The PowerPro 56101 is an ideal gas generator for running small electrical tools and appliances. It’s very lightweight at only 36 lbs. so it’s easy to take with you on camping trips, a day at the beach or using it in the yard to power your tools. This is intended to be used for small devices so don’t expect it to run your fridge during a power outage because it doesn’t provide enough power to do that.
But, if you’re looking for a cheap generator to take with you then this is an excellent buy. In this article we discuss the PowerPro 56101 in detail and give you a couple other great alternative generators to consider.
Affordable PowerPro 56101
There are so many reasons why people want a portable generator. For many, a generator is a useful item for recreational use – camping, yachting, and other outdoor activities where it’s convenient to have an electric power source to make life a little more comfortable.
For others, a generator may be essential. Farmers and people who need to use electrical equipment where it simply isn’t possible or practical to connect to grid power. For many contractors and emergency workers, providing power for electric tools and equipment may require a portable generator as this may be the only way to get the electricity that they need. Then there are those who need a generator to backup their home or business when the grid power fails, like in times of natural disaster.
Weighs 35.5 lbs. | Ultra-portable, easy to carry & Affordable
Whatever your reasons, the amount of power that you need and the amount of money that you have to spend will vary greatly. There is virtually no limit to the power that you are able to generate with a gas or diesel generator. Your only restriction is the size of the machine itself and the cost – this applies both to the purchase of the machine and your operating costs. A large generator will use a lot of fuel and will cost more to service.
When it comes to portable generators, some are small and light enough for one person to carry quite easily. You get large generators that, while portable, can weigh well in excess of 100 LBS. These generators will usually have wheels and can be moved around but can be cumbersome if you’re taking it camping or regularly transporting it to the worksite.
Establishing your needs will take some consideration. You can get away with a small generator if you only want to keep some essential household items running or use a few small power tools for work purposes. A small generator (usually with a running capacity of around 1000W) can be purchased at a very reasonable price. Their affordability puts them within in reach of many consumers. Along with their cheap price, their size makes them an ideal solution for people who want a generator that is easy to carry and transport.
If you’re looking for a portable generator that is very affordable, lightweight and practical, the PowerPro 56101 is a perfect solution. It’s dependable, cheap and provides a reasonable amount of power to keep essential household items powered up and you can also use it to power a few power tools when needed. We’ll be taking a look at what makes the PowerPro 56101 so popular, considering its pros and cons. As a comparison, we’ll also take a look at the Yamaha 1000iS and Honda EU1000i.
To sum things up, we’ll look at the uses for these generators and help you figure out if a generator of this size will meet your needs. Sometimes a small generator like the PowerPro56101 may be all that you need. In this case, it would be foolish to buy a large expensive generator that uses a lot of fuel and isn’t that easy to transport.
PowerPro 56101 | 1000W Generator
Can power a variety of small electrical devices, such as : Sump pump, a portable heater, microwave, power tools, or lights.
- Weighs only 35.5 lbs. ; Equipped with a carrying handle and stabilized with 4 rubber pads. Built for portability.
- Uses oil/gas mix fuel so there’s no need for oil changes.
- One gallon tank can run for 5 hours at half load.
- Quiet exhaust system with spark arrestor is 60dB at 22 feet and is certified for use in any national park or forest.
- 1000-Watts starting power and 900-Watts running power.
- 1-year limited warranty.
- CARB and EPA compliant.
- 2 HP Single Cylinder 2-Stroke Engine.
- (1) 120Volt AC Receptacle
- (1) 12Volt DC Receptacle
- Fuel Mix 50 to 1 (Gasoline to Oil)
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the PowerPro 56101.
Manufactured by WEN, the PowerPro comes from a brand that many have come to trust. So don’t be fooled by its very affordable price, this machine promises to deliver sound service for a long time.
The PowerPro 56101 is small, light and very portable, weighing only 36 LBS it can easily be carried by just one person. Its tiny size packs quite a punch, providing 1000W peak power and 900W of constant running power. Admittedly, this is not as powerful as much larger generators, but it provides enough power to keep your TV, sound system and quite a number of lights or small appliances going at the same time.
You shouldn’t expect to run a standard air conditioner, refrigerator, large microwave or other high current devices off the PowerPro – some AC units and fridges that have a low power start-up and will run off this generator. Later in the article, we’ll look at this more detail.
It is powered by a single cylinder 2HP 2-stroke engine with a 1-gallon fuel tank and is both ERA and CARB compliant. It’s quite fuel efficient and you should be able to get 5 hours of run time from a tank at 50% load. The machine runs very quietly. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a dB measurement, but it’s probably around the 65dB mark.
There’s not a lot of fancy gadgets on the PowerPro 56101. It has a recoil starter which isn’t much of problem with an engine this small, as it starts quite easily and you don’t need a lot of strength to get it running. The dashboard is simple and well laid out with a standard 120V outlet and a 12V outlet, each with their own overload circuit breaker. It has an analog volt meter, an on/off switch and a warning light to indicate a fault or overload. It also has a spark arrestor for added safety.
The design of the PowerPro 56101 favors robust durability over modern sleek lines. It has a metal fuel tank and solid plastic feet that help absorb vibration.
The PowerPro 56101 is designed and built to provide reliable electricity at an affordable price. There are no frills to push up the price and it’s simple and cheap to maintain. It’s perfect for campers with limited packing space, measuring 14” X12” X 13.5”.
Nice little generator for a wide range of applications.
As one of the cheapest generators around, its affordability makes it very attractive. Unlike many other cheap generators, you can buy this one with a good deal of confidence. You have good dealer backup and it comes with a 1-year warranty.
It has been received with overwhelming enthusiasm from those who’ve used it. The only area of concern would be when using it to power sensitive electronic equipment. If you’re using it at high loads and you regularly experience load changes (equipment that switches on or off regularly), changes in the load demand can cause voltage and frequency changes that will affect the operation and longevity of electronic equipment. This means that if you’re going to be using it for a TV, you shouldn’t run too many other devices – perhaps only a light or two, a satellite receiver and a small sound system.
Components of the PowerPro 56101
Tech Specs (PowerPro 56101):
- Wattage : 100W
- Voltage : 12V
- Amperage : 8.3A
- Rated Wattage : 900W
- Surge Wattage : 1000 W
- Rated Voltage : 120 V
- Rated Amperage : 7.5A
- Rated Frequency : 60 Hz
- Phase : Single
- Dimensions(in): Length: 15 width: 12 height: 14.5
- Dry weight : 39 lbs
- Engine type : 2-stroke single cylinder with forced air cooling system
- Ignition system : non-contact transistor
- Displacement : 63 cc
- Fuel tank capacity: 1.0 US gal.
- Run time on 50% load 5 hrs
- Noise rating at 22 feet: 60 dB
The PowerPro 56101 is made by WEN, a great company that makes affordable products for homeowners.
Yamaha EF1000iS | Inverter
900 Running Watts/1000 Starting Watts : Clean power, no fumes, and quiet.
- Yamaha generators have the longest emission engine durability ratings issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.
- The EF1000iS weighs in at 27.9 pounds, making it extremely portable.
- Noise Block is Yamaha’s acoustically engineered sound reduction system which helps make the EF1000iS among the quietest portable generator in its class. (47 dBA to 57 dBA – ¼ rated to rated load).
- Gasoline petcock lets you shut off the gas to run the carb dry for storage and helps prevent stale gas problems.
- The EF1000iS features Smart Throttle, a load sensing rpm control that allows greater fuel efficiency and noise reduction by automatically adjusting engine speed to match the load. It will run up to 12 hours at ¼ rated load on a tank of gas.
- The Yamaha EF1000iS inverter generator supplies clean, high quality power. The EF1000iS – with its inverter system – features Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) so voltage stability is within ± 1%, and frequency stability is ± 0.1 HZ. Its pure sine wave is as clean as or cleaner than public utilities power.
- The Auto Warm-up feature automatically increases engine speed for 4~6 minutes to ensure smooth power delivery during cold start ups.
- Yamaha’s Oil Watch Warning System helps prevent engine damage from low oil and provides added peace of mind..
- Lightweight, easy to carry design — Compact lightweight alternator reduces weight to 27.9 lb., the lightest weight in its class
- Smart Throttle, load sensing rpm control — Greater fuel efficiency and noise reduction by automatically adjusting engine speed to match the load
- Auto Warm-up — Automatically increases engine speed for 4~6 minutes to ensure smooth power delivery during cold start ups
- 12 Volt DC output, battery-charging cables included — Recharge 12-volt batteries for RV, auto, marine, etc.
- Exclusive dual coil alternator stator — Greater output at a lower engine speed for reduced noise, fuel consumption, and engine wear
- Centralized control panel — Easy access to controls
- Gasoline petcock lets you shut off the gas to run the carb dry for storage — Prevents stale gas problems
- 50cc Overhead Valve (OHV) engine — Noise-reducing operation with improved efficiency, increased reliability, and low oil consumption
- Large fuel fill access — Wide mouth fuel fill reduces spilling and overflows during refueling
- EPA & CARB Emission Engine Durability Rating — Yamaha generators have the longest emission engine durability ratings issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board
- 50 state legal — Meets emission regulations, including CARB
- Factory Warranty — Covers the entire generator for defects in parts and workmanship for three (3) years when the generator is used for non commercial, industrial or rental use. When the generator is used for commercial, industrial or rental use, Yamaha covers the generator for two (2) years
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the Yamaha EF1000iS.
The Yamaha EF1000iS is going to give you exactly the same amount of power that you’ll get from the PowerPro 56101. There is, however, a massive difference in the price. The main reason for this is that the Yamaha is an inverter generator and therefore protects your sensitive electronic equipment from damage or malfunction resulting from harmonic distortion (HD).
Apart from the inverter that pushes up the price, the Yamaha has a more advanced 50cc 4-stroke engine that’s more fuel efficient and quieter (only 47 – 57dBa). This means that you could get up to 12 hours run time from the 0.66-gallon fuel tank- though I’d say that you’re probably going to get 6-8 hours for normal use. It’s lighter to carry too, weighing only 27.9 LBS.
The design of the Yamaha EF 1000iS is much more modern than PowerPro. Not only does I it look much cooler with a very comfortable carrying handle, but it has improved sound insulation. It also includes an electronic fuel economy mode that adjusts the engine revs to the load demand, further increasing its fuel efficiency.
Using the Yamaha is very similar to the PowerPro. It has a recoil starter with a manual choke, though being a 4-stroke engine it will be easier to start in cold weather. It also has a single 120V power outlet and 12V socket for battery charging with overload protection.
It’s designed to be as compact and easy to transport as any of the small generators that we’re reviewing here – measuring 17.7” X 9.4” X 14.9”. Yamaha is a Japanese brand that has a long reputation for dependability and service backup, so can rest assured about quality. This is clearly evident when looking at their warranty, 3 years for domestic use and 2 years for commercial use.
Learn more on the Yamaha site.
Honda EU1000i | Inverter Generator
1000-Watt Super Quiet Gasoline Powered Portable Inverter Generator
- 1000 watts, 120V inverter generator
- Ideal for TV, lights, fans, small power tools and more on camping trips, power outages and home improvement projects.
- Lightweight and mobile at 29 lbs
- The generator is very fuel efficient and can run up to at 1/4 load for 8.3 hrs on 0.6 gal of gas
- Lightweight and compact: weighing only 29 lbs
- EU1000i operates at 53 to 59 dBA — less noise than a normal conversation
- Ideal for a camping generator
- Honda’s inverter technology ensures the inverter generators produces power that is as reliable as the power you get from your outlets at home and cleaner too.
- Protected by oil alert: Protects the generator by shutting the engine off when low oil pressure is detected
- Eco-throttle system : Runs up to 8.3 hours on a single tank, depending on the load. It can run all night.
- Add a second EU1000i for additional power. Two identical models can be paralleled with an optional cable or cord for up to 2000 watts of power.
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the Honda EU1000i.
Overview | Honda EU1000i
Honda is another Japanese brand that has an outstanding reputation and they have been building gas-powered equipment for many decades. The Honda EU1000i is very similar to the Yamaha EF 1000iS in many ways. It’s also an inverter generator with an operating output of 900W and a peak load of 1000W.
It’s a little heavier than the Yamaha, weighing 29 LBS and slightly larger – 13.25” X 22.3” X 19.8”. Noise levels aren’t quite as impressive either, though still very good at 53 – 59dBa – still well below normal conversational level. Like the others, the Honda uses a recoil starter with a manual choke.
So far it seems that the Honda slightly under-performs when compared to the Yamaha which pretty much the same price. So, does the Honda EU1000i have any redeeming features that may make you want to choose this one over the Yamaha EF 1000iS?
The Honda has one distinct advantage in the form of parallel operating capability. This means, with the parallel kit, you are able to connect more than one generator to work together, thereby increasing your power output. When the Honda EU 1000i is connected in parallel with another generator in the same product range, it provides a power output equivalent to the total wattage of both generators combined.
This versatility has proven useful for home users and contractors alike. Other than the parallel function, the only other difference is that the Honda has two 120V outlets, unlike the single outlet found on the other two. It also has a 12V outlet and all the power sockets are protected with an overload breaker.
So the Honda EU 1000i is also a very attractive option as a small inverter generator with the main advantage being the ability to increase its power output through the parallel connection ports.
Learn more by visiting the Honda generator site.
Factors to consider when buying a small portable generator
Because these generators don’t have a very high power output capacity, you need to look quite carefully at what you want to run off the generator. Because the most common use for these generators is for camping trips, we’ll focus mostly on this application.
With 900W continuous load and 1000W peak power, it’s important to look at how this will affect your usage of the generator. It’s very important to consider your peak load demand. There are many electrical appliances that require more power to start than they do when running. This is most evident in refrigerators and AC units.
These appliances use a compressor that requires a lot of power to start because the motor has to work against the resistance of the compressed gas when starting. This means that an average compressor will use up to three times as much power to start compared to when it is running. If you take a mid-sized household refrigerator that draws about 350W continuous power, when it starts, the capacitor will draw around 1050W – this just above the maximum peak power of any of these generators, so they are not going to work for this application.
There are compressors that are designed for generator use and don’t require a high start-up current. Some refrigerators and ACs are fitted with this type of compressor, though they are rare and expensive. If you want to use a conventional refrigerator or AC with a small generator, you’ll need to check if they have a low current starter. Even with low current start-up, they will still draw around 30%-50% of your available operating current, so they are not ideal.
I would recommend a 12V camping fridge that uses a battery. Charging the battery using a generator has almost no effect on the generator’s load (less than 1%). So you can run the refrigerator off the battery continuously and only charge it when needed.
Other appliances that you need to be aware of when it comes to peak power are microwaves and fluorescent lights that use a ballast – these appliances will use about 50% more power to start. Most power tools also use a small capacitor and will require 30%-50% extra power to start. Most hand tools are between 200W and 400W, so you’ll usually be able to use 2-3 of these tools at the same time.
Ideally, you should use an inverter generator when using electronic equipment. The inverter provides clean power with very low harmonic distortion. When a generator is running at high load and the load demand changes, it does not easily adjust to the change in load. The result is a change in the output voltage and frequency which distorts the sine wave, this known as harmonic distortion (HD).
High levels of HD will affect the operation of electronic equipment and in some cases, they won’t work at all. Prolonged exposure to HD will cause irreparable harm to your electronic equipment. This could include anything from a computer, TV or any device that has electronic controls or monitoring, which is most appliances with an LCD screen like the display on an AC unit or microwave.
If an inverter generator seems completely out of your price range but you still want to use it to power your TV, there are some measures that you can take to prevent too much damage from occurring. Firstly, don’t place too much load on the generator. A plasma TV can draw anything from 120W – 350W. So it’s better to use one no larger than 40”, preferably with an LED light source.
Let’s say you’re using a 200W TV, a satellite receiver (±2W), a 40W surround sound system and a few CFL lights totaling 50W. Your total load will be 292W, this about 30% of total 900 available running watts. At this load, your voltage will remain quite stable. It’s important not to use any other appliances that will cause a change in the load as this will cause a voltage drop and may affect the frequency.
Using this method is not guaranteed to completely protect your electronic equipment from harm, but will, at very least, minimize the damage. This is not ideal, but it’s a fair compromise to make if you can’t afford an inverter generator.