Welcome to our comprehensive Honda EU3000iS Review — easily one of the most beloved 3000 watt generators over the years. Honda generators have a strong following and for good reason. Their generators are arguably the best made generators you can buy, but that comes at a premium price. You do pay for the high quality Honda delivers, but what you get is well-worth the price, in my humble opinion.
Not only do we review the Honda EU3000iS in depth, but we also review several other comparable 3000 watt generators to give you a frame of reference and provide you with some options that you may or may not have already considered. And we give you a detailed look at the Honda EU3000i Handi vs Honda EU3000is, which is a common question people want to know more about.
Honda EU3000iS Review
We have reviewed and compared plenty of 3000 – watt inverter generators in the past, including some really good models from companies such as Generac and Westinghouse. But there is one 3000 – watt inverter which is in a league of its own. You may have heard of it – the Honda EU3000iS. The price tag alone would seem to indicate that this generator is special, although we strongly advise people to judge a product by its features and quality instead of cost.
Not all expensive products are better than cheap ones, and you really need to consider what the EU3000iS offers for that hefty price tag before you purchase one for yourself. Fear not, we have done all the research for you. Reading this article should provide you with all the information that is needed in order to decide whether the EU3000iS is a good choice for you.
A Solid Competitor to the Honda EU3000iS | Generac 7127 iQ3500
One of the things that a lot of reviewers mention while talking about Honda generators is how quiet they are. But this isn’t the early 2000’s anymore, there are plenty of other manufacturers who make really quiet generators. Technology isn’t static, and secrets don’t stay hidden for very long. Eventually the other manufacturers caught onto Honda’s early innovations and came up with their own variants. You want a quiet 3000 or 3500 – watt inverter generator? Look at the Champion 75531i, Generac 7127 IQ3500 (below), or even the Yamaha EF3000iSEB. All 3 of the generators that we listed can function at low noise levels, and barely sip on fuel like most modern inverters out there today.
You can get through a whole day of work on the jobsite with less than 3 gallons of fuel on most modern 3000 – watt inverter generators. Almost all of the premium inverter models comply with EPA and CARB emission regulations. They are also equipped with USDA approved spark arrestors, so you can safely use them on campgrounds and National Parks without getting into legal trouble.
But noise and fuel consumption are just two aspects of a good inverter generator. What about the power quality? How consistently does the generator perform with respect to changes in load? A lot of inverter generators claim that they supply “clean” sine wave power for your sensitive electronics, but are they capable of keeping the voltage and frequency steady when a sizable load is connected or disconnected? And is the engine designed to perform for 7 to 10 years, or will the whole thing fall apart as soon as you cross the warranty period? And finally, is the generator convenient to use? Can a senior citizen or female operator start the machine with just one or two pulls of the cord?
You see, most generators succeed in some areas and fail in others. But when you purchase a Honda, you are guaranteed peace of mind. You don’t compromise on anything (except for your wallet), and your investment is covered by one of the largest service networks across all of North America.
Honda EU3000iS Review
Runs from 7.2 to 20 hours on a single tank. Ultra-quiet at 57 dB running full speed. Enough power to run your fridge and more in case of a power outage. This is the best compact 3000 watt generator money can buy. It’s expensive but it’s worth the extra money.
- Powers most furnaces, fridges, microwaves, 13,500 BTU/h RV AC units, great for your RV.
- Starting Watts : 3000W / Running Watts : 2800W
- Up to 7.2 hours of power at maximum rated output. Up to 20 hours at 25% output on a tank of gas
- Electric start and back-up recoil start
- Powered by the Honda GX200 engine : Air-cooled 4-stroke OHV
- High-tech two-layer enclosure and unique muffler design offers whisper-quiet operation
- Excellent source of power for RVs, including 13,500 BTU AC units, and basic home backup power
- Can power a wide range of appliances, including a furnace, fridge, microwave, and most 13,500 BTU RV AC units.
- Whisper quiet inverter generator – less noise than normal conversation. EU3000iS operates at 50 to 57 dB(A), Ideal for camping, RV power and any other activity that requires quiet operation.
- Electric start : Reliable recoil starting is available as a back up.
- Fuel efficient – Runs up to 20 hours on 3.4 gal of fuel. Runs from 7.2 to 20 hours on a single tank, depending on the load. It can run all night.
- Advanced inverter technology – reliable power for computers and other sensitive equipment
- Stable, clean power. Produces power as reliable as the power you get from your outlets at home.
- Add more power with parallel capability
- Need more power? Add a second EU3000iS for additional power. Two identical models can be paralleled with an optional cable.
- 12V – 12.0A DC output : The Honda EU3000iS has a DC outlet for use when charging 12-volt automotive type batteries. (Requires an optional charging cord.)
- 3 year residential and commercial warranty
- Oil Alert : Protects the generator by shutting the engine off when your oil is low.
- USDA-qualified spark arrestor/muffler.
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the Honda EU3000iS.
For another educated review from one of our specialists read : Honda EU3000iS : Best Quiet 3500W Inverter Generator
The Honda EU3000iS is a rather interesting model. It is designed to bridge the gap between the smaller, more lightweight EU2200i and the ultra high – end industrial grade inverter generator that is the EU7000iS. When you browse through the Honda product catalog for generators, they have no inverter models between the 3000 and 7000 – watt range other than the EU3000iS and EU3000i (which is basically a more portable version of the EU3000iS). Which is why, the EU3000iS has to compete against an extremely large number of rivals from Westinghouse, Generac, and Champion.
TIP : Get the EU3000is All Terrain Wheel Kit as seen below
The other companies have multiple inverter generators to cover this section of the market, and many of those competing generators cost much less than the EU3000iS while offering more power (both running as well as surge). Which makes us ask – who is the EU3000iS generator for? Well, if you value quality and consistent performance over anything else, there is no substitute. This generator is perfect for boondocking, tailgating, camping, and can conveniently power a 10k,12k, or even 13.5k BTU RV overhead air conditioner. If you pair up two of these using the proprietary parallel connection kit , they can power the fridge, RV air conditioner, a game console, TV, and multiple LED lights – all at the same time!
Everyone who has owned one of these can attest to the fact that Honda really knows how to make a reliable generator. As long as you use the choke correctly, the EU3000iS will start within a couple pulls of the cord. But we believe most owners of the EU3000iS will never use the starter cord, since this generator is equipped with a convenient electric start system. Just turn a dial, and the EU3000iS will start itself. But if the battery ever fails, you can always rely on the recoil starter to safely get you through emergencies. And the Honda GX200 4–stroke engine is one of the best small engines ever created. It is extremely fuel efficient, lasts over a decade with just oil and air filter changes, and can even run at extremely high altitudes if you use the correct carburetor jets. Adding an all – terrain wheel kit to the EU3000iS lets you move it around without needing a second person.
NOTE: Honda recommends the EU3000iS for recreational use, home backup, and work. This is one of the few models that can do it all, and we shall explain why.
For recreational use like camping, you want a generator that is both quiet and capable of powering several small appliances simultaneously. The 2800-watt continuous power rating of the EU3000iS means you can use it to run the lights in your tent, portable fans, TV, coffee maker, and laptop – all at the same time. Recreational usage also involves road trips and RV’ing. So, let’s say you have a 10,000 BTU air conditioner in your trailer. Something like that will need 2000 watts to start, and around 700 watts while running. You still have 2100 watts leftover to power stuff like a TV, game console, laptop, lights, fridge, etc. inside your trailer. And you will notice that the EU3000iS also has a 12V DC receptacle which can be used to charge the battery of your vehicle, a feature that is appreciated by outdoorsmen and campers alike.
At home, you can use the EU3000iS to power your ½ hp sump pump so that the basement doesn’t get flooded whenever there is a power cut. Or, you can use it to power the 1000-watt microwave, lights for a couple of important rooms, and the TV so you can monitor what is going on outside or when the power outage will be fixed. The EU3000iS isn’t a fully fledged home backup unit, you need at least 6000 watts for that. Don’t try running a clothes dryer or electric stove with this generator, all you are going to do is trip the overload protection. It will run a couple of basic appliances during a pinch, so use it wisely. Don’t purchase the EU3000iS with intentions of powering the HVAC system as you sleep at night.
For jobsites, we highly recommend the 2-wheel mobility kit for the EU3000iS. The 4 – wheel kit is better for rough terrain and loading this generator up ramps, but the 2 – wheel kit includes front stands and a telescoping handle that allows you to maneuver the EU3000iS around tight spaces quite easily. Now, this isn’t a true jobsite generator since it isn’t OSHA certified and lacks GFCI outlets. There isn’t a 240V outlet, lift hook for cranes, or a protective heavy-duty frame. But the 3000 – watt surge rating sure comes in handy if you plan on running stuff like 7.25” circular saws, ½” drills, or a demolition hammer. You can even run a 1/2hp air compressor or 8” bench grinder with the EU3000iS.
All Terrain Wheel Kit for Honda EU3000is Generator
It seems that the EU3000iS is a jack of all trades. Smaller inverter generators like the Honda EU2200i simply lack the power needed to run construction equipment, while the larger inverter generators like the exceptional Honda EU7000iS, are too big and expensive for camping or tailgating. The EU3000iS has a TT-30R 30-amp RV outlet, which means it is designed for road trips and tailgating. It also features a USDA approved spark arrestor and is one of the quietest 3000 – watt inverter models currently being sold, so you can take it into campgrounds without worrying about breaking noise rules.
The EU3000iS will run up to 7 hours at its rated load of 2800 watts on a single tank of gas, which makes it perfect for powering crucial appliances (lights, sump pump, phone charger, TV, etc.) in your home during a blackout. You can fill up the tank and sleep peacefully through the night without worrying about noise or refueling. Of all the Honda generators, this is the only one which does everything while also staying incredibly quiet. Oh, did we mention the clean power aspect of this generator? That’s right, you can use it power all kinds of sensitive electronics since this is an inverter generator and produces pure sine wave AC that is comparable to utility company power in terms of quality.
VIDEO | Run the Honda EU3000iS in Parallel
NOTE : You can only connect the Honda EU3000is to another honda EU3000is. You cannot connect a honda EU3000is to a honda EU3000i Handi model. The Handi model must be connected to another Handi model for parallel operation. The video above explains it clearly.
Honda EU3000iS vs Honda EU3000i Handi?
What’s the difference?
- EU3000i Handi packs plenty of power to start up recreational vehicle air conditioning units up to 13,500 BTUs
- At only 78 lbs., the EU3000i handi is the lightest, most compact 3000-Watt inverter generator that Honda has ever made
- Exceptionally portable, sporting 2 handles and wheels, the EU3000i Handi can be rolled to your destination, plus loaded and unloaded very easily by 1 or 2 people
- So quiet, your neighbors will thank you, the EU3000i Handi operates at 57 to 65 dBA, depending on the load, this makes it ideal for camping, supplemental RV power and any other activity that requires quiet operation
- Thanks to Honda’s exclusive eco-throttle system, the EU3000i Handi offers outstanding fuel efficiency, since the engine only revs as much as necessary to produce the power being demanded, it runs up to 7.7 hours on a single tank, depending on the load
- Precision of Honda’s inverter technology ensures our inverter generators produce power that is as reliable as the power you get from your outlets at home, the power provided is safe for computers, C-Pap machines, small appliances and other sensitive equipment
- Protected by oil alert: should your oil pressure drop below the optimal level, the engine will shut off when low oil pressure is detected
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the honda EU3000i Handi.
One of the few weaknesses of the EU3000iS is its weight – this generator was released at a time when there wasn’t much competition (back in 2004). The other manufacturers did not have a good 3000 – watt inverter to go up against the mighty EU3000iS. But now you have choices such as the Champion 100263 (a dual–fuel inverter generator), Briggs & Stratton P3000, and the Westinghouse iGen4500 which weighs 33 pounds less than the Honda despite being rated for a much higher power output. But weight alone isn’t the issue – modern inverter generators are shipped with built in wheels and folding handles. The Honda EU3000iS has neither of those.
Yes, you can buy a 2–wheel kit or 4–wheel kit but that is just extra money on top of an already very expensive generator. And when you begin to add stuff like wheel kits and handles to the EU3000iS, features that it should have had from the beginning, the weight difference between this generator and its competition increases even more.
Honda realized that this is a major issue and released an updated version of their 3000–watt inverter generator. This one is much lighter and comes with a folding transportation handle at the front. It is called the Honda EU3000i Handi, and we highly recommend that you purchase this inverter generator, if you think that single – user operation is important. By single–user operation we mean the ability to lift, load/ unload, and push the generator around with just one person. You will notice that the EU3000i Handi is listed at higher prices compared to the EU3000iS on most online stores. The same is true on the Honda official website, they have the Handi version at 270 bucks above the regular EU3000iS. Now why is it like that?
Well, on a basic level the Handi comes with certain attachments that just aren’t there on the regular model. For instance, the folding transportation handle at the front. It allows you to tow the Handi around with just one hand on a smooth surface. The wheels are recessed and puncture resistant, located at the back of the generator. They are a part of the actual generator itself, and greatly help when you are trying to move the generator around on the jobsite or between your garage and driveway.
Sure, you can purchase a wheel kit for the EU3000iS, but then you end up spending just as much as you would on a Handi model. The 4–wheel kit is a bit cheaper compared to the 2–wheel kit for the EU3000iS, because it has no handles. The 2–wheel kit offers telescoping handles. But the 4–wheel kit is much better if you are operating your generator around a farm or in the forest because its wheels are larger and have more aggressive tread to deal with obstacles and muddy terrain. We would like to point out that the built-in wheels on the Handi model aren’t very useful if the ground isn’t somewhat smooth, because the wheels on the Handi are small and recessed so the ground clearance is very low. This is done to provide mobility while also maintaining a relatively low footprint.
The EU3000i Handi is physically smaller than the EU3000iS, which makes it easier to store. It weighs just 78 pounds, compared to the regular model which weighs 131 pounds. That is more than 40% percent reduction in weight while retaining a similar power output. Notice we said “similar”, not “same”. That is because you do sacrifice a bit of rated power when you purchase the more portable version. It’s also rated at 3000–watts maximum (surge power), but the continuous power of the Handi is 2600 watts while that of the EU3000iS is 2800 watts.
So, you will get a maximum of 25 amps from the 120V receptacles of both generators, but on the Handi you are restricted to 21.7 amps continuous draw while the EU3000iS can manage up to 23.3 amps of continuous power draw. This shouldn’t be an issue for most people, you won’t notice that 200-watt difference in continuous power unless you were going to run the generator at 80 to 90 percent load all the time (which is harmful and could shorten the life of the machine if done on a daily basis).
VIDEO | How to operate your Honda EU3000i Handi
But that slight difference in current draw could matter if your 5th wheel camper or motorhome uses 12,000 BTU or 13,500 BTU air conditioner. The larger air conditioners tend to draw more than 20 amps of current when the compressor kicks in, and sometimes your generator will supply enough power but during other times it won’t, and the overload protection will kick in. What do we mean? Well, it depends on the ambient temperature.
If you are using your RV air conditioner on a sunny day in Texas or Florida, the compressor will have to work harder in order to keep the temperatures down. This means your AC will try to draw more current, and that extra 1.6-amp capacity on the EU3000iS might make the difference between your AC running perfectly fine, or your generator tripping a breaker. But on the other hand, if you live in Minnesota or North Dakota where the summers are slightly more forgiving, your AC will not have to work as hard (assuming we are using the same model of AC in both cases).
With some intelligent programming of the thermostat, you can get away with the Handi in most scenarios. It packs more than enough power to run most RV air conditioners except for the really big ones, or some extravagant dual–AC setups. We believe that the EU3000i Handi is a more well–rounded inverter generator for urban consumers. Unless you live on a farm or go into the woods regularly, you won’t need larger wheels on your generator. And the biggest concern with most people who take their generator out for camping or tailgating is weight – at just 78 pounds, the EU3000i Handi is the lightest 3000-watt inverter on planet Earth.
You should be able to manage with the smaller fuel tank on the Handi, and its lack of electric start. Trust us, if all you do is camping and RVing the EU3000i Handi is by far the better choice.
But when should you go with the EU3000iS over the EU3000i Handi? Well, that is a simple question to answer. If you want an inverter generator that is suitable for both recreation and home backup, get the EU3000iS. In a home backup situation, you aren’t too concerned with portability or mobility. That is why all serious home backup generators are stationary standby models with tons of raw power output. During a power outage, you want a generator that powers crucial appliances in your home while running as long as possible on a single tank of fuel. And even though both the EU3000i Handi and EU3000iS use a similar inverter circuitry on the inside, they are equipped with different engines.
The EU3000iS uses a Honda GX200 196cc motor, while the lighter EU3000i Handi uses a GX160 163cc motor. The EU3000iS has a 3.4-gallon gas tank which is rather large by inverter generator standards, that is the main reason it can run for up to 7.1 hours at 100 percent load (2800 watts). In comparison, the EU3000i Handi can only manage 3.5 hours at 100 percent load (2600 watts) with its tiny 1.6-gallon fuel tank, which just doesn’t cut it for home backup purposes.
VIDEO | How to Maintain the EU3000i Handi
Apart from the engine and fuel tank sizes, there are a few other differences between the EU3000i Handi and EU3000iS. One of those differences is the lack of an electric starter in the Handi model, which helps reduce overall size and weight. By removing the battery and starter motor, Honda managed to create a much lighter 3000 – watt generator. The whole point of the Handi is to be portable, unlike the EU3000iS which weighs more than most 4000 – watt open frame commercial generators.
Worry not, starting the 163cc GX160 engine in the EU3000i Handi is very easy. Anyone can do it, and the resistance in the starter rope is very little compared to most other inverter generators. We noticed that the Honda generators take less pulls in order to start when compared to generators from other manufacturers, and this applies throughout the lifespan of the unit. Other generators may start out with fewer pulls during the initial 1 or 2 years, but gradually they become complete nuisances to start and require you to yank the starter rope several times before the engine starts spinning.
On the EU3000iS, the notification lights are all located on the console. There are three notification LEDs – OUTPUT, OVERLOAD, and OIL. The output LED glows green when power is being sent through the receptacles, the overload LED becomes red when the generator is experiencing too much load, and the oil led becomes red when the engine oil levels get too low. Remember – these Honda inverters use 4 – stroke engines, so you have to add oil and gas separately. This isn’t one of those 2 – stroke chainsaw engines where you mix gas and oil together.
VIDEO | Indepth Overview of the Honda Handi Generator
On the EU3000i Handi, the notification LEDs are shifted away from the console and into a little “hump” right beneath the front handle. Seems like there just wasn’t enough space on the smaller console of the EU3000i for a similar LED layout, because on the EU3000iS you have the function of each light printed next to the actual light. This is so that anyone can read and understand what they mean without having to look at the manual. Pretty useful if you lend the generator to your friend or neighbor. On the EU3000i Handi there is no writing next to the LEDs, instead you have icons. One final thing to note – both the EU3000i Handi and EU3000iS models have 12V DC receptacles, but the one on the Handi is limited to 100 watts while the EU3000iS can supply up to 144 watts (12A) through its DC port.
Why are inverter generators preferred for RVs and tailgating?
Ask any camping forum or RV enthusiast group and they will vehemently discourage you from purchasing a commercial open – frame generator for recreational usage in campsites or parks. Why? Because not only are you going to break the campground noise rules and incur a hefty fine, but you will also annoy fellow campers and tourists with your noisy generator that belongs on a construction site instead of a peaceful natural reserve. Did we mention that you could potentially blow up the laptop computer or game console if you try plugging them into a conventional generator? Unless it is true sine wave AC power, your sensitive electronics will reject it.
And you know what generates true sine wave AC power? That’s right, an inverter generator. But technology isn’t cheap, and inverter generators will cost anywhere between 500 to 3000 bucks depending on the power rating, brand, and features. Are the worth the money? Absolutely, if you are going to use them in a situation that demands low noise and clean power. Not all inverters are expensive, although you have to understand that the big names like Honda and Yamaha are charging you a premium for greater quality and superior service.
Inverter generators produce clean power
All that is fine, but how does an inverter generator work? What makes it objectively better than a conventional generator with regards to power quality and noise levels? In order to understand why inverters are quieter and cleaner, we first need to check out the workings of a regular generator. As you already know, a generator is simply a means to convert one type of energy into another. You pour gas into its tank (input) and get electricity from the receptacles (output). But how does a generator convert gas into electricity? That is a two–step process. First, the generator takes that gas and converts the chemical energy stored within the gas into rotational energy, this is done by combusting the gas within an internal combustion engine. The rotational energy produced by this engine drives an alternator, which uses the principles of electromagnetism to produce “alternating current”.
VIDEO | Wonderful 1 hour Video. Lots of Info on How Generators Work
We aren’t going to explain all of this stuff in detail, but there are articles you can refer to for more information about how generators work. For now, all you need to know is that conventional generators use 2 – pole rotors inside their alternators which need to spin at a constant 3600 rpm in order to produce steady 60Hz AC power. An automatic voltage regulator (AVR) keeps the voltage steady at 120V by monitoring and changing the magnetic field strength within the alternator. It does so by adjusting the engine throttle through a governor. Unlike traditional generators, inverters use alternators which contain rotors with 20 or more poles and permanent magnets. These rotors don’t generator single – phase AC power, instead they generate 3 – phase current. With each rotation of the rotor, more power is extracted compared to what was possible on a traditional 2 – pole rotor. And the speed of the rotor doesn’t have to be locked down to 3600 rpm, thanks to inverter technology.
The multi – phase power extracted from this new type of rotor is at an extremely high frequency (20 kilo hertz or more), and it needs to be converted into 120V 60Hz. To do that, the AC is first passed through a rectifier module which converts the AC into DC. This DC is then fed into an inverter similar to what you would find inside a computer UPS or home backup system. The inverter is designed to take a certain range of DC and convert it into 120V, 60Hz AC for output at the receptacles. Certain high capacity generators like the larger 5000 and 6000 – watt models even have 240V outlets. With inverter generators, you don’t have to worry about sudden fluctuations in voltage or frequency because everything is digitally smoothed out. There are no peaks or sharp jumps in the sine wave output, which means that this current is safe for your sensitive electronic devices such as laptops, printers, phones, game consoles, smart TVs, etc.
And since the engine no longer has to spin at a fixed speed all the time, it opens up brand new possibilities for reducing fuel consumption and lowering noise. The engine itself can be smaller, since more power is being extracted per revolution of the rotor inside an inverter generator. The alternators on inverter generators are smaller compared to those on commercial open–frame models, which allows inverters to become smaller and lighter. By attaching more advanced mufflers, the noise levels are reduced.
Since the engine can rev at lower speeds when there is less load on the generator, all inverters come with an idle switch or eco mode that lets you lower noise and fuel consumption significantly whenever there aren’t a whole lot of appliances to power. Both the Honda EU3000iS and EU3000i Handi generators have a “eco throttle” button on the console that you can activate when the load is under 25 percent of the rated capacity.
Inverter generators are built with closed box style frames, there are no exposed internal components which generate noise or vibrations. Everything is tucked underneath a plastic enclosure to reduce the noise levels. Premium models have acoustic foam padding on the inside to further attenuate sound emissions. The engine is attached to the internal subframe with vibration dampening mounts, and the feet of the generator have rubber padding underneath them.
On an open – frame model you can undo a few bolts and have access to all internal components within minutes. But on inverters, getting to the engine is harder. Basic maintenance has been made easier over time on inverters, for example the Honda EU3000iS has a large hinged panel on the left side that gives you access to stuff like the spark plug and air filter. On the rear of the EU3000iS is an oil maintenance cover which lets you check oil levels, and a LED notification light on the console will warn you whenever oil levels run low (the EU3000iS also has automatic low oil shutdown).
Another feature commonly found on inverters is the USDA approved spark arrestor which is mandatory if you are using the generator on certain campgrounds or National Parks. The spark arrestor will capture any half – burnt specks of fuel flying out of the exhaust in the form of sparks. And when you are using the generator in the middle of the woods, sparks flying out of the exhaust can end up in a forest fire if you aren’t careful.
Why do Honda generators cost more?
At some point you might ask yourself “am I actually paying for quality, or just the brand name?” And that is a valid question, because there are plenty of companies in other markets like automobiles and clothing who charge a hefty premium just because they are an established brand who have made really innovative products in the past. But innovation doesn’t stay within the walls of a single company for very long, and people catch onto their ideas. This is how rival companies come up with their own versions of certain technologies, that they can offer at a much lower price in order to steal market share from the established brand. And there are plenty of recent developments within the inverter generator industry that you may not notice if you only stick to Honda.
For instance, Champion has been leading the way when it comes to dual – fuel generators. Generac has recently been making really quiet inverter generators, and their IQ3500 is claimed to be quieter than even the Honda EU3000iS. Westinghouse offers plenty of power at an affordable price, with their iGen4500. It even comes with remote start, a feature that is absent from Honda inverter generators. With all these brilliant generators that offer exciting new features at a lower price, why should you pay more for a Honda?
High-Quality Inverter and Very Affordable | Westinghouse iGen4500
It call comes down to how frequently you plan to use your generator. If you are interested in purchasing a home backup generator that you will use once every few years during a storm or major blackout, it doesn’t make much sense to spend all that money on a Honda. Instead, you could spend much less and get yourself a 5kW or 6kW open – frame commercial model, and even attach a tri – fuel conversion kit to it. The Predator 8750 is a great open frame conventional generator. By attaching this tri – fuel conversion kit you can transform it into the ultimate portable home backup generator for less than half the cost of a Honda EU3000iS. One of the advantages with propane is that you don’t have to worry about it degrading over time like gasoline, nor does it need any fuel stabilizers. And you can still get propane tanks even if the gas pumps have shut down during a blackout. And natural gas is even better, it is basically an unlimited source of fuel for your generator. Propane and natural gas burn cleaner than gasoline, and they don’t gum up your carburetor over time.
But let’s say you aren’t purchasing the generator primarily for home backup during a storm. Maybe you want something for camping, a generator that is both quiet and easy to carry around. A generator that is capable of powering the 10,000 BTU air conditioner in your RV, along with all of your sensitive electronic devices like laptops, phones, TVs, etc. In that case, think how often you go camping. How often do you find yourself tailgating or setting out on long journeys across the country? If you do it occasionally, maybe you can get away with something like the Generac IQ3500 or a Champion 75531i, a 3100–watt inverter generator.
But we noticed that not all 3000–watt inverter generators operate with the same level of fuel efficiency. Guess who leads the list? That’s right, the Honda EU3000iS.
|Generator Model||Tank Size||Run time at ¼ load (hours)||Runtime at ½ load (hours)||Run time at rated load (hours)||Noise rating in dB(A)|
|Honda EU3000iS||3.4||20||N/A||7.1||57 at rated load, 50 at quarter load|
|Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000||1.5||10||N/A||N/A||58|
|Generac 7127 IQ3500||2.6||14.1||8.9||Claims to be 5 dB(A) quieter than EU3000iS|
|Champion Model 100158||1.6||8||N/A||N/A||58|
|Yamaha EF3000iSEB||3.4||18.6||N/A||N/A||60 at rated load, 53 at quarter load|
We compared the Honda EU3000iS with some of the best 3000 – watt generators from competing manufacturers. What we noticed, and you can see is that manufacturers rarely state the runtime of their generators at rated load. They almost always go with the runtime at 25 percent load, in order to make their numbers look better. The unassuming customer who doesn’t know much about generators will often look at the brochure or ads, and purchase a generator expecting it to run for 12 or 15 hours with a single tank of gas. In reality, the generator will fizz out within 5 or 6 hours at full load. This is the reason we recommend Honda to people who are truly serious about their workloads – whether it be camping, or powering tools at the jobsite.
Honda engines are the most efficient of them all, designed to run day in and day out for years without any fuss whatsoever. They will start when you pull the cord, they will not bog down when the load increases, and they will keep working for a decade and even more if maintained properly. There are plenty of customers who purchased their Honda generator or lawnmower back in the 90s, and those machines still start up to this date. So, if you truly want the best in quality, and the best in efficiency, there is no substitute. The closest you can get is Yamaha, but their prices are pretty similar to that of Honda.
Yamaha’s Excellent 3000W Inverter Generator | Yamaha EF3000iS
In terms of noise, a Honda will beat pretty much any other generator of similar capacity. Their GX – series four cycle engines, combined with a brilliant muffler design and unique frame allow these generators to stay much quieter than the competition. The only one to challenge Honda’s claim for quietest generators, is Generac with their recently released “IQ” line of inverters. One of those is the IQ3500, which Generac claims is up to 5 dB(A) quieter than Honda. But notice how they don’t mention the load at which this testing was done. At least they tell you that the test was done by a third party, and we did find this independent study that compares the Honda EU2000i with the Generac IQ2000, with very comparable results.
There is no material to confirm how the test was done between the Honda EU3000iS and the Generac IQ3500. Does the IQ3500 stay quieter than the Honda when both are under full load? We doubt it, because the IQ3500 has a larger engine and is also rated for more continuous power (3000 watts vs 2800 watts), which makes it harder to muffle all that noise when both are under heavy load. Was the test done in economy mode? We don’t know, but what we can tell you is that the Generac IQ2000 is indeed quieter than the Honda EU2000i, albeit by a very small margin that you cannot notice during daily use.
In summary – buy Honda if you want the most runtime, and the least noise. It doesn’t have any fancy features like remote start, dual – fuel operation, etc. but will last a very long time with proper maintenance. And the best part about Honda is that it will keep working like new until the end of its lifespan, compared to other generators which start showing problems within 3 to 5 years. That extra money you pay for a Honda brings you superior quality, and access to one of the best generator service networks across the country.
NOTE: If you want Honda quality but don’t have the money for an EU3000iS, check out the Honda EB2800IA. It costs nearly half as much as the EU3000iS and is rated for slightly less power (2800w starting, 2500w continuous). But this is also an inverter generator and will deliver clean sine wave AC for all your sensitive electronics. It has a transfer switch ready 30A outlet and weighs just 66.6 pounds which is less than even the EU3000i Handi. The problem with the EG2800i is that it is louder than most inverters. At 62 to 67 dB(A), this is certainly not camping friendly despite its light weight and USDA approved spark arrestor.
Yamaha EF3000iSEB vs Honda EU3000iS
- Yamaha Boost Technology (YBT) — Boosts output by adding battery voltage to alternator output when needed. The Boost Control Unit (BCU) senses when extra power is needed and boosts output for up to 10 seconds, giving air conditioners, power tools, and other equipment the extra boost of power they may need to start quickly and efficiently
- The EF3000iSEB is capable of producing clean, high-quality electricity with extremely quiet operation (53 dBA – 60 dBA).
- Noise Block, acoustically designed sound reduction system — Sound absorbing material, used in key locations, does not resonate sound. Newly designed muffler and molded fan produce unbeatable noise reduction
- Smart Throttle, load sensing rpm control — Greater fuel efficiency and noise reduction by automatically adjusting engine speed to match the load
- Long run time — Continuous operation for up to 18.6 hours without refueling (at 1/4 rated load with “Smart Throttle” function on)
- 12 Volt DC output, battery charging cables included — Recharge 12-volt batteries for RV, auto, marine, etc.
- Inverter system with Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) control — Can run products with built-in microcomputers, or microcomputer-controlled electric tools
- Centralized control panel — Easy access to controls
- Electric starter — Effortless starting and ease of operation (battery included)
- 171cc Overhead Valve (OHV) engine — Noise-reducing operation with improved efficiency, increased reliability, and low oil consumption
- Oil Watch Warning system — Prevents engine damage to avoid costly repairs and minimize down time adds customer confidence and peace of mind
- Four wheels with parking brake — Easy transport and mobility
- EPA & CARB Emission Engine Life Rating — Yamaha generators have the longest emission durability engine ratings issued by the environmental Protection Agency and the California Air
- Resources Board
- Factory Warranty — Covers the entire generator for defects in parts and workmanship for three (3) years
- 50 state legal — Meets emission regulations, including CARB
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the Yamaha EF3000iSEB
We have mentioned the Yamaha EF3000iSEB a couple of times previously in this article, but never really provided a detailed review. Now we are going to take a better look at this 3000 – watt inverter generator and compare it to the Honda EU3000iS. This should be a close battle, because both brands are fairly similar in terms of quality and innovation. Furthermore, this is a fair competition from a price standpoint because both these generators cost nearly the same on all major online shopping sites.
Let us start off with the power figures. The Yamaha EF3000iSEB is rated for 3000 watts maximum and 2800 watts continuous. Exactly the same as the Honda EU3000iS, which is also rated for 3000 watts maximum and 2800 watts continuous. But wait, the Yamaha has a little trick hidden up its sleeve – it can use power from its own starter battery to increase the surge wattage by up to 500 watts, giving it a maximum of 3500 watts. Exactly how does this work? Well, let’s say you have an air compressor that needs 3300 watts to start up. You plug it into the Honda EU3000iS, and as soon as the surge power demand exceeds the maximum capacity of the Honda, it will trip the circuit breaker and cut off power to the 120V receptacle.
But the Yamaha’s Boost Control Unit (BCU) will detect this increase in power demand and order its starter battery to supply a burst of DC energy to the inverter which then “inverts” it into AC and adds it to the base surge power of 3000 watts. The Yamaha can supply exactly 500 additional watts on top of the existing 3000-watt surge power, so your air compressor will work just fine on the EF3000iSEB. This feature comes in handy while starting certain power tools and water pumps. But remember that it will only sustain the boost for a maximum of 10 seconds.
VIDEO | Noise Level — Yamaha EF3000iSEB vs Honda EU3000iS
So, the Yamaha already has already established its dominance over the Honda in terms of maximum power output, 3500 watts vs 3000 watts. But let’s not jump to any conclusions just yet, because it also weighs an extra 23 pounds compared to the Honda. Now, you may think an extra 23 pounds isn’t very much when talking about 3000 – watt inverter generators. These things are meant to be somewhat heavy considering the fact that both are equipped with fully enclosed frames and electric starting systems. But, when your “lighter” generator weighs a whopping 131 pounds, you surely don’t want to add an extra 23 on top of that.
The whole reason Honda made the EU3000i Handi version was because their regular EU3000 simply weighed too much. And Yamaha’s EF3000iSEB is currently the heaviest 3000 – watt inverter generator that you can buy. Look it up, there isn’t a single 3000 – watt inverter generator made by any of the competing manufacturers which weighs more. We checked Generac, Champion, Briggs & Stratton, Westinghouse, etc. and almost all of their 3000–watt offerings weigh under 100 pounds. Thankfully, the Yamaha EF3000iSEB has 4 wheels while the Honda EU3000is has none. Sorry Honda, there’s no excuse for not putting wheels on your generators. People need to be able to move their generators around easily.
To all the portable generator manufacturer’s out there, if you are reading — include wheels in the design of your generators. This is essential for your consumers. The term ‘portable’ generator is pointless if you need two people to move your generator. And lifting an 80 lb. generator by yourself isn’t practical or reasonable to expect anyone to do. This is one of my biggest annoyance’s when it comes to generators and I don’t understand the reasoning behind why manufacturers don’t include wheels on some of their generators. It’s irrational and bad design.
Okay, rant over. I just had to get that off of my chest.
So, to recap, on the bright side, at least the Yamaha comes with wheels. The Honda EU3000iS doesn’t have any wheels, which funnily enough makes it the less portable option in some scenarios. When you are lifting the generator (need two people for that), the Honda is easier to move around. But when you are trying to push or tow the generator, the Yamaha wins because the Honda cannot be towed or pushed around unless you buy and attach the proprietary wheel kit. And a really cool feature in the Yamaha is its parking brake – you can activate it whenever the generator is on a sloped surface to prevent it from rolling down. All things considered, we rate the EU3000iS and EF3000iSEB to be equally bad in terms of portability. The Yamaha is heavier, but it has 4 wheels and a parking brake. The Honda is lighter but requires you to spend extra money if you want some wheels.
Moving on to power output, both the Honda and Yamaha generators perform equally well. They use pulse width modulation and industry – leading inverter technology to give you the best quality power which is similar to or better than what you get from your utility company. You can power laptops, TVs, microwaves, game consoles, and charge phones with either of these generators.
Our next category will be noise – in this one the Honda wins, without a doubt. It produces just 50 dB(A) of noise at quarter load, and 57 dB(A) at rated load. In comparison, the Yamaha produces 53 dB(A) at quarter load and 60 dB(A) at rated load. You may think 3 decibels isn’t much, but the decibel scale doesn’t work linearly. Every 10-decibel increase means twice the loudness. Neither of these generators is too loud, and both are perfectly safe for usage in national parks and campgrounds. Most parks require you to make no more than 60 decibels of noise (measured on the A – weighted scale) at a distance of 50 feet. And the noise readings on both of these generators was taken at 7 meters, or approximately 21 feet. Noise intensity falls off exponentially as you distance yourself from the source so there is no chance either of these generators will even get close to 60 decibels from 50 feet away, even when they are under 100 percent load.
VIDEO Overview | Yamaha EF3000iSEB
The Honda wins in fuel efficiency too – 20 hours at quarter load for the EU3000iS, compared to 18.6 hours at quarter load for the EF3000iSEB. Granted the Honda has a slightly larger tank (3.6gal vs 3.4gal), but it also uses a larger engine. The Honda EU3000iS contains a GX200 196cc 4 – stroke motor, while the Yamaha EF3000iSEB uses a 171cc 4 – stroke engine. The runtime at rated load for the Yamaha isn’t stated on their official site, but we can make a projection based on the fact that the quarter load runtime is 1.4 hours less on the EF3000iSEB, so there is no way it will match the 7.1-hour 100 percent load runtime of the Honda. In fact, we have yet to find a second 3000 – watt inverter generator model that runs for 7+ hours at maximum load on a single tank of gas.
In summary – the Yamaha wins in surge power rating, is slightly more portable if you are rolling or towing the generator, is less portable if you are lifting the generator, matches the Honda in terms of power quality, but falls behind in noise levels and runtime. In terms of build quality, both are evenly matched and should last a very long time with proper maintenance. Both generators have features such as electric start, low oil auto shutdown, economy mode, overload protection, etc.
Cheaper alternatives to the Honda EU3000iS and Yamaha EF3000iSEB
Generac 7127 — iQ3500
- Ultra Quiet- 40% Quieter than Honda*– advanced inverter technology and enclosure design provide optimal quiet performance.
- PowerRush ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY gives 16% more power than Honda** and delivers 50% more starting capacity allowing you to do more with less.***
- Electric start with PowerDial has three operation settings integrated into one simple-to-use dial.
- Generac’s OHV engine with splash lubrication provides a long engine life.
- Digital Smart LCD with hour meter tracks maintenance intervals.
- Low-oil level shutdown automatically safeguards engine from damage.
- USB Ports charge mobile devices including smartphones and tablets.
- Economy Mode reduced noise and fuel consumption.
- Parrallel-ready capability allows for connection of two inverter generators for twice the power.
Disclaimer, from Generac site :
- * Over 5 dB(A) quieter than the EU3000is, based on independent third-party testing
- ** 500 more starting watts than eu3000is, based on manufacturer’s specifications.
- *** Increases electrical current upon demand; above rated output when starting electric motors.
This generator uses a surge power boost system similar to what we saw in the Yamaha EF3000iSEB. Meaning, it pulls power from its own starter battery for a very limited amount of time (5 to 10 seconds) whenever an appliance demands more than 3000 watts of power. This means that the IQ3500 is capable of delivering up to 3500 starting watts (16 percent more starting power), something that they make very clear in their marketing material when comparing this generator to the Honda EU3000iS. The rated or continuous wattage is also higher than that of the EU3000iS, by up to 7.1 percent. The IQ3500 manages 3000 watts continuous power output, while the EU3000iS is rated for 2800 watts.
VIDEO | Generac iQ3500 — 7127
And in terms of power quality, the IQ3500 and EU3000iS are virtually indistinguishable. Both use advanced inverter technology to generate power that meets (less than 3% THD) or even exceeds the standards of utility company power. You can power all your sensitive electronics that use microprocessors with either one of these generators. The IQ3500 also claims to be 5 dB(A) quieter than the EU3000iS, which is hard to verify since they haven’t included any links to the third party who conducted this sound test. They don’t even have any official sound level measurements for the IQ3500, which makes it hard for us to consider their claims as genuine. But they have provided a link to the third-party study which compares the Honda EU2000i with the Generac IQ2000 using ISO 9614 test standards.
These test results prove that the IQ2000 is indeed quieter than the EU2000i, but by a very small margin. We aren’t sure if the same third party tested the IQ3000 against the EU3000iS but based on feedback from various consumers as well as online videos, we can confirm that the IQ3500 is indeed a very quiet generator.
In terms of runtime, the IQ3500 loses out to the Honda. It has a smaller tank and uses a larger engine compared to the Honda which puts it at a disadvantage. The IQ3500 runs for 14.9 hours at 25 percent load, and 8.9 hours at 50 percent load. Both of those readings were taken in eco – mode. The IQ3500 is significantly lighter than the EU3000iS, at just 109 pounds.
We think the IQ3500 is slightly more convenient to operate, thanks to the innovate POWERDIAL which integrates the Choke, Run, and Off functions into one simple dial. It also comes with two USB charging ports built into the console, something that the Honda EU3000iS lacks. But the EU3000iS has something that the IQ3500 lacks – a 12V DC charging outlet, which can be used to recharge your vehicle batteries or do a jumpstart.
Briggs & Stratton P3000 (30545)
- 10-Hour Run Time at 25% Load
- Quieter than a traditional camping generator with enough power to start a standard RV air conditioner
- Enough power to start a standard RV air conditioner
- 1.5 Gal. fuel tank for an impressive 10-hours of continuous operation at 25% load on a full tank
- Technical specs: 3000 starting watts, permanent magnet alternator, recoil start, automatic idle control and low oil shutdown
- LCD Screen Displays Important Performance Stats & Maintenance Reminders
- (4) 120V Household Outlets
- (1) 12V-5A, DC Outlet
- (1) USB Port
- (1) Parallel Port
- 24-Months Limited Consumer Warranty
It is one of the most portable inverter generators on the market, with a sizable power output that can run anything from your RV air conditioner to tools such as bench grinders and drills. The only real flaw with this generator, is its runtime. Even at quarter load, the runtime is just 10 hours which is far less than rival models such as the Generac IQ3500 and Honda EU3000iS. The small size, rear wheels, and telescoping handle are its main redeeming qualities, which try to make up for the lack of power compared to other 3000-watt inverter models.
This generator is rated for 2600 continuous watts, while other 3000 – watt inverters such as the Yamaha EF3000iSEB, Honda EU3000iS, and Generac IQ3500 are rated for 2800 or more watts. The reason this generator is rated for 2600 watts is because it was designed to be extremely quiet and portable from the ground up, which makes us believe it was never meant to rival the EU3000iS. Instead, the competition for this Briggs & Stratton has to be the Honda EU3000i Handi. Both the Handi and P3000 come with recessed puncture – resistant rear wheels and space saving front handles.
The P3000 is a quiet generator, just not as quiet as the EU3000iS at 58 dB. The EU3000iS is one decibel quieter at full load, and a full 8 decibels quieter at 25 percent load. When comparing the EU3000i Handi and P3000, we noticed one major distinction between the two – the Briggs & Stratton features four 120V 20A household outlets on its console, while the Handi only has two. Both have 120V 30A twist lock outlets for RV usage, and both have 12V DC charging ports. But only the P3000 has a USB charging port. And it has rubber covers on the parallel connection port as well as 12V DC outlet.
The P3000 also has an LCD display called STATSTATION which gives you real – time info on stuff such as total unit runtime in hours, amount of load on the generator in percentage, etc. There are notification lights that act as maintenance reminders for the spark plug, oil, and air filter.