Welcome to our indepth Honda EU2200iTAG review, now with CO Monitoring.
Honda recently upgraded the much-loved EU2200i inverter generator. It’s hard to improve on a portable generator that has been at the top of the ratings for so many years. Though Honda seems to have achieved this. The New Honda EU2200iTAG shares much of the great technology that made the previous model such a big hit. Be the first to discover some of the best new innovations from one of the biggest names in the portable generator business.
The new Honda EU2200iTAG has undergone some technical upgrades, like the CO-MINDER carbon monoxide protection system. While this is the most publicized upgrade on the new model, there are a few other great changes that have taken one the best portable generators to new levels of sophistication.
In the Honda EU2200iTAG review to follow, I’ll be comparing it to the revered and trusted EU2200iS. What’s changed and what has stayed the same? After all, the EU2200iS has, for many years, been considered the ultimate compact inverter generator by most industry specialists.
CO monitoring is not new to the world of portable generators. One of the first generator manufacturers to introduce CO monitoring, as a generator safety feature, was Briggs & Stratton. As a cheaper alternative to the Honda EU2200iTAG, I’ll also be reviewing the Briggs & Stratton P2400, along with a few others – Champion 100402 (2KW dual fuel generator) and the truly magnificent Yamaha EF2000iSV2, probably the only generator in this class that can be considered a worthy rival to the Honda EU2200iTAG.
While not all the generators in this review are equipped with a CO monitoring safety system, they have all been rated highly by the people who use them. This could be about value for money, as is the case with the Champion and Briggs & Stratton generators, or the pure engineering excellence that you’ll find in the Yamaha 2000W inverter generator.
After the review, I’ll provide a full discussion on the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and how the portable generator industry has sought to address this issue. It is a real danger that has affected more people than you might realize.
Honda EU2200iTAG – Comprehensive Review
Since the first Honda 2,000W inverter generator (EU2000i) arrived on the scene, I have been in awe of these machines. The first upgrade (EU2200i) provided some extra power, taking the peak output from 2,000W to 2,200W. Some minor changes came in the form of their flagship compact inverter generator, the Honda EU2200iS. Most of us, who know our portable generators, have considered the Honda EU2200iS as the standard by which all others are judged.
When comparing the Honda EU2200iTAG vs EU2200iS, I’m really pleased to see they haven’t messed with the stuff that has made the older model such a splendid inverter generator.
The tried and tested Honda GXR120 engine still lies at the heart of the machine. I have written so much about this incredible 121cc engine, I could probably publish a book on the topic.
Honda introduced the GXR engine series in the 1970’s as a super-reliable, very efficient OHV powerplant. It was specially developed for handheld power equipment and portable generators. This wonderful little engine has proven to be everything that the engineers intended it to be. So much so, that little has changed over the decades. Some changes have been made to improve fuel efficiency and to meet modern emission standards. Though the basic engine has remained a tough, unrelenting workhorse with just about the best fuel economy achievable. The GXR120, which powers the Honda EU2200iTAG, is used by many top power equipment brands, along with other engines in the GXR series.
Because the engine remains unchanged, the Honda EU2200iTAG has the same fantastic fuel consumption as the EU2200iS; 3.2 hours at the rated load (1,800W continuous power) and 8.1 hours at 25% load. The pure sine wave inverter is also the same, delivering 1,800 watts of clean, low THD AC power to the duplex 125V AC outlets, with 2,200W surge capacity for starting equipment like refrigerators and pumps. The fuel tank capacity is 0.95 gallons.
The Honda EU2200iTAG weighs the same as its predecessor (47 pounds). This means that the new model, like the EU2200iS, only has a recoil starter. This exceptionally low weight is achieved, in part, by eliminating the extra weight of a battery and starter motor. This has never been a problem, in my opinion, as Honda engines are super easy to start, even as they grow older.
I suppose it would be impossible to improve on the remarkably low noise levels. The previous generation Honda EU2200iS has always been the quietest in its class. It remains at this whisper quiet level, 48dBA at 25% load and 57dBA at 100% rated power output.
With so much unchanged, what’s new when comparing the Honda EU2200iTAG to the older models?
It looks identical with one minor change. The EU2200iTAG has a plastic cover for the duplex 125V AC outlet. This is something I really like. It greatly improves durability, by preventing dust and moisture from damaging the receptacles. Another change to the user panel, is the CO-MINDER alarm, reset button, and warning lights indicating CO alarm and fault. When CO levels become dangerously high, the generator will shut off. All other warning LEDs are the same: system OK (run), overload, and low oil. It also has the same parallel connection ports and overload circuit breaker.
Another new innovation is the Honda EU2000iTAG Bluetooth remote monitoring and control. Bluetooth connectivity means that you can shut the generator off remotely, using an app on your smartphone. It also provides useful information, like operation monitoring and service reminders.
I really like the approach that the Honda R & D department has taken when updating the EU series. The New Honda EU2200iTAG retains all the great engineering that has made this such a remarkable portable generator for so many years. The changes have only been made to improve safety, durability, and convenience. Durability has not been easy to improve upon, but the plastic cover for the duplex AC outlet is a great addition. Safety has been improved with the development of the CO-MINDER system, and convenience is enhanced with the new Bluetooth app. You still have the magnificent Honda 3-year commercial and residential warranty.
Briggs & Stratton P2400 Review
Having just reviewed one of the very best compact inverter generators, it’s not too easy to be all that enthusiastic about the Briggs and Stratton P2400. This generator simply isn’t in the same league. B & S is a much cheaper brand than Honda.
While the Briggs & Stratton P2400 may seem a little lacking when comparing its durability to the Honda EU2200iTAG, I have to give this plucky little machine its dues. Of the cheaper generator brands, I’ve always been impressed by how long Briggs and Stratton generators last. Yes, they may become less reliable over time, but it takes a while and they keep going, albeit a little unpredictably, for decades. That’s with the correct maintenance and a little TLC as they age. I’ve said this many times: for the price, Briggs and Stratton generators are quite remarkable machines. They have certainly earned my respect for this.
When it comes to technical innovation, Briggs & Stratton have to be commended. This cheaper brand has been utilizing CO-Guard for several years. This is the B & S equivalent to the new Honda CO-MINDER system. It serves the same safety function. The generator will switch off automatically when the amount of carbon monoxide in the surrounding air is excessive.
Although cheaper than the Honda EU2200iTAG, the Briggs & Stratton P2400 has a higher peak power capacity of 2,400W. Rated power, or constant running capacity, is the same at 1,800W. This is also an inverter generator with a bunch of Briggs & Stratton trademarks to advertise it. Though, using words like PowerSmart and Quiet Power Technology (QPT) doesn’t make the P2400 any better than the EU2200iTAG. In fact, it can’t compete when it comes to lightweight design or low noise. The Briggs & Stratton P2400 certainly isn’t bad when with regard to these important factors. It just can’t compare to the exceptional Honda generator.
The 79cc Briggs & Stratton engine is much smaller than the 121cc unit that powers the Honda EU2200iTAG. Generally, a smaller engine for the same output wattage, means inferior durability. The engine simply has to work much harder to do the same job.
One would think that an engine with almost 50cc less capacity will be more fuel efficient. However, you can’t underestimate the Honda genius for developing the most efficient engines. The Briggs and Stratton P2400 is by no means a thirsty generator. It will provide 8-hours runtime (at 25% rated load) from the 1-gallon gas tank. This is only 0.1-hour less than the Honda, but the tank has an extra 0.5 gallon capacity. This means slightly more fuel for a shorter runtime. The Briggs and Stratton generator is pretty good when it comes to fuel economy. Though not as good as the Honda EU2200iTAG. I wouldn’t expect it to be as fuel efficient, Honda engines are usually at the top of the rankings for fuel economy.
Briggs & Stratton P2400 noise levels, while reasonable, also can’t compete with the whisper quiet Honda EU2200iTAG. The best sound level, specified as the lower level, is 62dBA. I’m assuming this is at around 25% rated load with the economy mode engaged. This lowers the RPM when power demand is less than 25%, thereby making the generator quieter. At the same load, the Honda generator is only 48dBA. The difference is quite striking, leaving one wondering about the Quiet Power Technology logo displayed so proudly on the B & S generator.
Weight is pretty average for a generator of this size, 51-pounds. It has a really great handle, making it easy to carry. Looking at portability, the Briggs & Stratton P2400 is better than most. Though, once again, not as good as the Honda EU2200iTAG. The B & S generator also utilizes a recoil starter. This helps keep the weight low, as the inclusion of an electric starter and battery would add quite a few additional pounds.
The general design is quite stunning. This is a handsome generator with enough outlets, all with plastic protective covers. It has 2 X 120V AC outlets, supplied by a modern pure sine wave inverter with less than 3% Total Harmonic Distortion (THD). It also has a standard 5V USB port, ideal for charging cell phones and similar devices. Parallel connection ports allow you to connect two P2400 generators to double your power output. The starter setup is very convenient. A dial is positioned adjacent to the pull handle for the recoil starter. This allows you to quickly and effortlessly go from stop to run. You keep turning the dial further to engage the choke.
While the Briggs & Stratton P2400 can’t hold up to the Honda EU2200iTAG or Yamaha EF2000iSV2, it is a sophisticated inverter generator with all benefits associated with this technology. Considering how much cheaper it is, when compared to the Honda and Yamaha generators, one would expect it to be less accomplished. I think most will agree that Briggs & Stratton is a good value brand. Reasonable prices with a high level of engineering and pretty impressive reliability. The Briggs and Stratton P2400 is backed by a 2-year warranty.
Review / Champion 100402 – 2000W Dual-Fuel
Of the inverter generators featured in this review, the Champion 100402 is the closest competitor to the Briggs & Stratton P2400 (reviewed above). Champion Power Equipment, Like Briggs & Stratton, is a manufacturer of affordable light to medium duty generators. These are both respected American brands with a good consumer reputation. The primary difference between the two is that the Champion 100402 is a dual fuel generator, able to run on gasoline or propane. This makes it slightly more expensive but there are many who appreciate the value of dual fuel capabilities.
Propane has gained popularity as a cleaner burning fuel. With so much emphasis on carbon emissions, the cleaner burning, green fuel aspect to using propane is the most recognized advantage. Another great benefit of dual fuel is its versatility. Being able to choose the type of fuel that you use can be really important in times of natural disaster, when the supply of gas may be limited. If you primarily use your generator for emergency electricity supply during a hurricane, this would be something worth considering.
It would make better sense to make direct comparisons between the Champion and Briggs & Stratton generators, rather than pitting it against the formidable Honda EU2200iTAG. If we’re going to be realistic, neither of these brands can compete with Honda. Except, of course, when comparing generator prices.
The dual fuel capability of the Champion 100402 is not the only advantage it has over the Briggs & Stratton generator. It is more fuel efficient and quieter. The are some specs, however, that can’t match up to the P2400.
The Champion generator does not produce as much power. It has a peak capacity of 2,000W, with 1,600 running watts, when using gas. This makes it the least powerful inverter generator of the four models reviewed here. When using propane, this low-power disadvantage is exasperated even further. Propane has a lower calorific value than gasoline. In plain English, this means less energy, which is clearly evident when comparing the wattage output of the generators. When running on propane, the Champion generator delivers only 1,800 starting watts and 1,440 running watts.
While lower power is a noticeable disadvantage when using propane, the fact that it is compacted into a high-pressure tank is a distinct advantage. You have more fuel in the tank compared to the 1-gallon gas tank. This means incredible runtimes when using propane. With a full tank of gas, the Champion 100402 will run for 11-hours at 25% load. This, in itself, is mighty impressive. Way better than the Briggs & Stratton P2400. Surprisingly, it is even better than the Honda EU2200iTAG.
This amazing runtime becomes even more impressive when you connect the Champion generator to a propane tank – 34-hours at 25% load. Yet another reason why this is the ideal hurricane generator. Especially when you consider that you can store an emergency supply of propane for long periods, whereas gas can go stale in as little as 3-months.
In terms of advanced technology, the Champion is an equal to the others in this review. It has a pure sine wave inverter, with an option for parallel connection of two generators simultaneously. It has the most advanced control panel, with a large LCD screen with touch controls. A numeric digital display provides easy access to information, like output watts and remaining runtime. It also has bar indicators, displaying the percentage of total output watts and fuel tank level.
Below the large digital data center are a neat cluster of outlets – 2 X 120V AC receptacles and a 12V DC outlet for charging deep cycle (leisure) or car batteries. These are both protected by push to reset circuit breakers. Similar to the Briggs & Stratton P2400, the Champion 100402 has a convenient turn dial starting function for stop, run, and choke at the side of the machine, next to the recoil starter. The propane inlet is directly below the starting dial, which is also very convenient. Like the others, this generator does not have an electric starter.
The Champion 100402 is one of very few 2,000W dual fuel generators available. This is what makes it quite unique. The brand is known for good value, a reasonable price for good domestic-grade quality. Fuel economy is truly astounding, making it even better value for money. It isn’t that powerful though, even less so when using propane. Champion Power Equipment provide a 3-year limited warranty on this generator, which quite remarkable in the lower end of the price range.
While I’m one of the many who rate the Honda EU2200iTAG as the class leader, I do feel that Yamaha generators are completely underrated. The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is slightly less powerful than the Honda equivalent, producing 2,000 peak watts and 1,600 running watts. Though the superior inverter does a lot to compensate for this. It is able to maintain peak loads for much longer, which is great if you need extra output for more than just starting equipment like an air conditioner.
The 79cc Yamaha engine is truly wonderful. As a manufacturer of reliable, fuel efficient engines, I rate Yamaha as highly as I do Honda. While I have a particular affinity for the GX engine, and prefer the higher capacity of the GX120, I can’t objectively say that it is any better than the engine used to power the Yamaha EF2000iS. This engine is quiet, smooth, and extremely fuel efficient. The 1-gallon gas tank will supply the Yamaha generator for an incredible 10.5 hours at 25% load.
Noise levels are quite good, better than most. Though it can’t match the Honda EU2200iTAG, none can. At its loudest (100% rated output), the Yamaha EF2000iSv2 will hardly be noticed from 23-feet away, the sound level at full capacity is 61dBA. With the reduced RPM at 25% output or less (Eco Mode), the Yamaha generator is serenely quiet, only 51.5dBA. This is about as close as you’ll get to the virtually silent Honda EU2200iTAG.
There is no generator manufacturer (that I know of) that can beat Yamaha as the best inverter manufacturer. The Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) inverter that supplies the AC outlets on this generator is in a class of its own. With less than 1% THD, it provides the cleanest electricity for sensitive electronic equipment. Way better than the <3% THD spec for most inverters.
What I like most about this inverter is the computerized overload management system. It does not trip as easily as other generators when delivering peak load (up to 2,000W). Other generators, the Honda EU2200iTAG included, will trip within a few seconds of exceeding rated running load. The Yamaha is smarter, by calculating the peak load relative to the maximum capacity. If you only exceed the rated power by a small amount, say around 10% (1750 – 1800W), it will continue to supply power for about 30-minutes before the generator shuts off the AC supply. As the overload capacity increases, the time that you’re able to use peak power is reduced. Though you should be able to supply up to 1,900 watts for at least 15 minutes. So, despite having a lower rated and peak capacity than the Honda EU2200iTAG, the Yamaha EF2000iS can supply more power for longer in many situations. Possibly a more practical generator for those who regularly push the machine to the max.
Another cool feature is the smart throttle. This has the same economy function as other inverter generators plus more. When the generator starts, and the engine is cold, it will slightly increase the RPM, allowing you to use outlets at full power directly from start up. You don’t have to wait for the engine to warm up before it supplies a reliable current. The engine is easier to start, thanks to automatic decompression, this technology is also used by Honda. It means that you hardly have to use any strength when tugging on the recoil starter. It has a dial for the fuel on/off valve and a manual choke lever.
The control panel is basic and nicely organized, with 2 X 120V AC outlets and a 12V DC outlet. A battery charging cable is included with the generator. The fuel gauge is fitted to the gas tank. At a blissful weight of 44.1 pounds, and a wonderfully designed handle, the Yamaha EF2000iS is even better than the Honda EU2200iTAG when considering easy portability.
The compact little Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is an example of next generation inverter technology, the best of its kind. It’s extremely lightweight and one of the quietest inverter generators on the market. Yamaha, like Honda, is a prestigious Japanese brand. It has gained global recognition for reliability, durability, and excellent service over many decades. To this end, the 3-year warranty is just as good as Honda.
Carbon Monoxide and Generator Safety – Everything you need to know.
Every year emergency services in the US treat around 50,000 people for carbon monoxide poisoning. Approximately 430 of these cases are fatal. The most common cause of high CO in the home is from indoor fires, mainly due to blocked flues. Portable generators and heating equipment are also the cause of many CO poisoning incidents.
Given the ever-present danger of carbon monoxide in your home, it is important to know more about it, what it is, and how to prevent it.
What is carbon monoxide poisoning?
Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide poisoning is particularly dangerous because it can easily happen undetected.
When carbon monoxide (CO) is present in the air, we inhale it. Our bodies replace the oxygen in the blood with CO. We are generally exposed to CO through the burning of fuels, like gasoline, wood, charcoal, and using unvented natural gas or propane appliances, like furnaces and space heaters.
CO is an odorless and colorless gas. When it is present in our environment, it is likely that we won’t notice until it’s too late. The symptoms may not, at first, be attributed to CO poisoning. This is especially true when people are sleeping or under the influence of alcohol.
CO Poisoning Symptoms:
- Dull headache.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Shortness of breath.
- Blurred vision.
- Loss of consciousness.
Several long-term complications can result from CO poisoning:
- Damage to your heart, with the possibility of life-threatening cardiac complications.
- Permanent brain damage.
- Fetal death or miscarriage.
To minimize the risks, it is important to install CO warning systems in the home and to check them regularly. Heating appliances should be installed by a professional and they need to be properly vented at all times. A fireplace chimney and flue should be inspected and kept clean. Internal combustion engines should never be used indoors, or in areas with poor airflow.
Portable Generators and CO Safety
All generator manufacturers provide safety warnings in the owner’s manual. One of the important safety considerations is where to place your generator to avoid toxic gas fumes from becoming a safety risk.
The general rule is that a generator should always be at least 20-feet from the home, RV, or indoor area where people may be exposed to CO emissions. A generator should never be used indoors or in any area without adequate ventilation.
Understandably, people often place the generator in a garage to protect it from rain and snow whilst in operation. In some cases, people may place their generator in a basement. You may think that leaving the garage door open is sufficient. This is not always a good idea.
When a generator is used in a garage that is connected to the home, or a basement, CO can easily be directed into the living areas of the home. You may not even notice the presence of carbon monoxide unless you have properly functioning CO monitors.
If you need to protect your generator from moisture (like rain and snow) I would recommend building an enclosure with the required ventilation. Alternatively, you can buy a generator enclosure that’s easy to install. For a camping generator, a portable generator tent can be the ideal solution. These products are designed to provide adequate protection against the risks of water and still allow the generator to operate safely, without a CO risk.
Because of the CO danger, when using a portable generator, many manufacturers have implemented safety measures. One way of doing this is to reduce the CO emissions. Another is to fit the generator with a CO monitoring system which will provide a warning when CO levels are high and then shut the generator off when it becomes too dangerous.
CO Monitoring for Portable Generators
Preventing CO poisoning is not mandatory for generator manufacturers. The Portable Generator Manufacturers’ Association (PGMA) has created two standards for portable generator CO safety and several manufacturers have chosen to adhere to these. Both safety standards are approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI):
- ANSI/PGMA G300 is a lower standard requiring that a generator will shut off when the CO is 800 Parts per Million (PPM) or an average of 400 PPM over a period of 10-minutes.
- ANSI/UL2201 is the highest standard for generator CO safety. This requires that the engine CO emissions are reduced, and that it will shut off when CO reaches 400 PPM or 150 PPM over 10-minute period.
Since it is up to an individual manufacturer which standard to use, if any, you may want some information on what to look for. Not all generator manufacturers install CO monitoring systems, and they are not all of the same standard.
How to know if your generator is CO safe
You can look for the safety standards listed for your generator. If you see the ANSI PGMA G300 safety accreditation, you know that your generator is reasonably safe when it comes to CO poisoning, but not the best. Preferably, you want a generator with the ANSI UL2201 safety rating.
You can look for manufacturer branded trademarks used to identify the different types of CO monitoring systems:
- Briggs & Stratton use the CO-GUARD trademark for their safety system, using the ANSI PGMA G300 safety rating.
- DeWalt call their system CO Protect but do not specify which safety standard is used.
- Ryobi display the CO Detect logo on some of their products, indicating that they are fitted with CO monitoring and protection. The safety standard is nor specified.
- Champion Power Equipment use the CO Shield trademark to identify portable generators fitted with a UL-listed CO protection system.
- Generac portable generators displaying the CO Sense logo are fitted with a CO monitoring shut off and warning system. No standard is listed.
- Honda is the latest manufacturer to introduce CO monitoring, identified by the CO-MINDER trademark. This system uses the ANSI PGMA G300 standard.
The generator brands that use CO monitoring may not fit these systems to all models. You should check if the model you intend buying does make use of a CO safety shutdown by looking for the trademark used by that brand to identify the system. Alternatively, you can check the specifications listed for that particular generator model.
While these generators have built-in protection against high CO accumulation, basic generator safety rules should not be ignored. The generator should still be used in accordance the general safety recommendation of 20’ from the building or RV. CO sensors and warning systems in the home are still just as important and should not be ignored.