Shopping for an inverter generator is pretty much about power. Aside from the convenience of mobility and compact size, the biggest determiner here is how much energy your generator can produce. If you’re looking for the best portable generator under 1500, we’re going to put the spotlight on Honda EU2200i. This is the hottest and most modern offering in the market nowadays, promising to be an all-around generator with quiet operation that won’t wake up a sleeping baby.
To start with, this Honda generator is a champ for places where there is no direct or easy access to electricity. It’s small enough to fit on a car trunk but powerful enough at 2,200 watts to supply a day’s need for power.
However, is it really the best pick among the dozens of generators available in the market? We’re about to find out here.
Pros and cons
Key functions and usage
As a portable generator, there’s no doubt that ease of use is one of the major benefits of the Honda EU2200i. It sports a single-knob control so even newbies can start it without going into a state of frenzy. It also has a recoil pull cable that’s solid enough even for first-time users.
All the controls are located on one side only (more of this later) so you won’t have to rummage in the dark just to plug that power cord in the event of an outage. This is the best portable generator under 1500, so to speak.
There are two connectors here that allow a parallel connection. What does this mean? You can connect another Honda generator of the same kind to double the power you’ll get. This is beneficial for those who want to run multiple appliances at a time, say the HVAC unit, refrigerator, and TV.
We think the best asset of this Honda machine is its Eco-Throttle toggle. This allows users to switch into an energy efficient mode.
Such a feature is useful for long operations, say overnight or extended hours during the day. With this, you can run the generator for up to 9.6 hours straight in just one tank. The runtime may decrease as the load increases.
What if the system overloads? Thank goodness, there are circuit protectors on this unit which many commercial generators tend to overlook. These protectors will trip the operation so your generator won’t experience wear and tear. It’s also a safety feature in case you’re leaving the generator running while you sleep. Once you identified the cause of overload, you can reset the system to get the generator up and running again.
When it comes to the inverter technology, there’s nothing different with the EU2200i and other Honda models. It still uses the sinewave technology that’s computer-controlled so you’ll enjoy a commercial-quality performance. It’s similar to how car batteries work.
Such technology also secures your frequency-sensitive appliances like desktop computers, laptops, cell phones, televisions, and the likes.
As for the practical controls, everything in the EU2200i is made easy and simple. There are LED light indicators so you can easily see the problems even in the dark. Basically, there are three LED lights on the control side of the generator: top, middle, and bottom
⚡Top LED light: this indicates that your generator is running low in oil. As you know, running a generator at low oil levels can increase wear and tear that will damage the engine. Refill the tank the moment the LED light illuminates.
⚡Middle LED light: This is a warning light for overloading. If you’re not looking, a sound alarm will also engage to catch your attention. This way, you can fix the problem and ensure that the generator is running smoothly. Nevertheless, there are circuit protectors that will prevent explosions or billowing smoke.
⚡Bottom LED light: This is the operation light that illuminates continuously to indicate that your generator is producing power properly. If this stopped working, it means that power supply is interrupted or has totally ceased. You might need more gasoline.
Overall, you’ll get the following slots on the controls side of this best portable generator under 1500:
⚡1 DC 12 V battery charging port
⚡2 AC-Out 120 volts
⚡Two slots for parallel operation (requires special cables)
⚡Eco-Throttle on and off switch
The switch knob is on the side to prevent accidental turning on and off.
We’ve mentioned it multiple times: Honda EU2200i is about power efficiency! Its Eco-Throttle feature allows users to experience better fuel economy in every tank. This feature also reduces engine noise which is a big plus for commercial and residential use.
In a 4-liter tank, this Honda generator can run continuously if you’ll turn the Eco-Throttle on a ¼ output level. And as a California Air Resources Board (CARB) compliant, rest assured that the operation won’t be a smoky mess.
If you’re running this generator in a 100% load, the operation will last for 3 hours in one tank. But in a 25% load setting, you can stretch the operation for up to 8 hours.
Overall, the EU2200i has a smaller gasoline tank than its competitors. This has to be done to achieve a smaller built. Still, this Honda model operates with the same power.
Remember that this Honda generator has a running wattage of 1,800. This is enough to support small camping or home appliances like lights and small fans. Unless you’re going to use parallel connections between two Honda generators, bigger appliances will need more power.
We have one small caveat about this Honda generator, though. It doesn’t have a fuel gauge. It’s a bit of a guessing game to know the level of gasoline left and if it’s in need of a refill. Our fix here is to start with a full tank and calculate the load vis-à-vis the operation. This should give you a rough estimate of how many hours the generator will run.
As for the oil performance, the EU2200i is far better than its previous models. It already comes with an extended oil drain adaptors so the mess won’t go all over the generator. It just drips on one area for a grease-free run.
Lastly, never run ethanol gas in this generator. It’s a small engine and if you let it sit for too long, the ethanol gas gums up the carburetor.
The noise level of Honda EU2200i is around 48 to 57 dbA. How loud is that? Well, it’s quieter than a normal conversation.
Your neighbors will thank you for it instead of using that nerve-racking generator that hums louder than an old car with overused steel bearings.
Noise levels of generators are usually taken 23 feet away from the unit. This is due to the fact that you’re not supposed to run a generator too close to home. The distance will also give you an idea of how noisy the generator would be on the part of your neighbors.
Such a noise level makes the Honda generator a great pick for camping and residential use. However, overloading may cause the noise to increase so always watch out for the load you’ll put on the generator. Nevertheless, this model is a tad quieter than the EU2000.
Remember that using the Eco-Throttle feature will reduce the noise even more. However, this might affect the amount of electricity supplied to your appliances.
Considering that this has a starting power of 2200 watts, this Honda generator is already the quietest for its kind.
Size and weight
The Honda EE220i weighs 47 pounds which are around 5 pounds heavier than the predecessor EU2000. These two models have roughly the same size. Nevertheless, this just a small issue given that you’re going to enjoy a lower noise level and an Eco-Throttle feature.
With the dimensions of 20 x 11.4 x 16.7 in., this is already the best portable generator under 1500 you can find. It also comes with a solid handle next to the fuel cap.
Aside from its small build, the construction is pretty impressive too. It’s just like bringing a large gallon of ketchup that can power up a few camp tents at a time. For a stable footing indoors and outdoors, the EU2200i comes with four rubber/plastic feet to keep it in place.
Compared to its predecessor model, the EU2200i has 10% more power, thanks to its larger 4-stroke engine. And considering that almost all Honda generators have the parallel connection feature, you have the choice to amp the power even more with another generator.
For the EU2200i, the start-up power is slated at 2,200 watts with a running power of 1,800 watts.
What are these two different wattages? First, the start-up power is the energy the generator requires to start working. Since the engine is off and at rest, it needs an extra kick of energy to initiate the operation. Otherwise, you’ll have to pull the recoil cable multiple times just to get it started.
As the motor continuously runs, the power it produces lowers and stabilizes. This is now what we call running watts. The EU2200i can supply a consistent 1,800 watts of electricity on its operation, thus making it the best portable generator under 1500.
The biggest benefit to this large start-up power is you get to ignite power-hungry appliances like air con units in your RV.
With the 1,800 watts, you can run a few camping staples like lights and small air conditioning units. This level of electricity supply can also run electric water heaters, space heaters, microwaves, dishwashers, and so on. Just take note that all of these appliances can’t be run simultaneously or overloading will happen.
Based on our personal experience and the track record of Honda, the brand provides some of the best and long-lasting generators.
For the EU2200i, Honda offers a 3-year commercial and residential warranty. If you’re purchasing from a reseller, take time to inquire about the warranty coverage.
Compared to other brands, only Honda gives such lavish coverage. We strongly think that a brand that offers long warranty coverage is the one that’s sure of its quality. If you’re in doubt, customer reviews will never lie. Besides, you can ask someone who’s knowledgeable about generators and they will recommend at least one Honda model for sure.
Honda’s 3-year warranty is added assurance that you’re spending your money on a long-lasting product. But like any other generators, don’t forget to size it first before purchasing. Although Honda EU2200i is a powerful model, its output may not be enough to run all the appliances you intend to plug in it. Remember, change of mind is rarely covered by warranty and return policies.
The EU2200i is reinforced in terms of safety features. First, it has a vented cap with a different color than the entire unit. This will make it easy to vent the cap in the right position during operation. Another thing is that this model comes with a run-dry feature. If you’re planning to store the generator for extended periods, you can let the engine running until it runs out of fuel. This cuts the possibility of the generator becoming a fire hazard.
When it comes to overloading, the LED light tree comes handy. It also includes a visual warning when the oil level is starting to run out.
We just wish that there’s a fuel gauge for easy monitoring of the remaining gas.
Overall, this is a solid generator that’s safe to use even by first-timers. Just make sure that you follow the usage instructions to avoid issues like overloading or a gummed carburetor. If you’re about to break into the generator, you’ll need to do oil changes every hour or two.
If you stumble upon any operational issue, don’t hesitate to contact the seller or Honda for assistance.
Personally, we didn’t have any issues using the Honda EU2200i. If you size it up properly, it should run smoothly and as advertised. However, some users complained that it’s not as quiet as it claims to be. Remember, the noise level can be affected by the load. Anyway, we recognize that there might be some faulty pieces that may cause such issue. Still, the noise isn’t really loud that you’ll need ear protection.
Lastly, we think the gas opening could have been a bit wider for easy refilling. But if you’re careful enough, there shouldn’t be any splashes or mess.
Have you encountered any issue using the Honda EU2200i? If so, drop a comment below and we’ll update this post.
Is the Honda EU2200i 2200 a wise buy?
The answer to this question depends on the performance level you’re expecting from the generator. If you just need a small generator that can run a few camping or house staples, the EU2200i would be unbeatable. It’s quiet, a bit lightweight, and efficient. However, these features come with a price. This is the best portable generator under 1500 which some homeowners may find too pricey.
But overall, this is a top pick if you want a generator that will last for years. Right now, the Honda EU2200i is giving the likes of Yamaha a run for its money. If Honda can just figure out how to add some of the important features like a fuel gauge, it can outsmart Yamaha even more.
For those looking for the best portable generator under 1500, the EU2200i is a champ. With 3-year warranty coverage, there’s nothing else you’ll wish for.
Do you want a closer look at the EU2200i? Here’s a comprehensive review from Silver Cymbal: