[POWERFUL & QUIET] Best 3000W Generator Reviews for 2018
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We Review the Top 3000W Portable Inverter Generators

top selling 3000w inverter generators

Inverter generators are great way to take power with you anywhere.  Not only are they quieter than conventional models, they offer cleaner, more stable electricity, allowing you to power sensitive devices like TVs, smartphones, computers, and other electronic devices.

While quite a bit larger than the 2000W inverter generators we've reviewed, each of these units has enough power to run the air conditioning system of just about any RV and are even capable of powering appliances at home when the power goes out. 

In case you're not familiar with the benefits of inverter based generators here are a few of their benefits:

  • quieter operation
  • cleaner power (similar to houshold AC)
  • smaller size
  • lighter weight
  • longer run-time

3000W Inverter Generator Reviews

  1. Honda EU3000ISA (2800 running watts/3000w startup)
  2. Briggs & Stratton P3000 (2600 watts running/3000W startup)
  3. Champion 75531i (2800W running/3100W startup
  4. Energizer eZV3200P (2800W running/3100W startup)
  5. Wen 56310i (2800W running/3000W startup) *CARB compliant

The extra oomph comes at the expense of size and weight, so don't be surprised if it requires two people to load one of these units into your chosen mode of transportation.

That being said, they all make efficient use of inverter technology to keep the noise down and the power clean.

1. Honda EU3000i Inverter Generator Review

This portable generator from Honda is a true workhorse.  The main reason it places second is because of price.  It's a good bit more expensive than the Yamaha with no significant difference in features or reliability.

That said, the Honda is one of the quietest generators in this category, so if noise is a big concern the EU3000i is tough to beat. At full speed it operates at 58dB (2dB quieter than the Yamaha), making it great for quiet applications like camping.

We ran this guy every night for a week straight on a road trip with the family and most times couldn't even hear it above our neighbors generators.

Run-Time & Efficiency

Even though it has the biggest engine of the group the Honda is by far the most efficient.  It can run at FULL load (2800W) for 7 hours.  And it dusts the Champion at 25% load by running for 20 hours.  Even the Yamaha falls short by 2 hours. 

Portability

The wheels on this generator are pretty much useless on anything other than smooth asphalt or concrete.  Though it is an improvement over earlier models, they still struggle mightily on anything other than a flat surface.

The EU3000is weighs in at 78lbs dry.  It's got handles on opposing sides so lugging it between two people is relatively easy. 

Features & Performance

In terms of power this guy is a beast.  It can supply continuous 2800W at 23A.  This is largely due to the 196cc 6.5HP engine.  So loads like AC units in RV's are no problem at all.  And with the quiet operation, you and your neighbors won't even know it's running. 

Like the Yamaha it's got 2 120V 20Amp receptacles, a 30C RV ready receptacle, and a 12V port.  It can be run in parallel with another unit to basically double the power.​

Pros

  • Tons of Power
  • Extremely quiet
  • Effective energy saver mode
  • best service network
  • runs 20hr on a single tank at 25% load

Cons

  • Wheels are useless on anything other than smooth surface
  • high price

Maintenance & Warranty

Honda's wide network of qualified technicians makes having repairs or maintenance performed much easier as you don't have to send the unit in.  This also means that parts are very easy to come by.

One of my businesses actually uses this unit to power an ice cream case that pulls a constant 20A.  We've been using it for 5 years with no work required other than oil changes and cleaning the spark plug once a year. 

Final Verdict:

While the Honda did come in second place in our comparison the biggest factor was price.  If the extra 2 hours of run time or the larger service network are important to you, you can't go wrong with this unit.

2. Briggs & Stratton P3000

The P3000 is one of the few inverter units we've tested that actually incorporates a handle that doesn't require you to either pick the unit up or bend over double.  Why other brands haven't caught onto this is difficult to understand.  

The 171cc engine is the same size as the Champion.  Even though slightly smaller than the Honda (196cc), it's a bit louder at both lighter loads and full load (53dB  @1/4 load and 59dB at full load).

Run-Time & Efficiency

The B&S generator doesn't offer near the run time of the Honda, but it's gas tank is only half the size.  The P3000 will run for about 10 hours at 1/4 load vs the 20 hours for the Honda.  Either will run through the night, so in our view the advantage goes to the lower priced Briggs & Stratton.

Portability

​Having used this unit for a season of farmer's markets and festivals (we have a side gelato business), the P3000 is by far the easiest to lug around.

In terms of weight the B&S (84lbs) is almost exactly the same as the 3rd place Champion, and MUCH lighter than the Honda.  The wheels on the P3000 are significantly better than either of the other two competitors.  The larger back wheels allow for pulling over concrete and packed dirt, but it's still a struggle to take this unit over gravel or softer surfaces. 

That said, it's light years ahead of the Honda (with it's ridiculously small wheels).

Features & Performance

Startup ease is on par with the Honda, generally requiring only one easy pull.  It offers 2 120v 20Amp outlets, a 12V outlet, and a 30V RV compatible outlet. 

The controls are all centrally located and easy to use and include the on/off switch, economy mode, and gas controls.  Overload and low oil indicators are included on the panel as well. 

The Yamaha offers the ability to run in parallel with another ​unit to double your power output.  An accessory pack is necessary to accomplish this, just as with the Honda.

Pros

  • Tons of power
  • Parallel capability
  • one-pull start
  • most portable of the group
  • large service network

Cons

  • louder than the Honda
  • only runs 10 hours at 25% load
  • refilling oil is difficult

Maintenance & Warranty

As with the other units the P3000 requires some minimal regular maintenance.  Oil changes and spark plug replacement about sum it up.  We typically change the oil on ours once per season and we easily run it for a couple hundred hours over the course of a summer.

My only complaint would be the difficulty in changing the oil due to the sound muffling materials.  Once you've done it a few times, it's no big deal, but it was a minor annoyance at first.  Other than that it's on par with the other two units.

The Yamaha comes with a 3 year warranty on parts and workmanship. 

Final Verdict:

The Honda and the Yamaha really run neck and neck in terms of performance and features.  We gave the nod to the Yamaha because of it's lower retail price and much better wheels.

3. Champion 75531i Review

If you're looking for a budget priced inverter generator the Champion is worth checking out.  While it's features and performance put it in some pretty rarefied air, the small fuel tank on the Champion means it just can't keep up with the Briggs & Stratton or the Honda in terms of run-time. 

That said, the price is very attractive.  It comes in at about half the price of the Honda and a bit less than the B&S.   It's reliable and backed by rock-solid customer service.  It easily wins the top budget option.

Run-Time & Efficiency

While the 171cc engine is very efficient, the 1.6 gallon fuel tank makes it unlikely this guy will run for a whole night. But if you're not using it for a camping AC unit this may not be an issue.  Just about any AC unit out there will kick this guy out of Economy mode so you'll most likely burn through your fuel in less than the stated 8hrs.

Portability

The Champion comes in first place in terms of overall portability.  The larger back wheels and handle make it somewhat maneuverable for one person.  And the 96lb dry weight doesn't hurt either.  (Winning this category doesn't take much though given the general difficulty of rolling any of these generators)

The handle ended up right next to the exhaust on this unit, so you've got to be careful when moving it right after extended usage. 

Features & Performance

The 75531i offers 2800W of continuous power with up to 3100W available for inrush power.  This additional power comes from a 171cc engine which is more than twice the displacement of it's little brother. 

This translates into impressive performance even with heavy loads like AC compressors, and just about anything else you'll need to run.  It also translates into a good bit more weight.  But at just 96lbs it's not as heavy as others in this category. 

The 1.6 gallon fuel tank is enough to run the unit for around 8 hours at 25% load capacity.  While it's rated at 58dB, it runs pretty quiet until the load is increased and engine speed is increased to compensate.  It's probably borderline quiet enough at higher loads for use at campsites. 

Pros

  • easy to start
  • quiet operation
  • good energy saving mode
  • great price
  • lightweight

Cons

  • smallest gas tank
  • poor wheels

Maintenance & Warranty

Maintaining the unit is fairly straightforward.  Oil changes and spark plug cleaning/replacement should be performed regularly.  The warranty is only 2 years compared to three for the Honda and Yamaha. 

You're not going to find many places that can service a Champion product so anything that goes wrong generally requires ordering the parts and fixing it yourself, or sending it in for repairs.

Final Verdict:

The Champion is a solid unit that supplies clean power at a seriously low price.  It's biggest shortfall is the lack of run-time.  You'd be hard pressed to run this guy overnight without running out of fuel.

Who Needs a Portable Inverter Generator?

westinghouse wh2000ixlt portable inverter generator

Portable generators have been around for decades.  But it's been within the last few years that inverter technology has made the products safe for sensitive electronic devices such as modern TVs, BluRay players, smart phones, tablets, and computers.  There are even solar powered generators available that utilize inverter technology.

In addition to providing extremely clean power, the generators we've selected in our comparison are also extremely quiet.  This makes them ideal for a whole new set of applications such as fishing, hunting, and camping as well as activities such as outdoor barb-b-ques and tailgating. 

​While inverter generators are significantly more expensive than conventional models on a cost per watt basis, this is offset by some important advantages. 

Home Standby Generators

While they're not powerful enough to power air conditioning systems, these units will power the air handler in your home to keep the heat on with a gas-based furnace.  They can also power a full-sized refrigerator in addition to lights and more.  Keep in mind that integrating a generator into your home's electrical system will most likely require a licensed installer.

For more information on units big enough to power most of your home check out this post on the best standby generators.

How We Determine the Best

There are a variety of factors and features that go into a reliable and feature rich portable generator.  Some of the most important considerations include:

  1. Quiet Operation
  2. Lightweight and Portable
  3. Clean Power for Sensitive Electronics
  4. Highly Energy Efficient
  5. Easy to maintain
  6. Ease of Service

Conventional VS Inverter Generator Comparison

While there is no simple answer as to which type of generator is best, each has it's own set of advantages. Based on these, it's relatively easy to decide which type is best suited for your needs. Let's take a look at a few key features you should consider before making your purchase.

Fuel Efficiency and Run-Time

Since inverter generators are able to regulate engine speed based on current power demands they can be up to 40% more fuel efficient than standard models.

A standard generator must maintain a constant RPM in order to deliver the correct frequency of power. This is generally around 3600 RPM. As power demands increase, more fuel is used to meet this demand. But even under minimal loads the engine must maintain at least 3600 RPM

An inverter generator (IG) can run at much lower speeds because the technology incorporated into the unit allows for constant frequency output without a corresponding engine RPM. This means that an IG will consume less fuel when power demands are low, and can ramp up to meet additional load requirements.

Because of design differences between the two types of generators run-times can vary greatly. Standard generators are designed to supply a specific power output with less consideration for size. This means they generally have larger fuel tanks.

IG's are generally designed from the beginning to be smaller and more portable. This has a direct impact on the amount of fuel it can store. But even with smaller fuel tanks, many IG's have run-times of up to 10 hours due to their highly efficient engines.

A more efficient engine also has the added benefit of reduced exhaust emissions and a smaller carbon footprint.

Winner: Inverter Generators

Portability (Size, Weight, Wheels)

While many standard generators are considered "portable" they are often very heavy as they are essentially an engine and gas tank connected to an alternator. Design considerations for a regular generator give more priority to power output and run-time than to the size and weight of the unit. This would be an important consideration if you're looking to run equipment that requires a heavy load such as a plasma cutting tools or professional welding equipment.

Many standard generators are heavy enough that they require metal bars for lifting and/or wheels for moving.

As previously mentioned inverter generators are designed from the ground up to be more portable. As a result they offer lower power outputs (typically ranging from 500w to 4000w), but in a much more compact and lightweight design. As a result they are small enough and light enough to be carried by one person and can easily be stored in a car, RV or boat.

They certainly aren't light enough that you would want to go trekking into the woods with one, but compared to a standard model they are substantially smaller.

Winner:  Inverter Generators

Noise Levels

This is an especially important consideration depending on the intended use of your generator. For applications like camping or powering equipment in areas that are sensitive to noise an inverter generator is going to be the way to go.

Many are designed with the following:

  1. Quieter engines
  2. Specially designed mufflers
  3. Noise dampening technology

All of these combine to keep overall noise at remarkably low levels. And since IG's aren't required to maintain 3600 RPM to maintain a steady flow of clean power like a standard model, the engine is running lower most of the time as well. Some models produce as little as 50 dB (the equivalent of a normal conversation) of noise while running under a partial load, and less than 60 dB at full load.

Many conventional generators are rated well above that with some as loud as 75 dB. This would be the equivalent of a vacuum cleaner or the road-noise of a car traveling around 65 MPH. You can imagine this level of noise would make for some unhappy neighbors in circumstances such as camping.

Maximum Power Output

Conventional generators are available in just about any size ranging from 500 watts on the low end to 50,000 watts or more on the high end.  Inverter generators are much more limited due to their primary design concerns of portability and noise.  They typically range from 1000 watts to 4000 watts.

Winner:  Standard Generators

Power Quality and Consistency

​In terms of the power produced there are significant differences between the two types.

Conventional generators are very basic in design.  Essentially an engine hooked up to an alternator, the speed at which the engine runs determines the AC (alternating current) frequency.  This is totally independent of the load.  While in use, any increase in load will cause a subsequent increase in throttle to ensure that the speed of the engine (3600RPM) remains consistent. 

The output from the alternator passes directly to the attached equipment with no regulation or processing. 

Inverter generators are an entirely different beast.

While conventional generators pass electricity directly to the load, inverters utilize a rectifier to convert the alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC).  To help smooth out any  fluctuations in this power capacitors are used.

The next step involves "inverting" the DC back to clean AC power at the desired frequency and voltage.  (typically 120VAC @ 60Hz).  This produces a much more consistent and clean power that is completely independent of the speed of the engine. 

The result is power that is comparable to the electricity generated by your utility company.  This is very important when powering devices that are sensitive to power quality including TV's, cell phones, gaming systems, computers, and even some appliances.

So if you're planning on running these types of devices you're much better off with clean, regulated power.

Winner:  Inverter Generators

Parallel or Tandem Operation

One particularly attractive feature of many inverter generators is that they can be used in parallel or combined to increase their power output.

Typically two identical units would be used to double the power output.  This is accomplished while still preserving the primary benefits of portability and lower noise output. 

This is a function that standard generators are unable to provide.

Generally all that is needed to accomplish parallel operation is a special cable that connects the two units.  This can vary by unit, so be sure to read the details about the particular model you're looking at to ensure it provides for this capability.

Winner:  Inverter Generators

Simplicity of Design & Repair

When it comes to simplicity of design there is little doubt that conventional models have the upper hand.  Since they are basically an engine connected to an alternator there are significantly fewer points of failure.  This can be important in certain circumstances and should not be overlooked when making your decision.

That being said, in the years that inverter generators have been around there is little evidence to suggest that they have a significantly higher failure rate than conventional models. 

However, the more complicated circuitry and electrical components do make them more difficult to repair. 

It really just boils down to what your personal preference.  If you need something that is very simple to fix, a conventional model would most likely be your best bet.

Winner:  Tie (Personal Preference)

Cost

While inverter generators do have many advantages, there is one potential downside.  In terms of price per watt of power, they are significantly more expensive than conventional models. 

Prices on inverters have continued to fall over the years but they are still significantly more expensive due to the amount of sophisticated electronics necessary to build them.

Which model is best for you boils down to deciding whether power output is more important than size, portability, and noise level.

Winner:  Conventional Generators

About the Author Jason

Jason is a work from home dad who has a passion for DIY projects, yard work, and SEC Football. His background is IT, but he's always fancied himself as a part-time ship welder, landscaper, and short order cook. During the week he can be found on his laptop 10 hours-a-day, but on the weekends he escapes to the local DIY Cave to play with REAL toys.

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