What’s the best brand? — Honda vs Yamaha generator. This is a passionate debate on both sides of the fence. In this article we hope to provide you with some concrete ideas to think about. You can’t go wrong with either a Honda or a Yamaha portable generator, but in the end what sets these two brands apart. What makes these brands unique? And what you probably want to know is, which generator brand should you buy?
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Honda vs Yamaha Generator?
I consider myself to be a bit of generator guru. I suppose this has a degree of self-promotion but, the fact that I spend so much of time writing about generators and have reviewed so many products, must add some weight to this statement. Along with this, I’m constantly asked: which is the best generator? Quite frankly, there can never be an absolute answer to this question. There are a lot of great generators and they differ in many ways. Though one question comes up more than most: Which is the better generator, Honda or Yamaha?
I can fully understand why this is such a contentious issue, the Honda vs Yamaha debate is a valid one. These are both highly respected Japanese generator manufacturers. They are often close in price and it’s not easy to differentiate between their spec levels. Both Honda and Yamaha do a lot more than just build quality generators, there’s an incredibly long list of products that hail from either brand.
Before I begin to compare Honda generators to the Yamaha equivalents, I have to admit that my personal bias leans toward Honda. I’ll explain this as I go. Though this has mostly to do with my love and admiration for fine engines that never quit. I think that Honda has proven themselves, over many years, to be the world leader when it comes to manufacturing reliable, very efficient engines. Then again, this is my personal observation and should be seen as more of an opinion than proven fact.
If I’m going to be objective and thorough when discussing Honda generators vs Yamaha, we also have to consider that a generator is more than merely an engine. I think that the engine is a vital part of the machine and contributes greatly to its reliability. In the end, it’s the alternator that produces the electricity that we use. An alternator, as the name so eloquently suggests, produces and alternating current (AC). This is the power that drives our electrical appliances and machinery. An alternator doesn’t require much sophistication in its design.
The technology used today is basically the same as it was when the alternator was first invented over a century ago. The addition of an automatic voltage regulator (AVR) is a more recent development. But even these have been around for a long time and are common on most of the generators that we can buy today. So, when looking at an alternator, it’s about quality materials and manufacturing processes. To this end, I feel that both Honda and Yamaha produce exceptional, durable alternators. This technology has basically been perfected by now and both manufacturers are at the pinnacle of the design trends. So, when comparing the two, I’m not going to focus on alternators. Let’s just accept that both Honda and Yamaha have made the grade in this regard.
The latest development in generator design is that of inverter technology. Although inverters have been around for quite a while, incorporating the technology into a portable generator is a relatively new concept. Here, we see generator design moving away from the idea of only utilizing mechanical design into the realm of electronics. As far as electronic engineering goes, I feel that Yamaha has the edge. I’ll go into more detail about this when I discuss the generators more comprehensively.
I’m going to discuss each generator manufacturer under separate headings. When doing so, I’m going to look at the company as a whole and put their generators into context within the entire brand philosophy. As I discuss each brand, and their generators, I’ll focus on what seems to be their strengths and weaknesses. Though with both brands, it’s more about their strengths. Both Yamaha and Honda are at the top of their game. So neither brand has much to complain about.
As an internationally renowned manufacturer, Honda has earned a reputation for building just about any product that uses a gas engine. It’s not just gas-powered machines that bare the Honda name that use Honda engines. You can look at any of the best power equipment brands, and it’s very likely that you’ll see a couple of Honda engines among the models that they offer. Usually, it’s going to be in the high-end models that you’ll see the Honda engines because they are more expensive to produce due to their inherent quality and reliability.
To fully understand Honda engines, we have delve into the world of motor sport. You may think that motor racing has absolutely nothing to do with the engine that powers your generator. But, actually, nothing could be further from the truth. It’s in the competitive environment of motor sport that engines are pushed to their limits. It’s the experience that manufacturers gain in this field that leads to the technology that they use in the consumer products that we buy.
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It’s a fact that no motor manufacturer has produced more world champions that Honda. This is partly due to the fact that they develop engines for every type of motor sport – Formula One, production cars, motor cycle, and power boat racing. This gives Honda engineers the edge when it comes tried and tested engines. It’s not just power and performance that makes an engine a winner. Reliability is probably the most important aspect. A driver may take first place in the race. Part of this can be attributed the engine, the rest is about driver skill and other design concepts that play a role. But, if the engine fails and the driver has to retire form the race, the guy in second place ultimately wins. This is not because he was the fastest from start to finish, but merely because he finished the race. In a case like this, it’s reliability that won the day.
When Honda developed the GX engine that’s used in so many generators, lawn mowers, pumps, you name it, they took the experience they gained from motor sport, and applied it to this engine. The focus being on efficiency and reliability – key points in developing a winning engine. The end result being an engine that is probably the most fuel-efficient and reliable used to power a generator. I’m not alone in the opinion that the Honda GX engine is one of the best ever built. It’s the number one reason why the brand has such a loyal following in this market.
I’m really not slamming Yamaha engines here, they’ve produced their fair share of champions in the world of motor cycle and power boat racing. But, in all fairness, this pales in comparison to Honda’s achievements in this arena.
When we move past the engine and look at the general build and design of their generators, Honda have continued this philosophy of dependability and indestructibility. Few generators use as much heavy-duty metal components as you’ll find on a Honda generator. I’d say that the only complaint one could have regarding Honda generators is that they tend to be quite heavy. This may be an issue when considering portability, but it’s an obvious sign that rugged build-quality is a number one priority. Personally, I don’t mind lugging a few extra pounds when it comes with the reassurance of a tough, durable generator.
When we look at inverter generators, this is one area where Honda doesn’t have the most experience. For decades, they’ve been perfecting the electronic engineering that goes into engine design, but AC inverters is a completely different ball game. With that said, Honda inverters appear to be as tough and reliable as every other component that they produce. Yamaha may have an advantage in this department, but Honda inverters are by no means lacking.
I’ve already gone into some detail about the importance of motor sport as the proving ground for engineering. While Honda is the champion in this field, Yamaha are big competitors. How many generator manufacturers can boast this level of achievement? Other than the few power equipment companies that use Subaru engines, Yamaha and Honda are the only guys that use engineering that has been proven in this way. So, when it comes to engines, Yamaha is as close to Honda as it gets.
While Yamaha make really fine engines, I don’t feel that they are quite in the same league as the Honda GX. Well, I can’t think of any small engine that is. So Yamaha generators are usually a little thirstier than Honda. Though, the difference isn’t that great. Yamaha generators are very fuel efficient. Yamaha engines have proven themselves to be very reliable. But, again, Honda seem to have a slight advantage here. This may really just be my personal experience.
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Looking at their approach to the general design of their generators, Yamaha have taken a more modern approach – favoring lightweight design over old-fashioned all-metal toughness. You’ll usually find a bit more plastic, possibly smaller wheels, and quite a few weight-saving materials on a Yamaha generator. This may not be a bad thing, the modern trend is to go for plastic and other lightweight materials. Plastics aren’t what they were 20-years ago and can be quite durable. You can be sure, that when it comes to plastic components, Yamaha are going to make sure they use the best. So, while I may have an old school approach (steel is king), many, more modern folk, won’t have too much of an issue with this weight-saving principle. It does make the Yamaha generator easier to lift and carry.
I mentioned earlier in the article that Yamaha have the advantage when it comes to inverters. I say this because Yamaha have, for many decades, manufactured electronic equipment. The most notable of these would be Yamaha keyboards, many musicians swear by the brand. This shows in their inverters. Just about all inverter generators produce a THD (total harmonic distortion) level of less than 3%. This is the industry accepted standard for a high-quality inverter, used in a domestic or industrial environment.
VIDEO | Yamaha Generators vs Honda Generators
Yamaha inverters have a rated THD of less than 1%. This is the standard set for laboratory, medical, and aviation equipment where a pure sine wave is critical for accurate calibration. When people’s lives depend on 100% accuracy, a perfect inverter is essential for the electric equipment that’s used. This may seem like overkill for your TV or computer at home, but it shows how advanced Yamaha inverter technology is. When it comes to modern electronics, Yamaha is streaks ahead of every other generator manufacturer.
Conclusion | Honda vs Yamaha Generator : Which Brand?
If, like me, you’re a dinosaur, harking back to a time when indestructible engineering was the hallmark of a great product, then you’ll probably agree that Honda is the better generator. I really feel that Honda has set the benchmark for durable, ultra-reliable power equipment.
Though, if I’m going to be realistic, we now live in a world where technology is king – especially when it comes to electronics. Yamaha has a thoroughly modern approach to building generators. They use advanced, lightweight materials and the electronic engineering that has gone into their inverters is second to none. This is the generator for the new generation and, in this context, Yamaha is no joke. Whilst modernizing their approach, they may not be quite as tough as Honda generators, but they are certainly amongst the best in terms of reliability.