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Generac vs Honda Generator (2020): Best Portable Generator For Recreational Use

Portable inverter generators are one of the best things you can bring on camping, tailgating and other outdoor recreational activities. Having accessible power makes these gatherings a lot more fun, and they can be handy for power tools too. We compare two of the most popular portable generator models today, the Generac GP3000i and Honda EU3000i Handi, to help you choose the best portable generator for recreational use.

Generac vs Honda Generator Comparison Chart

ModelGenerac GP3000iHonda EU3000i Handi
Generac GP3000i Super Quiet Inverter Generator - 3000 Starting Watts with PowerRush Technology Honda Power Equipment EU3000IH1A Handi 3,000W Portable Generator with Parallel Capability CARB,... 
PriceCheck Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon 
Rating
 

 
TypeInverterInverter
EngineOHVHonda GX160
Displacement149cc163cc
Starting SystemRecoilRecoil
Max AC Output3,000 W3,000 W
Rated AC Output2,300 W2,600 W
Voltage120V120V
Max AC Current19.1 amps25 amps
Rated AC Current19.1 amps21.7 amps
DC OutputNone8 amps @ 12V
Fuel Tank Capacity1.06 gal1.6 gal
Run Time (Full load)< 4.5 hrs3.5 hrs
Run Time (1/4 load)5.8 hrs7.7 hrs
Noise (Full load)> 58 dBA58 dBA
Noise (1/4 load)n/a52 dBA
Low Oil ShutoffYesYes
Parallel CapabilityYesYes
WheelsNoneWheel Kit
HandleSingleDual
USB PortsYesNo
Dimensions22.2″ x 13.3″ x 18.4″24.5″ x 14.9″ x 19.3″
Weight59.5 lbs78 lbs
Warranty3-Year Limited3-Year

Engine and Power

The Honda EU3000i Handi provides more power than the Generac GP3000i.

Generac vs Honda Generator Engine and Power
A slightly larger fuel tank and more efficient engine gives the Honda EU3000i Handi (right) the advantage over the Generac GP3000i (left).

Honda is recognized as one of the top engine makers in the world, so it’s no surprise that its EU3000i Handi outperforms the Generac GP3000i. Both inverter generators have a top starting wattage of 3,000 W, allowing them to start a wider range of electric motors. However, the rated AC output of the Honda EU3000i Handi is higher at 2,600 W, in comparison with the Generac GP3000i’s 2,300.

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In addition, the Honda Handi has a 50% bigger fuel capacity than the Generac GP3000i. With its 1.6 gallon tank filled up and the engine running at 25% load, the Honda EU3000i Handi can provide power for up to 7.7 hours. To compare, the 1.06 gallon fuel tank of the Generac inverter allows it to run for 5.8 hours under the same load. This does mean that the Generac GP3000i is slightly more fuel efficient, consuming 0.18 gallons per hour compared to the 0.2 gal/hr of the EU3000i Handi.

To summarize, you can get more power considerably longer on a full-tank Honda EU3000i Handi than on a Generac GP3000i inverter generator. Of course, this will vary on actual usage, but you can reasonably expect the Honda model to outmuscle the Generac even on 100% load.

Convenience

The Generac GP3000i is lighter but the Honda EU3000i Handi is quieter.

Generac vs Honda Generator Convenience
You’ll be able to carry the Generac GP3000i with one hand thanks to its smaller size and dry weight.

For portability, the Generac GP3000i is significantly lighter than the Honda EU3000i Handi, at 59.5 lbs. versus 78 lbs. It’s designed to be carried with one hand, which you’ll be able to do, but you’d prefer not to move it too far to avoid straining your shoulder. Though it’s heavier, the design of the Honda Handi gives justification for its naming. It has a fold-down handle that you can pull out so you can drag it along on its wheels. This should make moving it over longer distances much easier and less impactful on the body.

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Both inverter generator models utilize recoil starter systems to get them running. Once up, the Honda EU3000i Handi produces noise levels reaching 58 dB on a full load, which dampens down to 52 dB on a quarter load. This is comparable to typical conversation volume, so you’ll likely need to speak up to be heard if you’re standing next to it. However, at some distance away, this should prove to be a minor background hum that can be easily tuned out.

Generac doesn’t publish noise levels for their generators since there aren’t any standards set for them yet. However, testing reveals that its GP3000i is slightly louder than the EU3000i on both high and low speed operation.

Features

Both Generac GP3000i and Honda EU3000i Handi inverters have parallel capability and low oil shutoff.

Generac vs Honda Generator Features
While you can definitely bring the Generac and Honda generators outside, it’s highly advised to place them in a dry spot prior to starting them.

Generac and Honda added parallel capability to these inverter models to provide owners an option to increase their power output later on. Connecting two of the same (or similar) generator models will allow them to double their output to support more appliances and heavier loads. Each of their product pages have a list of models that are compatible with either the Generac GP3000i or the Honda EU3000i Handi.

Both control panels sport much the same receptacles and controls, though the Honda EU3000i Handi adds a 12V DC outlet to the two AC duplex receptacles and the twistlock outlet. This is useful in recharging automotive batteries, which can come in handy when traveling long distances. In lieu of a DC outlet, the Generac GP3000i instead has two 5V DC USB outlets that let you directly plug in mobile devices.

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Inverter generator technology allows these machines to provide power to electronics safely. They also have an Economy Mode (Generac) and Eco Throttle (Honda) to improve fuel efficiency and reduce sound levels. These effectively adjust engine speed to match the current low load to save fuel.

Among the safety features present in both Generac and Honda generators are spark arrestors, circuit breakers, and low oil shutoff.

Verdict

The Generac GP3000i is more cost-effective than the Honda EU3000i Handi.

It’s very easy to recommend the Generac GP3000i in this comparison since it costs about half the price of the Honda model while providing comparable power. Most homes that just need that extra assurance of backup power in case of emergencies will be happy to have a dependable generator that can run essential appliances such as refrigerators, lights and phone chargers. The Generac GP3000i is quite able at that, and its lightweight build lets you bring it along on outdoor gatherings with ease too.

Splurging for the Honda EU3000i Handi can be the right move if you value smooth operation and minimal fuss for your choice of generator. It’s capable of a bit more power while being super quiet for the neighbors’ benefit. With a larger fuel tank it should provide ample electricity to run equipment for hours and hours. Honda is also banking on the strength and reliability of its brand, which means it’s likely easier to find assistance for your machine in case you need help in the future.

Last update on 2020-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Derick Bondoc
Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.