V USB ports
- OSHA Compliant – Full Panel GFCI
- Runs up to 18 hours at 25% Load and 15 hours at 50% Load
- Safe for Sensitive Electronics – Inverter Technology (<3% THD)
- Weight : 82 lbs
- 3-Year Warranty and Lifetime Technical Support
In all my years of comparing and reviewing generators, this is the first time I’m placing a Honda generator in second place. Yup, I see the Westinghouse iPro4200 as the best inverter generator of the three reviewed here. The Westinghouse iPro4200 costs about 40% less than the Honda EG2800i, yet delivers almost twice as much power output. I almost can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think the Westinghouse engine is the better of the two. This could be a contentious issue amongst fellow Honda fans and is certainly debatable.
VIDEO | A Closer Look at the Westinghouse iPro4200
The Westinghouse iPro4200 produces 4,200 starting watts and 3,500 running watts and, like the other two, uses a sophisticated digital inverter to deliver clean, low-THD power. This is also an open frame generator and, in this regard, is quieter than most with noise levels quoted to be “as low as 62dBA”. I can only guess that this means at lower output of around 25% of rated load.
Despite the industrial grade metal frame, metal gas tank, and control panel, this is not a particularly heavy generator, weighing only 82-pounds. The engine is both lightweight and ultimately reliable. Of the generators reviewed here, the Westinghouse is also, by far, the most economical. The 212cc OHV engine will run for 18-hours at 25% load, or 15-hours at 50% rated load. The gas tank isn’t all that big, 2.6-gallons. So you’re getting quite a lot of watts for very little fuel. This engine is also CARB and EPA compliant.
Homeowner Version : Westinghouse iPro4200
User functions are conveniently laid out and easy to use. The recoil starter is on the front panel, directly alongside the manual choke and engine ignition switch, making for simple, quick startup. It has a digital (VFT) display, showing Volts, Frequency, and total runtime. Outlets are abundant, 3 X 120V 20A (5-20R) duplex outlets give a total of 6 X 120V 20A household outlets, with 3 individual 20A circuit breakers for each duplex outlet. These outlets have GFCI protection and plastic covers. It also has 2 X 5V USB ports, and the all too familiar eco-switch, common to most inverter generators. Although, this is the only generator reviewed here that doesn’t include an RV ready 30A outlet. It also does not allow for parallel connection to another generator. The expected array of warning lights (OK, low oil, overload) are provided and the engine has low oil shutdown protection.
Intended mostly as an industrial grade, OSHA compliant jobsite generator, the Westinghouse iPro4200 is equally competent as a home backup or camping power supply. The only issue being the absence of a 30A RV or Transfer switch ready outlet. Outstanding value for money comes in the form of a cheap purchase price and low running costs. This generator uses very little gas for the power it provides. I’ve developed huge faith in the Westinghouse brand, over a relatively short period of time and this model is no exception. It is backed by a 3-year residential warranty and 1-year for commercial use.