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#44710 11/10/04 11:25 AM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 33
2000xp8 Offline OP
Hey guys, recently got my NJ Electrical license and i'm about to be on my first job where i need a generator.

I prefer honda as for with the last guy i worked for had one and 3 full years of working flawlessly.

It won't see use every single day, probably on average of about 25% of the work days in a year, max.

It needs to start easy, and be light enough to get out of the van by myself. I also prefer something fairly quiet and compact, since it doesn't see a ton of use, i don't think i need a monster.

Only things i will run off of it, are right angle drill with 3 ft extension, hole hawg, maybe a saw rarely and a radio.

Keep in mind i'm by myself.

I see these new compact hondas, that are super quiet and effecient, does anyone have any experience with them?

What wattage's do i need to look at?(for any type).


NJ licensed electrician
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
Congrats and welcome to ECN!

My foreman had an old unit that IIRC was a secondary power unit for a bucket truck. I don't recall what brand it was (homelite?), it was pretty much a generator mounted on an motor with a 1/2 gal fuel tank.

The ones I have the most experience with are Hondas... we've got the portables "quick realase mounted" on our Fire Engines, and we've only had one problem with one that wasn't set up correctly. It now works fine. I have yet to have to pull the cord on any of them more than three times to get it fired up. (Of course, 12vdc key start is a lot easier...)

My other FD has hard mounted Onan diesels. They run OK, but you can't dismount them for away from the truck work... it's all cords.

I prefer American bikes and cars, but I'll hand them the award for small engines on a silver platter.


Hole Hawg 13A @120v = 1560W
Circular Saw (Worm-Drive or Inline)15A @120v = 1800W
Radio (small 'boom box") = 50W

So you're probably looking at one of the following:

Honda EU2000i super quiet @46.3 Lbs. MSRP $1079.95
Honda EN2500 ("economy homeowner"), @71 Lbs. MSRP $665.95
Honda EG2500 ("economy commercial") @ 87 Lbs. MSRP $1028.95

Another option in your search is to check with your local power tool / heavy equipment rental/dealer, and see if he's got any "trade in" units for folks than needed a bigger one. Many times you can get them with the balance of the factory warantee, or at least a refund guarantee if the unit's been regularly serviced by the dealer.

Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 444
Do yourself a favour and buy a Honda. They are simply the best built gennys on the market. They may cost a little more, but seriously, how often are you going to buy a generator?

A good friend of mine is a small engine mechanic with over 30 years experience and is an authorized Honda and BriggsStratton dealer. He reports that hands down, the Honda stuff is more reliable and better built.

Yes, needless to say, I own a Honda genny. A 5000W. And a Honda lawnmower, trimmer, snowblower, powerwasher, cars.

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 156
Yamaha make great little generators also. I was swinging back and forth between Yamaha and Honda until I got a great deal on the Honda I have now.

Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 582
Ron Offline
Since you are running a few tools, and voltage regulation is not really an issue, and it is possible that someone might "borrow" your gen, why not get a cheapy Coleman or Generac. For $400 I think you can get a 4kW unit.
Then you can be a bit more reckless with it.

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 615
I've got a Coleman 2000watt 2500 peak. I found that it works fine for running a milwalkee right angle. I don't know about a bogged down holw hawg though. Small and easy to pop in and out of the van by myself. $229 I think a year or two ago. Do all the layout, fire it up, do all your holes at once, and fire it back up a little later to get the ones you missed.

But if plan on growing into it, you might want a little bigger one. I opted for the 2KW because I got sick of breaking my back on my brother's 5kw 11hp techumsa (sp?) loading it in and out of the van. But If you plan on running a 500watt quartz and a HD drill at the same time, you'll need bigger.

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
I'm a loner also, Joe. I went to Home Depot a couple years ago and picked them up to see how portable they are. I got a Coleman 1500W (1850W peak). It's been fine for my use, which is only on service upgrades for my work light, their refrigerator, and to drill a few small holes in the concrete and holesaw the joist.

On the commercial job I use it until the service is set up, also really just for a few small holes in the concrete block and to saw the conduit. I probably only use it once every week or two though. The 2000W/2500W may suit your purpose better.


Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 33
2000xp8 Offline OP
Thanks for the replys, guys.

I really like the hondaEU2000, but 1000 bucks seems like alot for a 2000 watt generator. And as someone mentioned i'm a bit afraid of getting one that will bog down with the holehawg, although i rarely use the hog, i prefer the right angle drill with the 3ft. extension.

Also the honda has 2 ratings such as this:
2000W max.(16.7A)
1600W rated (13.3A)
Which one do i go by? Note that this is the output description on the honda, i don't fully understand it. I'm thinking one rating is constant and the other is peak.

I always do the layout first, then all the drilling at once, and if i miss a hole here and there i usually go back use a 18v cordless to drill it.

The generacs use Briggs and Stratton engines, they are probably not as good as the hondas, but the cost is far lower.

I think i'll shop around a bit, and keep an eye out in the newspaper ads. I don't mind used stuff as long as it looks taken care of.


NJ licensed electrician
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,056
Hey 2000,
Congratulations on passing the NJ exam. I recently applied and am waiting for a response.


Last year I bought a used Coleman "Vantage" 4600 watt genny for $250.00 and although it looks beat, it starts on the first pull everytime and runs well.
Depending on load, it will run for 2 days on a full, 5 gallon tank.
It is a bit heavy, and although I can unload it by myself, I usually use ramps to load it on.
Tha advantage to a larger unit, especially doing new residential construction in this region, is that as evening approaches, I use temporary lighting strings.
The convenience of being able to have 10-20 lights hung in the work area is well worth it to me.

[This message has been edited by Redsy (edited 11-13-2004).]

Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 444
quote : "Also the honda has 2 ratings such as this:
2000W max.(16.7A)
1600W rated (13.3A)
Which one do i go by? "

2000W is the maximum output.
1600W is the maximum "continuous" output.

I think I would go by the 1600W number.

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